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and peaceable and harmless as he could wish. He is in no danger of any suit for slander, nor even for blasphemy, (which, as most persons think, he not unfrequently utters), from me, or from my respected friends whom he has entombed with me. All I ask of him is, that he may never, on any occasion or by any means, be persuaded to utter one word in my praise, or in commendation of me. Should I see such a paragraph in his paper, I should begin forthwith to think, that his obituary notice had something ominous in it. At all events, I should severely tax my memory and my conscience to search diligently after, and find out if possible, what egregious folly or downright betise I had been committing, which had drawn down upon me the misfortune of his eulogium.
But there is a class of men different from all, who have thus far been brought to view, some of whom conduct papers highly respectable and useful in regard to most of their contents. Some of these, edited by even personal friends whom I heartily love and respect, have thought proper to make me and my colleagues the butt of allusion or remark, in nearly every number of their paper that has been issued since our unlucky deed of subscription. The pieces of this nature, if I ken aright, do not come from editorial hands, but from some of their zealous friends, who seem to consider themselves as officers in the corps of life-guards who keep watch in the temple of Liberty. After speaking of Mr. Webster as our misrepresentative, and as having done sacrifice to base electioneering purposes, and thrown out a gilded bait to catch the South ; after alleging that all the confidence of the Bay State in him is about defunct; some confidential Ariel of the editors, who hails from Boston, and seems to know everything about everybody, goes on to say, that as to the merchants' (whose names are on Mr. Webster's testimonial), “they cannot afford to have a conscience; as to the politicians, their conscience varies with the wind; and as to Professors, etc., their railroad must no longer run over the heights of Zion, [quære - Andover Hill?] but through the valley of Hinnom. I do not, with the little that I know of exegesis, feel able to make out an interpretation of this last clause, and must therefore give it over to the reader to manage for himself as he best can. But there is another declaration of this sharp-sighted sentinel of the life-guard of Liberty, that I think I can cognize. He implicates all of us, who have subscribed the testimonial, in the accusation of being either the advocates of slavery, or
apologists for it. He says we make no more scruple “in riding over
“ Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” When he appeals to the ten commandments, as plainly and palpably decisive against all slavery, "he rides over” (to use his own choice and delicate expression) a certain fourth commandment, without once seeming to recollect, that this commandment requires mento keep the Sabbath holy," and that “neither they, nor their sons, nor daughters, nor THEIR MEN-SERVANTS, nor THEIR MAID-SERVANTS, shall do any work" on that sacred day. In the ten commandments, then, servants male and female are recognized as a standing and permanent part or portion of the Jewish people. The fourth commandment prescribes their duties specifically as servants. And what is the conclusion from this? There is indeed no command here to make slaves; but it is equally true, that there is none to unmake them. One thing, however, is palpable, viz., that there is a cognizance of them in such a way as to render it quite certain, that Moses expected the Jewish nation to continue to have such a class of people as servants or slaves among them. He elsewhere gives them express liberty to do this, Lev. 25: 44.46. Who then mides over (cum pace aurium delicatiorum !) the largest number of commandments? Is it Ariel himself, or his vituperated neighbors? I take it for granted that the other nine commandments have nothing about slavery in them; how is it, then, with the fourth? Or is there some eleventh commandment which we have rode over, because, being less sharp-sighted than Ariel, we did not see it?
Withal, this same life-guard watchman has a singular faculty of quoting and interpreting the Scriptures for his purpose; specially in applying them to the confounding of Mr. Webster and his friends. We shall have occasion by and by, to look a little into this part of
his development; not because of any special importance that attaches to what Ariel says or does, but because he has seized on the same weapons of assault which are common to most who agree with him in anti-slavery notions, and which they brandish to the right and left with the expectation of either scattering all opposing forces by striking them with terror, or else of laying them low. We shall see, in due time, whether the weapons are sharp enough to do much execution, or well tempered enough to bear an opposing blow without shivering to pieces.
There are some other declarations from other assailants of Mr. Webster and his friends, in the same journal, which I intend to notice when a fitting opportunity occurs; not because I design to attack the journal, but because those declarations give expression to sentiments of late often avowed and widely proclaimed. I have referred to the journal in question, for the very reason that I regard it as edited for the most part in an able manner, and until quite recently as holding out fair promise of great and extensive usefulness.
