LIBERALISM AND THE SOCIAL CONSCIENCE
THE SOCIAL MIND
Unitarianism was generous in its bequests to New England, and amongst its contributions to a nobler life not the least valuable was its warm social sympathy. Channing's tender social conscience sprang directly from his humanitarian religion. Not from the hard old Calvinism did he get this fine flower of a humane life, but from the new French philosophy. Not from bounding his ethics by the Decalogue, or hating sin more than he loved generosity, did he break the hard shell of Puritan righteousness; but by metamorphosing the sinner into a child of God and sharing with him the divine promise. Other-mindedness came naturally to a religion established in a God of love. The social conscience could not remain indifferent to injustice visited upon the children of a common Father. Yet other-mindedness was a virtue practiced too little in Calvinist New England. That old world had been more concerned with hopes of individual salvation, with propitiating an angry God, than with its present obligations to its neighbors. Hard doctrine -which the old Puritan loved-was likely to make hard characters, and an ascetic society was likely to breed closefisted natures. The conscience was tender in New England, but it was tender chiefly as the guardian and monitor of the Ten Commandments; it gave itself too little concern about the new commandment which Jesus laid upon his disciples. It disciplined men and women in personal righteousness, it created self-reliant characters, it scrutinized narrowly the neighborhood conduct; but its social issues were likely to be mean and petty. The righteousness of which it professed to be guardian and monitor too often fell far short of generous manly stature.
From this hardness of the old religion came the hardness of the social conscience. When the Yankee was driven by brutal fact to admit that he was his brother's keeper, he usually took care to get a few honest pennies out of his brother's board and lodging. The village poor were provided for by farming out, as the taxes were farmed out. The town meeting haggled narrowly over the terms, and substantial deacons underbid each other. Though the price might be low, some profit might still be got from the pauper's keep. It was a cold, hard, unsympathetic world for the social unfortunate, whether pauper, debtor, or idiot; and it was harsh as well to the children of all but the wealthy. The hours of toil were long, and the public schools about which the historians have bragged rather too loudly, were poor affairs, starved by the common niggardliness, ill taught and ill provided. The academies and colleges that professed to keep the torch of learning aflame were largely perquisites of the gentry. It is beside the point to assert that public schools existed in New England long before Virginia had any, and that poor boys stinted and starved their way through Harvard and Yale. Well known as such facts are, they do not testify to a high social sense in a people supposed to have been tender of conscience. The Calvinist was taught to fear God rather than to love him. It was a strong man's business to save one's soul and make a decent living; and in the social code of New England the weakling must take his chance.
There was helpful neighborliness of course in old New England, and much honest kindliness. Some of the hardest of dogmatic Calvinists were the most considerate and gentlest of men. Old Samuel Hopkins of slave-running Newport was a generous soul who preached the gospel of love to one's fellows, and practiced the virtues of apostleship to the poor and outcast. He denounced the slave trade to parishioners who knew all the inlets of the West African coast, and got himself well disliked. His congregation preferred his hard theology to his inconvenient humanitarianism, and kept him poor all his days. The dogmatic Timothy Dwight scathingly attacked slavery in his Green field Hill, denounced the injustice done the Negro, and even protested against the extension of capital punishment. Yet for all such protests the common conscience was untouched. The Yankee was always standing in the way of the Puritan's righteousness. Respectability was founded on property, and respectability was mightier in New England than even John Calvin. It was the brutal debtor laws that brought on Shays's Rebellion, which Federalist church members put down and denied the grievances. It was no tender conscience that extinguished slavery in Massachusetts, for long after it became unprofitable there the Yankee skipper was still in the slave trade. Dignified Tory Row on what is now Brattle Street, Cambridge, was built by gentlemen who drew their wealth from West Indian slave plantations.' William Lloyd Garrison's offense in Baltimore, for which he was thrown into jail, lay in publishing the name of a Massachusetts shipmaster from Newburyport-Garrison's native town-who was engaged in the coastwise slave traffic? In the year 1830 there were somewhat more than a hundred Abolition Societies in the United States, not one of which was in New England; and in the first number of the Liberator Garrison wrote, probably without exaggeration, that he found "contempt more bitter, opposition more active, detraction more relentless, prejudice more stubborn, and apathy more frozen," in New England, "than among slave owners themselves." The old Puritan conscience might be tender, but it refused pretty steadily to take on any larger job than Sabbath-keeping and dogma-saving. It was inquisitorial rather than humanitarian, and the sins which it hunted down were theological rather than social.
