This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
, to speak on the subject of sla ery in !assachusetts" but I #as surprised and disappointed to find that #hat had called my to#nsmen together #as the destiny of $ebraska, and not of !assachusetts, and that #hat I had to say #ould be entirely out of order% I had thought that the house #as on fire, and not the prairie" but though se eral of the citizens of !assachusetts are no# in prison for attempting to rescue a sla e from her o#n clutches, not one of the speakers at that meeting expressed regret for it, not one e en referred to it% It #as only the disposition of some #ild lands a thousand miles off #hich appeared to concern them% &he inhabitants of Concord are not prepared to stand by one of their o#n bridges, but talk only of taking up a position on the highlands beyond the 'ello#stone (i er% )ur *uttricks and +a ises and ,osmers are retreating thither, and I fear that they #ill lea e no Lexington Common bet#een them and the enemy% &here is not one sla e in $ebraska" there are perhaps a million sla es in !assachusetts% [-] &hey #ho ha e been bred in the school of politics fail no# and al#ays to face the facts% &heir measures are half measures and makeshifts merely% &hey put off the day of settlement indefinitely, and mean#hile the debt accumulates% &hough the .ugiti e /la e La# had not been the subject of discussion on that occasion, it #as at length faintly resol ed by my to#nsmen, at an adjourned meeting, as I learn, that the compromise compact of 10-1 ha ing been repudiated by one of the parties, 2&herefore,%%% the .ugiti e /la e La# of 1031 must be repealed%2 *ut this is not the reason #hy an ini4uitous la# should be repealed% &he fact #hich the politician faces is merely that there is less honor among thie es than #as supposed, and not the fact that they are thie es%  6s I had no opportunity to express my thoughts at that meeting, #ill you allo# me to do so here7  6gain it happens that the *oston Court9 ,ouse is full of armed men, holding prisoner and trying a !6$, to find out if he is not really a /L6:;% +oes any one think that justice or <od a#aits !r% Loring=s decision7 .or him to sit there deciding still, #hen this 4uestion is already decided from eternity to eternity, and the unlettered sla e himself and the multitude around ha e long since heard and assented to the decision, is simply to make himself ridiculous% >e may be tempted to ask from #hom he recei ed his commission, and #ho he is that recei ed it" #hat no el statutes he obeys, and #hat precedents are to him of authority% /uch an arbiter=s ery existence is an impertinence% >e do not ask him to make up his mind, but to make up his pack%  I listen to hear the oice of a <o ernor, Commander9in9Chief of the forces of !assachusetts% I hear only the creaking of crickets and the hum of insects #hich no# fill the summer air% &he <o ernor=s exploit is to re ie# the troops on muster days% I ha e seen him on horseback, #ith his hat off, listening to a chaplain=s prayer% It chances that that is all I ha e e er seen of a <o ernor% I think that I could manage to get along #ithout one% If he is not of the least use to pre ent my being kidnapped, pray of #hat important use is he likely to be to me7 >hen freedom is most endangered, he d#ells in the deepest obscurity% 6 distinguished clergyman told me that he chose the profession of a clergyman because it afforded the most leisure for literary pursuits% I #ould recommend to him the profession of a <o ernor% [?] &hree years ago, also, #hen the /ims tragedy #as acted, I said to myself, &here is such an officer, if not such a man, as the <o ernor of !assachusetts@#hat has he been about the last fortnight7 ,as he had as much as he could do to keep on the fence during this moral earth4uake7 It seemed to me that no keener satire could ha e been aimed at, no more cutting insult ha e been offered to that man, than just #hat happened@the absence of all in4uiry after him in that crisis% &he #orst and the most I chance to kno# of him is that he did not impro e that opportunity to make himself kno#n, and #orthily kno#n% ,e could at
