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ABOLITION RIOTS.-ATTACK ON THE “LEDGER."
has here uttered; and, although no language could be too strong to express my entire reprobation of the conduct of the incendiaries, and the apathy and indifference of the public authorities, yet it is impossible not to admit that the very cir. cumstance of a population of 200,000 persons living in per. fect security of person and property (except only in cases where this question of slavery is agitated), and this with the full knowledge of the fact that the civil authorities are weak, the police insufficient, and that there is really no military force to call in, is conclusive evidence of a general sufficiency of sustenance, contentment of condition, and an absence of that constant temptation to commit excesses, which springs out of the poverty, or recklessness, or sense of wrong in the labouring masses of England, Scotland, Ireland, and France,
After a period of several days, the public authorities be, gan to move, and an announcement was made by the mayor, offering a reward of 2000 dollars for the discovery of the incendiaries. On the day after this a proclamation was issued by the governor of the state, strongly condemn. ing the conduct of the incendiaries, and offering a farther reward of 500 dollars for their apprehension.
Notwithstanding these public and official denunciations of the rioters, there were not wanting persons who persisted in upholding the conduct of the incendiaries ; and who boasted that, however often the hall should be rebuilt-for, by a recent law, the city and county funds are made answer able for damages done by rioters—it would be burned down again, and each successive time with renewed vigour. One of the most independent of the newspapers, the Public Ledg. er, having been the first as well as the boldest in its condem. nation of the lawless conduct of the mob, the rioters assem. bled in front of the Ledger Office, and, had it not been for the ample preparations made to repel them by the spirited and resolute editor and proprietors, there was every probability that it would have been speedily demolished. The following article, from the Public Ledger of May 24, refers to this :
“We wish our readers to understand distinctly, that while we shall continue, as we began, to abstain from interference with the subjects of slavery, partisan politics, or sectarian religion, we shall ever contend for the supremacy of the laws, and oppose all attempts to restrain the liberty of speech or the press. Unless the laws reign, no security for person or property can be found ; and unless the great natural and consti. tutional right of free discussion be maintained, all rational liberty must perish. “ During the recent excitement, we studiously refrained from menVol. I.-UU.
tioning that we should not interfere with the subject of slavery. Knowing that we were currently charged with being abolitionists, and perceiving that the mob had selected our office for destruction under itat supposition, we were resolved to utter no disclaimer upon the subject while any disorderly spirit prevailed. To deny that we were abolitioists while a mob was around our doors, denouncing vengeance against us because it believed us to be such, would have borne the appearance of deprecating its wrath. We have never yet been awed by the law. less, and trust that we never shall be ; and, instead of treating with them, when assembled in force, or attempting to appease their anger, we shall never fail to invoke against them the penalties of the law, and to meet them with forcible resistance."
As every succeeding day strengthened the cause of those who had been so unjustly persecuted, and weakened that of the persecutors, so every day produced some new proof of that growing strength. The first was the arrest of one of the incendiaries, who, as will be seen, was a member of a “highly respectable” family; for the anti-abolition riots are almost always fomented and encouraged by persons of this class, whose pecuniary interests, or those of their connex. ions, either are, or are believed to be, in danger from giving freedom to the slave, and whose prejudices, therefore, on this subject are the hottest, fiercest, and most ungovernable. The following is the paragraph in which the announcement of this arrest was made in the newspapers :
“We learn that a man, who is represented to be of a highly respectable family, was arrested on Tuesday, and taken before Alderman Binns, charged with having been concerned in the recent destruction of Pennsylvania Hall. Mr. Shotwell appeared as the principal witness, and testified that he was in the hall on the night of the conflagration, and saw the prisoner busily engaged in tearing down the blinds, and inciting others to the destruction of the building. He has known the prisoner for eight or ten years, and is positive as to the individual, who was bound over in the sum of 3000 dollars for his appearance before the alderman on Friday, at 12 o'clock.”
