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Decline of Beecher Stowe

--The silly cant which concluded Lord Russell's speech — the appeal to the passions and prejudices of a bygone age, when Englishmen knew no more about Southern slavery than Mrs H B Stowe could tell them — the endeavor to cover a false position and wind up successfully a lame defence by eliciting a cheer for emancipation — was worthy of no audience above the level of a tavern debating society. The blunder showed how completely the speaker mistook the general feeling not only of his immediate audience, but of English society in general. Once satisfied that the negro, though called a slave, enjoys as much happiness and personal freedom as he is capable of turning to good account, no educated Englishman is disposed to indulge in sentimental pity for his imaginary degradation; while the manful efforts of a people of English blood, inheriting to the full our English love of liberty and pride of national independence, to preserve the rights they have hitherto maintained inviolate, to defend their country and their homes against a foreign invader, appeal to all our strongest most generous, and most universal sympathies. No one can enter any numerous society of Englishmen, from the House of Commons downwards, without perceiving that this is the dominant feeling in regard to the American war; that while the sentiments of Earl Russell are shared only by a few eccentric sentimentalists or narrow minded political fanatics, the sympathies of educated men for the Confederate cause — distinctly as the cause of freemen battling for freedom — are strong and almost universal. Three years ago Lord Russell's affectation of Abolitionist enthusiasm would have been, in almost every circle, the correct thing — a hollow but decorous formality; now it is an hypocrisy without motive or purpose, a homage to prejudices which are forgotten, and an offence to feelings which are general, warm, and vivid. --London Standard, May 2.

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Beecher Stowe (2)
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February, 5 AD (1)
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