don't let me hold something so delicate, i'll shatter it with a word


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:: 2007 13 December :: 11.31pm

Well, It's been a few months since I've updated this. I update my livejournal all the time now. But for anyone who reads this which probably isnt anyone i dont think, im not drinking or depressed or any of that. And the girl i referred to in my previous entry. Yeah we haven't really talked much since then, i mean i had to call her on my birthday and she wished me a happy 21st but it was forced and she didnt even come out with me. Most of my friends are living in Tampa now while im here, I'm going the working and college route. And they seem to be going the get drunk/high don't work and drop out of college and live life as it will end tommorow route. I really dont care much that im still in fort myers, for as hard and as long as I've worked i really dont have anything great to show for it. But in two years i should have a degree debt free without any help from anyone except the government. These scholarships are really saving me from financial ruin, without them i would almost definetly have a second and maybe even a third job. I'm really leaps and bounds ahead of where anyone in my family or even people im around daily seem to be. I'm really hoping this degree gives me some financial security in life, and keeps me away from the ruthless part of captalism a bit. I've lived poor my entire life, and now i have at least some money. Enough to survive and take care of my basic needs. I'm tired now. But anyways for anyone who reads this heres a link to my lj.



:: 2007 5 October :: 1.52am
:: Music: Seether- Driven Under

I wish you could for once just do what you will say. You say your calling to see that im okay after i call you a day earlier and then you talk for 5 minutes and cut me off because your at work. You promise to call me back and yet somehow no call.
Things like that remind me of the problem, not the solution. This is getting ridiculous. It doesn't upset me that you dont like me in that way as much as it does that you dont seem to really care at all. When im constantly the one calling you and trying to do stuff and your always too busy and then i see you talking to other guys and seeing that you have time to hang out with them im sorry, but its both annoying and bullshit.
For the first time in a very long time i actually deleted a number from my phone.
What does it say when i only look forward to three things in life.
1) The bottle
2) South Carolina football
3) writing papers

People are so full of shit and themselves, im not stupid.



:: 2007 3 October :: 7.51pm
:: Mood: depressed

How do i be honest about anything. I literally have been a nervous wreck half this semester, things could be so much better. But they aren't. Every day i wake up and i think either that i should be dead or that i need a drink. I keep hoping things will get better, that someone will come and rescue me and remind me that im cared about. It's not happening though. I feel like no matter what happens i cant be happy anymore. I dont know whats wrong, but i know i have to fix it. I cant keep doing this or i probably will end up in a bad situation at some point.
I dont know what to do, but i have to change my life. I cant keep feeling like this anymore.



:: 2007 24 September :: 8.03pm
:: Mood: sick

An update on things
So I've come to a few conclusions lately. For once though they seem to be good.
I've really been spending a lot of time at my uncles lately, it makes me feel as though i have some resemblence of a normal and loving family. I'm thinking its good for now, i really need something there to keep me normal. When i go out there im happy, it keeps me going through all the shit in life. Playing video games and watching South Carolina football is what makes the rest of the week bearable for me.

My work is finally reopening, not sure whether to be scared or happy. Its been closed for a month in the transition period to a steakhouse, it sucks that its a different atmosphere now but it will all work out in the end. I'm hoping that i can do whatever they have me doing and still make enough to support myself and not have to work more than 40 hours a week. I need to save money so i will take what i can get for now. I have some money though, so im not too concered as long as i keep a job somewhere thats stable enough to get me through until i graduate and can do something "better".

As far as friendships and relationships go It's rather blah. I'm definetly meeting new people and beginning friendships now that im in my upper division classes for political science. Thats always a good thing.
Relationship wise though, im just very irritated. I think by being honest with one of my better friends about how i felt i scared her somehow. I haven't talked to her since (like 2 weeks ago) and i try to call her and she doesnt call back or anything. It just gives me the impression that im not cared about very much whether thats the intention or not. I really have realized though that saying anything at all about my feelings for her was probably not very smart of me.

Other things going on lately
1) been sick for four days now
2) classes dont seem too bad this semester
3) wanting a gf sometime before the next ice age
4) SC lost to LSU this past weekend
5) beginning to look at grad schools.......... ehh sooooo expensive.



:: 2007 20 September :: 10.51pm
:: Mood: crappy

The Cold Truth about things
Everyday I get up and I find a reason to keep going. Sometimes its easy, sometimes i know im loved and its all somehow worth it. Most of the time though, I keep going because I dont really want to die. I honestly feel like everytime i get close to anyone where i have an intrest of a relationship it goes to shit. I can count all my true friends on one hand. I don't want to struggle anymore, I feel more alone than anyone could ever imagine. My uncle and his wife are the extent of my family, I mean lets face it my dad is dead and my mom is in a homeless shelter and rehab facilty with 2 strokes. I really just want a normal life where I'm told im loved. Where I dont wake up everyday and want to drink, thats not to say that i always drink because i usually dont drink that much but nonetheless its depressing. I feel like my entire life, I have had to fight so hard and im just tired. I don't want to die but I don't want to live either.
You know something, I knew better than to tell her how i really felt. How i wanted to be with her just to go out to lunch on a date. I know no one meant to hurt me, but it did. I know she doesn't realize, or even to some extent she may not really care. I'm sorry but its almost insulting when everyone wants me to be their brother rather than their boyfriend. A lot of my guy friends tell me i should be more of an asshole and just get rid of people like that. I dont really in reality want that, but i feel like im constantly the one calling her and trying to do stuff and for once i just want her to try and make plans with me. Even as friends she doesn't seem to make the same effort as me sometimes.
I'm just tired of fighting, tired of trying to battle everything all alone. Maybe counseling is the anwser, I don't know. I know I have to do something differently though, I have to be able to go to bed without being like this anymore.
I keep telling myself it will all be okay in the hopes that it eventually will, but its not. I know im so far beyond okay that i dont even know where to start except with small steps. The few people who do care about me probably have no clue how to help me.
I've come to the conclusion that neither death or life fits me well right now so life wins out. I dont see any point in dieing, thats ridiculous. Living like this sure isn't much better though.
I'm going to sleep now.



:: 2007 16 September :: 7.07pm
:: Music: Green Day- Working Class Hero

I'm so tired of life
I doubt anyone i know even reads this. I figure its the one "safe" place to actually talk about things without anyone really reading. Honestly at this point it doesn't matter much. This sucks, it seems like everytime i find someone i remotely like they run away when they find out i like them. Either that or i end up with people who are too far away and want things which are realistic and they cant even tell me what they want because they have no clue. I hate having feelings for people, especially when im stuck in the friend zone. I really shouldnt have even said anything, i feel like i keep ruining any friendship at all i have with her by being like this. I know she doesn't want to be with me, there i finally at least am admitting it to myself. I really just want to crawl in a hole somewhere, im soo tired of fighting all these battles. I'm beginning to really question whether its even worth me living, i really am. I never fit very well anywhere, and everywhere i do i try to hard to be something im not, i get away from what makes me who i am. I just dont want to do this anymore. I really need help or something, life cant really always be full of pain can it?



