A B C D E F
G H I J K L M 

Total read books on site:
more than 10 000

You can read its for free!


Text on one page: Few Medium Many
There never was such enthusiasm over an orator in this
country. The period of her advent, the excited condition of the
people, her youth, beauty, and remarkable voice, and wonderful
magnetic power, all heightened the effect of her genius, and helped to
produce this result. Her name was on every lip; ministers preached
about her, prayed for her, as a second Joan of Arc, raised up by God
to save that State to the loyal party, and through it the nation to
freedom and humanity. As the election approached, the excitement was
intense; and when at last it was announced that the State was saved by
a few hundred votes, the joy and gratitude of the crowds knew no
bounds. They shouted and hurrahed for Anna Dickinson, serenaded her
with full bands of music, sent her books, flowers, and ornaments,
manifesting in every way their love and loyalty to this gifted girl,
who through so many years had bravely struggled with poverty to this
proud moment of success in her country's cause. Some leading gentlemen
of the State who had invited her there presented her a gold watch and
chain, a hundred dollars for every night she had spoken, and four
hundred for the last night before election, in Hartford. The comments
of the press, though most flattering, give the reader but a faint idea
of the enthusiasm of the people.[33]

Fresh from the victories in New Hampshire and Connecticut, she was
announced to speak in Cooper Institute, New York. That meeting, in
May, 1862, was the most splendid ovation to a woman's genius since
Fanny Kemble, in all the wealth of her youth, beauty, and wonderful
dramatic power, appeared on the American stage for the first time.
There never was such excitement over any meeting in New York; hundreds
went away unable even to get standing places in the lobbies and outer
halls. The platform was graced with the most distinguished men and
women in the country, and so crowded that the young orator had scarce
room to stand. There were clergymen, generals, admirals, judges,
lawyers, editors, the literati, and leaders of fashion, and all alike
ready to do homage to this simple girl, who moved them alternately to
laughter and tears, to bursts of applause and the most profound
silence.

Henry Ward Beecher, who presided, introduced the speaker in his
happiest manner. For nearly two hours she held that large audience
with intense interest and enthusiasm, and when she finished with a
beautiful peroration, the people seemed to take a long breath, as if
to find relief from the intensity of their emotions. Loud cries
followed for Mr. Beecher; but he arose, and with great feeling and
solemnity, said: "Let no man open his lips here to-night; music is the
only fitting accompaniment to the eloquent utterances we have heard."
The Hutchinsons closed with one of their soul-stirring ballads, and
the audience slowly dispersed, singing the John Brown song with
thrilling effect, as they marched into the street.[34]

After her remarkable success in New York, the Philadelphia Union
League invited her to speak in that city. The invitation, signed by
leading Republicans, she readily accepted. Judge Wm. D. Kelley
presided, and a most appreciative audience greeted her. In this
address, reviewing the incidents of the war, she criticised General
McClellan as usual, with great severity. Some of his personal friends,
filled with indignation, left the house, while a derisive laugh
followed them to the door. The Philadelphia journals vied with each
other in their eulogiums of her grace, beauty, and eloquence. The
marked attention she has always received in her native city has been
most grateful to her, and honorable to her fellow-citizens.

In July, 1862, the first move was made to enlist colored troops in
Pennsylvania. A meeting was called for that purpose in Philadelphia.
Judge Kelley, Frederick Douglass, and Anna Dickinson were there, and
made strong appeals to the people of that State to grant to the
colored man the honor of bearing arms in defence of his country. The
effort was successful. A splendid regiment was raised, and the first
duty they discharged was to serenade the young orator, who had spoken
so eloquently for their race all through the war.

In September a field-day was announced at Camp William Penn. General
Pleasanton reviewed the troops. It was a brilliant and interesting
occasion, as many were about to leave for the seat of war. At the
close of the day when the people began to disperse it was noised round
that Miss Dickinson was there; a cry was heard at once on all sides,
"A speech! a speech!" The moon was just rising, mingling its pale rays
with those of the setting sun, and throwing a soft, mysterious light
over the whole scene. The troops gathered round with bristling
bayonets and flags flying, the band was hushed to silence, and when
all was still, mounted on a gun-wagon, with General Pleasanton and his
staff on one side, General Wagner and his staff on the other, this
brave girl addressed "our boys in blue." She urged that justice and
equality might be secured to every citizen in the republic; that
slavery and war might end forever and peace be restored; that our
country might indeed be the land of the free and the home of the
brave.