The day following this a letter appeared in the leading journals, from the eminent barrister, Mr. David Paul Brown, which excited among his friends considerable apprehension for his personal safety, and which, from the boldness of its tone at such a moment, and the force of its reasoning, was admired even by those who deprecated his conduct. The letter is so characteristic as to be worth transcribing in some of its principal passages :
“TO THE PUBLIC. “ I am a member and an advocate of the Abolition Society, and shall continue so to be in despite of mobs. I am a firm friend of rational liberty, and am not to be awed into its abandonment by licentiousness or vice. I shall not quarrel with those who differ with me upon these subjects: they may freely enjoy their opinion, I shall boldly maintain mine.
LETTER OF AN ABOLITIONIST.
I am unwilling to enter into anything like self-vindication where there is actually no offence, and am above all attempts to propitiate the tur. bulent and refractory by renouncing sentiments which I solemnly and sacredly entertain. So much for my faith, and the principles by which I am governed :
*If I for my opinions suffer wrong,
Opinion shall be surgeon to my hurt.' “It is understood that one of the charges preferred against me (got up, no doubt, by some designing knave, to whom, professionally, I have rendered service, either by an acquittal or conviction) is that of having avowed myself to be the friend of amalgamation. Every one who heard my speech at the dedication of Pennsylvania Hall knows this to be untrue; and to those who did not hear it, I proclaim it to be false. I am adverse to amalgamation, and to the practical friend of amalgama. tion.
“The other opinion expressed is one having regard to immediate emancipation, and upon this subject the views entertained by me are thus expressed : 'I confess, with all my devotion to the great cause of human freedom, still, if it were left with me to strike off the chains of slavery instantly and with a single blow, I should hesitate before that blow was struck: hesitate, not for myself, not for the safety or security of the government, not for the probable effects of the measure upon society or upon the slave states (for in none of these relations could it prove dangerous), but for the slaves themselves. They are not, in a mass, morally or intellectually in a condition qualifying them for so sudden and important a change. The flood of light that would pour in upon them would prove too powerful for their long-benighted vision, or, in other words, they might surfeit in the excess of joy.
“I have had occasion to say formerly, and I repeat it now, that the violence manifested by the adversaries of abolition is to be ascribed to the turbulent spirit of the times, which seeks a vent upon every possible opportunity, and which will, ere long, be found to glut itself upon the very individuals by whom it is apparently fostered and encouraged.
“I have thought proper to make this exposition, not to conciliate my adversaries, but to satisfy my friends, as I desire to retain both. I re. cant nothing that I have said ; I deplore nothing that I have done ; my property is under the protection of the law, and, however imperfect that protection, there I leave it; of my family and personal sanctity I am the guardian, and will never permit either to be violated with impunity,
“ David Paul Brown." The effect produced upon the public mind by this letter was in every way salutary, and showed the value and importance of men being faithful to their opinions at whatever hazard to their fortunes or their lives. Even the anti-abo. litionists were compelled to pay homage to the moral courage it evinced, and the timid among the abolitionists took heart at this open defiance of all danger by one whose opin. ions they approved and whose heroism they admired. People began, accordingly, to speak more freely in reprehension of the conduct of the rioters; the public sympathy began to be moved in favour of the sufferers; and even the press assumed a higher tone, as will be seen by the last article I shall quote, from the Democratic paper, the Pennsylvanian.