The bridge between this older world and the later was thrown across by Unitarianism. With its shift of emphasis from a God of wrath to a God of love came the entering wedge that was to split away the egoism of the old theology-its thralldom to the conception of personal sin-and lay bare an inner core of altruism. It was another sort of conscience that Unitarianism discovered, a conscience that welcomed the new social thought of romantic Europe, and applying it to the facts of life in America created the new humanitarianism which bit so deeply into the New England of the forties. From this movement the intractable nature of the Yankee held him back, but the Puritan speedily transformed the hard theological conscience into a tender social conscience, that bewildered the conventional morality with its sweeping program of reform.
The awakening of the new spirit may perhaps be held to date from the growing opposition to war that was an aftermath of the Napoleonic period with its huge debts and vast social suffering. The inhumanity of war profoundly impressed thoughtful minds that had come under the influence of the sociological movement, and when Channing in 1812 preached his first anti-war sermon the new humanitarian spirit found expression. In his espousal of pacifism Channing was following in the footsteps of the social revolutionaries of the preceding century. He fell short of Tom Paine in analysis of the economic and dynastic sources of war, and in appreciation of its social consequences; nevertheless his denunciation was significant of a changing social attitude. From this early attack to the rise of the Garrisonian Non-Resistance Society of the late thirties and early forties, the spread of the pacifist movement was rapid. Transcendentalism was eloquently anti-militaristic, and Emerson, Alcott and Parker were outspoken in denunciation of the war spirit. To the war against war soon was added the war against drink, and with the establishment in Boston in 1826 of the National Philanthropist, under the patronage of the "Massachusetts Society for the Suppression of Intemperance"-a paper of which Garrison was editor for a few months-began the long agitation for the suppression of the liquor traffic. From such feeble beginnings the ardor of reform grew and spread swiftly, enlarging its program to embrace anti-slavery, woman's rights, prison reform, repeal of the harsh debtor laws, vegetarianism, associationism, until it caught the contagion of the perfectionist and transcendental movements and issued in a comprehensive program of universal reform. The golden age of New England was quite as much the golden age of the New England conscience as of the New England mind.
The fame of transcendentalism has too much obscured the contemporary movement of perfectionism, a movement which marked the extreme expression of the new conscience, the most revolutionary of its aspirations, the apotheosis of ethical radicalism. Its want of literary skill narrowed its appeal and the archaic quality of its enthusiasm lessened its following; yet in spirit it was native to Puritan idealism, and it enlisted the active sympathy of many of the finer souls of New England. How greatly reform was furthered by the movement of perfectionism is not easily determined, but it is clear that its influence permeated much of the revolutionary activity of the times. Scratch an ardent Abolitionist and you were likely to find a potential perfectionist.
The doctrine was first elaborated by John Humphrey Noyes, a young Vermont mystic, who, under the influence of the revivalist excitement of the early thirties, elaborated a social creed that re-embodied much of the teaching of the extreme left wing of English Commonwealth thought. Noyes was a primitive religious nature, with the tenderest of consciences, vastly troubled over current materialisms; and his speculations reveal a curious throw-back to early English Puritanism. He was a Yankee Fifth Monarchy man. Two hundred years of Yankee experience slipped from his mind, and he walked and talked with the old millennial spirits, the Diggers and Levelers of Commonwealth times. A devout Scripturist, he took literally the injunction of Matthew, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect." A primitive Christian, he proposed to re-order society with the naive simplicity of the apostle Eliot. In his mystical speculations, social, political, and religious radicalisms were stirred in a common pot and simmered down to what may be called spiritual anarchism. Noyes was a Yankee "root and branch" man, a single-minded apostle of "thorough." He would not strain at gnats and swallow camels, but he rejected the camels first and then proposed to get rid of the gnats. In 1834 he established a small monthly paper called the Perfectionist, which was very probably as revolutionary a sheet as was ever printed in America. He made converts, including Garrison, Edmund Quincy, son of Josiah Quincy, the Grimke sisters, Henry C. Wright and other Abolitionists, and made an increasing stir in the world, to the great concern of respectable folk who swallowed their camels without a grimace.