least ha e resigned himself into fame% It appeared to be forgotten that there #as such a man or such an office% 'et no doubt he #as endea oring to fill the gubernatorial chair all the #hile% ,e #as no <o ernor of mine% ,e did not go ern me% [A] *ut at last, in the present case, the <o ernor #as heard from% 6fter he and the Bnited /tates go ernment had perfectly succeeded in robbing a poor innocent black man of his liberty for life, and, as far as they could, of his Creator=s likeness in his breast, he made a speech to his accomplices, at a congratulatory supperC  I ha e read a recent la# of this /tate, making it penal for any officer of the 2Common#ealth2 to 2detain or aid in the%%% detention,2 any#here #ithin its limits, 2of any person, for the reason that he is claimed as a fugiti e sla e%2 6lso, it #as a matter of notoriety that a #rit of reple in to take the fugiti e out of the custody of the Bnited /tates !arshal could not be ser ed for #ant of sufficient force to aid the officer% [D] I had thought that the <o ernor #as, in some sense, the executi e officer of the /tate" that it #as his business, as a <o ernor, to see that the la#s of the /tate #ere executed" #hile, as a man, he took care that he did not, by so doing, break the la#s of humanity" but #hen there is any special important use for him, he is useless, or #orse than useless, and permits the la#s of the /tate to go unexecuted% Eerhaps I do not kno# #hat are the duties of a <o ernor" but if to be a <o ernor re4uires to subject one=s self to so much ignominy #ithout remedy, if it is to put a restraint upon my manhood, I shall take care ne er to be <o ernor of !assachusetts% I ha e not read far in the statutes of this Common#ealth% It is not profitable reading% &hey do not al#ays say #hat is true" and they do not al#ays mean #hat they say% >hat I am concerned to kno# is, that that man=s influence and authority #ere on the side of the sla eholder, and not of the sla e@of the guilty, and not of the innocent@of injustice, and not of justice% I ne er sa# him of #hom I speak" indeed, I did not kno# that he #as <o ernor until this e ent occurred% I heard of him and 6nthony *urns at the same time, and thus, undoubtedly, most #ill hear of him% /o far am I from being go erned by him% I do not mean that it #as anything to his discredit that I had not heard of him, only that I heard #hat I did% &he #orst I shall say of him is, that he pro ed no better than the majority of his constituents #ould be likely to pro e% In my opinion, be #as not e4ual to the occasion%  &he #hole military force of the /tate is at the ser ice of a !r% /uttle, a sla eholder from :irginia, to enable him to catch a man #hom he calls his property" but not a soldier is offered to sa e a citizen of !assachusetts from being kidnappedC Is this #hat all these soldiers, all this training, ha e been for these se enty9nine years past7 ,a e they been trained merely to rob !exico and carry back fugiti e sla es to their masters7  &hese ery nights I heard the sound of a drum in our streets% &here #ere men training still" and for #hat7 I could #ith an effort pardon the cockerels of Concord for cro#ing still, for they, perchance, had not been beaten that morning" but I could not excuse this ruba9 dub of the 2trainers%2 &he sla e #as carried back by exactly such as these" i%e%, by the soldier, of #hom the best you can say in this connection is that he is a fool made conspicuous by a painted coat% [1-] &hree years ago, also, just a #eek after the authorities of *oston assembled to carry back a perfectly innocent man, and one #hom they kne# to be innocent, into sla ery, the inhabitants of Concord caused the bells to be rung and the cannons to be fired, to celebrate their liberty@and the courage and lo e of liberty of their ancestors #ho fought at the bridge% 6s if those three millions had fought for the right to be free themsel es, but to hold in sla ery three million others% $o#adays, men #ear a fool=s9cap, and call it a liberty9cap% I do not kno# but there are some #ho, if they #ere tied to a #hipping9post, and could but get one hand free, #ould use it to ring the bells and fire the cannons to celebrate their liberty% /o some of my to#nsmen took the liberty to ring and fire% &hat #as the extent of their freedom" and #hen the sound of
the bells died a#ay, their liberty died a#ay also" #hen the po#der #as all expended, their liberty #ent off #ith the smoke%  &he joke could be no broader if the inmates of the prisons #ere to subscribe for all the po#der to be used in such salutes, and hire the jailers to do the firing and ringing for them, #hile they enjoyed it through the grating%  &his is #hat I thought about my neighbors%  ; ery humane and intelligent inhabitant of Concord, #hen he or she heard those bells and those cannons, thought not #ith pride of the e ents of the 1Dth of 6pril, 1AA3, but #ith shame of the e ents of the 1-th of 6pril, 1031% *ut no# #e ha e half buried that old shame under a ne# one% [1?] !assachusetts sat #aiting !r% Loring=s decision, as if it could in any #ay affect her o#n criminality% ,er crime, the most conspicuous and fatal crime of all, #as permitting him to be the umpire in such a case% It #as really the trial of !assachusetts% ; ery moment that she hesitated