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Page:Memoirs of Henry Villard, volume 2.djvu/68

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CHAPTER XXVI


First Visit to Boston—1863


THE main consequence of the Charleston affair to me personally remains to be told. My vacation accidentally led to an episode destined to direct the course of my whole life. When Sydney Howard Gay, the managing editor of the Tribune, announced to me that I could have two weeks leave of absence, I remarked, “I am much obliged, but where shall I spend it?” “Have you ever been to Boston?” he asked; and when I answered, “No,” he said, “Go to the Hub by all means.” Accordingly, after having “taken it easy” for a few days in New York, I followed his advice. I reached Boston on Thursday, April 21st, and spent the next day in walking about the city. On the 23d I called on Mrs. Severance, presenting a letter of introduction to her from her husband, the Collector at Port Royal. As she was not at home, her daughter Julia received me, and invited me to accompany her to the gymnasium of Dr. Diocletian Lewis, to witness the exercises of a class of young men and women. I accepted, went with her, and stayed through the performance. I was introduced to Dr. Lewis and others, among them the son of William Lloyd Garrison, the famous abolitionist. From the latter I received an invitation to go with him to hear the Rev. Samuel Johnson of Salem, a well-known liberal-minded, free-religious preacher, speak the next (Sunday) morning, and afterwards to dine with his family, in order to make their acquaintance. I gladly accepted.

I mentioned, in speaking of my deep interest in the Frémont campaign of 1856, that, like most Europeans, I looked upon the existence of slavery as an outrageous

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