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Title: Charles Sumner; His Complete Works, Volume III (of 20)
Author: Sumner, Charles
Language: English
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Illustration: ROBERT C. WINTHROP

Statesman Edition        VOL. III



With Introduction by Hon. George Frisbie Hoar


Lee and Shepard

Copyright, 1900,
Lee and Shepard.

Statesman Edition.
Limited to One Thousand Copies.
of Which This Is
No. 565

Norwood Press:
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.



to a Public Meeting in Ohio, on the Anniversary of the
Ordinance of Freedom, July 6, 1849                                    1

the Free-Soil State Convention to Order, at Worcester,
September 12, 1849                                                    4

to the People of Massachusetts, reported to and
adopted by the Free-Soil State Convention at Worcester,
September 12, 1849                                                    6

WASHINGTON AN ABOLITIONIST. Letter to the Boston Daily
Atlas, September 27, 1849                                            46

before the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, in the
Case of Sarah C. Roberts _v._ The City of Boston, December
4, 1849                                                              51

UNIVERSITY. Report of the Committee of Overseers,
February 7, 1850                                                    101

WITH DISARMAMENT. Address to the People of the
United States, February 22, 1850                                    117

Meeting at Faneuil Hall, November 6, 1850                           122

STATES. Letter to the Legislature of Massachusetts,
May 14, 1851                                                        149

Letter to the Mayor of Boston, for July 4, 1851                     165

of the Story Association, July 15, 1851                             166

to a meeting at Faneuil Hall, October 27, 1851                      168

WELCOME TO KOSSUTH. Speech in the Senate, December
10, 1851                                                            171

INTERVENTION. Letter to a Philadelphia Committee,
December 23, 1851                                                   180

Festival at Washington, January 22, 1852                            181

Speeches in the Senate, on the Iowa Railroad Bill, January
27, February 17, and March 16, 1852                                 182

Rufus W. Griswold, February 22, 1852                                213

CHEAP OCEAN POSTAGE. Speech in the Senate, on a Resolution
in Relation to Cheap Ocean Postage, March 8, 1852                   215

to the President, May 14, 1852, on the Application for
the Pardon of Drayton and Sayres, incarcerated at
Washington for helping the Escape of Slaves                         219

BILL. Remarks in the Senate, May 26, 1852                           234

Letter to the Boston Committee for the Celebration
of the 4th of July, 1852                                            238

a Free-Soil Convention at Worcester, July 6, 1852                   240

SLAVE BILL. Remarks in the Senate, on taking up the
Resolution instructing the Committee on the Judiciary
to report a Bill for Immediate Repeal of the Fugitive
Slave Act, July 27 and 28, 1852                                     243

TRIBUTE TO ROBERT RANTOUL, JR. Speech in the Senate,
on the Death of Hon. Robert Rantoul, Jr., August 9, 1852            246

TERRITORY. Letter to Hon. Edward Coles, August
23, 1852                                                            253

Senate, on a Motion to repeal the Fugitive Slave Act,
August 26, 1852                                                     257

                     BE TRUE TO THE DECLARATION OF

                  ORDINANCE OF FREEDOM, JULY 6, 1849.

              Be True to the Declaration of Independence.

                THE ORDINANCE OF FREEDOM, JULY 6, 1849.

    BOSTON, July 6, 1849.

    Gentlemen,--I wish I could join the freemen of the Reserve in
    celebrating the anniversary of the great Ordinance of Freedom; but
    engagements detain me at home.

    The occasion, the place of meeting, the assembly, will all speak
    with animating voices. May God speed the work!

    Let us all strive, with united power, to extend the beneficent
    Ordinance over the territories of our country. So doing, we must
    take from its original authors something of their devotion to its
    great conservative truth.

    The National Government has been for a long time controlled by
    Slavery. It must be emancipated immediately. Ours be the duty,
    worthy of freemen, to place the Government under the auspices of
    Freedom, that it may be true to the Declaration of Independence and
    to the spirit of the Fathers!

    In this work, welcome to honest, earnest men, of _all parties_ and
    _all places_! Welcome to the efforts of Benton in Missouri, and
    of Clay in Kentucky! Above all, welcome to the united regenerated
    Democracy of the North, which spurns the mockery of a Republic,
    with professions of Freedom on the lips, while the chains of
    Slavery clank in the Capitol!

    Faithfully yours, CHARLES SUMNER.

    Messrs. JOHN C. VAUGHAN, } _Committee._
               THOMAS BROWN, }


                    WORCESTER, SEPTEMBER 12, 1849.

The Annual State Convention of the Free-Soil Party, called at the time
the Free Democracy, met at Worcester, September 12, 1849. It became the
duty of Mr. Sumner, as Chairman of the State Central Committee, to call
the Convention to order. In doing this he made the following remarks.


    In behalf of the State Central Committee of the Free Democracy of
    Massachusetts, it is my duty to call this body to order.

    I do not know that it is my privilege, at this stage of your
    proceedings, to add one other word to the words of form I have
    already pronounced; but I cannot look at this large and generous
    assembly without uttering from my heart one salutation of welcome
    and encouragement. From widely scattered homes you have come to
    bear testimony once more in that great cause containing country
    with all its truest welfare and honor, and also the highest
    aspirations of our souls. Others may prefer the old combinations of
    party, stitched together by devices of expediency only. You have
    chosen the better part, in coming to this alliance of principle.

    In the labors before you there will be, I doubt not, that concord
    which becomes earnest men, devoted to a good work. We all have but
    one object in view,--the success of our cause. Turning neither to
    the right nor to the left, moving ever onward, we adopt into our
    ranks all who adopt our principles. These we offer freely to all
    who will come and take them. These we can communicate to others
    without losing them ourselves. These are gifts which, without
    parting with, we can yet bestow, as from the burning candle other
    candles may be lighted without diminishing the original flame.

    It was the sentiment of Benjamin Franklin, that apostle of Freedom,
    uttered during the trials of the Revolution, "Where Liberty is,
    there is my country." I doubt not that each of you will be ready to
    respond, in similar strain, "Where Liberty is, there is my party."

    It now remains, Gentlemen of the Convention, that I should call
    upon you to proceed with the business of the day.



The State Convention of the Free-Soil party at Worcester, 12th
September, was organized with the following officers: Hon. William
Jackson, of Newton, President; Bradford Sumner, of Boston, Daniel E.
Potter, of Salem, C.L. Knapp, of Lowell, J.T. Buckingham, of Cambridge,
John Milton Earle, of Worcester, D.S. Jones, of Greenfield, Edward F.
Ensign, of Sheffield, Benjamin V. French, of Braintree, Gershom B.
Weston, of Duxbury, and Job Coleman, of Nantucket, Vice-Presidents;
William F. Channing, of Boston, Samuel Fowler, of Westfield, Noah
Kimball, of Grafton, A.A. Leach, of Taunton, Secretaries.

On motion of Mr. Sumner, a committee of one from each county was
appointed to report an Address and Resolutions, consisting of Charles
Sumner, of Boston, John A. Bolles, of Woburn, J.G. Whittier, of
Amesbury, John M. Earle, of Worcester, Melvin Copeland, of Chester,
Erastus Hopkins, of Northampton, D.W. Alvord, of Greenfield, F.M.
Lowrey, of Lee, F.W. Bird, of Walpole, Jesse Perkins, of Bridgewater,
Joseph Brownell, of New Bedford, Nathaniel Hinckley, of Barnstable, and
E. W. Gardner, of Nantucket.

In the course of the proceedings, speeches were made by Anson
Burlingame, Esq., Hon. Charles F. Adams, Hon. Charles Allen, Hon.
Edward L. Keyes, and James A. Briggs, Esq., of Ohio. From the committee
of which he was chairman Mr. Sumner reported an Address to the People
of Massachusetts, explaining and vindicating the Free-Soil movement,
with a series of Resolutions, all of which were unanimously adopted
by the Convention. Of this Address, which became the authorized
declaration of the party, the _Daily Republican_ remarked: "The
Address, prepared by that gifted scholar and writer, Charles Sumner,
is an elaborate, complete, and unanswerable vindication of the
principles embodied in the Resolutions. Clear, logical, and triumphant
in argument, it glows with the warm and genial spirit of love for
humanity which distinguishes all the productions of its author."

Among the Resolutions was the following, which seems the prelude to the
debates of twenty years later.

    "_Resolved_, That we adopt, as the only safe and stable basis of
    our State, as well as our National policy, the great principles of
    Equal Rights for All, guarantied and secured by Equal Laws."


Fellow-citizens,--Another year has gone round, and you are once more
called to bear testimony at the polls to those truths which you deem
vital in the government of the country. By votes you are to declare
not merely predilections for men, but devotion to principles. Men are
erring and mortal; principles are steadfast and immortal.

If the occasion is calculated less than a Presidential contest to
arouse ardors of opposition, it is also less calculated to stimulate
animosities. With less passion, the people are more under the
influence of reason. Truth may be heard over the prejudices of party.
Candor, kindly feeling, and conscientious thought may take the place
of embittered, unreasoning antagonism, or of timid, unprincipled
compliance. If the controversy is without heat, there may be no viper
to come forth and fasten upon the hand.

Though of less apparent consequence in immediate results, the election
now approaching is nevertheless of great importance. We do not choose a
President of the United States, or Members of Congress, but a Governor,
Lieutenant-Governor, and other State officers. Still, the same question
which entered into the election of National officers arises now. The
Great Issue which has already convulsed the whole country presents
itself anew in a local sphere. Omnipresent wherever any political
election occurs, it will never cease to challenge attention, until at
least two things are accomplished: _first_, the divorce of the National
Government from all support or sanction of Slavery,--and, _secondly_,
the conversion of this Government, within its constitutional limits, to
the cause of Freedom, so that it shall become Freedom's open, active,
and perpetual ally.

Impressed by the magnitude of these interests, devoted to the triumph
of the righteous cause, solicitous for the national welfare, animated
by the example of the fathers, and desirous of breathing their spirit
into our Government, the Free Democracy of Massachusetts, in Convention
assembled at Worcester, now address their fellow-citizens throughout
the Commonwealth. Imperfectly, according to the necessity of the
occasion, earnestly, according to the fulness of their convictions,
hopefully, according to the confidence of their aspirations, they
proceed to unfold the reasons of their appeal. They now ask your
attention. They trust to secure your votes.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Our Party a permanent National Party._--We make our appeal as a
_National_ party, established to promote principles of paramount
importance to the country. In assuming our place as a distinct party,
we simply give form and direction, in harmony with the usage and the
genius of popular governments, to a movement which stirs the whole
country, and does not find an adequate and constant organ in either
of the other existing parties. In France, under the royalty of Louis
Philippe, the faithful friends of the yet unborn Republic formed a
band together, and by publications, speeches, and votes sought to
influence the public mind. Few at first in numbers, they became strong
by united political action. In England, the most brilliant popular
triumph in her history, the repeal of the monopoly of the Corn Laws,
was finally carried by means of a newly formed, but wide-spread,
political organization, which combined men of all the old parties,
Whigs, Tories, and Radicals, and recognized opposition to the Corn Laws
as a special test. In the spirit of these examples, the friends of
Freedom have come together, in well-compacted ranks, to uphold their
cherished principles, and by combined efforts, according to the course
of parties, to urge them upon the Government, and upon the country.

All the old organizations contribute to our number, and good citizens
come to us who have not heretofore mingled in the contests of party.
Here are men from the ancient Democracy, believing that any democracy
must be a name only, no better than sounding brass or a tinkling
cymbal, which does not recognize on every occasion the supremacy of
Human Rights, and is not ready to do and to suffer in their behalf.
Here also are men who have come out of the Whig party, weary of its
many professions and its little performance, and especially revolting
at its recent sinister course with regard to Freedom, believing that
in any devotion to Human Rights they cannot err. Here also, in solid
legion, is the well-tried band of the Liberty Party, to whom belongs
the praise of first placing Freedom under the guardianship of a special
political organization, whose exclusive test was opposition to Slavery.

Associating and harmonizing from opposite quarters to promote a common
cause, we learn to forget former differences, and to appreciate the
motives of each other,--also how trivial are the matters on which we
disagree, compared with the Great Issue on which we all agree. Old
prejudices vanish. Even the rancors of political antagonism are changed
and dissolved, as in a potent alembic, while the natural irresistible
affinities of Freedom prevail. In our union we cease to wear the badge
of either of the old organizations. We have become a party distinct,
independent, permanent, under the name of the Free Democracy, thus
in our very designation expressing devotion to Human Rights, and
especially to Human Freedom.

Professing honestly the same sentiments, wherever we exist, in all
parts of the country, East and West, North and South, we are truly
a NATIONAL party. We are not compelled to assume one face
at the South and another at the North,--to blow hot in one place,
and blow cold in another,--to speak loudly of Freedom in one region,
and vindicate Slavery in another--in short, to present a combination
where the two extreme wings profess opinions, on the Great Issue
before the country, diametrically opposed to each other. We are the
same everywhere. And the reason is, because our party, unlike the
other parties, is bound together in support of fixed and well-defined
principles. It is not a combination fired by partisan zeal, and kept
together, as with mechanical force, by considerations of political
expediency only,--but a sincere, conscientious, inflexible union for
the sake of Freedom.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Old Issues obsolete._--Taking position as an independent party, we
are cheered not only by the grandeur of our cause, but by favorable
omens in the existing condition of parties. Devotion to Freedom impels
us; Providence itself seems to open the path for our triumphant
efforts. Old questions which have divided the minds of men have lost
their importance. One by one they have disappeared from the political
field, leaving it free to a question more transcendent far. The Bank,
the Sub-Treasury, the Public Lands, are all obsolete issues. Even the
Tariff is not a question where opposite political parties take opposite
sides. The opinions of Mr. Clay and Mr. Polk, as expressed in 1844,
when they were rival candidates for the Presidency, are so nearly
identical, that it is difficult to distinguish between them.


    "Let the amount which is requisite for an economical administration
    of the government, when we are not engaged in war, be raised
    exclusively on foreign imports; and in adjusting a tariff for
    that purpose, let such discriminations be made as will foster
    and encourage our own domestic industry. All parties ought to
    be satisfied with a tariff for revenue and discriminations for
    protection."--_Speech at Raleigh, April 13, in the National
    Intelligencer of June 29, 1844._


    "I am in favor of a tariff for revenue, such a one as will yield
    a sufficient amount to the treasury to defray the expenses of
    the government, economically administered. In adjusting the
    details of a revenue tariff, I have heretofore sanctioned such
    moderate discriminating duties as would produce the amount of
    revenue needed, and at the same time afford reasonable incidental
    protection to our home industry. I am opposed to a tariff for
    protection merely, and not for revenue."--_Letter to John K. Kane,
    June 19, 1844._

Friends and enemies of the Tariff are to be found, more or less, in
both the old organizations. From opposite quarters we are admonished
that it is not a proper question for the strife of party. Mr. Webster,
from the Whigs, and Mr. Robert J. Walker, from the Democrats, both
plead for its withdrawal from the list of political issues, that the
industry of the country may not be entangled in constantly recurring
contests. And why have they thus far pleaded in vain? It is feared no
better reason can be given than that certain political leaders wish
to use the Tariff as a battle-horse by which to rally their followers
in desperate warfare for office. The debt entailed by the Mexican War
comes to aid the admonitions of wisdom, and to disappoint the plots
of partisans, by imposing upon the country the necessity for such
large taxation as to make the protection thus incidentally afforded
satisfactory to judicious minds.

       *       *       *       *       *

_The Great Issue._--And now, instead of these superseded questions,
connected for the most part only with the material interests of the
country, and, though not unimportant in their time, all having the
odor of the dollar, you are called to consider a cause connected with
all that is divine in Religion, pure in Morals, and truly practical in
Politics. Unlike the other questions, it is not temporary or local in
character. It belongs to all times and to all countries. It is part
of the great movement under whose strong pulsations all Christendom
now shakes from side to side. It is a cause which, though long kept
in check throughout our country, as also in Europe, now confronts the
people and their rulers, demanding to be heard. It can no longer be
avoided or silenced. To every man in the land it now says, with clear,
penetrating voice, "Are you for Freedom, or are you for Slavery?" And
every man in the land must answer this question, when he votes.

The devices of party can no longer stave it off. The subterfuges of the
politician cannot escape it. The tricks of the office-seeker cannot
dodge it. Wherever an election occurs, there this question will arise.
Wherever men assemble to speak of public affairs, there again it will
be. In the city and in the village, in the field and in the workshop,
everywhere will this question be sounded in the ears: "Are you for
Freedom, or are you for Slavery?"

       *       *       *       *       *

_The AntiSlavery Sentiments of the Founders of the Republic._--A plain
recital of facts will show the urgency of this question. At the period
of the Declaration of Independence there were upwards of half a million
colored persons held as slaves in the United States. These unhappy
people were originally stolen from Africa, or were the children of
those stolen, and, though distributed through the whole country, were
to be found mostly in the Southern States. But the spirit of Freedom
was then abroad in the land. The fathers of the Republic, leaders in
the War of Independence, were struck with the impious inconsistency of
an appeal for their own liberties, while holding fellow-men in bondage.
Out of ample illustrations, I select one which specially reveals this
conviction, and possesses a local interest in this community. It is a
deed of manumission, made after our struggles had begun, and preserved
in the Probate Records of the County of Suffolk.[1] Here it is.

    "Know all men by these presents, that I, JONATHAN JACKSON, of
    Newburyport, in the County of Essex, gentleman, _in consideration
    of the impropriety I feel, and have long felt, in holding any
    person in constant bondage, more especially at a time when my
    country is so warmly contending for the liberty every man ought to
    enjoy_, and having sometime since promised my negro man, POMP, that
    I would give him his freedom, and in further consideration of five
    shillings paid me by said POMP, I do hereby liberate, manumit, and
    set him free; and I do hereby remise and release unto said POMP all
    demands of whatever nature I have against POMP. In witness whereof
    I have hereunto set my hand and seal, this 19th of June, 1776.


    "_Witness_, MARY COBURN,
              "WILLIAM NOYES."

    [1] Printed, since this Address, in the History of Newton, by
    Francis Jackson, (Boston, 1854,) p. 336.

The same conviction animated the hearts of the people, whether at the
North or South. In a town-meeting at Danbury, Connecticut, held on the
12th of December, 1774, the following declaration was made.

    "It is with singular pleasure we note the second article of
    the Association, in which it is agreed to import no more negro
    slaves,--as we cannot but think it a palpable absurdity so loudly
    to complain of attempts to enslave _us_, while we are actually
    enslaving _others_."[2]

The South responded in similar strain. At a meeting in Darien, Georgia,
January 12th, 1775, the following important resolution speaks, in tones
worthy of freemen, the sentiments of the time.

    "We, therefore, the Representatives of the extensive District of
    Darien, in the Colony of Georgia, being now assembled in Congress,
    by the authority and free choice of the inhabitants of the said
    District, now freed from their fetters, do _Resolve_, ... To
    show the world that we are not influenced by any contracted or
    interested motives, but a general philanthropy for all mankind, of
    whatever climate, language, or complexion, _we hereby declare our
    disapprobation and abhorrence of the unnatural practice of Slavery
    in America_, (however the uncultivated state of our country, _or
    other specious arguments, may plead for it_,) a practice founded
    in injustice and cruelty, and highly dangerous to our liberties,
    (as well as lives,) debasing part of our fellow-creatures below
    men, and corrupting the virtue and morals of the rest, and is
    laying the basis of that liberty we contend for (and which we pray
    the Almighty to continue to the latest posterity) upon a very
    wrong foundation. We therefore resolve at all times to use our
    utmost endeavors for the manumission of our slaves in this Colony,
    upon the most safe and equitable footing for the masters and

    [2] American Archives, 4th Series, Vol. I. col. 1038.

    [3] American Archives, 4th Series, Vol. I. coll. 1135, 1136.

Would that such a voice were heard once again from Georgia!

The soul of Virginia, at this period, found eloquent utterance through
Jefferson, who, by precocious and immortal words, enrolled himself
among the earliest Abolitionists of the country. In a paper presented
to the Virginia Convention of 1774, in reference to the grievances
by which the Colonies were then agitated, he openly avowed, while
vindicating American rights, that "the abolition of domestic slavery
is the greatest object of desire in those Colonies, _where it was
unhappily introduced in their infant state_."[4] And then again in
the Declaration of Independence he embodied sentiments, which, when
practically applied, will give freedom to every slave throughout the
land. "We hold these truths to be self-evident," said the country,
speaking by his voice: "that all men are created equal; that they
are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that
among these are life, _liberty_, and the pursuit of happiness." And
again, in the Congress of the Confederation, he brought forward, as
early as 1784, a resolution to exclude Slavery from all the territory
"ceded or _to be ceded_" by the States to the Federal Government, and
including the territory now covered by Tennessee, Mississippi, and
Alabama. Lost at first by the failure of the two-thirds vote required,
this measure was substantially renewed at a subsequent day by a son of
Massachusetts, and in 1787 was finally confirmed, in the Ordinance of
the Northwestern Territory, by a unanimous vote of the States, with
only a single dissentient among the delegates.

    [4] A Summary View of the Rights of British America: American
    Archives, 4th Series, Vol. I. col. 696. Memoir, Correspondence, and
    Miscellanies of Jefferson, Vol. I. p. 111; Writings, Vol. I. p. 135.

Thus early and distinctly do we discern the Antislavery character of
the founders, and their determination to place the National Government
openly, actively, and perpetually on the side of Freedom.

The National Constitution was adopted in 1788. And here we discern
the same spirit. Express provision was made for the abolition of
the slave-trade. The discreditable words _Slave_ and _Slavery_ were
not allowed to find place in the instrument, while a clause was
subsequently added, by way of amendment, and therefore, according to
received rules of interpretation, specially revealing the sentiments
of the founders, which is calculated, like the Declaration of
Independence, if practically applied, to carry freedom everywhere
within the sphere of its influence. It was specifically declared, that
"no person shall be deprived of life, _liberty_, or property, without
due process of law."

From a perusal of the debates on the National Constitution, it is
evident that Slavery, like the Slave-trade, was regarded as temporary;
and it seems to have been supposed by many that they would disappear
together. Nor do any words employed in our day denounce it with an
indignation more burning than that which glowed on the lips of the
fathers. Mr. Gouverneur Morris, of Pennsylvania, said in Convention,
that "he never would concur in upholding domestic slavery: it was a
nefarious institution."[5] In another mood, and with mild juridical
phrase, Mr. Madison "thought it wrong to admit in the Constitution
the idea that there could be property in men."[6] And Washington, in
a letter written near this period, says, with a frankness worthy of
imitation, "There is only one proper and effectual mode by which the
abolition of slavery can be accomplished, and that is by legislative
authority; _and this, as far as my suffrage will go, shall never be

In this spirit was the National Constitution adopted. Glance now at
the earliest Congress assembled under this Constitution. Among the
petitions presented to that body was one from the Abolition Society of
Pennsylvania, signed by Benjamin Franklin, as President. This venerable
man, whose active life had been devoted to the welfare of mankind at
home and abroad, who as philosopher and statesman had arrested the
attention of the world,--who had ravished the lightning from the skies,
and the sceptre from a tyrant,--who, as member of the Continental
Congress, had set his name to the Declaration of Independence, and,
as member of the Convention, had again set his name to the National
Constitution,--in whom was embodied, more, perhaps, than in any other
person, the true spirit of American institutions, at once practical
and humane,--than whom no one could be more familiar with the purposes
and aspirations of the founders,--this veteran, eighty-four years of
age, within a few months only of his death, now appeared by petition
at the bar of that Congress whose powers he had helped to define and
establish. "Your memorialists," he says,--and this Convention now
repeats the words of Franklin,--"particularly engaged in attending to
the distresses arising from Slavery, believe it their indispensable
duty to present this subject to your notice. They have observed with
real satisfaction that many important and salutary powers are vested in
you for 'promoting the welfare and securing the blessings of Liberty
to the people of the United States'; and as they conceive that these
blessings ought rightfully to be administered, _without distinction
of color_, to all descriptions of people, _so they indulge themselves
in the pleasing expectation that nothing which can be done, for the
relief of the unhappy objects of their care will be either omitted or
delayed_." The memorialists conclude as follows,--and this Convention
adopts their weighty words as its own: "Under these impressions they
earnestly entreat your serious attention to the subject of Slavery;
_that you will be pleased to countenance the restoration of liberty to
those unhappy men, who alone, in this land of Freedom, are degraded
into perpetual bondage_, and who, amidst the general joy of surrounding
freemen, are groaning in servile subjection; that you will devise means
for removing this inconsistency from the character of the American
people; that you will promote mercy and justice towards this distressed
race; _and that you will step to the very verge_ _of the power vested
in you for DISCOURAGING every species of traffic in the persons of our

                                 "BENJ. FRANKLIN, _President_."[8]

    [5] Madison's Debates, p. 1263.

    [6] Ibid. p. 1429.

    [7] Letter to Robert Morris, April 12, 1786: Writings, ed. Sparks, Vol.
    IX. p. 159.

Such a prayer, signed by Franklin as President of an Abolition Society,
not only shows the spirit of the times, but fixes forever the true
policy of the Republic.

Fellow-citizens, there are men in our day, who, while professing a
certain disinclination to Slavery, are careful to add that they are
not Abolitionists. Jefferson, Washington, and Franklin shrank from
no such designation. It is a part of their lives which the honest
historian commemorates with pride, that they were unhesitating, open,
avowed Abolitionists. By such men, and under the benign influence of
such sentiments, was the National Government inaugurated, and dedicated
to Freedom. At this time, nowhere under the National Government did
Slavery exist. Only in the States, skulking beneath the shelter of
local laws, was it allowed to remain.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Change from Antislavery to Proslavery._--But the generous sentiments
which filled the souls of the early patriots, and impressed upon the
government they founded, as upon the very coin they circulated, the
image and superscription of LIBERTY, gradually lost their
power. The blessings of Freedom being already secured to themselves,
the freemen of the land grew indifferent to the freedom of others. They
ceased to think of the slaves. The slave-masters availed themselves
of this indifference, and, though few in number, compared with the
non-slaveholders, even in the Slave States, they were able, under the
impulse of an imagined self-interest, by the skilful tactics of party,
and especially by an unhesitating, persevering union among themselves,
swaying by turns both the great political parties, to obtain the
control of the National Government, which they have held through a
long succession of years, bending it to their purposes, compelling it
to do their will, and imposing upon it a policy friendly to Slavery,
offensive to Freedom only, and directly opposed to the sentiments
of its founders. Here was a fundamental change in the character of
the Government, to which may be referred much of the evil which has
perplexed the country.

    [8] Annals of Congress, 1st Cong. 2d Sess., 1197, 1198.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Usurpations and Aggressions of the Slave Power._--Look at the
extent to which this malign influence has predominated. The Slave
States are far inferior to the Free States in population, wealth,
education, libraries, resources of all kinds, and yet they have
taken to themselves the lion's share of honor and profit under the
Constitution. They have held the Presidency for fifty-seven years,
while the Free States have held it for twelve years only. But without
pursuing this game of political sweepstakes, which the Slave Power has
perpetually played, we present what is more important, as indicative
of its spirit,--the aggressions and usurpations by which it has turned
the National Government from its original character of Freedom, and
prostituted it to Slavery. Here is a brief catalogue.

Early in this century, when the District of Columbia was finally
occupied as the National Capital, the Slave Power succeeded, in
defiance of the spirit of the Constitution, and even of the express
letter of one of its Amendments, in securing for Slavery, within the
District, the countenance of the National Government. Until then,
Slavery existed nowhere on the land within the reach and exclusive
jurisdiction of this Government.

It next secured for Slavery another recognition under the National
Government, in the broad Territory of Louisiana, purchased from France.

It next placed Slavery again under the sanction of the National
Government, in the Territory of Florida, purchased from Spain.

Waxing powerful, it was able, after a severe struggle, to impose terms
upon the National Government, compelling it to receive Missouri into
the Union with a Slaveholding Constitution.

It instigated and carried on a most expensive war in Florida, mainly to
recover fugitive slaves,--thus degrading the army of the United States
to slave-hunters.

It wrested from Mexico the Province of Texas, in order to extend
Slavery, and, triumphing over all opposition, finally secured its
admission into the Union with a Constitution making Slavery perpetual.

It next plunged the country into unjust war with Mexico, to gain new
lands for Slavery.

With the meanness as well as insolence of tyranny, it compelled
the National Government to abstain from acknowledging the neighbor
Republic of Hayti, where slaves have become freemen, and established an
independent nation.

It compelled the National Government to stoop ignobly, and in vain,
before the British queen, to secure compensation for slaves, who, in
the exercise of the natural rights of man, had asserted and achieved
their freedom on the Atlantic Ocean, and afterwards sought shelter in

It compelled the National Government to seek the negotiation of
treaties for the surrender of fugitive slaves,--thus making the
Republic assert in foreign lands property in human flesh.

It joined in declaring the foreign slave-trade _piracy_, but insists
upon the coastwise slave-trade under the auspices of the National

It has rejected for years petitions to Congress against Slavery,--thus,
in order to shield Slavery, practically denying the right of petition.

It has imprisoned and sold into slavery colored citizens of
Massachusetts, entitled, under the Constitution of the United States,
to all the privileges of citizens.

It insulted and exiled from Charleston and New Orleans the honored
representatives of Massachusetts, who were sent to those places with
the commission of the Commonwealth, in order to throw the shield of the
Constitution over her colored citizens.

In formal despatches by the pen of Mr. Calhoun, as Secretary of State,
it has made the Republic stand before the nations of the earth as the
vindicator of Slavery.

It puts forth the hideous effrontery, that Slavery can go to all newly
acquired territories, and have the protection of the national flag.

In defiance of the desire declared by the Fathers to limit and
discourage Slavery, the Slave Power has successively introduced into
the Union Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama,
Missouri, Arkansas, Florida, and Texas, as Slaveholding States,--thus,
at each stage, fortifying its political power, and making the National
Government lend new sanction to Slavery.

Such are some of the usurpations and aggressions of the Slave Power.
By such steps the National Government is perverted from its original
purposes, its character changed, and its powers subjected to Slavery.
It is pitiful to see Freedom suffer at any time from any hands. It is
doubly pitiful, when she suffers from a government nursed by her into
strength, and quickened by her into those activities which are the
highest glory.

   "So the struck eagle, stretched upon the plain,
    No more through rolling clouds to soar again,
    Viewed his own feather on the fatal dart,
    And winged the shaft that quivered in his heart.
    Keen were his pangs, but keener far to feel
    He nursed the pinion which impelled the steel,
    While the same plumage that had warmed his nest
    Drank the last life-drop of his bleeding breast."

That we may fully estimate this system of conduct in its enormity,
we must call to mind the evils of Slavery, where it is allowed to
exist. And here language is inadequate to portray the infinite sum
of wretchedness, degradation, injustice, legalized by this unholy
relation. There is no offence against religion, against morals, against
humanity, which does not stalk, in the license of Slavery, "unwhipped
of justice." For the husband and wife there is no marriage. For the
mother there is no assurance that her infant will not be torn from
her breast. For all who bear the name of Slave there is nothing which
they can call their own. But the bondman is not the only sufferer.
He does not sit alone in his degradation. By his side is the master,
who, in the debasing influences on his own soul, is compelled to share
the degradation to which he dooms his fellow-men. "The man must be
a prodigy," says Jefferson, "who can retain his manners and morals
undepraved by such circumstances."[9] And this is not all. The whole
social fabric is disorganized; labor loses its dignity; industry
sickens; education finds no schools; religion finds no churches; and
all the land of Slavery is impoverished.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Shall Slavery be extended?_--Now, at last, the Slave Power threatens
to carry Slavery into the vast regions of New Mexico and California,
existing territories of the United States, already purged of this evil
by express legislation of the Mexican government. It is the immediate
urgency of this question that has aroused the country to the successive
aggressions of the Slave Power, and to its undue influence over the
National Government. Without doubt, this is the most pressing form
in which the Great Issue is presented. Nor can it be exaggerated.
These territories, excluding Oregon, embrace upwards of five hundred
thousand square miles. The immensity of this tract may be partially
comprehended, when we consider that Massachusetts contains only 7,800
miles, all New England only 63,280, and all the original thirteen
States which declared Independence only 352,000. And the distinct
question is presented, whether the National Government shall carry into
this imperial region the curse of Slavery, with its monstrous brood of
ignorance, poverty, and degradation, or Freedom, with her attendant
train of blessings.

       *       *       *       *       *

_A direct Prohibition by Congress necessary to prevent Extension of
Slavery._--An attempt is made to divert attention from this question
by denying the necessity of Congressional enactment to prevent the
extension of Slavery into California, on the ground that climate and
physical condition furnish natural obstacles to its existence there.
This is a weak device. It is well known that Slavery did exist there
for many years, until excluded by law,--that California lies in the
same range of latitude as the Slave States of the Union, and it may be
added, also, the Barbary States of Africa,--that the mineral wealth of
California creates a demand for slave labor, which would overcome any
physical obstacle to its introduction,--that Slavery has existed in
every country from which it was not excluded by the laws or religion
of the people; and still further, it is an undeniable fact, that
already slaves have been taken into California, and publicly sold there
at enormous prices, and thousands are now on their way thither from
the Southern States and from South America. In support of this last
statement numerous authorities might be adduced. A member of Congress
from Tennessee recently declared, that, within his own knowledge, there
would be taken to California, during the summer just past, from ten to
twelve thousand slaves. Another person states, from reliable evidence,
that whole families are moving with slaves from Tennessee, Arkansas,
and Missouri. Mr. Rowe, under date of May 13, at Independence,
Missouri, on his way to the Pacific, writes to the paper of which he
was recently the editor, the "Belfast Journal," Maine: "I have seen as
many as a dozen teams going along _with their families of slaves_." And
Mr. Boggs, once Governor of Missouri, now a resident of California, is
quoted as writing to a friend at home as follows: "If your sons will
bring out two or three negroes who can cook and attend at a hotel, your
brother will pay cash for them at a good profit, and take it as a great

    [9] Notes on Virginia, Query XVIII.

After these things, to which many more might be added, it will not be
denied, that, in order to secure Freedom in the Territories, there must
be direct and early prohibition of Slavery by Act of Congress.


The way is now prepared to consider our precise position with regard to
the accumulating aggressions of the Slave Power, revealed especially in
recent efforts to extend Slavery.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Wilmot Proviso._--To the end that the country and the age may not
witness the foul sin of a Republic dedicated to Freedom pouring into
vast unsettled lands, as into the veins of an infant, the festering
poison of Slavery, destined, as time advances, to show itself only
in cancer and leprous disease, we pledge ourselves to unremitting
endeavors for the passage of the Wilmot Proviso, or some other form of
Congressional enactment prohibiting Slavery in the Territories, without
equivocation or compromise of any kind.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Opposition to Slavery wherever we are responsible for it._--But we do
not content ourselves with opposing this last act of aggression. We go
further. Not only from desire to bring the National Government back
again to the spirit of the Fathers, but also from deep convictions of
morals and religion, is our hostility to Slavery derived. Slavery is
wrong; nor can any human legislation elevate into any respectability
the blasphemy of tyranny, that man can hold property in his fellow-man.
Slavery, we repeat, is wrong, and therefore we cannot sanction it. In
these convictions will be found the measure of our duties.

Wherever we are responsible for Slavery, we oppose it. Our opposition
is coextensive with our responsibility. In the States Slavery is
sustained by local law; and although we are compelled to share
the stigma upon the fair fame of the country which its presence
inflicts, yet it receives no direct sanction at our hands. We are not
responsible for it there. The National Government, in which we are
represented, is not responsible for it there. The evil is not at our
own particular doors. But Slavery everywhere under the Constitution
of the United States, everywhere under the exclusive jurisdiction of
the National Government, everywhere under the national flag, is at our
own particular doors. The freemen of the North are responsible for it
equally with the traffickers in flesh who haunt the shambles of the
South. Nor will this responsibility cease, so long as Slavery continues
to exist in the District of Columbia, in any Territories of the United
States, or anywhere on the high seas, beneath the protecting flag of
the Republic. The fetters of every slave within these jurisdictions are
bound and clasped by the votes of Massachusetts. Their chains, as they
clank, seem to say, "Massachusetts does this outrage."

       *       *       *       *       *

_Divorce of the National Government from Slavery._--This must not be
any longer. Let the word go forth, that the National Government shall
be divorced from all support of Slavery, and shall never hereafter
sanction it. So doing, it will be brought back to the condition and
character which it enjoyed at the adoption of the Constitution.

       *       *       *       *       *

_The National Government must be on the side of
Freedom._--Accomplishing these specific changes, a new tone will be
given to the Republic. The Slave Power will be broken, and Slavery
driven from its present intrenchments under the National Government.
The influence of such a change will be incalculable. The whole weight
of the Government will then be taken from the side of Slavery, where
it has been placed by the Slave Power, and put on the side of Freedom,
according to the original purposes and aspirations of its founders.
This of itself is an end for which to labor earnestly in the spirit of
the Constitution. Let it never be forgotten, as the pole-star of our
policy, that the National Government must be placed, openly, actively,
and perpetually, on the side of Freedom.

_It must be openly on the side of Freedom._ There must be no
equivocation, concealment, or reserve. It must not, like the witches in
Macbeth, "palter in a double sense." It must avow itself distinctly and
firmly the enemy of Slavery, and thus give to the friends of Freedom,
now struggling throughout the Slave States, the advantage of its

_It must be actively on the side of Freedom._ It cannot be content with
simply bearing its testimony. It must act. Within the constitutional
sphere of its influence, it must be felt as the enemy of Slavery. It
must now exert itself for Freedom as zealously and effectively as for
many years it has exerted itself for Slavery.

_It must be perpetually on the side of Freedom._ It must not be
uncertain, vacillating, or temporary, in this beneficent policy, but
fixed and constant, so that hereafter it shall know no change.

In our endeavors to give the Government this elevated character we are
cheered by high examples, whose opinions have already been adduced.
We ask only that the Republic should once more be inspired by their
spirit and be guided by their counsels. Let it join with Jefferson in
open, uncompromising hostility to Slavery. Let it unite with Franklin
in giving _countenance_ to the cause of Emancipation, and _in stepping
to the very verge of the power vested in it for DISCOURAGING
every species of traffic in the persons of our fellow-men_. Let all
its officers and members follow Washington, declaring, that, in any
legislative effort for the abolition of Slavery, THEIR SUFFRAGES

       *       *       *       *       *

_Other National Matters._--Such are the principles of this Convention
on the _national_ question of Slavery. Other matters of national
interest, on which the opinions of the party have been often expressed,
are of a subordinate character. These are: cheap postage; the abolition
of all unnecessary offices and salaries; election of civil officers, so
far as may be practicable, by the people; retrenchment of the expenses
and patronage of the National Government; improvement of rivers and
harbors; and free grants to actual settlers of the public lands in
reasonable portions.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Administration of General Taylor._--In support of these principles we
felt it our duty to oppose the election of General Cass and General
Taylor,--both being brought forward under the influence of the Slave
Power: the first openly pledged against the Wilmot Proviso; and the
second a large slaveholder and recent purchaser of slaves, who was
not known, by any acts or declared opinions, to be hostile in any
way to Slavery, or even to its extension, and who, from position,
and from the declarations of friends and neighbors, was supposed to
be friendly to that institution. General Taylor was elected by the
people. And now, while it becomes all to regard his administration
with candor, we cannot forget our duty to the cause which brings us
together. His most ardent supporters will not venture the assertion
that his conduct will bear the test of the principles here declared.
We look in vain for any token that the National Government, while in
his hands, will be placed openly, actively, and perpetually on the side
of Freedom. Indeed, all that any "Free-Soil" supporters vouchsafe in
his behalf is the assurance, that, should the Wilmot Proviso receive
the sanction of both branches of Congress,--should it prevail in the
House of Representatives, and then in that citadel of Slavery, the
American Senate,--the "second Washington," as our President is called,
will decline to assume the responsibility of arresting its final
passage by the Presidential Veto. This is all. The first Washington
freely declared his affinity with Antislavery Societies, and that in
support of any legislative measure for the abolition of Slavery HIS

The character of the Administration may be inferred from other

_First._ The Slave Power continues to hold its lion's share in the
cabinet, and in diplomatic posts abroad,--thus ruling the country at
home, and representing it in foreign lands. At the last Presidential
election, the number of votes cast in the Slave States, exclusive of
South Carolina, where the electors are chosen by the Legislature, was
844,890, while the number cast in the Free States was 2,027,016. And
yet there are four persons in the cabinet from the Slave States,
and three only from the Free States, while a Slaveholding President
presides over all. The diplomatic representation of the country at
Paris, St. Petersburg, Vienna, Frankfort, Madrid, Lisbon, Naples,
Chili, Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela, Bolivia, Buenos Ayres, is now
confided to persons from Slaveholding States. At Rome our Republic is
represented by the son of the great adversary of the Wilmot Proviso, at
the Hague by a life-long Louisianian, at Brussels by the son-in-law of
John C. Calhoun, and at Berlin by a late Senator who was rewarded with
this high appointment in consideration of service to Slavery, while the
principles of Freedom abroad are confided to the anxious care of the
recently appointed Minister to England. But this is not all.

_Secondly._ The President, through one of his official organs at
Washington, threatens to "frown indignantly" upon the movements
of friends of Freedom at the North, though he has had no word of
indignation, and no frown, for the schemes of disunion openly put forth
by friends of Slavery at the South.

_Thirdly._ Mr. Clayton, as Secretary of State, in defiance of justice,
and in mockery of the principles of the Declaration of Independence,
refuses a national passport to a free colored citizen, alleging, that,
by a rule of his Department, passports are not granted to colored
persons. In marked contrast are the laws of Massachusetts, recognizing
such persons as citizens,--and also those words of gratitude and
commendation, in which General Jackson, after the Battle of New
Orleans, addressed the black soldiers who had shared, with "noble
enthusiasm," "the perils and glory of their _white fellow-citizens_."

_Fourthly._ The Post-Office Department, in a formal communication with
regard to what are called "incendiary publications," announces that
the Postmaster-General "leaves the whole subject to the discretion
of postmasters under the authority of State Governments." Here is
no solitary word of indignation that the mails of the United States
are exposed to lawless interruption from partisans of Slavery. The
Post-Office, intrusted to a son of New England, assumes an abject
neutrality, while letters committed to its care are rifled at the
instigation of the Slave Power.

Surely we cannot err in declaring that an administration cannot be
entitled to our support, which, during the short career of a few months
only, is marked by such instances of subserviency to the Slave Power,
and of infidelity to the great principles of Freedom.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Necessity of our Organization._--Such is the national position of our
party. We are a national party, established for national purposes, such
as can be accomplished by a national party only. If the principles
which we have at heart were supported openly, actively, constantly
by either of the other parties, there would be no occasion for our
organization. But whatever may have been, or whatever may now be, the
opinions of individual members, it is undeniable, that, _as national
parties_, they have never opposed Slavery in any form. Neither has ever
sustained any measure for the abolition of Slavery in the District of
Columbia, but, on the contrary, discountenanced all such measures.
Neither has ever opposed, in any form, the coastwise slave-trade
under the flag of the United States. Neither has ever opposed the
extension of Slavery. Neither has ever striven to divorce the National
Government from Slavery. Neither has ever labored to place the National
Government openly, actively, and perpetually on the side of Freedom.
Nor is there any assurance, satisfactory to persons not biased by
political associations, that either of these organizations will ever,
as a _national party_, espouse the cause of Freedom.

