Recollections of a Long Life eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 241 pages of information about Recollections of a Long Life.
London Association was the celebrated philanthropist, the Earl of Shaftesbury, a man whom I had long desired to meet.  My acquaintance with him began in Exeter Hall, at a Sabbath service held to reach the non-church going classes.  With one or two others we knelt together in a small side room to invoke a blessing on the service in the great hall, and he prayed most fervently.  The Earl of Shaftesbury was not only the author of great reformatory legislation in Parliament, and the acknowledged leader of the Low Church Party in the Established Church.  He was also a leader of city missions, ragged schools, shoe-black brigades, and other organizations to benefit the submerged classes in London.  He once invited all the thieves in London to meet him privately in a certain hall, and there pleaded with them to abandon their wretched occupation, and promised to aid those who desired to reform.  He was fond of telling the story of how, when his watch was stolen, the thieves themselves compelled the rascal to come and return it, because he had been the benefactor of the “long-fingered fraternity.”  The last time that I saw the venerable philanthropist was just before his death (at the age of eighty-four years).  He was presiding at a convention of the Young Men’s Christian Association in Exeter Hall.  In my speech I said:  “To-day I have seen Milton’s Mulberry Tree at Cambridge University, and the historic old tree is kept alive by being banked around with earth clear to its boughs; and so is all Christendom banking around our honored President to-night to keep him warm and hale, and strong, amid the frosts of advancing age,” The grand old man rewarded me with a bow and a gracious smile, and the audience responded with a shout of appreciation.

CHAPTER X

SOME FAMOUS PEOPLE AT HOME.

Irvin,—­Whittier.—­Webster.—­Greeley, etc.

Washington Irving has fairly earned the title of the “Father of our American Literature.”  The profound philosophical and spiritual treatises of our great President Edwards had secured a reading by theologians and deep thinkers abroad; but the American who first caught the popular ear was the man who wrote “The Sketch Book,” and made the name of “Knickerbocker” almost as familiar as Sir Walter Scott made the name of “Waverly.”  During the summer of 1856 I received a cordial invitation from the people of Tarry town to come up to join them in an annual “outing,” with their children, on board of a steamer on the Tappan-Zee.  I accepted the invitation, and on arrival found the boat already filled with the good people, and two or three hundreds of scholars from the Sabbath schools.

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Recollections of a Long Life from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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