Tuesday, March 30, 1943

The Charlotte News

Tuesday, March 30, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reported that General Montgomery's forces, having smashed the Mareth Line, had now captured Gabes twenty miles north. The flanking column to the north had also secured El Hamma. That left all remaining forces of Rommel still inside the fifteen by twenty mile square north of the Mareth Line in an inescapable net.

Meanwhile, Rommel's column sought succor north in Sfax, as Patton's forces continued their drive along the last mountain redoubt between El Guettar and the coast. The northern column of Patton, which had captured Fondouk on Saturday, was moving toward Kairouan, location of a major Axis airbase. A French column also moved in that direction from across the Ousseltia Plain.

The RAF conducted another major air raid on Berlin, the second in three nights, suffering the most losses of planes in a single raid since September, 21 confirmed as shot down and 12 missing, and the second greatest number of losses in any previous raid on Berlin, having lost 22 in mid-January. It was not clear yet whether the number was indicative of a particularly large raid, suggesting as many as 400 to 600 planes based on the usual 5% rate of loss, or was the result of increased German air defenses for the city.

In Russia, movement continued toward Smolensk in the central sector while heavy fighting stilled German advances in the Donets River basin to the south.

A lighter winter snow suggested a less severe thawing river of resultant muddied black earth through which to maintain infantry operations, depending on the amount of spring rain to follow. The snow melt normally produced in the area a slush which was described as having the consistency of molasses and cement. This news was likely on balance not good, as for every Red Army unit able thus to proceed, a generally better equipped and reinforced Nazi unit also was able to advance.

Russian sources reported that the Soviet Army had taken their toll on the Luftwaffe's air capability by shooting down fully 3,000 planes during the current winter offensive begun November 21, through mid-winter. Some 1,200 had been removed from the flying ranks in the Battle of Stalingrad alone.

The French appeared to be settling their differences on the command structure as General Giraud had reached agreement with General Catroux, representing the Fighting French forces and De Gaullists, whereby Giraud would head military operations in North Africa and Catroux would lead the French government overseas. Though still left unclear, General De Gaulle would likely be placed in charge of all French continental interests, to become of central importance once France was invaded and liberated.

On the editorial page, "No Strikes" recaps the subject of labor strikes since Pearl Harbor, indicating that the Congress had stood ready in December, 1941 to pass no-strike legislation when the President intervened to work a compromise by obtaining agreement from Labor to submit all disputes over wages and hours to arbitration before the War Labor Board. Although not entirely suitable to industry for leaving out the desired bar for the duration to Labor contentions for closed shops and for some of the appointed Board's membership not being properly representative of business, it had worked thus far to reduce by two-thirds, versus those in 1941, the number of man-days in 1942 lost from strikes. Yet, the number, over six and a half million man-days, was about equal to that of 1940.

The front page reported that Congress stood ready to pass anti-strike legislation were the negotiations broken off with a strike in the bituminous coal industry crisis of the previous month. The previous week, the miners had agreed to extend for thirty days their April 1 deadline to enable further negotiations without a strike, with negotiated wage improvements to be made retroactive to April 1.

"The Stigma" offers the belief that General Eisenhower, even if the final report on the debacle at Kasserine Pass, as suggested, would lay a share of the blame at his feet, for supposedly approving the plans of now-relieved General Lloyd Frendendall to thin and spread his defensive lines on the western side of the pass, would emerge as a hero of the war nevertheless, that for the fact that victory in the end was what counted. And all signs now pointed to victory in North Africa.

The editorial of course was correct in this assessment.

"Slow Down"--not the title of a song to which we used to listen repeatedly every morning before going to school in the fall of 1964--, counsels harsh treatment for two teenaged automobile racers who injured two children along city streets on the previous Sunday. One had been recently acquitted for killing a man with an automobile.

Simple solution for hot-rodders in this time of war: send the one over eighteen to join the air corps, wherein he could obtain all the thrills of speed he might need and then some.

Samuel Grafton finds that the country's policy in coddling Fascists in North Africa and in offering kid-glove treatment to Franco in Spain bespoke a smallness of international stature, one not demonstrated by much smaller and less powerful countries in Latin America who had embraced the Spanish Republicans as heroes. He suggested that America was gradually losing its place as a pre-eminent power on the world stage by such erratic policy and that, historically, great countries lost their places thusly, "not with a bang, but a whimper".

