|Burnet House.||Burlington, Iowa.||Thursday, 17th July|
I am very sorry that I went to St. Louis last Monday. I wanted then to cross over here and come down and see you while my friend the Dr. should go to St. Louis. But his urgency that I should go with him – his objections to parting company, & the recent activities of my getting back here in season to meet him & our other two companions (Whitman & Searle, both Kansas men) overcame my strong desires to see you & I yielded. As things have turned out, [XXX], what I now know, I see clearly that there were no uncertainties about it, & that he might as well have taken this way to St Louis & dropping me at Keokuk gone on himself to St Louis & picked me up returning, getting a pleasant journey himself & very much obliging & graatifying me.
Whether on my return it will be possible for me to see you, I cannot say. I shall try very hard to do so & believe I shall accomplish it. The Dr. is bent on driving through. He talks about being in Lawrence in a week. But if we get there in a fortnight, my anticipations will be met. If his notions are prophetic we ought to be back here or at Iowa City about the 1st of August. I think it will be from the 5th to 10th of August. I should like to spend a month in the Territory. I should like to go up the Missouri above Council Bluffs, & up the Mississippi to St. Pauls. If I hurry home this time I am persuaded that it will only be to make a more important visit soon. Our National Committee meet at Saratoga on 23rd August. I must be back in season for that. I hope to be able to report with such effect in the City of New York as to find no difficulty in raising $50,000 at least for immediate aid to Kansas. I want yet to see
stronger measures adopted. What improper [XXX] is this thought, viz. As the Federal Government by the abuse of its powers is in an attidue hostile to freedom & therefore hostile to the free States & to this extent are the free States set at defiance & their citizens left without protection, just as they would be in a foreign country, it does seem to me that the States should in their sovereign capacity take measures to have their own citizens protected. I know the difficulties of the Constitution. But there are no difficulties of this sort in the way of slavery! If the Instrument cannot build the South, why should it build the North? The fact is “we are their niggers & they are not ours!” This solves the problem. The infernal dough-faces of the north are the real enemies of freedom & I hate them wherever I see them. I feel towards them just as did the Whigs of the Revolution towards the tories. All that bitterness & hatred. Genl. Persifer Smith of South Carolina had gone into the Territory to Supercede Sumner because the latter is not sufficently pliant. The thickness of this fellows little finger will be found thicker the loins of the other tyrants.
You may rely upon it, the issue is to be one of blood. There are men at the North who wont submit: the more our tyrants drive us & the bloodier their rule, the harder will be our resistance. Resistance to the accursed Oligarchy, I percive is to be the [XXX] of my life. I can see no way of duty that will exempt me from this warfare. Oh, how foreign to my nature is war. How I long for peace. How I long for rest and quiet! But if is denied me.
I cannot have pleasure and repose while my countrymen are in chains. I cannot look upon the inevitable tendency of the accursed Despotism which has already shown itself in rampant ruffianism at the Capital of the Nation, and in bloody & cruel conflict with freedom on our National domain, without forseing that at no distant day & in another generation, all liberty shall be wiped from the land. The grave alone seems to be the termination of the hard life before me. In some respects this is not to be regretted. My life’s mind [XXX] by no means answered the prophecy of its dawn. It is fitting that its later years should be marked at least by peril. It is of little consequence when death comes so as we are found steadfast in duty. I could not without moral suicide, stifle my stern convictions in this cause. In such a crisis – when the powers of a free government are in the custody of the traitors – when a venal press & [XXX] [XXX] fed on public plunder are debauching what little of decent sentiment might & ought to have been left in the dominant party of the Nation – with blood dripping from the open wounds of a subjugated people - & this people my own kindred, how can I rest! How can I keep silence! How can private pursuits or private gain or pleasure withhold me from voluntary effort when effort is so much needed& so little offered!
Oh, where are the patriots! Is there no blood left in the North! Has manliness
& virtue all died out! It does appear from all history that a Nation at
lo ease are a Nation effeminated & depraved. Manly sentiments are developed
by no hot house culture. Rude rough blasts and stern adversity
makes men. Of such are they who found [XXX] – systems – religions – shake down throngs – slaughter tyrants & -------- Enter Heaven! Stranger! Passing Stranger! For us those who love freedom, there is no inactivity. For my solitary self – for my humble individuality, I can only say that When my country shall have regained her
position among the Nations of the South, cleansed from the crimson blood that stains her trailing garments – When from her once proud & fair escutcheon shall have been forever wiped out the “damned spot” – When through all her stilled and quieted air shall again sing out the clarion tones of Freedom, echoing through all her valleys and from her many mountain sides and summits reverberating “Proclaim ye liberty through all the land, to all the inhabitants thereof!” then, and not till then, may I hope to cease from labor - then and not till then dare I seek or ask repose! -----
We leave here at 3 – just 2 hours hence for Mt Pleasant & hope to reach Rome before bed time. We have a good covered waggon & 4 first rate horses: two of them for the saddle. I trust the horseback exercise may prove beneficial to me & stimulate an appetite for I have not eaten since leaving home as much I suppose as you eat in a single day: I had almost said at a meal. And as for the reverse process of eating I am in a most singular condition. This day is the 10th full day since leaving home. An a need etc will explain. “Where are you bound?” said an old salt to a comrade “Bound!” exclaimed the other “ten days bound in the guts blast ye!” –
But the dinner gong sounds & I must go in to rice & molasses. Farewell
– My love to Liz & all – Hoping to see you all before [XXX]
weeks I remain as ever affectionately
& Sincerely yours
Remember me to Homer.
July 17th Thursday
To A. L. Winans
from Burlington Iowa