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THE

AMERICAN REVIEW.

No. LXXVI.

FOR MAY, 1851.

THE FUGITIVE SLAVE LAW.

NOTWITHSTANDING the entire freedom of discussion for deep thinking. The stimulus thought and speech which in this Republic to declamation is sympathy; and the staple we theoretically possess; notwithstanding of declamation is appeals to feelings, to the varieties of forms and opportunities ex- prejudices, to interests. Wise thought and isting for the discussion of the great and the consistent logic visit genius in other spheres. small questions that arise among us; the The daily press is too incessant in its denumerous halls of legislation that are dotted mands for well-considered thinking, and too over the entire surface of the nation, as well | local in its very nature, and all its attachas the great central Congress of the whole ; ments, for unbiased consideration. That the newspapers “thick as the leaves in Val- form of periodical literature which is the lambrosa ;" primary meetings and political | best for such modes of presenting subjects assemblages of the people; pulpits, lecture- as we are lamenting the want of, and which rooms, and unrestricted book publication; we have endeavored to contribute to, in the and notwithstanding a certain general in establishment of this Review, is interfered telligence, and aptitude for thinking, speak- with too much by the flood of foreign rivals ing, and writing, a calm observer must be to assuine as it ought this its proper function struck with the rarity of instances in which among us. Other causes of the evil we an important question, if arising within the allude to exist, but we need not at present arena of political strife, is considered with a name them. It will be seen, we may rebreadth of thought adequate to its thorough mark, that it springs from the abuse of some elucidation. What are the causes of this of our most valuable privileges, and is only national deficiency? In the first place, we another illustration of the imperfection of are too one-sided as individuals, and too | all human systems. "many-sided” as a people. Each one is Now we would not have it inferred from born into or attaches himself to a sect, these observations that we do not think this clique or faction; and every region has its nation arrives at the truth of questions that predominant local dogmas and tone of arise within it, or that it does not as rapidly thought. Each one therefore is apt to have advance in the settlement of principles as a preconceived theory, or a local prejudice, others. It does so; but yet it does not which more or less interferes with a wide outstrip others as it should, considering its and liberal view of any question which unimpeded thought and unshackled press, if touches the whole nation, or the discussion there was less of the friction we have deof which embraces general principles. In /scribed. Truth appears to be only struck out the next place, there may be too incessant among us in fragments after the conflict of

VOL. VII. NO. V. NEW SERIES.

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