The National Era
J. G. Forman
Washington, D.C.: 10 February 1853


NANTUCKET, MASS., Jan. 15, 1853.

To the Editor of the National Era:

  I enclose you a draft for $48, together with a list of thirty-two subscribers to the National Era, for the present volume, having given them the advantage of the club price for ten or more, namely: $1.50 each; and desiring to have my own service regarded as "a labor of love" to the paper, and a partial return for the pleasure and advantage I have derived from it since its first establishment. One of the things which endears the paper to me is, that it was instrumental in bringing before the world the great work of Mrs. Stowe, "Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life among the Lowly."

  Never shall I forget the thrilling interest with which we read from week to week in its columns that faithful picture of slave life in this country, nor the impatience with which, we awaited for the mail that brought the paper every week, and how the little household gathered round to hear it read, and we were moved to indignation, to mirth, to pity, and to tears, as we perused the story. It would be difficult for me to tell how much I have rejoiced at the success of that greatest literary achievement of the present age. In the fulfilment of its mission, it is destined to arouse the moral and religious sentiments of the whole civilized and Christian world against the injustice and wickedness of American Slavery.

  It is a satisfaction to me, that hereafter so many copies of the National Era, (considering the distance at which it is published, and how many other papers are taken here) will be read by the inhabitants of this island. I cannot but feel that it will exert a most salutary influence upon public sentiment here, which I regret to say is not so favorable to the cause of human liberty as I could desire. The old parties are still in the ascendency, but the friends of freedom are steadily increasing; and knowing that religion, and humanity, and the course of Providence, are on our side, we are strong in the faith that our cause will ultimately triumph. The humble part I have taken in endeavoring to advance it, by preaching a Gospel which teaches the equality and brotherhood of all men, and their inalienable right to liberty; and by the use of my voice and pen, as a free citizen, has rendered my situation as the minister of the Unitarian Society in this place, somewhat insecure, since all our societies are composed in part of men whose attachment to the old political parties is paramount with them; and, being generally men of wealth and social influence, it is almost impossible in these times for a minister to retain his place, and at the same time exert any favorable influence for the cause of human liberty. The attempt of the old political parties to put down all discussion of the question of American slavery is brought to bear on no class of men with more power than upon the clergy; so that one needs to have some of the spirit of the old martyrs, when he is made fully aware that the free and outspoken utterance of Christian sentiments against this great iniquity will cost him not only his reputation, but that upon which he and his wife and children depend for bread. It is no wonder, therefore, that so many of the pulpits of the land are silent on this subject, and exert so little influence in behalf of a cause which was born of Christianity, and must continue to be identified with it while the world stands.

  It will be no new thing for me if I shall be obliged, in a few months, to seek another field of Christian labor, for the reasons I have just named—to go through the same experience, and meet the like consequences again. Though it is hard to be driven from city to city for conscience sake, having no place that we can call our home, yet it is not so bad as to sacrifice one's integrity and conviction of truth to the great Moloch of American slavery. We have thus far learned to trust the Divine Providence, and have never been forsaken. "The Lord is our shepherd; we shall not want."

  With the strongest sentiments of respect and friendship, I am, very truly, yours,