A Sketch of the Life of Sylvester Morris

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Biography of Sylvester Morris (1797-1886), son of Ephraim Morris and Pamela Converse of Stafford, Connecticut and then Bethel, Vermont. Sylvester married Susannah Weston in 1822, and after several moves settled at Hanover, Vermont. Descendants and relatives lived in Vermont, Connecticut and elsewhere. Ancestors lived in Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts and elsewhere.
 

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Page 21 - But his life-work, and the thing for which he is to be especially remembered, was his position regarding the two great social questions of his day. He was the local apostle of anti-slavery and temperance in the towns in which he lived, and threw himself into the promotion of each cause with all the energy of his strong nature. On both subjects he took extreme and absolute ground, regarding total abstinence as the solution of the temperance question, and slavery as a crime against the inherent rights...
Page 13 - He was afraid of nobody, he courted opposition, and, serious and severe as he was, he had a kind of rough humour and a keenness of insight into the weaknesses of others which he used without mercy. Intellectual toleration, gentle breeding, and the amenities of life he neither possessed nor regarded. A radical by the very constitution of his mind, he appeared to some as a Philistine, a fanatic, an impossible absolutist in this sphere of mixed relations; yet in a far truer light he was a hero, and...
Page 11 - Christian which he was to maintain with unusual sincerity and manliness the rest of his long life, — seventy-seven years. They were the days of strong emotions and violent religious experiences. Whether he grew by degrees to his conversion, or dated it from some sudden change, can only be conjectured; but from the evidence of his after life, we cannot doubt that upon him...
Page 26 - He outlived by more than twenty years the triumph of the anti-slavery cause, but he was also a witness to nearly as great a revolution in public opinion regarding intemperance. In the days of his early manhood and prime, the punch-bowl was the ornament of every sideboard, and the offering of wine a necessary hospitality to every guest. He lived to see liquor of all sorts banished from the majority of households throughout the country, and the temperance element in politics a factor of importance.
Page 12 - His father and mother did not unite with the church until after Sylvester had married and left home. His mother is remembered to have told that she used to hear him, a little fellow of twelve, praying over her head in the loft of the old log-house, and it was his youthful ambition to be educated for the ministry, a desire which the small means of the family and his father's illhealth at the time made impracticable.
Page 11 - His religious training was accomplished under even more primitive circumstances, for the settlers of Roxbury were more loyal to Puritan traditions in their schools than in their churches. The town was from the beginning full of heterodoxy.
Page 25 - He took the Liberator; and the arrival of the National Era, with its instalments of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," was an event in his household celebrated by the assembling of the whole family to hear it read aloud. His indignation at the position of the churches towards slavery, and the famous petition of New England ministers, knew no bounds. " Fools, lick-spittles, cowards!
Page 24 - College, 17 and him, there was at first a strong bond of abolition sympathy, broken, of course, by Dr. Lord's final going over to the enemy, which, inexplicable as it seemed to Sylvester Morris, taught him charity, he said, because he knew Dr. Lord for a good man. Towards the professors at Dartmouth he felt varying degrees of antagonism, partly on religious and partly on political grounds. He relished greatly the testimony of one of the irreligious citizens of Hanover, who assured him that in spite...
Page 13 - ... surroundings of life in a New England country town, for the most part the sole exponent there of absolute justice and right on the two great social questions of his day, — slavery and intemperance.
Page 20 - ... words and rebukes from the mother, the father's seasons of mental depression and fits 'of the blues, the stern punishments in which whippings followed prayer, and a general distaste for the family radicalism which mortification at the father's loud, long prayers, and great hands stained in the lanyard, went far towards fostering. Yet, on the other hand, one cannot forget on how high a plane the family life ran, or how rich it was in spiritual suggestion and religious aspiration.

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