:: 2007 21 August :: 3.42pm

Wow...I've spent the last two hours reading past entries.
It made me sad cause I really miss everyone, and probably will never talk again to those I miss most.

I've also noticed I've gotten progressively dumber. Uh oh.

Why can't things go back to the way they used to be?
That was 3 or 4 years ago.

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:: 2007 8 August :: 8.39pm
:: Mood: calm
:: Music: Guardian Angel: The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

I can feel it. I can feel it in my heart; in my soul. Something that will truly put all of what I have been taught, all that I have built up in my mind to believe, all that I have known to be true to the test.

Something is going to happen that will push this little war to its outer limits and show me a fragment of what I have been fighting for, for the past three and a half years.

It makes me excited, afraid... but excited. It is going to change a lot of things, but I know it's going to be for the better.

It makes me wonder, though, why He lets us build these things up just so He can break them down. Makes me wonder why it is, exactly, He lets us go on our own just so He can bring us back to Him. I know we have freedom of choice and He isn't going to intervene that much until He decides it's The End, but still.

"He is good... unsafe... but good."

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:: 2007 27 June :: 8.13pm


"False Pretense"

Oh, it's time to let it go

The world's got a funny way of turning 'round on you
When a friend tries to stab you right in the face
Losing faith in everything I thought I hoped I knew
Don't sweat it, {it was} set on false pretense

Betrayed but not gonna be willing to change
And it doesn't seem likely to fade
Betrayed but not gonna be willing to change
Cu-cu-cu-cuz you know...

It's sacrifice
False pretense you'll hurt again
Stop pretending to deny
False pretense you'll hurt again

All along you know you thought you got the best of me
{But} you were wrong and I'm laughing right in your face
I cannot believe you claimed you were my family
Don't sweat it - it's set on false pretense

Betrayed but not gonna be willing to change
And it doesn't seem likely to fade
Betrayed but not gonna be willing to change
Cu-cu-cu-cuz you know...

It's sacrifice
False pretense you'll hurt again
Stop pretending to deny
False pretense you'll hurt again

Oh, it's time to let it go

I can't seem to understand it how you turned out to be so cold
You tried but were caught red handed, are you happy with your role?
It's funny to me how you've turned into such a joke...

It's sacrifice
False pretense you'll hurt again
Stop pretending to deny
False pretense you'll hurt again

So play the game until you run out
And play the game into my hand

"Seventeen Ain't So Sweet"

Well she never was the best
Yeah at following the trends
Stayed one step above the rest
And even though it seemed

Like the world was crashing on her
Didn't let it hold her down
Didn't hold her back oh no

Don't worry you'll show them

There's a fire in your eyes
And I hope you'll let it burn
There's a scream in your voice
And I hope you will be heard
There's a fire in your eyes
And I hope you'll let it burn
Until you're heard, you're heard

Seventeen is just a test
Yeah and I would recommend
That you live with no regrets
And even if it seems

Like the world is crashing on you
You shouldn't let it hold you down
Shouldn't hold you back oh no, woah oh

Don't worry you'll show them


Relax girl, turn down the lights
No one can see you shining
Relax girl, it'll be alright
No one can stop you if you try

Point of rhythm is to follow it in time
To listen to the beating in your mind
Remember if you seek then you shall find
Woah oh

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:: 2007 7 May :: 7.04pm

An altered quote from Fight Club to fit my needs:
Man, I see in church the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. In fact, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy junk we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. We have a purpose and a place... but no one doesn't really understand it all anymore. We think we have no Great War; Great Depression, but our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very ticked off about that. No one wants the face the truth that the world has nothing to offer us. That the world has nothing to do with our salvation because the world is a place that we have grown acustome to calling 'home', and we are like kids in the back seat of God's car calling out, 'Are we home yet? Are we home yet? This car smells weird; I have to go to the bathroom; I'm hungry!'. We don't want to hear that we are at war because media and society say that war doesn't serve a purpose, like the lyrics of that song, "War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing...." And most overlook what Ephesians says: 'For we do not fight against flesh and blood, but against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual fources of evil in the heavenly places.' We don't see who or what we should be fighting because who or what we should be fighting has hidden himself behind the junk that we buy, behind the advertisements telling us to buy the un-needed junk. 'The greatest trick the devil ever played on mankind was making them believe he doesn't exsist.' We are fools to say that there is no war because there is, in front of us every single day of our ever-ending lives here on earth. We aren't looking at this war through a television screen, but through chainmale and a helmet. We aren't on the sidelines cheering our team on but in the frontlines taking all the hits just like everyone else; whether you want to believe that or not is your perogitive, but to really understand what it means to be a Christian you have to let everything go. You have to drop your friggin' khakies, your American Eagle and Abrocrombie and Fintch merchindice, your dinner plates, your outdoor projects -that will never get done anyway, your furniture, your computers, your phones, your everything that you believe defines you as a person and take to heart what the bible says that we don't want to pay attention to. And I mean really take it in... because if we don't then we really do become the middle children of history and the label that they put on our generation -Generation 0- will live up to its name.

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:: 2007 16 April :: 9.49pm

Virginia Tech/random stuff
So I have obviously as many others have heard about the shooting at VA Tech. It's horrible, my personal feeling is that its a lot harder to secure a college campus than a high school. The scaries thing is that happened today could very well happen again. It saddens me a great deal, i know right now there are families feeling great pain and I pray for them.
A friend of mine from UF posted this on one of the facebook groups:

Sometimes I wonder why history seems to repeat itself, and why history repeats at a rate that has makes us fond of this expression in the first place.

In 1966 a school shooting took place at the University of Texas and then again in another shooting occured in 1999 at Columbine High School, but this event has been marked the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.

So how do we learn? Who do we blame? Is it lack of prevention, violent video games and movies, bad parenting, ridiculing schoolmates, or is it the gunman himself that should bear all the blame?

I have no idea who to point fingers at because honeslty, I do not believe there is ONE source for such a catastrophic event. All I know is that I want to see more peace and I think it is important to remember that each one of us has an opportunity to create a little more of it in this world, even if we cannot always stop such tragedies.

