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There is not in this world a sadder spectacle than that which is presented by a seedy, second-hand. clergyman, who has been turned out of his pulpit, writing letters to the newspapers in favor of Slavery upon Shem-Ham-and-Japheth principles. It is astonishing, considering what a poor figure such people cut, that they will persist in cutting it. But they never learn anything, and still stick to notions which were antiquated long before these choppers of cheap logic were born.

For instance, here is the Rev. “Biblius” --for so he signs himself — writing to The Boston Courier after the interrogative, Socratic fashion of Bishop Berkeley and President Lord, to inquire “whether Slavery, as a variety of human government, does not stand im mutably in the will of God, during the present distracted and probationary state of earth and man,” which seems to us very much like asking whether, while we continue to sin, we shall not remain wicked. The reverend writer is of the opinion that Congress should initiate no measure of Emancipation, because it would be an interference with “the predicted blessings of Shem, the enlargement of Japheth, and the restraint of licentious Ham, for the better conservation of the world, otherwise liable to revert to the state of Babel.” The reader need n't laugh. We say that all this is before us, printed in serious black and white. Here is a man in the Nineteenth Century who is actually afraid of a new Tower of Babel! [225] Why does he not go farther? Why does he not predict that Emancipation will be followed, maugre the rainbow, by another flood? or by a plague of boils and blains?

This threat of polyglot confusion is alarming. We shall be found, some fine morning, talking Chinese to our neighbor who understands only Choctaw. Both the great dictionaries will become worthless. The whole world will be given to lunatic jabber, and all because of Emancipation! But worse will follow. Shem will be swindled out of his “predicted blessings.” Japhet will be ensmalled, and not “enlarged.” “The licentious Ham” will break loose, and cut all sorts of unscriptural capers. The prospect is unspeakably dreadful! The excellent “Biblius” thinks that “study would doubtless have prevented the civil war.” But it is never too late to mend. Let us all beg, buy or borrow dictionaries and go at it! Congress is always purchasing this thing or that — seeds, pictures, patent plows — and why should n't it invest a million or so, in these plenteous times, in lexicons and chrestomathies! Is n't it evident that if we are to be saved, it must be, not by Major nor even by Brigadier Generals, but by sound professors of Hebrew.

At any rate, something should be done. The universe has not been in such a perilous condition since the war of the Titans. Divine Providence is in a dangerous way; and it is certainly odd that our only safeguard against “the premature catastrophe of nations” should be communications in The Boston Courier. Let us all go at our “Aleph-Beth-Gimmel” [226] at once; for if we do n't, who knows what mischief may be done when Ham gets a good opportunity to break Shem's head! We do not think that we shall hereafter support any man for the Presidency who is not well up in his Hebrew, points and all. It will never do to have Providence thwarted in this loose way.

March 22, 1862

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