Monday, September 5, 2011

That Arch Enemy of All True Prosperity

Today's entry is from Lucy Larcom: Life, Letters and Diary by Daniel D Addison.  This is an excerpt from an entry in her diary dated September 5, 1861.

 Larcom was a former mill worker, poet, teacher and abolitionist, and well acquainted with John Greenleaf Whittier.  In this quote she laments the war's ravages, and suggests it can not end until the real issue, slavery,  is dealt with.  But she says it with a passion hard to surpass.

. . . .But is it right to wrap one's own being in this mantle of peace, while the country is ravaged by war ? — its garments rolled in blood, brother fighting against brother to the death? The tide of rebellion surges higher and higher, and there is no sadder proof that we are not the liberty-loving people that we used to call ourselves, than to learn that there are traitors in the secret councils of the nation, in forts defended by our own bravest men ; among women, too : " Sisters ! oh, Sisters! Shame o' ladies ! " A disloyal woman at the North, with everything woman ought to hold dear at stake in the possible fall of this government, — it is too shameful! I hope every one such will be held in "durance vile " until the war is over.

But will it end until the question is brought to its true issue, — liberty or slavery ? I doubt it: and I would rather the war should last fifty years, than ever again make the least compromise with slavery, that arch-enemy of all true prosperity, that eating sin of our nation. Eather [sic] divide at once, rather split into a thousand pieces, than sink back into this sin!
Lucy Larcom from A Portrait Catalogue of the Books Published by Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1906

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