It would not be worth my time or labor, to hunt up and bring forward the violent diatribes, which have issued of late from the second, third, and fourth rate papers; for their name is legion. I have referred to a paper highly respectable, in order to show, that matters are becoming somewhat serious, and that it is high time they should be examined on all sides. Statesmen and jurists will doubtless take care for themselves and their cause, as to what comes within their appropriate sphere. But in a Christian land, there are many—many thousands, sincerely desirous to know what light can be obtained from the Bible, to aid them in discerning and performing their duty, in times like these. To all such I have something to say; not so much in the way of apology for my own sentiments and course of conduct, as for the sake of “stirring up their pure minds by way of remembrance.”
And now, after producing only a tithe of what has been brought before me, either to chastise or to edify me, may I be permitted to ask, why I should be doomed to such a lot? I can easily see, why Mr. Webster's Speech should have roused up the ire of those who call for emancipation to-morrow, and who are bent upon all possible measures to foreclose our unappropriated domains against the prospect of slavery, even at the risk of violating our plighted national
faith, of setting aside the solemn compacts which we have made, and of dissolving the Union and covering the land with blood. Such a speech, addressed to the sober, candid, law-loving, peace-loving, covenant-keeping freemen of our country, threatens much, no doubt, to the cause of the violent. Such Paixhan guns as he brings into the contest, threaten demolition to the tottering walls and brick-built citadels. No wonder they look with concern upon the issue of the contest; and of course, no wonder that he should become the object with some of impassioned, and with others of embittered, attack. All this is easily explained. But why, in my peaceful retirement from the world, in my inaction and quietude as to politics, and while I am standing on the verge of the grave with one foot already in it
- why I should have become, all at once, such a target to be fired at, seems to me somewhat inexplicable. Whom have I harmed? And who can expect any harm from me, in such a condition? However, straws (they say) show which way the wind blows. So an experience like mine shows the violence of party spirit that is abroad. In such of our journals as are published for the canaille, and well adapted moreover to gratify their taste, all this perhaps might be expected. But to find such violence in many of our religious papers, even in some which are among those of the first rank, this is an indication of a day approaching, which may be like that seen in vision by the Hebrew prophet, “ a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasting and of desolation.” If my feeble hand can be employed in even giving a signal for halting a little time, until we can survey the ground more effectually before we hasten on in our forced march, yea, even for deliberating whether the present direction of our march had not better be abandoned, at least for a while
then my poor remnant of life will not have been spared in vain.
Such then, as I have shown above, is the state of things in which I undertake to speak a word of caution, well meant, although it may not perhaps be well spoken. If I look merely at the commotion which seems to surround me, I almost believe that I might be pardoned, if I should feel somewhat as the trident-god did, when he was called away from his quiet resting place in the depths of his watery domain, by the heavings of the ocean and the booming and dashing of its waves above, which had been lashed into fury and elevated to the skies, by the tornados that Eolus had let loose, with
out the knowledge or consent of his Neptunian majesty. When the monarch raised his head above the surface of the deep, and saw its commotion, and the Trojan fleet like things of cork upon it, his first feeling was indignation ; his second and better thought was, that he must, without delay, calm the raging element.
Quos ego-sed praestat componere fluctus.
If my first feeling was like his, it was very soon succeeded by the better second thought. I have no power indeed, such as Virgil attributes to Neptune, to calm the raging billows ; but if I can pour even a little oil upon them, it may possibly be reckoned as a contribution of my mite, toward smoothing down their angry crests.
Let me, once for all, before I advance to the main objects that I have in view, here make a frank statement of my feelings in regard to a large class of men, who entertain views different from, and in some respects opposed to my own. Those who belong to this class, are not all of the like character; and therefore they should not in any way, either directly or by implication, be amalgamated together. I have already excepted one excellent journal and its editors, and stated my reason for making any reference or appeal to That its editors are high-minded Christian men, I cannot doubt. As little can I doubt that great numbers of the so-called Free Soil party are men of intelligence, of patriotism, and of integrity. They appear to me, to be adorned with every civil and social virtue. All this I most cheerfully concede and believe. Many of them, also, are men of exemplary Christian lives. Some of them, moreover, as we know from the developments which they have made, are men, whose eloquence can charm not only the mass of our citizens, but hold in breathless suspense our Senates and our Houses of Representatives. Not to go beyond the boundaries of our own Massachusetts, I have the pleasure of some personal acquaintance with a number of Free Soilers, who adorn private life by their virtues, and public life by their learning, their talents, and their eloquence. Nay, I could, if it were decorous, readily point to this man and that among them, and say with all my heart: I nostrum decus! Of such men I can fully believe, that their aim is good ; that their principles (as to main positions) are humane, patriotic, becoming high-souled freemen. I believe those principles, bating some excesses to which excited feeling has carried them, are such as meet the approbation of a