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
She 74, neat and velvet-faced, was
stone blind, and so paralyzed that the slightest touch on the arm or
hand made her spring and cry like a child. The shock put out both her
eyes, and made her as helpless as an infant in all particulars.

For one year she has been unable to feed herself, undress, or to do
anything to relieve the monotony of utter helplessness. He had brought
her out in the sun, there was no window in their room, and had spread
a cloth on her lap, as she said, hoping somebody would come along who
would comb her hair. Uncle John was 14, he says, when _Washington
died_. Not a child or a friend to go to them, _there they stay_. They
said they had nothing to eat last night, and were often two days
without a pint of meal, and nothing like food in the house, for the
old man said, "When mamma has her 'poor turns', I never leaves her,
and nobody ever feeds her but me, or dresses or undresses her." I
shall not forget how the tears dropped from her face, as she told the
story of her life. "A _woman once_, but _nobody_ now, comfort all
gone, and hungry and cold the rest of my days." Her mind was
unimpaired, and her faith unwavering.

Henry and Milly Lang were two squares away; persons between sixty and
seventy, living in a shanty used in time of the war as a stable. For
five years they have lived there, paying, in all but the last two
months, _four dollars a month_ rent. Milly is also stone blind, and
_sick_ and helpless. They were in great distress, had no food in the
house, for Henry has hip disease, and for eleven weeks has not walked
a step. On every side I could look through the open boards, and when
the last storms came, they said the rain came down on the whole floor,
covering it, so they sat on the pallet all day. The landlord has
ordered them _to leave the house_ in five days, _to put in a cow_
instead! Friendless, homeless, penniless!!! and yet _must_ eat or die.
Three of those I saw were over one hundred--one had five children,
when Washington died, lived in his county. Sixteen were over seventy.
Not one of them had a child in this city. Five were over 80; and all
of these whom I saw were as dependent as infants.

Johnny Scraper sat in rags, paralyzed from the top of his head to the
soles of his feet, alone in a six-by-ten-foot room, unable to walk a
step, yet is left entirely alone, sometimes for three days. If he has
anything brought in to eat, he thanks God; if not, he must do without
it. Tuesday and Saturday night he says a fellow-servant, living in a
distant part of the city, came to see him, and sometimes brought a
piece of fish or meat; this is all the chance he has for anything,
except a little meal or dry bread. Every one of these old people
complained that they were _dying_ for some meat--were so weak. Aunt
Dinah said that she went out on the street last week and begged of the
school children, who gave her seven cents, and she went into a grocery
to buy a piece of meat, and received there five cents more. "Oh!"
said she, "how that strengthened me, it lasted me _three days_."

I might go on and fill the sheet with incidents of these extremely
aged pilgrims and strangers in this city, for whom nobody cares. But I
should fail to convey to you any just idea of what they suffer,
because you can see there is no parallel to their status. In no city
on the globe can you find a people to whom the words of Wood (I think
it is) so well apply--"_paupers_ whom nobody owns." You must see them
_as they are to believe_.

The Government says, "They _need provisions_, let the _city_ be
taxed." The city says, "We care for the multitude of legitimate
paupers of the Government--pensioners, who die waiting for their
claims, _but these are special wards_, brought to the capital by
special legislation, not any of them voluntary residents. We are
unable to provide for this surplus of poor." Turning to the people of
the country, they say, "We have given them their freedom, let them
take care of themselves!" To the Abolitionists, and they rebuke us for
listening to their cry, and say, "It is no more than must be expected;
let them alone and they will die off." Even the loudest professors
have said to me, "As long as you _will_ take care of these poor old
creatures, so long you may; there are plenty of others to come." So
turn which way we may, we are met with coldness and distrust.

I come now to you, and ask what is our _duty_ to these worn-out
slaves, whose labor we have enjoyed in the general prosperity, and
whose destiny on earth we have fixed by legislation, over which they
could have no control? In old age we have taken from their homes these
people, and calling them "free," we have said to them, "Be ye warmed
and clothed," and then gone on our way. Had I, like most others, have
been so fortunate as not to have met these old people, on the day of
arrival here as they came out from slavery, nor have listened to the
thousand witnesses, that have each day testified to utter inability to
live without charity, as a practical relief, I might as easily as
they, perhaps, satisfy my conscience by the above reasoning; but one
thing is sure, whoever stands in my place will find no half-way
measure will answer. They can not look these people in the face, as
they come, averaging under the present arrangements of the Secretary
of War _two hundred a day_, to ask for _bread and wood_, and clothes
and shoes and shelter, and bed and blanket and medicine, not one of
whom can be satisfied without _food_.

