Archiver > OH-FOOTSTEPS > 1999-10 > 0940389805

From: Gina Reasoner <>
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 1999 23:23:25 -0400

Historical Collections of Ohio By Henry Howe, LL.D


REV. DR. HENRY M. STORRS, the eminent Congregational divine, is a son of
this first President of the Western Reserve College. The father was one of
the earliest and strongest to uplift his voice in behalf of the slave; and
when he died, the then young but now venerable and deeply-revered WHITTIER
paid to his memory the tribute of his humanizing verses: two of these are
Joy to thy spirit, brother!
A thousand hearts are warm. -
A thousand kindred bosoms
Are baring to the storm
What though red-handed Violence
With secret Fraud combine!
The wall of fire is round us.
Our Present Help was thine.
- ---------------------------------------------------------------
Lo, -the waking up of nations,
From Slavery's fatal sleep, -
The murmur of a Universe, -
Deep calling unto Deep!
Joy to thy spirit, brother!
On every wind of heaven
The onward cheer and summons
Of FREEDOM'S VOICE is given.

DR. LEONARD BACON, whose sketch of his father we have so largely drawn
upon, was literally a child of the wilderness. His long life of usefulness
closed at New Haven, Dec. 24, 1881, in his eightieth year. It had been
incessantly devoted to the discussion of questions bearing upon the highest
interests of man. He was a strong, independent thinker, and his writings
upon vital topics so largely judicial as to carry conviction to the leading
minds of the nation. Abraham Lincoln ascribed to a volume of Dr. Bacon on
slavery his own clear and comprehensive convictions on that subject.
Leonard Bacon did more than any man who has lived in making clear to the
popular apprehension, and in perpetuating to the knowledge of the coming
generations the simple domestic virtues of the fathers; the religious and
political principles which governed them, and gave to the American people
their strongest all-conquering element. In his Half-century sermon,
preached in New Haven, March 9, 1875, Dr. Bacon gave an eloquent
description of his boy-life here in Summit county, when all around was in
the wildness of untamed nature:
"I think to-day of what God's providence has been for three and seventy
years. I recall the first dawning of memory and the days of my early
childhood in the grand old woods of New Connecticut, the saintly and
self-sacrificing father, the gentle yet heroic mother, the log-cabin from
whose window we sometimes saw the wild deer bounding through the
forest-glades, the four dear sisters whom I helped to tend and whom it was
my joy to lead in their tottering infancy -yes. God's providence was then
ever teaching me.
"Our home life, the snowy winter, the blossoming spring, the earth never
ploughed before and yielding the first crop to human labor, the giant
trees, the wild birds, the wild flowers, the blithesome squirrels, the
wolves which we heard howling through the woods at night but never saw, the
red-skin savage sometimes coming to the door -by these things God was
making impressions on my soul that must remain forever, and without which I
should not have been what I am."

A daughter of David Bacon, DELIA, was born at Tallmadge, February 2, 1811,
and the next year she was taken with the family to Connecticut. Her early
life was a bitter struggle with poverty, but she became a highly-educated
and brilliant woman in the realms of ideality; was a teacher and lecturer,
and published "Tales of the Puritans: and "The Bride of Fort Edward," a drama.

