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are in favour of the war for the Union," should carry with them in America any weight of influence, according to Seward he will soon want no more citizen soldiers from the North, or alien soldiers from Europe, nor a Miss Dickinson, with her inspirations as the goddess of liberty.
Reserving a few more points, yours, for truth as well as liberty,
J. R. BALME,
32 Sun-street Liverpool, May 13, 1863.
EXPLOSIVE ELEMENTS AND PYRAMIDAL
SCENES IN AMERICAN SOCIETY.
TO THE EDITORS OF THE LIVERPOOL MERCURY.
GENTLEMEN, -As no transcendent opening of grandeur, beauty, or inestimable worth could be found in connection with our explorations into the substratum of American society, in our last communication, we shall briefly call attention to the explosive elements of human passion, frenzy, and madness which are everywhere manifest in our degraded country, causing tremendous eruptions of the burning lava of malice and vengeful scorn to flow forth sometimes from South to North, at other times from North to South, and then again from both North and South alternately and conjointly towards England. These fiery eruptions in connection with the Northern substratum of society are abundantly made manifest in the departments of the science of our political economy, religion as popularly taught amongst us, our enlightened public sentiment so-called, and the philanthropy which the Rev. Newman Hall says lies at the bottom of the struggle going on in America.
And apropos to our figure, we have an illustration which will help to fix in our memories, and to move us to the profoundest depths of our hearts in horror of the terrible wreck of virtue, morality, liberty, and religion which such explosive elements produce. The illustration is as follows :-During the drilling of an oil well recently, at a place called Tudione, in Pennsylvania, a sudden rush of oil in its crude state took place, forming a pillar which rose to the height of 41 feet above the surface of the ground, and also a circle of 100 feet in diameter. Above this jet or pillar the gas or benzine rose in a cloud, which kept extending itself until it came in contact with a fire in the neighbourhood, when a terrific explosion took place, instantly turning the jet of oil into a column of livid flame, and also the oil shower around it into a shower of fire, which fell like water from a fountain, and ignited the ground as each drop of oil came down in the shape of a blazing globe of fire, whilst the blazing gas or benzine above this pyramid of fire went dashing towards the heavens like lightning flashes until it licked the clouds with its furious tongues of heat; and as the fiery pillar was fed at the rate of 100 barrels per hour, the scene of combustion was tremendous, and, being continuous, it made a noise like the rushing of a hurricane or tornado through the forest. The heat of the fire became so intense that no persons could approach within 150 feet without scorching their skin or burning their garments, and the scenes of horror which took place were frightful to contemplate. Scores of men were thrown hither and thither by the force of the explosion, and, being exposed to the shower of fire, were horribly burnt as they rushed blazing from the scene of their misfortune, shrieking and screaming in their anguish. Within the blazing circle could be seen the skeletons of those who had fallen a prey to the scorching and devouring flames. Some who escaped from the blazing circle of destruction and ruin afterwards died from the injuries which they received. Others who survived were so seriously injured by the scorching heat of the flames as to become great sufferers from pain ; and all who were present at the opening of the well sustained more or less injury by the explosion which took place.
The above is a feeble but fitting emblem of the scenes of suffering and trial which have been the sad experience of multitudes who have come within the vaster circle of the scorching flames of persecution that have been ignited with the fires of freedom in connection with the borings or drillings into what Dr Guthrie calls the deep, broad substratum of moral and religious principles in America. Not only in the degraded South, but in our “moral and religious North," so called, no drilling or boring could be made into any of the departinents already referred to without discovering an abundance of fiery elements which the smallest spark of freedom or atom of moral and religious principle would cause to explode, or kindle into a grand pyrotechnic display of human passion, from which the uncompromising abolitionist would feel glad to escape, and the approach to which would fill him with apprehension and alarm. Hence the almost universal precaution taken to warn the public against the abolitionist in churches, synods, and conventions, lest there should be an explosion and the peace of the churches or states be destroyed. Up to the period of the disruption, abolitionism was always considered the greatest crime in our Nothern calendar, and the Christian abolitionist in particular had to be subject to the fiery ordeal of persecution, and to endure privation and hardship, inconvenience and loss. Not only were there hidden stores of danger in society beneath him, but around him in church and state there were active agencies, which sometimes resembled the scene given in the following picture, “A pyramid of serpents.” The following is from the Morning Chronicle, and, although passing strange, the scene described may be true. A traveller in South America writes :—“In the savannahs of Isacubo, in Guiana, I saw the most terrible spectacle that can be seen, and, although it is not uncommon to the inhabitants, no traveller has ever mentioned it. We were ten men on horseback, two of whom took the lead in order to sound the passage, while I preferred to skirt the great forest. One of the blacks who formed the vanguard returned at full gallop and called to me, 'Here, sir, come and see the serpents in a pile.' He pointed out to me something elevated in the middle of the savannah or swamp which looked like a bundle of