So here are some songs by Jewel, one of my favorite artists:


If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we're all OK
And not to worry 'cause worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these
I won't be made useless
I won't be idle with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear
My hands are small, I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
Poverty stole your golden shoes
It didn't steal your laughter
And heartache came to visit me
But I knew it wasn't ever after
We'll fight, not out of spite
For someone must stand up for what's right
'Cause where there's a man who has no voice
There ours shall go singing
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
I am never broken
In the end only kindness matters
In the end only kindness matters
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
We are never broken
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's mind
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's heart
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's eyes
We are God's hands
We are God's hands

& also....

"Innocence Maintained"

Ophelia drowned in the water
Crushed by her own weight Hitler loved little blue eyed boys
And it drove him to hate
Birds always grow silent before the night descends
'Cause nature has a funny way of breaking what does not bend
A hero's torso built of steel and Novocain
His heart a bitter beat inside a bloodless frame
There was a hole inside his soul a manicure could not fill
So he fund himself a whore to love while daisies choked in the window sill
We've made houses for hatred
It's time we made a place
Where people's souls may be seen and made safe
Be careful with each other
These fragile flames
For innocence can't be lost
It just needs to be maintained
A small town in Ohio
Two boys are filled with violence
And darkness spreads its legs for hate and ignorance
We are given to a god to put our faith therein
But to be forgiven, we must first believe in sin
We've made houses for hatred
It's time we made a place
Where people's souls may be seen and made safe
Be careful with eachother
These fragile flames
For without fear
I want always to feel the wings of grace near
We all will be Christed wen we hear ourselves say
We are that which we pray
We've made houses for hatred
It's time we made a place
Where people's souls maybe seen and made safe
Be careful with each other
These fragile flames
We've built houses for hatred
It's time we made a place
Where people's souls may be seen and made safe
Be careful with each other
These fragile flames
For innocence can't be lost
It just needs to be maintained

Now back to where I start writing again, what happened today should teach american society very important lessons. If i was a betting man (which im not most of the time) I would say that the shooting was caused by someone whos not exatly the most well liked or popular person. Most people who do these things aren't exatly in the best state of mind be it from a fight or lonliness or anger or whatnot. I'm not sure how to stop school shootings but I know that there isn't enough love in this world. I know that when people care about one another and feel loved the sort of thing that happened today probably won't happen again. I know think that colleges and universities and the public in general should actively promote helping people more. Communities in this country only seem close when tradegy strikes, the rest of time we seem like nothing but people to each other. Until that changes, until people quit leaving others behind, until people learn to not treat others as outcasts, I don't think the violence of this sort will stop. You can put cops and guns on every corner but the reality if someone is this upset and alone then you probably will see this happen again no matter how much protection you put out there. We've all felt alone, most of us have probably had moments where we have no anwsers. To say this is somehow surprising that another shooting occured would be a lie coming from me. The same things, the same feelings that caused this shooting to occur probably mirror the others in the last decade. The fact is that people doing these shootings are probably very unhappy with life. I'm not some psychologist who has some magical solution here because there isn't one, all im saying is that if we all shared more love then things like this might be less likely to continue to happen. Until people in this country quit getting left behind I'm afraid this is going to become a fact of life, this violence for attention and hatred. It occurs everday, just because we dont see it on the news doesnt mean there aren't people falling apart and feeling just as desperate.

You know I was going to write about my life, but that is fairly minor in the context of what happened today. Obviously things in my life aren't exatly great, but I'm not dead and I know that I have some people who care about me. The other good news is that for the first time in 2 months I won't be in overtime at work. I might go up to work and do some karoke tommorow night and just chill, i need to be around people who love and care about me. My mom has a doctors appointment next wednesday, hopefully her numbers are better than the last time. I really hope she gets better, I have been praying for her. I have a feeling she won't live too much longer, its going to be hard when she finally does die. I hope and pray that the disability and medicaid do they're job next month. Obviously im concerned about her trying to kill herself again if they say shes not disabled. It's been such a long battle, I don't talk about it much outside of a few people but believe me I'm worn down and tired. I want to feel like im 20 and not 40. The good news is that I'm much wiser for the last year and a half, and probably will owe any success I have in my life to the adversity I have had to face. The other good news is that regardless come August 1st, my life returns somewhat to normal when I go to my uncles for like 3 weeks in the cape and then to the dorms. I'm still going to broke, but at least I wont be under so much stress. Hopefully I will be more of the upbeat person i used to be and can actually begin settling down in a normal relationship and maybe start going to church like I used to. I can begin building a future for myself and quit drinking and such. I've already begun to take those steps, but I certainly have many more things I need to do.
peace out



:: 2007 17 January :: 3.39pm
:: Music: The Fray- How to save a life

I haven't updated this in a while, this is probably the least read of all my journals. How are things going lately? Ok so i totally hate talking in 3rd person but things are going okay.
I'm a sophmore in college, and umm this is first time i can really say that Classes suck this semester like waaay more work then last semester. It's not horrible but its bad enough to make me unhappy with them. As far as a relationship, I was with Rachel for like 3 weeks and then broke up with her. I want to have someone hold me and tell me it's all okay, but that will hopefully come with time. My friendships with people are weird, my life is weird in general right now. I'm moving to the dorms in august, but first to my uncles in the cape in May. I will be eternally glad to be away from my mom. She refuses to work or do anything else in her life or help herself. Yes, she had a mild stroke but shes really okay to work and stuff. Just because your not going to make great wages isn't an excuse to just not work at all. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how to get a job.
As far as my friendships with people, I have a lot of people who im actually getting along with really well. One of the people i have liked for a long time is annoying/frustrating me lately. It just seems like the only time i get an awknowledgement of my existence is when she wants a favor. I'm so over it, I'm not going to be mean or anything because i rarely am but im not going to make myself feel like crap over it either. It makes me feel bad, i can't help it just does. It makes me feel bad that she sees me that way. We can't hold a conversation without it being either less then 2 minutes or her asking me for something. I'm sorry but thats what you have a boyfriend for, go ask him for stuff. It really changes my outlook on whether i want to be with her, it gives me a different perception of her even as a friend. I love most of my other friends though, we don't hang out or see each other much but i get along with them well. Anyways im going to go do what i should be doing which is homework.



:: 2007 14 January :: 12.27am


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:: 2007 6 January :: 8.57pm

I really like how I come back here like once a year and update.
Well here is me now:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
I'm still with my boyfriend. It's been two years. Crazy talk.

I think this Woohu is like an STD. I just can't get rid of it.

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:: 2006 10 December :: 4.23pm

Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau
I heartily accept the motto, "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe--"That government is best which governs not at all"; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which the will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. The objections which have been brought against a standing army, and they are many and weighty, and deserve to prevail, may also at last be brought against a standing government. The standing army is only an arm of the standing government. The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it. Witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure.

