CHAPTER XVI. BOSTON.
It soon became evident to me that Mr. Phillips was unwell, and lecturing at a disadvantage. His manner was clearly that of an accustomed orator, but his voice was weak, and he was not up to the effect which he attempted to make. His hearers were impatient, repeatedly calling upon him to speak out, and on that account I tried hard to feel kindly toward him and his lecture. But I must confess that I failed. To me it seemed that the doctrine he preached was one of rapine, bloodshed, and social destruction. He would call upon the government and upon Congress to enfranchise the slaves at once - now during the war - so that the Southern power might be destroyed by a concurrence of misfortunes. And he would do so at once, on the spur of the moment, fearing lest the South should be before him, and themselves emancipate their own bondsmen. I have sometimes thought that there is no being so venomous, so blood-thirsty as a professed philanthropist; and that when the philanthropist's ardor lies negroward, it then assumes the deepest die of venom and blood-thirstiness. There are four millions of slaves in the Southern States, none of whom have any capacity for self-maintenance or self-control. Four millions of slaves, with the necessities of children, with the passions of men, and the ignorance of savages! And Mr. Phillips would emancipate these at a blow; would, were it possible for him to do so, set them loose upon the soil to tear their masters, destroy each other, and make such a hell upon the earth as has never even yet come from the uncontrolled passions and unsatisfied wants of men. But Congress cannot do this. All the members of Congress put together cannot, according to the Constitution of the United States, emancipate a single slave in South Carolina; not if they were all unanimous. No emancipation in a slave State can come otherwise than by the legislative enactment of that State. But it was then thought that in this coming winter of 1860-61 the action of Congress might be set aside. The North possessed an enormous army under the control of the President. The South was in rebellion, and the President could pronounce, and the army perhaps enforce, the confiscation of all property held in slaves. If any who held them were not disloyal, the question of compensation might be settled afterward. How those four million slaves should live, and how white men should live among them, in some States or parts of States not equal to the blacks in number - as to that Mr. Phillips did not give us his opinion.
And Mr. Phillips also could not keep his tongue away from the abominations of Englishmen and the miraculous powers of his own countrymen. It was on this occasion that he told us more than once how Yankees carried brains in their fingers, whereas "common people" - alluding by that name to Europeans - had them only, if at all, inside their brain-pans. And then he informed us that Lord Palmerston had always hated America. Among the Radicals there might be one or two who understood and valued the institutions of America, but it was a well-known fact that Lord Palmerston was hostile to the country. Nothing but hidden enmity - enmity hidden or not hidden - could be expected from England. That the people of Boston, or of Massachusetts, or of the North generally, should feel sore against England, is to me intelligible. I know how the minds of men are moved in masses to certain feelings and that it ever must be so. Men in common talk are not bound to weigh their words, to think, and speculate on their results, and be sure of the premises on which their thoughts are founded. But it is different with a man who rises before two or three thousand of his countrymen to teach and instruct them. After that I heard no more political lectures in Boston.
Of course I visited Bunker Hill, and went to Lexington and Concord. From the top of the monument on Bunker Hill there is a fine view of Boston harbor, and seen from thence the harbor is picturesque. The mouth is crowded with islands and jutting necks and promontories; and though the shores are in no place rich enough to make the scenery grand, the general effect is good. The monument, however, is so constructed that one can hardly get a view through the windows at the top of it, and there is no outside gallery round it. Immediately below the monument is a marble figure of Major Warren, who fell there, - not from the top of the monument, as some one was led to believe when informed that on that spot the major had fallen. Bunker Hill, which is little more than a mound, is at Charlestown - a dull, populous, respectable, and very unattractive suburb of Boston.