The Slavery Issue in Washington--George Fitzhugh's Pro-slavery Lecture in New Haven--Our Petition to the Virginia Legislature--Correspondence of Daniel Webster with Dr. Furness--Results of the Fugitive Slave Law--My Plea for Peaceful Disunion--Hon. Horace Greeley--Distress in the Church Caused by my Preaching--The Church Edifice Needs Repairs--Collecting Money at the North-- Assault on Sumner--The Fremont Campaign--Presentiment of Civil War--My Fatal Sermon--The Struggle in My Society--My Dismissal--Letter from Emerson--Letter from W. H. Channing --Letters of Approval--My Farewell Sermon in Washington-- The Immediate Sequel--Letters from my Mother.
CONCERNING the trouble that rent my Washington congregation and overcast my bright skies, I can now speak with the calmness of a disinterested witness. The Union war obliterated those painful differences. Though they broke my heart I have long remembered them with as many reproaches against myself as against my opponents.
I had made up my mind to pursue a quiet though not silent course concerning slavery, and not to break completely with my beloved Virginia. I did not despair of being able to influence some of the leaders in the South. Some of my attempts were indeed discouraging. My grand-uncle, Justice Daniel, with whom I always had affectionate relations, was a man of logical intellect, and apparently without dislike of my religious heresies; but when in his house in Washington I ventured to say something favourable to the anti-slavery sentiment he closed the subject by saying, "I fear those people are very wicked."
I frequently met the "Freesoil" congressmen, whose aim was to exclude slavery from all the Federal domain.
I thus had opportunities for acquiring knowledge of the sentiments of good men on every side of the formidable issue, and was certain of their equal sincerity. Amid these opposing principles I found myself, at the age of twenty-three, consci