This American government--what is it but a tradition, though a recent one, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity, but each instant losing some of its integrity? It has not the vitality and force of a single living man; for a single man can bend it to his will. It is a sort of wooden gun to the people themselves. But it is not the less necessary for this; for the people must have some complicated machinery or other, and hear its din, to satisfy that idea of government which they have. Governments show thus how successfully men can be imposed upon, even impose on themselves, for their own advantage. It is excellent, we must all allow. Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way. It does not keep the country free. It does not settle the West. It does not educate. The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way. For government is an expedient, by which men would fain succeed in letting one another alone; and, as has been said, when it is most expedient, the governed are most let alone by it. Trade and commerce, if they were not made of india-rubber, would never manage to bounce over obstacles which legislators are continually putting in their way; and if one were to judge these men wholly by the effects of their actions and not partly by their intentions, they would deserve to be classed and punished with those mischievious persons who put obstructions on the railroads.

But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at one no government, but at once a better government. Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it.

After all, the practical reason why, when the power is once in the hands of the people, a majority are permitted, and for a long period continue, to rule is not because they are most likely to be in the right, nor because this seems fairest to the minority, but because they are physically the strongest. But a government in which the majority rule in all cases can not be based on justice, even as far as men understand it. Can there not be a government in which the majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience?--in which majorities decide only those questions to which the rule of expediency is applicable? Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? WHy has every man a conscience then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right. It is truly enough said that a corporation has no conscience; but a corporation on conscientious men is a corporation with a conscience. Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents on injustice. A common and natural result of an undue respect for the law is, that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys, and all, marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart. They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned; they are all peaceably inclined. Now, what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power? Visit the Navy Yard, and behold a marine, such a man as an American government can make, or such as it can make a man with its black arts--a mere shadow and reminiscence of humanity, a man laid out alive and standing, and already, as one may say, buried under arms with funeral accompaniment, though it may be,

"Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note, As his corse to the rampart we hurried; Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot O'er the grave where out hero was buried."

The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies. They are the standing army, and the militia, jailers, constables, posse comitatus, etc. In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgement or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well. Such command no more respect than men of straw or a lump of dirt. They have the same sort of worth only as horses and dogs. Yet such as these even are commonly esteemed good citizens. Others--as most legislators, politicians, lawyers, ministers, and office-holders--serve the state chiefly with their heads; and, as the rarely make any moral distinctions, they are as likely to serve the devil, without intending it, as God. A very few--as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men--serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it. A wise man will only be useful as a man, and will not submit to be "clay," and "stop a hole to keep the wind away," but leave that office to his dust at least:

"I am too high born to be propertied, To be a second at control, Or useful serving-man and instrument To any sovereign state throughout the world."

He who gives himself entirely to his fellow men appears to them useless and selfish; but he who gives himself partially to them in pronounced a benefactor and philanthropist.

How does it become a man to behave toward the American government today? I answer, that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it. I cannot for an instant recognize that political organization as my government which is the slave's government also.

All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist, the government, when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable. But almost all say that such is not the case now. But such was the case, they think, in the Revolution of '75. If one were to tell me that this was a bad government because it taxed certain foreign commodities brought to its ports, it is most probable that I should not make an ado about it, for I can do without them. All machines have their friction; and possibly this does enough good to counter-balance the evil. At any rate, it is a great evil to make a stir about it. But when the friction comes to have its machine, and oppression and robbery are organized, I say, let us not have such a machine any longer. In other words, when a sixth of the population of a nation which has undertaken to be the refuge of liberty are slaves, and a whole country is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army, and subjected to military law, I think that it is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize. What makes this duty the more urgent is that fact that the country so overrun is not our own, but ours is the invading army.

Paley, a common authority with many on moral questions, in his chapter on the "Duty of Submission to Civil Government," resolves all civil obligation into expediency; and he proceeds to say that "so long as the interest of the whole society requires it, that it, so long as the established government cannot be resisted or changed without public inconveniencey, it is the will of God. . .that the established government be obeyed--and no longer. This principle being admitted, the justice of every particular case of resistance is reduced to a computation of the quantity of the danger and grievance on the one side, and of the probability and expense of redressing it on the other." Of this, he says, every man shall judge for himself. But Paley appears never to have contemplated those cases to which the rule of expediency does not apply, in which a people, as well and an individual, must do justice, cost what it may. If I have unjustly wrested a plank from a drowning man, I must restore it to him though I drown myself. This, according to Paley, would be inconvenient. But he that would save his life, in such a case, shall lose it. This people must cease to hold slaves, and to make war on Mexico, though it cost them their existence as a people.

In their practice, nations agree with Paley; but does anyone think that Massachusetts does exactly what is right at the present crisis?

"A drab of stat, a cloth-o'-silver slut, To have her train borne up, and her soul trail in the dirt."

Practically speaking, the opponents to a reform in Massachusetts are not a hundred thousand politicians at the South, but a hundred thousand merchants and farmers here, who are more interested in commerce and agriculture than they are in humanity, and are not prepared to do justice to the slave and to Mexico, cost what it may. I quarrel not with far-off foes, but with those who, neat at home, co-operate with, and do the bidding of, those far away, and without whom the latter would be harmless. We are accustomed to say, that the mass of men are unprepared; but improvement is slow, because the few are not as materially wiser or better than the many. It is not so important that many should be good as you, as that there be some absolute goodness somewhere; for that will leaven the whole lump. There are thousands who are in opinion opposed to slavery and to the war, who yet in effect do nothing to put an end to them; who, esteeming themselves children of Washington and Franklin, sit down with their hands in their pockets, and say that they know not what to do, and do nothing; who even postpone the question of freedom to the question of free trade, and quietly read the prices-current along with the latest advices from Mexico, after dinner, and, it may be, fall asleep over them both. What is the price-current of an honest man and patriot today? They hesitate, and they regret, and sometimes they petition; but they do nothing in earnest and with effect. They will wait, well disposed, for other to remedy the evil, that they may no longer have it to regret. At most, they give up only a cheap vote, and a feeble countenance and Godspeed, to the right, as it goes by them. There are nine hundred and ninety-nine patrons of virtue to one virtuous man. But it is easier to deal with the real possessor of a thing than with the temporary guardian of it.

All voting is a sort of gaming, like checkers or backgammon, with a slight moral tinge to it, a playing with right and wrong, with moral questions; and betting naturally accompanies it. The character of the voters is not staked. I cast my vote, perchance, as I think right; but I am not vitally concerned that that right should prevail. I am willing to leave it to the majority. Its obligation, therefore, never exceeds that of expediency. Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it. It is only expressing to men feebly your desire that it should prevail. A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority. There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men. When the majority shall at length vote for the abolition of slavery, it will be because they are indifferent to slavery, or because there is but little slavery left to be abolished by their vote. They will then be the only slaves. Only his vote can hasten the abolition of slavery who asserts his own freedom by his vote.

