Margaret Fuller, Critic: Writings from the New-York Tribune, 1844-1846

By Judith Mattson Bean; Joel Myerson | Go to book overview

[Review of Thomas L. McKenney,
Memoirs, Official and Personal

Yesterday, the 4th of July, we passed in looking through this interesting work. The feelings and reflections it induced were in harmony with the aspect of the day, a day of gloom, of searching chill and dripping skies. We were very sorry for all the poor laborers and children whom the weather deprived of pleasure on the pleasantest occasion of their year—most of all for those poor children of the Farm Schools on this, perhaps, the first holiday of their dull, narrow little lives. But the mourning aspect of the day seemed to us most appropriate. The boys and boyish young men were letting off their crackers and revelling in smoke and hubbub all day long; a din not more musical, of empty panegyric and gratulation, was going on within the halls of oratory; the military were parading our profaned banners. But the sweet heavens, conscious of the list of wrongs by which this nation, in its now three score years and ten of independent existence, has abused the boon, veiled themselves in crape and wept.

The nation may wrap itself in callousness and stop its ears to every cry except that of profit or loss; it may build its temples of wood and stone, and hope, by formal service of the lips, to make up for that paid to Mammon in the spirit,1 but God is not mocked; it is all recorded, all known. The want of honor and even honorable sentiment shown by this people in the day of repudiation; the sin of Slavery and the conduct of the slaveholder, who, at first pretending that he wished, if possible, to put an end to this curse of unlawful bondage, has now unveiled his falsehood by the contrivance and consummation of a plan to perpetuate it, if possible, through all ages; the intolerance and bigotry which disgrace a country whose fundamental idea affords them no excuse, shown in a thousand ways and on every side, but, of late, in a most flagrant form, through the murder of the Mormon leader, the expulsion of his followers, and

____________________
1
Mammon, word used in the New Testament as a personification of riches that has come to mean avarice.

-464-

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