THE FATHER'S RESOLVE
AWARE that her father was still a slave-owner, Clotelle determined to
use all her persuasive power to induce him to set them free, and in this
effort she found a substantial supporter in her husband.
"I have always treated my slaves well," said Mr. Linwood to Jerome, as
the latter expressed his abhorrence of the system; "and my neighbors, too,
are generally good men; for slavery in Virginia is not like slavery in the
other States," continued the proud son of the Old Dominion. "Their right
to be free, Mr. Linwood," said Jerome, "is taken from them, and they have
no security for their comfort, but the humanity and generosity of men, who
have been trained to regard them not as brethren, but as mere property.
Humanity and generosity are, at best, but poor guaranties for the
protection of those who cannot assert their rights, and over whom law
throws no protection."
It was with pleasure that Clotelle obtained from her father a promise
that he would liberate all his slaves on his return to Richmond. In a
beautiful little villa, situated in a pleasant spot, fringed with hoary
rocks and thick dark woods, within sight of the deep blue waters of Lake
Leman, Mr. Linwood, his daughter, and her husband, took up their residence
for a short time. For more than three weeks, this little party spent their
time in visiting the birth-place of Rousseau, and the former abodes of
Byron, Gibbon, Voltaire, De Stael, Shelley, and other literary characters.
We can scarcely contemplate a visit to a more historic and interesting
place than Geneva and its vicinity. Here, Calvin, that great luminary in
the Church, lived and ruled for years; here, Voltaire, the mighty genius,
who laid the foundation of the French Revolution, and who boasted, "When I
shake my wig, I powder the whole republic," governed in the higher walks
Fame is generally the recompense, not of the living, but of the dead,--
not always do they reap and gather in the harvest who sow the seed; the
flame of its altar is too often kindled from the ashes of the great. A
distinguished critic has beautifully said, "The sound which the stream of
high thought, carried down to future ages, makes, as it flows-- deep,
distant, murmuring ever more, like the waters of the mighty ocean." No
reputation can be called great that will no endure this test. The
distinguished men who had lived in Geneva transfused their spirit, by
their writings, into the spirit of other lovers of literature and
everything that treated of great authors. Jerome and Clotelle lingered
long in and about the haunts of Geneva and Lake Leman.
An autumn sun sent down her bright rays, and bathed every object in her
glorious light, as Clotelle, accompanied by her husband and father set out
one fine morning on her return home to France. Throughout the whole route,
Mr. Linwood saw by the deference paid to Jerome, whose black complexion
excited astonishment in those who met him, that there was no hatred to the
man in Europe, on account of his color; that what is called prejudice
against color is the offspring of the institution of slavery; and he felt
ashamed of his own countrymen, when he thought of the complexion as
distinctions, made in the United States, and resolved to dedicate the
remainder of his life to the eradication of this unrepublican and
unchristian feeling from the land of his birth, on his return home.
After a stay of four weeks at Dunkirk, the home of the Fletchers, Mr.
Linwood set out for America, with the full determination of freeing his
slaves, and settling them in one of the Northern States, and then to
return to France to end his days in the society of his beloved daughter.
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