|PART SECOND. -- "BOOK OF LIFE."|
|NOTES ON THE AUTOGRAPHS.|
In Sojourner's correspondence are found names of such weight and power that it seemed fitting to have them engraven for her "Book of Life." Here are names that are indelibly stamped upon the pages of their country's history, and inseparably connected with it--names which will reverberate adown the centuries, and the echoes be caught by the generations in the coming time--"immortal names that were not born to die," but which are synonyms of all that is most exalted in human life and character--names of men and women, the luster of whose lives shed a light on humanity's page, pure and sparkling as the shimmer of a white wing flashing through the yellow sunlight--names of those who manifested their love to God by tender compassion for the lowliest of his children.
The name of one who was dragged through the streets of a populous city with a halter about his neck, will be remembered when that city which permitted the outrage, would be forgotten but for the immortality attained through his sublime heroism. Boston with its moving atoms will fade away, but the waves of progress received an impetus from the breath of this true devotee of freedom which will help to cleanse and purify the streams of life till they are engulfed in the ocean of eternity.
The name of one is written who only "awaited the opportunity to enfranchise millions."
I read the name of one who traveled many winters among the hills of New England, braving its snow drifts and piercing winds, to preach the gospel of freedom to those whose hearts were harder than the granite rocks over which he toiled, and chillier than the snows and breath of winter. Abandoning a situation of honor and profit, he consecrated his giant intellect, and the best years of his life, to a cause that brought neither honor nor profit, despised by mammon worshipers and all who seek the applause of such. Beyond the turmoil of the present hour, when its noise and uproar have died away, the refined and polished future will render his verdict. He can afford to wait. The present never knows its saviors; retrospection clears the vision.
The influence of another, who labors with deep earnestness in the Master's vineyard, confined to no locality, knowing neither North nor South, but imparting his loving spirit to all races and conditions of society, will be felt upon the tide of civilization whilst its waves break upon the shores of time.
Here is the name of a noble woman who has gone up Calvary bearing the cross, and gained the mount of ascension with bleeding feet; who has labored for the rights of her race and for the rights of her sex, braving the scorn and obloquy of conservatism. Bold iconoclast! endure a little longer. "The hour for your ideas has not yet struck."
One, languishing twelve years in prison, found compensation for his sufferings in the words of the divine Master, "Sick and in prison ye ministered unto me."
One of these, a world-renowned orator, said, "The age of reading men has come. The age of thinking men has come. The age of the masses has come."
One of Sojourner's friends, by her genius in the delineation of character, opened the world's eyes to perceive that irresponsible power vested in a Legree was a dangerous thing, and that Uncle Toms and Topsies were human beings after all.
Another inscribes this formula in Sojourner's "Book of Life": "Equality of rights is the first of rights."
A woman whose of four-score years are so replete with good words and deeds that the name falls like a benediction upon the listening ear, has taught her sex that old age need not be desolate, but may be fragrant as a garden of roses. White hairs, like a saint's aureole, encircle her brow. We involuntarily bow our hearts in worship when the honored name of Lucretia Mott is pronounced.
Another is the name of Lydia Maria Child, the key note of whose useful life and brilliant intellect has ever been attuned to freedom's cause.
One crossed and recrossed the Atlantic, to blend his efforts with the little band of reformers which
G. S., meaning "Great Soul," gave farms to poor blacks and whites, carrying out Sojourner's idea of encouraging industry, and making wild lands a source of revenue to the government. In Congress he said, "Truth lives and reigns forever. In proportion as we obey the truth, are we able to discern the truth." If all that is wrong within us was made right, not only would our darkness give place to a cloudless light, but like the angel of the Apocalypse we should "stand in the sun."
Another could bear the torture of the branding iron rather than be false to his convictions of duty.
Josephine S. Griffing labored for years to ameliorate the condition of the black race, and in her system were sown, by overwork, the seeds of consumption which bore speedy fruit.
Another in the sacred desk ever insisted that humanity was of all things under heaven to most sacred. A marble bust of this good man adorns the city of Syracuse, and a friend writing of it says, "It is eminently fitting that one of the purest of the once
Another, who holds a high position under the government, is Sojourner's friend, and unites his efforts with hers to promote the welfare of the race which has been so mercilessly tossed about by our Ship of State. He encourages her to persevere in her efforts to obtain a grant of land for the freedmen, and lends his influence to the cause.
And last but not least are those royal souls who sheltered and comforted the flying fugitive, who fed and clothed him, who warmed him by the sacred fires of their own domestic hearth-stones. The money they have so freely given to the poor and needy, is out at an interest whose profits are beyond the power of arithmetic to calculate. Their names are engraven upon human hearts as with a pen of fire; and to them will the beatitude apply, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."