A published account of her states that her chief delight was to read
Shakespeare's plays and his biographies. The idea at length grew upon her
that the plays were the work of the brilliant Elizabethan coterie and not
of the actor and manager, Shakespeare. In opposition to the wishes of her
family, she went to London in 1853 to publish her work on the subject. This
she at last accomplished chiefly through the marked kindness of Hawthorne,
then Consul at Liverpool, who was willing to listen to her argument, but
never accepted it. Hawthorne's letters to her have a beautiful delicacy,
though she must have tried his patience frequently, and sometimes repaid
his generosity with reproaches. Her book, a large octavo, never sold. The
edition is piled up in London to-day. Carlyle took some interest in Miss
Bacon, who came to him with a letter from Emerson. Carlyle's account of her
to Emerson is as follows:
"As for Miss Bacon, we find her, with her modest, shy dignity, with her
solid character and strange enterprise, a real acquisition, and hope we
shall see more of her now that she has come nearer to us to lodge. I have
not in my life seen anything so tragically quixotic as her Shakespeare
enterprise. Alas! alas! there can be nothing but sorrow, toil and utter
disappointment in it for her! I do cheerfully what I can, which is far more
than she asks of me (for I have not seen a prouder silent soul); but there
is not the least possibility of truth in the notion she has taken up, and
the hope of ever proving it or finding the least document that countenances
it is equal to that of vanquishing the windmills by stroke of lance. I am
often truly sorry about the poor lady; but she troubles nobody with her
difficulties, with her theories; she must try the matter to the end, and
charitable souls must further her so far."
Miss Bacon's account of the visit to her sister contains this:
"My visit to Mr. Carlyle was very rich. I wish you could have heard him
laugh. Once or twice I thought he would have taken the roof of the house
off. At first they were perfectly stunned -he and the gentleman he had
invited to meet me. They turned black in the face at my presumption. 'Do
you mean to say so and so,' said Mr. Carlyle, with his strong emphasis, and
I said that I did, and they both looked at me with staring eyes, speechless
from want of words in which to convey their sense of my audacity. At length
Mr. Carlyle came down on me with such a volley. I did not mind it in the
least. I told him he did not know what was in the plays if he said that,
and no one could know who believed that that booby wrote them. It was then
that he began to shriek. You could have heard him a mile."
Miss Bacon's brother advised her to publish her theory as a novel. He was
in earnest, but she found it hard to forgive him. Hawthorne saw her
personally but once. She wrote to him from London; "I have lived for three
years as much alone with God and the dead as if I have been a departed
spirit. And I don't wish to return to the world. I shrink with horror from
the thought of it. This is an abnormal state, you see, but I am perfectly
harmless; and if you will let me know when you are coming, I will put on
one of the dresses I used to wear the last time I made my appearance in the
world, and try to look as much like a survivor as the circumstances will
Miss Bacon returned to America in 1858. It was found necessary to place
her in an asylum, and a few months later she died. She is buried in her
brother's lot at New Haven.

A REMINISCENCE. -I remember often seeing Delia Bacon in my youth in my
native city, going in and coming from a private residence, wherein, in a
private parlor, that of Dr. Joseph Darling, an old Revolutionary character
in old Revolutionary attire, she met a select class of young ladies, to
whom she delivered her thoughts upon noted historical characters. She was
somewhat tall and of a willowy figure; a very spirituelle appearing
personage, attired in black, with simplicity and neatness, a strikingly
refined and thoughtful expression, that always attracted my youthful gaze
as something above the ordinary line of mortality. If indeed it be true
that "this world is all a fleeting show for man's illusion given," it is a
happy arrangement with some of us ancients, who have come down from a
former generation, that we can reproduce from our mental plates, used in
boyhood years of innocence, such an interesting variety of the genus woman,
of whom to me Delia Bacon was among the celestials.
Delia had a younger brother, who narrowly escaped being Ohio-born, DAVID
FRANCIS BACON, alike brilliant and erratic. He went out to Liberia, to
serve as a physician to the colony which, it was though by Henry Clay and
other wise men of the day, would solve that early vexed question, "What
shall we do with the negro?"
David Francis soon hurried back, his nose on a snivel, thoroughly
disgusted with an African Republic, under the statesmanship of exported
plantation slaves. He published a book wherein he described his voyage
over, and gave a sad account of the loss at sea of a bright youth, closing
with a poem of lamentation. He began the poem with a borrowed line,
apologizing for so doing by stating his muse was like a pump gone dry. He
always had to get a line from some other poet, to first pour in as a
starter. Certainly a good thing to do if, when one gets on a flow, he can
bring out champagne.

-continued in part 10

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