Raymond Clapper analyzes the impact of the visit, just ended, to the United States by Sir Anthony Eden, assesses it as a success for its modest goals, to lay the foundation for a post-war working cooperation between the United States and Great Britain to form a strong United Nations organization with worldwide police powers to enforce against territorial aggression. The British Foreign Minister's goal, Mr. Clapper says, was not, as that of the recent visit by Madame Chiang, either to foster positive relations per se with the American people or to plan war strategy. The latter had been accomplished insofar as the United States and Great Britain were concerned by the Casablanca conference in January. The former would be left to Mr. Churchill. Mr. Eden was primarily, insofar as the American people were concerned, an observer to gauge opinion to see what the consensus attitude was regarding the post-war world order.

A piece by Dr. W. P. Jacobs, president of Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina, quotes Alexis de Tocqueville as authority for the notion that America’s greatness lay with its enduring respect for God. He believes that more stress should be given by the American people first to winning the war than to post-war planning.

In "American Song", The News announces an intention to present a series of abstracts from American literature which it deemed to celebrate the traditional American spirit, a spirit which it believed was flagging at home during recent times. The first in the series was a passage from The Devil and Daniel Webster, by Stephen Vincent Benét, passed away at age 44 on March 13.

In Profiles in Courage, John F. Kennedy, in his chapter on Daniel Webster, sub-captioned, "..not as a Massachusetts man but as an American…" described Senator Webster as the most able of Americans never to become president, a man who could have achieved that goal in all likelihood but for his consistently placing principle above political achievement.

The chapter, which begins by referencing The Devil and Daniel Webster as the starting juncture for most Americans' knowledge of this preeminent native statesman, recounts Senator Webster's reluctant support for the Compromise of 1850, to admit California as a free state, while leaving New Mexico and Utah territories to settle the question of admission of slavery on their own, compensating Texas for territory ceded to New Mexico, abolition of trade in slaves imported to the District of Columbia, and the passage of a more strict and more easily enforceable Fugitive Slave law. Though the Compromise, with its concessions to slavery, was abhorrent to everything for which Webster stood throughout his lengthy political and public career, he nevertheless acceded to the importuning of Henry Clay who came to him January 21, 1850 and exhorted that he employ his legendary gifts of spellbinding elocution and erudition to electrify the spirit of the Congress in support of the Compromise and thus assure its passage against its Southern opposition, led by the fiery rhetorician of the South, John C. Calhoun.

By doing so and obtaining the passage of the act, not only did Webster alienate forever the South, but also by equal measures his native New England where, led by William Lloyd Garrison, talk among Abolitionists of dissolution of the Union had been equally virulent to that sweeping the Southern states in the time leading up to the proposal of the Compromise.

The outcome pleased no one. Yet, it saved for another decade the Union from collapse and resulting civil war.

Senator Kennedy pointed out in 1957 that even one of such ordinarily genteel equanimity as John Greenleaf Whittier had penned a biting poem anent the lost glory of Daniel Webster in the wake of his compromise with sin, abetting sustenance of the vitality of slavery.

Nevertheless, Senator Webster failed in no wise to be able to continue to view himself squarely in the mirror: "If the chances had been one in a thousand that Civil War would be the result, I should still have felt that thousandth chance should be guarded against by any reasonable sacrifice."

His chances ever to be nominated for the presidency were vanished, but he had, with his indelible eloquence in this single speech of March 7, 1850, erased for the nonce the palpably exigent urge toward secession in both the North and the South.

Quoting at its conclusion from The Iliad, Senator Webster's salutary rhetoric is set forth below. The speech is divided into three primary sections: his defense of the duties of government pursuant to fugitive slave laws, by Article IV, Section 2, clause 3, constitutionally mandated; his finding in the rhetoric of the Abolitionist cause of the previous twenty years an honorable but overly impassioned stirring of trouble abroad the land which had only served, he opines, to tighten the chains of slavery, threatening the very fabric of the country; and, finally, his belief in the inviolability of the Union, that to discuss a slave-holding territory of a "Southern Confederacy" divorced peaceably from the free states of the North was to talk of parting the universe of stars without consequence, that it could not be done and leave any form of viable government for either section, the one dependent on the other for political and economic life.

