In a few days he came to me in a most deplorable physical condition. He was a mere wreck of his former self. Almost immediately he began to talk about the attempt to abduct the boy from Oxford; how innocent he was in the matter, and how terribly he had suffered merely because he happened to be with me when I rashly endeavored to kidnap the lad. All this went through me like a sharp sword. It seemed as if I was the cause, not only of great unhappiness to myself, but of pain and misery to all who were associated or brought in contact with me. For this poor boy, who had endured and suffered so much on my account, I could not do enough. My means and time must now be devoted to his recovery, if recovery, was possible.
He was weak, but was still able to walk about, and he enjoyed riding very much. I kept him with me in the city a week or two, taking daily rides to the Park and into the country, and when he felt like going out in the evening I made him go to some place of amusement with me. I had no other business, and meant to have none, but to take care of Henry, and I devoted myself wholly to his comfort and happiness. In a few days he had much improved in health and spirits, so much so, that I meditated making a long tour with him to the South, hoping that the journey there and back again would fully restore him.
Fortunately, my recent Maine business had put me in possession of abundant funds, and when I had matured my scheme, and saw that Henry was in tolerable condition to travel, I proposed the trip to him, and he joyfully assented to my plan. I wanted to get him far away, for awhile, from a part of the country which was associated in his mind, more than in mine, with so much misery, and he seemed quite as eager to go. Change of air and scene I knew would do wonders for him bodily, and would build him up again.
We made our preparations and started for the South, going first to Baltimore and then on through the Southern States by railroad to New Orleans. It was late in the fall of 1860, just before the rebellion, when the south was seceding or talking secession, and was already preparing for war. Henry’s physical condition compelled us to rest frequently on the way, and we stopped sometimes for two or three days at a time, at nearly every large town or city on the entire route. Everywhere there was a great deal of excitement; meetings were held nearly every night secession was at fever heat, and there was an unbounded expression and manifestation of ill-feeling against the north and against northern men. Nevertheless, I was never in any part of the Union where I was treated with so much courtesy, consideration and genuine kindness as I was there and then. I was going south, simply to benefit the invalid who accompanied me; everybody seemed to know it; and everybody expressed the tenderest sympathy for my son. Wherever we stopped, it seemed as if the people at the hotels, from the landlord to the lowest servant, could not do enough for us.