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grass, and we shall always think and talk of our little experience with
him, as one of the golden things that can never pass away."

Dr. Russ, his beloved co-laborer in the Prison Association, wrote thus
in a note to Mrs. Gibbons: "I have found it for my comfort to change the
furniture of the office, that it might not appear so lonely without your
dear, venerable father. I felt for him the warmest and most enduring
friendship. I esteemed him for his thousand virtues, and delighted in
his social intercourse. I am sure no one out of his own immediate
family, felt his loss more keenly than myself."

James H. Titus, of New-York, thus expresses himself in a letter to James
S. Gibbons: "I have ever considered it one of the happiest and most
fortunate events of my life, to have had the privilege of an
acquaintance with Friend Hopper. I shall always recur to his memory with
pleasure, and I trust with that moral advantage, which the recollection
of his Christian virtues is so eminently calculated to produce. How
insignificant the reputation of riches, how unsatisfactory the renown of
victory in war, how transient political fame, when compared with the
history of a long life spent in services rendered to the afflicted and
the unfortunate!"

Ellis Gray Loring, of Boston, in a letter to John Hopper, says: "We
heard of your father's death while we were in Rome. I could not restrain
a few tears, and yet God knows there is no room for tears about the life
or death of such a man. In both, he was a blessing and encouragement to
all of us. He really lived out all the life that was given him; filling
it up to such an age with the beauty of goodness, and consecrating to
the divinest purposes that wonderful energy of intellect and character.
In a society full of selfishness and pretension, it is a great thing to
have practical proof that a life and character like his are possible."

Edmund L. Benzon, of Boston, writing to the same, says; "You will
imagine, better than I can write, with what deep sympathy I learned the
death of your good father, whom I have always esteemed one of the best
of men. I cannot say I am sorry for his death. My only regret is that
more of us cannot live and die as he has done. I feel with regard to all
good men departed, whom I have personally known, that there is now
another witness in the spirit, before whose searching eyes my inmost
soul lies open. I shall never forget him; not even if such a green old
age as his should be my own portion. If in the future life I can only be
as near him as I was on this earth, I shall deem myself blest."

From the numerous notices in papers of all parties and sects, I will
merely quote the following: The New-York Observer thus announces his
death:

"The venerable Isaac T. Hopper, whose placid benevolent face has so
long irradiated almost every public meeting for doing good, and
whose name, influence, and labors have been devoted with an
apostolic simplicity and constancy to humanity, died on Friday
last, at an advanced age. He was a Quaker of that early sort
illustrated by such philanthropists as Anthony Benezet, Thomas
Clarkson, Mrs. Fry, and the like.

"He was a most self-denying, patient, loving friend of the poor, and
the suffering of every kind; and his life was an unbroken history
of beneficence. Thousands of hearts will feel a touch of grief at
the news of his death; for few men have so large a wealth in the
blessings of the poor, and the grateful remembrance of kindness and
benevolence, as he."

The New-York Sunday Times contained the following:

"Most of our readers will call to mind in connection with the name
of Isaac T. Hopper, the compact, well-knit figure of a Quaker
gentleman, apparently about sixty years of age, dressed in drab or
brown clothes of the plainest cut, and bearing on his handsome,
manly face the impress of that benevolence with which his whole
heart was filled.

"He was twenty years older than he seemed. The fountain of
benevolence within, freshened his old age with its continuous flow.
The step of the octogenarian, was elastic as that of a boy, his
form erect as the mountain pine.

"His whole _physique_ was a splendid sample of nature's handiwork.
We see him now with our 'mind's eye' - but with the eye of flesh we
shall see him no more. Void of intentional offence to God or man,
his spirit has joined its happy kindred in a world where there is
neither sorrow nor perplexity."

I sent the following communication to the New-York Tribune:

"In this world of shadows, few things strengthen the soul like
seeing the calm and cheerful exit of a truly good man; and this has
been my privilege by the bedside of Isaac T. Hopper.

"He was a man of remarkable endowments, both of head and heart. His
clear discrimination, his unconquerable will, his total
unconsciousness of fear, his extraordinary tact in circumventing
plans he wished to frustrate, would have made him illustrious as
the general of an army; and these qualities might have become
faults, if they had not been balanced by an unusual degree of
conscientiousness and benevolence. He battled courageously, not
from ambition, but from an inborn love of truth. He circumvented as
adroitly as the most practised politician; but it was always to
defeat the plans of those who oppressed God's poor; never to
advance his own self-interest.

"Few men have been more strongly attached to any religious society
than he was to the Society of Friends, which he joined in the days
of its purity, impelled by his own religious convictions. But when
the time came that he must either be faithless to duty in the cause
of his enslaved brethren, or part company with the Society to which
he was bound by the strong and sacred ties of early religious
feeling, this sacrifice he also calmly laid on the altar of
humanity.

"During nine years that I lived in his household, my respect and
affection for him continually increased. Never have I seen a man
who so completely fulfilled the Scripture injunction, to forgive an
erring brother 'not only seven times, but seventy times seven.' I
have witnessed relapse after relapse into vice, under circumstances
which seemed like the most heartless ingratitude to him; but he
joyfully hailed the first symptom of repentance, and was always
ready to grant a new probation.

"Farewell, thou brave and kind old Friend! The prayers of ransomed
ones ascended to Heaven for thee, and a glorious company have
welcomed thee to the Eternal City."

On a plain block of granite at Greenwood Cemetery, is inscribed:

ISAAC T. HOPPER,

BORN, DECEMBER 3D, 1771,

ENDED HIS PILGRIMAGE, MAY 7TH, 1852.

"Thou henceforth shalt have a good man's calm,
A great man's happiness; thy zeal shall find
Repose at length, firm Friend of human kind."



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Online LibraryLydia Maria Francis ChildIsaac T. Hopper → online text (page 28 of 28)