I hear of a convention to be held at Baltimore, or elsewhere, for the selection of a candidate for the Presidency, made up chiefly of editors, and men who are politicians by profession; but I think, what is it to any independent, intelligent, and respectable man what decision they may come to? Shall we not have the advantage of this wisdom and honesty, nevertheless? Can we not count upon some independent votes? Are there not many individuals in the country who do not attend conventions? But no: I find that the respectable man, so called, has immediately drifted from his position, and despairs of his country, when his country has more reasons to despair of him. He forthwith adopts one of the candidates thus selected as the only available one, thus proving that he is himself available for any purposes of the demagogue. His vote is of no more worth than that of any unprincipled foreigner or hireling native, who may have been bought. O for a man who is a man, and, and my neighbor says, has a bone is his back which you cannot pass your hand through! Our statistics are at fault: the population has been returned too large. How many men are there to a square thousand miles in the country? Hardly one. Does not America offer any inducement for men to settle here? The American has dwindled into an Odd Fellow--one who may be known by the development of his organ of gregariousness, and a manifest lack of intellect and cheerful self-reliance; whose first and chief concern, on coming into the world, is to see that the almshouses are in good repair; and, before yet he has lawfully donned the virile garb, to collect a fund to the support of the widows and orphans that may be; who, in short, ventures to live only by the aid of the Mutual Insurance company, which has promised to bury him decently.

It is not a man's duty, as a matter of course, to devote himself to the eradication of any, even to most enormous, wrong; he may still properly have other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it, and, if he gives it no thought longer, not to give it practically his support. If I devote myself to other pursuits and contemplations, I must first see, at least, that I do not pursue them sitting upon another man's shoulders. I must get off him first, that he may pursue his contemplations too. See what gross inconsistency is tolerated. I have heard some of my townsmen say, "I should like to have them order me out to help put down an insurrection of the slaves, or to march to Mexico--see if I would go"; and yet these very men have each, directly by their allegiance, and so indirectly, at least, by their money, furnished a substitute. The soldier is applauded who refuses to serve in an unjust war by those who do not refuse to sustain the unjust government which makes the war; is applauded by those whose own act and authority he disregards and sets at naught; as if the state were penitent to that degree that it hired one to scourge it while it sinned, but not to that degree that it left off sinning for a moment. Thus, under the name of Order and Civil Government, we are all made at last to pay homage to and support our own meanness. After the first blush of sin comes its indifference; and from immoral it becomes, as it were, unmoral, and not quite unnecessary to that life which we have made.

The broadest and most prevalent error requires the most disinterested virtue to sustain it. The slight reproach to which the virtue of patriotism is commonly liable, the noble are most likely to incur. Those who, while they disapprove of the character and measures of a government, yield to it their allegiance and support are undoubtedly its most conscientious supporters, and so frequently the most serious obstacles to reform. Some are petitioning the State to dissolve the Union, to disregard the requisitions of the President. Why do they not dissolve it themselves--the union between themselves and the State--and refuse to pay their quota into its treasury? Do not they stand in same relation to the State that the State does to the Union? And have not the same reasons prevented the State from resisting the Union which have prevented them from resisting the State?

How can a man be satisfied to entertain and opinion merely, and enjoy it? Is there any enjoyment in it, if his opinion is that he is aggrieved? If you are cheated out of a single dollar by your neighbor, you do not rest satisfied with knowing you are cheated, or with saying that you are cheated, or even with petitioning him to pay you your due; but you take effectual steps at once to obtain the full amount, and see to it that you are never cheated again. Action from principle, the perception and the performance of right, changes things and relations; it is essentially revolutionary, and does not consist wholly with anything which was. It not only divided States and churches, it divides families; ay, it divides the individual, separating the diabolical in him from the divine.

Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men, generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse. Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt? Why does it not encourage its citizens to put out its faults, and do better than it would have them? Why does it always crucify Christ and excommunicate Copernicus and Luther, and pronounce Washington and Franklin rebels?

One would think, that a deliberate and practical denial of its authority was the only offense never contemplated by its government; else, why has it not assigned its definite, its suitable and proportionate, penalty? If a man who has no property refuses but once to earn nine shillings for the State, he is put in prison for a period unlimited by any law that I know, and determined only by the discretion of those who put him there; but if he should steal ninety times nine shillings from the State, he is soon permitted to go at large again.

If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth--certainly the machine will wear out. If the injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.

As for adopting the ways of the State has provided for remedying the evil, I know not of such ways. They take too much time, and a man's life will be gone. I have other affairs to attend to. I came into this world, not chiefly to make this a good place to live in, but to live in it, be it good or bad. A man has not everything to do, but something; and because he cannot do everything, it is not necessary that he should be petitioning the Governor or the Legislature any more than it is theirs to petition me; and if they should not hear my petition, what should I do then? But in this case the State has provided no way: its very Constitution is the evil. This may seem to be harsh and stubborn and unconcilliatory; but it is to treat with the utmost kindness and consideration the only spirit that can appreciate or deserves it. So is all change for the better, like birth and death, which convulse the body.

I do not hesitate to say, that those who call themselves Abolitionists should at once effectually withdraw their support, both in person and property, from the government of Massachusetts, and not wait till they constitute a majority of one, before they suffer the right to prevail through them. I think that it is enough if they have God on their side, without waiting for that other one. Moreover, any man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already.

I meet this American government, or its representative, the State government, directly, and face to face, once a year--no more--in the person of its tax-gatherer; this is the only mode in which a man situated as I am necessarily meets it; and it then says distinctly, Recognize me; and the simplest, the most effectual, and, in the present posture of affairs, the indispensablest mode of treating with it on this head, of expressing your little satisfaction with and love for it, is to deny it then. My civil neighbor, the tax-gatherer, is the very man I have to deal with--for it is, after all, with men and not with parchment that I quarrel--and he has voluntarily chosen to be an agent of the government. How shall he ever know well that he is and does as an officer of the government, or as a man, until he is obliged to consider whether he will treat me, his neighbor, for whom he has respect, as a neighbor and well-disposed man, or as a maniac and disturber of the peace, and see if he can get over this obstruction to his neighborlines without a ruder and more impetuous thought or speech corresponding with his action. I know this well, that if one thousand, if one hundred, if ten men whom I could name--if ten honest men only--ay, if one HONEST man, in this State of Massachusetts, ceasing to hold slaves, were actually to withdraw from this co-partnership, and be locked up in the county jail therefor, it would be the abolition of slavery in America. For it matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done forever. But we love better to talk about it: that we say is our mission. Reform keeps many scores of newspapers in its service, but not one man. If my esteemed neighbor, the State's ambassador, who will devote his days to the settlement of the question of human rights in the Council Chamber, instead of being threatened with the prisons of Carolina, were to sit down the prisoner of Massachusetts, that State which is so anxious to foist the sin of slavery upon her sister--though at present she can discover only an act of inhospitality to be the ground of a quarrel with her--the Legislature would not wholly waive the subject of the following winter.