Circumstances in the very constitution of these parties render
it difficult, if not impossible, for them to act in this behalf.
Constructed subtly with a view to political success, they are spread
everywhere throughout the Union, and the principles which they uphold
are pruned and modified to meet existing sentiment in different parts
of the country. Neither can venture, as a party, to place itself on
the side of Freedom, because, by such a course, it would disaffect
that slaveholding support which is essential to its political success.
The Antislavery resolutions adopted by legislatures at the North are
regarded as expressions of individual or local opinion only, and not
suffered to control the action of the national party. To such an extent
is this carried, that Whigs of Massachusetts, professing immitigable
hostility to Slavery, recently united in support of a candidate for the
Presidency in whose behalf the eminent slaveholding Whig, Mr. Berrien,
had "implored his fellow-citizens of Georgia, Whig and Democratic, to
forget for a time their party divisions, and to know each other only as
Southern men."

Fellow-citizens, individuals in each of the old parties strove in vain
to produce a change, and to make them exponents of growing Antislavery
sentiments. At Baltimore and Philadelphia, in the great Conventions
of these parties, Slavery triumphed. So strongly were they both
arrayed against Freedom, and so unrelenting were they in ostracism
of its generous supporters,--of all who had written or spoken in its
behalf,--that it is not going too far to say, that, if Jefferson, or
Franklin, or Washington could have descended from his sphere above,
and revisited the country which he had nobly dedicated to Freedom, he
could not, with his well-known and recorded opinions against Slavery,
have received a nomination for the Presidency from either of these

To maintain the principles of Freedom, as set forth in this Address,
it might be well for us to take a lesson from the old parties,--to
learn from them the importance of perseverance and union, and thus to
see the value of a distinct political organization,--and, profiting by
these instructions, to direct the efforts of the friends of Freedom
everywhere throughout the country into this channel.


There are objections from various quarters to the establishment of our
party,--some urged in ignorance, some in the sophist spirit, which
would "make the worse appear the better reason." Glance at them.

_Single Idea._--It is often said that it is a party of a single idea.
This is a phrase, and nothing more. The moving cause and animating
soul of our party is the idea of Freedom. But this idea is manifold
in character and influence. It is the idea of the Declaration of
Independence. It is the great idea of the founders of the Republic. In
adopting it as the paramount principle of our movement we declare our
purpose to carry out the Great Idea of our institutions, as originally
established. In other words, it is our lofty aim to bring back the
administration of the Government to the standard of a Christian
Democracy, with a sincere and wide regard for Human Rights,--that it
may be in reality, as in name, a Republic. With the comprehensive cause
of Freedom are associated in our vows, as has been already seen, other
questions important to the well-being of the people. Nor is there any
cause by which mankind can be advanced that is not embraced by our
aspirations. "I am a man, and regard nothing human as foreign to me,"
was the sentiment of the Roman poet, who had once been a slave; and
these words may be adopted as the motto of our movement.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Sectional, or against the South._--Again, it is said that ours
is a sectional party; and the charge is sometimes put in another
form,--that it is a party against the South. The significant words
of Washington are quoted to warn the country against "geographical"
questions.[10] Now, if we proposed any system of measures calculated
to exclude absolutely any "geographical" portion of the country
from the benefit of the general laws and Constitution of the United
States, or to operate exclusively and by name upon any "geographical"
section,--or perhaps, if we proposed to interfere with Slavery in
the States,--there might be some ground for this charge; but, as we
propose to act against Slavery only where it exists under the National
Government, and where this Government is responsible for it, nobody
can say that we are sectional, or against the South. Our aim is in no
respect sectional, but in every respect national. It is in no respect
against the South, but against the Evil Spirit having its home at the
South, which has obtained the control of the Government. As well might
it be said that Jefferson, Franklin, and Washington were sectional, and
against the South.

    [10] "In contemplating the causes which may disturb our Union,
    it occurs as matter of serious concern, that any ground should
    have been furnished for characterizing parties by _geographical_
    discriminations, _Northern_ and _Southern_, _Atlantic_ and
    _Western_; whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief
    that there is a real difference of local interests and views.
    One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within
    particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of
    other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against
    the jealousies and heart-burnings which spring from these
    misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those
    who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection."--_Farewell
    Address: Writings_, ed. Sparks, Vol. XII. p. 221.

It is true that at present a large portion of the party are at the
North; but if our cause is sectional on this account, then is the
Tariff sectional, because its chief supporters are also in the North.

Unquestionably there is a particular class of individuals against whom
we are obliged to act. These are the slave-masters, wherever situated
throughout the country, constituting, according to recent calculations,
not more than 248,000 in all. Those most interested are probably not
more than 100,000. For years this band has acted against the whole
country, and subjugated it to Slavery. Surely it does not become them,
or their partisans, to complain that an effort is now made to rally the
whole country against their tyranny. There are many who forget that
the larger portion of the people at the South are non-slaveholders,
interested equally with ourselves--nay, more than we are--in the
overthrow of that power which has so long dictated its disastrous and
discreditable policy. To these we may ultimately look for support, so
soon as our movement is able to furnish them with the needful hope and

If at the present moment our efforts seem in any respect sectional
or against the South, it is simply because the chief opponents of our
principles are there. But our principles are not sectional; they are
applicable to the whole Union,--nay, more, to all the human race. They
are universal as Man.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Interference with other Parties._--Again, it is sometimes said that we
interfere with the other parties. This is true. And it is necessary,
because the other parties do not represent the principles which we
consider of paramount importance. No intelligent person, careful and
honest in his statements, will undertake to say that either of them
does represent these. Failing thus, they are unworthy of support. They
do not embody the great ideas of the Republic.

Here again it is important to distinguish between individuals and the
parties to which they adhere. There are many, doubtless, in both the
old parties, who subscribe to our principles, but still hug the belief
that these principles can be best carried into action by the parties to
which they are respectively attached. Influenced by the common bias,
which indisposes distrust of the political party with which they have
been associated, they continue in the companionship early adopted, and
often learn to combat for an organization, which, _as a whole_, is
hostile to the very principles they have at heart. _Most certainly his
devotion to Freedom may well be questioned, who adheres to a national
party which declines to be the organ of Freedom._ He only is in earnest
who places Freedom above party, and does not hesitate to leave a party
which neglects to serve Freedom. Such men we trust to welcome in large
numbers from both the old organizations.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Alleged Injurious Influences in the Slave States._--Once more, it is
said that the Antislavery Movement at the North, and particularly its
political form, have caused unnecessary irritation among slave-owners,
and thwarted a more proper movement at the South. It is sometimes
declared that we have not promoted, but rather retarded, the cause of

To this let it be said, in the first place, that our direct and primary
object is not Emancipation in the States, but the establishment
of Freedom everywhere under the National Government; and there is
reason to believe that we have already done something towards the
accomplishment of this object. By the confession of slaveholders
themselves, in one of the recent "Addresses" put forth from their
conclave at Washington, it appears that we have not labored in vain.
"This agitation, and the use of means," says the Address prepared by
Mr. Berrien, "have been continued with more or less activity for a
series of years, _not without doing much towards effecting the object
intended_." Take courage, fellow-citizens, from this confession, and do
not doubt that your continued efforts must finally prevail.

But, in the second place, whatever may have been the temporary shock
to Emancipation in the Slave States, it will not be denied by candid
minds that the efforts in the North have hastened the great day of
Freedom. They have encouraged its friends in Kentucky, Missouri,
Virginia, Maryland, and Tennessee, and have contributed to diffuse the
information and awaken the generous resolve which are so much needed.
Nor can it be doubted, that, if the North had continued silent, Mr.
Clay, in Kentucky, and Mr. Benton, in Missouri, would both have been
silent. Without the moral support of the Free States, these powerful
statesmen would have shrunk from the unequal battle. Let us, then,
continue to plead, believing that no honest, earnest voice for Freedom
can be in vain. And let us be sure to vote so as best to promote
this cause, extorting yet other confessions, from other conclaves of
slaveholders, that we are "_doing much towards effecting the object

       *       *       *       *       *

_Why carry the Question of Slavery into State Elections?_--Having
thus reviewed the objections to our organization as a National
Movement, applying its principles as a test in the choice of national
officers, it only remains to meet one other objection, founded on its
introduction into State elections. Here we might content ourselves by
replying, that we are a national party, and, as such, simply follow the
example of both the other parties. From the beginning of the Government
the necessity of such a course has been recognized and acted upon
uniformly by these parties; and it does not become them now to question
its propriety, when recognized and acted upon by us.

But, independent of example, we are led to this course by conviction of
its necessity, in the maintenance of our great cause. It is our duty
so to cast our votes on all occasions as to promote the _principles_
we have at heart. And it would be wrong to disregard the experience
of political history, both at home and abroad, which teaches that it
is through the constant, well-directed organization of party that
these are best maintained. The influence already exerted over both the
old parties, and over the general sentiment of the country, affords
additional encouragement. Assuming, then, what few will be so hardy
as to deny, that it is proper for people to combine in parties for the
promotion of cherished convictions, it follows, as an irresistible
consequence, that this combination should be made most effective for
the purpose in view. What is worth doing is worth well doing. If men
unite in constructing the powerful and complex machine of a political
organization, it must be rendered complete, and thoroughly competent to
its work.

Now it will be apparent to those familiar with political transactions,
that such an organization, acting only in National elections, and
suspending its exertions in State elections, cannot effectually do
its work. People acting antagonistically in State elections cannot be
brought to act harmoniously in National elections. It is practically
impossible to have one permanent party in National affairs and another
in State affairs. Such a course would cause uncertainty and ultimate

Peculiar local interests may control certain local elections. These
constitute the exceptions, and not the rule. They arise where, within
the locality, a greater sum of good may be accomplished by sustaining a
certain person, independent of party, than by voting strictly according
to party. But it is clear that such instances cannot be frequent
without impairing the efficiency of the movement.

It is natural that parties in our country should take their strongest
complexion from National affairs, because these affairs are of the most
absorbing interest. Justly important as is the election of Municipal
and State officers, we feel that they are of less importance than
the election of a President of the United States,--as the character
of the State Government, whose influence is confined to a limited
sphere, is of less importance than that of the National Government,
whose influence embraces all the States, and reaches to foreign lands.
Therefore the organizations of party in the States are properly treated
as subordinate, though ancillary, to the National organizations. They
are branches or limbs, which repay the strength they derive from the
great trunk by helping to extend in all directions its protecting
power. But these branches cannot be lopped off or neglected.

Again, the influence of each individual is of importance. But the State
itself is a compound individual, and just in proportion to its size
and character it is important that it should be arrayed as a powerful
unit in support of our organization. In this way its influence can
be brought to bear most effectually upon the National Government in
support of our _principles_.

Fellow-citizens, the question again recurs, "Are you for Freedom,
or are you for Slavery?" If you are for Freedom, do not hesitate to
support the National party dedicated to this cause. Strive in all
ways to extend its influence, to enlarge its means of efficiency,
and to consolidate its strength. And consider well, that this can be
accomplished only by casting your votes for those who, while avowing
our principles, are willing to sacrifice ancient party ties in order to
maintain them. By her towns, counties, and districts, by her executive
and legislative departments, Massachusetts must call upon the National
Government to change from the policy of Slavery to the policy of
Freedom. _Massachusetts must refuse to support any Government which
does not hearken to this request._

       *       *       *       *       *

_Local Matters._--The sentiments which inspire the Party of Freedom
in opposition to Slavery must naturally control their conduct on all
questions of local policy. Friends of Human Rights, they cannot regard
with indifference anything by which these are impaired. Recognizing
Justice and Beneficence as the end and aim of Government, they must
sympathize with all efforts to extend their sway. Let the Government
be ever just. Let it be ever beneficent. Abuses and wrongs will then
disappear, and the State will stand forth in the moral dignity of true
manhood. If there be anything in the Commonwealth inconsistent with
these sentiments, it must be changed. This should be done in no spirit
of political empiricism, but with an honest and intelligent regard to
practical results.

There is complaint in many, and even opposite quarters, of numerous
corporations annually established by our Legislature, of the
considerable time thus consumed in special legislation, and, still
further, of the influence these corporations are able to exert
over political affairs, dispensing a patronage exceeding that of
the National Government within the borders of our State. Without
considering these things in detail, it is impossible to avoid calling
attention to the perverse influence from this source. Of this we can
speak with knowledge. _The efforts to place the National Government on
the side of Freedom_ have received little sympathy from corporations,
or from persons largely interested in them, but have rather encountered
their opposition, sometimes concealed, sometimes open, often bitter
and vindictive. It is easy to explain this. In corporations is the
Money Power of the Commonwealth. Thus far the instinct of property has
proved stronger in Massachusetts than the instinct of Freedom. The
Money Power has joined hands with the Slave Power. Selfish, grasping,
subtle, tyrannical, like its ally, it will not brook opposition. It
claims the Commonwealth as its own, and too successfully enlists in
its support that needy talent and easy virtue which are required to
maintain its sway. Perhaps the true remedy for this evil will be found
in a more enlightened public sentiment; meanwhile we must do what we
can to restrain this influence, by watchful legislation, if need be,
but especially by directing against it the finger-point of a generous

The natural influence of the Money Power is still further increased
by defects in our present system of Representation. The large cities,
particularly Boston, electing Representatives by a general ticket, are
able to return a compact delegation, united in political opinions,
while the country, through divisions into small towns, is practically
subdivided into districts, and chooses Representatives differing in
opinions. A careful estimate of the influence thus wrought will show
that Boston alone, actually casting 13,000 votes, is able to neutralize
the 26,000 votes cast by all western Massachusetts, including
Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden. The large cities, which
are the seat of the Money Power, are thus able, though a minority, to
control the State. Like the Slave Power, they are strong from union.
This abuse calls for amendment; and it will be for the friends of our
cause to urge such measures as the necessity of the case requires.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Our Candidates._--In the fulfilment of our duty to sustain our
principles at all times, in all elections, National or State,
we have nominated Hon. STEPHEN C. PHILLIPS, of Salem, as our
candidate for Governor. With confidence and pride we ask for him your
support. Few in the community, by a long series of beneficent services,
have entitled themselves to the same degree of kindly regard. In him we
find a liberal education blended with a liberal spirit,--the experience
and the wealth of the successful merchant turned into the channels of
Benevolence, and the influence earned by various labors, in various
posts of honor and trust, consecrated to Human Improvement. All the
great causes which are doing so much to renovate the age, Temperance,
Education, Peace, Freedom, have in him a discreet, practical, devoted,
self-sacrificing friend. Formerly associated with the Whig party, and
a member of Congress, chosen by Whig votes, he set the example of
renouncing his party, when it became openly faithless to Freedom, and
by unreserved and noble effort has done much to strengthen the movement
in which we are engaged.

As candidate for Lieutenant-Governor, we nominate Hon. JOHN
MILLS, of Springfield, a gentleman of spotless life, with ample
experience in many spheres of action, formerly an honored member of
the Democratic party, who has filled responsible stations under the
Governments of the State and the Nation, and who, like Mr. Phillips,
has testified his fidelity to Freedom by renouncing the party to which
he belonged.

       *       *       *       *       *

Fellow-citizens, such are our principles, and such our candidates.
Join us in their support. Join us, all who love Freedom and hate
Slavery. Join us, all who cherish the Constitution and the Union. Help
us in endeavors to crown them again with their early virtue. Join
us, all who reverence the memory of the fathers, and would have their
spirit once more animate the Republic. Join us, all who would have the
National Government administered in the spirit of Freedom, and not
in the spirit of Slavery. The occasion is urgent. Active, resolute
exertions must be made. It does not become the sons of the Pilgrims,
and the sons of the Revolution, to be _neutral_ in this contest. Such
was not the temper of their fathers. In such a contest neutrality is
treason to Human Rights. In questions _merely political_ an honest man
may stand neuter; but what true heart can be neuter, when the distinct
question is put, which we now address to the people of Massachusetts,
"Are you for Freedom, or are you for Slavery?"

Finally, we appeal to the moral and religious sentiments of the
Commonwealth. When these are thoroughly moved, there can be no
question of the result. We invoke the sympathy of the pulpit. Let
it preach deliverance to the captive. We call upon good men of all
sects and all parties to lend their support. You all agree in our
PRINCIPLES. Do not practically oppose them by continued
adhesion to a national party hostile to them. Join in proclaiming them
through the new Party of Freedom.

    The Resolutions at the close of the Address are omitted, being in
    the nature of a repetition, which, however important at the time,
    is of less value as a record of opinions.

                      WASHINGTON AN ABOLITIONIST.


The Address to the People of Massachusetts, adopted by the Free-Soil
Convention, was violently attacked, as will appear from the following
reply, written at a hotel in New York, where Mr. Sumner happened to be
staying, when he saw the criticism.

                       NEW YORK, IRVING HOTEL, September 27, 1849.

    Gentlemen,--My attention has been directed to-day to an article
    in your paper of the 25th September, entitled "Mr. Sumner and
    his Authorities," in which I am charged, among other things,
    with misrepresenting the opinions of Washington, particularly in
    the following sentence, in the Address recently adopted by the
    Free-Soil Convention at Worcester:--

    "The first Washington freely declared his affinity with Antislavery
    Societies, and that in support of any legislative measure for the
    abolition of Slavery his suffrage should never be wanting."

    A more familiar acquaintance with the opinions of our great
    exemplar would have prevented the writer in the Atlas from falsely
    accusing a neighbor. It would have prevented him from saying that
    the letter to Robert Morris, from which part of the above statement
    is drawn, was written more than ten years before the adoption of
    the National Constitution, and from dating it in 1776, when the
    letter in reality bears date in 1786.

    I will not doubt your willingness to repair the injustice you
    have allowed in the columns of the Atlas, and therefore ask you
    to publish this note, with the accompanying extracts, showing the
    opinions of Washington.

    By these it will appear that Washington freely declared to Brissot
    de Warville, in a conversation which took place in 1788, and was
    published in 1791, that he rejoiced in what was doing in other
    States for the emancipation of the negroes,--that he sincerely
    desired the extension of it to his own country,--and, contrary to
    the opinions of many Virginians, _expressly said that he wished the
    formation of an Antislavery Society, and that he would second such
    a society_.

    It will appear, also, that Washington said to Robert Morris, in a
    letter dated April 12, 1786, that in support of any legislative
    measure for the abolition of Slavery his suffrage should not be
    wanting,--that he said to Lafayette, in a letter dated May 10,
    1786, that gradual emancipation certainly might and assuredly ought
    to be effected, and that, too, by legislative authority,--that he
    said to John F. Mercer, in a letter dated September 9, 1786, that
    it was among his first wishes to see some plan adopted by which
    Slavery in this country may be abolished by law,--that he said
    to Sir John Sinclair, in a letter dated December 11, 1796, that
    Maryland and Virginia must have, and at a period not remote, laws
    for the gradual abolition of Slavery,--and that by his will, dated
    July 9, 1790 [1799], he expressly emancipated his slaves.

    Thus acting, and thus constantly avowing his sentiments in favor
    of the abolition of Slavery, Washington is properly called an

    I cannot close without correcting the insinuation of the writer
    in the Atlas, that it is my wish, or that it is the wish of the
    Free-Soil party to interfere, through Congress, with Slavery
    in the States. This is a mistake. Our position is this. They
    who are responsible for Slavery should abolish it. Our duties
    are coextensive with our responsibilities. We at the North are
    responsible for Slavery everywhere within the jurisdiction of
    Congress, and it is here that we should exert ourselves, according
    to the principles of Washington, to abolish it by legislative

    Still further, our sympathies and God-speed must attend every
    effort in the States to remove this great evil. We should join with
    Washington in his exclamation to Lafayette, on learning that this
    philanthropic Frenchman had purchased an estate in Cayenne, with
    the view of emancipating the slaves on it: "Would to God a like
    spirit might diffuse itself generally into the minds of the people
    of this country!"

    I will not trouble you with any comment on the other criticisms
    upon me by the writer in the Atlas.

          I am, Gentlemen, your obedient servant,

                                              CHARLES SUMNER.


       *       *       *       *       *


    "He has nevertheless (must I say it?) a numerous crowd of slaves;
    but they are treated with the greatest humanity,--well fed, well
    clothed, and kept to moderate labor; they bless God without
    ceasing for having given them so good a master. It is a task
    worthy of a soul so elevated, so pure, and so disinterested, to
    begin the revolution in Virginia, to prepare the way for _the
    emancipation of the negroes. This great man declared to me that
    he rejoiced at what was doing in other States on this subject,
    that he sincerely desired the extension of it in his own country_;
    but he did not dissemble that there were still many obstacles to
    be overcome,--that it was dangerous to strike too vigorously at
    a prejudice which had begun to diminish,--that time, patience,
    and information would not fail to vanquish it. Almost all the
    Virginians, added he, believe that the liberty of the blacks cannot
    soon become general. _This is the reason why they wish not to form
    a society_, which may give dangerous ideas to their slaves. There
    is another obstacle: the great plantations, of which the State is
    composed, render it necessary for men to live so dispersed, _that
    frequent meetings of a society would be difficult_.

    "I replied, that the Virginians were in an error,--that, evidently,
    sooner or later, the negroes would obtain their liberty everywhere.
    It is, then, for the interest of your countrymen to prepare the way
    to such a revolution, by endeavoring to reconcile the restitution
    of the rights of the blacks with the interest of the whites. _The
    means necessary to be taken to this effect can only be the work of
    a SOCIETY_; and it is worthy the Saviour of America to put himself
    at their head, and to open the door of liberty to three hundred
    thousand unhappy beings of his own State. _He told me that he
    desired the formation of a SOCIETY, and that he would second it_;
    but that he did not think the moment favorable."--_Conversation
    with Washington, in the New Travels of Brissot de Warville in the
    United States in 1788, published in 1791, and translated in 1792._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "I can only say, that there is not a man living who wishes more
    sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of
    it [Slavery]; but there is only one proper and effectual mode
    by which it can be accomplished, and that is by _legislative
    authority; and this, as far as my suffrage will go, shall never be
    wanting_."--_Letter of Washington to Robert Morris, April 12, 1786._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "The benevolence of your heart, my dear Marquis, is so conspicuous
    upon all occasions, that I never wonder at any fresh proofs of
    it; but your late purchase of an estate in the Colony of Cayenne,
    _with a view of emancipating the slaves on it_, is a generous
    and noble proof of your humanity. _Would to God a like spirit
    might diffuse itself generally into the minds of the people of
    this country!_ But I despair of seeing it. Some petitions were
    presented to the Assembly, at its last session, for the abolition
    of Slavery; but they could scarcely obtain a reading. To set the
    slaves afloat at once would, I really believe, be productive of
    much inconvenience and mischief; _but by degrees it certainly might
    and assuredly ought to be effected, and that, too, by legislative
    authority_."--_Letter of Washington to Lafayette, May 10, 1786._

    "I never mean, unless some particular circumstances should compel
    me to it, to possess another slave by purchase, _it being among
    my first wishes to see some plan adopted by which Slavery in this
    country may be abolished by law_."--_Letter of Washington to John
    F. Mercer, September 9, 1786._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "From what I have said, you will perceive that the present prices
    of lands in Pennsylvania are higher than they are in Maryland and
    Virginia, although they are not of superior quality, ... [among
    other reasons] because there are _laws here for the gradual
    abolition of Slavery_, which neither of the two States above
    mentioned have at present, _but which nothing is more certain than
    that they must have, and at a period not remote_."--_Letter of
    Washington to Sir John Sinclair, December 11, 1796._

       *       *       *       *       *

    "Upon the decease of my wife, it is my will and desire that
    all the slaves whom I hold in my own right shall receive their
    freedom. To emancipate them during her life would, though earnestly
    wished by me, be attended with such insuperable difficulties, on
    account of their inter-mixture by marriage with the dower negroes,
    as to excite the most painful sensations, if not disagreeable
    consequences to the latter, while both descriptions are in the
    occupancy of the same proprietor; it not being in my power, under
    the tenure by which the dower negroes are held, to manumit them....
    _And I do, moreover, most pointedly and most solemnly enjoin it
    upon my executors hereafter named, or the survivors of them, to
    see that this clause respecting slaves, and every part thereof,
    be religiously fulfilled at the epoch at which it is directed to
    take place, without evasion, neglect, or delay_, after the crops
    which may then be on the ground are harvested, particularly as it
    respects the aged and infirm; seeing that a regular and permanent
    fund be established for their support, as long as there are
    subjects requiring it; not trusting to the uncertain provision to
    be made by individuals."--_Washington's Will, dated July 9, 1790

                       EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW:



This argument, though addressed to the Supreme Court of Massachusetts,
is mainly national and universal in topics, so that it is applicable
wherever, especially in our country, any discrimination in educational
opportunities is founded on race or color. It is a vindication of Equal
Rights in Common Schools. The term "Equality before the Law" was here
for the first time introduced into our discussions. It is not found in
the Common Law, nor until recently in the English language. It is a
translation from the French, whence Mr. Sumner took it.

The Supreme Court heard the argument, and in their opinion complimented
the advocate; but they did not take the responsibility of annulling
the unjust discrimination. After stating the claim of Equality before
the Law, Chief-Justice Shaw reduced it to very small proportions,
when he said that it meant "only that the rights of all, as they are
settled and regulated by law, are equally entitled to the paternal
consideration and protection of the law for their maintenance and
security."[11] This made it mean nothing; but such was the decision.
The _victrix causa_ was not less odious to Mr. Sumner, who never ceased
to regret the opportunity lost by the Court of contributing an immortal
precedent to the recognition and safeguard of human rights.

The error of the Court was repaired by the Legislature of
Massachusetts, which in 1855 enacted as follows:--

    "In determining the qualifications of scholars to be admitted into
    any Public School or any District School in this Commonwealth,
    no distinction shall be made on account of the race, color, or
    religious opinions of the applicant or scholar."[12]

    [11] Roberts _v._ City of Boston, 5 Cushing R., 206.

    [12] General Laws of Massachusetts, 1855, Ch. 256, sec. 1.

By other sections, the child excluded on such account was entitled to
"damages therefor in an action of tort," with a bill of discovery to
obtain evidence. Then came this supplementary protection:--

    "Every person belonging to the School Committee under whose rules
    or directions any child shall be excluded from such school, and
    every teacher of any such school, shall, on application by the
    parent or guardian of any such child, state in writing the grounds
    and reasons of such exclusion."

Since this legislation, Equal Rights have prevailed in the Common
Schools of Massachusetts, and nobody would go back to the earlier

Associated with Mr. Sumner in this case was Robert Morris, Esq., a
colored lawyer.


Can any discrimination on account of race or color be made among
children entitled to the benefit of our Common Schools under the
Constitution and Laws of Massachusetts? This is the question which the
Court is now to hear, to consider, and to decide.

Or, stating the question with more detail, and with more particular
application to the facts of the present case, are the Committee
having superintendence of the Common Schools of Boston intrusted with
_power_, under the Constitution and Laws of Massachusetts, to exclude
colored children from the schools, and compel them to find education
at separate schools, set apart for colored children only, at distances
from their homes less convenient than schools open to white children?

This important question arises in an action by a colored child only
five years old, who, _by her next friend_, sues the city of Boston for
damages on account of a refusal to receive her into one of the Common

It would be difficult to imagine any case appealing more strongly to
your best judgment, whether you regard the parties or the subject.
On the one side is the City of Boston, strong in wealth, influence,
character; on the other side is a little child, of degraded color, of
humble parents, and still within the period of natural infancy, but
strong from her very weakness, and from the irrepressible sympathies
of good men, which, by a divine compensation, come to succor the weak.
This little child asks at your hands her _personal rights_. So doing,
she calls upon you to decide a question which concerns the personal
rights of other colored children,--which concerns the Constitution and
Laws of the Commonwealth,--which concerns that _peculiar institution_
of New England, the Common Schools,--which concerns the fundamental
principles of human rights,--which concerns the Christian character of
this community. Such parties and such interests justly challenge your
earnest attention.

Though this discussion is now for the first time brought before a
judicial tribunal, it is no stranger to the public. In the School
Committee of Boston for five years it has been the occasion of discord.
No less than four different reports, two majority and two minority,
forming pamphlets, of solid dimensions, devoted to this question, have
been made to this Committee, and afterwards published. The opinions
of learned counsel have been enlisted. The controversy, leaving these
regular channels, overflowed the newspaper press, and numerous articles
appeared, espousing opposite sides. At last it has reached this
tribunal. It is in your power to make it subside forever.

       *       *       *       *       *

                         THE QUESTION STATED.

Forgetting many of the topics and all of the heats heretofore mingling
with the controversy, I shall strive to present the question in its
juridical light, as becomes the habits of this tribunal. It is a
question of jurisprudence on which you are to give judgment. But I
cannot forget that the principles of morals and of natural justice lie
at the foundation of all jurisprudence. Nor can any reference to these
be inappropriate in a discussion before this Court.

Of Equality I shall speak, not only as a sentiment, but as a principle
embodied in the Constitution of Massachusetts, and obligatory upon
court and citizen. It will be my duty to show that this principle,
after finding its way into our State Constitution, was recognized in
legislation and judicial decisions. Considering next the circumstances
of this case, it will be easy to show how completely they violate
Constitution, legislation, and judicial proceedings,--_first_, by
subjecting colored children to inconvenience inconsistent with the
requirements of Equality, and, _secondly_, by establishing a system of
Caste odious as that of the Hindoos,--leading to the conclusion that
the School Committee have no such power as they have exercised, and
that it is the duty of the Court to set aside their unjust by-law. In
the course of this discussion I shall exhibit the true idea of our
Common Schools, and the fallacy of the pretension that any exclusion or
discrimination founded on race or color can be consistent with Equal

In opening this argument, I begin naturally with the fundamental
proposition which, when once established, renders the conclusion
irresistible. According to the Constitution of Massachusetts, _all men,
without distinction of race or color, are equal before the law_. In the
statement of this proposition I use language which, though new in our
country, has the advantage of precision.

       *       *       *       *       *


I might, perhaps, leave this proposition without one word of comment.
The equality of men will not be directly denied on this occasion; and
yet it is so often assailed of late, that I shall not seem to occupy
your time superfluously, I trust, while endeavoring to show what is
understood by this term, when used in laws, constitutions, or other
political instruments. Here I encounter a prevailing misapprehension.
Lord Brougham, in his recent work on Political Philosophy, announces,
with something of pungency, that "the notion of Equality, or anything
approaching to Equality, among the different members of any community,
is altogether wild and fantastic."[13] Mr. Calhoun, in the Senate
of the United States, assails both the principle and the form of
its statement. He does not hesitate to say that the claim in the
Declaration of Independence is "the most false and dangerous of
all political errors,"--that it "has done more to retard the cause
of liberty and civilization, and is doing more at present, than
all other causes combined,"--that "for a long time it lay dormant,
but in the process of time it began to germinate and produce its
poisonous fruits."[14] Had these two distinguished authorities chosen
to comprehend the extent and application of the term thus employed,
something, if not all, of their objection would have disappeared. That
we may better appreciate its meaning and limitation, I am induced to
exhibit the origin and growth of the sentiment, which, finally ripening
into a formula of civil and political right, was embodied in the
Constitution of Massachusetts.

    [13] Part II. ch. 4, p. 23.

    [14] Speech on the Oregon Bill, June 27, 1848: Works, Vol. IV.
    pp. 507, 511, 512; Congressional Globe, 30th Cong. 1st Sess.,
    Vol. XVIII. p. 876. These extravagances found an echo afterwards.
    Mr. Pettit, a Senator of the United States from Indiana, after
    quoting the words, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that
    all men are created equal," proceeded to say: "I hold it to be a
    self-evident lie. There is no such thing. Sir, tell me that the
    imbecile, the deformed, the weak, the blurred intellect in man
    is my equal, physically, mentally, or morally, and you tell me
    a lie. Tell me, Sir, that the slave in the South, who is born
    a slave, and with but little over one half the volume of brain
    that attaches to the Northern European race, is his equal, and
    you tell what is physically a falsehood. There is no truth in
    it at all." (Speech in the Senate of the United States, February
    20, 1854: Congressional Globe, 33d Cong. 1st Sess., Appendix,
    Vol. XXIX. p. 214.) Mr. Choate, without descending into the same
    particularity, seems to have reached the same conclusion, when, in
    addressing political associates, he characterized the Declaration
    of Independence as "that passionate and eloquent manifesto of
    a revolutionary war," and then again spoke of its self-evident
    truths as "the glittering and sounding generalities of natural
    right." (Letter to the Maine Whig State Central Committee, August
    9, 1856: Works, Vol. I. pp. 214, 215.) This great question was a
    hinge in the famous debate between Mr. Douglas and Mr. Lincoln in
    the contest for the senatorship of Illinois, when the former said,
    in various forms of speech, that "the Declaration of Independence
    only included the white people of the United States," and the
    latter replied, that "the entire records of the world, from the
    date of the Declaration of Independence up to within three years
    ago, may be searched in vain for one single affirmation, from one
    single man, that the negro was not included in the Declaration."
    (Political Debates between Hon. Abraham Lincoln and Hon. Stephen A.
    Douglas in the Campaign of 1858 in Illinois: see speech of Douglas
    at Springfield, July 17, and of Lincoln at Galesburgh, October 7;
    and _passim_.) Andrew Johnson, speaking in the Senate, showed the
    side to which he belonged, when he said, after quoting the great
    words of the Declaration: "Is there an intelligent man throughout
    the whole country, is there a Senator, when he has stripped himself
    of all party prejudice, who will come forward and say that he
    believes that Mr. Jefferson, when he penned that paragraph of the
    Declaration of Independence, intended it to embrace the African
    population? Is there a gentleman in the Senate who believes any
    such thing?... There is not a man of respectable intelligence who
    will hazard his reputation upon such an assertion." (Congressional
    Globe, 36th Cong. 1st Sess., December 12, 1859, p. 100.)

Equality as a sentiment was early cherished by generous souls. It
showed itself in dreams of ancient philosophy, and was declared by
Seneca, when, in a letter of consolation on death, he said, _Prima
enim pars Æquitatis est Æqualitas_: "The chief part of Equity is
Equality."[15] But not till the truths of the Christian Religion was
it enunciated with persuasive force. Here we learn that God is no
respecter of persons,--that he is the Father of all,--and that we are
all his children, and brethren to each other. When the Saviour gave us
the Lord's Prayer, he taught the sublime doctrine of Human Brotherhood,
enfolding the equality of men.

    [15] Epist. XXX.

Slowly did this sentiment enter the State. The whole constitution
of government was inconsistent with it. An hereditary monarchy, an
order of nobility, and the complex ranks of superior and inferior,
established by the feudal system, all declare, not the equality, but
the inequality of men, and all conspire to perpetuate this inequality.
Every infant of royal blood, every noble, every vassal, is a present
example, that, whatever may be the injunctions of religion or the
sentiment of the heart, men under these institutions are not born equal.

The boldest political reformers of early times did not venture to
proclaim this truth, nor did they truly perceive it. Cromwell beheaded
his king, but secured the supreme power in hereditary succession to his
eldest son. It was left to his loftier contemporary, John Milton, in
poetic vision to be entranced

              "With fair Equality, fraternal state."[16]

Sidney, who perished a martyr to the liberal cause, drew his
inspiration from classic, and not from Christian fountains. The
examples of Greece and Rome fed his soul. The English Revolution of
1688, partly by force and partly by the popular voice, changed the
succession to the crown, and, if we may credit loyal Englishmen,
secured the establishment of Freedom throughout the land. But the Bill
of Rights did not declare, nor did the genius of Somers or Maynard
conceive the political axiom, that all men are born equal. It may find
acceptance from Englishmen in our day, but it is disowned by English

    [16] Paradise Lost, Book XII. 26.

I would not forget the early testimony of the "judicious" Hooker, who
in his "Ecclesiastical Polity," that masterly work, dwells on the
equality of men by nature, or the subsequent testimony of Locke, in his
"Two Treatises of Government," who, quoting Hooker, asserts for himself
that "creatures of the same species and rank, promiscuously born to
all the same advantages of nature and the use of the same faculties,
should also be _equal_ one amongst another, without subordination or
subjection."[17] Hooker and Locke saw the equality of men in a state of
Nature; but their utterances found more acceptance across the Channel
than in England.

It is to France that we must pass for the earliest development of
this idea, its amplest illustration, and its most complete, accurate,
and logical expression. In the middle of the last century appeared
the renowned _Encyclopédie_, edited by Diderot and D'Alembert. This
remarkable production, where science, religion, and government are
discussed with revolutionary freedom, contains an article on Equality,
first published in 1755. Here we find the boldest expression of this
sentiment down to that time. "Natural Equality," says this authority,
"is that which exists between all men by the constitution of their
nature only. This Equality is the principle and the foundation
of Liberty. Natural or moral equality is, then, founded upon the
constitution of human nature common to all men, who are born, grow,
subsist, and die in the same manner. Since human nature finds itself
the same in all men, it is clear, that, according to Nature's law, each
ought to esteem and treat the others as beings who are naturally equal
to himself,--that is to say, who are men as well as himself." It is
then remarked, that political and civil slavery is in violation of this
Equality; and yet the inequalities of nobility in the state are allowed
to pass without condemnation. Alluding to these, it is simply said that
"they who are elevated above others ought to treat their inferiors as
naturally their equals, shunning all outrage, exacting nothing beyond
what is their due, and exacting with humanity what is incontestably
their due."[18]

    [17] Locke on Government, Book II. ch. 2, § 4. Hooker,
    Ecclesiastical Polity, Book I.

    [18] Encyclopédie, art. _Égalité Naturelle_, Tom. V. p. 415.

Considering the period at which this article was written, we are
astonished less by its vagueness and incompleteness than by its bravery
and generosity. The dissolute despotism of Louis the Fifteenth poisoned
France. The antechambers of the King were thronged by selfish nobles
and fawning courtiers. The councils of Government were controlled
by royal mistresses. The King, only a few years before, in defiance
of Equality,--but in entire harmony with the conduct of the School
Committee in Boston,--founded a military school _for nobles only_,
carrying into education the distinction of Caste. At such a period
the Encyclopedia did well in uttering important and effective truth.
The _sentiment_ of Equality was fully declared. Nor should we be
disappointed, that, at this early day, even the boldest philosophers
did not adequately perceive, or, if they perceived, did not dare to
utter, our axiom of liberty.

Thus it is with all moral and political ideas. First
appearing as a sentiment, they awake a noble impulse,
filling the soul with generous sympathy, and encouraging to congenial
effort. Slowly recognized, they finally pass into a formula, to be
acted upon, to be applied, to be defended in the concerns of life, as

Almost contemporaneously with this article in the Encyclopedia our
attention is arrested by a poor solitary, of humble extraction, born
at Geneva, in Switzerland, of irregular education and life, a wanderer
from his birthplace, enjoying a temporary home in France,--Jean Jacques
Rousseau. Of audacious genius, setting at nought received opinions,
he rushed into notoriety by an eccentric essay "On the Origin of the
Inequality among Men," where he sustained the irrational paradox,
that men are happier in a state of Nature than under the laws of
Civilization. At a later day appeared his famous work on "The Social
Contract." In both the sentiment of Equality is invoked against abuses
of society, and language is employed tending far beyond Equality in
Civil and Political Rights. The conspicuous position since awarded to
the speculations of Rousseau, and their influence in diffusing this
sentiment, would make this sketch imperfect without allusion to him;
but he taught men to feel rather than to know, and his words have more
of inspiration than of precision.

The French Revolution was at hand. That great outbreak for
enfranchisement was the expression of this sentiment. Here it received
distinct and authoritative enunciation. In the Constitutions of
Government successively adopted, amid the throes of bloody struggle,
the equality of men was constantly proclaimed. Kings, nobles, and all
distinctions of birth, passed away before this mighty and triumphant

These Constitutions show the grandeur of the principle, and how it
was explained and illustrated. The Constitution of 1791, in its first
article, declares that "Men are born and continue free and _equal in
their rights_." This great declaration was explained in the sixth
article: "The law is the expression of the general will.... It ought
to be the same for all, whether it protect or punish. All citizens,
being equal in its eyes, are equally admissible to all dignities,
places, and public employments, according to their capacity, and
without other distinction than their virtues and talents." At the close
of the Declaration of Rights there is this further explanation: "The
National Assembly, wishing to establish the French Constitution on
the principles which it has just acknowledged and declared, abolishes
irrevocably the institutions which bounded liberty and equality
of rights. There is no longer nobility, or peerage, or hereditary
distinctions, or distinction of orders, or feudal rule, or patrimonial
jurisdictions, or any titles, denominations, or prerogatives
thence derived, or any orders of chivalry, or any corporations or
decorations for which proofs of nobility were required, or which
supposed distinctions of birth, or any other superiority than that of
public functionaries in the exercise of their functions.... _There
is no longer, for any part of the nation, or for any individual, any
privilege or exception to the common right of all Frenchmen._"[19]
These diffuse articles all begin and end in the equality of men.

    [19] Moniteur, 1791, No. 259.

In fitful mood, another Declaration of Rights was brought forward
by Condorcet. February 15, 1793. Here are fresh inculcations of
Equality. Article First places Equality among the natural, civil,
and political rights of man. Article Seventh declares: "Equality
consists in this, that each individual can enjoy the same rights."
Article Eighth: "_The law ought to be equal for all_, whether it
recompense or punish, whether it protect or repress." Article Ninth:
"All citizens are admissible to all public places, employments, and
functions. Free people know no other motives of preference in their
choice than talents and virtues." Article Twenty-third: "Instruction
is the need of all, and society owes it equally to all its members."
Article Thirty-second: "There is oppression, when a law violates the
natural, civil, and political rights which it ought to guaranty. There
is oppression, when the law is violated by the public functionaries
in its application to individual cases."[20] Here again is the same
constant testimony, reinforced by the accompanying report explaining
the Constitution, where it is said: "All hereditary political power is
at the same time an evident violation of natural equality and an absurd
institution, since it supposes the inheritance of qualities proper for
the discharge of a public function. Every exception to the common law
made in favor of an individual is a blow struck at the rights of all."
And in another part of the same report, "the sovereignty of the people,
_equality among men_, the unity of the Republic," are declared to have
been "the guiding principles always present in the formation of the

    [20] Moniteur, 1793, No. 49.

    [21] Exposition des Principes et des Motifs du Plan de
    Constitution: Condorcet, OEuvres, Tom. XII. pp. 336, 413.

Next came the Constitution of June, 1793, announcing, in its second
article, that the natural and imprescriptible rights of men are
"_Equality_, liberty, security, property." In the next article we
learn precisely what is meant by Equality, when it says, "All men are
equal by nature _and before the law_."[22] So just and captivating was
this definition, which we encounter here for the first time, that it
held its place through all the political vicissitudes of France, under
the Directory, the Consulate, the Empire, the Restoration, and the
Constitutional Government of Louis Philippe. It was a conquest which,
when achieved, was never abandoned. Every Charter and Constitution
certified to it. The Charter of Louis Philippe testifies as follows:
"Frenchmen are _equal before the law_, whatever may be their titles
and ranks."[23] Nor was its use confined to France. It passed into
other constitutions, and Napoleon, who so often trampled on the rights
of Equality, dictated to the Poles the declaration, that _all persons
are equal before the law_. Thus the phrase is not only French, but
Continental, although never English.

While recognizing this particular form of speech as more specific and
satisfactory than the statement that all men are born equal, it is
impossible not to be reminded that it finds a prototype in the ancient
Greek language, where, according to Herodotus, "the government of the
many has the most beautiful name of all, [Greek: isonomia], _isonomy_"
which may be defined _Equality before the Law_.[24] Thus, in an age
when _Equality before the Law_ was practically unknown, this remarkable
language, by its comprehensiveness and flexibility, supplied a single
word, not found in modern tongues, to express an idea practically
recognized only in modern times. Such a word in our own language, as
the substitute for Equality, might have superseded criticism to which
this declaration is exposed.