to set this man free@e ery moment that she no# hesitates to atone for her crime, she is con icted% &he Commissioner on her case is <od" not ;d#ard <% <od, but simply <od% [1A] I #ish my countrymen to consider, that #hate er the human la# may be, neither an indi idual nor a nation can e er commit the least act of injustice against the obscurest indi idual #ithout ha ing to pay the penalty for it% 6 go ernment #hich deliberately enacts injustice, and persists in it, #ill at length e en become the laughing9stock of the #orld%  !uch has been said about 6merican sla ery, but I think that #e do not e en yet realize #hat sla ery is% If I #ere seriously to propose to Congress to make mankind into sausages, I ha e no doubt that most of the members #ould smile at my proposition, and if any belie ed me to be in earnest, they #ould think that I proposed something much #orse than Congress had e er done% *ut if any of them #ill tell me that to make a man into a sausage #ould be much #orse@#ould be any #orse@than to make him into a sla e @than it #as to enact the .ugiti e /la e La#, I #ill accuse him of foolishness, of intellectual incapacity, of making a distinction #ithout a difference% &he one is just as sensible a proposition as the other% [1D] I hear a good deal said about trampling this la# under foot% >hy, one need not go out of his #ay to do that% &his la# rises not to the le el of the head or the reason" its natural habitat is in the dirt% It #as born and bred, and has its life, only in the dust and mire, on a le el #ith the feet" and he #ho #alks #ith freedom, and does not #ith ,indoo mercy a oid treading on e ery enomous reptile, #ill ine itably tread on it, and so trample it under foot@and >ebster, its maker, #ith it, like the dirt9bug and its ball% [-1] (ecent e ents #ill be aluable as a criticism on the administration of justice in our midst, or, rather, as sho#ing #hat are the true resources of justice in any community% It has come to this, that the friends of liberty, the friends of the sla e, ha e shuddered #hen they ha e understood that his fate #as left to the legal tribunals of the country to be decided% .ree men ha e no faith that justice #ill be a#arded in such a case% &he judge may decide this #ay or that" it is a kind of accident, at best% It is e ident that he is not a competent authority in so important a case% It is no time, then, to be judging according to his precedents, but to establish a precedent for the future% I #ould much rather trust to the sentiment of the people% In their ote you #ould get something of some alue, at least, ho#e er small" but in the other case, only the trammeled judgment of an indi idual, of no significance, be it #hich #ay it might% [-1] It is to some extent fatal to the courts, #hen the people are compelled to go behind them% I do not #ish to belie e that the courts #ere made for fair #eather, and for ery ci il cases merely" but think of lea ing it to any court in the land to decide #hether more than three millions of people, in this case a sixth part of a nation, ha e a right to be freemen or notC *ut it has been left to the courts of justice, so
called@to the /upreme Court of the land@and, as you all kno#, recognizing no authority but the Constitution, it has decided that the three millions are and shall continue to be sla es% /uch judges as these are merely the inspectors of a pick9lock and murderer=s tools, to tell him #hether they are in #orking order or not, and there they think that their responsibility ends% &here #as a prior case on the docket, #hich they, as judges appointed by <od, had no right to skip" #hich ha ing been justly settled, they #ould ha e been sa ed from this humiliation% It #as the case of the murderer himself% [--] &he la# #ill ne er make men free" it is men #ho ha e got to make the la# free% &hey are the lo ers of la# and order #ho obser e the la# #hen the go ernment breaks it% [-5] 6mong human beings, the judge #hose #ords seal the fate of a man furthest into eternity is not he #ho merely pronounces the erdict of the la#, but he, #hoe er he may be, #ho, from a lo e of truth, and unprejudiced by any custom or enactment of men, utters a true opinion or sentence concerning him% ,e it is that sentences him% >hoe er can discern truth has recei ed his commission from a higher source than the chiefest justice in the #orld #ho can discern only la#% ,e finds himself constituted judge of the judge% /trange that it should be necessary to state such simple truthsC [-8] I am more and more con inced that, #ith reference to any public 4uestion, it is more important to kno# #hat the country thinks of it than #hat the city thinks% &he city does not think much% )n any moral 