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The Lord hath trodden under foot all my mighty men in the midst of me: he hath called an assembly against me to crush my young men.
The LORD is righteous; for I have rebelled against his commandment : hear, I pray you, all people, and behold my sorrow; my virgins and my young men are gone into captivity.
All that pass by, clap their hands at thee; they hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying, Is this the city that men call the Perfection of beauty, the Joy of the whole earth ?
All thine enemies have opened their mouth against thee: they hiss and gnash the teeth : they say, We have swallowed her up: certainly this is the day that we looked for; we have found, we have seen it.
Thou hast made us as the off-scouring and refuse in the midst of the people.
All our enemies have opened their mouths against us.
How is the gold become dim! how is the most fine gold changed ! the stones of the sanctuary are poured out in the top of every street.
Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire :
Their visage is blacker than a coal; they are not known in the streets : their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick.
The kings of the earth, and all the inhabitants of the world, would not have believed that the adversary and the enemy should have entered into the gates of Jerusalem.
For the sins of her prophets, and the iniquities of her priests, that have shed the blood of the just in the midst of her.
They hunt our steps, that we cannot go in our streets: our end is near, our days are fulfilled; for our end is come.
Our necks are under persecution: we labor, and have no rest.
Servants have ruled over us: there is none that doth deliver us out of their hand.
Thou O LOAD remainest forever; thy throne is from generation to generation.
Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old.
BY JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.
Men! whose boast it is, that ye
Is true freedom but to break
They are slaves, who fear to speak
LAMENTATIONS, CHAPTER II, 15, 9.
Is this the city that men call The perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth ?
Her gates are sunk into the ground; he hath destroyed and broken her bars ; her king and her princes are among the Gentiles; the law is no more ; her prophets also find no vision from the Lord.
I HAVE invited you here this morning to meditate on the events of the week; the phenomenon which has occurred in the streets of Boston. The SLAVE POWER, which has triumphed in Congress over the Rights of the North, which has violated sacred compacts, and broken contracts after hav, ing taken its own' share of the consideration, has come North to Boston, has taken possession of our Court House, of our City Government, our whole Police force, our whole Military force, and suspended and interrupted the business of our citizens until its demands could be satisfied. Not contented,
* A portion of this Sermon was delivered extempore; consequently the printed copy will vary from it in some particulars, but it is believed in no essential ones.
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as before, with carrying its victim away under the cloud of night, it this time must have a more open triumph, and turns our citizens out of their own streets, their banks, post-office, places of business, compels them to shut up their stores, turns them back at the point of the bayonet if they attempt to pass to their affairs, for a whole day suspends all business ; in order that it may publicly defy Northern sentiment in its most sacred home.
This event has taken us all by surprise. Great as is the audacity, or let me call it courage, of the South, we did not suppose there was a Southerner bold enough to come to Boston at this time, in the midst of the universal indignation against the Nebraska villany, to look for a Slave- that if he came, he could by possibility succeed. The day before the arrest of Burns, I was riding in the cars with one of the conservative gentlemen of Boston, who had sustained the Compromises in 1850, and I said to him — “Do you think they could carry back a Slave from Boston now?”
6 Not they,” said he, “My acquaintances are all opposed to the Abolitionists, but I don't know one who would consent to it.” So when I heard in Western New York that a black man had been arrested in Boston as a fugitive, instantly I said, “I am glad of it !” I said it in my simplicity. When I arrived in Boston on Tuesday, and saw the soldiery, and the city in the hands of the Slave Power, I felt a weight of sorrow which death cannot cause. I had just returned from visiting the new-made grave of my father. I had just come from among his children bereaved by his death of the best of parents, of one who loved them with a wonderful affection, one whose smile was a perpetual blessing, whose face was like that of an angel. But the sorrow for his loss was not bitter, it was tempered with joy. They shed tears, but no bitter tears. They wore no mourning for him, for they could not mourn for one whose life was good, whose days were many and happy, and whose death was the beginning of a higher life. But now I feel like putting on mourning. Now
I would say, “Hung be the Heavens in black,” feel a heaviness in the air as though it were full of sin, On Friday afternoon as I rode through the beautiful environs of Boston, most beautiful now, I felt as though our prosperity and happiness were poisoned by this baseness -- as though our own good fortune had made us selfish, and mean, and cowardly. It is not bereavement which is the greatest evil. How true are those words “ the sting of death is sin.” My wife said to me, “I cannot wear mourning for father ; for it seems to me that a Christian ought only to wear mourning for his friends when they have committed some great sin.” Now would be the time for this community to put on mourning to wear black crape on the arm ; because Honor is dead, because Humanity is dead, because Massachusetts has been placed, and by her own acts, beneath the feet of Virginia.
But I wish to be calm to-day. I have no wish to speak a harsh word, or to be unjust to any one, or to increase at all any passionate excitement. I wish to produce excitementbut not that of the passions. I wish to excite your conscience, your heart, and your understanding - such excitement I. believe we need; a deep, calm, strong excitement, which can wait, when to wait is necessary; which can work, when to work is timely; which will prepare us to do our duties hereafter as Christians and as men.
First, then, let us consider the Facts, and look at our relation to Slavery and the Slave Power. The relation of Freedom to Slavery in this country was, first, that of Superiority ; second, of Equality ; third, of Inferiority; and is now that of Subjection. At the time the Constitution was formed, though Slavery existed in the Northern States, the Spirit of Freedom was its master both at the South and the North. Southern Statesmen, Patrick Henry, Jefferson, Madison, denounced Slavery then as a great evil and wrong, agreed to exclude it from the North West Territory, refused to re-admit it there again, and expected and desired its speedy
abolition. That was the condition of things at first—Slavery under the feet of Freedom, Southern Statesmen proposing and adopting what we now call the Wilmot Proviso.
A few years pass, and we find a change already taking place. The cultivation of cotton has made slave labor more valuable. The territory of Louisiana is bought of France under Mr. Jefferson's administration. Missouri is admitted in 1821 as a Slave State, after a severe conflict, but on the express condition that all other territory lying as far North as Missouri shall forever be consecrated to Freedom. Slavery and Freedom now are on a footing of Equality; they are to have an equal share of everything. Right and Principle have now yielded to Expediency, and the seed is sown to bear bitter fruit afterward.
In the years succeeding the Missouri Compromise, Slavery is constantly gaining ground. Florida is obtained and given up to Slavery without a struggle. The Slave Power drives the Indians out of Georgia, brings on the Florida War, and at last, grown bolder, proposes the annexation of Texas as a Slave State, and, after a struggle, conquers. The main feature of this transaction was, that it was done avowedly to prevent the abolition of Slavery and to strengthen the Slave Power. Not only was this purpose proclaimed in Congress by Mr. Henry A. Wise and others, but also by Mr. Calhoun, Secretary of State, in diplomatic correspondence with Mr. Packenham, the British Minister — thus, for the first time, causing the Nation to stand in the attitude of a Slavery Protector before the world. Slavery is now uppermost, and Freedom beneath.
But since the Democratic party at the North assisted Southern Democrats and Southern Whigs to annex Texas, events have proceeded with a wonderful rapidity. The Slave Power hurled us into a war with Mexico, in order to obtain more territory for Slave-holding purposes.
It failed in this as regards California, owing to the discovery of gold, which caused it to be filled immediately with poor emigrants from