LA FAYETTE, INDIANA, Dec. 8, 1852.
To the Editor of the National Era:
I perceive, by many expressions of sentiment in the Era, that there is a strong feeling in favor of continuing our efforts in the Anti-Slavery cause, or, in other words, commencing our next Presidential campaign now. I am decidedly in favor of this measure, not, however, with the high hopes of success in the election of our candidates, expressed by many of our friends; nevertheless, active, organized effort throughout the coming four years must do great good in many ways. Our work is of a different character from that of the old parties. It consists in the persevering, forcible impression of right principles upon the minds of the community, rather than in any particular rush of holding great conventions, raising poles, and the like. We should have a suitable number of local papers, established, and well supported by advance pay on all subscriptions. These publications, together with the National papers, being generally taken by our friends, should be loaned and distributed to outsiders as much as possible, thereby giving all an opportunity to note the doings of Congressmen and others in office.
While I am upon the subject of publications, allow me to make a few suggestions in regard to the National Era. It appears to me that you can afford to put your price for single subscribers at $1.50, and then do quite well at the business. I see what you have said in your paper of the 25th ult.; still, your reasons do not seem conclusive that the price should not be lowered 50 cents. Your subscription list, aided by cheap postage, would undoubtedly be much increased, perhaps enough to nearly or quite make up for the loss on reduction of price. Your local agents would probably, in fewer instances, charge the commission, and even that might be lowered. Your increased circulation would not materially injure the local papers. In regard to the matter of the Era, many of your subscribers are of the opinion that its extensive usefulness might be increased by omitting the fictitious reading, and, instead thereof, substituting a more extended attention to the moral and religious branches of our enterprise. We think there is a sufficiency of fact and argument, having a direct bearing upon the well-being of mankind, for this life and that which is to come, to fill your sheet profitably, without resorting to the imagination of any romance-writer. A large proportion of your readers are professed Christians—members of different religious denominations in which slavery is permitted; many of them are sincerely Anti-Slavery, but have not had their attention particularly called to church action. They scarcely seem to realize the fact that their own Christian brethren, with whom they are in church-fellowship, are actually holding, and claiming the right to hold, other members of the same Christian body, as slaves. We think the Anti-Slavery cause cannot triumph in the Government while slaveholding is permitted in the principal churches of the nation. If this position is correct, it becomes necessary to carry forward the religious branch of our enterprise, even in case it were only to accomplish a political regeneration. Your position being neutral as to religious denomination, gives you an opportunity to labor with good effect in this direction, and it is to be hoped that duty may appear plain.
Truly yours, for all righteous reform,
We are willing to hear suggestions of all sorts from our friends—and then we must be regulated by our own judgment.
In relation to the price of the Era, we know what it costs to print it, and have fixed our terms accordingly. We can make no change. Our club terms are as liberal as we can afford.
As it respects the character of the reading in the paper, we have had the advantage of an experience of some seventeen years. Were we to conduct the Era according to the notions of our correspondent, it might be a very useful paper, but its subscription list would go down below zero. Some of us like dry discussion—some are always inquiring, cui bono?—more are disposed to mingle the useful with the agreeable. We do not edit a paper for philosophers, or divines, or politicians, or statesmen, alone, but for the People—albeit there may be something in it even for those respectable classes. As to fiction, we had thought that the publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin would forever silence objection on that score. That work of fiction, in our opinion, has done more for freedom, than all the syllogisms on the subject that have appeared in our paper. Man is a being of taste and imagination, and affections as well as logic—and he who would gain access to him only through one faculty, has misapprehended his constitution, and the ways of God.—Ed. Era.