    [22] Moniteur, 1793, No. 178.

    [23] Annuaire Historique Universel pour 1830, Appendice, p. 48.

    [24] Book III. § 80. The same idea prevailed with Demosthenes,
    who, in his First Oration against Aristogiton, pictured the laws as
    desiring "the just and the beautiful and the useful," which, when
    found, is set forth in a general ordinance, "equal and alike to
    all."--_Orat. I. contra Aristogit._, § 5.

       *       *       *       *       *


The way is now prepared to consider the nature of Equality, as secured
by the Constitution of Massachusetts. The Declaration of Independence,
which followed the French Encyclopedia and the political writings of
Rousseau, announces among self-evident truths, "_that all men are
created equal_; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit
of happiness." The Constitution of Massachusetts repeats the same truth
in a different form, saying, in its first article: "_All men are born
free and equal_, and have certain natural essential, and unalienable
rights, among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending
their lives and liberties." Another article explains what is meant
by Equality, saying: "No man, nor corporation or association of men,
have any other title to obtain advantages, or particular and exclusive
privileges, distinct from those of the community, than what arises from
the consideration of services rendered to the public; and this title
being in nature neither hereditary, nor transmissible to children, or
descendants, or relations by blood, the idea of a man being born a
magistrate, lawgiver, or judge is absurd and unnatural." This language,
in its natural signification, condemns every form of inequality in
civil and political institutions.

These declarations, though in point of time before the ampler
declarations of France, may be construed in the light of the latter.
Evidently, they seek to declare the same principle. They are
declarations of _Rights_; and the language employed, though general
in character, is obviously limited to those matters within the design
of a declaration of _Rights_. And permit me to say, it is a childish
sophism to adduce any physical or mental inequality in argument against
Equality of Rights.

Obviously, men are not born equal in physical strength or in mental
capacity, in beauty of form or health of body. Diversity or inequality
in these respects is the law of creation. From this difference springs
divine harmony. But this inequality is in no particular inconsistent
with complete civil and political equality.

The equality declared by our fathers in 1776, and made the fundamental
law of Massachusetts in 1780, was _Equality before the Law_. Its object
was to efface all political or civil distinctions, and to abolish all
institutions founded upon _birth_. "All men are _created_ equal," says
the Declaration of Independence. "All men are _born_ free and equal,"
says the Massachusetts Bill of Rights. These are not vain words. Within
the sphere of their influence, no person can be _created_, no person
can be _born_, with civil or political privileges not enjoyed equally
by all his fellow-citizens; nor can any institution be established,
recognizing distinction of birth. Here is the Great Charter of every
human being drawing vital breath upon this soil, whatever may be his
condition, and whoever may be his parents. He may be poor, weak,
humble, or black,--he may be of Caucasian, Jewish, Indian, or Ethiopian
race,--he may be of French, German, English, or Irish extraction;
but before the Constitution of Massachusetts all these distinctions
disappear. He is not poor, weak, humble, or black; nor is he Caucasian,
Jew, Indian, or Ethiopian; nor is he French, German, English, or Irish;
he is a MAN, the equal of all his fellow-men. He is one of the
children of the State, which, like an impartial parent, regards all
its offspring with an equal care. To some it may justly allot higher
duties, according to higher capacities; but it welcomes all to its
equal hospitable board. The State, imitating the divine justice, is no
respecter of persons.

Here nobility cannot exist, because it is a privilege from birth. But
the same anathema which smites and banishes nobility must also smite
and banish every form of discrimination founded on birth,--

    "Quamvis ille niger, quamvis tu candidus esses."[25]

    [25] Virgil, Eclog. II. 16.

       *       *       *       *       *


The Legislature of Massachusetts, in entire harmony with the
Constitution, has made no discrimination of race or color in the
establishment of Common Schools.

Any such discrimination by the Laws would be unconstitutional and
void. But the Legislature has been too just and generous, too mindful
of the Bill of Rights, to establish any such privilege of _birth_.
The language of the statutes is general, and applies equally to all
children, of whatever race or color.

The provisions of the Law are entitled, _Of the Public Schools_,[26]
meaning our Common Schools. To these we must look to ascertain what
constitutes a Public School. Only those established in conformity
with the Law can be legally such. They may, in fact, be more or less
public; yet, if they do not come within the terms of the Law, they do
not form part of the beautiful system of our Public Schools,--they are
not Public Schools, or, as I prefer to call them, Common Schools. The
two terms are used as identical; but the latter is that by which they
were earliest known, while it is most suggestive of their comprehensive
character. A "common" in law is defined to be "_open ground equally
used_ by many persons"; and the same word, when used as an adjective,
is defined by lexicographers as "belonging equally to many or to the
public," thus asserting Equality.

    [26] Revised Statutes, Ch. 23.

If we examine the text of this statute, we shall find nothing to
sustain the rule of exclusion which has been set up. The first
section provides, that "in every town, containing fifty families or
householders, there shall be kept in each year, at the charge of the
town, by a teacher or teachers of competent ability and good morals,
_one school_ for the instruction of _children_ in Orthography, Reading,
Writing, English Grammar, Geography, Arithmetic, and Good Behavior,
for the term of six months, or two or more such schools, for terms of
time that shall together be equivalent to six months." The second,
third, and fourth sections provide for the number of such schools in
towns having respectively one hundred, one hundred and fifty, and five
hundred families or householders. There is no language recognizing
any discrimination of race or color. Thus, in every town, the
schools, whether one or more, are "for the instruction of _children_"
generally,--not children of any particular class or race or color, but
children,--meaning the children of the town where the schools are.

The fifth and sixth sections provide a school, in certain cases, where
additional studies are to be pursued, which "shall be kept _for the
benefit of all the inhabitants_ of the town." The language here
recognizes no discrimination among the children, but seems directly to
exclude it.

In conformity with these sections is the peculiar phraseology of the
memorable Colonial law of 1647, founding Common Schools, "to the end
that learning may not be buried in the graves of our forefathers." This
law obliged townships having fifty householders to "forthwith appoint
one within their towns to teach _all such children as shall resort to
him_ to write and read."[27] Here again there is no discrimination
among the children. _All_ are to be taught.

    [27] Charters and General Laws of the Colony and Province of
    Massachusetts Bay, p. 186.

On this legislation the Common Schools of Massachusetts have been
reared. The section of the Revised Statutes,[28] and the statute of
1838,[29] appropriating small sums, in the nature of a contribution,
from the School Fund, for the support of Common Schools among the
Indians, do not interfere with this system. These have the anomalous
character of all the legislation concerning the Indians. It does not
appear, however, that separate schools are established by law among the
Indians, nor that the Indians are in any way excluded from the Common
Schools in their neighborhood.

    [28] Chap. 23, sec. 68.

    [29] Chap. 154.

I conclude, on this head, that there is but one Public School in
Massachusetts. This is the Common School, equally free to all the
inhabitants. There is nothing establishing an exclusive or separate
school for any particular class, rich or poor, Catholic or Protestant,
white or black. In the eye of the law there is but _one class_,
where all interests, opinions, conditions, and colors commingle in
harmony,--excluding none, therefore comprehending all.

       *       *       *       *       *


The Courts of Massachusetts, in harmony with the Constitution and the
Laws, have never recognized any discrimination founded on race or
color, in the administration of the Common Schools, but have constantly
declared the equal rights of all the inhabitants.

There are only a few decisions bearing on this subject, but they
breathe one spirit. The sentiment of Equality animates them all. In
the case of _The Commonwealth_ v. _Dedham_, (16 Mass. R., 146,) while
declaring the equal rights of all the inhabitants, in both Grammar and
District Schools, the Court said:--

    "The schools required by the statute are to be maintained for the
    benefit of the whole town, _as it is the wise policy of the law
    to give all the inhabitants equal privileges for the education of
    their children in the Public Schools_. Nor is it in the power of
    the majority to deprive the minority of this _privilege_.... Every
    inhabitant of the town has a right to participate in the benefits
    of both descriptions of schools; and it is not competent for a town
    to establish a grammar school for the benefit of one part of the
    town to the exclusion of the other, although the money raised for
    the support of schools may be in other respects fairly apportioned."

Here is Equality from beginning to end.

In the case of _Withington_ v. _Eveleth_, (7 Pick. R., 106,) the Court
say they "are all satisfied that the power given to towns to determine
and define the limits of school districts can be executed only by a
geographical division of the town for that purpose." A limitation of
the district merely _personal_ was held invalid. This same principle
was again recognized in _Perry_ v. _Dover_, (12 Pick. R., 213,) where
the Court say, "Towns, in executing the power to form school districts,
are bound so to do it as to include _every inhabitant_ in some of the
districts. They cannot lawfully omit any, and thus deprive them of _the
benefits of our invaluable system of free schools_." Thus at every
point the Court has guarded the Equal Rights of all.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Constitution, the Legislation, and the Judicial Decisions of
Massachusetts have now been passed in review. We have seen what is
contemplated by the Equality secured by the Constitution,--also what
is contemplated by the system of Common Schools, as established by
the laws of the Commonwealth and illustrated by decisions of the
Supreme Court. The way is now prepared to consider the peculiarities
in the present case, and to apply the principle thus recognized in
Constitution, Laws, and Judicial Decisions.

       *       *       *       *       *


It is easy to see that the exclusion of colored children from the
Public Schools is a constant inconvenience to them and their parents,
which white children and white parents are not obliged to bear. Here
the facts are plain and unanswerable, showing a palpable violation of
Equality. _The black and white are not equal before the law._ I am at a
loss to understand how anybody can assert that they are.

Among the regulations of the Primary School Committee is one to this
effect. "Scholars to go to the school nearest their residences.
Applicants for admission to our schools (with the exception and
provision referred to in the preceding rule) are especially entitled to
enter the schools nearest to their places of residence." The exception
here is "of those for whom special provision has been made" in separate
schools,--that is, colored children.

In this rule--without the unfortunate exception--is part of the beauty
so conspicuous in our Common Schools. It is the boast of England, that,
through the multitude of courts, justice is brought to every man's
door. It may also be the boast of our Common Schools, that, through the
multitude of schools, education in Boston is brought to every _white_
man's door. But it is not brought to every _black_ man's door. He is
obliged to go for it, to travel for it, to walk for it,--often a great
distance. The facts in the present case are not so strong as those of
other cases within my knowledge. But here the little child, only five
years old, is compelled, if attending the nearest African School, to go
a distance of two thousand one hundred feet from her home, while the
nearest Primary School is only nine hundred feet, and, in doing this,
she passes by no less than five different Primary Schools, forming part
of our Common Schools, and open to white children, all of which are
closed to her. Surely this is not _Equality before the Law_.

Such a fact is sufficient to determine this case. If it be met by the
suggestion, that the inconvenience is trivial, and such as the law
will not notice, I reply, that it is precisely such as to reveal an
existing inequality, and therefore the law cannot fail to notice it.
There is a maxim of the illustrious civilian, Dumoulin, a great jurist
of France, which teaches that even a trivial fact may give occasion to
an important application of the law: "_Modica enim circumstantia facti
inducit magnam juris diversitatem._" Also from the best examples of
our history we learn that the insignificance of a fact cannot obscure
the grandeur of the principle at stake. It was a paltry tax on tea,
laid by a Parliament where they were not represented, that aroused
our fathers to the struggles of the Revolution. They did not feel the
inconvenience of the tax, but they felt its oppression. They went to
war for a principle. Let it not be said, then, that in the present case
the inconvenience is too slight to justify the appeal I make in behalf
of colored children for _Equality before the Law_.

Looking beyond the facts of this case, it is apparent that the
inconvenience from the exclusion of colored children is such as to
affect seriously the comfort and condition of the African race in
Boston. The two Primary Schools open to them are in Belknap Street and
Sun Court. I need not add that the whole city is dotted with schools
open to white children. Colored parents, anxious for the education
of their children, are compelled to live in the neighborhood of the
schools, to gather about them,--as in Eastern countries people gather
near a fountain or a well. The liberty which belongs to the white man,
of choosing his home, is not theirs. Inclination or business or economy
may call them to another part of the city; but they are restrained for
their children's sake. There is no such restraint upon the white man;
for he knows, that, wherever in the city inclination or business or
economy may call him, there will be a school open to his children near
his door. Surely this is not _Equality before the Law_.

If a colored person, yielding to the necessities of position, removes
to a distant part of the city, his children may be compelled daily,
at an inconvenience which will not be called trivial, to walk a long
distance for the advantages of the school. In our severe winters this
cannot be disregarded, in the case of children so tender in years as
those of the Primary Schools. There is a peculiar instance of hardship
which has come to my knowledge. A respectable colored parent became
some time since a resident of East Boston, separated from the mainland
by water. Of course there are Common Schools at East Boston, but none
open to colored children. This parent was obliged to send his children,
three in number, daily across the ferry to the distant African School.
The tolls amounted to a sum which formed a severe tax upon a poor man,
while the long way to travel was a daily tax upon the time and strength
of his children. Every toll paid by this parent, as every step taken by
the children, testifies to that inequality which I now arraign.

This is the conduct of a colored parent. He is well deserving of honor
for his generous efforts to secure the education of his children. As
they grow in knowledge they will rise and call him blessed; but at the
same time they will brand as accursed that arbitrary discrimination of
color in the Common Schools of Boston which rendered it necessary for
their father, out of small means, to make such sacrifices for their

Here is a grievance which, independent of any stigma from color, calls
for redress. It is an inequality which the Constitution and the Laws of
Massachusetts repudiate. But it is not on the ground of inconvenience
only that it is odious. And this brings me to the next head.

       *       *       *       *       *


The separation of children in the Schools, on account of race or color,
is in the nature of _Caste_, and, on this account, a violation of
Equality. The case shows expressly that the child was excluded from
the school nearest to her dwelling--the number in the school at the
time warranting her admission--"on the sole ground of color." The first
Majority Report presented to the School Committee, and mentioned in the
statement of facts, presents the grounds of this discrimination with
more fulness, saying, "It is one of _races_, not of _colors_ merely.
The distinction is one which the All-wise Creator has seen fit to
establish; and it is founded deep in the physical, mental, and moral
natures of the two races. No legislation, no social customs, can efface
this distinction."[30] Words cannot be chosen more apt than these to
describe the heathenish relation of Caste.

    [30] Report to the Primary School Committee, June 15, 1846, on the
    Petition of Sundry Colored Persons for the Abolition of the Schools
    for Colored Children, p. 7.

This term, which has its prototype in Spanish and French, finds its
way into English from the Portuguese _casta_, which signifies family,
breed, race, and is generally used to designate any hereditary
distinction, particularly of race. It is most often employed in India,
and it is there that we must go to understand its full force. A recent
English writer says, that it is "not only a distinction by birth, but
is founded on the doctrine of an essentially distinct origin of the
different races, which are thus unalterably separated."[31] This is the
very ground of the Boston School Committee.

    [31] Roberts on Caste, p. 134.

This word is not now for the first time applied to the distinction
between the white and black races. Alexander von Humboldt, speaking of
the negroes in Mexico, characterizes them as a caste.[32] Following
him, a recent political and juridical writer of France uses the same
term to denote not only the distinctions in India, but those of our own
country, especially referring to the exclusion of colored children from
the Common Schools as among "the humiliating and brutal distinctions"
by which their caste is characterized.[33] It is, then, on authority
and reason alike that we apply this term to the hereditary distinction
on account of color now established in the schools of Boston.

    [32] Essai Politique sur le Royaume de la Nouvelle-Espagne, Liv.
    II. ch. 6.

    [33] Charles Comte, Traité de Legislation, Tom. IV. pp. 129, 445.

Boston is set on a hill, and her schools have long been the subject of
observation, even in this respect. As far back as the last century,
the French Consul here made a report on our "separate" school;[34] and
De Tocqueville, in his masterly work, testifies, with evident pain,
that the same schools do not receive the children of the African and
European.[35] All this is only a reproduction of the Cagots in France,
who for generations were put under the ban,--relegated to a corner of
the church, as in a "negro pew," and even in the last resting-place,
where all are equal, these wretched people were separated by a line
of demarcation from the rest.[36] The Cagots are called an "accursed
race," and this language may be applied to the African under our laws.
Strange that here, under a State Constitution declaring the Equality
of all men, we should follow the worst precedents and establish among
us a Caste. Seeing the discrimination in this light, we learn to
appreciate its true character. In India, Brahmins and Sudras, from
generation to generation, were kept apart. If a Sudra presumed to sit
upon a Brahmin's carpet, his punishment was banishment. With similar
inhumanity here, the black child who goes to sit on the same benches
with the white is banished, not indeed from the country, but from the
school. In both cases it is the triumph of Caste. But the offence is
greater with us, because, unlike the Hindoos, we acknowledge that men
are born equal.

    [34] Grégoire, De la Littérature des Nègres, p. 177.

    [35] Democracy in America, Vol. I. p. 461, Ch. XVIII. § 2.

    [36] Michel, Histoire des Races Maudites, Tom. I. p. 3.

So strong is my desire that the Court should feel the enormity of
this system, thus legalized, not by the Legislature, but by an
inferior local board, that I shall introduce an array of witnesses
all testifying to the unchristian character of Caste, as it appears
in India, where it is most studied and discussed. As you join in
detestation of this foul institution, you will learn to condemn its
establishment among our children.

I take these authorities from the work of Mr. Roberts to which I have
already referred, "Caste opposed to Christianity," published in London
in 1847. Time will not allow me to make comments. I can only quote the
testimony and then pass on.

The eminent Bishop Heber, of Calcutta, characterizes Caste in these
forcible terms:--

    "_It is a system which tends, more than any else the Devil has yet
    invented, to destroy the feelings of general benevolence, and to
    make nine tenths of mankind the hopeless slaves of the remainder._"

But this is the very system now in question here. Bishop Wilson, also
of Calcutta, the successor of Heber, says:--

    "The Gospel recognizes no such distinction as those of Castes,
    imposed by a heathen usage, bearing in some respects a supposed
    religious obligation, condemning those in the lower ranks to
    perpetual abasement, placing an immovable barrier against all
    general advance and improvement in society, cutting asunder the
    bonds of human fellowship on the one hand, and preventing those of
    Christian love on the other. Such distinctions, I say, the Gospel
    does not recognize. On the contrary, it teaches us that God 'hath
    made of one blood all the nations of men.'"

The same sentiment is echoed by Bishop Corrie, of Madras:--

    "Thus Caste sets itself up as a judge of our Saviour himself. His
    command is, 'Condescend to men of low estate. Esteem others better
    than yourself.' 'No,' says Caste, 'do not commune with low men:
    consider yourself of high estimation. Touch not, taste not, handle
    not.' Thus Caste condemns the Saviour."

Here is the testimony of Rev. Mr. Rhenius, a zealous and successful

    "I have found Caste, both in theory and practice, to be
    diametrically opposed to the Gospel, which inculcates love,
    humility, and union; whereas Caste teaches the contrary. It is a
    fact, in those entire congregations where Caste is allowed the
    spirit of the Gospel does not enter; whereas in those from which it
    is excluded we see the fruits of the Gospel spirit."

Another missionary, Rev. C. Mault, follows in similar strain:--

    "Caste must be entirely renounced; for it is a noxious plant, by
    the side of which the graces cannot grow; for facts demonstrate,
    that, where it has been allowed, Christianity has never flourished."

So also does the Rev. John McKenny, a Wesleyan missionary:--

    "I have been upward of twelve years in India, and have directed
    much of my attention to the subject of Caste, and am fully of
    opinion that it is altogether contrary to the nature and principles
    of the Gospel of Christ, and therefore ought not to be admitted
    into the Christian Church."

So also the Rev. R.S. Hardy, a Wesleyan missionary, and author of
"Notices of the Holy Land":--

    "The principle of Caste I consider so much at variance with the
    spirit of the Gospel as to render impossible, where its authority
    is acknowledged, the exercise of many of the most beautiful virtues
    of our holy religion."

So also the Rev. D.J. Gorgerly, of the same Society:--

    "I regard the distinction of Caste, both in its principles
    and operations, as directly opposed to vital godliness, and
    consequently inadmissible into the Church of Christ."

So also the Rev. W. Bridgnall, of the same Society:--

    "I perfectly agree with a writer of respectable authority, in
    considering the institution of Caste as the most formidable engine
    that was ever invented for perpetuating the subjugation of men: so
    that, as a friend of humanity only, I should feel myself bound to
    protest against and oppose it; but in particular as a Christian,
    I deem it my obvious and imperative duty wholly to discountenance
    it, conceiving it to be utterly repugnant to all the principles and
    the whole spirit of Christianity. He who is prepared to support the
    system of Caste is, in my judgment, neither a true friend of man
    nor a consistent follower of Christ."

So also the Rev. S. Allens, of the same Society:--

    "During a residence of more than nine years in Ceylon I have had
    many opportunities of witnessing the influence of Caste on the
    minds of the natives, and I firmly believe it is altogether opposed
    to the spirit of Christianity; and it appears to me that its utter
    and speedy extinction cannot but be desired by every minister of

So also the Rev. R. Stoup, of the same Society:--

    "From my own personal observation, during a four years' residence
    in Ceylon, I am decidedly of opinion that Caste is directly opposed
    to the spirit of Christianity, and consequently ought to be
    discouraged in every possible way."

I conclude these European authorities with the confirmation of Rev.
Joseph Roberts, author of the work on Caste:--

    "_We must in every place witness against it, and show that even
    Government itself is nurturing a tremendous evil, that through its
    heathen managers it is beguiled into a course which obstructs the
    progress of civilization_, which keeps in repulsion our kindlier
    feelings, which creates and nurses distinctions the most alien to
    all the cordialities of life, and which, more than any other thing,
    makes the distance so immense betwixt the governed and governors."

There is also the testimony of native Hindoos converted to
Christianity, who denounce Caste as Jefferson denounced the despotism
of Slavery. Listen to the voice of a Hindoo:--

    "Caste is the stronghold of that principle of pride which makes
    a man think of himself more highly than he ought to think. Caste
    infuses itself into and forms the very essence of pride itself."

Another Hindoo testifies as follows:--

    "I therefore regard Caste as opposed to the main scope, principles,
    and doctrines of Christianity; for either Caste must be admitted
    to be true and of divine authority, or Christianity must be
    so admitted. If you admit Caste to be true, the whole fabric of
    Christianity must come down; for the nature of Caste and its
    associations destroy the first principles of Christianity. Caste
    makes distinctions among creatures where God has made none."

Another native expresses himself thus:--

    "When God made man, his intention was, not that they should be
    divided, and hate one another, and show contempt, and think more
    highly of themselves than others. Caste makes a man think that he
    is holier than another, and that he has some inherent virtue which
    another has not. It makes him despise all those that are lower than
    himself in regard to Caste, which is not the design of God."

Still another native uses this strong language:--

    "Yes, we regard Caste as part and parcel of idolatry, and of all
    heathen abominations, because it is in many ways contrary to God's
    Word, and directly contrary to God himself."

I hope that I have not occupied too much time with this testimony,
which is strictly in point. There is not a word which is not plainly
applicable to the present case. The witnesses are competent, and in
their evidence, as in a mirror, may be seen the true character of the
discrimination which I bring to judgment before this Court.

It will be vain to say that this distinction, though seeming to be
founded on color, is in reality founded on natural and physical
peculiarities independent of color. Whatever they may be, they
are peculiarities of race; and any discrimination on this account
constitutes the relation of Caste, in the most restricted sense of
this term. Disguise it as you will, it is nothing but this hateful,
irreligious institution. But the words Caste and Equality are
contradictory. They mutually exclude each other. Where Caste is, there
cannot be Equality; where Equality is, there cannot be Caste.

Unquestionably there is a distinction between the Ethiopian and the
Caucasian. Each received from the hand of God certain characteristics
of color and form. The two may not readily intermingle, although we are
told by Homer that Jupiter did not

                            "disdain to grace
        The feasts of Ethiopia's blameless race."

One may be uninteresting or offensive to the other, precisely as
individuals of the same race and color may be uninteresting or
offensive to each other. But this distinction can furnish no ground for
any discrimination before the law.

We abjure nobility of all kinds; but here is a nobility of the skin.
We abjure all hereditary distinctions; but here is an hereditary
distinction, founded, not on the merit of the ancestor, but on his
color. We abjure all privileges of birth; but here is a privilege which
depends solely on the accident whether an ancestor is black or white.
We abjure all inequality before the law; but here is an inequality
which touches not an individual, but a race. We revolt at the relation
of Caste; but here is a Caste which is established under a Constitution
declaring that all men are born equal.

Condemning Caste and inequality before the law, the way is prepared to
consider more particularly the powers of the School Committee. Here it
will be necessary to enter into details.

       *       *       *       *       *


The Committee charged with the superintendence of the Common Schools of
Boston have no _power_ to make any discrimination on account of race or

It has been seen already that this power is inconsistent with the
Declaration of Independence, with the Constitution and Laws of
Massachusetts, and with adjudications of the Supreme Court. The stream
cannot rise higher than the fountain-head; and if there be nothing in
these elevated sources from which this power can spring, it must be
considered a nullity. Having seen that there is nothing, I might here
stop; but I wish to show the shallow origin of this pretension.

Its advocates, unable to find it among express powers conferred upon
the School Committee, and forgetful of the Constitution, where "either
it must live or bear no life," place it among implied or incidental
powers. The Revised Statutes provide for a School Committee "who
shall have _the general charge and superintendence_ of all the Public
Schools" in their respective towns.[37] Another section provides that
"the School Committee shall determine the number and qualifications of
the scholars to be admitted into the school kept for the use of the
whole town."[38] These are all the clauses conferring powers on the

    [37] Chap. 23, sec. 10.

    [38] Chap. 23, sec. 15.

From them no person will imply a power to defeat a cardinal principle
of the Constitution. It is absurd to suppose that the Committee in
general charge and superintendence of schools, and in determining the
number and qualifications of scholars, may engraft upon the schools
a principle of inequality, not only unknown to the Constitution and
Laws, but in defiance of their letter and spirit. In the exercise of
these powers they cannot put colored children to personal inconvenience
greater than that of white children. Still further, they cannot brand a
whole race with the stigma of inferiority and degradation, constituting
them a Caste. They cannot in any way violate that fundamental right of
all citizens, Equality before the Law. To suppose that they can do this
would place the Committee above the Constitution. It would enable them,
in the exercise of a brief and local authority, to draw a fatal circle,
within which the Constitution cannot enter,--nay, where the very Bill
of Rights becomes a dead letter.

In entire harmony with the Constitution, the law says expressly what
the Committee shall do. Besides the general charge and superintendence,
they shall "determine the _number_ and _qualifications_ of the scholars
to be admitted into the school,"--thus, according to a familiar rule
of interpretation, excluding other powers: _Mentio unius est exclusio
alterius._ The power to determine the "number" is easily executed, and
admits of no question. The power to determine the "qualifications,"
though less simple, must be restricted to age, sex, and fitness, moral
and intellectual. The fact that a child is black, or that he is white,
cannot of itself be a qualification or a disqualification. Not to the
skin can we look for the criterion of fitness.

It is sometimes pretended, that the Committee, in the exercise of
their power, are intrusted with a discretion, under which they may
distribute, assign, and classify all children belonging to the schools
_according to their best judgment_, making, if they think proper, a
discrimination of race or color. Without questioning that they are
intrusted with a discretion, it is outrageous to suppose that their
discretion can go to this extent. The Committee can have no discretion
which is not in harmony with the Constitution and Laws. Surely they
cannot, in any mere discretion, nullify a sacred and dear-bought
principle of Human Plights expressly guarantied by the Constitution.

       *       *       *       *       *


Still further,--and here I approach a more technical view of the
subject,--it is an admitted principle, that the regulations and by-laws
of municipal corporations must be _reasonable_, or they are inoperative
and void. This has been recognized by the Supreme Court in two
different cases,--_Commonwealth_ v. _Worcester_, (3 Pick. R., 462,) and
in Vandine's case (6 Pick. R., 187). In another case, _City of Boston_
v. _Shaw_, (1 Met. R., 130,) it was decided that a by-law of Boston,
prescribing a particular form of contribution toward the expenses of
making the common sewers, was void for inequality and unreasonableness.

Assuming that this principle is applicable to the School Committee,
their regulations and by-laws must be _reasonable_. Their discretion
must be exercised in a reasonable manner. And this is not what the
Committee or any other body of men think reasonable, but what is
reasonable in the eye of the Law. It must be _legally reasonable_. It
must be approved by the _reason_ of the Law.

Here we are brought once more, in another form, to the question
of the discrimination on account of color. Is this _legally
reasonable_? Is it reasonable, in the exercise of a just discretion,
to separate descendants of the African race from white children merely
in consequence of descent? Passing over those principles of the
Constitution and those provisions of Law which of themselves decide the
question, constituting as they do _the highest reason_, but which have
been already amply considered, look for a moment at the educational
system of Massachusetts, and it will be seen that practically no
discrimination of color is made by Law in any part of it. A descendant
of the African race may be Governor of the Commonwealth, and as such,
with the advice and consent of the Council, may select the Board of
Education. As Lieutenant-Governor, he may be _ex officio_ a member of
the Board. He may be Secretary of the Board, with the duty imposed on
him by law of seeing "that _all_ children in this Commonwealth, who
depend upon Common Schools for instruction, may have the best education
which those schools can be made to impart."[39] He may be member of
any School Committee, or teacher in any Common School of the State. As
legal voter, he can vote in the selection of any School Committee.

    [39] General Laws of Massachusetts, 1837, Ch. 241, sec. 2.

Thus, in every department connected with our Common Schools, throughout
the whole hierarchy of their government, from the very head of the
system down to the humblest usher in the humblest Primary School,
and to the humblest voter, there is no distinction of color known
to the law. It is when we reach the last stage of all, the children
themselves, that the beautiful character of the system is changed
to the deformity of Caste, as, in the picture of the ancient poet,
what above was a lovely woman terminated below in a vile, unsightly
fish. And all this is done by the School Committee, with more than
necromantic power, in the exercise of a mere discretion.

It is clear that the Committee may classify scholars according to
age and sex, for the obvious reasons that these distinctions are
inoffensive, and that they are especially recognized as _legal_ in the
law relating to schools.[40] They may also classify scholars according
to moral and intellectual qualifications, because such a power is
necessary to the government of schools. But the Committee cannot
assume, _a priori_, and without individual examination, that all of
an _entire race_ are so deficient in proper moral and intellectual
qualifications as to justify their universal degradation to a class by
themselves. Such an exercise of discretion must be unreasonable, and
therefore illegal.

    [40] Revised Statutes, Ch. 23, sec. 63.

       *       *       *       *       *


But it is said that the School Committee, in thus classifying the
children, have not violated any principle of Equality, inasmuch as they
provide a school with competent instructors for colored children, where
they have advantages equal to those provided for white children. It is
argued, that, in excluding colored children from Common Schools open to
white children, the Committee furnish an _equivalent_.

Here there are several answers. I shall touch them briefly, as they are
included in what has been already said.

1. The separate school for colored children is not one of the schools
established by the law relating to Public Schools.[41] It is not a
Common School. As such it has no legal existence, and therefore cannot
be a _legal equivalent_. In addition to what has been already said,
bearing on this head, I call attention to one other aspect. It has been
decided that a town can execute its power to form School Districts
only by geographical divisions of its territory, that there cannot
be what I would call a _personal_ limitation of a district, and that
_certain individuals_ cannot be selected and set off by _themselves_
into a district.[42] The admitted effect of this decision is to render
a separate school for colored children illegal and impossible in towns
divided into districts. They are so regarded in Salem, Nantucket, New
Bedford, and in other towns of this Commonwealth. The careful opinion
of a learned member of this Court, who is not sitting in this case,
given while at the bar,[43] and extensively published, is considered as
practically settling this point.

    [41] Revised Statutes, Ch. 23.

    [42] Perry _v._ Dover, 12 Pick. R., 213.

    [43] Hon. Richard Fletcher.

But there cannot be one law for the country and another for Boston.
It is true that Boston is not divided strictly into geographical
districts. In this respect its position is anomalous. But if separate
colored schools are illegal and impossible in the country, they must
be illegal and impossible in Boston. It is absurd to suppose that this
city, failing to establish School Districts, and treating all its
territory as a single district, should be able to legalize a Caste
school, which otherwise it could not do. Boston cannot do indirectly
what other towns cannot do directly. This is the first answer to the
allegation of equivalents.

2. The second is that in point of fact the separate school is not
an equivalent. We have already seen that it is the occasion of
inconvenience to colored children, which would not arise, if they had
access to the nearest Common School, besides compelling parents to pay
an additional tax, and inflicting upon child and parent the stigma of
Caste. Still further,--and this consideration cannot be neglected,--the
matters taught in the two schools may be precisely the same, but a
school exclusively devoted to one class must differ essentially in
spirit and character from that Common School known to the law, where
all classes meet together in Equality. It is a mockery to call it an

3. But there is yet another answer. Admitting that it is an equivalent,
still the colored children cannot be compelled to take it. Their
rights are found in Equality before the Law; nor can they be called to
renounce one jot of this. They have an equal right with white children
to the Common Schools. A separate school, though well endowed, would
not secure to them that precise Equality which they would enjoy in the
Common Schools. The Jews in Rome are confined to a particular district
called the Ghetto, and in Frankfort to a district known as the Jewish
Quarter. It is possible that their accommodations are as good as they
would be able to occupy, if left free to choose throughout Rome and
Frankfort; but this compulsory segregation from the mass of citizens is
of itself an _inequality_ which we condemn. It is a vestige of ancient
intolerance directed against a despised people. It is of the same
character with the separate schools in Boston.

Thus much for the doctrine of Equivalents as a substitute for Equality.

       *       *       *       *       *


In determining that the School Committee have no _power_ to make this
discrimination we are strengthened by another consideration. If the
power exists in the present case, it cannot be restricted to this.
The Committee may distribute all the children into classes, according
to mere discretion. They may establish a separate school for Irish
or Germans, where each may nurse an exclusive nationality alien to
our institutions. They may separate Catholics from Protestants, or,
pursuing their discretion still further, may separate different sects
of Protestants, and establish one school for Unitarians, another for
Presbyterians, another for Baptists, and another for Methodists. They
may establish a separate school for the rich, that the delicate taste
of this favored class may not be offended by the humble garments of
the poor. They may exclude the children of mechanics, and send them to
separate schools. All this, and much more, can be done in the exercise
of that high-handed power which makes a discrimination on account of
race or color. The grand fabric of our Common Schools, the pride of
Massachusetts,--where, at the feet of the teacher, innocent childhood
should come, unconscious of all distinctions of birth,--where the
Equality of the Constitution and of Christianity should be inculcated
by constant precept and example,--will be converted into a heathen
system of proscription and Caste. We shall then have many different
schools, representatives of as many different classes, opinions, and
prejudices; but we shall look in vain for the true Common School of
Massachusetts. Let it not be said that there is little danger that
any Committee will exercise a discretion to this extent. They must not
be intrusted with the power. Here is the only safety worthy of a free

       *       *       *       *       *

                             BY-LAW VOID.

The Court will declare the by-law of the School Committee
unconstitutional and illegal, although there are no express words of
prohibition in the Constitution and Laws.

It is hardly necessary to say anything in support of this proposition.
Slavery was abolished in Massachusetts, under the Declaration of
Rights in our Constitution, without any specific words of abolition in
that instrument, or in any subsequent legislation.[44] The same words
which are potent to destroy Slavery must be equally potent against
any institution founded on Inequality or Caste. The case of _Boston_
v. _Shaw_ (1 Metcalf, 130), to which reference has been already made,
where a by-law of the city was set aside as unequal and unreasonable,
and therefore void, affords another example of the power which I here
invoke. But authorities are not needed. The words of the Constitution
are plain, and it will be the duty of the Court to see that they are
applied to the discrimination now waiting for judgment.

    [44] Commonwealth _v._ Aves, 18 Pick. R., 210.

The Court might justly feel delicacy, if called to revise an act of
the Legislature. But it is simply the action of a local committee that
they are to overrule. They may also be encouraged by the circumstance
that it is only to the schools of Boston that their decision can be
applicable. Already the other towns have voluntarily banished Caste.
Banishing it from the schools of Boston, the Court will bring them
into much-desired harmony with the schools of other towns, and with
the whole system of Common Schools. I am unwilling to suppose that
there can be any hesitation or doubt. If any should arise, there is a
rule of interpretation which is plain. According to familiar practice,
judicial interpretation is made always in favor of life or liberty. So
here the Court should incline in favor of Equality, that sacred right
which is the companion of those other rights. In proportion to the
importance of this right will the Court be solicitous to vindicate and
uphold it. And in proportion to the opposition which it encounters from
prejudices of society will the Court brace themselves to this task. It
has been pointedly remarked by Rousseau, that "it is precisely because
the force of things tends always to destroy Equality that the force of
legislation should always tend to maintain it."[45] In similar spirit,
and for the same reason, the Court should always tend to maintain

    [45] Contrat Social, Liv. II. ch. 11.

       *       *       *       *       *

                      ORIGIN OF SEPARATE SCHOOLS.

In extenuation of the Boston system, it is sometimes said that the
separation of white and black children was originally made at the
request of colored parents. This is substantially true. It appears
from the interesting letter of Dr. Belknap, in reply to Judge Tucker's
queries respecting Slavery in Massachusetts, at the close of the last
century, that no discrimination on account of color existed then in
the Common Schools of Boston. "The same provision," he says, "is made
by the public for the education of the children of the blacks as for
those of the whites. In this town the Committee who superintend the
free schools have given in charge to the schoolmasters to receive
and instruct black children as well as white." Dr. Belknap had "not
heard of more than three or four who had taken advantage of this
privilege, though the number of blacks in Boston probably exceeded one
thousand."[46] Much I fear that the inhuman bigotry of Caste--sad relic
of the servitude from which they had just escaped--was at this time too
strong to allow colored children kindly welcome in the free schools,
and that, from timidity and ignorance, they hesitated to take a place
on the same benches with the white children. Perhaps the prejudice was
so inveterate that they could not venture to assert their rights. In
1800 a petition from sixty-six colored persons was presented to the
School Committee, requesting the establishment of a school for their
benefit. Some time later, private munificence came to the aid of this
work, and the present system of separate schools was brought into being.

    [46] Coll. Mass. Hist. Soc., Vol. IV. pp. 206, 207.

These are interesting incidents belonging to the history of the Boston
schools, but they cannot in any way affect the rights of colored
people or the powers of the School Committee. These rights and these
powers stand on the Constitution and Laws. Without adopting the
suggestion of Jefferson, that one generation cannot by legislation
bind its successors, all must agree that the assent of a few to an
unconstitutional and illegal course nearly half a century ago, when
their rights were imperfectly understood, cannot alter the Constitution
and the Laws so as to bind their descendants forever in the thrall of
Caste. Nor can the Committee derive from this assent, or from any
lapse of time, powers in derogation of the Constitution and the Rights
of Man.

It is clear that the sentiments of the colored people have now changed.
The present case, and the deep interest which they manifest in it,
thronging the Court to watch this discussion, attest the change. With
increasing knowledge they have learned to know their rights, and feel
the degradation to which they are doomed. In them revives the spirit of
Paul, even as when he demanded, "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man
that is a Roman, and uncondemned?" Their present effort is the token of
a manly character, which this Court will respect and cherish.

       *       *       *       *       *

                      EVILS OF SEPARATE SCHOOLS.

But it is said that these separate schools are for the benefit of
both colors, and of the Public Schools. In similar spirit Slavery
is sometimes said to be for the benefit of master and slave, and
of the country where it exists. There is a mistake in the one case
as great as in the other. This is clear. Nothing unjust, nothing
ungenerous, can be for the benefit of any person or any thing. From
some seeming selfish superiority, or from the gratified vanity of
class, short-sighted mortals may hope to draw permanent good; but
even-handed justice rebukes these efforts and redresses the wrong. The
whites themselves are injured by the separation. Who can doubt this?
With the Law as their monitor, they are taught to regard a portion of
the human family, children of God, created in his image, coequals in
his love, as a separate and degraded class; they are taught practically
to deny that grand revelation of Christianity, the Brotherhood of
Man. Hearts, while yet tender with childhood, are hardened, and ever
afterward testify to this legalized uncharitableness. Nursed in the
sentiments of Caste, receiving it with the earliest food of knowledge,
they are unable to eradicate it from their natures, and then weakly and
impiously charge upon our Heavenly Father the prejudice derived from an
unchristian school. Their characters are debased, and they become less
fit for the duties of citizenship.

The Helots of Sparta were obliged to intoxicate themselves, that
by example they might teach the deformity of intemperance. Thus
sacrificing one class to the other, both were injured,--the imperious
Spartan and the abased Helot. The School Committee of Boston act with
similar double-edged injustice in sacrificing the colored children to
the prejudice or fancied advantage of the white.

A child should be taught to shun wickedness, and, as he is yet plastic
under impressions, to shun wicked men. Horace was right, when, speaking
of a person morally wrong, false, and unjust, he calls him black, and
warns against him:--

        "Hic niger est: hunc tu, Romane, caveto."[47]

The Boston Committee adopt the warning, but apply it not to the
black in heart, but the black in skin. They forget the admonition
addressed to the prophet: "The Lord said unto Samuel, _Look not on his
countenance_: ... for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh
on the outward appearance, _but the Lord looketh on the heart_."[48]
The Committee look on the outward appearance, without looking on the
heart, and thus fancy that they are doing right!

    [47] Satiræ, Lib. I. iv. 85.

    [48] 1 Samuel, xvi. 7.

Who can say that this does not injure the blacks? Theirs, in its best
estate, is an unhappy lot. A despised class, blasted by prejudice
and shut out from various opportunities, they feel this proscription
from the Common Schools as a peculiar brand. Beyond this, it deprives
them of those healthful, animating influences which would come from
participation in the studies of their white brethren. It adds to their
discouragements. It widens their separation from the community, and
postpones that great day of reconciliation which is yet to come.

The whole system of Common Schools suffers also. It is a narrow
perception of their high aim which teaches that they are merely to
furnish an equal amount of knowledge to all, and therefore, provided
all be taught, it is of little consequence where and in what company.
The law contemplates not only that all shall be taught, but that
_all_ shall be taught _together_. They are not only to receive equal
quantities of knowledge, but all are to receive it in the same way.
All are to approach the same common fountain together; nor can there
be any exclusive source for individual or class. The school is the
little world where the child is trained for the larger world of life.
It is the microcosm preparatory to the macrocosm, and therefore it
must cherish and develop the virtues and the sympathies needed in the
larger world. And since, according to our institutions, all classes,
without distinction of color, meet in the performance of civil duties,
so should they all, without distinction of color, meet in the school,
beginning there those relations of Equality which the Constitution and
Laws promise to all.

As the State derives strength from the unity and solidarity of its
citizens without distinction of class, so the school derives strength
from the unity and solidarity of all classes beneath its roof. In
this way the poor, the humble, and the neglected not only share the
companionship of the more favored, but enjoy also the protection
of their presence, which draws toward the school a more watchful
superintendence. A degraded or neglected class, if left to themselves,
will become more degraded or neglected. "If any man have ears to hear,
let him hear.... For he that hath, to him shall be given; and he that
hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath."[49] The
world, perverting the true sense of these words, takes from the outcast
that which God gave him capacity to enjoy. Happily, our educational
system, by the blending of all classes, draws upon the whole school
that attention which is too generally accorded only to the favored
few, and thus secures to the poor their portion of the fruitful
sunshine. But the colored children, placed apart in separate schools,
are deprived of this peculiar advantage. Nothing is more clear than
that the welfare of classes, as well as of individuals, is promoted by
mutual acquaintance. Prejudice is the child of ignorance. It is sure to
prevail, where people do not know each other. Society and intercourse
are means established by Providence for human improvement. They remove
antipathies, promote mutual adaptation and conciliation, and establish
relations of reciprocal regard. Whoso sets up barriers to these thwarts
the ways of Providence, crosses the tendencies of human nature, and
directly interferes with the laws of God.

