The rising sun had sent, through an opening in the woods, a shaft of light, which centred on a hickory tree that stood alone in the meadow, and was then in the perfection of its golden autumn glory. It dripped with moisture, blazed and shimmered. The high lights were diamond tipped, and between them and the deepest shadow was every tint of orange and yellow, mingled and blended in those inimitable lines of natural foliage. Over it, through it, and around it, rolled the white fog, in great masses, caressing the earth and hanging from the zenith, like the veil of the temple of the Most High. All around lay the dark woods, framing in the vision like serried ranks encompassing a throne, to which great clouds rolled, then lifted and scudded away, like couriers coming for orders and hastening to obey them.
John’s New Jerusalem never was so grand! No square corners and forbidding walls. The gates were not made of several solid pearls, but of millions of pearletts, strung on threads of love, offering no barriers through which any soul might not pass. My Patmos had been visited and I could dwell in it, work and wait; but I would live in it, not lie in a tomb, and once more I took hold of life.
I organized a society at which we read, had refreshments and danced—yea, broke church rules and practiced promiscuous dancing minus promiscuous kissing. Of course this was wicked. I roamed the woods, brought wild flowers and planted them, set out berry bushes, and collected a large variety of roses and lilies.
MEXICAN WAR.—AGE, 30-32.
James G. Birney was the presidential candidate of the “Liberty Party” in 1844, as he had been in ’40. During the campaign I wrote under my initials for The Spirit of Liberty, and exposing the weak part of an argument soon came to be my recognized forte. For using my initials I had two reasons—my dislike and dread of publicity and the fear of embarrassing the Liberty Party with the sex question. Abolitionists were men of sharp angles. Organizing them was like binding crooked sticks in a bundle, and one of the questions which divided them was the right of women to take any prominent part in public affairs.
In that campaign, the great Whig argument against the election of Polk was, that it would bring on a war with Mexico for the extension of slavery, and when the war came, Whigs and Liberty Party men vied with each other in their cry of “Our Country, right or wrong!” and rushed into the army over every barrier set up by their late arguments. The nation was seized by a military madness, and in the furore, the cause of the slave went to the wall, and The Spirit of Liberty was discontinued. Its predecessor, The Christian Witness, had failed under the successive management of William Burleigh, Dr. Elder, and Rev. Edward Smith, three giants in those days, and there seemed no hope that any anti-slavery paper could be supported in Pittsburg, while all anti-slavery matter was carefully excluded from both religious and secular press. It was a dark day for the slave, and it was difficult to see hope for a brighter. To me, it seemed that all was lost, unless some one were especially called to speak that truth, which alone could make the people free, but certainly I could not be the messenger.