One of the most distressing days we have seen was last Tuesday, when
two hundred and fifty all broken down, _stood and sat_, three long
hours, waiting and hoping that the Commissary would send bread or
rations, but none came, and we could get only _twenty-five loaves for
them_. Many came from the suburbs of the town, some from over the
river, not less than five miles away, and had left an aged companion
and orphan grandchildren on the alert for their return, with something
for a dinner or a meal. But nothing came; and yet, as they left with
sorrow in their faces, that almost breaks my heart to think of, in
their meek way one after another said, "You'se done all you could,
Honey, we'll do the _best we_ can, and come again to-morrow."

You see, _these people must eat_. Bread must be furnished every day,
rain or shine, hot or cold. I ask what is our duty? Will God perform a
miracle to feed this multitude? I can not ask you, "Is it safe to
leave them in the hands of the Government or the city?" I have for six
years _plead_, as for the life of them, with both. None but God knows
how earnestly I have laid their claims before officials in the highest
departments. By the _greatest_ efforts, and with the sympathy of a
small number of friends, who in Congress see with us, and have from
the beginning, that the repudiation of this claim _must_ call down
upon the Nation the just judgments of heaven, we have secured the
special appropriations up to this time.

The history of the past warns us that unless the people, their
constituents at home, recognize this duty, and work with us more
earnestly by organized effort, and generous heartfelt contributions,
the Government will ignore their claim altogether. Indeed I trembled
at the prospect of this immediate result. Excepting the few noble men
and women whose sympathy and aid I would have, and ever pronounce
unparalleled in the history of benevolent work--_but for these_,
Congress might well say, "The people do not demand it. They _do
nothing_, why should we?" If you say, "Provision must be made for
them, they must not be left to starve and die, like Andersonville
prisoners," then let us agree upon the best measures to relieve them,
and put an end to the system of slow starvation under which so many
have this winter suffered and died.

We need and _must_ have a hospital-home building to gather in the
scattered, helpless ones, who now live alone, and in distant
localities. With such an institution we could with far greater economy
than ever before, provide for them all. But I have trespassed too long
upon your patience. I thank you and all the friends in Philadelphia
for timely aid during the past winter, and trust you will lay this
before your yearly meeting soon to convene, as an appeal for help in
the future. Hoping to hear what you think is our duty in this
emergency,

Faithfully and lovingly, JOSEPHINE S. GRIFFING.


ROADSIDE, NEAR PHILADA. 5mo. 1st. '70.

MY DEAR JOSEPHINE:--Thy several sheets were duly received and read
with heartfelt and thrilling attention. It may seem neglectful that no
acknowledgment has been made before.

I have waited hoping to have more than a _mere_ acknowledgment. I took
the letter to our meeting, and added somewhat to the appeal made the
week before, by our earnest, truly sympathetic R. W. M. Townsend.

Just at this time the approach of our yearly meeting, the claims of
the Indians under the care of our Friends, the freedmen's schools at
the South, also under our care--for whom thousands have been
raised--and the Swarthmore College, just reporting its great need to
pay off a debt, etc. All these pressing their claims, of course make
it more difficult to collect beyond _our_ city poor, who are ever
appealing to us--many of whom also suffering from the effects of cruel
slavery. Still thy account was too harrowing to be cast aside, and a
few men took hold of it and called a meeting. So I will enclose the
small sum of $20, which thou doubtless will find use for.

I was sorry not to have time to speak to thee before leaving that
Fifth Avenue Woman Suffrage Meeting. My daughter, fearing we should
miss the cars to take us twelve miles to her children at Orange,
rather hurried me away.

I can not be in New York again now. Our yearly meeting occurs in
Anniversary Week. My son, Edward M. Davis, took thy letter to have a
copy taken before returning it to thee. He thought he might make some
use of it for the benefit of those poor, aged sufferers.

Thine in haste and affectionately, LUCRETIA MOTT.


LETTERS TO MRS.



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.