Daniel Neall





Dr. Neall, a worthy disciple of that venerated philanthropist, Warner

Mifflin, whom the Girondist statesman, Jean Pierre Brissot, pronounced

"an angel of mercy, the best man he ever knew," was one of the noble

band of Pennsylvania abolitionists, whose bravery was equalled only by

their gentleness and tenderness. He presided at the great anti-slavery

meeting in Pennsylvania Hall, May 17, 1838, when the Hall was surrounded

by a furious mob. I was standing near him while the glass of the windows

broken by missiles showered over him, and a deputation from the rioters

forced its way to the platform, and demanded that the meeting should be

closed at once. Dr. Neall drew up his tall form to its utmost height. "I

am here," he said, "the president of this meeting, and I will be torn in

pieces before I leave my place at your dictation. Go back to those who

sent you. I shall do my duty." Some years after, while visiting his

relatives in his native State of Delaware, he was dragged from the house

of his friends by a mob of slave-holders and brutally maltreated. He

bore it like a martyr of the old times; and when released, told his

persecutors that he forgave them, for it was not they but Slavery which

had done the wrong. If they should ever be in Philadelphia and needed

hospitality or aid, let them call on him.



I.

FRIEND of the Slave, and yet the friend of all;

Lover of peace, yet ever foremost when

The need of battling Freedom called for men

To plant the banner on the outer wall;

Gentle and kindly, ever at distress

Melted to more than woman's tenderness,

Yet firm and steadfast, at his duty's post

Fronting the violence of a maddened host,

Like some gray rock from which the waves are

tossed!

Knowing his deeds of love, men questioned not

The faith of one whose walk and word were

right;

Who tranquilly in Life's great task-field wrought,

And, side by side with evil, scarcely caught

A stain upon his pilgrim garb of white

Prompt to redress another's wrong, his own

Leaving to Time and Truth and Penitence alone.



II.

Such was our friend. Formed on the good old plan,

A true and brave and downright honest man

He blew no trumpet in the market-place,

Nor in the church with hypocritic face

Supplied with cant the lack of Christian grace;

Loathing pretence, he did with cheerful will

What others talked of while their hands were still;

And, while "Lord, Lord!" the pious tyrants cried,

Who, in the poor, their Master crucified,

His daily prayer, far better understood

In acts than words, was simply doing good.

So calm, so constant was his rectitude,

That by his loss alone we know its worth,

And feel how true a man has walked with us on earth.

6th, 6th month, 1846.





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