As she stood there uttering words of warning and prophecy, it seemed
as if her lips had been touched with a live coal from the altar of
heaven. Her inspired words moved the hearts of our young soldiers to
deeds of daring, and gave fresh courage to those about her to bid
their loved ones go and die if need be for freedom and their country.
The hour, the mysterious light, the stillness, the novel surroundings,
the youth of the speaker, all gave a peculiar power to her words, and
made the scene one of the most thrilling and beautiful on the page of
history.

In January, 1864, she made her first address in Washington. Though she
now felt that her success as an orator was established, yet she
hesitated long before accepting this invitation.[35] To speak before
the President, Chief-Justice, Judges, Senators, Congressmen, Foreign
Diplomats, all the dignitaries and honorables of the Government was
one of the most trying ordeals in her experience. She had one of the
largest and most brilliant audiences ever assembled in the Capitol,
and was fully equal to the occasion. She made a profound impression,
and her speech was the topic of conversation for days afterward. At
the close of her address she was presented to many of the
distinguished ladies and gentlemen, and chief among them the
President. This was one of the grandest occasions of her life. She was
honored as no man ever had been before. The comments of the press[36]
must have been satisfactory to her highest ambition as well as to that
of her admiring countrywomen.

One of the most powerful and impressive appeals she ever made was in
the Convention of Southern Loyalists held in Philadelphia in
September, 1866. In this Convention there was a division of opinion
between the Border and the Gulf States. The latter wanted to
incorporate negro suffrage in their platform, as that was the only
means of success for the Liberal party at the South. The former,
manipulated by Northern politicians, opposed that measure, lest it
should defeat the Republican party in the pending elections at the
North. This stultification of principle, of radical public sentiment,
stirred the soul of Miss Dickinson, and she desired to speak. But a
rule that none but delegates should be allowed that privilege,
prevented her. However, as the Southern men had never heard a woman
speak in public, and felt great curiosity to hear her, they adjourned
the Convention, resolved themselves into a committee of the whole, and
invited her to address them.

An eye-witness[37] thus describes the scene: "As the young maiden
stepped forward to deliver a speech as denunciatory as was ever
listened to against the action of the Border States, on her right sat
Brownlow, on her left John Minor Botts with his lips tightly
compressed, and his face telling plainly that he remained there from
courtesy, and would remain a patient listener to the end. She began;
and for the first time since it met, the Convention was so still that
the faintest whisper could be heard."

She had not spoken long before she declared that Maryland had no
business in the Convention, but should have been with delegates that
came to welcome. There was vehement applause from the Border States.
"This is a direct insult," shouted a delegate from Maryland. She went
on in spite of interruptions, reviewing the conduct of the Border
States with scorn, and an eloquence never equalled in any of her
previous efforts, in favor of an open, manly declaration of the real
opinion of the Convention for justice to the colored Loyalist, not in
the courts only, but at the ballot-box. The speech was in Miss
Dickinson's noblest style throughout--bold, but tender, and often so
pathetic that she brought tears to every eye. Every word came from her
heart, and it went right to the hearts of all. Kentucky and Maryland
now listened as eagerly as Georgia and Alabama; Brownlow's iron
features and Botts' rigid face soon relaxed, and tears stood in the
old Virginian's eyes; while the noble Tennesseean moved his place, and
gazed at the inspired girl with an interest and wonderment which no
other orator had moved before. She had the audience in hand, as easily
as a mother holds her child, and like the child, this audience heard
her heart beat. It was a marvelous speech. Its greatness lay in its
manner and effect, as well as its argument. When she finished, one
after another of the Southern delegates came forward and pinned on her
dress the badges of their States until she wore the gifts of Alabama,
Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, Florida, Louisiana, and Maryland.

And thus it was from time to time that this remarkable girl uttered
the highest thought in American politics in that crisis of our
nation's history. While in camp and hospital she spoke words of
tenderness and love to the sick and dying, she did not hesitate to
rebuke the incapacity and iniquity of those in high places.