    [49] Mark, iv. 23, 25.

       *       *       *       *       *

                          DUTY OF THE COURT.

May it please your Honors: Such are some of the things which I feel
it my duty to say in this important cause. I have occupied much time,
but the topics are not yet exhausted. Still, which way soever we turn,
we are brought back to one single proposition,--_the Equality of men
before the Law_. This stands as the mighty guardian of the colored
children in this case. It is the constant, ever-present, tutelary
genius of this Commonwealth, frowning upon every privilege of birth,
every distinction of race, every institution of Caste. You cannot
slight it or avoid it. You cannot restrain it. God grant that you may
welcome it! Do this, and your words will be a "charter and freehold
of rejoicing" to a race which by much suffering has earned a title
to much regard. Your judgment will become a sacred landmark, not in
jurisprudence only, but in the history of Freedom, giving precious
encouragement to the weary and heavy-laden wayfarers in this great
cause. Massachusetts, through you, will have fresh title to respect,
and be once more, as in times past, an example to the whole land.

Already you have banished Slavery from this Commonwealth. I call
upon you now to obliterate the last of its footprints, and to banish
the last of the hateful spirits in its train. The law interfering to
prohibit marriage between blacks and whites has been abolished by the
Legislature. Railroads, which, imitating the Boston schools, placed
colored people apart by themselves, are compelled, under the influence
of an awakened public sentiment, to abandon this regulation, and to
allow them the privileges of other travellers. Only recently I have
read that his Excellency, our present Governor,[50] took his seat in
a train by the side of a negro. In the Caste Schools of Boston the
prejudice of color seeks its final refuge. It is for you to drive it
forth. You do well, when you rebuke and correct individual offences;
but it is a higher office to rebuke and correct a vicious institution.
Each individual is limited in influence; but an institution has the
influence of numbers organized by law. The charity of one man may
counteract or remedy the uncharitableness of another; but no individual
can counteract or remedy the uncharitableness of an organized injury.
Against it private benevolence is powerless. It is a monster to be
hunted down by the public and the constituted authorities. And such is
the institution of Caste in the Common Schools of Boston, which now
awaits a just condemnation from a just Court.

    [50] Hon. George N. Briggs.

One of the most remarkable expositions of Slavery is from the pen of
Condorcet, in a note to the "Thoughts" of Pascal. Voltaire, in his
later commentary on the same text, speaks of this "terrible" note,
and adopts its conclusion. In the course of this arraignment, the
philosopher, painting the character of the slave-master, says, "Such
is the excess of his stupid contempt for this wretched race, that,
returning to Europe, he is indignant to see them clothed as men and
_placed by his side_."[51] Thus the repugnance of the slave-master
to see the wretched race _placed by his side_ is adduced as crowning
evidence of the inhumanity of Slavery. But this very repugnance has
practical sanction among us, and you are to determine whether it shall
be longer permitted. Slavery, in one of its enormities, is now before
you for judgment. Hesitate not, I pray you, to strike it down. Let the
blow fall which shall end its domination here in Massachusetts.

    [51] Pensées de Pascal, Notes de Condorcet et Voltaire, No. 109.

The civilization of the age joins in this appeal. I need not remind
you that this prejudice of color is peculiar to our country. You may
remember that two youths of African blood only recently gained the
highest honors in a college at Paris, and on the same day dined with
the King of the French, the descendant of St. Louis, at the Palace of
the Tuileries. And let me add, if I may refer to my own experience,
that at the School of Law in Paris I have sat for weeks on the same
benches with colored pupils, listening, like myself, to the learned
lectures of Degerando and Rossi; nor do I remember, in the throng of
sensitive young men, any feeling toward them except of companionship
and respect. In Italy, at the Convent of Palazzuolo, on the shores of
the Alban Lake, amidst a scene of natural beauty enhanced by historical
association, where I was once a guest, I have, for days, seen a native
of Abyssinia, recently from his torrid home, and ignorant of the
language spoken about him, mingling, in delightful and affectionate
familiarity, with the Franciscan friars, whose visitor and scholar
he was. Do I err in saying that the Christian spirit shines in these

The Christian spirit, then, I again invoke. Where this prevails, there
is neither Jew nor Gentile, Greek nor Barbarian, bond nor free, but
all are alike. From this we derive new and solemn assurance of the
Equality of Men, as an ordinance of God. Human bodies may be unequal
in beauty or strength; these mortal cloaks of flesh may differ, as do
these worldly garments; these intellectual faculties may vary, as
do opportunities of action and advantages of position; but amid all
unessential differences there is essential agreement and equality.
Dives and Lazarus are equal in the sight of God: they must be equal in
the sight of all human institutions.

This is not all. The vaunted superiority of the white race imposes
corresponding duties. The faculties with which they are endowed, and
the advantages they possess, must be exercised for the good of all. If
the colored people are ignorant, degraded, and unhappy, then should
they be especial objects of care. From the abundance of our possessions
must we seek to remedy their lot. And this Court, which is parent to
all the unfortunate children of the Commonwealth, will show itself most
truly parental, when it reaches down, and, with the strong arm of Law,
elevates, encourages, and protects our colored fellow-citizens.

       *       *       *       *       *



                        IN BOARD OF OVERSEERS, February 1, 1849.

    be a committee to visit the Law School during the ensuing year.
    [Hon. WILLIAM KENT was afterwards substituted for Mr. GREENLEAF,
    who declined.]

       *       *       *       *       *

                       IN BOARD OF OVERSEERS, February 7, 1850.

    _Ordered_, That the Report of the Committee appointed to visit the
    Law School be printed.

                                     ALEXANDER YOUNG, _Secretary_.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Committee appointed by the Overseers of Harvard University to visit
the Law School performed that service November 7, 1849. Among their
number present on the occasion was Hon. WILLIAM KENT, of New
York, who gratified his associates by coming a long distance to join in
this duty.

       *       *       *       *       *

The attention of the Committee was first directed to the actual
condition of the School, and its advantages as a place of legal
education. Here there is occasion for lively satisfaction. The number
of students is one hundred, assembled from all parts of the Union, and
constituting a representation of the whole country. Their attendance
upon the lectures and other exercises, though entirely voluntary, is
full and regular; while their industry, good conduct, and intelligent
reception of instruction is a source of gratification to their

Lectures were given, during the current term, by Professor
PARKER, upon Equity Pleadings, Bailments, and Practice,--by
Professor PARSONS, upon Blackstone's Commentaries, Admiralty
Jurisdiction, Shipping, Bills and Notes,--and by Professor
ALLEN, upon Real Law and Domestic Relations. In treating most
of these branches, the professors employed text-books of acknowledged
authority, to which the attention of the students was especially
directed. They also examined the students in these books, and in
leading cases illustrating the subject.

This system, which, with substantial uniformity, has been continued
in the School since its earliest foundation, appears well adapted
to instruction in the law. It is essential that the student should
be directed to certain text-books, which he must study carefully,
devotedly. Nor can he properly omit to go behind these, and verify them
by the decided cases, letting no day pass without its fulfilled task.
In this way he is prepared for examination, and enabled to appreciate
the explanations and illustrations of the lecture-room, throwing light
upon the text, and showing its application to practical cases. The
labors of the student will qualify him to comprehend the labors of the
instructor. Still further, examinations in the text-books, accompanied
by explanations and illustrations, interest the student in the subject,
and bring his mind in contact with that of his instructor.

These same purposes are promoted by the favorite exercise of
moot-courts, held twice a week by the different professors in
succession. A case involving some unsettled question of law is
presented by four students, designated so long in advance as to allow
time for careful preparation; and at the close of the arguments an
opinion is pronounced by the presiding professor, commenting upon the
arguments on each side, and deciding between them. These occasions
are found to enlist the best attention, not only of those immediately
engaged, but of the whole School,--while some of the efforts they call
forth show distinguished research and ability. On this mimic field are
trained forensic powers destined to be the pride and ornament of the

The advantages for study afforded by the extensive library of the
Law School should not be forgotten. This is separate from the Public
Library of the University, and contains about fourteen thousand
volumes. Here are all the American Reports,--the Statutes of the United
States, as well as those of all the several States,--a regular series
of all the English Reports, including the Year-Books,--the English
Statutes,--the principal treatises on American and English law,--also
a large body of works in the Scotch, French, German, Dutch, Spanish,
Italian, and other foreign law,--and an ample collection of the
best editions of the Roman or Civil Law, with the works of the most
celebrated commentators upon that ancient text. This library is one
of the largest and most valuable, relating to law, in the country. As
an aid to study, it cannot be estimated too highly. Here the student
may range at will through all the demesnes of jurisprudence. Here he
may acquire knowledge of law-books, learning their true character and
value, which will be of incalculable service in his future labors.
Whoso knows how to use a library possesses the very keys of knowledge.
Next to knowing the law is knowing where to find it.

There is another advantage, of peculiar character, in the opportunity
of kindly and profitable social relations among the students, and also
between students and professors. Young men engaged in similar pursuits
are instructors to each other. The daily conversation concerns their
common studies, and contributes some new impulse. Mind meets mind,
and each derives strength from the contact. The professor is also
at hand. In the lecture-room, and also in private, he is ready for
counsel and help. The students are not alone. At every step they find
an assistant ready to conduct them through the devious and toilsome
passes, and to remove the difficulties which throng the way. This
twofold companionship of students with each other and with their
appointed teachers is full of good influence, not only in the cordial
intercourse it begets, but in the positive knowledge it diffuses, and
its stimulating effect upon the mind.

In dwelling on the advantages of the Law School as a seat of legal
education, the Committee therefore rank side by side with the lectures
and exercises of the professors the profitable opportunities afforded
by the library and the fellowship of persons engaged in the same
pursuits, all echoing to the heart of the pupil, as from the genius of
the place, constant words of succor, encouragement, and hope.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the present prosperity of the School, the Committee are led to
look back at its early beginning, to observe its growth, and to
commemorate with gratitude its benefactors.

It hardly need be added, that a Law School was not embraced by our
forefathers in the original design of the College, and that it is a
late graft upon the ancient stock. The College was planted at a time
when law was not treated, even in England, as a part of academic
instruction. The first settlers could not be expected to establish
professorships unknown in the land from which they had parted; nor
did there appear in those early days, or for some time later, any
occasion for professional instruction. The law, as science, profession,
or practical instrument of government, was scarcely recognized.
Lawyers were not known as a class, nor was their business respected.
Thomas Lechford, of Clement's Inn, who emigrated not long after the
foundation of the College, hoping to gain a livelihood as attorney,
being cautioned at a quarter court "not to meddle with controversies,"
went back to England. As the Colony grew, it gradually laid hold of the
Common Law, and for some time before the Revolution claimed it as a

The history of the University Library exposes the poverty of the
means for the study of the law in those early days. In its Catalogue,
published in 1723, we find but _seven_ volumes of Common Law. These
are Spelman's Glossary, Pulton's Collection of Statutes, Keble's
Statutes, Coke's First and Second Institutes, and two odd volumes of
the Year-Books. Such were the means for the study of our law afforded
by the public library, which Cotton Mather, sometime before the
publication of this catalogue, described as "the best furnished that
could be shown anywhere in all the American regions." Since books are
the instruments of learning, it follows, if these were wanting, that
the study of the law could make little advance. Happily this is now

The first professorship of law in the University was established
in 1815, upon a foundation partly supplied by an ancient devise of
ISAAC ROYALL, Esq.,--a munificent gentleman of ample fortune,
who, being connected by blood and marriage, as well as by political
opinions, with the principal royalists of Massachusetts, forsook the
country with them at the commencement of the Revolution, and died at
Kensington, in England, in October, 1781. Though an exile, he did
not forget the land he had left. Thither before death his "heart
untravelled fondly turned." By his will, recorded at the Probate
Office in Boston, he devised to Medford, in Massachusetts, where he
had resided, certain lands in Granby, for the support of schools. The
residue of his estate in that town, and other lands in the County of
Worcester, he devised to the Overseers and Corporation of Harvard
College, "to be appropriated towards the endowing _a Professor of Laws
in the said College_, or a Professor of Physic and Anatomy, whichever
the said Overseers and Corporation shall judge to be best for the
benefit of the said College." The capital, with its accumulation, from
the property thus devised, is $7,943, yielding an annual income of
about four hundred dollars. It is believed that the University and the
lovers of the law are indebted to the late Hon. JOHN LOWELL,
while a member of the Corporation, for calling these funds--yet
unappropriated to either object of the devise--from their sleep in
the treasury, by procuring the establishment of a professorship of
law, which was ordered, for the present, to bear the name of _Royall_,
in honor of him whose will in this regard was now first executed.
This was in 1815. The residue of the funds for its support have
been supplied by the University, mainly from fees paid by students
of law. The Hon. ISAAC PARKER, late Chief Justice of this
Commonwealth, was the first professor.

In 1817 the Hon. ASAHEL STEARNS was placed upon another
foundation, established by the University. The statutes of this
professorship required him to open and keep a school in Cambridge for
the instruction of graduates and of others prosecuting the study of the
law. Besides prescribing to his pupils a course of study, it was made
his duty to examine and confer with them upon their studies, to read to
them a course of lectures, and generally to act the part of tutor, so
as to improve their minds and assist their acquisitions. From this time
may be dated the establishment of the Law School in the University.

Chief-Justice Parker never resided at Cambridge, but, in the
performance of his duties as professor, every summer read lectures to
the Law School and the senior class of undergraduates. These were of an
elementary nature, adapted to youthful minds,--the audience being for
the most part undergraduates,--and were characterized by that free and
flowing style which marks the judicial opinions of this eminent Judge.
They comprised a view of the Constitutions of the United States and of
Massachusetts, with the early juridical history of New England, and the
origin of its laws and institutions. Professor Stearns, who resided in
Cambridge, was occupied immediately with the duties of instruction. He
was accustomed to hear recitations in the more important text-books, to
preside in moot-courts, and to read lectures on interesting titles of
law. His valuable work on Real Actions, so well known to lawyers, was
prepared in the discharge of his duties as professor, and read to his
pupils in a course of lectures. The first edition was dedicated by the
author "To the Law Students of Harvard University, as a testimony of
his earnest desire to aid them in the honorable and laborious study of
American jurisprudence."

The number of students at this period was small. From 1817 to 1829 the
largest class for any single year was eighteen, and the average annual
number was not more than thirteen. The first important step, however,
was taken. Law was admitted within the circle of University studies,
while, by the learning and reputation of its professors, the cause of
legal education was commended, and the idea of a Law School was shown
to be practicable.

On the resignation of Chief-Justice Parker and Professor Stearns a
new epoch in the history of the School began. The Hon. NATHAN
DANE, in 1829, emulating the example of Viner in England, applied
the profits of his extensive Abridgment and Digest of American Law to
the foundation of a new professorship, still called from his name; and
at his request, the late JOSEPH STORY, then a resident of
Salem, and an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, was appointed
the first professor. In his communication to the University, making
this endowment, the venerable founder marked out the proposed duties
as follows: "It shall be the duty of the professor to prepare and
deliver, and to revise for publication, a course of lectures on the
five following branches of law and equity, equally in force in all
parts of our Federal Republic, namely, the Law of Nature, the Law of
Nations, Commercial and Maritime Law, Federal Law, and Federal Equity,
in such wide extent as the same branches now are, and from time to time
shall be, administered in the Courts of the United States, but in such
compressed form as the professor shall deem proper, and so to prepare,
deliver, and revise lectures thereon as often as the said Corporation
shall think proper." The original endowment by Mr. Dane was $10,000,
to which on his death was added $5,000, making the sum-total $15,000.
Mr. Justice Story removed to Cambridge in 1829, commencing his new
career as Dane Professor of Law with an inaugural discourse, where
the honorable nature of legal studies, the arduous labors required in
their pursuit, and the duties upon which he was entering, were reviewed
with singular power and beauty. At the same time, JOHN HOOKER
ASHMUN, Esq., a lawyer of remarkable acuteness and maturity,
who, though young, had shown already the capacity of a jurist, was
associated with him as Royall Professor of Law.

From the exertions of the new professors the Law School received
fresh impulse. The number of students increased, and the fame of the
institution was extended. Professor Story, though much absent in the
discharge of his judicial duties, yet found time for active part in
teaching. He presided in moot-courts and lecture-rooms, and, by earnest
encouragement and profuse instruction, not less than by illustrious
example, raised the classes to unwonted ardor. He continued in this
sphere, giving and receiving happiness, for a period of sixteen years,
when, as age advanced, desiring to lay down some of his cares, he
proposed to resign his seat on the bench, and dedicate the remainder of
his days to his professorship. As he was about to make this change he
was arrested by death, September 10, 1845.

Professor Ashmun had already fallen by his side, much regretted, at
the early age of thirty-three. Besides moot-courts, examinations in
text-books, and oral expositions of the law, this learned teacher
occasionally read written lectures. Among these was a valuable course
on Medical Jurisprudence, Equity, and the Action of Assumpsit.
His place was supplied in 1833 by an eminent jurist, SIMON
GREENLEAF, Esq., who labored for a long period with rare success,
beloved by a large circle of grateful pupils, and by his associates in
instruction, till 1848, when he was compelled by ill-health to resign
his connection with the Law School. Among his distinguished labors,
in the discharge of his duties as professor, is a work on the Law of
Evidence, which is now a manual in the courts of our country, and one
of the classics of the Common Law.

On the death of Professor Story, Professor Greenleaf was made Dane
Professor. Hon. WILLIAM KENT, of New York, occupied for a
year the place of Royall Professor, when he felt constrained, by
circumstances beyond his control, to leave Cambridge. Since then Hon.
THEOPHILUS PARSONS has been Dane Professor, and Hon. JOEL
PARKER, late Chief Justice of New Hampshire, Royall Professor.
Hon. FRANKLIN DEXTER has lectured for a brief period on the
Constitution of the United States and the Law of Nations, and Hon.
LUTHER S. CUSHING on Parliamentary Law and Criminal Law.
Hon. FREDERICK H. ALLEN, late a judge in Maine, at present
University Professor, without any permanent foundation, is coöperating
with Professor Parsons and Professor Parker in the general duties of

In reviewing the history of the School, the Committee, while gratefully
remembering all its instructors, are impressed by the long and
important labors of STORY. In the meridian of his fame as
judge, he became a practical teacher of jurisprudence, and lent to the
University the lustre of his name. Through him the Dane Professorship
has acquired a renown placing it on the same elevation with the
Vinerian Professorship at Oxford, to which we are indebted for the
Commentaries of Sir William Blackstone. These "twin stars," each in its
own hemisphere, shine rival glories. Nor is this the only parallel;
for Viner, like our Dane, endowed the professorship which bears his
name from the profits of his immense Abridgment of the Law. In the
performance of his duties, Professor Story prepared and published
the most important series of juridical works which has latterly
appeared in the English language, embracing a comprehensive treatise
on the Constitution of the United States, a masterly exposition of
that portion of International Law known as the Conflict of Laws, and
Commentaries on Equity Jurisprudence, Equity Pleading, and various
branches of Commercial Law.

The extent of his labors, and their influence in building up the
School, appear in an interesting passage of his last will and
testament, bearing date January 2, 1842. After bequeathing to the
University several valuable pictures, busts, and books, he proceeds
as follows: "I ask the President and Fellows of Harvard College
to accept these as memorials of my reverence and respect for that
venerable institution, at which I received my education. I hope it may
not be improper for me here to add, that I have devoted myself, as
Dane Professor, for the last thirteen years,[52] to the labors and
duties of instruction in the Law School, and have always performed
equal duties and to an equal amount with my excellent colleagues, Mr.
Professor Ashmun and Mr. Professor Greenleaf, in the Law School. When I
came to Cambridge, and undertook the duties of my professorship, there
had not been a single law student there for the preceding year. There
was no law library, but a few old and imperfect books being there. The
students have since increased to a large number, and for six years last
past have exceeded one hundred a year. The Law Library now contains
about six thousand volumes, whose value cannot be deemed less than
twenty-five thousand dollars. My own salary has constantly remained
limited to one thousand dollars,--a little more than the interest
of Mr. Dane's donations. I have never asked or desired an increase
thereof, as I was receiving a suitable salary as a Judge of the Supreme
Court of the United States,--while my colleagues have very properly
received a much larger sum, and of late years more than double my own.
Under these circumstances, I cannot but feel that I have contributed
towards the advancement of the Law School a sum out of my earnings,
which, with my moderate means, will be thought to absolve me from
making, what otherwise I certainly should do, a pecuniary legacy to
Harvard College, for the general advancement of literature and learning

    [52] His will being dated three years before his death.

From the books of the Treasurer it appears that the sums received
from students in the Law School during the sixteen years of his
professorship amounted to $105,000. Of this amount, only $47,800 was
disbursed in salaries and current expenses. The balance, amounting to
$57,200, is represented by the following items, namely:--

    Books purchased for the Library and for students, including
    about $1,950 for binding, and deducting amount received for
    books sold                                                   $29,000

    Enlargement of the Hall, containing the library and
    lecture-rooms, in 1844-45                                     12,700

    Fund remaining to the credit of the School in August, 1845

Thus the Law School, at the time of Professor Story's death, actually
possessed, independent of the somewhat scanty donations by Mr. Royall
and Mr. Dane, funds and other property, including a large library and
a commodious edifice, amounting to upwards of _fifty-seven thousand
dollars_, all earned during Professor Story's term of service. As
during this period he declined a larger annual salary than $1,000,
and as his high character and the attraction of his name contributed
to swell the income of the School, it is evident that a considerable
portion of this large sum may justly be regarded as the fruit of his
bountiful labors contributed to the University.

The Committee, while calling attention to the extent of pecuniary
benefaction which the Law School has received from Professor Story,
feel it a duty to urge upon the Government of the University the
recognition of this benefaction in some suitable form. The name of
Royall, given to one of the professorships, keeps alive the memory of
his early generosity. The name of Dane, given to the professorship
on which Story taught, and sometimes also to the edifice containing
the library and lecture-rooms, and then to the Law School itself,
attests, with triple academic voice, a well-rewarded donation. But
the contributions of Royall and Dane combined, important as they
were, and justly worthy of honorable mention, do not equal what was
contributed by Story. At the present moment Story must be regarded
as the largest pecuniary benefactor of the Law School, and one of
the largest pecuniary benefactors of the University. In this respect
he stands before Hollis, Alford, Boylston, Hersey, Bowdoin, Erving,
Eliot, Smith, M'Lean, Perkins, and Fisher. His contributions have this
additional peculiarity, that they were munificently afforded from daily
earnings,--not after death, but during life; so that he became, as
it were, the executor of his own will. In justice to the dead, as an
example to the living, and in conformity with established usage, the
University should enroll his name among its founders, and in some fit
manner inscribe it upon the school which he helped to rear.

Three different courses occur to the Committee. The edifice containing
the library and lecture-rooms may be called after him, _Story Hall_. Or
the branch of the University devoted to law may be called _Story Law
School_, as the other branch of the University devoted to science, in
gratitude to a distinguished benefactor, is called _Lawrence Scientific
School_. Or a new and permanent professorship in the Law School may be
created, with his name.

If the last suggestion should find favor, the Committee recommend
that the professorship be of _Commercial Law and the Law of Nations_.
It is well known to have been the desire of Professor Story, often
expressed, in view of the increasing means of the Law School, and the
corresponding demands for education in the law, that professorships
of both these branches should be established. In his opinion that of
Commercial Law was most needed. His own preëminence in this department
appears in his works, and especially in numerous judicial opinions. His
interest in it was attested in conversation with one of this Committee
only a few days before his death. Hearing that it was proposed by
merchants of Boston, on his resignation of the judicial seat he had
held for nearly thirty-four years, to cause his statue in marble to be
erected, he said: "If Boston merchants wish to do me honor in any way,
on my leaving the bench, let it not be by a statue, but by founding in
the Law School a professorship of Commercial Law." With these generous
words he embraced at once his favorite law and his favorite University.

The subject of Commercial Law is of great and growing importance in
the multiplying relations of mankind. Every new tie of commerce gives
new occasion for its application. Besides the general principles of
the Law of Contracts, it comprehends the Law of Bailments, Agency,
Partnership, Bills of Exchange and Promissory Notes, Shipping, and
Insurance,--branches of inexpressible interest to lawyers, merchants,
and indeed to every citizen. The main features of this law are common
to all commercial nations; they are recognized with substantial
uniformity, whether at Boston, London, or Calcutta, at Hamburg,
Marseilles, or Leghorn. In this respect they may be regarded as part of
the _Private_ Law of Nations. They would be associated naturally with
the Public Law of Nations,--embracing, of course, the Law of Admiralty,
and that other branch, which it is hoped will remain forever a dead
letter, the Law of Prize.

The Committee believe that all who become acquainted with this
statement will agree that something should be done to commemorate the
obligations of the University to one of its most eminent professors and
largest pecuniary benefactors. They have ventured suggestions as to
the manner in which this may be accomplished, not with any particular
confidence in their own views, but simply as a mode of opening the
subject, and bringing it to attention. In dwelling on the propriety
of a new and permanent professorship, they would not be understood as
expressing a preference for this form of acknowledgment. It may be a
question, whether the services of Professor Story, important in every
respect, shedding upon the Law School a lasting fame, and securing to
it pecuniary competence, an extensive library, and a commodious hall,
can be commemorated with more appropriate academic honors than by
giving his name to that department in the University of which he was
the truest founder. The world, anticipating all formal action of the
University, has already placed the Law School under the guardianship of
his name. It is by the name of STORY that this seat of legal
education has become known wherever jurisprudence is cultivated as a

                                 For the Committee.

                                                  CHARLES SUMNER.


       *       *       *       *       *



    The history of the Peace Movement, recounted in the Address on
    the War System of the Commonwealth of Nations, terminates at the
    date of that Address, anterior to the Congress at Paris, called
    the Second General Peace Congress, on the 22d, 23d, and 24th of
    August, 1849. This Congress is briefly characterized in the Address
    below. There is a report of its proceedings, where may be read the
    able speeches and letters by which the cause was vindicated. It
    was arranged in Europe that the next year should witness a similar
    Congress, and Frankfort-on-the-Main was selected for the place of
    meeting, both from its central situation and the sympathy felt in
    the movement by leading minds of Germany.

    In the United States a Committee was appointed, with Mr. Sumner as
    Chairman, to obtain a proper representation. The following Address
    was put forth by the Committee. But the question ceased to be
    pressed in Europe, under the influence of the prevailing reaction,
    while in our country it was overshadowed by Slavery, to which the
    general attention was now directed. It was often remarked, "One
    evil at a time"; and thus the Peace Cause was postponed.


The month of August last witnessed at Paris a Congress or Convention
of persons from various countries, to consider what could be done to
promote the sacred cause of Universal Peace. France, Germany, Belgium,
England, and the United States were represented by large numbers of men
eminent in business, politics, literature, religion, and philanthropy.
The Catholic Archbishop of Paris, and the eloquent Protestant preacher,
M. Athanase Coquerel,--Michel Chevalier, Horace Say, and Frédéric
Bastiat, distinguished political economists,--Émile de Girardin, the
most important political editor of France,--Victor Hugo, illustrious
in literature,--Lamartine, whose glory it is to have turned the recent
French Revolution, at its beginning, into the path of Peace,--and
Richard Cobden, the world-renowned British statesman, the unapproached
model of an earnest, humane, and practical Reformer,--all these gave
to this august assembly the sanction of their presence or approbation.
Victor Hugo, on taking the chair as President, in an address of
persuasive eloquence, shed upon the occasion the illumination of his
genius,--while Mr. Cobden, participating in all the proceedings,
impressed upon them his characteristic common sense.

The Congress adopted, with entire unanimity, a series of resolutions,
asserting the duty of governments to submit all differences between
them to Arbitration, and to respect the decisions of the Arbitrators;
also asserting the necessity of a general and simultaneous disarming,
not only as the means of reducing the expenditure absorbed by armies
and navies, but also of removing a permanent cause of disquietude
and irritation. The Congress condemned all loans and taxes for wars
of ambition or conquest. It earnestly recommended the friends of
Peace to prepare public opinion, in their respective countries,
for the formation of a Congress of Nations, to revise the existing
International Law, and to constitute a High Tribunal for the decision
of controversies among nations. In support of these objects, the
Congress solemnly invoked the representatives of the press, so potent
to diffuse truth, and also all ministers of religion, whose holy office
it is to encourage good-will among men.

The work thus begun has been continued since. In England and the United
States large public meetings have welcomed the returning delegates. Men
have been touched by the grandeur of the cause. Not in the aspirations
of religion and benevolence only, but in the general heart and mind,
has it found reception, filling all who embrace it with new confidence
in the triumph of Christian truth.

Another Congress or Convention has been called to meet at
Frankfort-on-the-Main, in the month of August next, to do what is
possible, by mutual counsels and encouragement, to influence public
opinion, and to advance still further the cause which has been so well
commended by the Congress at Paris.

To promote the objects of this Congress generally, and particularly to
secure the attendance of a delegation from the United States, in number
and character not unworthy of the occasion, a Committee, representing
friends of Peace throughout the country, various in opinion, has been
appointed, under the name of "PEACE CONGRESS COMMITTEE FOR THE
UNITED STATES." This Committee now appeal to their fellow-citizens
for coöperation in this work.

The Committee hope, in the first place, to interest our Government
at Washington in the objects contemplated by the proposed Congress.
As this can be done only through the prompting of the people, they
recommend petitions like the following:--

                         "PETITION FOR PEACE.

    "_To the Honorable Senate (or H. of R.) of the United States._

    "The undersigned, inhabitants (or citizens, or legal voters)
    of----, in the State of----, deploring the manifold evils of War,
    and believing it possible to supersede its alleged necessity, as an
    Arbiter of Justice among Nations, by the timely adoption of wise
    and feasible substitutes, respectfully request your honorable body
    to take such action as you may deem best in favor of Stipulated
    Arbitration, or a Congress of Nations, for the accomplishment of
    this most desirable end."

As the number of delegates to the proposed Congress is not limited,
the Committee hope to see States, Congressional Districts, Towns,
and other bodies represented. Every delegate will be a link between
the community, large or small, from which he comes, and the cause of
Universal Peace.

The Committee recommend a State Convention in each State to choose a
State Committee, and also two delegates at large from the State;

Also a Convention in each Congressional District to choose a delegate;

Also public meetings in towns, and other smaller localities, to explain
the objects of the Congress, and to choose local delegates.

The Committee also recommend to the religious and literary bodies
of the country, as churches and colleges, to send delegates to the

In making this appeal, the Committee desire to impress upon their
fellow-citizens the practical character of the present movement.
Instead of the _custom_ or _institution_ of War, now recognized
by International Law, as the Arbiter of Justice between Nations,
they propose, by the consent of nations, to substitute a System of
Arbitration, or a permanent Congress of Nations. With this change
will necessarily follow a general disarming down to that degree of
force required for internal police. The barbarous and incongruous War
System, which now encases our Christian civilization as with a cumbrous
coat of mail, will be destroyed. The enormous means, thus released
from destructive industry and purposes of hate, will be appropriated
to productive industry and purposes of beneficence. To help this
consummation who will not labor?

The people in every part of the country, East and West, North and
South, of all political parties and all religious sects, are now
invited to join in this endeavor. So doing, while confident of the
blessing of God, they will become fellow-laborers of wise and good
men in other lands, and will secure to themselves the inexpressible
satisfaction of aiding the advent of that happy day when Peace shall be
_organized_ among nations.

By order of the Peace Congress Committee for the United States.

                                       CHARLES SUMNER, _Chairman_.

         ELIHU BURRITT, } _Secretaries_.
         AMASA WALKER,  }

BOSTON, February 22, 1850.

       *       *       *       *       *



    This speech was made a few days before the annual election in
    Massachusetts, and just after the passage of the Fugitive Slave
    Bill. As the first open denunciation of this measure, it awakened
    much feeling on both sides. All who felt strongly against Slavery
    were grateful.

    It is sometimes said to have made Mr. Sumner Senator. More than
    anything else, it determined his selection by the Free-Soil party
    shortly afterwards as their candidate. On the other hand, it was
    often pronounced "treasonable," and in subsequent discussions at
    Washington, sometimes in newspapers and repeatedly in the Senate,
    it was employed to point the personalities of slave-masters and
    their allies. It was called the "Mark Antony speech." It takes the
    ground to which Mr. Sumner constantly adhered, that the "Fugitive
    Slave Bill," as he always insisted upon calling it,--refusing to
    call it Law,--was absolutely unconstitutional in all respects,--not
    only, according to the old language of the law, "to a certain
    intent in general," but also "to a certain intent in every
    particular." Such an enactment could not be treated as law; and Mr.
    Sumner insisted that good citizens should refuse to it all support,
    as our fathers refused all support to the British Stamp Act. His
    effort and hope were to create a public sentiment which would
    render its enforcement impossible.

    In all times there has been something in the human conscience which
    forbade certain things, even though ordained by law. "A curse on
    him who is not enough an honest man and enough a man of courage
    to be capable of the crime of hospitality towards a proscribed
    person!" Such is the exclamation of an eloquent historian of the
    French Revolution, after reciting the proposition of Saint-Just,
    kindred to the requirement of the Fugitive Slave Bill.[53] Guizot,
    in his Memoirs, records an illustrative incident. Queen Hortense,
    mother of Louis Napoleon, at a time when all of her family were
    excluded from France, suddenly arrived in Paris, when, seeing
    Casimir Périer, Prime-Minister of Louis Philippe, she began: "I
    know, Sir, that I have violated a law; you have the right to arrest
    me; that would be just." "_Legal_, Madame," said the Minister, "but
    not _just_."[54]

    [53] Louis Blanc, Histoire de la Révolution Française, Tom. X. p.

    [54] Guizot, Mémoires pour servir à l'Histoire de mon Temps, Tom.
    II. p. 219.

    At the pending election there was what was called a coalition
    between the Free-Soilers and Democrats, in the choice of State
    Senators and Representatives, with the understanding that the State
    officers chosen by the Legislature should be Democrats, and the
    United States Senator a Free-Soiler. But nothing was said at the
    time about candidates.

    The meeting at Faneuil Hall was large and enthusiastic. It
    was organized by the choice of William B. Spooner, Esq.,
    President,--Edward A. Raymond, William Washburn, Henry I.
    Bowditch, William Bates, Ebenezer Atkins, William Dall, Caleb
    Gill, Theodore D. Cook, Joseph Southwick, Ephraim Allen, Richard
    Hildreth, and Robert E. Apthorp, Vice-Presidents,--William F.
    Channing and Charles List, Secretaries. On taking the chair, Mr.
    Spooner addressed the meeting. Dr. Luther Parks then read a series
    of resolutions. Mr. Sumner followed, and was received with much
    enthusiasm. His speech is printed with the interruptions reported
    at the time.


Cold and insensible must I be, not to be touched by this welcome. I
thank you for the cause, whose representative only I am. It is the
cause which I would keep ever foremost, and commend always to your

In a few days there will be an important political election, affecting
many local interests. Not by these have I been drawn here to-night, but
because I would bear my testimony anew to that Freedom which is above
all these. And here, at the outset, let me say, that it is because I
place Freedom above all else that I cordially concur in the different
unions or combinations throughout the Commonwealth,--in Mr. Mann's
District, of Free-Soilers with Whigs,--also in Mr. Fowler's District,
of Free-Soilers with Whigs,--and generally, in Senatorial Districts,
of Free-Soilers with Democrats. By the first of these two good men
may be secured in Congress, while by the latter the friends of Freedom
may obtain a controlling influence in the Legislature of Massachusetts
during the coming session, and thus advance our cause. [_Applause._]
They may arbitrate between both the old parties, making Freedom their
perpetual object, and in this way contribute more powerfully than they
otherwise could to the cause which has drawn us together. [_Cheers._]

Leaving these things, so obvious to all, I come at once to consider
urgent duties at this anxious moment. To comprehend these we must
glance at what Congress has done during its recent session, so long
drawn out. This I shall endeavor to do rapidly. "Watchman, what of the
night?" And well may the cry be raised, "What of the night?" For things
have been done, and measures passed into laws, which, to my mind, fill
the day itself with blackness. ["_Hear! hear!_"]

       *       *       *       *       *

And yet there are streaks of light--an unwonted dawn--in the distant
West, out of which a full-orbed sun is beginning to ascend, rejoicing
like a strong man to run a race. By Act of Congress California has
been admitted into the Union with a Constitution forbidding Slavery.
For a measure like this, required not only by simplest justice, but
by uniform practice, and by constitutional principles of slaveholders
themselves, we may be ashamed to confess gratitude; and yet I cannot
but rejoice in this great good. A hateful institution, thus far without
check, travelling westward with the power of the Republic, is bidden to
stop, while a new and rising State is guarded from its contamination.
[_Applause._] Freedom, in whose hands is the divining-rod of magical
power, pointing the way not only to wealth untold, but to every
possession of virtue and intelligence, whose presence is better far
than any mine of gold, has been recognized in an extensive region on
the distant Pacific, between the very parallels of latitude so long
claimed by Slavery as a peculiar home. [_Loud plaudits._]

Here is a victory, moral and political: moral, inasmuch as Freedom
secures a new foothold where to exert her far-reaching influence;
political, inasmuch as by the admission of California, the Free States
obtain a majority of votes in the Senate, thus overturning that
_balance of power_ between Freedom and Slavery, so preposterously
claimed by the Slave States, in forgetfulness of the true spirit of
the Constitution, and in mockery of Human Rights. [_Cheers._] May free
California, and her Senators in Congress, amidst the trials before
us, never fail in loyalty to Freedom! God forbid that the daughter
should turn with ingratitude or neglect from the mother that bore her!

Besides this Act, there are two others of this long session to be
regarded with satisfaction,--and I mention them at once, before
considering the reverse of the picture. The slave-trade is abolished
in the District of Columbia. This measure, though small in the sight
of Justice, is important. It banishes from the National Capital an
odious traffic. But this is its least office. Practically it affixes
to the whole traffic, wherever it exists,--not merely in Washington,
within the immediate sphere of the legislative act, but everywhere
throughout the Slave States, whether at Richmond, or Charleston, or
New Orleans,--the brand of Congressional reprobation. The people of
the United States, by the voice of Congress, solemnly declare the
domestic traffic in slaves offensive in their sight. The Nation judges
this traffic. The Nation says to it, "Get thee behind me, Satan!"
[_Excitement and applause._] It is true that Congress has not, as
in the case of the foreign slave-trade, stamped it as _piracy_, and
awarded to its perpetrators the doom of _pirates_; but it condemns the
trade, and gives to general scorn those who partake of it. To this
extent the National Government speaks for Freedom. And in doing this,
it asserts, under the Constitution, legislative jurisdiction over the
subject of Slavery in the District,--thus preparing the way for that
complete act of Abolition which is necessary to purge the National
Capital of its still remaining curse and shame.

The other measure which I hail with thankfulness is the Abolition of
Flogging in the Navy. ["_Hear! hear!_"] Beyond the direct reform thus
accomplished--after much effort, finally crowned with encouraging
success--is the indirect influence of this law, especially in rebuking
the lash, wheresoever and by whomsoever employed.

Two props and stays of Slavery are weakened and undermined by
Congressional legislation. Without the _slave-trade_ and without the
_lash_, Slavery must fall to earth. By these the whole monstrosity
is upheld. If I seem to exaggerate the consequence of these measures
of Abolition, you will pardon it to a sincere conviction of their
powerful, though subtile and indirect influence, quickened by a desire
to find something good in a Congress which has furnished occasion for
so much disappointment. Other measures there are which must be regarded
not only with regret, but with indignation and disgust. [_Sensation._]

Two broad territories, New Mexico and Utah, under the exclusive
jurisdiction of Congress, have been organized without any prohibition
of Slavery. In laying the foundation of their governments, destined
hereafter to control the happiness of innumerable multitudes, Congress
has omitted the Great Ordinance of Freedom, first moved by Jefferson,
and consecrated by the experience of the Northwestern Territory: thus
rejecting those principles of Human Liberty which are enunciated in
our Declaration of Independence, which are essential to every Bill of
Rights, and without which a Republic is a name and nothing more.

Still further, a vast territory, supposed to be upwards of seventy
thousand square miles in extent, larger than all New England, has been
taken from New Mexico, and, with ten million dollars besides, given
to slaveholding Texas: thus, under the plea of settling the western
boundary of Texas, securing to this State a large sum of money, and
consigning to certain Slavery an important territory.

And still further, as if to do a deed which should "make heaven weep,
all earth amazed," this same Congress, in disregard of all cherished
safeguards of Freedom, has passed a most cruel, unchristian, devilish
law to secure the return into Slavery of those fortunate bondmen who
find shelter by our firesides. This is the Fugitive Slave Bill,--a
device which despoils the party claimed as slave, whether in reality
slave or freeman, of Trial by Jury, that sacred right, and usurps
the question of Human Freedom,--the highest question known to the
law,--committing it to the unaided judgment of a single magistrate, on
_ex parte_ evidence it may be, by affidavit, without the sanction of
cross-examination. Under this detestable, Heaven-defying Bill, not the
slave only, but the colored freeman of the North, may be swept into
ruthless captivity; and there is no white citizen, born among us, bred
in our schools, partaking in our affairs, voting in our elections,
whose liberty is not assailed also. Without any discrimination of
color, the Bill surrenders all claimed as "owing service or labor" to
the same tyrannical judgment. And mark once more its heathenism. By
unrelenting provisions it visits with bitter penalties of fine and
imprisonment the faithful men and women who render to the fugitive that
countenance, succor, and shelter which Christianity expressly requires.
["_Shame! shame!_"] Thus, from beginning to end, it sets at nought the
best principles of the Constitution, and the very laws of God. [_Great

I might occupy your time in exposing the unconstitutionality of this
Act. Denying the Trial by Jury, it is three times unconstitutional:
first, as the Constitution declares "the right of the people to be
secure in their persons against _unreasonable seizures_"; secondly,
as it further provides that "no person shall be deprived of life,
_liberty_, or property, _without due process of law_"; and, thirdly,
because it expressly establishes, that "in suits at Common Law, where
the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, _the right of
trial by jury shall be preserved_." By this triple cord the framers
of the Constitution secured Trial by Jury in every question of Human
Freedom. That man is little imbued with the true spirit of American
institutions, has little sympathy with Bills of Rights, is lukewarm for
Freedom, who can hesitate to construe the Constitution so as to secure
this safeguard. [_Enthusiastic applause._]

Again, the Act is unconstitutional in the unprecedented and tyrannical
powers it confers upon Commissioners. These petty officers are
appointed, not by the President with the advice of the Senate, but by
the Courts of Law,--hold their places, not during good behavior, but at
the will of the Court,--and receive for their services, not a regular
salary, but fees in each individual case. And yet in these petty
officers, thus appointed, thus compensated, and holding their places
by the most uncertain tenure, is vested a portion of that "judicial
power," which, according to the positive text of the Constitution, can
be in "judges" only, holding office "during good behavior," receiving
"at stated times for their services a compensation which shall not be
diminished during their continuance in office," and, it would seem
also, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate,--being
three conditions of judicial power. Adding meanness to violation of the
Constitution, the Commissioner is bribed by a double fee to pronounce
against Freedom. Decreeing a man to Slavery, he receives ten dollars;
saving the man to Freedom, his fee is five dollars. ["_Shame! shame!_"]

But I will not pursue these details. The soul sickens in the
contemplation of this legalized outrage. In the dreary annals of the
Past there are many acts of shame,--there are ordinances of monarchs,
and laws, which have become a byword and a hissing to the nations. But
_when we consider the country and the age_, I ask fearlessly, what act
of shame, what ordinance of monarch, what law, can compare in atrocity
with this enactment of an American Congress? ["_None!_"] I do not
forget Appius Claudius, tyrant Decemvir of ancient Rome, condemning
Virginia as a slave,--nor Louis the Fourteenth, of France, letting
slip the dogs of religious persecution by the revocation of the Edict
of Nantes,--nor Charles the First, of England, arousing the patriot
rage of Hampden by the extortion of Ship-money,--nor the British
Parliament, provoking, in our own country, spirits kindred to Hampden,
by the tyranny of the Stamp Act and Tea Tax. I would not exaggerate;
I wish to keep within bounds; but I think there can be little doubt
that the condemnation now affixed to all these transactions, and to
their authors, must be the lot hereafter of the Fugitive Slave Bill,
and of every one, according to the measure of his influence, who gave
it his support. [_Three cheers were here given._] Into the immortal
catalogue of national crimes it has now passed, drawing, by inexorable
necessity, its authors also, and chiefly him, who, as President of
the United States, set his name to the Bill, and breathed into it
that final breath without which it would bear no life. [_Sensation._]
Other Presidents may be forgotten; but the name signed to the Fugitive
Slave Bill can never be forgotten. ["_Never!_"] There are depths of
infamy, as there are heights of fame. I regret to say what I must, but
truth compels me. Better for him, had he never been born! [_Renewed
applause._] Better for his memory, and for the good name of his
children, had he never been President! [_Repeated cheers._]

I have likened this Bill to the Stamp Act, and I trust that the
parallel may be continued yet further, by a burst of popular feeling
against all action under it similar to that which glowed in the breasts
of our fathers. Listen to the words of John Adams, as written in his
Diary at the time.

