Lydia Maria Child

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Lydia Maria Child (February 11, 1802July 7, 1880 in Wayland, Massachusetts) was an American abolitionist, women's rights activist, opponent of American expansionism, Indian rights activist, novelist, and journalist.

Sourced

  • Pillars are fallen at thy feet,
    Fanes quiver in the air,
    A prostrate city is thy seat,
    And thou alone art there.
    • Marius amid the Ruins of Carthage.
  • Genius hath electric power
    Which earth can never tame,
    Bright suns may scorch and dark clouds lower,
    Its flash is still the same.
    • Marius amid the Ruins of Carthage.
  • England may as well dam up the waters of the Nile with bulrushes as to fetter the step of Freedom, more proud and firm in this youthful land than where she treads the sequestered glens of Scotland, or couches herself among the magnificent mountains of Switzerland.
    • Supposititious Speech of James Otis. The Rebels, Chap. iv.


An Appeal on Behalf of That Class of Americans Called Africans

  • We first crush people to the earth, and then claim the right of trampling on them forever, because they are prostrate.
    • An Appeal on Behalf of That Class of Americans Called Africans (1833)
  • They [the slaves] have stabbed themselves for freedom—jumped into the waves for freedom—starved for freedom—fought like very tigers for freedom! But they have been hung, and burned, and shot—and their tyrants have been their historians!
    • An Appeal on Behalf of That Class of Americans Called Africans (1833)


Letters from New York (1843)

  • Not in vain is Ireland pouring itself all over the earth. Divine Providence has a mission for her children to fulfill; though a mission unrecognized by political economists. There is ever a moral balance preserved in the universe, like the vibrations of the pendulum. The Irish, with their glowing hearts and reverent credulity, are needed in this cold age of intellect and skepticism.
  • Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words. They are the hieroglyphics of angels, loved by all men for the beauty of the character, though few can decypher even fragments of their meaning.
  • None speak of the bravery, the might, or the intellect of Jesus; but the devil is always imagined as a being of acute intellect, political cunning, and the fiercest courage. These universal and instinctive tendencies of the human mind reveal much.
  • The nearer society approaches to divine order, the less separation will there be in the characters, duties, and pursuits of men and women. Women will not become less gentle and graceful, but men will become more so. Women will not neglect the care and education of their children, but men will find themselves ennobled and refined by sharing those duties with them; and will receive, in return, co-operation and sympathy in the discharge of various other duties, now deemed inappropriate to women. The more women become rational companions, partners in business and in thought, as well as in affection and amusement, the more highly will men appreciate home.
  • Home—that blessed word, which opens to the human heart the most perfect glimpse of Heaven, and helps to carry it thither, as on an angel’s wings.
  • The eye of genius has always a plaintive expression, and its natural language is pathos.
  • Reverence is the highest quality of man’s nature; and that individual, or nation, which has it slightly developed, is so far unfortunate. It is a strong spiritual instinct, and seeks to form channels for itself where none exists; thus Americans, in the dearth of other objects to worship, fall to worshipping themselves.
  • Misfortune is never mournful to the soul that accepts it; for such do always see that every cloud is an angel’s face. Every man deems that he has precisely the trials and temptations which are the hardest of all others for him to bear; but they are so, simply because they are the very ones he most needs.
  • There was a time when all these things would have passed me by, like the flitting figures of a theatre, sufficient for the amusement of an hour. But now, I have lost the power of looking merely on the surface. Everything seems to me to come from the Infinite, to be filled with the Infinite, to be tending toward the Infinite. Do I see crowds of men hastening to extinguish a fire? I see not merely uncouth garbs, and fantastic, flickering lights, of lurid hue, like a trampling troop of gnomes—but straightway my mind is filled with thoughts about mutual helpfulness, human sympathy, the common bond of brotherhood, and the mysteriously deep foundations on which society rests; or rather, on which it now reels and totters.
  • Childhood itself is scarcely more lovely than a cheerful, kind, sunshiny old age.
  • That man’s best works should be such bungling imitations of Nature’s infinite perfection, matters not much; but that he should make himself an imitation, this is the fact which Nature moans over, and deprecates beseechingly. Be spontaneous, be truthful, be free, and thus be individuals! is the song she sings through warbling birds, and whispering pines, and roaring waves, and screeching winds.


Personal Letters

  • Woman stock is rising in the market. I shall not live to see women vote, but I'll come and rap on the ballot box.
    • Letter to Sarah Shaw (1856)
  • I will work in my own way, according to the light that is in me.
    • Letter to Ellis Gray Loring (1843)
  • All who strive to live for something beyond mere selfish aims find their capacities for doing good very inadequate to their aspirations. They do so much less than they want to do, and so much less than they, at the outset, expected to do, that their lives, viewed retrospectively, inevitably look like failure.
  • Neither lemonade nor anything else can prevent the inroads of old age. At present, I am stoical under its advances, and hope I shall remain so. I have but one prayer at heart; and that is, to have my faculties so far preserved that I can be useful, in some way or other, to the last.


Other

  • The United States is...a warning rather than an example to the world.
    • To the twenty-fifth-anniversary meeting of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society (1857)
  • Yours for the unshackled exercise of every faculty by every human being.
    • Message to woman suffrage supporters (c. 1875)
  • That a majority of women do not wish for any important change in their social and civil condition, merely proves that they are the unreflecting slaves of custom.
    • Letter to the Advocates of Woman’s Suffrage (1870)


Attributed

  • Blessed indeed is the man who hears many gentle voices call him father!
  • A reformer is one who sets forth cheerfully toward sure defeat.
  • Every human being has, like Socrates, an attendant spirit; and wise are they who obey its signals. If it does not always tell us what to do, it always cautions us what not to do.
  • An effort made for the happiness of others lifts above ourselves.
  • Belief in oneself is one of the most important bricks in building any successful venture.
  • But men never violate the laws of God without suffering the consequences, sooner or later.
  • I was gravely warned by some of my female acquaintances that no woman could expect to be regarded as a lady after she had written a book.
  • You find yourself refreshed in the presence of cheerful people. Why not make an honest effort to confer that pleasure on others? Half the battle is gained if you never allow yourself to say anything gloomy.
  • The eye of genius has always a plaintive expression, and its natural language is pathos.
  • The cure for all the ills and wrongs, the cares, the sorrows, and the crimes of humanity, all lie in the one word 'love'. It is the divine vitality that everywhere produces and restores life.
  • Misfortune is never mournful to the soul that accepts it; for such do always see that every cloud is an angel's face.
  • It is right noble to fight with wickedness and wrong; the mistake is in supposing that spiritual evil can be overcome by physical means.

External links

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