The speech, indeed, almost seems to echo in parts to Samuel Grafton's editorial of the day, as well as to inform the piece by the president of Presbyterian College.

Mr. President,

--I wish to speak to-day, not as a Massachusetts man, nor as a Northern man, but as an American, and a member of the Senate of the United States. It is fortunate that there is a Senate of the United States; a body not yet moved from its propriety, not lost to a just sense of its own dignity and its own high responsibilities, and a body to which the country looks, with confidence, for wise, moderate, patriotic, and healing counsels. It is not to be denied that we live in the midst of strong agitations, and are surrounded by very considerable dangers to our institutions and our government. The imprisoned winds are let loose. The East, the North, and the stormy South combine to throw the whole sea into commotion, to toss its billows to the skies, and disclose its profoundest depths. I do not affect to regard myself, Mr. President, as holding, or as fit to hold, the helm in this combat with the political elements; but I have a duty to perform, and I mean to perform it with fidelity, not without a sense of existing dangers, but not without hope. I have a part to act, not for my own security or safety, for I am looking out for no fragment upon which to float away from the wreck, if wreck there must be, but for the good of the whole, and the preservation of all; and there is that which will keep me to my duty during this struggle, whether the sun and the stars shall appear, or shall not appear for many days. I speak to-day for the preservation of the Union. "Hear me for my cause." I speak to-day, out of a solicitous and anxious heart for the restoration to the country of that quiet and harmonious harmony which make the blessings of this Union so rich, and so dear to us all. These are the topics I propose to myself to discuss; these are the motives, and the sole motives, that influence me in the wish to communicate my opinions to the Senate and the country; and if I can do any thing, however little, for the promotion of these ends, I shall have accomplished all that I expect...

Now, Sir, upon the general nature and influence of slavery there exists a wide difference of opinion between the northern portion of this country and the southern. It is said on the one side, that, although not the subject of any injunction or direct prohibition in the New Testament, slavery is a wrong; that it is founded merely in the right of the strongest; and that is an oppression, like unjust wars, like all those conflicts by which a powerful nation subjects a weaker to its will; and that, in its nature, whatever may be said of it in the modifications which have taken place, it is not according to the meek spirit of the Gospel. It is not "kindly affectioned"; it does not "seek another's, and not its own"; it does not "let the oppressed go free". These are the sentiments that are cherished, and of late with greatly augmented force, among the people of the Northern States. They have taken hold of the religious sentiment of that part of the country, as they have, more or less, taken hold of the religious feeling of a considerable portion of mankind. The South, upon the other side, having been accustomed to this relation between two races all their lives, from their birth, having been taught, in general, to treat the subjects of this bondage with care and kindness, and I believe, in general, feeling great kindness for them, have not taken the view of the subject which I have mentioned. There are thousands of religious men, with consciences as tender as any of their brethren at the North, who do not see the unlawfulness of slavery; and there are more thousands, perhaps, that whatsoever they may think of it in its origin, and as a matter depending upon natural right, yet take things as they are, and, finding slavery to be an established relation of the society in which they live, can see no way in which, let their opinions on the abstract question be what they may, it is in the power of the present generation to relieve themselves from this relation. And candor obliges me to say, that I believe they are just as conscientious, many of them, and the religious people, all of them, as they are at the North who hold different opinions.