Under a government which imprisons unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison. The proper place today, the only place which Massachusetts has provided for her freer and less despondent spirits, is in her prisons, to be put out and locked out of the State by her own act, as they have already put themselves out by their principles. It is there that the fugitive slave, and the Mexican prisoner on parole, and the Indian come to plead the wrongs of his race should find them; on that separate but more free and honorable ground, where the State places those who are not with her, but against her--the only house in a slave State in which a free man can abide with honor. If any think that their influence would be lost there, and their voices no longer afflict the ear of the State, that they would not be as an enemy within its walls, they do not know by how much truth is stronger than error, nor how much more eloquently and effectively he can combat injustice who has experienced a little in his own person. Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence. A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority; it is not even a minority then; but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight. If the alternative is to keep all just men in prison, or give up war and slavery, the State will not hesitate which to choose. If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible. If the tax-gatherer, or any other public officer, asks me, as one has done, "But what shall I do?" my answer is, "If you really wish to do anything, resign your office." When the subject has refused allegiance, and the officer has resigned from office, then the revolution is accomplished. But even suppose blood shed when the conscience is wounded? Through this wound a man's real manhood and immortality flow out, and he bleeds to an everlasting death. I see this blood flowing now.

I have contemplated the imprisonment of the offender, rather than the seizure of his goods--though both will serve the same purpose--because they who assert the purest right, and consequently are most dangerous to a corrupt State, commonly have not spent much time in accumulating property. To such the State renders comparatively small service, and a slight tax is wont to appear exorbitant, particularly if they are obliged to earn it by special labor with their hands. If there were one who lived wholly without the use of money, the State itself would hesitate to demand it of him. But the rich man--not to make any invidious comparison--is always sold to the institution which makes him rich. Absolutely speaking, the more money, the less virtue; for money comes between a man and his objects, and obtains them for him; it was certainly no great virtue to obtain it. It puts to rest many questions which he would otherwise be taxed to answer; while the only new question which it puts is the hard but superfluous one, how to spend it. Thus his moral ground is taken from under his feet. The opportunities of living are diminished in proportion as that are called the "means" are increased. The best thing a man can do for his culture when he is rich is to endeavor to carry out those schemes which he entertained when he was poor. Christ answered the Herodians according to their condition. "Show me the tribute-money," said he--and one took a penny out of his pocket--if you use money which has the image of Caesar on it, and which he has made current and valuable, that is, if you are men of the State, and gladly enjoy the advantages of Caesar's government, then pay him back some of his own when he demands it. "Render therefore to Caesar that which is Caesar's and to God those things which are God's"--leaving them no wiser than before as to which was which; for they did not wish to know.

When I converse with the freest of my neighbors, I perceive that, whatever they may say about the magnitude and seriousness of the question, and their regard for the public tranquillity, the long and the short of the matter is, that they cannot spare the protection of the existing government, and they dread the consequences to their property and families of disobedience to it. For my own part, I should not like to think that I ever rely on the protection of the State. But, if I deny the authority of the State when it presents its tax bill, it will soon take and waste all my property, and so harass me and my children without end. This is hard. This makes it impossible for a man to live honestly, and at the same time comfortably, in outward respects. It will not be worth the while to accumulate property; that would be sure to go again. You must hire or squat somewhere, and raise but a small crop, and eat that soon. You must live within yourself, and depend upon yourself always tucked up and ready for a start, and not have many affairs. A man may grow rich in Turkey even, if he will be in all respects a good subject of the Turkish government. Confucius said: "If a state is governed by the principles of reason, poverty and misery are subjects of shame; if a state is not governed by the principles of reason, riches and honors are subjects of shame." No: until I want the protection of Massachusetts to be extended to me in some distant Southern port, where my liberty is endangered, or until I am bent solely on building up an estate at home by peaceful enterprise, I can afford to refuse allegiance to Massachusetts, and her right to my property and life. It costs me less in every sense to incur the penalty of disobedience to the State than it would to obey. I should feel as if I were worth less in that case.

Some years ago, the State met me in behalf of the Church, and commanded me to pay a certain sum toward the support of a clergyman whose preaching my father attended, but never I myself. "Pay," it said, "or be locked up in the jail." I declined to pay. But, unfortunately, another man saw fit to pay it. I did not see why the schoolmaster should be taxed to support the priest, and not the priest the schoolmaster; for I was not the State's schoolmaster, but I supported myself by voluntary subscription. I did not see why the lyceum should not present its tax bill, and have the State to back its demand, as well as the Church. However, as the request of the selectmen, I condescended to make some such statement as this in writing: "Know all men by these presents, that I, Henry Thoreau, do not wish to be regarded as a member of any society which I have not joined." This I gave to the town clerk; and he has it. The State, having thus learned that I did not wish to be regarded as a member of that church, has never made a like demand on me since; though it said that it must adhere to its original presumption that time. If I had known how to name them, I should then have signed off in detail from all the societies which I never signed on to; but I did not know where to find such a complete list.

I have paid no poll tax for six years. I was put into a jail once on this account, for one night; and, as I stood considering the walls of solid stone, two or three feet thick, the door of wood and iron, a foot thick, and the iron grating which strained the light, I could not help being struck with the foolishness of that institution which treated my as if I were mere flesh and blood and bones, to be locked up. I wondered that it should have concluded at length that this was the best use it could put me to, and had never thought to avail itself of my services in some way. I saw that, if there was a wall of stone between me and my townsmen, there was a still more difficult one to climb or break through before they could get to be as free as I was. I did nor for a moment feel confined, and the walls seemed a great waste of stone and mortar. I felt as if I alone of all my townsmen had paid my tax. They plainly did not know how to treat me, but behaved like persons who are underbred. In every threat and in every compliment there was a blunder; for they thought that my chief desire was to stand the other side of that stone wall. I could not but smile to see how industriously they locked the door on my meditations, which followed them out again without let or hindrance, and they were really all that was dangerous. As they could not reach me, they had resolved to punish my body; just as boys, if they cannot come at some person against whom they have a spite, will abuse his dog. I saw that the State was half-witted, that it was timid as a lone woman with her silver spoons, and that it did not know its friends from its foes, and I lost all my remaining respect for it, and pitied it.

