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[353] as inciting to disunion and anarchy?

And who could expect that half a century of such utter perversion of the plainest, least equivocal, most obvious terms, should not bear bitter fruit? The inebriate, who fancies the square in which he lives revolving about him, and gravely holds his latch-key in hand, waiting till his door shall in due order present itself, labors under substantially the same hallucination, and is usually certain to cherish it until he awakes to prosaic realities — to bruises, self-reproach, headache, and remorse.1

Nearly forty years ago, the great and good Channing, after listening to Benjamin Lundy, wrote to Mr. Webster in apprehension that the South would regard and resent any attempt at the North to promote or hasten the removal of her giant curse as impelled by hostility or ill-will, though nothing was further from our intention.2 The good Doctor can scarcely have read with adequate attention, or at least not with the utmost profit, the urgent, impassioned adjurations of the demoniacs to the Saviour of mankind, for forbearance and “non-intervention.” “Let us alone,” was their habitual entreaty: “What have we to do with thee?” “Art thou come to torment us before the time” No delicacy of handling, no gentleness of treatment, could have pacified them: they must be left undisturbed and unobserved, or irritation and excitement were unavoidable.

Twenty or thirty years ago, there existed in Charleston, S. C., an association for social and intellectual enjoyment, known as “The Wistar

1 Von Muller, one of the present King of Prussia's grave and reverend councilors of state, in his younger and wittier days, celebrated this inversion of the perceptive faculties, in verses still popular in Germany, and which have been rendered into English, as follows:

Out of the Tavern.

Out of the tavern I've just stepped to-night:
Street! you are caught in a very bad plight;
Right hand and left are both out of place--
Street! you are drunk!--‘t is a very clear case!

Moon! ‘t is a very queer figure you cut--
One eye is staring, whilst t‘ other is shut;
Tipsy, I see; and you're greatly to blame:
Old as you are, ‘t is a terrible shame.

Then the street lamps-what a scandalous sight!
None of them soberly standing upright;
Rocking and swaggering — why, on my word,
Each of the lamps is as drunk as a lord!

All is confusion — now isn't it odd,
I am the only thing sober abroad?
Sure it were rash with this crew to remain;
Better go into the tavern again.


2 The following is a portion of Dr. Channing's letter:

Boston, May 14, 1848.
my dear Sir:--I wish to call your attention to a subject of general interest.

A little while ago, Mr. Lundy, of Baltimore, the editor of a paper called “ The Genius of Universal Emancipation,” visited this part of the country to stir us up to the work of abolishing Slavery at the South; and the intention is to organize societies for this purpose. I know of few objects into which I should enter with more zeal; but I am aware how cautiously exertions are to be made for it in this part of the country. I know that our Southern brethren interpret every word from this region on the subject of Slavery as an expression of hostility. I would ask if they cannot be brought to understand us better, and if we can do any good till we remove their misapprehensions. It seems to me that, before moving in this matter, we ought to say to them distinctly: “We consider Slavery as your calamity, not your crime; and we will share with you the burden of putting an end to it. We will consent that the public lands shall be appropriated to this object; or that the General Government shall be clothed with power to apply a portion of revenue to it.”

I throw out these suggestions merely to illustrate my views. We must first let the Southern States see that we are their friends in this affair; that we sympathize with them, and, from principles of patriotism and philanthropy, are willing to share the toil and expense of abolishing Slavery; or I fear our interference will avail nothing. I am the more sensitive on this subject, from my increased solicitude for the preservation of the Union. I know no public interest so important as this.


Webster's Works, vol. v., p. 366.

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