The honorable Senator from South Carolina [John C. Calhoun] the other day alluded to the separation of that great religious community, the Methodist Episcopal Church. That separation was brought about by differences of opinion upon this particular subject of slavery. I felt great concern, as that dispute went on, about the result. I was in hopes that the difference of opinion might be adjusted, because I looked upon that religious denomination as one of the great props of religion and morals throughout the whole country, from Maine to Georgia, and westward to our utmost boundary. The result was against my wishes and against my hopes. I have read all their proceedings and all their arguments; but I have never yet been able to come to the conclusion that there was any real ground for that separation; in other words, that any good could be produced by that separation. I must say I think there was some want of candor or charity. Sir, when a question of this kind seizes on the religious sentiments of mankind, and comes to be discussed in religious assemblies of the clergy and laity, there is always to be expected, or always to be feared, a great degree of excitement. It is in the nature of man, manifested in his whole history, that religious disputes are apt to become warm in proportion to the strength of the convictions which men entertain of the magnitude of the questions at issue. In all such disputes, there will sometimes be found men with whom every thing is absolute; absolutely wrong, or absolutely right. They see the right clearly; they think others ought so to see it, and they are disposed to establish a broad line of distinction between what is right and what is wrong. They are not seldom willing to establish that line upon their own convictions of truth or justice; and are ready to mark and guard it by placing along it a series of dogmas, as lines of boundary on the earth's surface are marked by posts and stones. There are men who, with clear perception, as they think, of their own duty, do not see how too eager a pursuit of one duty may involve them in the violation of others, or how too warm an embracement of one truth may lead to a disregard of other truths equally important. As I heard it stated strongly, not many days ago, these persons are disposed to mount upon some particular duty, as upon a war-horse, and to drive furiously on and upon and over all other duties that may stand in the way. There are men who, in reference to disputes of that sort, are of the opinion that human duties may be ascertained with the exactness of mathematics. They deal with morals as with mathematics; and they think what is right may be distinguished from what is wrong with the precision of an algebraic equation. They have, therefore, none too much charity towards others who differ from them. They are apt, too, to think that nothing is good but what is perfect, and that there are no compromises or modifications to be made in consideration of difference of opinion or in deference to other men's judgment. If their perspicacious vision enables them to detect a spot on the face of the sun, they think that a good reason why the sun should be struck down from heaven. They prefer the chance of running into utter darkness to living in heavenly light, if that heavenly light be not absolutely without any imperfection. There are impatient men; too impatient always to give heed to the admonition of St. Paul, that we are not to "do evil that good may come"; too impatient to wait for the slow progress of moral causes in the improvement of mankind...

Mr. President, in the excited times in which we live, there is found to exist a state of crimination and recrimination between the North and South. There are lists of grievances produced by each; and those grievances, real or supposed, alienate the minds of one portion of the country from the other, exasperate the feelings, and subdue the sense of fraternal affection, patriotic love, and mutual regard. I shall bestow a little attention, Sir, upon these various grievances existing on the one side and on the other. I begin with complaints of the South. I will not answer, further than I have, the general statements of the honorable Senator from South Carolina, that the North has prospered at the expense of the South in consequence of the manner of administering this government, in the collecting of its revenues, and so forth. These are disputed topics, and I have no inclination to enter into them. But I will allude to the other complaints of the South, and especially to one which has in my opinion just foundation; and that is, that there has been found at the North, among individuals and among legislators, a disinclination to perform fully their constitutional duties in regard to the return of persons bound to service who have escaped into the free States. In that respect, the South, in my judgment, is right, and the North is wrong. Every member of every Northern legislature is bound by oath, like every other officer in the country, to support the Constitution of the United States; and the article of the Constitution which says to these States that they shall deliver up fugitives from service is as binding in honor and conscience as any other article. No man fulfills his duty in any legislature who sets himself to find excuses, evasions, escapes from this constitutional obligation. I have always thought that the Constitution addressed itself to the legislatures of the States or to the States themselves. It says that those persons escaping to other States "shall be delivered up," and I confess I have always been of the opinion that it was an injunction upon the States themselves. When it is said that a person escaping into another State, and coming therefore within the jurisdiction of that State, shall be delivered up, it seems to me the import of the clause is, that the State itself, in obedience to the Constitution, shall cause him to be delivered up. That is my judgment. I have always entertained that opinion, and I entertain it now. But when the subject, some years ago, was before the Supreme Court of the United States, the majority of the judges held that the power to cause fugitives from service to be delivered up was a power to be exercised under the authority of this government. I do not know, on the whole, that it may not have been a fortunate decision. My habit is to respect the result of judicial deliberations and the solemnity of judicial decisions. As it now stands, the business of seeing that these fugitives are delivered up resides in the power of Congress and the national judicature, and my friend at the head of the Judiciary Committee [James M. Mason] has a bill on the subject now before the Senate, which, with some amendments to it, I propose to support, with all its provisions, to the fullest extent. And I desire to call the attention of all sober-minded men at the North, of all conscientious men, of all men who are not carried away by some fanatical idea or some false impression, to their constitutional obligations. I put it to all the sober and sound minds at the North as a question of morals and a question of conscience. What right have they, in their legislative capacity or any other capacity, to endeavor to get round this Constitution, or to embarrass the free exercise of the rights secured by the Constitution to the persons whose slaves escape from them? None at all; none at all. Neither in the forum of conscience, nor before the face of the Constitution, are they, in my opinion, justified in such an attempt. Of course it is a matter for their consideration. They probably, in the excitement of the times, have not stopped to consider of this. They have followed what seemed to be the current of thought and of motives, as the occasion arose, and they have neglected to investigate fully the real question, and to consider their constitutional obligations; which, I am sure, if they did consider, they would fulfill with alacrity. I repeat, therefore, Sir, that here is a well-founded ground of complaint against the North, which ought to be removed, which it is now in the power of the different departments of this government to remove; which calls for the enactment of proper laws authorizing the judicature of this government, in the several States, to do all that is necessary for the recapture of fugitive slaves and for their restoration to those who claim them. Wherever I go, and whenever I speak on the subject, and when I speak here I desire to speak to the whole North, I say that the South has been injured in this respect, and has a right to complain; and the North has been too careless of what I think the Constitution peremptorily and emphatically enjoins upon her as a duty...

