Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/622

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them are very characteristic at once of his wide tolerance and his marked tendency toward conciliation and compromise. For example, he writes once:

The time may be nearer than some think, when we shall have all sects endowed, which I trust will happen, instead of none being so. But, at all events, I abhor the political disaffection created in Ireland, Scotland, and England by the exclusive privileges of Church of England ascendency. It is really the power which is oppressive here, and not the monarchy, nor the aristocracy. Perhaps I feel it too sensitively as a scientific man, since our Puseyites have excluded physical science from Oxford. They are wise in their generation. The abject deference to authority advocated conscientiously by them can never survive a sound philosophical education.

He made altogether four voyages to America, always with an increasing sympathy for whatever is best in American life. Slavery troubled him much. He saw that the slaves were fairly well treated; that they worked lightly, fed well, enjoyed themselves hugely, and were profoundly careless about their own condition. He thought that, "if emancipated, they would suffer very much more than they would gain," and just at first he was half disposed to palter and parley with the accursed thing. But more thinking brought him back to himself; and, when the War of Secession came, he was firm as a rock on the right side, when all English society was going steadily wrong. No political movement of his time seems ever to have interested and excited him so much.

"If the result of the struggle," he writes to Mr. Ticknor in the very thick of the war, "could be the abolition of slavery by the year 1900, it would be worth a heavy debt and many lives, at any rate when one thinks of what most wars are waged for, not but that the Union alone is worth a long fighting for." And the longest letter, I think, in the whole correspondence, is one to his friend Mr. T. Spedding, defending his faith in the North against adverse criticism—a manly, noble, outspoken letter, which by itself sufficiently stamps its writer. A few condensed extracts are well worth making:

I admit that every people have the right of rebellion or revolution whenever they are oppressed. . . . But, so far from having any just grounds of rebellion, the South had been dominant to the last in foreign and domestic politics, had always had the lion's share in the choice of Presidents and other civil appointments. . . . In short, they rebelled simply because Lincoln's election showed them that the Republican party were at last determined to resist the extension of slavery into new Territories. . . . If such men as Gladstone and Earl Russell had been only six weeks in the United States, they would never have said what they did. . . . Lincoln and his colleagues are not the sort of men that you and I would put into a Cabinet, so far as their conventional manners are concerned; . . . but, after all, are Lords Palmerston, Clarendon, and some others, men of higher principle than Lincoln, or as high? I am intimate with men equal to any here in literary attainments and in polish of manners, and of independent fortune, in the United States, whom I used to wish to see in power