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MRS. BEECHER STOWE replies to the address from the women of Great Britain and Ireland, the signatures to which filled twenty-six folio volumes, by a small book, the importance of which must not be measured from its bulk. Her position, as having aroused the attention of civilized Europe to the horrors of the system of domestic slavery in America, by words of burning eloquence and scenes painted with living power, entitles her to be heard as the mouthpiece of those in the United States, who have striven to wipe out this blot upon the fair fame of their land. Nor can the people of our country affect indifference to her appeal to our persistence in the feelings that glowed so fervently in every line of that address,—to her inquiry whether the voices of nearly half a million of our countrywomen spoke truly from the heart of the nation, and why that heart seems to her to have changed or wavered.
Let Mrs. Stowe, and all in her land, rest firmly assured that in this matter British feeling is unchanged and unchangeable. There is not, nor ever has been, amongst us any sympathy with
slavery or slaveholders. Our warmest wishes and prayers are, as they ever have been, for the removal of this foul stain and leprosy from the United States of America. We would gladly aid to effect this great and glorious purpose by any means we could approve as likely to attain their end. In sincere sympathy with the sufferings of America in her present distracted state, the following pages are offered as some attempt to point the course for action in that direction—as some explanation of what we in the old country look upon as the real issues involved in this mournful civil war, and of the reasons why, with all our hatred of slavery as strong as ever, we are forced to stand wholly neutral in this dreadful struggle.
May Providence in His mercy grant that this great nation,-our near kindred, of whom in many ways we are so justly proud,-may come to such a settlement of their bloody strife as may conduce to His glory and the freedom and welfare of their people! And may, by His blessing, the words here uttered in the earnest desire to do good, gain some hearing even amidst all the rancour of domestic conflict; if not with many, at least with some few, who may find truth in what we urge, and have influence to give effect to their convictions !
VOICE FROM THE MOTHERLAND,
The rise of the United States of America, from an English colony to be a mighty nation, is one of the passages of history connected with our country which speaks most forcibly to our warmest sympa thies. All our youthful feelings exulted in their vindication of their freedom, as we had done in the resistance of the Grecian states to the hordes of invading Persians; in the enduring patriotism of Rome, unappalled even when the Gaul trod the sacred soil of their city; or in the glorious struggles of Switzerland against the overwhelming might of Austria. The names of Washington, Franklin, and Jefferson are familiar to our tongues in honoured mention, as are those of Epaminondas, Cato, Tell, and Winkelried; and are bound to our affections by a closer tie, akin to that hallowing the memories of the worthies of our own country, who won and defended with their best blood the liberties we now enjoy. Our hearts throb with a prouder warmth in reading of the American War of Independence than is stirred by any mention of
classical or European glories. For this great people are our own near kindred, sprung from our native land; and our own Magna Charta and Bill of Rights were the cradles of their famous Declaration of Independence. Ever since the United States have waxed great with a giant's growth we have been continually drawn closer to them almost daily by increasing ties of mutual interest and intercourse. We have watched with no cool indifference the rise of a Federal Republic upon a scale like that of their mighty woods and waters, far exceeding any attempts at this kind of government in the old world.
In thus tracing their course, we find the wisdom and patriotism of the great founders of the Union marking at every step the only means whereby any agreement of many sovereign States with numerous, diverse, and often conflicting interests could have been cemented and secured. These remarkable men had a clear prescience of the future dangers which menaced this union as the country became great and prosperous; and earnestly repeated their warning that in the public spirit and patriotism of the citizens, influencing the several States to mutual concessions for the common safety and welfare, lay the only hope of the Constitution being permanent. In his famous letter, Washington truly says, “ The Constitution which we now present is the result of a spirit of amity and of that mutual deference and concession which the peculiarity of our political position rendered indispensable.” The events during and following their war for independence had not been lost upon the chief actors therein. In that struggle, and in the foundation of one