Then, Sir, there are the Abolition societies, of which I am unwilling to speak, but in regard to which I have very clear notions and opinions. I do not think them useful. I think their operations for the last twenty years have produced nothing good or valuable. At the same time, I believe thousands of their members to be honest and good men, perfectly well-meaning men. They have excited feelings; they think they must do something for the cause of liberty; and, in their sphere of action, they do not see what else they can do than to contribute to an Abolition press, or an Abolition society, or to pay an Abolition lecturer. I do not mean to impute gross motives even to the leaders of these societies, but I am not blind to the consequences of their proceedings. I cannot but see what mischiefs their interference with the South has produced. And its it not plain to every man? Let any gentleman who entertains doubts on this point recur to the debates in the Virginia House of Delegates in 1832, and he will see with what freedom a proposition made by Mr. Jefferson Randolph for the gradual abolition of slavery was discussed in that body. Every one spoke of slavery as he thought; very ignominious and disparaging names and epithets were applied to it. The debates in the House of Delegates on that occasion, I believe, were all published. They were read by every colored man who could read, and to those who could not read, those debates were read by others. At that time Virginia was not unwilling or unafraid to discuss this question, and to let that part of her population know as much of discussion as they could learn. That was in 1832. As has been said by the honorable member from South Carolina, these Abolition societies commenced their course of action in 1835. It is said, I do not know how true it may be, that they sent incendiary publications into the slave States; at any rate, they attempted to arouse, and did arouse, a very strong feeling; in other words, they created great agitation in the North against Southern slavery. Well, what was the result? The bonds of the slave were bound more firmly than before, their rivets were more strongly fastened. Public opinion, which in Virginia had begun to be exhibited against slavery, and was opening out for the discussion of the question, drew back and shut itself up in its castle. I wish to know whether any body in Virginia can now talk openly as Mr. Randolph, Governor [James] McDowell, and others talked in 1832 and sent their remarks to the press? We all know the fact, and we all know the cause; and every thing that these agitating people have done has been, not to enlarge, but to restrain, not to set free, but to bind faster the slave population of the South...

Mr. President, I should much prefer to have heard from every member on this floor declarations of opinion that this Union could never be dissolved, than the declaration of opinion by any body, that, in any case, under the pressure of any circumstances, such a dissolution was possible. I hear with distress and anguish the word "secession," especially when it falls from the lips of those who are patriotic, and known to the country, and known all over the world, for their political services. Secession! Peaceable secession! Sir, your eyes and mine are never destined to see that miracle. The dismemberment of this vast country without convulsion! The breaking up of the fountains of the great deep without ruffling the surface! Who is so foolish, I beg every body's pardon, as to expect to see any such thing? Sir, he who sees these States, now revolving in harmony around a common centre, and expects to see them quit their places and fly off without convulsion, may look the next hour to see heavenly bodies rush from their spheres, and jostle against each other in the realms of space, without causing the wreck of the universe. There can be no such thing as peaceable secession. Peaceable secession is an utter impossibility. Is the great Constitution under which we live, covering this whole country, is it to be thawed and melted away by secession, as the snows on the mountain melt under the influence of a vernal sun, disappear almost unobserved, and run off? No, Sir! No, Sir! I will not state what might produce the disruption of the Union; but, Sir, I see as plainly as I see the sun in heaven what that disruption itself must produce; I see that it must produce war, and such a war as I will not describe, in its twofold character.