4uestion, I #ould rather ha e the opinion of *oxboro= than of *oston and $e# 'ork put together% >hen the former speaks, I feel as if somebody had spoken, as if humanity #as yet, and a reasonable being had asserted its rights@as if some unprejudiced men among the country=s hills had at length turned their attention to the subject, and by a fe# sensible #ords redeemed the reputation of the race% >hen, in some obscure country to#n, the farmers come together to a special to#n9meeting, to express their opinion on some subject #hich is exing the land, that, I think, is the true Congress, and the most respectable one that is e er assembled in the Bnited /tates% [-3] It is e ident that there are, in this Common#ealth at least, t#o parties, becoming more and more distinct@the party of the city, and the party of the country% I kno# that the country is mean enough, but I am glad to belie e that there is a slight difference in her fa or% *ut as yet she has fe#, if any organs, through #hich to express herself% &he editorials #hich she reads, like the ne#s, come from the seaboard% Let us, the inhabitants of the country, culti ate self9respect% Let us not send to the city for aught more essential than our broadcloths and groceries" or, if #e read the opinions of the city, let us entertain opinions of our o#n% [-?] 6mong measures to be adopted, I #ould suggest to make as earnest and igorous an assault on the press as has already been made, and #ith effect, on the church% &he church has much impro ed #ithin a fe# years" but the press is, almost #ithout exception, corrupt% I belie e that in this country the press exerts a greater and a more pernicious influence than the church did in its #orst period% >e are not a religious people, but #e are a nation of politicians% >e do not care for the *ible, but #e do care for the ne#spaper% 6t any meeting of politicians@like that at Concord the other e ening, for instance@ho# impertinent it #ould be to 4uote from the *ibleC ho# pertinent to 4uote from a ne#spaper or from the ConstitutionC &he ne#spaper is a *ible #hich #e read e ery morning and e ery afternoon, standing and sitting, riding and #alking% It is a *ible #hich e ery man carries in his pocket, #hich lies on e ery table and counter, and #hich the mail, and thousands of missionaries, are continually dispersing% It is, in short, the only book #hich 6merica has printed and #hich 6merica reads% /o #ide is its influence% &he editor is a preacher #hom you oluntarily support% 'our tax is commonly one cent daily, and it costs nothing for pe# hire% *ut ho# many of these preachers preach the truth7 I repeat the testimony of many an intelligent foreigner, as #ell as my o#n con ictions, #hen I say, that probably no country #as e er rubled by so mean a class of tyrants as, #ith a fe# noble exceptions, are the editors of the periodical press in this
country% 6nd as they li e and rule only by their ser ility, and appealing to the #orse, and not the better, nature of man, the people #ho read them are in the condition of the dog that returns to his omit% [-A] &he Liberator and the Common#ealth #ere the only papers in *oston, as far as I kno#, #hich made themsel es heard in condemnation of the co#ardice and meanness of the authorities of that city, as exhibited in =31% &he other journals, almost #ithout exception, by their manner of referring to and speaking of the .ugiti e /la e La#, and the carrying back of the sla e /ims, insulted the common sense of the country, at least% 6nd, for the most part, they did this, one #ould say, because they thought so to secure the approbation of their patrons, not being a#are that a sounder sentiment pre ailed to any extent in the heart of the Common#ealth% I am told that some of them ha e impro ed of late" but they are still eminently time9ser ing% /uch is the character they ha e #on% [-0] *ut, thank fortune, this preacher can be e en more easily reached by the #eapons of the reformer than could the recreant priest% &he free men of $e# ;ngland ha e only to refrain from purchasing and reading these sheets, ha e only to #ithhold their cents, to kill a score of them at once% )ne #hom I respect told me that he purchased !itchell=s Citizen in the cars, and then thro# it out the #indo#% *ut #ould not his contempt ha e been more fatally expressed if he had not bought it7 [-D] 6re they 6mericans7 are they $e# ;nglanders7 are they inhabitants of Lexington and Concord and .ramingham, #ho read and support the *oston Eost, !ail, Fournal, 6d ertiser, Courier, and &imes7 6re these the .lags of our Bnion7 I am not a ne#spaper reader, and may omit to name the #orst%  Could sla ery suggest a more complete ser ility than some of these journals exhibit7 Is