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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 294 pages of information about Half a Century.

Checking the advance of an enemy was one step toward driving him off the field, and a rusty cannon might be worth several bright-barreled muskets in holding him at bay.  The Lord punished Israel by the hand of Jehu and Hazael, both wicked men.  Slavery was bursting her bounds, coming over on us like the sea on Holland.  One very dirty shovel might be worth a hundred silver teaspoons in keeping back the waters, and this Free Soil party could do more to check its advance than a hundred of the little Liberty Party with that pure patriot, Gerrit Smith, at its head.  In doing right, take all the help you can get, even from Satan.  Let him assist to carry your burden as long as he will travel your road, and only be careful not to turn off with him when he takes his own.

The Visitor had thousands of readers scattered over every State and Territory in the nation, in England and the Canadas.  It was quoted more perhaps than any other paper in the country, and whether for blame or praise, its sentiments were circulated, and men of good judgment thought it made thousands of votes for the Free Soil party.

CHAPTER XXVI.

VISIT WASHINGTON.—­AGE, 35.

When slavery thought to reap the fruits of the war into which she had plunged the nation with Mexico, lo! there was a lion in her path, and not a Bunyan lion either, for this kingly beast wore no collar, no chain held him.  The roused North had laid her great labor paw on the California gold fields and stood showing her teeth while the serpent with raised crest was coiled to strike, and the world waited and wondered.

Henry Clay, the synonym for compromise, was still in the United States Senate, and, with his cat-like tread, stepped in between the belligerents with a cunning device—­a device similar to that by which the boys disposed of the knife they found jointly—­one was to own, the other to carry and use it.  So by this plan the lion was to own California, and the snake was to occupy it as a hunting-ground; nay, not it alone, but every State and Territory in the Union must be given up to its slimy purposes.  In other words, California was to be admitted as a free State, upon condition of the passage of the Fugitive Slave Bill, which authorized the slave-hunter to follow the fugitive into every home, every spot of this broad land; to tear him from any altar, and demand the services of every “good citizen” in his hellish work.  Men by thousands, once counted friends of freedom, bowed abjectly to this infamous decision.

Daniel Webster, the leading Whig statesman, made a set speech in favor of thus giving up the whole country to the dominion of the slave power.  It was another great bid for the next presidential nomination, which must be controlled by the South.  The danger was imminent, the crisis alarming, and the excitement very great.  I longed to be in Washington, so I wrote to Horace Greeley, who answered that he would pay me five dollars a column for letters.  It was said that this was the first time a woman had been engaged in that capacity.

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