previous next
[305] Thanks to God, I said, as I read it, a hunker cannot live in Massachusetts without being wider awake than he imagines. He must imbibe fanaticism. Insurrection is epidemic in the State; treason is our inheritance. The Puritans planted it in the very structure of the State; and when their children try to curse a martyr, like the prophet of old, half the curse, at least, turns into a blessing. I thank God for that Massachusetts! Let us not blame our neighbors too much. There is something in the very atmosphere that stands above the ashes of the Puritans that prevents the most servile of hearts from holding a meeting which the despots of Virginia can relish. They do not know how to be servile within forty miles of Plymouth. They have not learned the part; with all their wish, they play it awkwardly. It is the old stiff Puritan trying to bend, and they do it with a marvellous lack of grace.

I read encouragement in the very signs, the awkward attempts made to resist this very effort of the glorious martyr of the northern hills of New York. Virginia herself looks into his face, and melts; she has nothing but praises. She tries to scan his traits; they are too manly, and she bows. Her press can only speak of his manhood. One has to get outside the influence of his personal presence before the slaves of Virginia can dig up a forgotten Kansas lie, and hurl it against the picture which Virginian admiration has painted. That does not come from Virginia. Northern men volunteer to do the work which Virginia, lifted for a moment by the sight of martyrdom, is unable to accomplish. A Newburyport man comes to Boston, and says that he knows John Brown was at the massacre of Pottawatomie. He was only twenty-five miles off! The Newburyport orator gets within thirty miles of the truth, and that is very near,--for him! But Virginia was unable — mark

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
John Brown (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: