Monday, October 24, 2011

Battalions Strengthened by Ideas

This entry is from Lucy Larcom:  Life, Letter and Diary edited by Daniel Dulany Addison.

Larcom was a former mill worker, poet, teacher and abolitionist.  Here is any entry from her diary wherein she discusses a lecture she heard by Charles Sumner, who was known as a powerful orator and the leader of the antislavery forces in Massachusetts.

October 22. [1861] I heard Charles Sumner on the Rebellion : my first sight and hearing of the great anti-slavery statesman. He was greeted with tremendous applause, and every expression of opposition to slavery was met with new cheers. . . . .

One idea which he presented seemed to me to be worth all the rest, and worth all the frothy spoutings for "Union" that we hear every day; it was that our battalions must be strengthened by ideas, by the idea of freedom. That is it. Our men do not know what they are fighting for; freedom is greater than the Union, and a Union, old or new, with slavery, no true patriot will now ask for. May we be saved from that, whatever calamities we may endure!
Charles Sumner, photograph by Brady from Library of Congress Collection

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