Pages: | Prev | | 1 | | 2 | | 3 | | 4 | | 5 | | 6 | | 7 | | 8 | | 9 | | 10 | | 11 | | 12 | | 13 | | 14 | | 15 | | 16 | | 17 | | 18 | | 19 | | 20 | | 21 | | 22 | | 23 | | 24 | | 25 | | 26 | | 27 | | 28 | | 29 | | 30 | | 31 | | 32 | | 33 | | 34 | | 35 | | 36 | | 37 | | 38 | | 39 | | 40 | | 41 | | 42 | | 43 | | 44 | | 45 | | 46 | | 47 | | 48 | | 49 | | 50 | | 51 | | 52 | | 53 | | 54 | | 55 | | 56 | | 57 | | 58 | | 59 | | 60 | | 61 | | 62 | | 63 | | 64 | | 65 | | 66 | | 67 | | 68 | | 69 | | 70 | | 71 | | 72 | | 73 | | 74 | | 75 | | 76 | | 77 | | 78 | | 79 | | 80 | | 81 | | 82 | | 83 | | 84 | | 85 | | 86 | | 87 | | 88 | | 89 | | 90 | | 91 | | 92 | | 93 | | 94 | | 95 | | 96 | | 97 | | 98 | | 99 | | 100 | | 101 | | 102 | | 103 | | 104 | | 105 | | 106 | | 107 | | 108 | | 109 | | 110 | | 111 | | 112 | | 113 | | 114 | | 115 | | 116 | | 117 | | 118 | | 119 | | 120 | | 121 | | 122 | | 123 | | 124 | | 125 | | 126 | | 127 | | 128 | | 129 | | 130 | | 131 | | 132 | | 133 | | 134 | | 135 | | 136 | | 137 | | 138 | | 139 | | 140 | | 141 | | 142 | | 143 | | 144 | | 145 | | 146 | | 147 | | 148 | | 149 | | 150 | | 151 | | 152 | | 153 | | 154 | | 155 | | 156 | | 157 | | 158 | | 159 | | 160 | | 161 | | 162 | | 163 | | 164 | | 165 | | 166 | | 167 | | 168 | | 169 | | 170 | | 171 | | 172 | | 173 | | 174 | | 175 | | 176 | | 177 | | 178 | | 179 | | 180 | | 181 | | 182 | | 183 | | 184 | | 185 | | 186 | | 187 | | 188 | | 189 | | 190 | | 191 | | 192 | | 193 | | 194 | | 195 | | 196 | | 197 | | 198 | | 199 | | 200 | | 201 | | 202 | | 203 | | 204 | | 205 | | 206 | | 207 | | 208 | | 209 | | 210 | | 211 | | 212 | | 213 | | 214 | | 215 | | 216 | | 217 | | 218 | | 219 | | 220 | | 221 | | 222 | | 223 | | 224 | | 225 | | 226 | | 227 | | 228 | | 229 | | 230 | | 231 | | 232 | | 233 | | 234 | | 235 | | 236 | | 237 | | 238 | | 239 | | 240 | | 241 | | 242 | | 243 | | 244 | | 245 | | 246 | | 247 | | 248 | | 249 | | 250 | | 251 | | 252 | | 253 | | 254 | | 255 | | 256 | | 257 | | 258 | | 259 | | 260 | | 261 | | 262 | | 263 | | 264 | | 265 | | 266 | | 267 | | 268 | | 269 | | 270 | | 271 | | 272 | | 273 | | 274 | | 275 | | 276 | | 277 | | 278 | | 279 | | 280 | | 281 | | 282 | | 283 | | 284 | | 285 | | 286 | | 287 | | 288 | | 289 | | 290 | | 291 | | 292 | | 293 | | 294 | | 295 | | 296 | | 297 | | 298 | | 299 | | 300 | | 301 | | 302 | | 303 | | 304 | | 305 | | 306 | | 307 | | 308 | | 309 | | 310 | | 311 | | 312 | | 313 | | 314 | | 315 | | 316 | | 317 | | 318 | | 319 | | 320 | | 321 | | 322 | | 323 | | 324 | | 325 | | 326 | | 327 | | 328 | | 329 | | 330 | | 331 | | 332 | | 333 | | 334 | | 335 | | 336 | | 337 | | 338 | | 339 | | 340 | | 341 | | 342 | | 343 | | 344 | | 345 | | 346 | | 347 | | 348 | | 349 | | 350 | | 351 | | 352 | | 353 | | 354 | | 355 | | 356 | | 357 | | 358 | | 359 | | 360 | | Next |

N O P Q R S T
U V W X Y Z 

Your last read book:

You dont read books at this site.