there any dust #hich their conduct does not lick, and make fouler still #ith its slime7 I do not kno# #hether the *oston ,erald is still in existence, but I remember to ha e seen it about the streets #hen /ims #as carried off% +id it not act its part #ell9ser e its master faithfullyC ,o# could it ha e gone lo#er on its belly7 ,o# can a man stoop lo#er than he is lo#7 do more than put his extremities in the place of the head he has7 than make his head his lo#er extremity7 >hen I ha e taken up this paper #ith my cuffs turned up, I ha e heard the gurgling of the se#er through e ery column% I ha e felt that I #as handling a paper picked out of the public gutters, a leaf from the gospel of the gambling9house, the groggery, and the brothel, harmonizing #ith the gospel of the !erchants= ;xchange%  &he majority of the men of the $orth, and of the /outh and ;ast and >est, are not men of principle% If they ote, they do not send men to Congress on errands of humanity" but #hile their brothers and sisters are being scourged and hung for lo ing liberty, #hile@I might here insert all that sla ery implies and is@it is the mismanagement of #ood and iron and stone and gold #hich concerns them% +o #hat you #ill, ) <o ernment, #ith my #ife and children, my mother and brother, my father and sister, I #ill obey your commands to the letter% It #ill indeed grie e me if you hurt them, if you deli er them to o erseers to be hunted by bounds or to be #hipped to death" but, ne ertheless, I #ill peaceably pursue my chosen calling on this fair earth, until perchance, one day, #hen I ha e put on mourning for them dead, I shall ha e persuaded you to relent% /uch is the attitude, such are the #ords of !assachusetts% [5-] (ather than do thus, I need not say #hat match I #ould touch, #hat system endea or to blo# up" but as I lo e my life, I #ould side #ith the light, and let the dark earth roll from under me, calling my mother and my brother to follo#%  I #ould remind my countrymen that they are to be men first, and 6mericans only at a late and con enient hour% $o matter ho# aluable la# may be to protect your property, e en to keep soul and body together, if it do not keep you and humanity together%  I am sorry to say that I doubt if there is a judge in !assachusetts #ho is prepared to resign his office,
and get his li ing innocently, #hene er it is re4uired of him to pass sentence under a la# #hich is merely contrary to the la# of <od% I am compelled to see that they put themsel es, or rather are by character, in this respect, exactly on a le el #ith the marine #ho discharges his musket in any direction he is ordered to% &hey are just as much tools, and as little men% Certainly, they are not the more to be respected, because their master ensla es their understandings and consciences, instead of their bodies%  &he judges and la#yers@simply as such, I mean@and all men of expediency, try this case by a ery lo# and incompetent standard% &hey consider, not #hether the .ugiti e /la e La# is right, but #hether it is #hat they call constitutional% Is irtue constitutional, or ice7 Is e4uity constitutional, or ini4uity7 In important moral and ital 4uestions, like this, it is just as impertinent to ask #hether a la# is constitutional or not, as to ask #hether it is profitable or not% &hey persist in being the ser ants of the #orst of men, and not the ser ants of humanity% &he 4uestion is, not #hether you or your grandfather, se enty years ago, did not enter into an agreement to ser e the +e il, and that ser ice is not accordingly no# due" but #hether you #ill not no#, for once and at last, ser e <od@in spite of your o#n past recreancy, or that of your ancestor@by obeying that eternal and only just C)$/&I&B&I)$, #hich ,e, and not any Fefferson or 6dams, has #ritten in your being% [5?] &he amount of it is, if the majority ote the +e il to be <od, the minority #ill li e and beha e accordingly@and obey the successful candidate, trusting that, some time or other, by some /peaker=s casting9 ote, perhaps, they may reinstate <od% &his is the highest principle I can get out or in ent for my neighbors% &hese men act as if they belie ed that they could safely slide do#n a hill a little #ay@or a good #ay@and #ould surely come to a place, by and by, #here they could begin to slide up again% &his is expediency, or choosing that course #hich offers the slightest obstacles to the feet, that is, a do#nhill one% *ut there is no such thing as accomplishing a righteous reform by the use of 2expediency%2 &here is no such thing as sliding up hill% In morals the only sliders are backsliders% [5A] &hus #e steadily #orship !ammon, both school and state and church, and on the se enth day curse <od #ith a