Some notion of the main doctrines of this seventeenth-century creed may be gained from a letter of Noyes to Garrison, written in 1837, from which the following is taken:
I have subscribed my name to an instrument similar to the Declaration of '76, renouncing all allegiance to the government of the United States, and asserting the title of Jesus Christ to the throne of the World. . . . When I wish to form a conception of the government of the United States ... I picture to myself a bloated, swaggering libertine, trampling on the Bible its own Constitution-its treaties with the Indians-the petitions of its citizens. . . . I have renounced active co-operation with the oppressor on whose territories I live; now I would find a way to put an end to his oppression. But he is manifestly a reprobate: reproof and instruction only aggravate his sins. I cannot attempt to reform him, because I am forbidden to "cast pearls before swine." I must therefore either consent to remain a slave till God removes the tyrant, or I must commence war upon him, by a declaration of independence and other weapons suitable to the character of a son of God.
He then lays down seven reasons for choosing to make war upon the state, amongst which are the following:
1. As a believer in the Bible I know that the territory of the United States belongs to God, and is promised . . . to Jesus Christ and his followers. .
6. The Son of God has manifestly, to me, chosen this country for the theatre of such an assault-a country which, by its boasting hypocrisy, has become the laughing-stock of the world, and by its lawlessness has fully proved the incapacity of man for self-government. My hope of the millennium begins where Dr. Beecher's expires-viz., AT THE OVERTHROW OF THIS NATION.
I have stated to you only . . . the principal things which God has urged upon me by his Spirit, and by which he has moved me to nominate Jesus Christ for the Presidency, not only of the United States, but of the world. Is it not high time for abolitionists to abandon a government whose President has declared war upon them? I cannot but think that many of them hear the same great voice out of heaven which has waked me, saying, "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not par-takers of her sins and of her plagues." . . Allow me to suggest that you will set Anti-slavery in the sunshine only by making it tributary to Holiness; and you will most assuredly throw it into the shade . . . if you suffer it to occupy the ground, in your mind or in others, which ought to be occupied by UNIVERSAL. EMANCIPATION FROM SIN. All the abhorrence which now falls upon slavery, intemperance, lewdness, and every other specific vice, will in due time he gathered into one volume of victorious wrath against unbelief. I wait for that time as for the day of battle . . I counsel you, and the people that are with you, if you love the post of honour-the forefront of the hottest battle of righteousness-to set your face towards perfect holiness. (Garrison, William Lloyd Garrison, Vol. II, pp. 1-45-148.)
This curious appeal brought forth its fruit in a Peace Convention, held in 1838, which published a Declaration of Sentiments that was quite as extraordinary a pronouncement-one that serves to explain the utter bewilderment of prosaic souls at the strange progeny of the times. It was only one of many strange conventions, marked by an ebullient faith of which Emerson remarked, "The core of the comet did not seem to be much, but the whole air was full of splendors" (journals, Vol. VII, p. 5), and on which Josiah Quincy commented, "Such a mass of free mind as was brought together I have never seen before in any one assembly. . . . There was much talent and a great deal of soul." Men who take their Biblical teachings literally are likely to be curious fellows. Righteousness may prove a potent drink for them that love it, begetting its own particular intemperance; and a conscience that has slipped its leash of the practical will run many a mad chase. If it followed its logic this perfectionism must make short shrift of political parties, of loyalty to government, of the political state itself, and set up instead a social order in which familiar things would be topsy-turvy, with the just sitting in high places and the rich and great of earth brought low; and this is precisely what Noyes did in the Oneida Community-the most successful of the contemporary ventures in communism-of which he was the founder. In spite of his taste for the wine of new vintages Emerson was some-what taken aback at certain of its ebullitions, and when the sabbatarian Charndon Street Convention in 1840 gathered together the choicest repositories of New England holiness, he shook his head dubiously. His humorous catalogue of the miscellaneous enthusiasts suggests more than a spice of criticism.
Madmen, madwomen, men with beards, Dunkers, Muggletonians, Come-outers, Groaners, Agarians, Seventh-Day Baptists, Quakers, Abolitionists, Calvinists, Unitarians, and Philosophers, -all came successively to the top, and seized their moment, if not their hour, wherein to chide, or pray, or preach, or protest. ("The Chardon Street Convention," in Works, Vol. X, p.374.)