    "The year 1765 has been the most remarkable year of my life.
    That enormous engine, fabricated by the British Parliament, for
    battering down all the rights and liberties of America, I mean
    the Stamp Act, has raised and spread through the whole continent
    a spirit that will be recorded to our honor with all future
    generations. In every colony, from Georgia to New Hampshire
    inclusively, the stamp distributors and inspectors have been
    compelled by the unconquerable rage of the people to renounce
    their offices. Such and so universal has been the resentment of
    the people, that every man who has dared to speak in favor of the
    stamps, or to soften the detestation in which they are held, how
    great soever his abilities and virtues had been esteemed before, or
    whatever his fortune, connections, and influence had been, has been
    seen to sink into universal contempt and ignominy."[55] [_A voice_,
    "_Ditto for the Slave-Hunter!_"]

Earlier than John Adams, the first Governor of Massachusetts, John
Winthrop, set the example of refusing to enforce laws against the
liberties of the people. After describing Civil Liberty, and declaring
the covenant between God and man in the Moral Law, he uses these good

    "This Liberty is the proper end and object of authority, and cannot
    subsist without it; and it is a liberty to that only which is
    good, just, and honest. This liberty you are to stand for, with
    the hazard not only of your goods, but of your lives, if need
    be. _Whatsoever crosseth this is not authority, but a distemper

Surely the love of Freedom is not so far cooled among us, descendants
of those who opposed the Stamp Act, that we are insensible to the
Fugitive Slave Bill. In those other days, the unconquerable rage
of the people compelled the stamp distributors and inspectors to
renounce their offices, and held up to detestation all who dared to
speak in favor of the stamps. Shall we be more tolerant of those who
volunteer in favor of this Bill? ["_No! no!_"]--more tolerant of the
Slave-Hunter, who, under its safeguard, pursues his prey upon our
soil? ["_No! no!_"] The Stamp Act could not be executed here. Can the
Fugitive Slave Bill? ["_Never!_"]

    [55] Diary, December 18, 1765: Works, Vol. II. p 154.

    [56] History of New England (ed. Savage), 1645, Vol. II. p. 229.

And here, Sir, let me say, that it becomes me to speak with caution.
It happens that I sustain an important relation to this Bill. Early
in professional life I was designated by the late Judge Story a
Commissioner of his Court, and, though I do not very often exercise
the functions of this appointment, my name is still upon the list. As
such, I am one of those before whom the panting fugitive may be dragged
for the decision of the question, whether he is a freeman or a slave.
But while it becomes me to speak with caution, I shall not hesitate to
speak with plainness. I cannot forget that I am a _man_, although I am
a _Commissioner_. [_Three cheers here given._]

Could the same spirit which inspired the Fathers enter into our
community now, the marshals, and every _magistrate_ who regarded this
law as having any constitutional obligation, would resign, rather than
presume to execute it. This, perhaps, is too much to expect. But I
will not judge such officials. To their own consciences I leave them.
Surely no person of humane feelings and with any true sense of justice,
living in a land "where bells have knolled to church," whatever may be
the apology of public station, can fail to recoil from such service.
For myself let me say, that I can imagine no office, no salary, no
consideration, which I would not gladly forego, rather than become
in any way the agent in enslaving my brother-man. [_Sensation._]
Where for me were comfort and solace after such a work? [_A voice_,
"_Nowhere!_"] In dreams and in waking hours, in solitude and in the
street, in the meditations of the closet and in the affairs of men,
wherever I turned, there my victim would stare me in the face. From
distant rice-fields and sugar-plantations of the South, his cries
beneath the vindictive lash, his moans at the thought of Liberty, once
his, now, alas! ravished away, would pursue me, repeating the tale of
his fearful doom, and sounding, forever sounding, in my ears, "Thou art
the man!" [_Applause._]

The magistrate who pronounces the decree of Slavery, and the marshal
who enforces it, act in obedience to law. This is their apology; and
it is the apology also of the masters of the Inquisition, as they
ply the torture amidst the shrieks of their victim. Can this weaken
accountability for wrong? Disguise it, excuse it, as they will, the
fact must glare before the world, and penetrate the conscience too,
that the fetters by which the unhappy fugitive is bound are riveted by
their tribunal,--that his second life of wretchedness dates from their
agency,--that his second birth as a slave proceeds from _them_. The
magistrate and marshal do for him here, in a country which vaunts a
Christian civilization, what the naked, barbarous Pagan chiefs beyond
the sea did for his grandfather in Congo: _they transfer him to the
Slave-Hunter_, and for this service receive the very price paid for his
grandfather in Congo,--_ten dollars!_ ["_Shame! shame!_"]

Gracious Heaven! can such things be on our Free Soil? ["_No!_"] Shall
the evasion of Pontius Pilate be enacted anew, and a judge vainly
attempt, by washing the hands, to excuse himself for condemning one
in whom he can "find no fault"? Should any court, sitting here in
Massachusetts, for the first time in her history, become agent of the
Slave-Hunter, the very images of our fathers would frown from the
walls; their voices would cry from the ground; their spirits, hovering
in the air, would plead, remonstrate, protest, against the cruel
judgment. [_Cheers._] There is a legend of the Church, still living
on the admired canvas of a Venetian artist, that St. Mark, descending
from the skies with headlong fury into the public square, broke the
manacles of a slave in presence of the very judge who had decreed his
fate. This is known as "The Miracle of the Slave," and grandly has
Art illumined the scene.[57] Should Massachusetts hereafter, in an
evil hour, be desecrated by any such decree, may the good Evangelist
once more descend with valiant arm to break the manacles of the Slave!

Sir, I will not dishonor this home of the Pilgrims, and of the
Revolution, by admitting--nay, _I cannot believe--that this Bill will
be executed here_. ["_Never!_"] Among us, as elsewhere, individuals may
forget humanity, in fancied loyalty to law; but the public conscience
will not allow a man who has trodden our streets as a freeman to be
dragged away as a slave. [_Applause._] By escape from bondage he has
shown that true manhood which must grapple to him every honest heart.
He may be ignorant and rude, as poor, but he is of true nobility.
Fugitive Slaves are the heroes of our age. In sacrificing them to
this foul enactment we violate every sentiment of hospitality, every
whispering of the heart, every commandment of religion.

    [57] An eloquent French critic says, among other things, of this
    greatest picture of Tintoretto, that "no painting surpasses, or
    perhaps equals" it, and that, before seeing it, "one can have
    no idea of the human imagination." (Taine, Italy, Florence, and
    Venice, tr. Durand, pp. 314, 316.) Some time after this Speech an
    early copy or sketch of this work fell into Mr. Sumner's hands,
    and it is now a cherished souvenir of those anxious days when the
    pretensions of Slavery were at their height.

There are many who will never shrink, at any cost, and notwithstanding
all the atrocious penalties of this Bill, from effort to save a
wandering fellow-man from bondage; they will offer him the shelter
of their houses, and, if need be, will protect his liberty by force.
But let me be understood; I counsel no violence. There is another
power, stronger than any individual arm, which I invoke: I mean that
irresistible Public Opinion, inspired by love of God and man, which,
without violence or noise, gently as the operations of Nature, makes
and unmakes laws. Let this Public Opinion be felt in its might, and
the Fugitive Slave Bill will become everywhere among us a dead letter.
No lawyer will aid it by counsel, no citizen will be its agent; it
will die of inanition,--like a spider beneath an exhausted receiver.
[_Laughter._] Oh! it were well the tidings should spread throughout
the land that here in Massachusetts this accursed Bill has found no
_servant_. [_Cheers._] "Sire, in Bayonne are honest citizens and
brave soldiers only, _but not one executioner_," was the reply of
the governor to the royal mandate from Charles the Ninth, of France,
ordering the massacre of St. Bartholomew.[58] [_Sensation._]

    [58] Le Vicomte d'Orthez à Charles IX.: D'Aubigné, Histoire
    Universelle, Part. II. Liv. I. ch. 5, cited by Sismondi, Histoire
    des Français, Tom. XIX. p. 177, note. I gladly copy this noble
    letter. "Sire, j'ai communiqué le commandement de Votre Majesté à
    ses fidèles habitans et gens de guerre de la garnison; je n'y ai
    trouvé que bons citoyens et braves soldats, mais pas un bourreau.
    C'est pourquoi eux et moi supplions très humblement Votre dite
    Majesté vouloir employer en choses possibles, quelque hasardeuses
    qu'elles soient, nos bras et nos vies, comme étant, autant qu'elles
    dureront, Sire, vôtres."

It rests with you, my fellow-citizens, by word and example, by calm
determinations and devoted lives, to do this work. From a humane, just,
and religious people will spring a Public Opinion to keep perpetual
guard over the liberties of all within our borders. Nay, more, like
the flaming sword of the cherubim at the gates of Paradise, turning on
every side, it shall prevent any SLAVE-HUNTER from ever setting foot
in this Commonwealth. Elsewhere he may pursue his human prey, employ
his congenial bloodhounds, and exult in his successful game; but into
Massachusetts he must not come. Again, let me be understood, I counsel
no violence. I would not touch his person. Not with whips and thongs
would I scourge him from the land. The contempt, the indignation, the
abhorrence of the community shall be our weapons of offence. Wherever
he moves, he shall find no house to receive him, no table spread to
nourish him, no welcome to cheer him. The dismal lot of the Roman exile
shall be his. He shall be a wanderer, without _roof, fire, or water_.
Men shall point at him in the streets, and on the highways.

        "Sleep shall neither night nor day
         Hang upon his penthouse-lid;
         He shall live a man forbid;
         Weary sevennights nine times nine
         Shall he dwindle, peak, and pine." [_Applause._]

Villages, towns, and cities shall refuse to receive the monster;
they shall vomit him forth, never again to disturb the repose of our
community. [_Repeated rounds of applause._]

The feelings with which we regard the Slave-Hunter will be extended
soon to all the mercenary agents and heartless minions, who, without
any positive obligation of law, become part of his pack. They are
_volunteers_, and, as such, must share the ignominy of the chief
Hunter. [_Cheers._]

       *       *       *       *       *

I have dwelt thus long upon the Fugitive Slave Bill especially in the
hope of contributing something to that Public Opinion which is destined
in the Free States to be the truest defence of the slave. I now advance
to other more general duties.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have seen what Congress has done. And yet, in the face of these
enormities of legislation,--of Territories organized without the
prohibition of Slavery, of a large province surrendered to Texas
and to Slavery, and of this execrable Fugitive Slave Bill,--in the
face also of Slavery still sanctioned in the District of Columbia,
of the Slave-Trade between domestic ports under the flag of the
Union, and of the Slave Power still dominant over the National
Government, we are told that the Slavery Question is settled. Yes,
_settled_,--_settled_,--that is the word. _Nothing, Sir, can be settled
which is not right._ [_Sensation._] Nothing can be settled which is
against Freedom. Nothing can be settled which is contrary to the Divine
Law. God, Nature, and all the holy sentiments of the heart repudiate
any such false seeming settlement.

Amidst the shifts and changes of party, our DUTIES remain,
pointing the way to action. By no subtle compromise or adjustment
can men suspend the commandments of God. By no trick of managers, no
hocus-pocus of politicians, no "mush of concession," can we be released
from this obedience. It is, then, in the light of duties that we are
to find peace for our country and ourselves. Nor can any settlement
promise peace which is not in harmony with those everlasting
principles from which our duties spring.

Here I shall be brief. Slavery is wrong. It is the source of unnumbered
woes,--not the least of which is its influence on the Slaveholder
himself, rendering him insensible to its outrage. It overflows with
injustice and inhumanity. Language toils in vain to picture the
wretchedness and wickedness which it sanctions and perpetuates. Reason
revolts at the impious assumption that man can hold property in man. As
it is our perpetual duty to oppose wrong, so must we oppose Slavery;
nor can we ever relax in this opposition, so long as the giant evil
continues anywhere within the sphere of our influence. _Especially must
we oppose it, wherever we are responsible for its existence, or in any
way parties to it._

And now mark the distinction. The testimony which we bear against
Slavery, as against all other wrong, is, in different ways, according
to our position. The Slavery which exists under other governments, as
in Russia or Turkey, or in other States of our Union, as in Virginia
and Carolina, we can oppose only through the influence of morals and
religion, without in any way invoking the Political Power. Nor do we
propose to act otherwise. But Slavery, where we are parties to it,
wherever we are responsible for it, everywhere within our jurisdiction,
must be opposed not only by all the influences of literature, morals,
and religion, but directly by every instrument of Political Power.
[_Rounds of applause._] As it is sustained by law, it can be overthrown
only by law; and the legislature having jurisdiction over it must be
moved to consummate the work. I am sorry to confess that this can be
done only through the machinery of politics. The politician, then,
must be summoned. The moralist and philanthropist must become for
this purpose politicians,--not forgetting morals or philanthropy, but
seeking to apply them practically in the laws of the land.

It is a mistake to say, as is often charged, that we seek to interfere,
through Congress, with Slavery in the States, or in any way to
direct the legislation of Congress upon subjects not within its
jurisdiction. Our _political_ aims, as well as our _political_ duties,
are coextensive with our _political_ responsibilities. And since we at
the North are responsible for Slavery, wherever it exists under the
jurisdiction of Congress, it is unpardonable in us not to exert every
power we possess to enlist Congress against it.

Looking at details:--

We demand, first and foremost, the instant Repeal of the Fugitive Slave
Bill. [_Cheers._]

We demand the Abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia.

We demand of Congress the exercise of its time-honored power to
prohibit Slavery in the Territories. [_Cheers._]

We demand of Congress that it shall refuse to receive any new Slave
State into the Union. [_Cheers, repeated._]

We demand the Abolition of the Domestic Slave-Trade, so far as it can
be constitutionally reached, but particularly on the high seas under
the National Flag.

And, generally, we demand from the National Government the exercise
of all constitutional power to relieve itself from responsibility for

And yet one thing further must be done. The Slave Power must be
overturned,--so that the National Government may be put openly,
actively, and perpetually on the side of Freedom. [_Prolonged

In demanding the overthrow of the Slave Power, we but seek to exclude
from the operations of the National Government a _political_ influence,
having its origin in Slavery, which has been more potent, sinister, and
mischievous than any other in our history. This Power, though unknown
to the Constitution, and existing in defiance of its true spirit, now
predominates over Congress, gives the tone to its proceedings, seeks to
control all our public affairs, and humbles both the great political
parties to its will. It is that combination of Slave-masters, whose
bond of union is a common interest in Slavery. Time would fail me in
exposing the extent to which its influence has been felt, the undue
share of offices it has enjoyed, and the succession of its evil deeds.
Suffice it to say, that, for a long period, the real principle of
this union was not observed by the Free States. In the game of office
and legislation the South has always won. It has played with loaded
dice,--_loaded with Slavery_. [_Laughter._] The trick of the Automaton
Chess-Player, so long an incomprehensible marvel, has been repeated,
with similar success. Let the Free States make a move on the board,
and the South says, "Check!" ["_Hear! hear!_"] Let them strive for
Free Trade, as they did once, and the cry is, "Check!" Let them jump
towards Protection, and it is again, "Check!" Let them move towards
Internal Improvements, and the cry is still, "Check!" Whether forward
or backward, to the right or left, wherever they turn, the Free States
are pursued by an inexorable "Check!" But the secret is now discovered.
Amid the well-arranged machinery which seemed to move the victorious
chess-player is a _living force_,--only recently discovered,--being
none other than the Slave Power. It is the Slave Power which has been
perpetual victor, saying always, "Check!" to the Free States. As this
influence is now disclosed, it only remains that it should be openly
encountered in the field of _politics_. [_A voice, "That is the true

       *       *       *       *       *

Such is our cause. It is not sectional; for it simply aims to establish
under the National Government those great principles of Justice and
Humanity which are broad and universal as Man. It is not aggressive;
for it does not seek in any way to interfere through Congress with
Slavery in the States. It is not contrary to the Constitution; for
it recognizes this paramount law, and in the administration of the
Government invokes the spirit of its founders. It is not hostile to
the quiet of the country; for it proposes the only course by which
agitation can be allayed, and quiet be permanently established. And
yet there is an attempt to suppress this cause, and to stifle its

Vain and wretched attempt! [_A band of music in the street here
interrupted the speaker._]

       *       *       *       *       *

I am willing to stop for one moment, if the audience will allow me,
that they may enjoy that music. [_Several voices, "Go on! go on!"
Another voice, "We have better music here." After a pause the speaker

       *       *       *       *       *

Fellow-citizens, I was saying that it is proposed to suppress this
cause, and to stifle this discussion. But this cannot be done.
That subject which more than all other subjects needs careful,
conscientious, and kind consideration in the national councils, which
will not admit of postponement or hesitation, which is allied with the
great interests of the country, which controls the tariff and causes
war, which concerns alike all parts of the land, North and South, East
and West, which affects the good name of the Republic in the family
of civilized nations, _the subject of subjects_, has now at last,
after many struggles, been admitted within the pale of legislative
discussion. From this time forward it must be entertained by Congress.
It will be one of the orders of the day. It cannot be passed over or
forgotten. It cannot be blinked out of sight. The combinations of party
cannot remove it. The intrigues of politicians cannot jostle it aside.
There it is, in towering colossal proportions, filling the very halls
of the Capitol, while it overshadows and darkens all other subjects.
There it will continue, till driven into oblivion by the irresistible
Genius of Freedom. [_Cheers._]

I am not blind to adverse signs. The wave of reaction, after sweeping
over Europe, has reached our shores. The barriers of Human Rights
are broken down. Statesmen, writers, scholars, speakers, once their
uncompromising professors, have become professors of compromise. All
this must be changed. Reaction must be stayed. The country must be
aroused. The cause must again be pressed,--with the fixed purpose
never to moderate our efforts until crowned by success. [_Applause._]
The National Government, everywhere within its proper constitutional
sphere, must be placed on the side of Freedom. The policy of Slavery,
which has so long prevailed, must give place to the policy of Freedom.
The Slave Power, fruitful parent of national ills, must be driven from
its supremacy. Until all this is done, the friends of the Constitution
and of Human Rights cannot cease from labor, nor can the Republic hope
for any repose but the repose of submission.

Men of all parties and pursuits, who wish well to their country,
and would preserve its good name, must join now. Welcome here the
Conservative and the Reformer! for our cause stands on the truest
Conservatism and the truest Reform. In seeking the reform of existing
evils, we seek also the conservation of the principles handed down
by our fathers. Welcome especially the young! To you I appeal with
confidence. Trust to your generous impulses, and to that reasoning
of the heart, which is often truer, as it is less selfish, than
the calculations of the head. [_Enthusiasm._] Do not exchange your
aspirations for the skepticism of age. Yours is the better part. In
the Scriptures it is said that "your young men shall see visions and
your old men shall dream dreams"; on which Lord Bacon has recorded the
ancient inference, "that young men are admitted nearer to God than old,
because vision is a clearer revelation than a dream."[59]

It is not uncommon to hear people declare themselves against Slavery,
and willing to unite in _practical_ efforts. _Practical_ is the
favorite word. At the same time, in the loftiness of pharisaic pride,
they have nothing but condemnation, reproach, or contempt for the
earnest souls that have striven long years in this struggle. To such I
would say, If you are sincere in what you declare, if your words are
not merely lip-service, if in your heart you are entirely willing to
join in practical effort against Slavery, then, by life, conversation,
influence, vote, disregarding "the ancient forms of party strife,"
seek to carry the principles of Freedom into the National Government,
wherever its jurisdiction is acknowledged and its power can be felt.
Thus, without any interference with the States which are beyond this
jurisdiction, may you help to efface the blot of Slavery from the
National brow.

    [59] Essays, XLII. Of Youth and Age.

Do this, and you will most truly promote that harmony which you so
much desire. And under this blessed influence tranquillity will
be established throughout the country. Then, at last, the Slavery
Question will be settled. Banished from its usurped foothold under the
National Government, Slavery will no longer enter, with distracting
force, into national politics, making and unmaking laws, making and
unmaking Presidents. Confined to the States, where it is left by the
Constitution, it will take its place as a local institution,--if,
alas! continue it must,--for which we are in no sense responsible, and
against which we cannot exert any political power. We shall be relieved
from the present painful and irritating connection with it, the
existing antagonism between the South and the North will be softened,
crimination and recrimination will cease, and the wishes of the
Fathers will be fulfilled, while this Great Evil is left to all kindly
influences and the prevailing laws of social economy.

To every laborer in a cause like this there are satisfactions unknown
to the common political partisan. Amidst all apparent reverses,
notwithstanding the hatred of enemies or the coldness of friends,
he has the consciousness of duty done. Whatever may be existing
impediments, his also is the cheering conviction that every word
spoken, every act performed, every vote cast for this cause, helps to
swell those quickening influences by which Truth, Justice, and Humanity
will be established upon earth. [_Cheers._] He may not live to witness
the blessed consummation, but it is none the less certain. Others may
dwell on the Past as secure. Under the laws of a beneficent God _the
Future also is secure_,--on the single condition that we labor for its
great objects. [_Enthusiastic applause._]

The language of jubilee, which, amidst reverse and discouragement,
burst from the soul of Milton, as he thought of sacrifice for the
Church, will be echoed by every one who toils and suffers for Freedom.
"Now by this little diligence," says the great patriot of the English
Commonwealth, "mark what a privilege I have gained with good men and
saints, to claim my right of lamenting the tribulations of the Church,
if she should suffer, _when others, that have ventured nothing for her
sake, have not the honor to be admitted mourners_. But if she lift up
her drooping head and prosper, among those that have something more
than wished her welfare, I have my charter and freehold of rejoicing
to me and my heirs."[60] We, too, may have our charter and freehold of
rejoicing to ourselves and our heirs, if we now do our duty.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have spoken of votes. Living in a community where political power
is lodged with the people, and each citizen is an elector, the vote
is an important expression of opinion. The vote is the cutting edge.
It is well to have correct opinions, but the vote must follow. The
vote is the seed planted; without it there can be no sure fruit. The
winds of heaven, in their beneficence, may scatter the seed in the
furrow; but it is not from such accidents that our fields wave with
the golden harvest. He is a foolish husbandman who neglects to sow his
seed; and he is an unwise citizen, who, desiring the spread of good
principles, neglects to deposit his vote for the candidate who is the
representative of those principles.

    [60] The Reason of Church Government, Book II., Introduction:
    Prose Works, ed. Symmons, Vol. I. p. 117.

Admonished by experience of timidity, irresolution, and weakness in
our public men, particularly at Washington, amidst the temptations of
ambition and power, the friends of Freedom cannot lightly bestow their
confidence. They can put trust only in men of tried character and
inflexible will. Three things at least they must require: the first
is _backbone_; the second is _backbone_; and the third is _backbone_.
[_Loud cheers._] My language is homely; I hardly pardon myself for
using it; but it expresses an idea which must not be forgotten. When
I see a person of upright character and pure soul yielding to a
temporizing policy, I cannot but say, _He wants backbone_. When I see
a person talking loudly against Slavery in private, but hesitating in
public, and failing in the time of trial, I say, _He wants backbone_.
When I see a person who coöperated with Antislavery men, and then
deserted them, I say, _He wants backbone_. ["_Hear! hear!_"] When I
see a person leaning upon the action of a political party, and never
venturing to think for himself, I say, _He wants backbone_. When I
see a person careful always to be on the side of the majority, and
unwilling to appear in a minority, or, if need be, to stand alone, I
say, _He wants backbone_. [_Applause._] Wanting this, they all want
that courage, constancy, firmness, which are essential to the support
of PRINCIPLE. Let no such man be trusted. [_Renewed applause._]

For myself, fellow-citizens, my own course is determined. The first
political convention which I ever attended was in the spring of 1845,
against the annexation of Texas. I was at that time a silent and
passive Whig. I had never held political office, nor been a candidate
for any. No question ever before drew me to any active political
exertion. The strife of politics seemed to me ignoble. A desire to
do what I could against Slavery led me subsequently to attend two
different State Conventions of Whigs, where I coöperated with eminent
citizens in endeavor to arouse the party in Massachusetts to its
Antislavery duties. A conviction that the Whig party was disloyal to
Freedom, and an ardent aspiration to help the advancement of this great
cause, has led me to leave that party, and dedicate what of strength
and ability I have to the present movement. [_Great applause._]

To vindicate Freedom, and oppose Slavery, so far as I may
constitutionally,--with earnestness, and yet, I trust, without personal
unkindness on my part,--is the object near my heart. Would that I
could impress upon all who now hear me something of the strength of
my own convictions! Would that my voice, leaving this crowded hall
to-night, could traverse the hills and valleys of New England, that
it could run along the rivers and the lakes of my country, lighting
in every heart a beacon-flame to arouse the slumberers throughout
the land! [_Sensation._] In this cause I care not for the name by
which I am called. Let it be Democrat, or "Loco-foco," if you please.
No man in earnest will hesitate on account of a name. Rejoicing in
associates from any quarter, I shall be found ever with that party
which most truly represents the principles of Freedom. [_Applause._]
Others may become indifferent to these principles, bartering them for
political success, vain and short-lived, or forgetting the visions of
youth in the dreams of age. Whenever I forget them, whenever I become
indifferent to them, whenever I cease to be constant in maintaining
them, through good report and evil report, in any future combinations
of party, then may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, may my
right hand forget its cunning! [_Cheers._]

And now as I close, fellow-citizens, I return in thought to the
political election with which I began. If from this place I could make
myself heard by the friends of Freedom throughout the Commonwealth,
I would give them for a rallying-cry three words,--FREEDOM, UNION,

    The peroration was received with the most earnest applause,
    followed by cries of "_Three cheers for Charles Sumner!_" "_Three
    cheers for Phillips and Walker!_" "_Three cheers for Horace Mann
    and the cause!_"

       *       *       *       *       *



The combinations or agreements between the Free-Soilers and Democrats
throughout Massachusetts in the election of members of the State
Legislature were successful. The election was more than usually
interesting, because the Legislature was to choose a United States
Senator for the term of six years from the ensuing fourth of March,
in the place of Mr. Webster, who had become Secretary of State.
Nothing had been said before the election with regard to candidates
for this place, but there was a general understanding, at least among
Free-Soilers, that it should be claimed for one of their party. Mr.
Sumner had never regarded himself as a candidate, and the first
intimation he had that he was so regarded by others came to him early
in the morning after the election in a note written in pencil at his
door by Seth Webb, Jr., Esq., afterwards the excellent Consul at Hayti,
as follows.


    "I called to tell you _such_ good news. We have carried everything
    in the State. Senate sure; House nearly certain; Governor,
    _Senator_, all. You are bound for Washington this winter.

                            "Yours truly,

                                            "SETH WEBB, JR."

Similar intimations came from various quarters. Under date of December
18th, the Rev. Joshua Leavitt, the constant Abolitionist, wrote: "I
confidently hope and trust that in a month from this time you will
take your seat in the Senate of the United States, as the successor
of Daniel Webster. I need not say how greatly I shall be gratified at
such an event, both for your sake and that of the cause. It will be a
worthy rebuke of cotton arrogance, pronounced in earnest and sealed by
action in the name of the good old Commonwealth." An active Free-Soiler
in Vermont wrote: "I think you are nearer my ideal of a Free-Soiler
of this time than anybody else; so does the whole Free-Soil heart of
New England. And you may depend that the actual triumph of just such
a man as you are will give a heavier blow to the conspirators against
Freedom, and do more to fortify the general trust in the ultimate
ascendency of uncompromising right, than that of any other living
being. You cannot escape from your position." Mr. Giddings and Mr.
Chase both wrote from Washington, insisting that Mr. Sumner could not
refuse to be a candidate. Hon. John Mills wrote from Springfield:
"C.S., I am satisfied, must be the man. He stands better with the
Democrats than others, and so he does with the Free-Soilers in this
section of the State." Hon. C.F. Adams "saw difficulties in alliance
with the Democracy"; but he added, "If our friends decide to risk
themselves in that ship, I trust we may get a full consideration for
the risk, and the only full consideration that we can receive is in
securing your services in the Senate. If anything can be done with that
iron and marble body, you may do it. You know how hopeless I think the

Under the unamended Constitution of Massachusetts popular elections
were determined by a majority of the votes cast, and not by a
plurality. In the event of a failure to secure a majority, the election
of Governor and Lieutenant-Governor was transferred to the Legislature,
which made a selection from the three highest candidates. This duty
was now devolved upon the Legislature. At the opening of the session
there were separate caucuses of the Free-Soilers and Democrats, with
committees of conference, which resulted in the understanding that
the Democrats should have the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, five of
the nine Councillors, the Treasurer, and the Senator for the short
term, being the few weeks till the 4th of March following, while the
Free-Soilers should have the Senator for the long term, being for six
years from the 4th of March. The two parties united on Mr. Sumner as
their candidate for Senator. The nomination by the Free-Soilers was
communicated in the following letter.

    "CAUCUS ROOM, STATE HOUSE, 1/2 past 10, A.M. [Jan. 7th, 1851.]

    "We have just taken the vote by ballot for Senator, and you are the

                "Whole number
                    "For Charles Sumner                   82
                    "Others                               00

    "We have sworn to stand by you, to sink or swim with you, AT ALL

    "If you shall fail us in any respect, may God forgive you!--we
    never shall.

                        "Yours truly,

                                "E.L. KEYES.


The nomination thus unanimously conferred was welcomed beyond the
caucus that made it. A letter of Richard H. Dana, Jr., written the
next day, congratulates Mr. Sumner. "I have just learned that you have
received the unanimous nomination of the Free-Soil caucus, as their
first choice for the Senate. Whether the state of parties permits
your election or not, this voluntary and unanimous tribute from our
party must be a deep gratification to you through life, and I heartily
congratulate you upon it."

Why Mr. Sumner was selected appears from the _Commonwealth_, which was
at the time the organ of the Free-Soil party, and edited by Richard
Hildreth, the historian. "Mr. Sumner was selected as the candidate for
the Senate, because, while true as the truest to Free-Soil principles,
he was supposed to be less obnoxious than any prominent Free-Soiler in
the State to the Democratic party. He was never identified with any of
the measures of the Whig party, except those relating to Slavery. He
never entered a Whig State Convention, except to sustain the sentiment,
not of the Whig party alone, but of Massachusetts, against the
annexation of Texas and the Mexican War."[61]

    [61] Daily Commonwealth. April 2, 1851.

The Democrats in caucus were less prompt than the Free-Soilers. They
began by a resolution to abide by the decision of two thirds of those
present and voting, being the rule of the Baltimore Convention in 1844.
This was adopted almost unanimously. Mr. Sumner then received the two
thirds required, when one of those who voted against him, after stating
his adverse vote, moved that he be unanimously declared the candidate
of the Democratic caucus, and six only voted in the negative.

On the completion of these arrangements, the Legislature proceeded
to the elections, choosing George S. Boutwell Governor, and Henry W.
Cushman Lieutenant-Governor, both Democrats, and, at a later day,
Robert Rantoul, Jr., a Democrat, Senator for the short term. The other
Democrats were chosen according to the understanding. In the Senate,
Henry Wilson, Free-Soiler, had been chosen President, and in the House
of Representatives Nathaniel P. Banks, Jr., Democrat, Speaker.

On the 14th of January the House of Representatives proceeded to ballot
for Senator, with the following result: Whole number, 381; necessary to
a choice, 191; Charles Sumner, 186; R.C. Winthrop, 167; scattering, 28;
blanks, 3. There was a second ballot on the same day, when Mr. Sumner
had the same number of votes as before. The entire Free-Soil vote was
110, which he received, with 76 Democratic votes.

The _Commonwealth_ announced at once the determination of the
Free-Soil party as follows. "This entire unanimity of the Free-Soil
members indicates a purpose, not to be changed, to stand by their
candidate, come what may. They have taken the candidates presented
by the Democratic party without pledges, without questions. They have
selected for their candidate a man who stands first in the respect and
affections of every true Free-Soiler in the State. Their constituents
would repudiate them, if they should desert him now. We are assured
_they never will_."[62]

    [62] Daily Commonwealth, January 15, 1851.

The failure in the House did not prevent the Senate from proceeding
with the election, on January 22d, when the whole number of votes was
38: for Charles Sumner, 23; for R.C. Winthrop, 14; and for Henry W.
Bishop, 1; and Mr. Sumner was accordingly chosen on the part of the

During the long contest which ensued, Mr. Sumner was constant to the
end, without doing or saying anything to change or modify his position.
Extracts from his speeches, printed in capitals, with hostile comments,
appeared daily in the Whig and Democratic papers, and were often
characterized as _treasonable_, while he was called a _disunionist_.
In reply to a personal and political friend, who sought some mode of
meeting these attacks, he wrote the following private letter, which was
never published.

                                        BOSTON, January 21, 1851.

    MY DEAR SIR:--

    The peculiar nature of your inquiry, and the friendship which
    prompts it, do not allow me to decline an answer.

    You know well that I do not seek or desire any political office,
    that I am not voluntarily in my present position as candidate, and
    that, prescribing to myself the rule of _non-intervention_, I have
    constantly declined doing anything to promote my election, and have
    refused pledges or explanations with regard to my future course,
    beyond what are implied in my past life, my published speeches, and
    my character.

    To these I now refer. They will give a sufficient refutation to the
    charge that I am a _Disunionist_. No honest person, acquainted with
    them, can make this charge.

    Besides, I am closely identified, as you also are, with the
    well-known principles of the Free-Soil party. These, while
    declaring the duty of opposing Slavery and its influence, wherever
    they exist under the National Government, always recognize that
    other duty of loyalty to the Union and the Constitution. We propose
    to wait and work patiently under and through the Constitution,
    that our purposes may be peaceably accomplished in the spirit of
    that instrument and of our fathers. We are Constitutionalists and
    Unionists. In this class I have always been and still am.

    That I may place this matter beyond question, I beg leave to repeat
    and reaffirm what I said on a former occasion: "We reverence the
    Constitution of the United States, and seek to guard it against
    infractions, believing that under the Constitution Freedom can be
    best preserved. We reverence the Union of the States, _believing
    that the peace, happiness, and welfare of all depend upon this
    blessed bond_."

                        Faithfully yours,

                                        CHARLES SUMNER.

In another letter, written during the contest and published at its
close, Mr. Sumner stated his position more fully, and released the
party from all obligation to him as a candidate.

                                BOSTON, February 22, 1851.

    MY DEAR SIR:--

    I desire to repeat to you in writing what I have so constantly said
    to you and others by word of mouth.

    Early in life I formed a determination never to hold any political
    office, and of course never to be a candidate for any. My hope
    was (might I so aspire!) to show, that, without its titles or
    emoluments, something might be done for the good of my fellow-men.

    Notwithstanding the strength of this determination, often declared,
    I have, by the confidence of the friends of Freedom in Boston, more
    than once been pressed into the position of candidate; and now,
    by the nomination of the Free-Soil and Democratic members of the
    Legislature of Massachusetts, contrary to desires specially made
    known to all who communicated with me on the subject, I have been
    brought forward as their candidate for the Senate of the United

    Pardon me, if I say that personal regrets mingle with gratitude
    for the honor done me. The office of Senator, though elevated and
    important, is to me less attractive than other and more quiet

    Besides, there are members of our party, valued associates in our
    severe struggle, to whom I gladly defer, as representatives of the
    principles we have at heart.

    I trust, therefore, that the friends of Freedom in the Legislature
    will not, on any ground of delicacy towards me, hesitate to
    transfer their support to some other candidate, faithful to our
    cause. In this matter, I pray you, do not think of me. I have no
    political prospects which I desire to nurse. There is nothing in
    the political field which I covet. Abandon me, then, whenever you
    think best, without notice or apology. The cause is everything; I
    am nothing.

    I rely upon you in some proper way to communicate this note to the
    Free-Soil members of the Legislature.

        Believe me, my dear Sir,

            Very faithfully yours,

                        CHARLES SUMNER.

    Hon. HENRY WILSON, Chairman of the Committee of the Free-Soil
    Members of the Legislature.

He also wrote privately to more than one leader, proposing to withdraw.
Hon. Charles Allen, who was then at Washington, said in reply: "I need
no declaration from you to assure me that you did not seek nor desire
political office. On that subject you have no secrets to communicate to
me. Your purposes and wishes have been transparent.... Though not so
tall by some inches, I believe I have kept myself about as bolt upright
as you have, and as far within the lines of the Free-Soil party. I
shall give no more heed to the suggestion of your letter. You must be
the hero of this war to the end,--the conquering hero, I trust." Hon.
Stephen C. Phillips, though not sympathizing with the "Coalition,"
gave his best wishes to Mr. Sumner, saying: "As the case now stands,
I hope you will not be disposed, and I am clear that the Free-Soil
members should not allow you, to withdraw yourself; and in view of what
may affect you personally, and of some probable or possible general
results, I rejoice in the prospect of your election."

The issue was presented, if possible, with increased distinctness by
the revival in the papers of the speech at Faneuil Hall on the eve of
the election. The editor of the _Times_, a Democratic paper in Boston,
calling on Mr. Sumner, invited him to modify his opinions, or, as was
sometimes said, to "ease off," especially with regard to his recent
speech. This Mr. Sumner declined to do, when the editor inquired how he
would like that speech reprinted in the _Times_, that it might be read
by the Legislature. Mr. Sumner replied at once, that nothing could give
him more pleasure. The speech appeared the next day, with an appeal
to the Legislature as follows. "Mr. Sumner avows that what is called
his Faneuil-Hall Speech contains his calm, deliberately formed, and
well-matured opinions,--opinions by which his action would be governed
in the event of his election to the office of United States Senator....
We hope that every Democratic member of the Legislature will read the
speech of the man for whom they are asked to vote, and then consider
whether it is not their duty to vote for some other person."[63]

    [63] Boston Daily Times, January 10, 1851.

As the discussion proceeded, the _Commonwealth_ also published the
speech, introducing it with these defiant words: "We treat our
readers to-day to the noble speech of Charles Sumner at that great
'treasonable' meeting in Faneuil Hall. We are proud of it, and of the
man who made it. We give it as it was reported by Dr. Stone for the
_Traveller_, and as it was copied into the _Times_. The apologists for
Slavery have heaped abuse on Mr. Sumner for this speech, and garbled it
to serve their base purposes; but here it stands. Not a glorious word
of it can or shall be rubbed out. We ask any member of the Legislature,
whatever may be his politics or party, as a man, as a son of New
England, and as an admirer of Washington, Jefferson, Patrick Henry,
John Hancock, and Samuel Adams, to read this speech, and tell us how he
can do a better thing than to vote for its author next Wednesday. Here
you have the intellect and heart of a man,--a man for the times, a man
for Massachusetts!"[64]

    [64] Daily Commonwealth, March 28, 1851.

The session wore on, with constantly recurring ballots, always
unsuccessful, when the organ of the Free-Soil party made another
appeal, in which it presented strongly the issue of principle involved.
An extract will show the character of this appeal. "Circumstances
have conspired to give extraordinary interest to this election in
Massachusetts. Not here only, but elsewhere, both North and South, it
is regarded as symbolical of the march of new opinions on an important
subject. There can be no doubt in the mind of any reasonable man that
there is gradually, but certainly, approaching that tremendous moral
conflict in politics which was early foreseen by the wise men of the
Republic as sure at some day to happen, and which no human power can
do more than to retard.... One peculiarity attending this election is,
that it involves a true issue of principle.... The question is not so
much whether Mr. Sumner or any one else is to be Senator as whether the
antislavery sentiment shall be understood as having established itself
not only in the internal and domestic policy of the Commonwealth, where
it has always been, but also in the channels through which it connects
itself with the government of the Union. Tenfold importance has been
attached to this decision from the fact of the apostasy to Freedom
lately committed by the person who for many years was considered as the
leading exponent of Massachusetts doctrines in the Senate. The election
of such a man as Charles Sumner in the room of such a man as Daniel
Webster may be construed to be quite as much a complete disavowal of
the late conduct of the one as a sanction of the system advocated by
the other. Herein it is not difficult to trace the real causes as well
of the extraordinary opposition on the one side as of the tenacious
adherence on the other."[65]

    [65] Ibid., March 31, 1851.

This was followed in a few days by the annunciation of the
determination of the party. "But one course is left,--to stand by
Charles Sumner, as our first, our last, our only choice. And if we
fail, we fail in a good cause, true to our promises, true to our

    [66] Ibid., April 2, 1851.

On April 23d there was another ballot, when the result was announced
as follows: Whole number of votes, 387; necessary to a choice, 194;
Charles Sumner, 194; R.C. Winthrop, 167; scattering, 26. On the report
it appeared that Mr. Sumner was elected, when it was insisted that a
vote having his name printed upon it, with the name of John Mills in
pencil beneath, which had been thrown out, should be counted for Mr.
Mills, thus making one more necessary to a choice. It was also stated
that the record of the clerk showed that only 386 votes were cast,
while this count showed 388. This inconsistency was not explained.
Three other ballots were had unsuccessfully. On April 24th there was
another unsuccessful ballot, when, on motion of Sidney Bartlett, Esq.,
the eminent lawyer, and a Whig, it was ordered, that, "in the further
balloting, the ballot be placed in an envelope, and that, where two
votes for one person are found in the same envelope, one shall be
rejected, and that, where two votes for different persons are cast,
both shall be rejected; the envelopes to be of a uniform character,
furnished by the Sergeant-at-Arms." At the ballot that ensued the votes
were: Whole number, 384; necessary to a choice, 193; Charles Sumner,
193; R.C. Winthrop, 166; H.W. Bishop, 11; S.C. Phillips, 4; Caleb
Cushing, 3; Isaac Davis, 3; John Mills, 1; H.H. Childs, 1; N.P. Banks,
Jr., 1; B.F. Hallett, 1. There were also two blanks, not counted,
making 386 who had voted. The Speaker read the report of the committee,
and declared Mr. Sumner elected. The announcement was received with
applause in the galleries, which the Speaker and Sergeant-at-Arms
promptly suppressed. This was the twenty-sixth ballot.

