Excelsior: Journals of the Hutchinson Family Singers, 1842-1846

By Dale Cockrell | Go to book overview

INTERCHAPTER 2:
Of Triumphs and Expedience

The annual meeting of the New Hampshire Anti-Slavery Society in June 1843 at Concord found the Hutchinsons in attendance, numbering enough to fill Leonard Chase's wagon to over-flowing, with their voices raised in a song of question, concern, and protest.

Eleven of them were present, with the anti-slavery harness on--nine brothers and two sisters. Natural abolitionists--as they are natural in their matchless music. . . . So harmonious, so united, so loving--so gentle--unaffected--and so utterly matchless in song. . . . And pro-slavery has got to encounter the mighty torrent of their song.--Eloquence it has had to encounter. Poetry had taken the field against it.--Now Music heads the assault. . . . They do not entertain and adorn the meeting with music--they participate in the argument. They give sentiment, and doctrine, and appeal, as well as song. They only give to eloquence the form and shape and power of music. They speak when they are ready.

At a meeting with Foster, Johnson, Mary P. Chase, Remond, Abigail Folsom, Douglass, Latimer, N. P. Rogers, Parker Pillsbury, and others of the antislavery pantheon, where the Church Question tore through the debates and threatened to rend the society apart, the three-and-a-half-column report in the Herald of Freedom devoted nearly a third of its length to the Hutchinsons, their poetry, music, and politics.

This was only the first such event in a summer that would find them at several other antislavery meetings, each with its own triumph.

-155-

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