tintamar from one end of the Bnion to the other%  >ill mankind ne er learn that policy is not morality@that it ne er secures any moral right, but considers merely #hat is expedient7 chooses the a ailable candidate@#ho is in ariably the +e il@and #hat right ha e his constituents to be surprised, because the +e il does not beha e like an angel of light7 >hat is #anted is men, not of policy, but of probity@ #ho recognize a higher la# than the Constitution, or the decision of the majority% &he fate of the country does not depend on ho# you ote at the polls@the #orst man is as strong as the best at that game" it does not depend on #hat kind of paper you drop into the ballot9box once a year, but on #hat kind of man you drop from your chamber into the street e ery morning% [5D] >hat should concern !assachusetts is not the $ebraska *ill, nor the .ugiti e /la e *ill, but her o#n sla eholding and ser ility% Let the /tate dissol e her union #ith the sla eholder% /he may #riggle and hesitate, and ask lea e to read the Constitution once more" but she can find no respectable la# or precedent #hich sanctions the continuance of such a union for an instant%  Let each inhabitant of the /tate dissol e his union #ith her, as long as she delays to do her duty%  &he e ents of the past month teach me to distrust .ame% I see that she does not finely discriminate, but coarsely hurrahs% /he considers not the simple heroism of an action, but only as it is connected #ith its apparent conse4uences% /he praises till she is hoarse the easy exploit of the *oston tea party, but #ill be comparati ely silent about the bra er and more disinterestedly heroic attack on the *oston Court9 ,ouse, simply because it #as unsuccessfulC
[8-] Co ered #ith disgrace, the /tate has sat do#n coolly to try for their li es and liberties the men #ho attempted to do its duty for it% 6nd this is called justiceC &hey #ho ha e sho#n that they can beha e particularly #ell may perchance be put under bonds for their good beha ior% &hey #hom truth re4uires at present to plead guilty are, of all the inhabitants of the /tate, preeminently innocent% >hile the <o ernor, and the !ayor, and countless officers of the Common#ealth are at large, the champions of liberty are imprisoned%  )nly they are guiltless #ho commit the crime of contempt of such a court% It behoo es e ery man to see that his influence is on the side of justice, and let the courts make their o#n characters% !y sympathies in this case are #holly #ith the accused, and #holly against their accusers and judges% Fustice is s#eet and musical" but injustice is harsh and discordant% &he judge still sits grinding at his organ, but it yields no music, and #e hear only the sound of the handle% ,e belie es that all the music resides in the handle, and the cro#d toss him their coppers the same as before%  +o you suppose that that !assachusetts #hich is no# doing these things@#hich hesitates to cro#n these men, some of #hose la#yers, and e en judges, perchance, may be dri en to take refuge in some poor 4uibble, that they may not #holly outrage their instincti e sense of justice@do you suppose that she is anything but base and ser ile7 that she is the champion of liberty7  /ho# me a free state, and a court truly of justice, and I #ill fight for them, if need be" but sho# me !assachusetts, and I refuse her my allegiance, and express contempt for her courts% [8?] &he effect of a good go ernment is to make life more aluable@of a bad one, to make it less aluable% >e can afford that railroad and all merely material stock should lose some of its alue, for that only compels us to li e more simply and economically" but suppose that the alue of life itself should be diminishedC ,o# can #e make a less demand on man and nature, ho# li e more economically in respect to irtue and all noble 4ualities, than #e do7 I ha e li ed for the last month@and I think that e ery man in !assachusetts capable of the sentiment of patriotism must ha e had a similar experience@#ith the sense of ha ing suffered a ast and indefinite loss% I did not kno# at first #hat ailed me% 6t last it occurred to me that #hat I had lost #as a country% I had ne er respected the go ernment near to #hich I li ed, but I had foolishly thought that I might manage to li e here, minding my pri ate affairs, and forget it% .or my part, my old and #orthiest pursuits ha e lost I cannot say ho# much of their attraction, and I feel that my in estment in life here is #orth many per cent less since !assachusetts last deliberately sent back an innocent man, 6nthony *urns, to sla ery% I d#elt before, perhaps, in the illusion that my life passed some#here only bet#een hea en and hell, but no# I cannot persuade