during the fugitive-slave period—and may destroy the very liberties it seeks to preserve.
When it comes to personal ideals, again, it makes all the difference in the world whether the ideals are to be of the genuine kind, or merely composed of a court dress and a few jewels.
There is something noble in the reverence for an ideal, even if the object of reverence be ill-selected.
There is a fine passage in Heine
's fragmentary papers on England
, where he suddenly comes, among the London
docks, to a great ship just from some Oriental
port, breathing of the gorgeous East
, and manned with a crew of dark Mohammedans of many tribes.
Weary of the land around him, and yearning for the strange world from which they came, he yet could not utter a word of their language, till at last he thought of a mode of greeting.
Stretching forth his hands reverently, he cried, ‘Mohammed!’
Joy flashed over their dark faces, and assuming a reverent posture, they answered, ‘Bonaparte
!’It matters not whether either of these heroes was a false prophet, he stood for a personal ideal, such as no mere king or nobleman can represent;