“ Laws are enacted, not only to be obeyed when it is agreeable to do so, for then the end would be attained without them, but for the purpose of controlling our impulses, and for securing the ultimate good of all by occasional sacrifices of individual will. The general result is that which is contemplated by enlightened legislation, and its protection is extended alike to the good and the bad, to the wise and the foolish, and, above all, to the minority as well as to the majority. To say, therefore, that there are cases in a country governed like this in which the laws may be suspended, is to break down every barrier upon which the eiti zen relies for safety, and to return once more to the practice of barbarous ages. A new arbiter of his fate is introduced, and both life and property are made dependant upon the will of those who possess the physical power at the moment. It is therefore far better that multitudes of evils should be tolerated, than that a single blow should be thus given at the very framework of our social fabric. It is destructive of the vital principle of Republicanism as it exists among us; and upon mere selfish considerations, if there were no other, it should be sternly and unflinchingly opposed. If the restraints of law and of the dictates of toleration are thrown off to-day for the purpose of intimidating the ultra-abolitionists and amalgamationists, there is no earthly reason why it may not be proclaimed to-morrow that certain party principles are offensive to public opinion; that the printing offices which publish them must be burned, and that the leaders of party who espouse them must be sacrificed to appease a “just indignation.'"
From the intercourse I enjoyed with a very extensive cir. cle of society in Philadelphia, I believe this article expresses the sentiments of nine tenths of its inhabitants; and it would be therefore most unjust to consider the riotous and incendiary conduct of a mob formed of, at the most, 500 persons, and of these not more than 100 taking any active part in the proceedings, as characteristic of the general state of society in a city that numbers 200,000 residents. The mobs of London in Lord George Gordon's riots, and of Birmingham, when the Church and King loyalists burned down Dr. Priestley's house, or those of Bristol, who, but a few years since, set fire to that city, and plundered the houses during the conflagration, might as well be taken by any American as a fair sample of English society.
INSTITUTION FOR THE BLIND.
Benevolent Institutions of Philadelphia.- School for the Instruction of the Blind.-Mu. nificent Bequest of an Englishman.
Description of the Institution and Pupils.-Proficiency in Geography and Music.-Publication of the Blind Student's Magazine. Effects produced by this excellent Work.-Remarkable Improvement of an Idiot. Specimens of Composition by the Blind.- Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb.-Curious Experiments in Aniinal Magnetism.-Ulility of the Discoveries growing out of it.Production of certain Dreams by magnetic Influence.-Dramatic Effects on the mind of a dumb Boy.- Equally remarkable Influence on young Girls.-Entire Change of Character in the Conduct of one.--Insensibility to Pain during the magnetic Sleep. Remarkable Instance of nervous Insensibility.-Surgical operation performed without Pain.- Application of Animal Magnetism to Surgery.--New Almshouse of Philadelphia.–Beautiful Situation of the Building.–Extent and Completeness of the Establishment.-Statistics of the Poor and Lunatics.-Cost of the Institution and annual Expense.—Marine Hospital for Seamen.- Plan and Arrangement of the Marine Hospital.-Seamen of England and America.-Injustice done to the former by Taxation. --Superior Benefits enjoyed by the latter.-Comparison with Greenwich Hospital. --Distaste of Sailors for inland Situations.
The most interesting, and, perhaps, the most characteristic feature of Philadelphia, is its benevolent institutions ; and in these, more than in anything else, are to be seen the spirit of its first founder, silently prolonging its influence over the conduct and character of his descendants, by providing asylums suited to the relief of almost every misfor. tune by which the wretched can be afflicted.
The first of these that we visited was the Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Blind, where we had the pleasure to be attended by the amiable superintendent of the establishment, Mr. Friedlander, and to be accompa.. nied by him over every part of it. It is now about five years since this institution was first projected by a few benevolent individuals in Philadelphia, who desired to provide an asylum for those unfortunates who are deprived of sight, and to make it a home of happiness, as well as comfort, by instructing its inmates in arts and occupations from which they could earn their own subsistence, and be useful to others as well as to themselves. For this purpose they sent to Germany to obtain the services of some person qualified to superintend such an institution, and Mr. Friedlander, a young but intelligent and enthusiastic philanthropist, came over to Philadelphia for that purpose.
He began his operations with four pupils only; but the progress made with these was so striking as to awaken a general interest throughout the community in favour of the undertaking, and this once roused, the means of augmenta