LETTER JROM VICTOR HUGO.
American people, whom I love so profoundly, and whose des¬
tinies, I am fain to think, are closely linked with the mission
of France. You desire me to lift up my voice.
I will do it at once, and I will do it on all occasions. I
agree with you in thinking that, within a definite time — that,
within a time not distant — the United States will repudiate
Slavery with horror ! Slavery in such a country ! Can there
be an incongruity more monstrous '? Barbarism installed in
the very heart of a country, which is itself the affirmation of
civilization; liberty wearing a chain; blasphemy echoing from
the altar ; the collar of a negro chained to the pedestal of
Washington ! It is a thing unheard of. I sav more, it is
impossible. Such a spectacle would destroy itself. The light
of the Nineteenth Century alone is enough to destroy it.
What! Slaver}' sanctioned by law among that illustrious
people, who for seventy years have measured the progress of
civilization by their march, demonstrated democracy by their
power, and liberty by their prosperity ! Slavery in the Uni¬
ted States ! It is the duty of this republic to set such an ex¬
ample no longer. It is a shame, and she was never born to
bow her head.
It is not when Slavery is taking leave of old nations, that
it should be received by the new. What! When Slavery is
departing from Turkey, shall it rest in America ? What!
Drive it from the hearth of Omar, and adopt it at the hearth
of Franklin ? No ! No ! No !
There is an inflexible logic which develops more or less
slowly, which fashions, which redresses according to a mys¬
terious plan, perceptible only to great spirits, the facts, the
men, the laws, the morals, the people; or better, under all
human things, there are things divine.
Let all those great souls who love the LTnited States, as a
country, be re-assured. The United States must renounce
Slavery, or they must renounce Liberty. They cannot re¬
nounce Liberty. They must renounce Slavery, or renounce
the Gospel. They will never renounce the Gospel.
Accept, Madame, with my devotion to the cause you advo¬
cate, the homage of my respect.
6 Juillet, 1851, Paris.