Tuesday, December 4, 2012

In an able speech . . .

. . . made in the Senate of New York in the debate on the expulsion of Mr. Bright, by Judge Law of Sullivan County, we find the following striking passages:

“We fail to appreciate the era in which our lot is cast.  We fail to realize the rapidity of the march of events, moving swiftly and irresistibly forward, but never backward, and changing almost in a moment the whole aspect of the country and sweeping from our minds the tissues of forms, precedents, technicalities and learned absurdities as the swift wind drives away the mountain mists.  The truth is – and we might as well learn it at once – we are making history for the future; not reading that of the past.  We are stamping our own character and impress upon the people and nationalities yet unborn, and whose weal or woe will be determined by our conduct now.

“I have no fear of the guillotine in the intelligent, the free, the patriotic North.  But I will tell the learned Senator where, at no distant day, he may find the counterpart of the bloody horrors he has invoked.  Where wrong and crime and oppression have already worn deep the channels of human suffering; where the pent-up aspirations of enslaved and degraded men beat vainly against their prison bars; where the chains of human bondage clank harshly upon the unwilling ear, and the cowering victim that wears the image of his God is bought and sold and worked and whipped by his fellow man, where violence and treachery and terror stalk through the land; where loyal men are dragged to the scaffold for no crime but that of fealty to their Government, and weeping women and innocent children are fleeing to the rocks and mountains to hide themselves from the armed robbers that scourge the land.”

Judge Law has always been a thoroughgoing member of the Democratic party, and such words from him afford a clear indication of the revolution which this atrocious rebellion has produced and is still producing in the minds of a very influential class of Northern men.

– Published in The Burlington Weekly Hawk-Eye, Burlington, Iowa, Saturday, April 5, 1862, p. 1

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