Peaceable secession! Peaceable secession! The concurrent agreement of all the members of this great republic to separate! A voluntary separation, with alimony on one side and on the other. Why, what would be the result? Where is the line to be drawn? What States are to secede? What is to remain American? What am I to be? An American no longer? Am I to become a sectional man, a local man, a separatist, with no country in common with the gentlemen who sit around me here, or who fill the other house of Congress? Heaven forbid! Where is the flag of the republic to remain? Where is the eagle still to tower? or is he to cower, and shrink, and fall to the ground? Why, Sir, our ancestors, our fathers and our grandfathers, those of them that are yet living amongst us with prolonged lives, would rebuke and reproach us; and our children and our grandchildren would cry out shame upon us, if we of this generation should dishonor these ensigns of the power of the government and the harmony of that Union which is every day felt among us with so much joy and gratitude. What is to become of the army? What is to become of the navy? What is to become of the public lands? How is each of the thirty States to defend itself? I know, although the idea has not been stated distinctly, there is to be, or it is supposed possible that there will be, a Southern Confederacy. I do not mean, when I allude to this statement, that any one seriously contemplates such a state of things. I do not mean to say that it is true, but I have heard it suggested elsewhere, that the idea has been entertained, that, after the dissolution of this Union, a Southern Confederacy might be formed. I am sorry, Sir, that it has ever been thought of, talked of, or dreamed of, in the wildest flights of human imagination. But the idea, so far as it exists, must be of a separation, assigning the slave States to one side and the free States to the other. Sir, I may express myself too strongly, perhaps, but there are impossibilities in the natural as well as in the physical world, and I hold the idea of a separation of these States, those that are free to form one government, and those that are slave-holding to form another, as such an impossibility. We could not separate the States by any such line, if we were to draw it. We could not sit down here to-day and draw a line of separation that would satisfy any five men in the country. There are natural causes that would keep and tie us together, and there are social and domestic relations which we could not break if we would, and which we should not if we could.

Sir, nobody can look over the face of this country at the present moment, nobody can see where its population is the most dense and growing, without being ready to admit, and compelled to admit, that ere long the strength of America will be in the Valley of the Mississippi. Well, now, Sir, I beg to inquire what the wildest enthusiast has to say about the possibility of cutting that river in two, and leaving free States at its source and on its branches, and slave States down near its mouth, each forming a separate government? Pray, Sir, let me say to the people of this country, that these things are worthy of their pondering and of their consideration. Here, Sir, are five millions of freemen in the free States north of the river of Ohio. Can any body suppose that this population can be severed, by a line that divides them from the territory of a foreign and alien government, down somewhere, the Lord knows where, upon the lower banks of the Mississippi? What would become of Missouri? Will she join the arrondissement of the slave States? Shall the man from the Yellow Stone and the Platte be connected, in the new republic, with the man who lives on the southern extremity of the Cape of Florida? Sir, I am ashamed to pursue this line of remark. I dislike it, I have an utter disgust for it. I would rather hear of natural blasts and mildews, war, pestilence, and famine, than to hear gentlemen talk of secession. To break up this great government! to dismember this glorious country! to astonish Europe with an act of folly such as Europe for two centuries has never beheld in any government or any people! No, Sir! no, Sir! There will be no secession! Gentlemen are not serious when they talk of secession...

And now, Mr. President, I draw these observations to a close. I have spoken freely, and I meant to do so. I have sought to make no display. I have sought to enliven the occasion by no animated discussion, nor have I attempted any train of elaborate argument. I have wished only to speak my sentiments, fully and at length, being desirous, once and for all, to let the Senate know, and to let the country know, the opinions and sentiments which I entertain on all these subjects. These opinions are not likely to be suddenly changed. If there be any future service that I can render to the country, consistently with these sentiments and opinions, I shall cheerfully render it. If there be not, I shall still be glad to have had an opportunity to disburden myself from the bottom of my heart, and to make known every political sentiment that therein exists.

