Yes, my son, it was the curse of slavery that corrupted the hearts and turned the heads of these people; that found them requesting the race they had made suffer so long in bondage, to be thankful that their sufferings were no worse. I never could, my son, see why any human being, who had been made the victim of the greatest outrage against his rights, should be thankful. The Church might, and did, attempt to sanctify this greatest of crimes; but that did not change the character of the cruelty and injustice. It will, no doubt, seem strange to you that ministers of the Gospel should be found the defenders of crime. And yet slavery found its ablest defenders in the pulpit of the South. I am afraid it always will be so, for even now we see ministers of the Gospel more ready to hang out false lights to lead their people into darkness, than to give them that truth and instruction they so much need. But you must not let the thought of this lessen your respect for the Church. Examine with great care until you have found out in what true Christianity consists; and when you have, practice accordingly to the extent of your ability. Never forget that it was the preaching of popular errors that cost the nation so much blood and treasure, so much sorrow and distress. That bishops should put aside their lawn, and gird on the sword—that they should lead men to war and death, instead of the baptismal, and all to perpetuate the sorrows of an oppressed race, is, my son, only another proof that error may gain a victory over truth in the hearts and feelings of the best of us.
We go to war to settle our differences.
Here let me present you, my son, with an exact portrait of the distinguished general who is commonly accepted as striking the first blow of this war. He was kindly educated at the expense of the nation, and was first among its enemies. For a time his fame ran high enough, and timid people were inclined to give him the character of a monster. But it turned out in time that he was a very peaceable gentleman, and not so much of a terrible warrior, after all.
But I want to tell you, my son, how it was that the people of this great nation took to swords and cannon, to settle their differences of opinion.
The people of the great North, and the people of the great West, were educated to a very different way of thinking on the question of slavery; and differed with the people of the South as to what constituted a national blessing. They were willing, for the sake of peace, to tolerate slavery, as a great evil it were dangerous to attempt to remove; but it was too much to ask them to accept it as a great national blessing. These people were energetic, thrifty, lovers of right and justice, and had grown rich and powerful by their own industry. They could not see why the whole people of so great a nation as ours