And even the catholic-minded Edmund Quincy, who was one of the callers of the Convention, confessed that "It was the most singular collection of strange specimens of humanity that was ever assembled." The wine of perfectionism was in high ferment in New England in 1840. It was a curious anachronism in the midst of the industrial revolution-this revival of the religious Utopianism or 1650, this April renaissance of the faith of a dead saeculum theologicum. It was in no sense a by-product of transcendentalism-no lunacy fringe of metaphysical speculation. It owed nothing to French romanticism or German ideal-ism, not in origin at least. It was far more primitive and native, and its affinities run back to Roger Williams and the Fifth Monarchy millennialism, rather than to Rousseau and Kant and Jacobi. It was a breaking through of the submerged New England spirituality, a volcanic release from sterile conformity; and it summoned the awakening soul to go forth and conquer the world for righteousness. Millennialism is the prophetic hope of a primitive faith. To its disciples it is certain of fulfillment because God's promises are certain; but to practical minds, unconvinced that Biblical phrases are authentic divine contracts, any expectation of the speedy coming of the Kingdom of God seems grotesque. The millennial enthusiast is a fair butt of ridicule, and the perfectionists came in for a large share. It was Lowell who leveled at the militant godliness of the new sects the wittiest attack. Forgetting his English history he found himself puzzled, and being puzzled he allowed himself to become ill-matured. His clever sentences explode smartly about his subject, but there is no light in them.
Upon another venture in Utopianism, and one far better known, the years have laid a pleasant, idyllic haze, softening the prosaic outlines and clothing them with romance. Brook Farm has been singularly fortunate in the posthumous fame that has dealt with it so tenderly as to transmute it into poetry. By virtue of the light reflected upon it by the transcendental illumination and the literary skill it commanded, the little communal settlement at West Roxbury has come to be regarded as a homely Yankee pastoral, a sort of May Day adventure in brown holland tunics, an inspiring quest of the ideal amongst furrows and manures. It is a social poem fashioned out of Yankee homespun. No hint of rude social leveling is associated with its aims; even its communism suggests no stigma. Of the dozens of communistic experiments which marked the first half of the nineteenth century in America, few were native in origin or ventured upon in New England. They were mostly undertaken by old-world groups, chiefly German, who sought cheap land and a free environment for primitive religious experiments. But Brook Farm was true Yankee, using the familiar dialect to clothe its unfamiliar thoughts, and escaping the prejudice that confronts the uncouth and alien; and in consequence the vagaries that all New England once laughed at have become enshrined as a cherished New England possession.
Perfectionism and Brook Farm embodied diverse phases of the renaissance and made appeal to different temperaments. Fellowship founded on common ownership and communal labor was an ideal that left the religious mystic cold, whereas the anarchistic holiness of perfectionism seemed to the Brook Farmers grotesque. Present economic maladjustment appeared to the latter the fundamental problem of the times. They were deeply concerned for the future that must emerge from the chaotic individualism of the present. Unless society were brought back to a wiser understanding of values, they foresaw only chaos; and so in a small way they set about a great experiment. Brook Farm grew out of the impact of the industrial revolution upon the social conscience of New England. Industrialism, and social speculation were contemporary developments. The first cotton mill in New England was established at Lawrence in 1822, and the following year the Merrimac Mills were established in the newly founded city of Lowell. By absorbing the vast Irish immigration the factory system brought increasing wealth to Beacon Street homes, but it brought other consequences in its train which Beacon Street carelessly overlooked. How those consequences affected more sensitive and intelligent minds-men like William Henry Charming, Theodore Parker and George Ripley-is suggested by their eager talk of mutualism, association, co-operation, as potential cures for the growing evils of competition, discussions never before heard in New England. Describing the state of mind of the Boston group of social thinkers, John Weiss offers the following explanation:
A mutualism to secure culture and material welfare was consistently desired by those who believed in a community of the sources of moral and spiritual welfare. The social evils which result from the struggles of competitive labour seemed to outweigh all its benefits. Modern civilization was thought to be the culmination of isolated selfishness, madly struggling from bread to luxury and refined delights, which the strongest and least scrupulous only could acquire. Prisons and punishments were the defences of this artificial system, to repress instincts that were moral till they become illegal. Hospitals and benevolent institutions were also mere defences to absorb as much misery as possible ere it became malicious, to get the social gangrene reduced to limits. The providential impulses of the human being were forced to act in subversive ways and directions, when they might all be harmonized by their own inherent laws, and the blessing of mutualism succeed to the bane of antagonism. Each man ought to be the guarantee to all men against disorder; the carefully adjusted elements of a selfishness which threatens continually to blow the social fabric to atoms, would become not only innoxious but salutary in its proper combination; and a new civilization might arise in fair proportion from the serial development and movement of all possible human tendencies. Then all men and women might labor and be happy; all might earn with a minimum of toil a competence of culture. Property would be the ally of the whole instead of the oppressor of the many; and crime would disappear, because the instincts would no longer have motives to be criminal. (Life and Correspondence of Theodore Parker, Vol. I, pp. 106-107. )
The transcendental basis of such social speculation is evident enough. The new social thought was transcendental though! A common belief in the excellence of human instincts drew these idealists together; but when it came to the vexing problem of reconciling individualism and mutualism, creating an economic fellowship out of electric personalities, the more ardent transcendentalists took fright and prudently kept without the gates of Brook Farm. Organization seemed to them the fatal poison in the bottom of the cap. When a community was planned in Massachusetts in 1841, by liberal Christians of the Universalist sect, a writer in the Dial subjected the proposal to sharp criticism:
A true community can be founded on nothing short of faith in the universal man, as he comes from the hands of the Creator, with no law over his liberty but the eternal ideas that lie at the foundation of his being. . . The final cause of human society is the unfolding of the individual man, into every form of perfection, without let or hindrance, according to the inward nature of each. (Quoted by Frothingham in Transcendentalism, etc., p. 157.)
Such a view is anarchistic rather than collectivistic, and as embodied in Alcott's Fruitlands, it may be regarded as the transcendental type of Utopia. Towards all systems of socialism the transcendentalists were instinctively hostile, as implying an industrial regimentation; and in planning Brook Farm, Ripley rejected industrialism and reduced regimentation to a minimum. With the agrarian background of Brook Farm the transcendentalists were in hearty sympathy, quite oblivious of the fact that agrarianism could offer no solution for industrialism; but they balked at the principle of task allotment as a hindrance to the unfolding of individual differences. Upon the later introduction of the Fourier Phalanx their doubts grew into certainty, and they lost their faith in the experiment. Of all the transcendentalists William Henry Charming was clearly the most confirmed associationist, except perhaps Ripley; to the end of his life he remained a socialist, active in collectivistic movements and clinging fondly to his memory of Brook Farm as a "great college of social students." But few of his fellow transcendentalists shared his faith.
This growing skepticism of organization is clearly shown in the comments of Emerson's Journals. In October, 1840, he set down his first reaction to the plan as follows:
Yesterday George and Sophia Ripley, Margaret Fuller and Alcott discussed here the Social Plans. I wish to be conceived, to be thawed, to be made nobly mad by the kindlings before my eye of a new dawn of human piety. But this scheme was arithmetic and comfort; this was a hint borrowed from the Tremont House and United States Hotel; a rage in our poverty and politics to live rich and gentlemanlike, an anchor to leeward against a change of weather; a prudent forecast on the probable issue of the great questions of Pauperism and Poverty. And not once could I be inflamed, but sat aloof and thoughtless; my voice faltered and fell. It was not the cave of persecution which is the palace of spiritual power, but only a room in the Astor House hired for the Transcendentalists. I do not wish to remove from my present prison to a prison a little larger. I wish to break all prisons. I have not yet conquered my own house. It irks and repents me. Shall I raise the siege of this hen coop, and march baffled away to a pretended siege of Babylon? It seems to me that so to do were to dodge the problem I am set to solve, and to hide my impotency in the thick of a crowd. (Journals, Vol. V, pp. 473-474.)
In January, 1844, noting the spontaneity of life at Brook Farm, he drew the conclusion "that in the arrangements at Brook Farm, as out of them, it is the person, not the communist, that avails" (ibid., Vol. VI, p. 492). With the introduction of Fourierist organization he became sharply critical. Neither in Fourier nor in Owen did he see any hope.
Fourier learned from him [Owen] all the truth he had, and the rest of his system was imagination, and the imagination of a banker. The Owen and Fourier plans bring no a priori convictions. They are come at merely by counting and arithmetic. All the fine apercus are for individualism. The Spartan broth, the hermit's cell, the lonely farmer's life are poetic; but the Phalanstery, the "Self-supporting Village," are culinary and mean. (Ibid., Vol. VIII, pp. 134, 135.)