The election had been so long in suspense, and had so much occupied the
public mind, that the final result was received with much feeling. As
the news spread, some were dejected and angry, others were joyous and
satisfied. Mr. Sumner heard of it while at the house of Hon. Charles
F. Adams, in Boston, and there received the first congratulations. A
proposition for a public demonstration at his own house in the evening
he discountenanced, saying, according to the published report, that,
while feeling grateful to friends for their kindness, he was unwilling
to do or say anything that could be construed by any one as evidence
of personal triumph,--that it was the triumph of the cause, but that
his heart dictated silence. In the evening there was a meeting for
congratulation in State Street, where speeches were made by Hon. Henry
Wilson, Joseph Lyman, and Thomas Russell. Similar meetings were held
in other towns of Massachusetts, on receiving the news. The crowd in
State Street moved to the house of Mr. Sumner, but he had left the
city; then to the house of Mr. Adams, who said that he "was glad of the
opportunity to be able to congratulate his friends upon the glorious
triumph of Liberty in the election of Mr. Sumner"; then to the house of
Richard H. Dana, Jr., who, being out of town, was represented by his
venerable father, who said that he had "kept his bed until noon through
illness, but, on learning the news of the election of Mr. Sumner, he
suddenly became better."

The language of leading journals attests the prevailing interest, and
the deep sense of the issue that had been tried. A few of these will
be mentioned, beginning with the Free-Soil organ in Boston, which thus
announced the result: "In congratulating the world on this event, we
congratulate the defeated themselves: for, if they did but know it,
there is no firm basis for property except the equal rights of man;
there can be no durable Union contrary to our immortal Declaration of
Independence and the solemn preamble of our Constitution.... Those
very men have the greatest reason to rejoice in our victory, for their
_children_, if not for themselves."[67]

    [67] Daily Commonwealth, April 25, 1851.

The same organ replied to the assaults on Mr. Sumner: "No man ever
accepted office with cleaner hands than Charles Sumner. He consented
to receive the nomination with extreme reluctance. His pursuits, his
tastes, and aspirations were in a different direction. He earnestly
entreated his friends to select some other candidate. After he was
nominated, and an onslaught unprecedented for ferocity and recklessness
in political warfare had seemed to render his election impossible,
unless he would authorize some qualification of the alleged obnoxious
doctrines of his speeches, particularly of his last Faneuil-Hall
speech, Mr. Sumner refused to retract, qualify, or explain. Ten lines
from his pen--lines that a politician might have written without
even the appearance of a change of sentiment--would have secured his
election in January. No solicitation, of friends or opponents, could
extort a line. A delegation of Hunkers applied to him for a few words
to cover their retreat; in reply, he stated that he had no pledges
to give, no explanations to make; he referred them to his published
speeches for his position, and added, that he had not sought the
office, but, if it came to him, it must find him an independent man. To
another Democrat, who called on him on the same errand, he said, 'If by
walking across my office I could secure the Senatorship, I would not
take a step.' In February he placed in the hands of General Wilson a
letter authorizing that gentleman to withdraw his name, whenever, in
his judgment, the good of the cause should require it."[68]

    [68] Ibid., April 28, 1851.

The _National Era_, edited by Dr. Bailey, and the organ of the
Free-Soil party at Washington, after speaking of Mr. Sumner in most
flattering terms, proceeded as follows: "When it is considered that he
is the exponent and advocate of opinions and measures which Mr. Webster
has renounced and is seeking to put down, that the whole weight of the
influence of this gentleman, with that of the cotton interest, the
Administration, and Hunker Democracy, has been brought to bear against
him, that at no time has he consented to qualify any word he has
ever written or spoken on the questions at issue between him and his
opponents, or to give a single pledge, direct or indirect, respecting
his course, his election must be regarded as one of the most brilliant,
honorable, and decisive triumphs yet achieved by the opponents of
Slavery and Conservatism."[69]

    [69] National Era, May 1, 1851.

The _Tribune_ in New York, though closely allied with the Whig party,
rendered justice to Mr. Sumner. "We do not know the man who has entered
the Senate under auspices so favorable to personal independence as
Mr. Sumner. He has not sought the office, has not made an effort for
its acquisition. No pledge has he given to any party or any person
upon any question or measure. When asked as to the course he should
pursue as Senator, his answer has been a reference to his past acts and
published writings; in them were the only promises he had to offer.
Though it would have been easy for him to secure the election three
months ago by the slightest shadow of a concession to some of the
Hunker members of the Legislature, he has steadily refused to say or
do anything that could be construed in that manner. To every overture
he has replied, that, if chosen, it must be on the footing of absolute
independence,--that the Senatorship must come to him, and not he pursue
the Senatorship. Such stern adherence to what he considered the path
of duty and manliness has thus delayed his election. But it has not
prevented it, and now Mr. Sumner enters the Senate free of all trammels
whatever. This it is especially which makes us rejoice at the event. It
is a new thing in our recent politics, and the loftiest success we can
wish him in his Congressional career is an unflinching preservation of
the same spirit and conduct."[70]

    [70] New York Tribune, April 25, 1851.

The London _Times_ had a leader on the election, where, among other
things, it said: "He was opposed by the Protectionists of Massachusetts
as a partisan of greater freedom of trade, and by the adherents of
the Government as an opponent of the Fugitive Slave Act. Yet such
was the strength of feeling in Massachusetts on that point alone,
that the Free-Soil party have succeeded in sending to the Senate the
most active and able representative of their cause, and Mr. Sumner
enters upon his ostensible political career under these remarkable
and flattering circumstances.... The election of Mr. Sumner to the
Senate is everywhere regarded as an emphatic declaration, on the
part of his own State, that the law is at least not to remain in its
present form unassailed. The South responds to such an election by
louder declarations of its resistance to all infractions on its local
institutions, even at the sacrifice of the integrity of the Union."[71]

    [71] London Times, May 24, 1851.

Congratulations came from every quarter. They are alluded to here
only because they belong to the history of this election. Some of
them are given. One of the earliest was from Richard H. Dana, the
scholar, and father of the eminent lawyer, who wrote: "I am thankful
that Massachusetts is to speak through you in Washington,--through
one whom neither West nor South will be able to win over or to
browbeat." John G. Whittier wrote: "I rejoice, that, unpledged, free,
and without a single concession or compromise, thou art enabled to
take thy place in the Senate. I never knew such a general feeling of
real heart pleasure and satisfaction as is manifested by all except
inveterate Hunkers in view of thy election. The whole country is
electrified by it. Sick abed, I heard the guns, Quaker as I am, with
real satisfaction." William C. Bryant wrote: "I am glad that my native
State is once more worthily represented in the United States Senate."
John Bigelow, who was at the time associated with Mr. Bryant in the
_Evening Post_, wrote: "I was quite overcome when I read the despatch
which announced your election; and when the news was communicated
through the building, it gave everybody else, including printers and
clerks, almost as much pleasure as to me." Epes Sargent, who edited a
Whig paper, wrote: "My private acquaintance is a sufficient assurance
that your public course will be honorable and patriotic." Neal Dow
wrote: "I thank God Massachusetts has at last done something effectual
to redeem her character. I am sure that upon the floor of the Senate
you will not forget to assert the rights of your State, and maintain
with firmness and dignity the great principles upon which a free
government _should be_ based." Mr. Chase wrote: "_Laus Deo!_ From the
bottom of my heart I congratulate you--no, not you, but all friends of
Freedom everywhere--upon your election to the Senate." Mr. Giddings
wrote from Ohio: "A most intense interest was felt in this whole
region, and I have seen no event which has given greater joy to the
population generally." Judge Jay wrote: "May God enable you to leave
the public service with a conscience and a reputation as unsullied
as those you carry with you!" John Jay telegraphed: "Your election
has made us most happy and thankful." Elihu Burritt, who was then in
England, wrote: "My soul is gladdened to great and exceeding joy at the
news of your election to fill the place of the late Daniel Webster. It
has been hailed by the friends of human freedom and progress in this
country with exultation. There are more eyes and hearts fixed upon
your course than upon that of any man in America." Nobody expressed
himself more cordially than John Van Buren, who wrote at once: "You
will need no assurance of how delighted I was to hear that you were in
fact a Senator from Massachusetts for six years"; and in another letter
he said: "I was as much pleased with seeing your frank as I was with
the inside of your note. Independent of the fact that it proves your
election to the United States Senate, the inscription, '_Free_ Charles
Sumner,' seems to me mighty pretty reading."

This history brings us to the Letter of Acceptance addressed to the
Legislature, which was read in the two Houses,--in the Senate by Hon.
Henry Wilson, President, and in the House of Representatives by Hon.
N.P. Banks, Speaker. In addressing the Legislature directly Mr. Sumner
follows the precedent of John Quincy Adams, in 1808, resigning his seat
in the Senate.


    By the hands of the Secretary of the Commonwealth I have received
    a certificate, that by concurrent votes of the two branches of
    the Legislature, namely, by the Senate on the 22d day of January,
    and the House of Representatives on the 24th day of April, in
    conformity to the provisions of the Constitution and Laws of the
    United States, I was duly elected a Senator to represent the
    Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the Senate of the United States
    for the term of six years, commencing on the 4th day of March, 1851.

    If I were to follow the customary course, I should receive this
    in silence. But the protracted and unprecedented contest which
    ended in my election, the interest it awakened, the importance
    universally conceded to it, the ardor of opposition and the
    constancy of support which it aroused, also the principles which
    more than ever among us it brought into discussion, seem to
    justify, what my own feelings irresistibly prompt, a departure from
    this rule. If, beyond these considerations, any apology is needed
    for thus directly addressing the Legislature, I may find it in the
    example of an illustrious predecessor, whose clear and venerable
    name will be a sufficient authority.

    The trust conferred on me is one of the most weighty which a
    citizen can receive. It concerns the grandest interests of our own
    Commonwealth, and also of the Union in which we are an indissoluble
    link. Like every post of eminent duty, it is a post of eminent
    honor. A personal ambition, such as I cannot confess, might be
    satisfied to possess it. But when I think what it requires, I am
    obliged to say that its honors are all eclipsed by its duties.

    Your appointment finds me in a private station, with which I am
    entirely content. For the first time in my life I am called to
    political office. With none of the experience possessed by others
    to smooth the way of labor, I might well hesitate. But I am cheered
    by the generous confidence which throughout a lengthened contest
    persevered in sustaining me, and by the conviction, that, amidst
    all seeming differences of party, the sentiments of which I am
    the known advocate, and which led to my original selection as
    candidate, are dear to the hearts of the people throughout this
    Commonwealth. I derive, also, a most grateful consciousness of
    personal independence from the circumstance, which I deem it frank
    and proper thus publicly to declare and place on record, that this
    office comes to me unsought and undesired.

    Acknowledging the right of my country to the service of her sons
    wherever she chooses to place them, and with a heart full of
    gratitude that a sacred cause is permitted to triumph through me, I
    now accept the post of Senator.

    I accept it as the servant of Massachusetts, mindful of the
    sentiments solemnly uttered by her successive Legislatures, of the
    genius which inspires her history, and of the men, her perpetual
    pride and ornament, who breathed into her that breath of Liberty
    which early made her an example to her sister States. In such a
    service, the way, though new to my footsteps, is illumined by
    lights which cannot be missed.

    I accept it as the servant of the Union, bound to study and
    maintain the interests of all parts of our country with equal
    patriotic care, to discountenance every effort to loosen any of
    those ties by which our fellowship of States is held in fraternal
    company, and to oppose all _sectionalism_, in whatsoever form,
    whether in unconstitutional efforts by the North to carry so great
    a boon as Freedom into the Slave States, in unconstitutional
    efforts by the South, aided by Northern allies, to carry the
    _sectional_ evil of Slavery into the Free States, or in any efforts
    whatsoever to extend the _sectional_ domination of Slavery over the
    National Government. With me the Union is twice blessed: first,
    as powerful guardian of the repose and happiness of thirty-one
    States, clasped by the endearing name of country; and next, as
    model and beginning of that all-embracing Federation of States, by
    which unity, peace, and concord will finally be organized among the
    Nations. Nor do I believe it possible, whatever the delusion of the
    hour, that any part can be permanently lost from its well-compacted
    bulk. _E Pluribus Unum_ is stamped upon the national coin, the
    national territory, and the national heart. Though composed of many
    parts united into one, the Union is separable only by a crash which
    shall destroy the whole.

    Entering now upon the public service, I venture to bespeak for
    what I do or say that candid judgment which I trust always to have
    for others, but which I am well aware the prejudices of party too
    rarely concede. I may fail in ability, but not in sincere effort,
    to promote the general weal. In the conflict of opinion, natural
    to the atmosphere of liberal institutions, I may err; but I trust
    never to forget the prudence which should temper firmness, or the
    modesty which becomes the consciousness of right. If I decline to
    recognize as my guides the leading men of to-day, I shall feel
    safe while I follow the master principles which the Union was
    established to secure, leaning for support on the great Triumvirate
    of American Freedom,--Washington, Franklin, and Jefferson. And
    since true politics are simply morals applied to public affairs,
    I shall find constant assistance from those everlasting rules
    of right and wrong which are a law alike to individuals and

    Let me borrow, in conclusion, the language of another: "I see my
    duty,--that of standing up for the liberties of my country; and
    whatever difficulties and discouragements lie in my way, I dare not
    shrink from it; and I rely on that Being who has not left to us the
    choice of duties, that, whilst I conscientiously discharge mine, I
    shall not finally lose my reward." These are words attributed to
    Washington, in the early darkness of the American Revolution. The
    rule of duty is the same for the lowly and the great; and I hope it
    may not seem presumptuous in one so humble as myself to adopt his
    determination, and to avow his confidence.

        I have the honor to be,

                        With sincere regard,

                    Your faithful friend and servant,

                                                CHARLES SUMNER.

    BOSTON, May 14, 1851.

       *       *       *       *       *

                      STATES OUR TWO TITLE-DEEDS.


From the beginning, Mr. Sumner never missed an opportunity, in speech
or letter, of invoking the Declaration of Independence as a rule of
action. The following letter is an example.

                                                BOSTON, July 3, 1851.

    Dear Sir,--I have been honored by an official invitation to
    unite in the celebration by our City Council of the approaching
    anniversary of American Independence.

    Though it will not be in my power to partake of this celebration,
    I wish not to seem indifferent to the kind attentions of your
    Committee or to the hospitality of Boston.

    I venture to inclose a sentiment, suggested particularly by the
    occasion, and in harmony, I trust, with the convictions of all
    sincere lovers of the Union.

        I have the honor to be, dear Sir,

                        Your faithful servant,

                                        CHARLES SUMNER.

    _The Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of
    the United States,--the two immortal title-deeds of American
    liberties._ Defenders of the Constitution, let us not forget the
    principles of the Declaration, but, for the equal support of both,
    in the spirit of our fathers, without compromise, and with a firm
    reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, mutually pledge to
    each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

    HON. JOHN P. BIGELOW, &c., &c.

       *       *       *       *       *


                            JULY 15, 1851.

                                        BOSTON, July 15, 1851.

    DEAR SIR,--As a faithful pupil of the Law School, and an attached
    friend, during life, of the founder, whose illustrious name your
    Association bears, I feel a thrill at every act or word which does
    them honor. And since I may not be able to be present at your
    festival, I venture to send congratulations on the happy auspices
    of the day, and--mindful that I address a professional assembly--to
    inclose a sentiment commemorating the dignity and the duties of the
    American Lawyer.

    A brief personal experience will properly introduce it. Some
    years ago, while at Heidelberg, in Germany, it was my fortune to
    see much of Thibaut and Mittermaier, both jurists of eminent fame:
    the first--now dead--renowned for learning in the Roman Law, and
    for early and constant support of a just scheme for the reduction
    of the unwritten law to the certainty of a written text; and the
    other, who is still spared, the greatest living master of Criminal
    Law, and of the various systems of Foreign Jurisprudence. Next
    after the aristocracy of birth, they were unquestionably at that
    moment among the most conspicuous men of Germany.

    In the course of a long conversation, chiefly on matters of
    juridical interest, in the freedom of social intercourse at dinner,
    one of them asked with regard to the position of the American
    Lawyer, and both seemed earnest for my answer. I promptly replied:
    "No person is his superior. His position, Gentlemen, if you will
    pardon me for saying it, is what yours would be in Germany, if
    there were no aristocracy of birth." Both seemed penetrated by this
    allusion, and, looking each other in the face, exclaimed at once,
    in apparent consciousness of their true rank: "That is very high

    The sentiment which I now submit was suggested by this incident.

        I have the honor to be, dear Sir,

                    Very faithfully yours,

                                    CHARLES SUMNER.


    _The American Lawyer_: Distinguished by the lofty sphere of his
    influence, may he find in it new motive to the cultivation of those
    moral excellences, and those generous virtues of the heart, which
    give the truest elevation to the character! _Nobilitas sola est
    atque unica virtus._

       *       *       *       *       *



This meeting was held to consider the case of Smith O'Brien and
his fellow-exiles in Australia, and to ask the intercession of our
Government in their behalf. Governor Boutwell presided and addressed
the meeting.

                                        BOSTON, October 27, 1851.

    DEAR SIR,--It will not be in my power to be present at Faneuil Hall
    this evening; nor am I entirely satisfied that it would be proper
    for me, holding the official position I now do, to take part in the
    proceeding which you propose to institute.

    But though not present with you, and not undertaking to express any
    opinion on the precise question of national duty, I wish it to be
    understood that I can never fail to unite in every earnest, manly
    word by which the sympathies of our country are extended to all, in
    whatever land, who are defending the Rights of Man. To this cause
    we are pledged as a nation by the Declaration of Independence; and
    my heart warmly responds to the vow.

    Nor can I forbear to add, that the clemency which you entreat from
    a powerful government towards those whom it classes as political
    offenders is in harmony with the Spirit of the Age and with the
    lessons of Christianity. It is a grace never otherwise than
    honorable to ask and honorable to bestow:--

                "And 'tis in crowns a nobler gem
                 To grant a pardon than condemn."

    A recent instance enforces the appeal. Kossuth has at last passed
    from the house of bondage. His emancipation, promoted by the
    aspirations, the prayers, and the express intervention of our
    Republic, is an example to all nations,--while the brightness of
    his fame shows how vain it is for any earthly edict to stigmatize
    as crime a sincere and generous effort for Human Freedom. Austria
    brands the great Hungarian as traitor; but an enlightened Public
    Opinion, the predestined queen of the civilized world, already
    re-judges the justice of the tyrant government. To the judgments of
    this exalted authority mankind must bow. No people, for the sake
    of any seeming temporary expediency, can afford to sacrifice a
    principle of justice or a sentiment of humanity, and thus to peril
    the everlasting verdict of History.

    In reaching across the sea as far as distant Turkey, to plead
    for the freedom of the fugitive Kossuth, our Republic has done
    well; and the Mahometan Sultan, in consenting to his liberation,
    at extraordinary hazards, has taught a lesson of magnanimity to
    Christian nations.

    The step we have thus taken cannot be the last. With increasing
    power are increasing duties. The influence we now wield is a sacred
    trust, to be exercised firmly and discreetly, in conformity with
    the Laws of Nations, and with an anxious eye to the peace of the
    world, but always so as most to promote Human Rights. Our example
    can do much. The magnetism of our national flag will be felt
    wherever it floats; individual citizens may labor faithfully; but
    all these will be quickened incalculably by a system of conduct,
    on the part of our Government, at home and abroad, which, while
    avoiding all improper interference with other countries, and
    teaching the beauty of honesty, shall show a prompt and benevolent
    sympathy with those vital principles without which our Republic is
    but a name.

    In this work, Irishmen, and the children and grandchildren of
    Irishmen, scattered in millions throughout the land, can help.
    Their native love of Liberty and hatred of Oppression will here
    find opportunity for action.

            Believe me, dear Sir,

                        Very faithfully yours,

                                        CHARLES SUMNER.


       *       *       *       *       *

                          WELCOME TO KOSSUTH.

               SPEECH IN THE SENATE, DECEMBER 10, 1851.

Mr. Sumner's credentials as Senator were presented at the opening of
the 32d Congress, December 1, 1851, when he took the oath of office.
Among those who took the oath on the same day were Hon. Benjamin F.
Wade, of Ohio, Hon. Hamilton Fish, of New York, and Hon. Stephen R.
Mallory, of Florida, afterward Secretary of the Navy in the Rebel
Government. The seat of the last was contested, and the question on
his reception drew forth Mr. Clay, who was present for the last time
in the Senate. Though living till June, he never again appeared in
the Chamber. On the arrangement of the Committees, Mr. Sumner found
himself at the bottom of the Committee on Revolutionary Claims and the
Committee on Roads and Canals.

On the first day of the session a joint resolution was announced by Mr.
Foote, of Mississippi, providing for the reception and entertainment
of Louis Kossuth, the recent head of the revolutionary government in
Hungary. Governor Kossuth, having escaped from Hungary, had found
refuge in Turkey, where he was received on board one of our ships of
war. After an interesting visit in England, where he addressed large
public audiences with singular power and eloquence, he arrived in New
York. Interest in the cause which he so ably represented, and personal
sympathy with the exile, quickened by his genius, found universal
expression in the country; but there was a protracted debate in the
Senate before the vote was taken.

The debate proceeded on a resolution introduced by Mr. Seward, December
8th, as follows:--

    "_Resolved, &c._, That the Congress of the United States, in the
    name and behalf of the people of the United States, give to Louis
    Kossuth a cordial welcome to the capital and to the country,
    and that a copy of this resolution be transmitted to him by the
    President of the United States."

On the same day, Mr. Shields, of Illinois, introduced a resolution in
the following terms:--

    "_Resolved_, That a committee of three be appointed by the Chair to
    wait on Louis Kossuth, Governor of Hungary, and introduce him to
    the Senate."

December 9th, Mr. Berrien, of Georgia, addressed the Senate at length
in opposition to action by Congress, and, in closing his speech, moved
the following amendment:--

    "_And be it further Resolved_, That the welcome thus afforded to
    Louis Kossuth be extended to his associates who have landed on our
    shores; but while welcoming these Hungarian patriots to an asylum
    in our country, and to the protection which our laws do and always
    will afford to them, it is due to candor to declare that it is
    not the purpose of Congress to depart from the settled policy of
    this Government, which forbids all interference with the domestic
    concerns of other nations."

The final question was not reached till December 12th, when the
amendment of Mr. Berrien was rejected: yeas 15, nays 26. The question
then recurred on the resolution of Mr. Seward, which was adopted: yeas
33, nays 6. The resolution passed the House of Representatives, and was
signed by the President.

On the 10th of December Mr. Sumner spoke. It was his first speech in
the Senate. He rose to speak late in the afternoon of the day before,
but gave way to an adjournment, which was moved by Mr. Rusk, of Texas.
The next day, on motion of Mr. Seward, the Senate proceeded to the
consideration of the resolution, when Mr. Sumner took the floor.

The following characteristic letter from Mr. Choate, one of his
predecessors as Senator from Massachusetts, illustrates the reception
of the speech in the country, besides being a souvenir of friendly
relations amidst political differences.

                                        "BOSTON, December 29, 1851.


    "I thank you for the copy of your beautiful speech, and for the
    making of it. All men say it was a successful one, parliamentarily
    expressing it; and I am sure it is sound and safe, steering
    skilfully between _cold-shoulderism_ and _inhospitality_, on the
    one side, and the splendid folly and wickedness of coöperation, on
    the other. Cover the Magyar with flowers, lave him with perfumes,
    serenade him with eloquence, and let him go home _alone_,--if he
    will not live here. Such is all that is permitted to wise states,
    aspiring to the 'True Grandeur.'

    "I wish to Heaven you would write me _de rebus Congressus_. How
    does the Senate strike you? The best place this day on earth for
    reasoned and thoughtful, yet stimulant public speech. Think of that.

        "Most truly yours--_in the Union_,--

                                                "RUFUS CHOATE."

MR. PRESIDENT,--Words are sometimes things; and I cannot
disguise from myself that the resolution in honor of Louis Kossuth
now pending before the Senate, when finally passed, will be an act of
no small significance in the history of our country. The Senator from
Georgia [Mr. BERRIEN] was right, when he said that it was no
unmeaning compliment. Beyond its immediate welcome to an illustrious
stranger, it will help to combine and direct the sentiments of our own
people everywhere; it will inspire all in other lands who are engaged
in the contest for freedom; it will challenge the disturbed attention
of despots; and will become a precedent, whose importance will grow, in
the thick-coming events of the future, with the growing might of the
Republic. Therefore it becomes us to consider well what we do, and to
understand the grounds of our conduct.

I am prepared to vote for it without amendment or condition of any
kind, and on reasons which seem to me at once obvious and conclusive.
In assigning these I shall be brief; and let me say, that, novice as
I am in this hall, and, indeed, in all legislative halls, nothing but
my strong interest in the question as now presented, and a hope to say
something directly upon it, could prompt me thus early to mingle in
these debates.

The case seems to require a statement, rather than an argument. As I
understand, the last Congress requested the President to authorize the
employment of a national vessel to receive and convey Louis Kossuth
to the United States. That honorable service was performed, under the
express direction of the President, and in pursuance of the vote
of Congress, by one of the best appointed ships of our navy,--the
steam-frigate Mississippi. Far away from our country, in foreign
waters, on the current of the Bosphorus, the Hungarian chief, passing
from his Turkish exile, first pressed the deck of this gallant vessel,
first came under the protection of our national flag, and for the
first time in his life rested beneath the ensign of an unquestioned
Republic. From that moment he became our guest. The Republic--which
thus far he had seen only in delighted dream or vision--was now his
host; and though this relation was interrupted for a few weeks by his
wise and brilliant visit to England, yet its duties and its pleasures,
as I confidently submit, are not yet ended. The liberated exile is now
at our gates. Sir, we cannot do things by halves; and the hospitality,
which, under the auspices of Congress, was thus begun, must, under
the auspices of Congress, be continued. The hearts of the people are
already open to receive him; Congress cannot turn its back upon him.

I would join in this welcome, not merely because it is essential to
complete and crown the work of the last Congress, but because our
guest deserves it. The distinction is great, I know; but it is not
so great as his deserts. He deserves it as the early, constant, and
incorruptible champion of the Liberal Cause in Hungary, who, while yet
young, with unconscious power, girded himself for the contest, and
by a series of masterly labors, with voice and pen, in parliamentary
debate and in the discussions of the press, breathed into his country
the breath of life. He deserves it by the great principles of true
democracy which he caused to be recognized,--representation of the
people without distinction of rank or birth, and _Equality before the
law_.[72] He deserves it by the trials he has undergone, in prison and
in exile. He deserves it by the precious truth he now so eloquently
proclaims, of the Fraternity of Nations.

    [72] This important phrase is thus early introduced.

As I regard his course, I am filled with reverence and awe. I see in
him, more than in any other living man, the power which may be exerted
by a single, earnest, honest soul in a noble cause. In himself he is
more than a whole cabinet, more than a whole army. I watch him in
Hungary, while, like Carnot in France, he "organizes victory"; I follow
him in exile to distant Mahometan Turkey, and there find him, with only
a scanty band, in weakness and confinement, still the dread of despots;
I sympathize with him in his happy release; and now, as he comes more
within the sphere of immediate observation, amazement fills us all in
the contemplation of his career, while he proceeds from land to land,
from city to city, and, with words of matchless power, seems at times
the fiery sword of Freedom, and then the trumpet of resurrection to the

                "Tuba mirum spargens sonum."[73]

I know not how others are impressed; but I call to mind no incident
in history, no event of peace or war,--certainly none of war,--more
strongly calculated, better adapted, to touch and exalt the imagination
and the heart than his recent visit to England. He landed on the
southern coast, not far from where William of Normandy, nearly eight
centuries ago, had landed,--not far from where, nineteen centuries
ago, Julius Cæsar had landed also; but William on the field of
Hastings, and Cæsar in his adventurous expedition, made no conquest
comparable in grandeur to that achieved by the unarmed and unattended
Hungarian. A multitudinous people, outnumbering far the armies of
those earlier times, was subdued by his wisdom and eloquence; and
this exile, proceeding from place to place, traversing the country,
at last, in the very heart of the Kingdom, threw down the gauntlet of
the Republic. Without equivocation, amidst the supporters of monarchy,
in the shadow of a lofty throne, he proclaimed himself a republican,
and proclaimed the republic as his cherished aspiration for Hungary.
And yet, amidst the excitements of this unparalleled scene, with that
discretion which I pray may ever attend him as a good angel,--the
ancient poet aptly tells us that no Divinity is absent where Prudence
is present,[74]--he forbore all suggestion of interference with the
institutions of the country whose guest he was, recognizing that vital
principle of self-government by which every state chooses for itself
the institutions and rulers it prefers.

    [73] Dies Iræ, st. 3.

    [74] "Nullum numen abest, si sit Prudentia."--JUVENAL, _Sat._ X.

Such a character, thus grandly historic,--a living Wallace, a living
Tell, I had almost said a living Washington,--deserves our homage.
Nor am I tempted to ask if there be any precedent for the resolution
now under consideration. There is a time for all things; and the time
has come for us to make a precedent in harmony with his unprecedented
career. The occasion is fit; the hero is near; let us speak our
welcome. It is true, that, unlike Lafayette, he has never directly
served our country; but I cannot admit that on this account he is less
worthy. Like Lafayette, he perilled life and all; like Lafayette, he
did penance in an Austrian dungeon; like Lafayette, he served the cause
of Freedom; and whosoever serves this cause, wheresoever he may be, in
whatever land, is entitled, according to his works, to the gratitude of
every true American bosom, of every true lover of mankind.

The resolution before us commends itself by simplicity and
completeness. In this respect it seems preferable to that of the
Senator from Illinois [Mr. SHIELDS]; nor is it obnoxious to
objections urged against that of the Senator from Mississippi [Mr.
FOOTE]; and I do not see that it can give any just umbrage, in
our diplomatic relations, even to the sensitive representative of the
House of Austria. Though we have the high authority of the President,
in his Message, for styling our guest "Governor,"--a title which seems
to imply the _de facto_ independence of Hungary, when it is known that
our Government declined to acknowledge it,--the resolution avoids this
difficulty, and speaks of him without title of any kind,--simply as a
private citizen. As such, it offers him welcome to the capital and to
the country.

The Comity of Nations I respect. To the behests of the Law of Nations
I profoundly bow. In our domestic affairs all acts are brought to the
Constitution, as to a touchstone; so in our foreign affairs all acts
are brought to the touchstone of the Law of Nations,--that supreme law,
the world's collected will, which overarches the Grand Commonwealth
of Christian States. What that forbids I forbear to do. But no text
of this voluminous code, no commentary, no gloss, can be found, which
forbids us to welcome any exile of Freedom.

Looking at this resolution in its various lights, as a carrying out of
the act of the last Congress, as justly due to the exalted character
of our guest, and as proper in form and consistent with the Law of
Nations, it seems impossible to avoid the conclusion in its favor. On
its merits it would naturally be adopted. And here I might stop.

An appeal is made against the resolution on grounds which seem to me
extraneous and irrelevant. There is an attempt to involve it with the
critical question of intervention by our country in European affairs;
and recent speeches in England and New York are adduced to show that
such intervention is sought by our guest. It is sufficient to say,
in reply to this suggestion, introduced by the Senator from Georgia
[Mr. BERRIEN] with a skill which all might envy, and adopted
by the Senator from New Jersey [Mr. MILLER], _that no such
intervention is promised or implied by the resolution_. It does not
appear on the face of the resolution; it is not in any way suggested
by the resolution, directly or indirectly. It can be found only in
the imagination, the anxieties, or the fears of Senators. It is a
mere ghost, and not a reality. As such we may dismiss it. But I feel
strongly on this point, and desire to go further. Here, again, I shall
be brief; for the occasion allows me to give conclusions only, and not

While thus warmly, with my heart in my hand, joining in this tribute,
I wish to be understood as in no respect encouraging any idea of
belligerent intervention in European affairs. Such a system would
have in it no element of just self-defence, and would open vials of
perplexities and ills which I trust our country will never be called
to affront. I inculcate no frigid isolation. God forbid that we should
ever close our ears to the cry of distress, or cease to swell with
indignation at the steps of tyranny! In the wisdom of Washington we
find perpetual counsel. Like Washington, in his eloquent words to the
Minister of the French Directory, I would offer sympathy and God-speed
to all, in every land, who struggle for Human Rights; but, sternly as
Washington on another occasion, against every pressure, against all
popular appeals, against all solicitations, against all blandishments,
I would uphold with steady hand the peaceful neutrality of the country.
Could I now approach our mighty guest, I would say to him, with the
respectful frankness of a friend: "Be content with the outgushing
sympathy which you now inspire everywhere throughout this wide-spread
land, and may it strengthen your soul! Trust in God, in the inspiration
of your cause, and in the Great Future, pregnant with freedom for all
mankind. But respect our ideas, as we respect yours. Do not seek to
reverse our traditional, established policy of peace. _Do not, under
the too plausible sophism of upholding non-intervention, provoke
American intervention on distant European soil._ Leave us to tread
where Washington points the way."

And yet, with these convictions, Mr. President, which I now
most sincerely express, I trust the Senator from Georgia [Mr.
BERRIEN] will pardon me when I say I cannot join in his
proposed amendment,--and for this specific reason. To an act of
courtesy and welcome it attaches a condition, which, however just as
an independent proposition, is most ungracious in such connection. It
is out of place, and everything out of place is to a certain extent
offensive. If adopted, it would impair, if not destroy, the value of
our act. A generous hospitality will not make terms or conditions with
a guest; and such hospitality I trust Congress will tender to Louis

       *       *       *       *       *



When this letter was written, Kossuth was engaged in the effort to
enlist our country in active measures for the liberation of Hungary.

                                        WASHINGTON, December 23, 1851.

    DEAR SIR,--It is not in my power to unite with the citizens of
    Philadelphia in their banquet to Governor Kossuth. But though not
    present in person, my heart will be with them in every word of
    honor to that illustrious man, in every assurance of sympathy for
    his great cause, and in every practical effort to place our country
    openly on the side of Freedom.

    Among citizens all violence is forbidden by the Municipal Law,
    which is enforced by no private arm, but by the sheriff, in the
    name of the Government, and under the sanctions of the magistrate.
    So, among the Nations, all violence, and especially all belligerent
    intervention, should be forbidden by International Law; and I trust
    the day is not far distant when this prohibition will be maintained
    by the Federation of Christian States, with an _executive power_
    too mighty for any contumacious resistance.

        I have the honor to be, Gentlemen,

                        Your faithful servant,

                                                CHARLES SUMNER.


       *       *       *       *       *



At the festival the following toast was given: "_Hon. Charles Sumner_:
In the Cradle of Liberty the cause of the exile will ever find a

The following letter was then read.

                                        WASHINGTON, January 22, 1852.

    GENTLEMEN,--It is not in my power to unite in your festal meeting
    this evening. But be assured I shall rejoice in every word of
    affection and honor for Ireland, and of sympathy with all her
    children, especially those patriots who have striven and suffered
    for the common good.

    In answer to your express request, I beg leave to inclose a
    sentiment, which I trust may find a response at once from our own
    Government and from that of Great Britain.

        I have the honor to be, Gentlemen,

                        Your faithful servant,

                                        CHARLES SUMNER.

    JOHN T. TOWERS, Esq., Chairman, &c.

    _Clemency_: A grace which it can never be otherwise than honorable
    to ask and honorable to grant.

                "'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
                  The thronèd monarch better than his crown."

       *       *       *       *       *


                   FEBRUARY 17, AND MARCH 16, 1852.

The Senate having under consideration the "bill granting the right
of way, and making a grant of land to the State of Iowa, in aid of the
construction of certain railroads in said State," Mr. Sumner entered
into the debate, speaking several times. His remarks were much noticed
at the time in the Senate, and also in the country, especially in
the West. At home in Massachusetts political opponents seized the
occasion for criticism, and resolutions on the subject were introduced
into the Legislature of Massachusetts. He spoke first January 27,
1852, as follows.

MR. PRESIDENT,--This bill is important by itself, inasmuch as
it promises to secure the building of a railroad, at large cost, for
a long distance, through a country not thickly settled, in a remote
corner of the land. It is more important still as a precedent for a
series of similar appropriations in other States. In this discussion,
then, we have before us, at the same time, the special interests of the
State of Iowa, traversed by this projected road, and also the great
question of the public lands.

I have no inclination to enter into these matters at length, even if I
were able; but entertaining no doubt as to the requirements of policy
and of justice in the present case, and in all like cases,--seeing my
way clearly before me by lights that cannot deceive,--I hope in a
few words to exhibit these requirements and to make this way manifest
to others. I am especially moved to do so by the tone of remark often
heard out of the Senate, and sometimes even here, begrudging these
appropriations, and charging particular States for which they are
made with undue absorption of the national property. It is sometimes
said--not in this body, I know--that "the West is stealing the public
lands"; and the Senator from Virginia [Mr. HUNTER], who
expresses himself with frankness and moderation worthy of regard, in
discussing this very measure, distinctly says that "we are squandering
away the public lands"; and he complains that such appropriations are
partial, "because very large amounts of land are distributed to those
States in which they lie, while nothing is given to the old States."
And the Senator from Kentucky [Mr. UNDERWOOD], taking up this
strain, dwells at great length, and in every variety of expression, on
the alleged partiality of the distribution.

Now I know full well that the States in which these lands lie need no
defender like myself. But, as a Senator from one of the old States,
I desire thus early to declare my dissent from these views, and the
reasons for this dissent. Beyond a general concern that the public
lands, of which the Union is now almoner, custodian, and proprietor,
should be administered freely, generously, bountifully, in such wise as
most to promote their settlement, and to build upon them towns, cities,
and States, the nurseries of future empire,--beyond this concern, which
leads me gladly to adopt the proposition in favor of actual settlers
brought forward by the Senator from Wisconsin [Mr. WALKER], I
find clear and special reason for supporting the measure before the
Senate in an undeniable rule of justice to the States in which the
lands lie.

Let me speak, then, for _justice_ to the Land States. And in doing
so I wish to present an important, and, as it seems to me, decisive
consideration,--not adduced thus far in this debate, nor do I know that
it has been argued in any former discussion,--_founded on the exemption
from taxation enjoyed by the national lands in the several States, and
the unquestionable value of this franchise_. The subject naturally
presents itself under two heads: _first_, the origin and nature of this
franchise; and, _secondly_, its extent and value, after deducting all
reservations and grants to the several States.

       *       *       *       *       *

I. In the _first_ place, as to the origin and nature of the immunity
enjoyed by the national domain in the several States.

The United States are proprietors of large tracts within the municipal
and legislative jurisdiction of States, not held directly by virtue of
any original prerogative or eminent domain, by any right of conquest,
occupancy, or discovery, but under acts of cession from the old
States, in which the lands were situated, and from foreign countries,
recognized and confirmed in the statutes by which the different States
have been constituted. Words determining this relation are found in the
Ordinance of 1787, as follows: "The Legislatures of those districts
or new States shall never interfere with _the primary disposal of
the soil_ by the United States in Congress assembled, nor with any
regulations Congress may find necessary for securing the title in such
soil to the _bona fide_ purchasers." This provision is incorporated,
as an article of compact, in subsequent statutes under which the new
States took their place in the Union. It is "the primary disposal of
the soil," without any incident of _sovereignty_, which is here secured.

Regarding the United States, then, as simple proprietors, under the
jurisdiction of the States, would they not be liable, in the discretion
of the States, to the burdens of other proprietors, unless specially
exempted? This exemption is conceded. In the Ordinance of 1787 it is
expressly declared that "no tax shall be imposed on lands the property
of the United States"; and this provision, like that already mentioned,
was embodied in succeeding Acts of Congress by which new States were
constituted. The fact that it was formally conceded and has been thus
embodied seems to denote that such concession was regarded as necessary
to secure the desired immunity. Indeed, from familiar principles of
our jurisprudence, recognized by the Supreme Court, it is reasonable
to infer, that, without such express exemption, this whole extent of
territory would be within the field of local taxation, liable, like the
lands of other proprietors, to all customary burdens and incidents.

Thus, in an early case of Pennsylvania, it is decided that the purchase
of land by the United States would not alone be sufficient to vest
them with the jurisdiction, or to oust the jurisdiction of the State,
without being accompanied or followed by the consent of the Legislature
of the State.[75] And it is judicially declared by the late Mr. Justice
Woodbury, in a well-considered case:--

    "Where the United States own land situated within the limits
    of particular States, and over which they have no cession of
    jurisdiction, for objects either special or general, little doubt
    exists _that the rights and remedies in relation to it are usually
    such as apply to other land-owners within the State_."[76]

    [75] See Commonwealth of Pennsylvania _v._ Young. 1 Kent's Com.,

    [76] United States _v._ Ames, 1 Woodbury and Minot, 80.

After setting forth certain rights of the United States, the learned
judge proceeds:--

    "All these rights exist in the United States for constitutional
    purposes, and without a special cession of jurisdiction; though it
    is admitted that other powers over the property and persons on such
    lands will, of course, remain in the States, till such a cession
    is made. Nothing passes without such a cession, except what is an
    incident to the title and purpose of the General Government."[77]

    [77] Ibid., 83.

The Supreme Court give great eminence to the sovereign right of
taxation in the States, saying:--

    "Taxation is a sacred right, essential to the existence of
    Government,--an incident of sovereignty. The right of legislation
    is coextensive with the incident, to attach it upon all persons and
    property within the jurisdiction of a State."[78]

And again, the Court say in another case:--

    "However absolute the right of an individual may be, it is still
    in the nature of that right that it must bear a portion of the
    public burdens, and that portion must be determined by the

    [78] Dobbins _v._ Commissioners of Erie Co., 16 Peters, 447.

    [79] Providence Bank _v._ Billings and Pittman, 4 Peters, 563.

In the same case, the Court, after declaring "that the taxing power
is of vital importance,--that it is essential to the existence of
Government,--that the relinquishment of such a power is never to be
assumed," add, cautiously, that they "will not say that a State may not
relinquish it,--_that a consideration sufficiently valuable to induce a
partial release of it may not exist_."[80]

    [80] Providence Bank _v._ Billings and Pittman, 4 Peters, 561.

While thus upholding the right of taxation as one of the precious
attributes belonging to the States, the Court, under the Constitution
of the United States, properly exempt instruments and means of
government; but they limit the exemption to these instruments and
means. Thus it is expressly decided in a celebrated case,[81] that,
while the Bank of the United States, being one of the necessary
_instruments and means_ to execute the sovereign powers of the nation,
is not liable to taxation, yet the real property of the Bank is thus
liable, in common with other real property in a particular State.

    [81] McCulloch _v._ The State of Maryland, 4 Wheaton, 316.

Now the lands held by the United States do not belong to _instruments
and means_ necessary and proper to execute the sovereign powers of
the nation. In this respect they clearly differ from fortifications,
arsenals, and navy-yards. They are strictly in the nature of
_private property_ belonging to the nation and situated within the
jurisdiction of States. In excusing them from taxation, our fathers
acted unquestionably according to the suggestions of prudence, but
also under the influence of precedent, derived _at that time_ from
the prerogatives of the British Crown. It was an early prerogative,
transmitted from feudal days, when all taxes were in the nature of
aids and subsidies to the monarch, that the property of the Crown, of
every nature, should be exempt from taxation. _But mark the change._
This ancient feudal principle is not now the law of England. By the
statute of 39 and 40 George III., chap. 88, passed thirteen years
after the Ordinance of 1787, the lands and tenements purchased by the
Crown out of the privy purse or other moneys not appropriated to any
public service, or which came to the King from his ancestors or private
persons,--in other words, lands and tenements in the nature of _private
property_,--are subjected to taxation even while they belong to the

Thus the matter stands. Lands belonging to the nation, which, it
seems, even royal prerogative at this day in England cannot save from
taxation, are in our country, under express provisions of compact,
early established, exempted from this burden. Now, Sir, I make no
complaint; I do not suggest any change, nor do I hint any ground of
legal title in the States. But I do confidently submit, that in this
peculiar, time-honored immunity, originally claimed by the nation, and
conceded by the States within which the public lands lie, there is
ample ground of equity, under which these States may now appeal to the
nation for assistance out of these public lands.

