While, on the one hand, imaginary evils may be called up, on the other, we cannot be too Argus-eyed to detect real ones.
Upon this point we conceive that our 4th of July Orators generally fail.
Their orations should be composed, not merely of rhapsodies upon the deeds of our fathers —of a tame repetition of the wrongs which they suffered, of ceaseless apostrophes to liberty, and fierce denunciations of tyranny—but they should also abound with wholesome political axioms and reflections—the rock should be pointed out upon which other nations have split—the pruning-knife should lop off every excrescence of vanity—and our follies and virtues should be skilfully held up in equal light.
There is one theme which should be dwelt upon, till our whole country is free from the curse—it is slavery.’
These slight allusions to the theme which afterwards engrossed his life are all that can be detected in the editorial columns of the Free Press
during Mr. Garrison
's conduct of it. The most important episode of his editorial career in Newburyport
remains to be described.
With the exception of the first number, in which Percival
's poem on ‘New England
’ was given the place of honor, each issue of the Free Press
contained one or more of Mrs. Hemans
's poems; and without these it is doubtful if the editor would have attempted to give a column of poetry every week.
Very few original poems were sent to him that were worth printing, but in the twelfth number of his paper there appeared some verses entitled ‘The Exile's Departure,’ of which the first will suffice to show the measure and quality:
Fond scenes, which delighted my youthful existence,1
With feelings of sorrow I bid ye adieu—
A lasting adieu!
for now, dim in the distance,
The shores of Hibernia recede from my view.
Farewell to the cliffs, tempest-beaten and grey.
Which guard the lov'd shores of my own native land;
Farewell to the village and sail-shadow'd bay,
The forest-crown'd hill and the water-wash'd strand.
They were signed ‘W., Haverhill
, June 1, 1826,’ and a note on the preceding page indicated that the editor had received them with unusual satisfaction: