early days of struggle and privation, through the trials of the Revolution, the clergy are associated not only with the piety and the learning, but with the liberties of the country.
New England for a long time was governed by their prayers more than by any acts of the Legislature; and at a later day their voices aided even the Declaration of Independence.
The clergy of our time speak, then, not only from their own virtues, but from echoes yet surviving in the pulpits of their fathers.
He welcomed the uprising of the North
, already manifest, and in prophetic words forewarned the Senate of the coming of civil strife—
Sir Philip Sidney, speaking to Queen Elizabeth of the spirit in the Netherlands animating every man, woman, and child against the Spanish power, exclaimed: “It is the spirit of the Lord, and is irresistible.”
A kindred spirit now animates the free States against the slave-power, breathing everywhere its involuntary inspiration, and forbidding repose under the attempted usurpation.
It is the spirit of the Lord, and is irresistible.
The threat of disunion, too often sounded in our ears, will be disregarded by an aroused and indignant people.
Ah, sir, senators vainly expect peace.
Not in this way can peace come.
In passing such a bill as is now threatened you scatter, from this dark midnight hour, no seeds of harmony and good-will, but broadcast through the land dragons' teeth, which haply may not spring up in direful crops of armed men, yet I am assured, sir, will fructify in civil strife and feud.
From the depths of my soul, as loyal citizen and as senator, I plead, remonstrate, protest against the passage of this bill.
I struggle against it as against death; but as in death itself corruption puts on incorruption, and this mortal body puts on immortality, so from the sting of this hour I find assurance of that triumph by which freedom will be restored to her immortal birthright in the republic.
To him the measure about to pass was at once the worst and the best on which Congress had ever acted,—the worst
, as it was a present victory of slavery, with woes and crimes in its track; and the lest
, as annulling all past compromises with slavery, and making any future compromise impossible, and putting the opposing forces face to face in a grapple where the triumph of freedom was assured.
Closing, he said:—
Thus, sir, standing at the very grave of freedom in Nebraska and Kansas, I lift myself to the vision of that happy resurrection by which freedom will be assured, not only in these territories, but everywhere under the national government.
More clearly than ever before, I now penetrate that great future when slavery must disappear.
Proudly I discern the flag of my country as it ripples in every breeze,—at last in reality, as in name, the flag of freedom, undoubted, pure, and irresistible.
Am I not right, then, in calling this bill the best on which Congress ever acted?
Sorrowfully I bend before the wrong you commit,—joyfully I welcome the promise of the future.