“Revolution or Reform?”


(Excerpted from “Discourse Occasioned by the Present Crisis” preached at Wayland Mass, Sunday June 15, 1856 by Edmund H. Sears, Minister, Unitarian Church, Wayland



“...(Slavery) injects its poison through all the veins of the republic, making the government (bend) to its will, and (spreading) barbarism and ruffianism under the forms of law, when it can, and in defiance of all law when it cannot.


... we have not seen the last of this ... wide-spreading barbarism.  These are only the first acts of a great tragedy.  The future (of slavery)... (can be seen in) Kansas (and in  areas where it is) forced upon those young territories.  (It may) spread its black shadow over that vast and lovely region till it touches the Rocky Mountains.


There are in the United States about 350,000 slaveholders... It is this comparatively small number that rules the other twenty-five millions .... How does it manage to do this?


These 350,000 men are the owners of three millions of slaves; and with these they have the (money) the influence and the political power in the slave communities.  Then there are four million white population in the slave states, who are not slaveholders, and whose interests are (against slavery).  But they are comparatively poor and uneducated without rank, without influence...


Out of the present crisis there are two paths that open before us, and only two.  One is through violence and revolution ...  It is a terrible remedy!  But if there is no other, it comes to that in the end.

We have moral and religious duties.  There is no peace for the country, no safety for northern institutions, no safety for us and our children, no security for the civilization of the age, until slavery is (gone)...”