In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: The true friends of the

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Between 1850 and 1854

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00938

Source: Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. Transcribed from digital images of the original. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of manuscripts, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: This manuscript is a partial draft of "Memorial in Behalf of a Freer Municipal Government, and Against Sunday Restrictions," a public letter printed in the Brooklyn Star on October 20, 1854. Whitman probably drafted the manuscript shortly before the piece was published.

Related item: Draft lines written on the back of this manuscript appeared in the twelfth poem of the first edition of Leaves of Grass, later titled "Great are the Myths." See duk.00259.

Contributors to digital file: Nicole Gray

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The true friends of the Sabbath, and of its purifying and elevating influences, and of the many excellent physical and other reforms that mark the present age, are not necessarily those who complacently put themselves forward and seek to carry the good through by penalties and stoppages and arrests and fines.—The true friends of ^elevation and reform are the friends of the fullest rational liberty. For there is this vital and antiseptic power in liberty, that it tends forever and ever to strengthen what is good and erase what is bad.—Compulsion is a temporary support, causing much bad blood and certain reaction.—

For the city or state to become the general guardian or overseer ^and dry nurse of a man, and point out to ^coerce him, any further than before mentioned [cut away]

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