Saturday, January 19, 2008

"What is to be done? O my God, I don't know; but something must be done!"

Thomas Ritchie of Virginia was an Old Republican and a leader of the Richmond Junto. He purchased the Richmond Enquirer in 1804 and published and edited that paper for forty years.

Robert Pierce Forbes quotes the following editorial, published January 7, 1832. It is simply astounding. You can figure out the topic:
Are we forever to suffer the greatest evil which can scourge our land, not only to remain but to increase in its domains? . . . We may shut our eyes and avert our faces, if you please . . . but there it is, the black and gnawing evil at our doors – and meet the question we must at no distant day. God only knows what is the part of wise men to do on that momentous and appalling subject. Of this I am sure, that the difference, nothing short of frightful – between all that exists on one side of the Potomac and all on the other side, is owing to that cause alone. The disease is deep rooted – it is at the heart’s core – it is consuming, and has all along been consuming our vitals, and I would laugh, if I could laugh at such a subject, of the ignorance and folly of politicians who ascribe that to an act of government which is the inevitable effect of the eternal laws of nature. What is to be done? O my God, I don’t know; but something must be done!

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