Dear Mrs. Brown,
My thoughts are much with you, on this day of sublime memories. Such fulness of glory illumines the clouds of sadness, that even to you, much of consolation and triumph, must be mingled with gloomy retrospections. There is always something happening to convince me, more and more, how great was the work accomplished by your noble husband. His self-sacrifice and Christian courage commanded the respect of many Southerners, who dare not, as yet, avow such a feeling. He aroused the Southern conscience, as nothing else has ever aroused it. One reason why the violent among them make a louder outcry than common, is that they are aware of an emancipation party growing up in the midst of them.
For myself, I feel personal gratitude to your brave husband. He was so true to his convictions, that I am ashamed to be less true to mine. I have never done so much anti-slavery work in any year of my life, as I have done during the past year. I have resolved henceforth to wear only black and brown; that when
I am tempted to grow tired of reform-work, which I must confess is foreign to my natural taste, I may think of John Brown’s example, and continue to work for the oppressed, as diligently and fearlessly in my line, as he did in his. He ploughed up the public mind thoroughly, all over the country; and I have availed myself of the opportunity to throw in seed liberally. It cannot be that it will all be wasted. In Virginia especially, I have encouraging evidence, that a party in favor of emancipation is rapidly gaining strength.
And God makes even their wrath to praise Him. They are forcing out the free colored people in every direction, and they are flocking into Hayti, taking up the unappropriated lands there, and carrying with them experience in raising cotton. I trust the time is not far distant when that, and other West India Islands, will enter into lively competition with our Southern States, in the cotton trade.
You remember that your noble husband wrote to me from his prison, asking me to give 50 cts a year to his family. It was a very modest request. I do not know how you and other members of your family may now be situated;
but lest you should not be amply provided with means of comfort and education, I enclose a trifle, which please to accept, in token of my affectionate remembrance, and kind wishes for you all.
I am spending the winter with Miss Osgood, a dear and honored old friend, in Medford, Mass.
Remember me cordially to all your household, and to your absent children, when you write to them.
Yours with affectionate respect,
L. Maria Child