When I listen to comparisons discrediting these States by the side
of the old States, when I hear it charged that they are constant
recipients of the national bounty, and when I catch those sharper terms
of condemnation by which they are characterized as "plunderers" and
"robbers" and "pirates," I am forced to inquire whether the nation has
not already received from these States something more than it has ever
bestowed, even in its most liberal moods,--whether, at this moment, the
nation is not _equitably_ debtor to these States, and not these States
debtors to the nation.

II. I am now brought to the _second_ head of this inquiry,--that is,
the extent and value of the immunity from taxation, after deducting all
reservations and grants to the several States. Authentic documents and
facts place these beyond question.

From the official returns of the Land Office in January, 1849,[82]
it appears that the areas of the twelve Land States--Ohio, Indiana,
Illinois, Missouri, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Michigan,
Arkansas, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Florida--embrace 392,579,200 acres.
California was not at that time a State of the Union. Of this
territory, only 289,961,954 acres had been, in pursuance of the laws of
the United States, surveyed, proclaimed, and put into the market. In
some of the recent States, more than a moiety of the whole domain had
never been brought into this condition. At the date of these official
returns it continued still unconscious of the surveyor's chain. Thus,
in Wisconsin, out of more than thirty-four millions of acres, only a
little more than thirteen millions were proclaimed for sale; and in
Iowa, the very State whose interests are now particularly in question,
out of more than thirty-two millions of acres, only a little more than
twelve millions were proclaimed for sale. I cannot doubt that in fact
the aggregate of the public lands within the States at all times much
exceeds the amount actually in the market; but since it may be said
that lands not yet surveyed, proclaimed, and put into the market,
though nominally under the jurisdiction of the State, must lie actually
beyond the sphere of its influence, so as not to derive any appreciable
advantage from the local government, and as I desire to hold this
argument above every imputation of exaggeration,--knowing full well
that it can afford to be understated,--I forbear to take the larger
amount as basis, but found my estimates upon the extent of territory
actually proclaimed for sale, from the beginning down to January, 1849,
amounting to 289,961,954 acres.

    [82] Exec. Doc., 30th Cong. 2d Sess., H.R. No. 12, Table 6, p. 255.

All these lands thus proclaimed have been exempt from taxation.
But since they were proclaimed at different periods, and also sold
at different periods, so far as they are sold, it is necessary, in
arriving at the value of this immunity, to ascertain what is the
average period during which the lands, after being put into the market,
are in the possession of the United States. This we are able to do from
official returns of the Land Office. Here is a table now before me,
from which it appears, that, of the lands offered for sale during a
period of thirty years, large quantities were, at the expiration of the
period, still on hand. Of the fourteen millions offered in Ohio during
this period, more than two millions remained, while, of the nineteen
millions offered in Missouri, more than twelve millions remained.
Of all the lands offered during this period of _thirty_ years,
more than half were still unsold.[83] And out of the aggregate of
289,961,954 acres proclaimed from the beginning down to January, 1849,
notwithstanding the advancing tread of our thick-coming population,
only 100,209,656 acres had been sold.[84] Now, without further pursuing
these details, I assume, what cannot be questioned, as it is most
clearly within the truth, that lands proclaimed are not all sold
till after a period of fifty years. This estimate makes the average
period during which the lands, after being surveyed and proclaimed,
are actually in the possession of the United States, and free from
taxation, twenty-five years.

    [83] Exec. Doc., 30th Cong. 2d Sess., H.R. No. 12, Table 2, p. 210.

    [84] Ibid., Table 6, p. 255.

According to this estimate, 289,961,954 acres, proclaimed for
sale, have been absolutely free from taxation during the space of
twenty-five years; and yet, during this whole period, they have,
without the ordinary consideration, enjoyed the protection of the
State, with advantages and increased value from highways, bridges, and
school-houses, all of which are supported by the adjoining proprietors,
under the laws of the State, without assistance of any kind from the
United States.

Such is the extent of this immunity. But, in order to determine its
precise value, it is necessary to advance a step farther, and ascertain
one other element: that is, the average annual tax on land in these
States,--for instance, on the land of other non-residents. There
are no official documents within my knowledge by which this can be
determined. But, after inquiry of gentlemen, themselves landholders
in these States, I have thought it might be placed, without risk of
contradiction, at one cent an acre. Probably it is rather two, or even
three cents; but, desiring to keep within bounds, I call it only one
cent an acre. The annual tax on 289,961,954 acres, at the rate of one
cent an acre, would be $2,899,619, and the sum-total of this tax for
twenty-five years would amount to $72,490,475, being the apparent value
of this immunity from taxation already enjoyed by the United States;
or, if we call the annual tax two cents an acre, instead of one cent,
we have nothing less than $144,980,950, of which the United States may
now be regarded as trustees in _equity_ for the benefit of the Land

Against this large sum I may be reminded of reservations and grants
by the nation to the different States. These, when examined, do not
materially interfere with the result. From the official returns of the
Land Office, January, 1849,[85] we learn the precise extent of these
reservations and grants down to that period. Here is the exhibit:--

    Common Schools               10,807,958
    Universities                    823,950
    Seat of Government               50,860
    Salines                         422,325
    Deaf and Dumb Asylums            45,440
    Internal Improvements         8,474,473

    [85] Exec. Doc., 30th Cong. 2d Sess., H.R. No. 12, Table 10, p. 260.

This is all. In the whole aggregate only a little more than twenty
millions of acres have been granted to these States. The value of
this sum-total, if deducted from the estimated value of the franchise
enjoyed by the nation, will still leave a very large balance to the
credit of the Land States. Estimating the land at $1.25 an acre, all
the reservations and grants will amount to no more than $25,781,257.
Deducting this sum from $72,490,475, we have $46,709,218 to the credit
of the Land States; or, if we place the tax at two cents an acre, more
than double this sum.

This result leaves the nation so largely in debt to the Land States
that it becomes of small importance to scan closely the character of
these grants and reservations, to determine whether in large part they
are not already satisfied by specific considerations on the part of
the States. But the stress, which, in the course of this debate, is
laid upon this bounty, leads me to go further. From an examination of
the Acts of Congress by which the Land States were admitted into the
Union it appears that a large portion of these reservations and grants
was made on the express condition that the lands sold by the United
States, under the jurisdiction of the States, _should remain exempt
from any State tax for the space of five years after the sale_. This
condition is particularly applicable to the appropriations for common
schools, universities, seats of government, and salines, amounting to
12,105,093 acres. It is also particularly applicable to another item,
not mentioned before, which is known as the five per cent fund, from
the proceeds of the public lands, for the benefit of roads and canals,
amounting in the whole to $5,242,069. These appropriations, being made
on specific conditions, faithfully performed by the States down to this
day, are properly excluded from our calculations. And this is an answer
to the Senator from Kentucky [Mr. UNDERWOOD], who dwelt so
energetically on these appropriations, without seeming to be aware of
the conditions on which they were granted.

That I may make this more intelligible, let me refer to the act for the
admission of Indiana. After setting forth the five reservations and
grants already mentioned, it proceeds:--

    "_And provided always_, That the five foregoing provisions herein
    offered are on the conditions that the convention of the said State
    shall provide by an ordinance, irrevocable without the consent
    of the United States, that every and each tract of land sold by
    the United States, from and after the first day of December next,
    shall be and remain exempt from any tax laid by order or under any
    authority of the State, whether for State, county, or township,
    or any other purpose whatever, for the term of five years from and
    after the day of sale."

This clause does not stand by itself in the acts admitting the more
recent States, but is mixed with other conditions. I will not believe,
however, that any discrimination can be made between particular
Land States, on the ground of difference in conditions properly
attributable to accidental circumstances. The provision just quoted is
found substantially in the acts for the admission of Ohio, Missouri,
Illinois, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas. So far as these States
are concerned, it is a complete consideration, in the nature of
satisfaction, for reservations and grants enjoyed by them. It also
helps to illustrate the value of the _permanent immunity_ from taxation
belonging to the United States, by exhibiting concessions made by the
United States to assure this franchise for certain moderate quantities
of land during the brief space of five years only.

After the constant charges of squandering the public lands and of
partiality to the Land States, I think all will be astonished at
the small amount on the debtor side, in the great account between
the States and the Nation. This consists of grants for internal
improvements, in the whole reaching to only 8,474,473 acres, which, at
$1.25 an acre, will be $10,593,091. If this sum be deducted from the
estimated value of the immunity already enjoyed by the United States,
we shall still have _upwards of_ $60,000,000 _surrendered by the Land
States to the nation_; or, if we call the annual tax two cents an acre,
more than double this sum.

In these estimates I group together all the Land States. But, taking
separate States, we find the same proportionate result. For instance,
there is Ohio, with 16,770,984 acres proclaimed for sale down to
January 1, 1849. Adopting the basis already employed, and assuming that
these lands continued in the possession of the United States an average
period of twenty-five years after being surveyed and proclaimed, and
that the land tax was one cent an acre, we have $4,192,746 as the value
of the immunity from taxation already enjoyed by the United States in
Ohio. From this may be deducted the value of 1,181,134 acres, being
grants to this State for internal improvements, at $1.25 per acre,
equal to $1,476,417, leaving upwards of two millions--nearly three
millions--of dollars yielded by this State to the nation.

Take another State,--Missouri. It appears that down to January, 1849,
39,635,609 acres had been proclaimed for sale in this State. Assuming
again the basis already employed, we have $9,908,902 as the value
of the immunity from taxation already enjoyed by the United States
in Missouri. From this may be deducted the value of 500,000 acres,
granted for internal improvements, which, at $1.25 an acre, amounts to
$625,000, leaving upwards of nine millions of dollars thus yielded by
this State to the nation.

In this way I might proceed with all the Land States individually; but
enough is done to repel the charges against them, and to elucidate a
_peculiar equity_. On the one side, they have received little, very
little, from the nation,--while, on the other side, the nation, by
strong considerations of equity, is largely indebted to them. This
obligation of itself constitutes an equitable fund, to which the
Land States may properly resort for assistance in works of internal
improvement; and Congress will show an indifference to reasonable
demands, should it fail to deal with them munificently,--in some sort,
according to the simple measure of advantage which the nation has
already so largely enjoyed at their hands.

Against these clear and well-supported merits, the old States present
small claims to consideration. They have waived no right of taxation
over lands within their acknowledged jurisdiction; they have made no
valuable concession; they have yielded up no costly franchise. It
remains, then, that, with candor and justice, they should recognize the
superior--I will not say exclusive--claims of the States within whose
borders and under the protection of whose laws the national domain is

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus much for what I have to say in favor of this bill, on the ground
of _justice_ to the States in which the lands lie. If this argument
did not seem sufficiently conclusive to render any further discussion
superfluous, at least from me, I might go forward, and show that the
true interests of the whole country--of every State in the Union, as of
Iowa itself--are happily coincident with this claim of justice.

The State of Iowa, though distant and still sparsely settled, is known
to contain the materials of boundless prosperity. The northern part
may wear some of the rigid features of New England, but the middle
and southern portion has a surface of great fertility, and in its
bosom coal to an incalculable amount,--more, it is supposed, than all
to be found in England and the whole European Continent. With these
remarkable capacities, which, however, it shares with Illinois and
Indiana and with the northern part of Missouri, it will be able to
subsist a large population and to support manufactories on the most
extensive scale. Its fields will naturally wave with golden harvests,
while its inexhaustible stores of coal will quicken every form of
human industry, and will furnish an incalculable motive-power to all
its multiplying machinery and workshops. If in the reports of Science,
now authenticated by a careful and admirable geological survey of this
region,[86] we may read the future development, I had almost said the
destiny, of States, according to natural laws, which I believe, then it
would be difficult to exaggerate what we may expect from Iowa.

    [86] Report of a Geological Survey of Wisconsin, Iowa, and
    Minnesota, and incidentally of a Portion of Nebraska Territory,
    made under Instructions from the United States Treasury Department,
    by David Dale Owen, United States Geologist. Philadelphia, 1852.

But all resources will be vain and valueless without human
intelligence, skill, and exertion. These will change the face of the
country, opening forests, ploughing fields, working mines, building
roads, establishing schools, planting churches, administering justice.
To carry such blessings into every part of this new region is now
an especial duty. Of course all who have property in this State,
particularly all landholders, according to their means, must contribute
to the improvements and institutions by which its welfare is advanced.
This general principle seems to be clear. It is only when we come to
its application that there can be any question.

It will be observed that here is no suggestion of legal right on the
part of the Land States, or of legal obligation on the part of the
nation. Nor is there any suggestion that our fathers, when by formal
compact they placed this immunity beyond question, failed to act
justly; nor again is there any suggestion that this immunity should
be repealed. It is simply assumed as an existing fact, which has been
of value to the nation, and therefore constitutes an equitable ground
of obligation on the part of the nation in favor of the Land States.
Lord Bacon defines equity as the "general conscience of the realm"; and
it is to this "general conscience" of the republic that the parties
interested in this obligation must look for its recognition.

And now the question is directly presented, whether the Great
Landholder, persevering in this system, will leave to the small
landholders by his side the further labor of building railroads, by
which his own magnificent domain will be largely enhanced, without
contribution thereto. The very statement of the question seems to be
sufficient. Reason declares, with unhesitating voice, that, whatever
may be the legal immunities of the Great Landholder, he cannot, in
equity, be above his neighbors, and that he should contribute to these
works in some proportion according to the extent of the benefit and
the immunities enjoyed. To ascertain this proportion precisely may be
difficult; but the obligation is clear and obvious.

It is on the ground of this obligation that the bill now before
the Senate is most strongly commended. It is said, I know, that by
the grant of alternate sections for the purpose of railroads the
remaining sections are so far enhanced in value that the nation loses
nothing by the grant,--so that it may enjoy the rare privilege of
bestowing without losing, of squandering, if you please, without
any diminution of its means. Though this consideration is not
unimportant, yet I do not dwell upon it, because it is so entirely
subordinate to that derived from the positive obligation of the Great
Landholder on unanswerable grounds of justice. I say confidently
on unanswerable grounds of justice, because nothing can render the
rules of justice in such a case less obligatory upon the Government
than upon a private individual. If the latter, according to all the
laws of good neighborhood, would be bound to help such a work, then
is the Government bound. To decline this duty, to shirk this obvious
obligation, is to behave as no private citizen could behave without the
imputation of meanness. Thus strongly may I put the case, without fear
of contradiction.

The influence of roads and canals in enhancing the value of the public
domain through which they pass is well illustrated by experience. Take
the Illinois and Michigan Canal, for which alternate sections of land
were granted by the United States. Many years ago, as I understand, all
the reserved sections on this line were sold, while in other districts
of Illinois, where there has been no similar improvement, large
quantities of land still continue unsold. Indeed, of the whole national
domain in Illinois, amounting to upwards of thirty-five millions of
acres, only fifteen millions had been sold in January, 1849.[87]

    [87] Exec. Doc., 30th Cong. 2d Sess., H.R. No. 12, Table 6, p. 255.

Take another instance. The Chicago and Rock Island Railroad--of which
one of the proposed roads in Iowa will be an extension--has given
an impulse to sales throughout a wide region. The County of Henry,
through which it passes, is one of the largest and least populous in
Illinois. In this county the lands had been in the market for nearly
thirty years, and recent sales had not reached a thousand acres a
year. But in the very year after this road was surveyed fifty thousand
acres of public land were sold in this county, being more than all the
land sold in the remainder of the district. Again, I am told, that,
after the bill now pending passed the Senate, at the last Congress,
public attention, in anticipation of the promised improvement, was
attracted to the neighborhood of Davenport, the eastern terminus of
the proposed road, and the public domain, not only at this place, but
in the adjoining counties, at once found a market. Though the sales
had already been considerable, they were in a single year more than
doubled, amounting to upwards of eighty thousand acres.

It will readily occur to all that the whole country must gain by the
increased value of the lands still retained and benefited by the
proposed road. But this advantage, though not unimportant, is trivial
by the side of the grander gains, commercial, political, social, and
moral, which must accrue from the opening of a new communication, by
which the territory beyond the Mississippi is brought into connection
with the Atlantic seaboard, and the distant post of Council Bluffs
becomes a suburb of Washington. It would be difficult to exaggerate
the influence of roads as means of civilization. This, at least, may
be said: Where roads are not, civilization cannot be; and civilization
advances as roads are extended. By roads religion and knowledge
are diffused,--intercourse of all kinds is promoted,--producer,
manufacturer, and consumer are all brought nearer together,--commerce
is quickened,--markets are created,--property, wherever touched by
these lines, as by a magic rod, is changed into new values,--and the
great current of travel, like that stream of classic fable, or one of
the rivers in our own California, hurries in a channel of golden sand.
The roads, together with the laws, of ancient Rome are now better
remembered than her victories. The Flaminian and Appian Ways, once trod
by such great destinies, still remain as beneficent representatives
of ancient grandeur. Under God, the road and the schoolmaster are
two chief agents of human improvement. The education begun by the
schoolmaster is expanded, liberalized, and completed by intercourse
with the world; and this intercourse finds new opportunities and
inducements in every road that is built.

Our country has already been active in this work. Through a remarkable
line of steam communications, chiefly by railroad, its whole population
is now, or will be shortly, brought close to the borders of Iowa.
Cities of the Southern seaboard, Charleston, Savannah, and Mobile, are
already stretching their lines in this direction, soon to be completed
conductors,--while the traveller from all the principal points of
the Northern seaboard, from Portland, Boston, Providence, New York,
Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, now passes without impediment
to this remote region, traversing a territory of unexampled resources,
at once magazine and granary, the largest coal-field and at the same
time the largest corn-field of the known globe, winding his way among
churches and school-houses, among forests and gardens, by villages,
towns, and cities, along the sea, along rivers and lakes, with a speed
which may recall the gallop of the ghostly horseman in the ballad:--

                "Fled past on right and left how fast
                  Each forest, grove, and bower!
                On right and left fled past how fast
                  Each city, town, and tower!

                "Tramp! tramp! along the land they rode,
                  Splash! splash! along the sea."

On the banks of the Mississippi he is now arrested. The proposed road
in Iowa will bear the adventurer yet further, to the banks of the
Missouri; and this remote giant stream, mightiest of the earth, leaping
from its sources in the Rocky Mountains, will be clasped with the
Atlantic in the same iron bracelet. In all this I see not only further
opportunities for commerce, but a new extension to civilization and
increased strength to our National Union.

A heathen poet, while picturing the Golden Age, perversely indicates
the absence of long roads as creditable to that imaginary period in
contrast with his own. "How well," exclaims the youthful Tibullus,
"they lived while Saturn ruled,--_before the earth was opened by long

              "Quam bene Saturno vivebant rege, priusquam
                 Tellus _in longas est patefacta vias_!"[88]

But the true Golden Age is before, not behind; and one of its tokens
will be the opening of those _long ways_, by which villages, towns,
counties, states, provinces, nations, are all to be associated and knit
together in a fellowship that can never be broken.

    [88] Eleg. Lib. I. iii. 35, 36.

       *       *       *       *       *

                            SECOND SPEECH.

The debate on the Iowa Railroad Bill was continued on successive days
down to February 17th, when the speech of Mr. Sumner was particularly
assailed by Mr. Hunter, of Virginia. To this he replied at once.

One word, if you please, Mr. President. The Senator from Virginia [Mr.
HUNTER], who has just taken his seat, has very kindly given me
notice that I am to expect "a broadside" from the Senator from Kentucky
[Mr. UNDERWOOD]. For this information I am properly grateful.
When, a few days ago, I undertook to discuss an important question in
this body, I expressed certain views, deemed by me of weight. Those
views I submitted to the candor and judgment of the Senate. I felt
confidence in their essential justice, and nothing heard since has
impaired that confidence. I have listened with respect and attention to
the address of the Senator from Virginia, as it becomes me to listen
to everything any Senator undertakes to put forth here. But I hope to
be excused, if I say, that, in all he has so eloquently uttered with
reference to myself, he has not touched by a hair-breadth my argument.
He has criticized--I am unwilling to say that he has cavilled at--my
calculations; but he has not, by the ninth part of a hair, touched the
conclusion which I drew. That still stands. And let me say that it
cannot be successfully assailed in the way attempted by him.

I said that injustice is done to the Land States, out of this body
and in this body: out of this body, because I often hear them called
"land-stealers" and "land pirates"; in this body by the Senator from
Virginia, when he complains of the partial distribution of the public
lands, and particularly points out the bill now before the Senate as an
instance. I said that this charge was without foundation. Why? On what
ground? Because there is an existing equity (I so called it,--nothing
more) on the part of the Land States as against the General Government.
And on what is this founded? On a fact of record in the public acts
of this country,--that is, the exemption of the public domain from
taxation by the States in which it is situated. The Senator from
Virginia does not question this fact; of course he cannot, for it is
embodied in Acts of Congress.

The next inquiry, then, was, as to the value of this immunity,
which I called an equity. To illustrate this value, I went into
calculations and estimates, which I presented, after some study of
the subject,--not, perhaps, such study as the Senator from Virginia
has found time to give, or such as the Senator from Kentucky, in
the plenitude of his researches, doubtless has given. On those
calculations and estimates I attributed a certain value to the equity
in question. My calculations and estimates may be overstated; they
may be exaggerated. The Senator from Virginia thinks them so. Other
gentlemen with whom I have had the privilege of conversing think them
understated. However this may be, it does not touch the argument. I
may have done injustice to my argument by overstating them. I intended
to understate them. From all that I hear, I still think that I have
understated them. But, whether understated or overstated, the argument
still stands, that these States have conceded to the General Government
an immunity from taxation,--that this immunity has a certain value,
I think very large,--and that this value constitutes an equity to
which the Land States have a right to appeal for bountiful, ay, for
munificent treatment. Has the Senator from Virginia answered this
argument? Can he answer it?

I forbear to go into the subject at this time. I rose simply to state,
that, as the Senator from Virginia generously warns me that I am to
expect "a broadside" from the Senator from Kentucky, I am to regard
what he said to-day, so far as I am concerned, simply as a signal gun.
The Senator will pardon me, if I say it is nothing more; for it has not
reached me, or my argument. Meanwhile I await, with resignation, and
without anxiety, the "broadside" from Kentucky.

       *       *       *       *       *

                             THIRD SPEECH.

The debate was continued for many days, during which the speech of
Mr. Sumner was attacked and defended. Finally, on the 16th of March,
immediately before the question was taken, he again returned to the

MR. PRESIDENT,--Much time has been consumed by this question.
At several periods the debate has seemed about to stop, and then again
it has taken a new spring, while the goal constantly receded. I know
not if it is now near the end. But I hope that I shall not seem to
interfere with its natural course, or unduly occupy the time of the
Senate, if I venture again for one moment to take part in it.

The argument which I submitted on a former occasion has not
passed unregarded. And since it can owe little to my individual
position, I accept the opposition it encounters as a tribute to its
intrinsic importance. It has been assailed by different Senators, on
different days, and in different ways. It has been met by harmless
pleasantry, and by equally harmless vituperation,--by figures of
arithmetic and figures of rhetoric,--by minute criticism and extended
discussion,--also, by that sure resource of a weak cause, hard
words, and an imputation of personal motives. I propose no reply to
all this array; least of all shall I retort hard words, or repel
personal imputations. On this head I content myself with saying,--and
confidently, too,--that, had he known me better, the Senator from
Kentucky [Mr. UNDERWOOD], who is usually so moderate and
careful, would have hesitated long before uttering expressions which
fell from him in this debate.

The position I took is regarded as natural, or excusable, in a Senator
from one of the Land States, acting under the vulgar spur of local
interest; but it is pronounced unnatural and inexcusable in a Senator
from Massachusetts. Now, Sir, it is sufficient for me to say, in reply
to this imputation, that, while I know there are influences and biases
incident to particular States or sections of the Union, I recognize
no difference in the duties of Senators on this floor. Coming from
different States and opposite sections, we are all Senators of the
Union; and our constant duty is, without fear or favor, to introduce
into the national legislation the principle of justice. In this spirit,
while sustaining the bill before the Senate, I spoke for justice to the
Land States.

In my present course, I but follow the example of Senators and
Representatives of Massachusetts on kindred measures from their
earliest introduction down to the present time. The first instance was
in 1823, on the grant to the State of Ohio of land one hundred and
twenty feet wide, with one mile on each side, for the construction of a
road from the lower rapids of the Miami River to the western boundary
of the Connecticut Reserve. On the final passage of this grant in the
House, the Massachusetts delegation voted as follows: Yeas,--Samuel
C. Allen, Henry W. Dwight, Timothy Fuller, Jeremiah Nelson, John
Reed, Jonathan Russell; Nay,--Benjamin Gorham. In the Senate the bill
passed without a division. In 1828 a still greater unanimity occurred
on the passage of the bill to aid the State of Ohio in extending
the Miami Canal from Dayton to Lake Erie; and this bill is an early
instance of the grant of alternate sections, as in that now before
the Senate. On this the Massachusetts delegation in the House voted
as follows: Yeas,--Isaac C. Bates, Benjamin W. Crowninshield, John
Davis, Edward Everett, John Locke, John Reed, Joseph Richardson, John
Varnum; Nays,--none. In the Senate, Messrs. Silsbee and Webster both
voted in the affirmative. I pass over intermediate grants, which, I am
told, were sustained by the Massachusetts delegations with substantial
unanimity. The extensive grants, by the last Congress, to Illinois,
Mississippi, and Alabama, in aid of a railroad from Chicago to Mobile,
were sustained by all the Massachusetts votes in the House, except one.

Still further, in sustaining the present bill on grounds of justice
to the Land States, I but follow the recorded instructions of
the Legislature of Massachusetts, addressed to its Senators and
Representatives here on a former occasion. The subject was presented
in a special message to the Legislature in 1841, by the distinguished
Governor at that time,[89] who strongly urged "a liberal policy
towards the actual settler, and _towards the new States_, for this is
justly due to both." And he added: "Such States are entitled to a more
liberal share of the proceeds of the public lands than the old States,
as we owe to their enterprise much of the value this property has
acquired. _It seems to me, therefore, that justice towards the States
in which these lands lie demands a liberal and generous policy towards
them._"[90] In accordance with this recommendation, it was resolved by
the Legislature, "That, in the disposition of the public lands, _this
Commonwealth approves of making liberal provisions in favor of the new
States_; and that she ever has been, and still is, ready to cooperate
with other portions of the Union in securing to those States such
provisions."[91] Thus a generous policy towards the Land States, with
liberal provisions in their favor, was considered by Massachusetts the
part of justice.

    [89] Hon. John Davis.

    [90] Mass. House Documents, 1841, No. 23, pp. 2, 3.

    [91] Mass. Acts and Resolves, 1841, p. 422.

It was my purpose, before this debate closed, to consider again the
argument I formerly submitted, and to vindicate its accuracy in all
respects, both in principle and in detail. But this has already been
so amply done by others much abler than myself,--by the Senator from
Missouri [Mr. GEYER], both the Senators from Michigan [Mr. FELCH and
Mr. CASS], the Senator from Arkansas [Mr. BORLAND], the Senator from
Iowa [Mr. DODGE], and the Senator from Louisiana [Mr. DOWNS],--all
of whom, with different degrees of fulness, have urged the same
grounds in favor of this bill, that I feel unwilling at this hour,
and while the Senate actually waits to vote on the question, to
occupy time by further dwelling upon it. Perhaps on some other
occasion I may think proper to return to it.

But, while avoiding what seems superfluous discussion, I cannot forbear
asking your attention to the amendment of the Senator from Kentucky

This amendment, when addressed to Senators of the favored States,
is of a most plausible character. It proposes to give portions of
the public domain to the original Thirteen, together with Vermont,
Maine, Tennessee, and Kentucky, for purposes of education and
internal improvement, at the rate of one acre to each inhabitant
according to the recent census. This is commended by the declared
objects,--education and internal improvement. Still further, in its
discrimination of the old States, it assumes a guise well calculated to
tempt them into its support. It holds out the attraction of seeming,
though unsubstantial, self-interest. It offers a lure, a bait, to be
unjust. I object to it on several grounds.

1. But I put in the fore-front, as my chief objection, its clear,
indubitable, and radical injustice, written on its very face. The
amendment confines its donations to the old States, and, so doing,
makes an inequitable discrimination in their favor. It tacitly assumes,
that, by the bill in question, or in some other way, the Land States
have received their proper distributive portion, so as to lose all
title to share with the old States in the proposed distribution. But,
if there be any force in the argument, so much considered in this
debate, that these railroad grants actually enhance the value of the
neighboring lands of the United States, and constitute a proper mode of
bringing them into the market, or if there be any force in the other
argument which I have presented, drawn from the equitable claims of
the Land States, in comparison with the other States, to the bounty of
the _great untaxed proprietor_,[92] then this assumption is unfounded.
There is no basis for the discrimination made by the amendment. If the
Iowa Land Bill be proper without this amendment, as most will admit,
then this amendment, introducing a new discrimination, is improper.
Nor do I well see how any one prepared to sustain the original bill
can sustain the amendment. The Senator from Kentucky, who leads us to
expect his vote for the bill, seems to confess the injustice of his
attempted addition.

2. I object to it as out of place. The amendment engrafts upon a
special railroad grant to a single State a novel distribution of the
national domain. Now there is a place and a time for all things; and
nothing seems to me more important in legislation than to keep all
things in their proper place, and to treat them at their proper time.
The distribution of the public lands is worthy of attention; and I am
ready to meet this great question whenever it arises legitimately for
our consideration; but I object to considering it merely as a rider to
the Iowa Land Bill.

    [92] Mr. Webster, in his greatest speech, the celebrated reply to
    Mr. Hayne, touched on this consideration. He said: "And, finally,
    have not these new States singularly strong claims, founded on
    the ground already stated, that the Government is a great untaxed
    proprietor in the ownership of the soil?"--_Speeches_, Vol. III. p.

The amendment would be less objectionable, if proposed as a rider
to a general system of railroad grants,--as, for instance, to a
bill embracing grants to all the Land States; but it is specially
objectionable as a graft upon the present bill. The Senator who
introduced it doubtless assumed that other bills, already introduced,
would pass; but, if his amendment be founded on this assumption, it
should wait the action of Congress on all these bills.

3. If adopted, the amendment might endanger, if it did not defeat,
the Iowa Land Bill. This seems certain. Having this measure at heart,
believing it founded in essential justice, I am unwilling to place it
in this jeopardy.

4. It prepares the way for States of this Union to become landholders
in other States, subject, of course, to the legislation of those
States,--an expedient which, though not strictly objectionable on
grounds of law, or under the Constitution, is not agreeable to our
national policy. It should not be promoted without strong and special
reasons. In the bill introduced by the Senator from Illinois [Mr.
SHIELDS], bestowing lands for the benefit of the insane in
different States, this objection is partially obviated by providing
that the States in which there are no public lands shall select their
portion in the Territories of the United States, and not in other
States. But, since in a short time these very Territories may become
States, this objection is rather adjourned than removed.

5. Lands held under this amendment, though in the hands of States, will
be liable to taxation, as lands of other non-resident proprietors,
and on this account will be comparatively valueless. For this reason
I said that the amendment held out the attraction of seeming, though
unsubstantial, self-interest. That the lands will be liable to taxation
cannot be doubted. The amendment does not propose in any way to relieve
them from this burden, nor am I aware that they can be relieved from
it. The existing immunity is only so long as they belong to the United
States. Now there is reason to believe, that, from lack of agencies and
other means familiar to the United States, the lands distributed by
this amendment would not find as prompt a market as those still in the
hands of the Great Landholder. But however this may be, it is entirely
clear, from the recorded experience of the national domain, that these
lands, if sold at the minimum price of the public lands, and only
as rapidly as those of the United States, and if meanwhile they are
subject to the same burdens as the lands of other non-residents, will,
before the sales are closed, be eaten up by the taxes. The taxes will
amount to more than the entire receipts from sales; and thus the grant,
while unjust to the Land States, will be worthless to the old States,
the pretended beneficiaries. In the Roman Law, an insolvent inheritance
was known by an expressive phrase as _damnosa hæreditas_. A grant under
this amendment would be _damnosa donatio_.

For such good and sufficient reasons, I am opposed to this amendment.

       *       *       *       *       *

                   J. FENIMORE COOPER, THE NOVELIST.


                                        WASHINGTON, February 22, 1852.

    My Dear Sir,--It is not in my power to be present at the proposed
    demonstration in memory of the late Mr. Cooper. But I am glad of
    the opportunity, afforded by the invitation with which I have been
    honored, to express my regard for his name and my joy that he lived
    and wrote.

    As an author of clear and manly prose, as a portrayer to the
    life of scenes on land and sea, as a master of the keys to human
    feelings, and as a beneficent contributor to the general fund of
    happiness, he is remembered with delight.

    As a patriot who loved his country, who illustrated its history,
    who advanced its character abroad, and by his genius won for it the
    unwilling regard of foreign nations, he deserves a place in the
    hearts of the American people.

    I have seen his works in cities of France, Italy, and Germany.
    In all these countries he was read and admired. Thus by his
    pen American intervention was peacefully, inoffensively, and
    triumphantly carried into the heart of the European Continent.

    In honoring him we exalt literature and the thrice blessed arts
    of peace. Our country will learn anew from your demonstration that
    there are glories other than those of state or war.

        I have the honor to be, dear Sir,

                        Your obedient servant,

                                                CHARLES SUMNER.


       *       *       *       *       *

                         CHEAP OCEAN POSTAGE.

                        POSTAGE, MARCH 8, 1852.

This proposition Mr. Sumner constantly renewed at subsequent sessions
of Congress.

Mr. President,--I submit the following resolution. As it is one of
inquiry, I ask that it may be considered at this time.

    _Resolved_, That the Committee on Naval Affairs, while considering
    the nature and extent of aid proper to be granted to the Ocean
    Steamers, be directed to inquire whether the present charges for
    letters carried by these steamers are not unnecessarily large and
    burdensome to foreign correspondence, and whether something may not
    be done, and, if so, what, to secure the great boon of Cheap Ocean

There being no objection, the question was stated to be on the adoption
of the resolution.

MR. PRESIDENT,--The Committee on Naval Affairs have the responsibility
of shaping some measure by which the relations of our Government with
the ocean steamers will be defined. And since one special inducement
to these relations, involving the bounty now enjoyed and further
solicited, is the carrying of the mails, I trust this Committee will
be willing to inquire whether there cannot be a reduction on the
postage of foreign correspondence. Under the Postage Act of 1851, the
Postmaster, by and with the advice of the President, has power to
reduce, from time to time, the rates of postage on all mailable matter
conveyed between the United States and any foreign country. But the
existence of this power in the Postmaster will not render it improper
for the Committee, now drawn into connection with this question, to
take it into careful consideration, with a view to some practical
action, or, at least, recommendation. The subject is of peculiar
interest; nor do I know any measure, so easily accomplished, which
promises to be so beneficent as cheap ocean postage. The argument in
its favor is at once brief and unanswerable.

A letter can be sent three thousand miles in the United States for
three cents, and the reasons for cheap postage on land are equally
applicable to ocean.

In point of fact, the conveyance of letters can be effected in sailing
or steam packets at less cost than by railway.

Besides, cheap ocean postage will tend to supersede the clandestine or
illicit conveyance of letters, and to bring into the mails all mailable
matter, which, under the present system, is carried in the pockets of
passengers or in the bales and boxes of merchants.

All new facilities for correspondence naturally give new expansion
to human intercourse; and there is reason to believe, that, through
an increased number of letters, cheap ocean postage will be

Cheap postal communication with foreign countries will be of
incalculable importance to the commerce of the United States.

By promoting the intercourse of families and friends separated by
ocean, cheap postage will add to the sum of human happiness.

The present high rates of ocean postage--namely, twenty-four cents on
half an ounce, forty-eight cents on an ounce, and ninety-six cents on
a letter which weighs a fraction more than an ounce--are a severe tax
upon all, particularly upon the poor, amounting, in many cases, to a
complete prohibition of foreign correspondence. This should not be.

It particularly becomes our country, by the removal of all unnecessary
burdens upon foreign correspondence, to advance the comfort of
European emigrants seeking a home among us, and to destroy, as far as
practicable, every barrier to free intercourse between the Old World
and the New.

And, lastly, cheap ocean postage will be a bond of peace among the
nations of the earth, and will extend good-will among men.

By such reasons this measure is commended. Much as I rejoice in the
American steamers, which vindicate a peaceful supremacy of the seas,
and help to weave a golden tissue between the two hemispheres, I cannot
consider these, with all their unquestionable advantages, an equivalent
for cheap ocean postage. I trust that they are not inconsistent with
each other, and that both may flourish together.

Objection was made to the resolution, as not being addressed to the
proper Committee, and a brief debate ensued, in which Mr. Rusk, Mr.
Gwin, Mr. Badger, Mr. Davis, Mr. Seward, Mr. Mason, and Mr. Sumner
took part. It was urged by the last, in reply, that the Committee on
Naval Affairs was the proper Committee, as at the present moment it is
specially charged with a subject intimately connected with the inquiry
proposed. At the suggestion of Mr. Badger the matter was allowed to
lie over till the next day.

On Tuesday, March 9th, the Senate proceeded to consider the resolution
submitted by Mr. Sumner on the 8th, relative to Ocean Steamers and
Cheap Ocean Postage. On motion of Mr. Sumner, it was amended, and
finally adopted, without opposition, as follows:--

    "_Resolved_, That the Committee on the Post Office and Post Roads
    be directed to inquire whether the present charges on letters
    carried by the Ocean Steamers are not unnecessarily large and
    burdensome to foreign correspondence, and whether something may not
    be done, and, if so, what, to secure the great boon of Cheap Ocean

       *       *       *       *       *



This case, from beginning to end, is a curious episode of Antislavery
history. The people of Washington were surprised, on the morning of
April 16, 1848, at hearing that the "Pearl," a schooner from the North,
had sailed down the Potomac with seventy-six slaves, who had hurried
aboard in the vain hope of obtaining their freedom. The schooner was
pursued and brought back to Washington with her human cargo, and
the liberators, Drayton, master, and Sayres, mate. As the latter were
taken from the river-side to the jail, they were followed by a proslavery
mob, estimated at from four to six thousand people, many armed with
deadly weapons, amid wrathful cries of, "Hang him!" "Lynch him!"
with all profanities and abominations of speech, and exposed to violence
of all kinds,--the thrust of a dirk-knife coming within an inch of
Drayton. The same mob besieged the jail, and, hearing that Hon. Joshua
E. Giddings, the brave Representative of Ohio, was there in consultation
with the prisoners, demanded his immediate expulsion, and the jailer,
to save bloodshed, insisted upon his departure. Nor was the prevailing
rage confined to the jail. It extended to the office of the "National
Era," the Antislavery paper, which was saved from destruction only
through the courage and calmness of its admirable editor. The spirit
of the mob entered both Houses of Congress, and the slave-masters
raged, as was their wont.

Meanwhile Drayton and Sayres were indicted before the Criminal Court
of the District of Columbia for "transporting" slaves. There were no
less than one hundred and fifteen indictments against each of the
prisoners, and the bail demanded of each was seventy-six thousand
dollars. Hon. Horace Mann, a Representative of Massachusetts, appeared
for the defence. His speech on this occasion will be read with constant
interest.[93] The spirit of the mob without entered the court-room,
betraying itself even in the conduct of the judge, while standing
near the devoted counsel for the defence were men who cocked pistols
and drew dirks in the mob that followed the prisoners to the jail. Of
course the verdict was "Guilty," and the sentence was according to the
extreme requirement of a barbarous law.

    [93] Slavery: Letters and Speeches by Horace Mann, pp. 84-118.

Drayton and Sayres lingered in prison more than four years, and during
this long incarceration they were the objects of much sympathy at
the North. A petition to Congress in their behalf, signed by leading
Abolitionists, including the eloquent Wendell Phillips, was forwarded
to Mr. Sumner for presentation to the Senate. On careful consideration,
he was satisfied that such a petition, if presented, would excite the
dominant power to insist more strongly than ever on the letter of the
law, and he took the responsibility of withholding it. Meanwhile he
visited the sufferers in prison, and appealed to President Fillmore for
their pardon. In this application he was aided by that humane lady,
Miss Dix. The President interposed doubts of his right to pardon in
such a case, but expressed a desire for light on this point. At his
invitation, Mr. Sumner laid before him the following paper, which was
referred to the Attorney-General, Mr. Crittenden, who gave an opinion
affirming the power of the President,--adding, however, "Whether the
power shall be exercised in this instance is another and very different
question."[94] This opinion bears date August 4, 1852, which, it will
be observed, was some time after the Presidential Conventions of the
two great political parties. Shortly afterwards the pardon was granted.

There was reason to believe that an attempt would be made to arrest
the pardoned persons on warrants from the Governor of Virginia.
Anticipating this peril, Mr. Sumner, as soon as the pardon was signed,
hurried to the jail in a carriage, and, taking them with him, put them
in charge of a friend, who conveyed them that night to Baltimore, a
distance of forty miles, where they arrived in season for the early
morning trains North, and in a few hours were out of danger.

By the laws of Maryland, 1737, chapter 2, section 4, it is provided
that any person "who shall steal any negro or other slave, or who shall
counsel, hire, aid, abet, or command any person or persons" to do so,
"shall suffer death as a felon." The punishment has since been changed
to imprisonment, for a term not less than seven nor more than twenty

    [94] Opinions of Attorneys-General, Vol. V. pp. 580-591.

Fourteen years later, by the act of 1751, chapter 14, section 10, it
was provided, that, "if any free person shall entice and persuade any
slave within this province to run away, and who shall actually run
away, from the master, owner, or overseer, and be convicted thereof,
by confession, or verdict of a jury upon an indictment or information,
shall forfeit and pay the full value of such slave to the master or
owner of such slave, to be levied by execution on the goods, chattels,
lands, or tenements of the offender, and, in case of inability to
pay the same, shall suffer one year's imprisonment without bail or

Still later, by the act of 1796, chapter 67, section 19, "the
transporting of any slave or any person held to service" from the State
was made a distinct offence, for which the offender was liable in an
action of damages, and also by indictment.

By the Act of Congress organizing the District of Columbia (February
27, 1801) it was declared, that "the laws of the State of Maryland, as
they now exist, shall be and continue in force in that part of the said
District which was ceded by that State to the United States, and by
them accepted as aforesaid." Under this provision, these ancient laws
of Maryland are to this day of full force in the District of Columbia.

       *       *       *       *       *

The facts to be considered are few. Messrs. Drayton and Sayres, on
indictment and trial, under the act of 1737, for stealing slaves, were
acquitted, the jury rendering a verdict of "Not guilty." Resort was
then had to the statute of 1796, chapter 67, section 19, as follows.

    "And be it enacted, That any person or persons, who shall
    hereafter be convicted of giving a pass to any slave, or person
    held to service, or shall be found to assist, by advice, donation,
    or loan, or otherwise, the transporting of any slave, or any person
    held to service, from this State, or by any other unlawful means
    depriving a master or owner of the service of his slave, or person
    held to service, for every such offence the party aggrieved shall
    recover damages in an action on the case against such offender or
    offenders; and such offender or offenders also shall be liable,
    upon indictment, and conviction upon verdict, confession, or
    otherwise, in this State, in any county court where such offence
    shall happen, [to] be fined a sum not exceeding two hundred
    dollars, at the discretion of the court, one half to the use of the
    master or owner of such slave, the other half to the county school,
    in case there be any; if no such school, to the use of the county."

