THE LIBERTY BELL FOR 1845.—This Annual is published, as usual, in Massachusetts, for the benefit of the Anti-Slavery Fair. As frontispiece, it has a portrait of WENDELL PHILLIPS, one of the most eloquent leaders of the party, etched by J. Andrews from a Daguerreotype by Southworth, which presents a fac-simile of his keen intellectual expression. The face corresponds entirely with his style of oratory.
The writers show their usual clearness and full possession of their ground. Even these pieces, which have little merit in point of talent, please by their distinct enunciation of principles.
Elizabeth Pease, a valued English friend to the cause, observes, “Although to but few it may be given to be the voices of the world, to startle mankind by the enunciation of some new and earnest thought, or even to act on the universal mind by bringing to light some long concealed gem from the treasury of Truth, yet, to all of us belongs the power of determining of what voices we will be the echo—to what principles we will lend the influence of our example and the advocacy of our lips.” And to this responsibility the writers before us have been faithful, so that their words are the echoes of individual conscience, individual mind. They seem happy in the consciousness which Lowell thus finely expresses:
Bloom on a single heart’s frail stem
That dares Truth’s unpaid bondmaid be;—
Father! what lack we, having them?
Though Unbelief’s bleak winter freeze,
Thy quiet sunshine fences these.”
One of the most interesting features of the book consists in the contributions of the men of color. These not only compare very favorably with those penned by white hands, but—when we see such rapid progress as in the case of Douglass, who was “only six years since a fugitive from a Southern cornfield”—are the most unanswerable arguments in favor of the capacities of the African race. Their claims need no argument.
A sketch by Edmund Quincy, ‘Philip Catesby,’ is written with much skill and feeling.
The following letter from Miss Bremer will be read with interest by all classes, and is the best comment on the book and cause of which it is a symbol:*
Stockholm, 25th August, 1844.
My Dear Mrs. Chapman—Just returned from a tour in one of the northern provinces of my country, (DALARNA, the mother-province of our Liberty,) I hasten to answer your letter from Boston of the 22d February, and am very sorry not to have been capable of answering it before. For that letter and the valuable present that accompanied it, I offer you my sincere thanks. It grieves me indeed not to be able to offer more, and to join in your honorable efforts in a great and sacred cause.
O! readily do I lift my voice and join in the universal chorus which is raised on earth by Christianity, for the Liberty of Man—for the Abolition of Slavery. But when you, dear Mrs. Chapman, desire me to take a solo-part in the great concerto for that Abolition, I shrink back, from the very natural feeling that my voice is not strong, not good enough for such a part, and that this effort is not needed, and cannot add an iota to the benefit of the cause.
It is my firm opinion (and that has been ratified to me by some here residing Americans) that the principle of the freedom of man and the injustice of Slavery is fully recognized in the United States; (as it necessarily must be, by every man and nation who possesses common sense and confesses Christianity,) and that the question there now is not, if Slavery be just or justifiable, but “in what manner and how shall we make Slavery cease?” That is the question. And only he that could show how this liberation can be effected, to the true good of the enslaved as of the slave-holding population in America, would be the true and chief promoter of a cause, for the success of which the great Republic must sigh as for her own moral and spiritual liberation.
If such a light, if such a wisdom was given to me, O! then, believe me, I would not draw back in showing it; in taking my part in the glorious drama of liberation; yea, though I should break my neck in the attempt to break the chain that chains the black man to his brother the white man, and a great and rising nation to the king of darkness! But for more able and powerful hands this glorious work is reserved. It is a work for THE GENIUS OF AMERICA! Out of her own bosom must rise the thought, must spring the word which will give liberty to her enslaved children. And that word—how should America not find it? How can she be untrue to her principal mission in the world? Is not the genius of America called upon to be on earth the missionary of God, to proclaim the freedom of man in the name of the Redeemer? Look at her origin and history!
Spiritual Freedom!—was the watchword of those one hundred Puritans who fled to the desert and planted there the tree of liberty which now shadows over the Republic of the United States, and of which the unbloody laurels were so richly blessed by God.
Political Freedom!—was the banner under which America rose to its national self-control and greatness. Human Freedom! spiritual and political freedom for every soul redeemed by God, is the great truth still left for America to pronounce and to make real in her realm.
Great may be, in the present state of things, the difficulties which prevent the achievement of that great work; still it is the belief of all friends of America here, that her genius will rise superior to all difficulties; that, inspired by the God of freedom and grace, the United States will one day, not far off, unite to break the chains of Slavery and make their enslaved brothers partake of the blessed lot of the free. And then the blessing of the eternal Redeemer will, in tenfold measure, descend on the then truly free and glorious Republic of North America.
For the speedy arrival of that day, let me, in my corner, humbly hope and pray, and so at least unite in spirit and heart with you and the noble minds of your people.
Accept dearest Madam, of my hearty good wishes and kind thanks.
Respectfully yours, FREDRIKA BREMER.
P.S.—I need hardly say, my dear Madam, that if my letter seems to you good for publication, you may dispose of it as you like. And pray excuse all the sins I may have committed against your language.
“Liberty Bell for 1845.” New-York Daily Tribune, 7 January 1845, p. 2.