Ralph Waldo Emerson

The history of persecution is a history of endeavors to cheat nature,

to make water run up hill, to twist a rope of sand.

It makes no difference whether the actors be many or one, a tyrant or a mob.

A mob is a society of bodies voluntarily bereaving

themselves of reason and traversing its work.

The mob is man voluntarily descending to the nature of the beast. Its fit hour of activity is night.

Its actions are insane like its whole constitution. It persecutes a principle; it would whip a right;

it would tar and feather justice, by inflicting fire and outrage

upon the houses and persons of those who have these.

It resembles the prank of boys, who run with fire-engines

to put out the ruddy aurora streaming to the stars.

The inviolate spirit turns their spite against the wrongdoers.

The martyr cannot be dishonored.

Every lash inflicted is a tongue of fame; every prison, a more illustrious abode;

every burned book or house enlightens the world; every suppressed or expunged

word reverberates through the earth from side to side.

Hours of sanity and consideration are always arriving to communities,

as to individuals, when the truth is seen and the martyrs are justified.


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