And a few days later he gave his final judgment, "Dear heart, take it sadly home to thee, that there will and can be no cooperation"-a judgment that explains the clever phrase with which he demolished Brook Farm, "It is the Age of Reason in a patty-pan."
The transcendentalist with his Puritan conscience could understand and sympathize with the perfectionist zeal for universal righteousness; but collectivistic systems of economy seemed alien and a community of goods uncongenial to his Yankee individualism. Albert Brisbane, the American apostle of Fourierism, might bring George Ripley, the least individualistic and most prosaic of the transcendental group, to his views of organization; but he got on badly with the others who were quite too fluid to take a mechanical set. In consequence it was not at Brook Farm but at the North American Phalanx that the French system found its fairest experiment and met with its solidest success.
With the awakening interest in social problems the conscience of New England could not longer remain indifferent to slavery. The incoming of French humanitarianism, the spread of idealistic sociology under the teachings of Unitarianism, above all the stimulus of English Abolitionism that provided argument and example in the freeing of slaves in the British West Indies, wore away the indifferentism that had calloused the mind of New England; and with the decay of her provincial particularism the conscience of New England slowly roused itself. The arrogance of the slave party nowhere else stirred such deep resentment. Southern steel, striking the flinty Yankee character, threw off sparks that would fire whatever combustible stuff lay near; and such combustible stuff was provided in plenty by the Utopian enthusiasts who gathered in conventions, each with a plan of universal reform in his waistcoat pocket. Little conflagrations were started in many an obscure Yankee soul, and the noise of the crackling spread over New England, to the anger of the South and the vast concern of respectable Boston merchants. Sooner or later Abolition sentiment was bound to make a tremendous stir amongst the children of Puritanism; and when that time came it was bound to arouse tremendous antagonism amongst the sons of Yankees. The dominant commercial group would not tolerate a movement that was certain to alienate its southern customers. A mighty collision between the conscience and the self-interest of New England was inevitable; and in that collision of flinty characters, arguments were likely to be countered with blows.
The New England Abolitionists, men and women, were an extraordinarily interesting group. They were good fighters, outspoken and tenacious of opinion, unsparing in attack, refusing to be browbeaten, resilient and tough as seasoned hickory. In them the Yankee Tory met his match; against them coercion and intimidation, all the usual Tory weapons, failed as earlier they had failed with the primitive Quakers. They were daily charged with being social incendiaries. The commercial newspapers thundered against them as atheists, Sabbath-breakers, socialists, anarchists; the absurdest myths were given circulation; the public mind was skillfully poisoned against them. Yet as a matter of sober historical fact, they were the kindliest of men, with generous sympathies and disinterested motives. No blackguard was ever an Abolitionist-no ward-heeler, or mob-inciter, or purse-patriot; all such convenient tools of power were found amongst the baiters and mobsters in the commercial opposition. John Brown was the only direct-action Abolitionist and what befell him is well known among men. There was no money to be made, no place of honor or power to be got by espousing Abolitionism, but only self-sacrifice and social ostracism. Ambitious men, self-seekers, went with the dispensers of social favors. It was the remnant in Israel that gathered to the cause, few in numbers but the best New England had. And what an excellent company they were: Garrison, Samuel J. May, Edmund Quincy, Jonathan Sewall, Theodore Parker, Lydia Maria Child, Mrs. Chapman, Wendell Phillips, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Whittier, Henry Ward Beecher, Sumner, Maria White and the young Lowell-such a fighting phalanx as the New England conscience had never before mustered, nor has since. To them were gathered heroic souls from other states: Arthur and Lewis Tappan and Gerrit Smith from New York, James Birney from Kentucky, Lucretia Mott from Philadelphia, the Grimke sisters from South Carolina. Harriet Martineau, who knew the group intimately, has left on record her judgment of them:
"A just survey of the whole world can leave little doubt," she wrote in 1838, "that the abolitionists of the United States are the greatest people now living and moving in it" (Carpenter, John Greenleaf Whittier, p. 107). They gave New England and the country no peace. From their persistent agitation came the Emigrant Aid Society, Sharp's rifles, and the bloody struggle in Kansas; and from it came the temporary overwhelming of the Tory