And now, Mr. President, instead of speaking of the possibility or utility of secession, instead of dwelling in those caverns of darkness, instead of groping with those ideas so full of all that is horrid and horrible, let us come out into the light of day; let us enjoy the fresh air of Liberty and Union; let us cherish those hopes which belong to us; let us devote ourselves to those great objects that are fit for our consideration and action; let us raise our conceptions to the magnitude and the importance of the duties that devolve upon us; let our comprehension be as broad as the country for which we act, our aspirations as high as its certain destiny; let us not be pigmies in a case that calls for men. Never did there devolve on any generation of men higher trusts than now devolve upon us, for the preservation of this Constitution and the harmony and peace of all who are destined to live under it. Let us make our generation one of the strongest and brightest links in that golden chain which is destined, I fondly believe, to grapple the people of all the States to this Constitution for ages to come. We have a great, popular, constitutional government, guarded by law and by judicature, and defended by the affections of the whole people. No monarchical throne presses these States together, no iron chain of military power encircles them; they live and stand under a government popular in its form, representative in its character, founded upon principles of equality, and so constructed, we hope, as to last for ever. In all its history it has been beneficent; it has trodden down no man's liberty; it has crushed no State. Its daily respiration is liberty and patriotism; its yet youthful veins are full of enterprise, courage, and honorable love of glory and renown. Large before, the country has now, by recent events, become vastly larger. This republic now extends, with a vast breadth, across the whole continent. The two great seas of the world wash the one and the other shore. We realize, on a mighty scale, the beautiful description of the ornamental border of the buckler of Achilles:--

Now, the broad shield completed, the artist crowned
With his last hand, and poured the ocean round;
In living silver seemed the waves to roll,
And beat the bucklers verge, and bound the whole.

But the stars had fallen over Alabama in November, 1833 and the thing was afoot in its predestiny, to be set finally from its smoldering underbelly of discontent into the open conflagration of violent sectional conflict, propelled in 1860 by the intransigent forces within the South, too stubborn and strident to understand, contrary to Daniel Webster's excusing the institution from Biblical injunction, that it was in fact proscribed by the passage which forbids one man to be another's bondsman. The South, in consequence, was not only ethically and politically wrong in its standard, but, out of its ignorance and failure to read and understand even that which it held as cherished, was as well morally decrepit in trying to cling to and rationalize a known pernicious evil. There were no excuses, not from the time, not from the clime, not from the place. It was an institutional framework born of weakness of moral character; all who participated in it failed in that character to confute and disown it. We may judge them, the masters, no matter whether they held as chattel one or three or three hundred, and we may judge them as inherently evil in their make-up.

Hitler would emulate the system and the consequent evil wrought on the world would thereby persist even into the mid-twentieth century, taking yet more of America's native sons to their graves in the attempt to eradicate it from the face of the earth.

Even in the United States, its lingering residue, its hatred consequent of something so ephemeral and meaningless as skin pigment and race, would not subside but by slow degrees generationally for yet more than a hundred years after the abolition formally of slavery in 1865 by the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

This poem was the outcome of the surprise and grief and forecast of evil consequences which I felt on reading the seventh of March speech of Daniel Webster in support of the "compromise," and the Fugitive Slave Law. No partisan or personal enmity dictated it. On the contrary my admiration of the splendid personality and intellectual power of the great Senator was never stronger than when I laid down his speech, and, in one of the saddest moments of my life, penned my protest. I saw, as I wrote, with painful clearness its sure results,--the Slave Power arrogant and defiant, strengthened and encouraged to carry out its scheme for the extension of its baleful system, or the dissolution of the Union, the guaranties of personal liberty in the free States broken down, and the whole country made the hunting-ground of slave-catchers. In the horror of such a vision, so soon fearfully fulfilled, if one spoke at all, he could only speak in tones of stern and sorrowful rebuke. But death softens all resentments, and the consciousness of a common inheritance of frailty and weakness modifies the severity of judgment. Years after, in "The Lost Occasion" I gave utterance to an almost universal regret that the great statesman did not live to see the flag which he loved trampled under the feet of Slavery, and, in view of this desecration, make his last days glorious in defence of "Liberty and Union, one and inseparable."

