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been a preacher of the gospel, according to the best of my knowledge and ability, for more than forty-five years. More than forty of these have been spent on the study of the Bible; and the consequence has been, that this book has taken a paramount place in my reverence, and in my sense of duty to obey it. Statesmen and jurists may discuss the great questions, now occupying all heads and all hearts, with much force and eloquence. They have done so, on both sides. Never, since the Declaration of Independence, and the formation of the United States Constitution, has there been so much deep feeling excited, or so much effort called forth. But there is, for all who profess a reverence for the Scriptures, another aspect of the great questions in agitation than that which statesmen and jurists, hampered by parliamentary tactics, can venture themselves to discuss. The majority in all our legislative bodies, as I fear, would look upon a man who should address scriptural arguments to them in the halls of legislation, as if he had risen from the dead, after having once been a member of the Long Parliament, in the time of Oliver Cromwell ; and all the names which Butler has conjured up in his Hudibras, or Dr. South in his Sermons, or Tory writers in their diatribes, and have bestowed on the Puritan legislators, would be added to the name of the luckless wight who should once make such an appeal. Yet, forsooth, we are in a Christian land! Is this really so ? Then may those whose life has been devoted to the teaching and diffusing of Christianity be pardoned, for sounding the words of prophets and apostles in the ears of our great community. I claim that right. I expect, however, to be condemned by some, and perhaps maligned by others, for exercising that right. No matter. It is but of little consequence what becomes of me, if the teachings of " the glorious Gospel of the blessed God” may come in their simplicity and power and authority before the public, in any manner that will attract their attention. It is too late for me to cast off the authority of that Gospel, or to shun my responsibility for proclaiming it. It would be reproachful to me in the highest degree, if I should desert the cause which I have so long and so deliberately espoused, in the day of assault or of peril.
By this time some of my readers will begin to inquire, perhaps with a degree of wonder, what has led me to such an introduction to what I have to say, on the present occasion. I feel that some apology for, or rather that some account of, my proem is due to them. I will narrate briefly and simply what has called me out, and led me to the utterance of the preceding sentiments.
I have never been a politician, at least, I have never been what the world usually styles a politician. In my early days, while in my college-studies, and afterwards in the study of the law, I was warmly engaged against the Jeffersonian politics and administration. When I became a pastor of the First Church at New Haven, in Connecticut, I renounced all active pursuit of politics. I never preached a political sermon in my life. Usually I did not go to any meetings for the election of state or town officers. My people were somewhat divided in politics, and I did not like unnecessarily to offend those who differed from me, by voting against their wishes; for such was the violence of party in Jefferson-times, that offence would of course have been taken. But I never shunned voting, because I feared the consequences as to myself. It was principally because my vote was altogether unnecessary, and therefore (in my circumstances) inexpedient, there being then an overwhelming majority in Connecticut of anti-Jeffersonians. I have been more than forty years a resident and freeman in this commonwealth. During all that period, I have never voted at the elections, more than some ten or twelve times. In seasons of what I thought to be peril, I began to vote somewhat regularly; and it was under the imperial reign of Gen. Jackson, that I commenced such an exercise of franchiserights. But I never preached politics, or taught them, in public. I have frequented the Lecture-room, in the Theological Seminary here, near forty years; yet I believe none of all my pupils will charge me with occupying their time in political lectures. I have never written a political piece for our newspapers or magazines ; except in one case now to be mentioned. In that one case, I put my hand to a critique on a speech of Mr. Webster, delivered at Andover; and subjoined a defence of Mr. Webster's course, in the matter of continuing to hold office under President Tyler. The people of the glorious old Bay State had been led, at that time, by the newspapers, (some of which were filled with inuendos against Mr. Webster made by interested politicians), into a disapprobation of Mr. Webster's course then, in like manner as I believe them now to be misled. When the whole case was fairly laid before them, they hastened, as a body, and with that noble spirit which they cherish, to do him justice; I hope they will not refuse the like
justice on the present occasion, if as good an account can be given of Mr. Webster's course.
If it was a sin in me, who happened, (from circumstances unsought for and unexpected, and, I may add, quite peculiar in my life), to become acquainted with the true history of Mr. Webster's Secretaryship - if it was a sin to develop the matter to the public, so be it. I do not reproach myself as yet, however, for such a sin, because I have never been able to see any atrocity in helping to do justice to a man, to whom the public were so much indebted. After a short period, from that day to this, I have neither heard nor seen any reproach to Mr. Webster, from any respectable quarter, for the course he then pursued. Yet for myself I did not, for a time, escape severe censure, on the part of some of my fellow citizens. Anonymous letters full of reproaches were sent to me; various newspaper paragraphs, for my edification, were carefully despatched to me by mail, fraught with bitter and sometimes malignant vituperation. Yet I survived. When the tornado had passed, I rose gently up, and finding no very serious bruises, I went quietly along my humble and peaceful way, as usual.