Thus the state never intentionally confronts a man's sense, intellectual or moral, but only his body, his senses. It is not armed with superior with or honesty, but with superior physical strength. I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest. What force has a multitude? They only can force me who obey a higher law than I. They force me to become like themselves. I do not hear of men being forced to live this way or that by masses of men. What sort of life were that to live? When I meet a government which says to me, "Your money our your life," why should I be in haste to give it my money? It may be in a great strait, and not know what to do: I cannot help that. It must help itself; do as I do. It is not worth the while to snivel about it. I am not responsible for the successful working of the machinery of society. I am not the son of the engineer. I perceive that, when an acorn and a chestnut fall side by side, the one does not remain inert to make way for the other, but both obey their own laws, and spring and grow and flourish as best they can, till one, perchance, overshadows and destroys the other. If a plant cannot live according to nature, it dies; and so a man.

The night in prison was novel and interesting enough. The prisoners in their shirtsleeves were enjoying a chat and the evening air in the doorway, when I entered. But the jailer said, "Come, boys, it is time to lock up"; and so they dispersed, and I heard the sound of their steps returning into the hollow apartments. My room-mate was introduced to me by the jailer as "a first-rate fellow and clever man." When the door was locked, he showed me where to hang my hat, and how he managed matters there. The rooms were whitewashed once a month; and this one, at least, was the whitest, most simply furnished, and probably neatest apartment in town. He naturally wanted to know where I came from, and what brought me there; and, when I had told him, I asked him in my turn how he came there, presuming him to be an honest an, of course; and as the world goes, I believe he was. "Why," said he, "they accuse me of burning a barn; but I never did it." As near as I could discover, he had probably gone to bed in a barn when drunk, and smoked his pipe there; and so a barn was burnt. He had the reputation of being a clever man, had been there some three months waiting for his trial to come on, and would have to wait as much longer; but he was quite domesticated and contented, since he got his board for nothing, and thought that he was well treated.

He occupied one window, and I the other; and I saw that if one stayed there long, his principal business would be to look out the window. I had soon read all the tracts that were left there, and examined where former prisoners had broken out, and where a grate had been sawed off, and heard the history of the various occupants of that room; for I found that even there there was a history and a gossip which never circulated beyond the walls of the jail. Probably this is the only house in the town where verses are composed, which are afterward printed in a circular form, but not published. I was shown quite a long list of young men who had been detected in an attempt to escape, who avenged themselves by singing them.

I pumped my fellow-prisoner as dry as I could, for fear I should never see him again; but at length he showed me which was my bed, and left me to blow out the lamp.

It was like travelling into a far country, such as I had never expected to behold, to lie there for one night. It seemed to me that I never had heard the town clock strike before, not the evening sounds of the village; for we slept with the windows open, which were inside the grating. It was to see my native village in the light of the Middle Ages, and our Concord was turned into a Rhine stream, and visions of knights and castles passed before me. They were the voices of old burghers that I heard in the streets. I was an involuntary spectator and auditor of whatever was done and said in the kitchen of the adjacent village inn--a wholly new and rare experience to me. It was a closer view of my native town. I was fairly inside of it. I never had seen its institutions before. This is one of its peculiar institutions; for it is a shire town. I began to comprehend what its inhabitants were about.

In the morning, our breakfasts were put through the hole in the door, in small oblong-square tin pans, made to fit, and holding a pint of chocolate, with brown bread, and an iron spoon. When they called for the vessels again, I was green enough to return what bread I had left, but my comrade seized it, and said that I should lay that up for lunch or dinner. Soon after he was let out to work at haying in a neighboring field, whither he went every day, and would not be back till noon; so he bade me good day, saying that he doubted if he should see me again.

When I came out of prison--for some one interfered, and paid that tax--I did not perceive that great changes had taken place on the common, such as he observed who went in a youth and emerged a gray-headed man; and yet a change had come to my eyes come over the scene--the town, and State, and country, greater than any that mere time could effect. I saw yet more distinctly the State in which I lived. I saw to what extent the people among whom I lived could be trusted as good neighbors and friends; that their friendship was for summer weather only; that they did not greatly propose to do right; that they were a distinct race from me by their prejudices and superstitions, as the Chinamen and Malays are that in their sacrifices to humanity they ran no risks, not even to their property; that after all they were not so noble but they treated the thief as he had treated them, and hoped, by a certain outward observance and a few prayers, and by walking in a particular straight through useless path from time to time, to save their souls. This may be to judge my neighbors harshly; for I believe that many of them are not aware that they have such an institution as the jail in their village.

It was formerly the custom in our village, when a poor debtor came out of jail, for his acquaintances to salute him, looking through their fingers, which were crossed to represent the jail window, "How do ye do?" My neighbors did not this salute me, but first looked at me, and then at one another, as if I had returned from a long journey. I was put into jail as I was going to the shoemaker's to get a shoe which was mender. When I was let out the next morning, I proceeded to finish my errand, and, having put on my mended show, joined a huckleberry party, who were impatient to put themselves under my conduct; and in half an hour--for the horse was soon tackled--was in the midst of a huckleberry field, on one of our highest hills, two miles off, and then the State was nowhere to be seen.

This is the whole history of "My Prisons."

I have never declined paying the highway tax, because I am as desirous of being a good neighbor as I am of being a bad subject; and as for supporting schools, I am doing my part to educate my fellow countrymen now. It is for no particular item in the tax bill that I refuse to pay it. I simply wish to refuse allegiance to the State, to withdraw and stand aloof from it effectually. I do not care to trace the course of my dollar, if I could, till it buys a man a musket to shoot one with--the dollar is innocent--but I am concerned to trace the effects of my allegiance. In fact, I quietly declare war with the State, after my fashion, though I will still make use and get what advantages of her I can, as is usual in such cases.

If others pay the tax which is demanded of me, from a sympathy with the State, they do but what they have already done in their own case, or rather they abet injustice to a greater extent than the State requires. If they pay the tax from a mistaken interest in the individual taxed, to save his property, or prevent his going to jail, it is because they have not considered wisely how far they let their private feelings interfere with the public good.

This, then is my position at present. But one cannot be too much on his guard in such a case, lest his actions be biased by obstinacy or an undue regard for the opinions of men. Let him see that he does only what belongs to himself and to the hour.

