Stone Collection: Volume 51 - Item 21
21. Harriet Martineau, The Martyr Age in the United States (Boston: Weeks, Jordan & Co., 1839). (84 p.)
History of the abolitionist movement in the United States to 1839. The author draws these conclusions toward the end of the monograph. “The history of this struggle seems to yield a few influences which must, we think, be evident to all impartial minds; and which are as important as they are clear. One is, that this is a struggle which cannot subside till it has prevailed. If this be true, the consequence of yielding to it would be the saving of a world of guilt and woe. Another is, that other sorts of freedom, beside emancipation from slavery, will come in with it, that the aristocratic spirit in all its manifestations is being purged out of the community;--that with every black slave a white will also be freed. Another is, that republicanism is in no degree answerable for the want of freedom and of peace under which the American nation is now suffering;--that, on the contrary, the turbulence and tyranny are the immediate offspring of the old-world, feudal, European spirit which still lives in the institution assailed, and in the bosoms of the aristocracy of the country, while the bulwarks of the Constitution, the true republicans, are the ‘peacemen,’ the sufferers, the moral soldiers, who have gone out armed only with faith, hope, and charity. Another is, that the colored people have a promising morale on which to ground their civilization. Their whole conduct affords evidences of generosity, patience, and hopefulness, from which fine results of character may be anticipated, whenever this unfortunate race shall have leave to exert their unfettered energies under circumstances of average fairness” (emphasis in original).