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[302] criticising law cannot be trusted, then Puritanism is a mistake, for the sanctity of individual judgment is the lesson of Massachusetts history in 1620 and 1830. We accepted anarchy as the safest. The Puritan said: “Human nature is sinful;” so the earth is accursed since the fall; but I cannot find anything better than this old earth to build on; I must put my corner-stone upon it, cursed as it is; I cannot lay hold of the battlements of heaven. So Puritanism said: “Human nature is sinful, but it is the best basis we have got. We will build upon it, and we will trust the influences of God, the inherent gravitation of the race toward right, that it will end right.”

I affirm that this is the lesson of our history,--that the world is fluid; that we are on the ocean; that we cannot get rid of the people, and we do not want to; that the millions are our basis; and that God has set us this task: “If you want good institutions, do not try to bulwark out the ocean of popular thought, educate it. If you want good laws, earn them.” Conservatism says: “I can make my own hearthstone safe; I can build a bulwark of gold and bayonets about it high as heaven and deep as hell, and nobody can touch me, and that is enough.” Puritanism says: “It is a delusion; it is a refuge of lies; it is not safe; the waters of popular instinct will carry it away. If you want your own cradle safe, make the cradle of every other man safe and pure. Educate the people up to the law you want.” How? They cannot stop for books. Show them manhood. Show them a brave act. What has John Brown done for us? The world doubted over the horrid word “insurrection,” whether the victim had a right to arrest the course of his master, and even at any expense of blood, to vindicate his rights; and Brown said to his neighbors in the old school-house at North Elba, sitting among the

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