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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous Sarah Knowles Bolton

Lucretia Mott

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The years of martyrdom which followed, we at this day can scarcely realize. Anti-slavery lecturers were tarred and feathered. Mobs in New York and Philadelphia swarmed the streets, burning houses and breaking church windows. In the latter city they surrounded the hall of the Abolitionists, where the women were holding a large convention, and Mrs. Mott was addressing them. All day long they cursed and threw stones, and as soon as the women left the building, they burned it to ashes. Then, wrought up to fury, the mob started for the house of James and Lucretia Mott. Knowing that they were coming, the calm woman sent her little children away, and then in the parlor, with a few friends, peacefully awaited a probable death.

In the turbulent throng was a young man who, while he was no friend of the colored man, could not see Lucretia Mott harmed. With skilful ruse, as they neared the house, he rushed up another street, shouting at the top of his voice, "On to Motts!" and the wild crowd blindly followed, wreaking their vengeance in another quarter.

A year later, in Delaware, where Mrs. Mott was speaking, one of her party, a defenceless old man, was dragged from the house, and tarred and feathered. She followed, begging the men to desist, and saying that she was the real offender, but no violent hands were laid upon her.

At another time, when the annual meeting of the Anti-Slavery Society in New York was broken up by the mob, some of the speakers were roughly handled. Perceiving that several ladies were timid, Mrs. Mott said to the gentleman who was accompanying her, "Won't thee look after some of the others?"

"But who will take care of you?" he said.

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With great tact and a sweet smile, she answered, "This man," laying her hand on the arm of one of the roughest of the mob; "he will see me safe through."

The astonished man had, like others, a tender heart beneath the roughness, and with respectful manner took her to a place of safety. The next day, going into a restaurant, she saw the leader of the mob, and immediately sat down by him, and began to converse. Her kindness and her sweet voice left a deep impression. As he went out of the room, he asked at the door, "Who is that lady?"

"Why, that is Lucretia Mott!"

For a second he was dumbfounded; but he added, "Well, she's a good, sensible woman."

In 1839 a World's Convention was called at London to debate the slavery question. Among the delegates chosen were James and Lucretia Mott, Wendell Phillips and his wife, and others. Mrs. Mott was jubilant at the thought of the world's interest in this great question, and glad for an opportunity to cross the ocean and enjoy a little rest, and the pleasure of meeting friends who had worked in the same cause.

When the party arrived, they were told, to their astonishment, that no women were to be admitted to the Convention as delegates. They had faced mobs and ostracism; they had given money and earnest labor, but they were to be ignored. William Lloyd Garrison, hurt at such injustice, refused to take part in the Convention, and sat in the gallery with the women. Although Mrs. Mott did not speak in the assembly, the Dublin Herald said, "Nobody doubts that she was the lioness of the Convention." She was entertained at public breakfasts, and at these spoke with the greatest acceptance to both men and women. The Duchess of Sutherland and Lady Byron showed her great attention. Carlyle was "much pleased with the Quaker lady, whose quiet manner had a soothing effect on him," wrote Mrs. Carlyle to a friend. At Glasgow "she held a delighted audience for nearly two hours in breathless attention," said the press.

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Lives of Girls Who Became Famous
Sarah Knowles Bolton

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