myself that I do not d#ell #holly #ithin hell% &he site of that political organization called !assachusetts is to me morally co ered #ith olcanic scoriae and cinders, such as !ilton describes in the infernal regions% If there is any hell more unprincipled than our rulers, and #e, the ruled, I feel curious to see it% Life itself being #orth less, all things #ith it, #hich minister to it, are #orth less% /uppose you ha e a small library, #ith pictures to adorn the #alls@a garden laid out around@and contemplate scientific and literary pursuits%Gc%, and disco er all at once that your illa, #ith all its contents is located in hell, and that the justice of the peace has a clo en foot and a forked tail@do not these things suddenly lose their alue in your eyes7 [8A] I feel that, to some extent, the /tate has fatally interfered #ith my la#ful business% It has not only interrupted me in my passage through Court /treet on errands of trade, but it has interrupted me and e ery man on his on#ard and up#ard path, on #hich he had trusted soon to lea e Court /treet far behind% >hat right had it to remind me of Court /treet7 I ha e found that hollo# #hich e en I had relied on for solid%  I am surprised to see men going about their business as if nothing had happened% I say to myself,
2BnfortunatesC they ha e not heard the ne#s%2 I am surprised that the man #hom I just met on horseback should be so earnest to o ertake his ne#ly bought co#s running a#ay@since all property is insecure, and if they do not run a#ay again, they may be taken a#ay from him #hen he gets them% .oolC does he not kno# that his seed9corn is #orth less this year@that all beneficent har ests fail as you approach the empire of hell7 $o prudent man #ill build a stone house under these circumstances, or engage in any peaceful enterprise #hich it re4uires a long time to accomplish% 6rt is as long as e er, but life is more interrupted and less a ailable for a man=s proper pursuits% It is not an era of repose% >e ha e used up all our inherited freedom% If #e #ould sa e our li es, #e must fight for them% [8D] I #alk to#ard one of our ponds" but #hat signifies the beauty of nature #hen men are base7 >e #alk to lakes to see our serenity reflected in them" #hen #e are not serene, #e go not to them% >ho can be serene in a country #here both the rulers and the ruled are #ithout principle7 &he remembrance of my country spoils my #alk% !y thoughts are murder to the /tate, and in oluntarily go plotting against her%  *ut it chanced the other day that I scented a #hite #ater9lily, and a season I had #aited for had arri ed% It is the emblem of purity% It bursts up so pure and fair to the eye, and so s#eet to the scent, as if to sho# us #hat purity and s#eetness reside in, and can be extracted from, the slime and muck of earth% I think I ha e plucked the first one that has opened for a mile% >hat confirmation of our hopes is in the fragrance of this flo#erC I shall not so soon despair of the #orld for it, not#ithstanding sla ery, and the co#ardice and #ant of principle of $orthern men% It suggests #hat kind of la#s ha e pre ailed longest and #idest, and still pre ail, and that the time may come #hen man=s deeds #ill smell as s#eet% /uch is the odor #hich the plant emits% If $ature can compound this fragrance still annually, I shall belie e her still young and full of igor, her integrity and genius unimpaired, and that there is irtue e en in man, too, #ho is fitted to percei e and lo e it% It reminds me that $ature has been partner to no !issouri Compromise% I scent no compromise in the fragrance of the #ater9lily% It is not a $ymphoea +ouglasii% In it, the s#eet, and pure, and innocent are #holly sundered from the obscene and baleful% I do not scent in this the time9ser ing irresolution of a !assachusetts <o ernor, nor of a *oston !ayor% /o beha e that the odor of your actions may enhance the general s#eetness of the atmosphere, that #hen #e behold or scent a flo#er, #e may not be reminded ho# inconsistent your deeds are #ith it" for all odor is but one form of ad ertisement of a moral 4uality, and if fair actions had not been performed, the lily #ould not smell s#eet% &he foul slime stands for the sloth and ice of man, the decay of humanity" the fragrant flo#er that springs from it, for the purity and courage #hich are immortal%  /la ery and ser ility ha e produced no s#eet9scented flo#er annually, to charm the senses of men, for they ha e no real lifeH they are merely a decaying and a death, offensi e to all healthy nostrils% >e do not complain that they li e, but that they do not get buried% Let the li ing bury themH e en they are good for manure%
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.