William Leggett, who died in 1839 at the age of thirty-seven, was the intrepid editor of the New York Evening Post and afterward of The Plain Dealer. His vigorous assault upon the system of slavery brought down upon him the enmity of political defenders of the system.
“Ye build the tombs of the prophets.”–Holy Writ.
Yes, pile the marble o’er him! It is well
That ye who mocked him in his long stern strife,
And planted in the pathway of his life
The ploughshares of your hatred hot from hell,
Who clamored down the bold reformer when
He pleaded for his captive fellow-men,
Who spurned him in the market-place, and sought
Within thy walls, St. Tammany, to bind
In party chains the free and honest thought,
The angel utterance of an upright mind,
Well is it now that o’er his grave ye raise
The stony tribute of your tardy praise,
For not alone that pile shall tell to Fame
Of the brave heart beneath, but of the builders’ shame!