Sunday, September 25, 2011

Wendell Phillips

That the scholarly attainments of this man should be deflected from the broad channel of usefulness into the narrow rivulet of bigotry, that he should abuse his rare intellectual qualifications by perverting them into media of evil, is to be deeply regretted.  If it be true that the mental hallucination has seized upon him to use the powers of his mind for the overthrow of the Government, as reported by the telegraph, he is at heart a traitor and should be so treated.  The surroundings of a man in the South are treasonable, the very atmosphere he inhales is defiled with treason, and if he be uneducated we can measurably overlook his course if he turn traitor.  But for a man breathing the pure air of the North, redolent with patriotism, gifted beyond his fellows with intelligence, to entertain treasonable ideas and publicly express them is an offense against community that would consign him at once to an innermost cell for Fort Lafayette.  Barring the overt act, it places him on a par with the leaders of the rebellion and he should no more be permitted to go at large than they go unpunished for the monstrous crime of which they have been guilty.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Thursday Morning, March 27, 1862, p. 2

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