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[284] of a small city of workmen; and once again his chosen work seemed to lie before him. But going now into a Border State at the moment of the great election of 1860, and remaining there during the following five months, Lowell could not fail to find himself brought into more positive relations than ever before to political affairs, and his long-cherished plans of professional activity thrown into abeyance by the urgent anxieties and excitements of that disturbed winter. He had, for years, been a decided enemy to slavery and to the system by which it was supported. He had, at times, been strongly excited by public events. It is said that the argument of his Commencement Oration ‘derives the passion of a personal feeling from his indignation at the then recent surrender of Anthony Burns.’ But his opinions, though radical, were not generally violent, and, even in some of his last letters, it is evident that his mind dwelt above the range of the ordinary thought of any political party.

In December he visited New Orleans on business connected with the mill, and he wrote to his mother on his return:—

Mt. Savage, December 28, 1860.

I suppose you fancied me burned, or at least barrelled; but after all, I suppose I ran less risk than friend——exposed himself to in panic-stricken Boston. Perhaps I did not merit martyrdom so richly, however, and certainly I should not have enjoyed it so keenly. I must say I have no sympathy with those John-Brownists, nor do I believe they will make much out of the “Free-speech” cry. It was a piece of rowdyism to break up their meeting, but was at the same time a proof the more how free speech is in Massachusetts. Fancy a parcel of Union-savers breaking up a fanatical Southern-rights meeting in New Orleans, and you have an exact parallel. But in New Orleans a Union lover dare not speak under his breath. Beyond “co-operation” no man's courage hath yet ventured. This to be sure means “time” ; and “time” means “submission” ; but even co-operation finds few and feeble advocates, though I believe the vote of New Orleans city will show a large majority for Union. I was present at that great historical act, the unfurling of the “Pelican flag,” when news was received of South Carolina's secession. It was an instructive spectacle. I wonder

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