Being for many years an inspector of the public prisons, his practical sagacity and benevolence were used with marked results. His enlarged sympathies had always embraced the criminal and the imprisoned, as well as the oppressed; and the last years of his life were especially devoted to the improvement of prisons and prisoners. In this department of benevolence he manifested the same zealous kindness and untiring diligence that had so long been exerted for the colored people, for whose welfare he labored to the end of his days.
He possessed a wonderful wisdom in furnishing relief to all who were in difficulty and embarrassment. This caused a very extensive demand upon his time and talents, which were rarely withheld when honestly sought, and seldom applied in vain.
Mrs. Kirkland prepared, under the title of “The Helping Hand,” a small volume, for the benefit of “The Home” for discharged female convicts, containing a brief description of the institution, and a detail of facts illustrating the happy results of its operation. Its closing chapter is appropriately devoted to the following well-deserved tribute to the veteran philanthropist, to whose zeal and discretion that and so many other similar institutions owe their existence, or to a large degree their prosperity.
“Not to inform the public what it knows very well already, nor to forestall the volume now preparing by Mrs. Child, a kindred spirit, but to gratify my own feelings, and to give grace and sanctity to this little book, I wish to say a few words of Mr. Hopper, the devoted friend of the prisoner as of the slave; one whose long life, and whose last thoughts, were given to the care and succor of human weakness, error, and suffering. To make even the most unpretending book for the benefit of ‘The Home,’ without bringing forward the name of Isaac T. Hopper, and recognizing the part he took in its affairs, from the earliest moment of its existence until the close of his life, would be an unpardonable omission. A few words must be said where a volume would scarcely suffice.
“’The rich and the poor meet together, and the Lord is the Father of them all,’ might stand for the motto of Mr. Hopper’s life. That the most remote of these two classes stood on the same level of benevolent interest in his mind, his whole career made obvious; he was the last man to represent as naturally opposite those whom God has always, even to the end of the world, made mutually dependent. He told the simple truth to each with equal frankness; helped both with equal readiness. The palace owed him no more than the hovel suggested thoughts of superiority. Nothing human, however grand, or however degraded, was a stranger to him. In the light that came to him from heaven, all stood alike children of the Great Father; earthly distinction disappearing the moment the sinking soul or the suffering body was in question. No amount of depravity could