repaying certain debts, contracted long before by his sister, at the time when she was the support and protector of the household. These debts were all due to very friendly creditors, yet he wrote joyfully when all was done: ‘Margaret's debts are all paid, every dollar. That sacred trust to us is now fulfilled.’ In the midst of these pursuits came the call to arms, after the attack on Fort Sumter. Watertown, like other villages, had its war meeting, which was addressed by the Unitarian minister among others. A newspaper narrative describes his speech as follows:—
Rev. Arthur B. Fuller protested against “any further compromise with slavery. Thus far, and no farther.” He was in favor of the Constitution of these United States. He was in favor of a settlement; but, in the language of Honorable Charles Sumner, “Nothing is ever settled that is not settled right.” Let us stand right ourselves, and then we can demand right from others. He urged the Republicans to stand by the election of Lincoln and Hamlin. . . . . He was opposed to compromise,— even to the admission of New Mexico,--because it would be in violation of our platform, and at variance with the opinions of such honored statesmen as Webster and Clay, and because it interdicted the spirit of the Gospel.He at once began to visit the camps for religious exhortation; was soon elected chaplain of the Sixteenth Massachusetts Infantry, and was commissioned as such, August 1, 1861. In his letter of resignation, he thus stated to his parish his motives:—
The moral and religious welfare of our patriotic soldiery cannot be neglected, save to the demoralization and permanent spiritual injury of those who are perilling their all in our country's cause. The regiment represents Middlesex County on the tented field, the county in which I was born, and which my honored father represented in our national Congress; and one company is from Watertown, where for nearly two years I have been a settled minister,— circumstances which give this call of duty a peculiar claim upon my mind and heart. I am willing to peril life for the welfare of our brave soldiery and in our country's cause. If God requires that sacrifice of me, it shall be offered on the altar of freedom, and in defence of all that is good in American institutions.