[Boston—Tuesday, 17 November 1863]

Tuesday Nov. 17. J.T.F. saw Mr Kennard today and we heard from him the particulars of Mr Beecher’s landing. He came on shore in the warm fog which was the precursor of the heavy rain we have today at 3 o’clock a.m. of Sunday. He went to the Parker house until day should break and Mr Kennard could come and take him to the retirement of Brookline to pass the day until the train should leave for N.Y. News of his arrival getting abroad a company of orthodox deacons waited upon him very early to invite him to preach. “Gentlemen do you take me for a fool” he said “to jump so readily into the harness of the pulpit even before the fatigue of the voyage has worn away?” He heard of the illness of one of his younger children and therefore hastened as quickly as possible toward home.

The day before the one upon which he was to speak at Exeter Hall he awoke in the morning with a heavy head-ache—his voice too was seriously impaired by over use. He wanted to speak, his whole heart was in it, yet how in this condition. He shut himself up in the house all that day and hoped for better things and went early to bed that night. The next morning at dawn he awoke, he opened his eyes quickly—“is God to suffer me to do this work”—he leaped from the bed with a bound—his head was clear and fresh but his voice—he hardly dared to try that. I will speak to my sister three thousand miles away he said and cried “Harriet” the tones were clear and strong—thank God! he said—then speedily dressed—trying his voice again and again—then he sat down and wrote off the heads of his address. All he needed to say came freshly and purely to his mind just in the form he wished.

The day ebbed away and the carriage came to take him to the Hall. When he descended to the street to his surprise there was a long file of police men through whom he was conducted because of the crowds waiting about his door. He was obliged to descend also at some distance from Exeter Hall and be again conducted through another line of police before he reached the door. The people pushed and cried out so that he ran from the carriage towards the hall and one of the staid police men observing a man running cried out and caught him by the coat-tail saying he mustn’t run there that line was preserved for the great speaker. Well my friend said Mr Beecher I can tell you one thing—there won’t be much speaking till I get there. While he hurried on he felt a woman lay hold of the skirts of his coat—the police seeing her tried to push her away but she said to one of them “I belong to his party.” Mr B. said “I overheard the poor thing, but I thought if she chose to tell a lie I would not push her away but as I neared the door she crept up and whispered to me I am one of your people don’t you remember—a Scotch woman who used to live in Brooklyn and go to the Plymouth Church? I have thought of this for weeks and longed and dreamt of being with you again—now my desire is heard.”

The rest of this wonderful night the public journals and his own letters can tell us of—have told us.

He has been as it were a man raised up for this dark hour of our dear Country. May he live to see the promised land and not only from the top of Pisgah.

Carleton” who has written the most vivid descriptions that have been given of our battles says he has seen Southern ladies walking on their city promenades and whipping snuff into their mouths as they walked or rubbing it meditatively upon their teeth. Here is a man true as the sun. “Are such things done on Albion’s shore” sang William Blake—we must say, can such things done on Freedom’s shore?

Julia Ward Howe has said and sung her last as far as Boston goes. Her jealousy of the Odist got the better of her judgment and she has written out her gall for the “Commonwealth”—alas! where was her good genius.


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