Since then, I have never meddled with politics. I have been engaged, when able to study, in other matters that I relished far more; and if I did not understand them better, it was my own fault. My increasing age and my many infirmities have given me a disrelish for the mêlée of political contest. It was not until within a few weeks, that I ever thought of approaching the arena of that contest, even near enough to look on and see what was doing. Unluckily for my quiet, the paper expressing approbation of Mr. Webster's late Speech was presented to me by a friend, and I was asked whether I agreed sufficiently with his views to sign it. My ready reply was in the affirmative. I put my name to the paper, and there I hope and wish it may stand. It is not a pledge, as I view the matter, that I am ready to support every shade of sentiment, on every topic upon which Mr. Webster's speech touches. That gentleman is the last man who would demand the surrender of their own individual views from his friends. But it is a pledge that I did, and it still signifies that I do, from the bottom of my heart, assent to, and agree with, all the important parts of Mr. Webster's reasoning in general ; and specially, it indicates my assent to his aim and desire to cherish our Union as inviolable, and to persuade both parties to make all such mutual concessions as they can make, consistently with their consciences, for the sake of peace, of mutual good, and of firm consolidation. If I have erred in this case, it is at least in company with those who are not often impeached for want either of intelligence or integrity. Moreover, if “a man may be known by the company he keeps,” then I am, for the present, in circumstances quite agreeable with respect to this matter. I will not say with Cicero, that I had rather err with philosophers, than think rightly with the populace;' but I must confess, that if error is imputable to me as to the present affair, my case is attended at least with not a few comforting alleviations. I can say to each of my fellow-signers, so far as I have the pleasure to know them, that, as to the matter now in question, tecum amem vivere, tecum obeam libens.
And now, what is the consequence of my alleged political fauz pas? The public have little interest, indeed, to be informed of my individual experience ; and were it not that they stand connected with my undertaking to write the following pages, I should of course puss them by in silence. But as the matter now is, what has befallen me may serve to cast some light, on the manner in which many of Mr. Webster's accusers manage their cause. · Some other things, also, may perhaps have light cast upon them by what has befallen me. But I reserve, for the sequel, any remarks that I may find occasion to make respecting those matters.
Within a week after my name was set to the paper approving of Mr. Webster's Speech, I began to receive anonymous letters; and soon after, various newspapers of diverse character and complexion began to pour in. One anonymous letter states, that the writer once had much respect for my opinions and views, but that I have now showed him that he was much mistaken in me. Another says, that the only apology he can make for me is, that I have had a two years' sickness, which has doubtless very much impaired my mind; 80 that he can, on the whole, pity me rather than blame me. A third says, that I have now arrived at three score and ten, and like most men of that age, have become a child the second time; otherwise I never could have become the advocate of slavery. Another challenges me to show one text in all the Bible, which allows of slavery, or justifies my course in according with, and approving of, Mr. Webster's Speech. Another of my obliging friends, (it may be that he resides in our metropolis), sends me a slip of a newspaper,
on which is a paragraph, giving an account of the drove of slaves lately marched from Washington on Sunday, by Bruin, (I think this was the name), who charged some $1800 for a good looking young wench, whom he (Bruin) wished to sell to some gentleman ; and to this slip of information is added, in a note written in what I take to be a dissembled hand, the following monition : “You, by putting your name to Mr. Webster's paper, have put your seal of approbation on all this transaction; and you have moreover approved of the violation of the Sabbath, by the said Bruin.” Another letter writer says, that I am neither more nor less than a downright wolf, in sheep's clothing.' Another wonders how a man could study the Bible for 40 years, and yet never have learned that slavery is a sin. These are only some of the many specimens.
As unique in its kind, I advert to one anti-slavery paper, (which it is needless to name, for there can be but one such), that was sent to me, as I suppose, by its philanthropic editor. In this, after a flood of Billingsgate on Mr. Webster's “SATANIC SPEECH,” he includes within a square enclosed by funereal dressings, my name, that of Dr. Woods, of Dr. Emerson, and of President Sparks, and Professor Felton. Here we are dead and gone -- and (what is a little remarkable) all buried together. It is all well, and for one I am quite content; for a man, as people say, may be known by the company in which he is buried, as well as by those with whom he associates while living. But this is not all. In another paragraph, myself and my two venerable Colleagues are named together, and then the editor says: “These individuals have formerly been called preachers of evangelical truth ; but,” he adds, “ they are never more to be so named. They are to be classed with the Jewish high-priests, who accused the Saviour of the world at the bar of Pilate.” - This, by the way, is merely a specimen; but thus much may suffice. I should not have noticed even this, but for a purpose that will appear in the sequel. I have, and can have, no contest with the editor of that paper. I wish to settle all the accounts, if any lie open, between me and him, by the simple remark, that he has my full and free consent to utter against me all the slander and contumely and vituperation that the compass of the English language will afford him the means of uttering - he is entirely welcome to “let his tongue walk through the earth' in its pestiferous howlings ;-- and then, if he looks for any signs of excitement or impatience in me, he will find me as quiet,