I think sometimes, Why, this people mean well, they are only ignorant; they would do better if they knew how: why give your neighbors this pain to treat you as they are not inclined to? But I think again, This is no reason why I should do as they do, or permit others to suffer much greater pain of a different kind. Again, I sometimes say to myself, When many millions of men, without heat, without ill will, without personal feelings of any kind, demand of you a few shillings only, without the possibility, such is their constitution, of retracting or altering their present demand, and without the possibility, on your side, of appeal to any other millions, why expose yourself to this overwhelming brute force? You do not resist cold and hunger, the winds and the waves, thus obstinately; you quietly submit to a thousand similar necessities. You do not put your head into the fire. But just in proportion as I regard this as not wholly a brute force, but partly a human force, and consider that I have relations to those millions as to so many millions of men, and not of mere brute or inanimate things, I see that appeal is possible, first and instantaneously, from them to the Maker of them, and, secondly, from them to themselves. But if I put my head deliberately into the fire, there is no appeal to fire or to the Maker for fire, and I have only myself to blame. If I could convince myself that I have any right to be satisfied with men as they are, and to treat them accordingly, and not according, in some respects, to my requisitions and expectations of what they and I ought to be, then, like a good Mussulman and fatalist, I should endeavor to be satisfied with things as they are, and say it is the will of God. And, above all, there is this difference between resisting this and a purely brute or natural force, that I can resist this with some effect; but I cannot expect, like Orpheus, to change the nature of the rocks and trees and beasts.

I do not wish to quarrel with any man or nation. I do not wish to split hairs, to make fine distinctions, or set myself up as better than my neighbors. I seek rather, I may say, even an excuse for conforming to the laws of the land. I am but too ready to conform to them. Indeed, I have reason to suspect myself on this head; and each year, as the tax-gatherer comes round, I find myself disposed to review the acts and position of the general and State governments, and the spirit of the people to discover a pretext for conformity.

"We must affect our country as our parents, And if at any time we alienate Out love or industry from doing it honor, We must respect effects and teach the soul Matter of conscience and religion, And not desire of rule or benefit."

I believe that the State will soon be able to take all my work of this sort out of my hands, and then I shall be no better patriot than my fellow-countrymen. Seen from a lower point of view, the Constitution, with all its faults, is very good; the law and the courts are very respectable; even this State and this American government are, in many respects, very admirable, and rare things, to be thankful for, such as a great many have described them; seen from a higher still, and the highest, who shall say what they are, or that they are worth looking at or thinking of at all?

However, the government does not concern me much, and I shall bestow the fewest possible thoughts on it. It is not many moments that I live under a government, even in this world. If a man is thought-free, fancy-free, imagination-free, that which is not never for a long time appearing to be to him, unwise rulers or reformers cannot fatally interrupt him.

I know that most men think differently from myself; but those whose lives are by profession devoted to the study of these or kindred subjects content me as little as any. Statesmen and legislators, standing so completely within the institution, never distinctly and nakedly behold it. They speak of moving society, but have no resting-place without it. They may be men of a certain experience and discrimination, and have no doubt invented ingenious and even useful systems, for which we sincerely thank them; but all their wit and usefulness lie within certain not very wide limits. They are wont to forget that the world is not governed by policy and expediency. Webster never goes behind government, and so cannot speak with authority about it. His words are wisdom to those legislators who contemplate no essential reform in the existing government; but for thinkers, and those who legislate for all tim, he never once glances at the subject. I know of those whose serene and wise speculations on this theme would soon reveal the limits of his mind's range and hospitality. Yet, compared with the cheap professions of most reformers, and the still cheaper wisdom an eloquence of politicians in general, his are almost the only sensible and valuable words, and we thank Heaven for him. Comparatively, he is always strong, original, and, above all, practical. Still, his quality is not wisdom, but prudence. The lawyer's truth is not Truth, but consistency or a consistent expediency. Truth is always in harmony with herself, and is not concerned chiefly to reveal the justice that may consist with wrong-doing. He well deserves to be called, as he has been called, the Defender of the Constitution. There are really no blows to be given him but defensive ones. He is not a leader, but a follower. His leaders are the men of '87. "I have never made an effort," he says, "and never propose to make an effort; I have never countenanced an effort, and never mean to countenance an effort, to disturb the arrangement as originally made, by which various States came into the Union." Still thinking of the sanction which the Constitution gives to slavery, he says, "Because it was part of the original compact--let it stand." Notwithstanding his special acuteness and ability, he is unable to take a fact out of its merely political relations, and behold it as it lies absolutely to be disposed of by the intellect--what, for instance, it behooves a man to do here in American today with regard to slavery--but ventures, or is driven, to make some such desperate answer to the following, while professing to speak absolutely, and as a private man--from which what new and singular of social duties might be inferred? "The manner," says he, "in which the governments of the States where slavery exists are to regulate it is for their own consideration, under the responsibility to their constituents, to the general laws of propriety, humanity, and justice, and to God. Associations formed elsewhere, springing from a feeling of humanity, or any other cause, have nothing whatever to do with it. They have never received any encouragement from me and they never will. [These extracts have been inserted since the lecture was read -HDT]

They who know of no purer sources of truth, who have traced up its stream no higher, stand, and wisely stand, by the Bible and the Constitution, and drink at it there with reverence and humanity; but they who behold where it comes trickling into this lake or that pool, gird up their loins once more, and continue their pilgrimage toward its fountainhead.

No man with a genius for legislation has appeared in America. They are rare in the history of the world. There are orators, politicians, and eloquent men, by the thousand; but the speaker has not yet opened his mouth to speak who is capable of settling the much-vexed questions of the day. We love eloquence for its own sake, and not for any truth which it may utter, or any heroism it may inspire. Our legislators have not yet learned the comparative value of free trade and of freed, of union, and of rectitude, to a nation. They have no genius or talent for comparatively humble questions of taxation and finance, commerce and manufactures and agriculture. If we were left solely to the wordy wit of legislators in Congress for our guidance, uncorrected by the seasonable experience and the effectual complaints of the people, America would not long retain her rank among the nations. For eighteen hundred years, though perchance I have no right to say it, the New Testament has been written; yet where is the legislator who has wisdom and practical talent enough to avail himself of the light which it sheds on the science of legislation.

The authority of government, even such as I am willing to submit to--for I will cheerfully obey those who know and can do better than I, and in many things even those who neither know nor can do so well--is still an impure one: to be strictly just, it must have the sanction and consent of the governed. It can have no pure right over my person and property but what I concede to it. The progress from an absolute to a limited monarchy, from a limited monarchy to a democracy, is a progress toward a true respect for the individual. Even the Chinese philosopher was wise enough to regard the individual as the basis of the empire. Is a democracy, such as we know it, the last improvement possible in government? Is it not possible to take a step further towards recognizing and organizing the rights of man? There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly. I please myself with imagining a State at last which can afford to be just to all men, and to treat the individual with respect as a neighbor; which even would not think it inconsistent with its own repose if a few were to live aloof from it, not meddling with it, nor embraced by it, who fulfilled all the duties of neighbors and fellow men. A State which bore this kind of fruit, and suffered it to drop off as fast as it ripened, would prepare the way for a still more perfect and glorious State, which I have also imagined, but not yet anywhere seen.

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