So fallen! so lost! the light withdrawn
Which once he wore!
The glory from his gray hairs gone

Revile him not, the Tempter hath
A snare for all;
And pitying tears, not scorn and wrath,
Befit his fall!

Oh, dumb be passion's stormy rage,
When he who might
Have lighted up and led his age,
Falls back in night.

Scorn! would the angels laugh, to mark
A bright soul driven,
Fiend-goaded, down the endless dark,
From hope and heaven!

Let not the land once proud of him
Insult him now,
Nor brand with deeper shame his dim,
Dishonored brow.

But let its humbled sons, instead,
From sea to lake,
A long lament, as for the dead,
In sadness make.

Of all we loved and honored, naught
Save power remains;
A fallen angel's pride of thought,
Still strong in chains.

All else is gone; from those great eyes
The soul has fled
When faith is lost, when honor dies,
The man is dead!

Then, pay the reverence of old days
To his dead fame;
Walk backward, with averted gaze,
And hide the shame!

--"Ichabod", John Greenleaf Whittier, 1850, (Introduction from The Complete Works of John Greenleaf Whittier)

Some die too late and some too soon,
At early morning, heat of noon,
Or the chill evening twilight. Thou,
Whom the rich heavens did so endow
With eyes of power and Jove's own brow,
With all the massive strength that fills
Thy home-horizon's granite hills,
With rarest gifts of heart and head
From manliest stock inherited,
New England's stateliest type of man,
In port and speech Olympian;

Whom no one met, at first, but took
A second awed and wondering look
(As turned, perchance, the eyes of Greece
On Phidias' unveiled masterpiece);
Whose words in simplest homespun clad,
The Saxon strength of Caedmon's had,
With power reserved at need to reach
The Roman forum's loftiest speech,
Sweet with persuasion, eloquent
In passion, cool in argument,
Or, ponderous, falling on thy foes
As fell the Norse god's hammer blows,
Crushing as if with Talus' flail
Through Error's logic-woven mail,
And failing only when they tried
The adamant of the righteous side,--
Thou, foiled in aim and hope, bereaved
Of old friends, by the new deceived,
Too soon for us, too soon for thee,
Beside thy lonely Northern sea,
Where long and low the marsh-lands spread,
Laid wearily down thy August head.

Thou shouldst have lived to feel below
Thy feet Disunion's fierce upthrow;
The late-sprung mine that underlaid
Thy sad concessions vainly made.
Thou shouldst have seen from Sumter's wall
The star-flag of the Union fall,
And armed rebellion pressing on
The broken lines of Washington!
No stronger voice than thine had then
Called out the utmost might of men,
To make the Union's charter free
And strengthen law by liberty.
How had that stern arbitrament
To thy gray age youth's vigor lent,
Shaming ambition's paltry prize
Before thy disillusioned eyes;
Breaking the spell about thee wound
Like the green withes that Samson bound;
Redeeming in one effort grand,
Thyself and thy imperilled land!
Ah, cruel fate, that closed to thee,
O sleeper by the Northern sea,
The gates of opportunity!
God fills the gaps of human need,
Each crisis brings its word and deed.
Wise men and strong we did not lack;
But still, with memory turning back,
In the dark hours we thought of thee,
And thy lone grave beside the sea.

Above that grave the east winds blow,
And from the marsh-lands drifting slow
The sea-fog comes, with evermore
The wave-wash of a lonely shore,
And sea-bird's melancholy cry,
As Nature fain would typify
The sadness of a closing scene,
The loss of that which should have been.
But, where thy native mountains bare
Their foreheads to diviner air,
Fit emblem of enduring fame,
One lofty summit keeps thy name.
For thee the cosmic forces did
The rearing of that pyramid,
The prescient ages shaping with
Fire, flood, and frost thy monolith.
Sunrise and sunset lay thereon
With hands of light their benison,
The stars of midnight pause to set
Their jewels in its coronet.
And evermore that mountain mass
Seems climbing from the shadowy pass
To light, as if to manifest
Thy nobler self, thy life at best!

--"The Lost Occasion", John Greenleaf Whittier, 1880

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