       *       *       *       *       *

Under this statute, proceedings were instituted by the Attorney of
the District of Columbia against these parties, in seventy-four
different indictments, each indictment being founded on the alleged
"transporting" of a single slave. On conviction, Drayton was sentenced
on each indictment to a fine of $140 and costs, in each case $19.49,
amounting in the sum-total to $11,802.26. On conviction, Sayres was
sentenced on each indictment to a fine of $100 and costs, in each
case $17.38, amounting in the sum-total to $8,686.12. One half of the
fine was, according to law, to the use of the masters or owners of
the slaves transported; the other half, to the county school,--or, in
case there were no such school, to the use of the county. Afterwards,
on motion of the Attorney for the District, they were "prayed in
commitment," and committed until the fine and costs should be paid. In
pursuance of this sentence, and on this motion, they have been detained
in prison, in the City of Washington, since April, 1848, and are still
in prison, unable from poverty to pay these large fines. The question
now occurs as to the power of the President to pardon them, _so at
least as to relieve them from imprisonment_.

       *       *       *       *       *

The peculiar embarrassment in this case arises from the nature of the
sentence. If it were simply a sentence of imprisonment, the power of
the President would be unquestionable. So, also, if it were a sentence
of imprisonment, with fine superadded, payable to the United States,
his power would be unquestionable; and the same power would extend to
the case of a fine payable to the United States, with imprisonment as
the alternative on non-payment of the fine.

But in the present case imprisonment is the alternative for non-payment
of fines which are not payable to the United States, but to other
parties, namely, the slave-owners and the county. It is important,
however, to bear in mind that these fines are a mere donation to these
parties, and not a compensation for services rendered. These parties
are not informers, nor were the proceedings in the nature of a _qui
tam_ action.

It should be distinctly understood, at the outset, that the proceedings
against Drayton and Sayres were not at the suit of any informer or
private individual, but at the prosecution of the United States by
indictment. They are therefore removed from the authority of the
English cases, which protect the share of an informer after judgment
from remission by pardon from the crown.

       *       *       *       *       *

The power of the President in the present case may be regarded,
_first_, in the light of the Common Law,--_secondly_, under the
statutes of Maryland,--and, _thirdly_, under the Constitution of the
United States.

       *       *       *       *       *

_First._ As to the _Common Law_, it may be doubtful, whether, according
to early authorities, the pardoning power can be used so as to bar or
divest any legal interest, benefit, or advantage vested in a private
individual. It is broadly stated by English writers that it cannot be
so used. (2 Hawkins, P.C., 392, Book II., chap. 37, sec. 34; 17 Viner's
Abridgment, 39, Prerogative of the King, U. art. 7.) But this principle
does not seem to be sustained by practical cases in the United States,
except in the instances of informers and _qui tam_ actions, while, on
one occasion, in a leading case of Kentucky, it was rejected. (_Routt_
v. _Feemster_, 7 J.J. Marshall, 132.)

But it is clearly established, that, where the fine is allotted to
a public body, or a public officer, for a public purpose, it may be
remitted by pardon. This may be illustrated by several cases.

1. As where, in Pennsylvania, the fine was for the benefit of the
county. In this case the Court said: "Until the money is collected
and paid into the treasury, the constitutional right of the Governor
to pardon the offender, and remit the fine or forfeiture, remains in
full force. They can have no more vested interest in the money than
the Commonwealth, under the same circumstances, would have had; and
it cannot be doubted, that, until the money reaches the treasury, the
Governor has the power to remit.... In the case of costs, private
persons are interested in them; but as to fines and forfeitures, they
are imposed upon principles of public policy. The latter, therefore,
are under the exclusive control of the Governor." (_Commonwealth_ v.
_Denniston_, 9 Watts, 142.) The same point is also illustrated by a
case in Illinois. (_Holliday_ v. _The People_, 5 Gilman, 214-217.)

2. As where, in Georgia, the fine was to be paid to an inferior court
for county purposes. (_In Re_ Flournoy, Attorney-General, 1 Kelly,

3. As where, in South Carolina, the fine was to be paid to the
Commissioners of Public Buildings, for public purposes, (_The State_
v. _Simpson_, 1 Bailey, 378,) or the Commissioners of the Roads. (_The
State_ v. _Williams_, 1 Nott & McCord, 26. See also _Rowe_ v. _The
State_, 2 Bay, 565.)

According to these authorities, the portion of the fine allotted to
the county, or to the school, may be remitted. Of this there can be no

       *       *       *       *       *

_Secondly._ _The Statutes of Maryland_, anterior to the organization of
the District of Columbia, may also be regarded as an independent source
of light on this question, since these statutes are made the law of the
District. And here the conclusion seems to be easy.

By the Constitution of Maryland, adopted November 8th, 1776, it
is declared: "The Governor may grant reprieves or pardons for any
crime, except in such cases where the law shall otherwise direct."
Notwithstanding these strong words of grant, which seem to be as broad
as the Common Law, it was further, as if to remove all doubt, declared
by the Legislature, in 1782 (Chap. 42, sec. 3): "That the Governor,
with the advice of the Council, be authorized _to remit the whole or
any part of any fine_, penalty, or forfeiture, heretofore imposed, or
hereafter to be imposed, in any court of law." Here is no exception or
limitation of any kind. By express words, the Governor is authorized
to remit the whole or any part of any fine. Of course, under this
clause he cannot remit a private debt; but he may remit _any fine_. The
question is not, whether the fine be payable to the United States or
other parties, but whether it is _a fine_. If it be a fine, it is in
the power of the Governor.

This view is strengthened by the circumstance, that in Maryland,
according to several statutes, fines are allotted to parties other than
the Government. The very statute of 1796, under which these proceedings
were had, was passed subsequently to this provision respecting the
remission of fines. It must be interpreted in harmony with the earlier
statute; and since all these statutes are now the law of the District
of Columbia, the power of the President, under these laws, to remit
these fines, seems established without special reference to the Common
Law or to the Constitution of the United States.

If this were not the case, two different hardships would ensue: first,
the statute of 1782 would be despoiled of its natural efficacy; and,
secondly, the minor offence of "transporting" a single slave would be
punishable, on non-payment of the fine, with imprisonment for life,
while the higher offence of "stealing" a slave is punishable with
imprisonment for a specific term, and the other offence of "enticing"
a slave is punishable with a fine larger than that for transporting a
slave, and, on non-payment thereof, imprisonment for one year only.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Thirdly._ Look at the case under the _Constitution of the United

By the Constitution, the President has power "to grant reprieves and
pardons for offences against the United States, except in cases of
impeachment." According to a familiar rule of interpretation, the
single specified exception leaves the power of the President applicable
to all other cases: _Expressio unius exclusio est alterius_. Mr.
Berrien, in one of his opinions as Attorney-General, recognizes "the
pardoning power as coextensive with the power to punish"; and he quotes
with approbation the words of another writer, that "the power is
general and unqualified," and that "the remission of fines, penalties,
and forfeitures, under the revenue laws, is included in it." (Opinions
of the Attorneys-General, Vol. I. p. 756.)

On this power Mr. Justice Story thus remarks: "The power of remission
of fines, penalties, and forfeitures is also included in it, and may,
in the last resort, be exercised by the Executive, although it is in
many cases by our laws confided to the Treasury Department. No law
can abridge the constitutional powers of the Executive Department, or
interrupt its right to interpose by pardon in such cases.--Instances
of the exercise of this power by the President, in remitting fines
and penalties, in cases not within the scope of the laws giving
authority to the Treasury Department, have repeatedly occurred, and
their obligatory force has never been questioned." (Story, Com. on
Constitution, Vol. II. § 1504.)

It has been decided by the Supreme Court, after elaborate argument,
that "the Secretary of the Treasury has authority, under the Remission
Act of the 3d of March, 1797, chap. 361, to remit a forfeiture or
penalty accruing under the revenue laws, at any time, before or after
a final sentence of condemnation or judgment for the penalty, until
the money is actually paid over to the Collector for distribution";
and that "such remission extends to the shares of the forfeiture or
penalty to which the officers of the customs are entitled, as well as
to the interest of the United States." In giving his opinion on this
occasion, Mr. Justice Johnson, of South Carolina, made use of language
much in point. "Mercy and justice," he said, "could only have been
administered by halves, if collectors could have hurried causes to
judgment, and then clung to the one half of the forfeiture, in contempt
of the cries of distress or the mandates of the Secretary." (_United
States_ v. _Morris_, 10 Wheaton, 303.)

A case has occurred in Kentucky, to which reference has been already
made, in which it is confidently and broadly assumed that the
pardoning power under the Constitution extends even to the penalties
due to informers. The following passage occurs in the opinion of
the Court. "The act of 1823 says that any prosecuting attorney, who
shall prosecute any person to conviction under it, shall be entitled
to twenty-five per cent of the amount of such fine as shall be
collected.... The act gives the prosecuting attorney one fourth of the
money, when collected, but vests him with no interest in the fine or
sentence, separate and distinct from that of the Commonwealth, that
would screen his share from the effect of any legal operation which
should, before collection, abrogate the whole or a part of it. It
would require language of the strongest and most explicit character
to authorize a presumption that the Legislature intended to confer
any such right. We could never presume an intention to control the
Governor's constitutional power to remit fines and forfeitures. _If he
can in this way be restrained in the exercise of his power to remit
for the fourth of a fine, so can he be for_ _the half or the whole.
This part of his prerogative cannot be curtailed. With the exception of
the case of treason, his power to remit fines and forfeitures, grant
reprieves and pardons, is unlimited, illimitable, and uncontrollable.
It has no bounds but his own discretion._ It is no doubt politic
and proper for the Legislature to incite prosecuting attorneys and
informers, by giving them a portion of fines, when collected; but in
so doing the citizen cannot be debarred of his right of appeal to
executive clemency." (_Routt_ v. _Feemster_, 7 J.J. Marshall, 132.)

According to these authorities, it seems reasonable to infer, that,
under the Constitution of the United States, the pardoning power,
which is clearly applicable to the offence of "transporting" slaves of
the District, might remit the penalties in question. These penalties,
though allotted to the owners and the county, when finally collected,
are neither more nor less than the punishment, under sentence of a
criminal court, for an offence of which the parties stand convicted
upon indictment. They can be collected and acquitted only by the
United States. No process for this purpose is at the command of the
slave-owner. He had no control whatever over the prosecution at any
stage, nor did it proceed at his suggestion or information. The very
statute under which these public proceedings were instituted in the
name of the United States secured to the slave-owner his private action
on the case for damages,--thus separating the public from the private
interests. These it seems the duty of the President to keep separate,
except on the final collection and distribution of the penalties.
Public policy and the ends of justice require that the punishment
for a criminal offence should, in every case, be exclusively subject
to the supreme pardoning power, without dependence upon the will of
any private person. An obvious case will illustrate this. Suppose,
in the case of Drayton and Sayres, it should be ascertained beyond
doubt that the conviction was procured by perjury. If, by virtue of
the judgment, the slave-owners have an interest in the imprisonment of
these men which cannot be touched, then the prisoners, unable to meet
these heavy liabilities, must continue in perpetual imprisonment, or
owe their release to the accident of private good-will. The President,
notwithstanding his beneficent power to pardon, under the Constitution,
will be powerless to remedy this evil. But such a state of things would
be monstrous; and any interpretation of the Constitution is monstrous
which thus ties his hands. Mercy and justice would be rendered not
merely _by halves_, but, owing to the inability of prisoners, from
poverty, to pay the other half of the fine, they would be entirely

The power of pardon, which is attached by the Constitution to offences
generally, should not be curtailed. It is a generous prerogative,
and should be exercised generously. _Boni judicis est ampliare
jurisdictionem._ This is an old maxim of the law. But if it be the duty
of a good judge to extend his jurisdiction, how much more is it the
duty of a good President to extend the field of his clemency! At least,
no small doubt should deter him from the exercise of his prerogative.

       *       *       *       *       *

The conclusion from this review is as follows.

1. By the English Common Law the costs and one half of the fines may be
remitted. It is not certain that by this law, as adopted in the United
States, the other half of the fines may not also be remitted.

2. Under the statutes of Maryland, now the law of the District, the
Governor, and, of course, the President, may remit "the whole or any
part of any fine," without exception.

3. Under the Constitution of the United States, and according to its
true spirit, the pardoning power of the President is coextensive with
the power to punish, except in the solitary case of impeachment.

       *       *       *       *       *

Several courses are open to the President in the present case.

I. By a _general pardon_ he may discharge Drayton and Sayres _from
prison, and remit all the fines and costs for which they are detained_.
Such a pardon would unquestionably operate effectually upon the
imprisonment and upon the costs, and also upon the half of the fines
due to the county. It would be for the courts, on a proper application,
and in the exercise of their just powers, to restrict it, if the pardon
did not operate upon the other moiety.

Among the opinions of the Attorney-General is a case which illustrates
this point. In 1824 Joshua Wingate prayed for a credit, in the
settlement of his accounts, for his proportion of a fine incurred
by one Phineas Varney. It appeared that suit was instituted by the
petitioner as Collector of the District of Bath, Maine, on which
judgment was obtained in May, 1809; the defendant was arrested and
committed to jail, under execution on that judgment, and the fine was
afterwards remitted by the President. The petitioner contended that the
President had no constitutional or legal power to remit his proportion
of the fine, the right to which had vested by the institution of the
suit. On this Mr. Wirt remarks, that "it is unnecessary to express
an opinion upon the correctness of this position, because, if it be
correct, the act of remission by the President being wholly inoperative
as to that portion of the fine claimed by the collector, his legal
right to recover it remained in full force, notwithstanding the
remission; and it is his own fault, if he has not enforced his right at
law." (Opinions of the Attorneys-General, Vol. I. p. 479.)

A general pardon cannot conclude the question so as to divest any
existing rights. It can do no wrong. Why should the President hesitate
to exercise it?

II. By a _limited pardon_ the President may discharge Drayton and
Sayres simply and exclusively _from their imprisonment, without
touching their pecuniary liability_, but leaving them still exposed
to proceedings for all fines and costs, to be satisfied out of any
property they may hereafter acquire.

If the imprisonment were a specific part of the sentence,--as, if they
had been sentenced to one year's imprisonment and a fine of one hundred
dollars,--beyond all question they might be discharged, by pardon, from
this imprisonment. But where the imprisonment, as in the present case,
is not a specific part of the sentence, but simply an alternative in
the nature of a remedy, to secure the payment of the fine, the power of
the President cannot be less than in the former case.

So far as all private parties are concerned, the imprisonment is a
mere matter of _remedy_, which can be discharged without divesting
the beneficiaries of any rights; and since imprisonment for debt has
been abolished, it is reasonable, under the circumstances, that this
peculiar remedy should be discharged.

III. By another form of _limited pardon_, the President may discharge
Drayton and Sayres _from their imprisonment, also from all fines and
costs in which the United States have an interest_, without touching
the rights of other parties.

This would set them at liberty, but would leave them exposed to private
proceedings at the instigation of the owners of the "transported"
slaves, if any should be so disposed.

IV. By still another form of pardon, reference may be made to the
Maryland statute of 1782, under which the Governor is authorized
"to remit the whole or any part of any fine," without any exception
therefrom; and this power, now vested in the President, may be made
the express ground for the remission of all fines and costs due from
Drayton and Sayres. By this form of pardon the case may be limited, as
a precedent hereafter, to a very narrow circle of cases. It would not
in any way affect cases arising under the general laws of the Union.

In either of these alternatives the great object of this application
would be gained,--the discharge of these men from prison.

                                                CHARLES SUMNER.

May 14, 1852.

       *       *       *       *       *

                         FUGITIVE SLAVE BILL.

                 REMARKS IN THE SENATE, MAY 26, 1852.

In the Senate, Wednesday, 26th May, 1852, on the presentation of
a Memorial against the Fugitive Slave Bill, the following passage
occurred, which illustrates the sensitiveness of the Senate with regard
to Slavery and the impediments to its discussion. Mr. Sumner said:--

Mr. President,--I hold in my hand, and desire to present, a memorial
from the representatives of the Society of Friends in New England,
formally adopted at a public meeting, and authenticated by their clerk,
in which they ask for the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Bill. After
setting forth their sentiments on the general subject of Slavery, the
memorialists proceed as follows.

    "We, therefore, respectfully, but earnestly and sincerely, entreat
    you to repeal the law of the last Congress respecting fugitive
    slaves: first and principally, because of its injustice towards a
    long sorely oppressed and deeply injured people; and, secondly,
    in order that we, together with other conscientious sufferers,
    may be exempted from the penalties which it imposes on all who,
    in faithfulness to their Divine Master, and in discharge of their
    obligations to their distressed fellow-men, feel bound to regulate
    their conduct, even under the heaviest penalties which man can
    inflict for so doing, by the divine injunction, 'All things
    whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to
    them,' and by the other commandment, 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy
    God with all thy heart, and thy neighbor as thyself.'"

Mr. President,--This memorial is commended by the character of the
religious association from which it proceeds,--men who mingle rarely
in public affairs, but with austere virtue seek to carry the Christian
rule into life.

    THE PRESIDENT [Mr. KING, of Alabama]. The Chair will have to
    interpose. The Senator is not privileged to enter into a discussion
    of the subject now. The contents of the memorial, simply, are to
    be stated, and then it becomes a question whether it is to be
    received, if any objection is made to its reception. Silence gives
    consent. After it is received, he can make a motion with regard to
    its reference, and then make any remarks he thinks proper.

    MR. SUMNER. I have but few words to add, and then I propose to move
    the reference of the memorial to the Committee on the Judiciary.

    THE PRESIDENT. The memorial has first to be received, before
    any motion as to its reference can be entertained. The Senator
    presenting a memorial states distinctly its objects and contents;
    then it is sent to the Chair, if a reference of it is desired. But
    it is not in order to enter into a discussion of the merits of the
    memorial until it has been received.[95]

    MR. SUMNER. I do not propose to enter into any such discussion. I
    have already read one part of the memorial, and it was my design
    merely to refer to the character of the memorialists,--a usage
    which I have observed on this floor constantly,--and to state the
    course I should pursue, concluding with a motion for a reference.

    [95] On any subject but Slavery there was no check upon Senators
    at any time.

    THE PRESIDENT. The Chair will hear the Senator, if such is the
    pleasure of the Senate, if he does not go into an elaborate

    MR. SUMNER. I have no such purpose.

    MR. DAWSON [of Georgia]. Let him be heard.

    SEVERAL SENATORS. Certainly.

    MR. SUMNER. I observed that this memorial was commended by the
    character of the religious association from which it proceeds. It
    is commended also by its earnest and persuasive tone, and by the
    prayer which it presents. Offering it now, Sir, I desire simply
    to say, that I shall deem it my duty, on some proper occasion
    hereafter, to express myself at length on the matter to which it
    relates. Thus far, during this session, I have forborne. With the
    exception of an able speech from my colleague [Mr. DAVIS], the
    discussion of this all-absorbing question has been mainly left
    with Senators from another quarter of the country, by whose mutual
    differences it is complicated, and between whom I do not care
    to interfere. But there is a time for all things. Justice also
    requires that both sides should be heard; and I trust not to expect
    too much, when, at some fit moment, I bespeak the clear and candid
    attention of the Senate, while I undertake to set forth, frankly
    and fully, and with entire respect for this body, convictions
    deeply cherished in my own State, though disregarded here, to
    which I am bound by every sentiment of the heart, by every fibre
    of my being, by all my devotion to country, by my love of God and
    man. Upon these I do not enter now. Suffice it, for the present,
    to say, that, when I undertake that service, I believe I shall
    utter nothing which, in any just sense, can be called _sectional_,
    unless the Constitution is sectional, and unless the sentiments
    of the Fathers were sectional. It is my happiness to believe, and
    my hope to be able to show, that, according to the true spirit of
    the Constitution, and according to the sentiments of the Fathers,
    FREEDOM, and not _Slavery_, is NATIONAL, while SLAVERY, and not
    _Freedom_, is SECTIONAL.

    In duty to the petitioners, and with the hope of promoting their
    prayer, I move the reference of their petition to the Committee on
    the Judiciary.

A brief debate ensued, in which Messrs. Mangum, of North Carolina,
Badger, of North Carolina, Hale, of New Hampshire, Clemens, of Alabama,
Dawson, of Georgia, Adams, of Mississippi, Butler, of South Carolina,
and Chase, of Ohio, took part; and, on motion of Mr. Badger, the
memorial was laid on the table.

       *       *       *       *       *


                              JULY, 1852.

                                        WASHINGTON, July 2, 1852.

    Dear Sir,--It will not be in my power to unite with my
    fellow-citizens of Boston in celebrating the approaching
    anniversary of our national independence. I venture, however, in
    response to the invitation with which I have been honored, to
    recall an incident not unworthy of remembrance, especially in our
    local history.

    The thirteen stripes which now distinguish our national flag were
    first unfurled by Washington, when in command of the American
    forces which surrounded Boston, after the Battle of Bunker Hill,
    and before the Declaration of Independence. Thus early was this
    emblem of Union consecrated to Freedom. Our great chief at once
    gave to the new ensign a name which may speak to us still. In
    a letter, written at the time, he calls it the Union Flag, and
    declares why it was first displayed. His language is, that
    he had "_hoisted the UNION FLAG in compliment to the UNITED
    Colonies_."[96] Afterwards, on the 14th of June, 1777, by a
    resolution of the Continental Congress, the stars and stripes were
    formally adopted as the flag of the _United States_.

    [96] Letter to Joseph Reed, Jan. 4, 1776: Writings, ed. Sparks,
    Vol. III. p. 225.

    This piece of history suggests a sentiment which I beg leave to

    _Our National Flag._ First hoisted before Boston, as the emblem of
    Union for the sake of Freedom. Wherever it floats, may it never
    fail to inspire the sentiments in which it had its origin!

        I have the honor to be, dear Sir,

                        Your faithful servant,

                                        CHARLES SUMNER.

      Hon. BENJAMIN SEAVER, Chairman of the Committee, &c., &c.

       *       *       *       *       *


                             JULY 6, 1852.

This Convention was organized with the following officers: Hon. Stephen
C. Phillips, of Salem, President,--William Davis, of Plymouth, Gershom
B. Weston, of Duxbury, Edward L. Keyes, of Dedham, William B. Spooner,
of Boston, John G. Palfrey, of Cambridge, John B. Alley, of Lynn,
Samuel E. Sewall, of Stoneham, John W. Graves, of Lowell, John Milton
Earle, of Worcester, William Jackson, of Newton, Rodolphus B. Hubbard,
of Sunderland, Caleb Swan, of Easton, Joel Hayden, of Williamsburg,
William M. Walker, of Pittsfield, Vice-Presidents,--Robert Carter, of
Cambridge, George F. Hoar, of Worcester, S.B. Howe, of Lowell, Andrew
J. Aiken, of North Adams, S.L. Gere, of Northampton, Secretaries.

The resolutions were reported by Hon. Henry Wilson.

                                        WASHINGTON CITY, July 3, 1852.

    Dear Sir,--The true and well-tried friends of Freedom in
    Massachusetts are about to assemble at Worcester. It will not
    be in my power to be with them, to catch the contagion of their
    enthusiasm, to be strengthened by their determination, and to learn
    anew from eloquent lips the grandeur of our cause and the exigency
    of our duties. But I confidently look to them for trumpet words
    which shall again rally the country against the _sectionalism_ of

    At Worcester, in 1848, commenced the first strong movement, which,
    gaining new force at Buffalo, and sweeping the Free States,
    enrolled three hundred thousand electors in constitutional
    opposition to a hateful wrong. The occasion now requires a similar
    effort. Both the old parties, with apostasy greater than that
    which aroused our condemnation at that time, have trampled on the
    Declaration of Independence, and the most cherished sentiments of
    the Fathers of the Republic. Even liberty of speech is threatened.
    It is difficult to see how any person, loyal to Freedom, and
    desirous of guarding it by all constitutional means, can support
    the national candidates of either of these parties, without
    surrendering the cause he professes to have at heart. Let no man
    expect from me any such surrender.

    The two Conventions at Baltimore, by their recorded resolutions,
    have vied with each other in servility to Slavery. But I rejoice
    to believe that in both parties there are large numbers of good
    men who will scorn these professions. The respectable persistence
    in opposition to the Black Flag, which distinguished at least one
    of the Conventions, furnishes an earnest for the future, though
    Massachusetts can derive small encouragement from her delegates
    there. All her votes in that Convention were cast in favor of those
    declarations by which Slavery has received new safeguards and
    Freedom new restrictions.

    But these efforts are doomed to disappointment. In spite of the
    clamors of partisans and the assumptions of the Slave Power, there
    is one principle which must soon prevail. It cannot be too often
    declared; for it is an all-sufficient basis for our political
    position, and an answer also to the cry of "Sectionalism," by
    which the prejudices of the country are ignorantly and illogically
    directed against us. According to the true spirit of the
    Constitution and the sentiments of the Fathers, _Freedom_, and
    not Slavery, is _national_, while _Slavery_, and not Freedom, is
    _sectional_. Though this proposition commends itself at once,
    and is sustained by the history of the Constitution, yet both
    the great parties, under the influence of the Slave Power, have
    reversed the true application of its terms. A _National_ Whig
    is simply a Slavery Whig, and a _National_ Democrat is simply a
    Slavery Democrat, in contradistinction to all who regard Slavery
    as a _sectional_ institution, within the exclusive control of the
    States, and with which the Nation has nothing to do. In upholding
    Freedom everywhere under the _National_ Government, we oppose a
    pernicious _sectionalism_, which falsely calls itself _national_.
    All this will yet be seen and acknowledged.

    Amidst the difficulties and defections at the present moment, the
    Future is clear. Nothing can permanently obstruct Truth. But our
    duties increase with the occasion; nor will the generous soul be
    deterred by the greatness of the peril. Any such will be content
    to serve Freedom, to support her supporters, and to leave the
    result to Providence. Better be where Freedom is, though in a
    small minority or alone, than with Slavery, though surrounded by
    multitudes, whether Whigs or Democrats, contending merely for
    office and place.

        Believe me, dear Sir, ever faithfully yours,

                                        CHARLES SUMNER.

      Hon. E.L. KEYES.

       *       *       *       *       *

                         FUGITIVE SLAVE BILL.

               FUGITIVE SLAVE ACT, JULY 27 AND 28, 1852.

Mr. President,--I have a resolution which I desire to offer; and as it
is not in order to debate it to-day, I give notice that I shall expect
to call it up to-morrow, at an early moment in the morning hour, when I
shall throw myself upon the indulgence of the Senate to be heard upon

    The resolution was then read, as follows:--

    "_Resolved_, That the Committee on the Judiciary be instructed
    to consider the expediency of reporting a bill for the immediate
    repeal of the Act of Congress, approved September 18, 1850, usually
    known as the Fugitive Slave Act."

    In pursuance of this notice, on the next day, 28th July, during the
    morning hour, an attempt was made by Mr. Sumner to call it up, that
    he might present his views on Slavery.

Mr. President,--I now ask permission of the Senate to take up the
resolution which I offered yesterday. For that purpose, I move that the
prior orders be postponed, and upon this motion I desire to say a word.
In asking the Senate to take up this resolution for consideration, I
say nothing now of its merits, nor of the arguments by which it may be
maintained; nor do I at this stage anticipate any objection to it on
these grounds. All this will properly belong to the discussion of the
resolution itself,--the main question,--when it is actually before the
Senate. The single question now is, not the resolution, but whether I
shall be heard upon it.

As a Senator, under the responsibilities of my position, I have deemed
it my duty to offer this resolution. I may seem to have postponed this
duty to an inconvenient period of the session; but had I attempted
it at an earlier day, I might have exposed myself to a charge of a
different character. It might then have been said, that, a new-comer
and inexperienced in this scene, without deliberation, hastily, rashly,
recklessly, I pushed this question before the country. This is not the
case now. I have taken time, and, in the exercise of my most careful
discretion, at last ask the attention of the Senate. I shrink from any
appeal founded on a trivial personal consideration; but should I be
blamed for delay latterly, I may add, that, though in my seat daily, my
bodily health for some time past, down to this very week, has not been
equal to the service I have undertaken. I am not sure that it is now,
but I desire to try.

And now again I say, the question is simply whether I shall be heard.
In allowing me this privilege,--this right, I may say,--you do not
commit yourselves in any way to the principle of the resolution; you
merely follow the ordinary usage of the Senate, and yield to a brother
Senator the opportunity which he craves, in the practical discharge of
his duty, to express convictions dear to his heart, and dear to large
numbers of his constituents. For the sake of these constituents,
for my own sake, I now desire to be heard. Make such disposition of
my resolution afterward as to you shall seem best; visit upon me any
degree of criticism, censure, or displeasure; but do not refuse me a
hearing. "Strike, but hear."

A debate ensued, in which Messrs. Mason, of Virginia, Brooke, of
Mississippi, Charlton, of Georgia, Gwin, of California, Pratt, of
Maryland, Shields, of Illinois, Douglas, of Illinois, Butler, of South
Carolina, Borland, of Arkansas, and Hunter, of Virginia, took part.
Objections to taking up the resolution were pressed on the ground of
"want of time," "the lateness of the session," and "danger to the

The question being put upon the motion by Mr. Sumner to take up his
resolution, it was rejected,--Yeas 10, Nays 32,--as follows.

    YEAS,--Messrs. Clarke, Davis, Dodge, of Wisconsin, Foot, Hamlin,
    Seward, Shields, Sumner, Upham, and Wade:--10.

    NAYS,--Messrs. Borland, Brodhead, Brooke, Cass, Charlton, Clemens,
    De Saussure, Dodge, of Iowa, Douglas, Downs, Felch, Fish, Geyer,
    Gwin, Hunter, King, Mallory, Mangum, Mason, Meriwether, Miller,
    Morton, Norris, Pearce, Pratt, Rusk, Sebastian, Smith, Soulé,
    Spruance, Toucey, and Weller:--32.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Sumner was thus deprived of an opportunity to present his views
on this important subject, and it was openly asserted that he should
not present them during the pending session. Such was the proslavery
tyranny which prevailed. He was thus driven to watch for an
opportunity, when, according to the rules of the Senate, he might be
heard without impediment. On one of the last days of the session it

       *       *       *       *       *

                    TRIBUTE TO ROBERT RANTOUL, JR.

                            AUGUST 9, 1852.

A message was received from the House of Representatives, by Mr. Hayes,
its Chief Clerk, communicating to the Senate information of the death
of the Hon. ROBERT RANTOUL, JR., a member of the House of
Representatives from the State of Massachusetts, and the proceedings of
the House thereon.

The resolutions of the House of Representatives were read. Mr. Sumner

    Mr. President,--By formal message of the House of Representatives
    we learn that one of our associates in the public councils is dead.
    Only a few brief days--I had almost said hours--have passed since
    he was in his accustomed seat. Now he is gone from us forever.
    He was my colleague and friend; and yet, so sudden has been this
    change, that no tidings even of his illness came to me before I
    learned that he was already beyond the reach of mortal aid or
    consolation, and that the shadows of the grave were descending
    upon him. He died here in Washington, late on Saturday evening,
    7th August; and his earthly remains, accompanied by the bereaved
    companion of his life, with a Committee of the other House, are now
    far on the way to Massachusetts, there to mingle, dust to dust,
    with his natal soil.

    The occasion does not permit me to speak of Mr. Rantoul at length.
    A few words will suffice; nor will the language of eulogy be

    He was born 13th August, 1805, at Beverly, in Essex County,
    Massachusetts, the home of Nathan Dane, final author of the
    immortal Ordinance by which Freedom was made a perpetual heirloom
    in the broad region of the Northwest. Here he commenced life under
    happy auspices of family and neighborhood. Here his excellent
    father, honored for public services, venerable also with years and
    flowing silver locks, yet lives to mourn a last surviving son.
    The sad fortune of Burke is renewed. He who should have been as
    posterity is to this father in the place of ancestor.

    Mr. Rantoul entered the Massachusetts Legislature early, and there
    won his first fame. For many years he occupied a place on the Board
    of Education. He was also, for a time, Collector of Boston, and
    afterwards Attorney of the United States for Massachusetts. During
    a brief period he held a seat in this body. Finally, in 1851, by
    the choice of his native District, remarkable for intelligence
    and public spirit, he became a Representative in the other branch
    of the National Legislature. In all these spheres he performed
    acceptable service. And the future promised opportunities of a
    higher character, to which his abilities, industry, and fidelity
    would have responded amply. Massachusetts has many arrows in her
    well-stocked quiver, but few could she so ill spare at this moment
    as the one now irrevocably sped.

    By original fitness, study, knowledge, and various experience,
    he was formed for public service. But he was no stranger to
    other pursuits. Devoted early to the profession of the law, he
    followed it with assiduity and success. In the antiquities of
    our jurisprudence few were more learned. His arguments at the
    bar were thorough; nor was his intellectual promptness in all
    emergencies of a trial easily surpassed. Literature, neglected by
    many under pressure of professional life, was with him a constant
    pursuit. His taste for books was enduring. He was a student always.
    Amidst manifold labors, professional and public, he cherished the
    honorable aspiration of adding to the historical productions of
    his country. A work on the history of France, where this great
    nation should be portrayed by an American pen, occupied much of his
    thoughts. I know not if any part was ever matured for publication.

    The practice of the law, while sharpening the intellect, is too
    apt to cramp the faculties within the narrow limits of form, and
    to restrain the genial currents of the soul. On him it had no
    such influence. He was a Reformer. In warfare with Evil he was
    enlisted early and openly as a soldier for life. As such, he did
    not hesitate to encounter opposition, to bear obloquy, and to
    brave enmity. His conscience, pure as goodness, sustained him in
    every trial,--even that sharpest of all, the desertion of friends.
    And yet, while earnest in his cause, his zeal was tempered beyond
    that of the common reformer. He knew well the difference between
    the _ideal_ and the _actual_, and sought, by practical means, in
    harmony with existing public sentiment, to promote the interests he
    fondly cherished. He saw that reform does not prevail at once, in
    an hour, or in a day, but that it is the slow and certain result of
    constant labor, testimony, and faith. Determined and tranquil in
    his own convictions, he had the grace to respect the convictions
    of others. Recognizing in the social and political system those
    essential elements of stability and progress, he discerned at once
    the offices of Conservative and Reformer. But he saw also that a
    blind conservatism was not less destructive than a blind reform.
    By mingled caution, moderation, and earnestness, he seemed often
    to blend two characters in one, and to be at the same time a
    _Reforming Conservative_ and a _Conservative Reformer_.

    I might speak of his devotion to public improvements of all kinds,
    particularly to the system of Railroads. Here he was on the popular
    side. There were other causes where his struggle was keener and
    more meritorious. At a moment when his services were much needed,
    he was the faithful supporter of Common Schools, the peculiar
    glory of New England. By word and example he sustained the cause
    of Temperance. Some of his most devoted labors, commencing in the
    Legislature of Massachusetts, were for the Abolition of Capital
    Punishment. Since that consummate jurist, Edward Livingston, no
    person has done so much, by reports, essays, letters, and speeches,
    to commend this reform. With its final triumph, in the progress
    of civilization, his name will be indissolubly connected. There
    is another cause that commanded his early sympathies and some of
    his latest best endeavors, to which, had life been spared, he
    would have given the splendid maturity of his powers. Posterity
    cannot forget this; but I am forbidden by the occasion to name it
    here. Sir, in the long line of portraits on the walls of the Ducal
    Palace at Venice, commemorating its Doges, a single panel, where a
    portrait should have been, is shrouded by a dark curtain. But this
    darkened blank, in that place, attracts the beholder more than any
    picture. Let such a curtain fall to-day upon this theme.[97]

    [97] Slavery could not bear to be pointed at, and this slight
    allusion, which seemed due to the memory of Mr. Rantoul, caused
    irritation at the time. Hon. John Davis, the other Senator from
    Massachusetts, assigned as a reason for silence on the occasion,
    that he observed the ill-feeling of certain persons, and thought it
    best that the vote should be taken at once.

    In becoming harmony with these noble causes was the purity of his
    private life. Here he was blameless. In manners he was modest,
    simple, and retiring. In conversation he was disposed to listen
    rather than to speak, though all were well pleased when he broke
    silence and in apt language declared his glowing thought. But in
    the public assembly, before the people, or in the legislative hall,
    he was bold and triumphant. As a debater he rarely met his peer.
    Fluent, earnest, rapid, sharp, incisive, his words came forth
    like a flashing scymitar. Few could stand against him. He always
    understood his subject, and then, clear, logical, and determined,
    seeing his point before him, pressed forward with unrelenting
    power. His speeches on formal occasions were enriched by study,
    and contain passages of beauty. But he was most truly at home in
    dealing with practical questions arising from the actual exigencies
    of life.

    Few had studied public affairs more minutely or intelligently.
    As a constant and effective member of the Democratic party, he
    became conspicuous by championship of its doctrines on the Currency
    and Free Trade. These he often discussed, and from the amplitude
    of his knowledge, and his overflowing familiarity with facts,
    statistics, and the principles of political economy, poured upon
    them a luminous flood. There was no topic within the wide range of
    national concern which did not occupy his thoughts. The resources
    and needs of the West were all known to him, and Western interests
    were like his own. As the pioneer, resting from his daily labors,
    learns the death of RANTOUL, he will feel a personal grief. The
    fishermen on the distant Eastern coast, many of whom are dwellers
    in his District, will sympathize with the pioneer. These hardy
    children of the sea, returning in their small craft from late
    adventures, and hearing the sad tidings, will feel that they too
    have lost a friend. And well they may. During his last fitful hours
    of life, while reason still struggled against disease, he was
    anxious for their welfare. The speech which he had hoped soon to
    make in their behalf was then chasing through his mind. Finally, in
    broken utterances, he gave to them his latest earthly thoughts.

    The death of such a man, so sudden, in mid-career, is well
    calculated to arrest attention and to furnish admonition. From
    the love of family, the attachment of friends, and the regard of
    fellow-citizens, he has been removed. Leaving behind the cares of
    life, the concerns of state, and the wretched strifes of party, he
    has ascended to those mansions where there is no strife or concern
    or care. At last he stands face to face in His presence whose
    service is perfect freedom. He has gone before. You and I, Sir, and
    all of us, must follow soon. God grant that we may go with equal
    consciousness of duty done!

       *       *       *       *       *

    I beg leave to offer the following resolutions.

    _Resolved, unanimously_, That the Senate mourns the death of Hon.
    ROBERT RANTOUL, JR., late a member of the House of Representatives
    from Massachusetts, and tenders to his relatives a sincere sympathy
    in this afflicting bereavement.

    _Resolved_, As a remark of respect to the memory of the deceased,
    that the Senate do now adjourn.

The resolutions were adopted, and the Senate adjourned.

NOTE.--A monument of Italian marble was erected to the
memory of Mr. Rantoul in the burial-ground at Beverly. It is an
upright, four-sided shaft, on the front face of which is the following
inscription, written by Mr. Sumner.

                         Here lies the body of

                         ROBERT RANTOUL, JR.,

              Who was born at Beverly, 13th August, 1805,
               and died at Washington, 7th August, 1852.
        An upright lawyer, a liberal statesman, a good citizen,
           studious of the Past, yet mindful of the Future.
              Throughout an active life he strove for the
                    improvement of his fellow-men.
    The faithful friend of Education, he upheld our Public Schools.
    A lover of Virtue, he opposed Intemperance by word and example.
            In the name of Justice and Humanity, he labored
                  to abolish the punishment of Death.
        Inspired by Freedom, he gave his professional services
               to a slave hunted down by public clamor,
            and bore his testimony, in Court and Congress,
       against the cruel enactment which sanctioned the outrage.
           He held many places of official trust and honor,
         but the Good Works filling his days were above these.
             Stranger! at least in something imitate him.

       *       *       *       *       *


             LETTER TO HON. EDWARD COLES, AUGUST 23, 1852.

Mr. Coles has been private secretary to Mr. Jefferson, and then to Mr.
Madison, and afterwards Governor of Illinois. The following extract of
a letter from him to Mr. Sumner, dated Schooley's Mountain, New Jersey,
August 18, 1852, raises the question of the authorship of the Ordinance
of Freedom.

    "Not having the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with you, I
    shall ask the favor of Senator Cooper to present you this, and to
    make me known to you, and thus explain the obligation you have
    placed me under, as the friend of Mr. Jefferson, to correct an
    error you lately made in the Senate, by which you take from him,
    and give to another, one of the noblest and most consistent acts of
    his life.

    "In your speech in the Senate, on the occasion of the death of
    Mr. Rantoul, you spoke of Nathan Dane as the "_Author_" of the
    Ordinance for the government of the Territory northwest of the
    Ohio. With my recollection,--for I have no book or person to
    refer to at this summer retreat,--I could not have been more
    surprised, if you had designated as the author of the Declaration
    of Independence one of the members who added his name to it after
    it had been adopted by Congress."

                                        SENATE CHAMBER, August 23, 1852.

    Dear Sir,--I have been honored by your letter of August 18th, in
    which you kindly criticise an allusion by me in the Senate to
    Nathan Dane, as the author of the Ordinance of 1787. You award this
    high honor to Mr. Jefferson.

    Believe me, I would not take from this great patriot one of his
    many titles to regard. Among these, I cannot forget the early,
    though unsuccessful effort, to which you refer, for the prohibition
    of Slavery in the Territories of the United States. But, while
    according to him just homage on this account, I cannot forget the
    crowning labors of another.

    I submit to you, as beyond question, that the Ordinance of 1787, as
    finally adopted, was from the pen of Nathan Dane. In his great work
    on American Law, published in 1824, while Mr. Jefferson was yet
    alive, I find the following claim of authorship: "This ordinance
    (_formed by the author of this work_) was framed mainly from the
    laws of Massachusetts."[98]

    In the celebrated debate of 1830, on Foot's Resolution, Mr.
    Webster, in his first speech, referred to the Ordinance as "drawn
    by Nathan Dane."[99] Afterwards, in his remarkable reply to Mr.
    Hayne, he vindicated at length this claim of authorship. While
    admitting the earlier efforts for the prohibition of Slavery
    in the Territories, he says: "It is no derogation from the
    credit, whatever that may be, of drawing the Ordinance, that its
    principles had before been prepared and discussed in the form of
    resolutions. If one should reason in that way, what would become
    of the distinguished honor of the author of the Declaration of
    Independence? There is not a sentiment in that paper which had not
    been voted and resolved in the Assemblies, and other popular bodies
    in the country, over and over again."[100]

    Such, as it seems to me, is the true state of the question. To
    Jefferson belongs the honor of the first effort to prohibit Slavery
    in the Territories: to Dane belongs the honor of finally embodying
    this Prohibition in the Ordinance drawn by his hand in 1787.

    [98] Abridgment and Digest of American Law, Vol. VII. ch. 223, art.
    1, § 3.

    [99] Works, Vol. III. p. 263.

    [100] Ibid., p. 283.

    As this question has already been presented to the Senate in a
    classical debate memorable in the history of the country, it seems
    to me hardly advisable, at this late stage of the session, to
    undertake its revival. If you should continue to think that I have
    made an error, I shall be happy to correct it in any practicable

       *       *       *       *       *

    Allow me to express my sincere respect for your character, with
    which from childhood I have been familiar, and my gratitude for the
    steadfast support you have ever given to the principles of Freedom
    advocated by Jefferson.

        I remain, dear Sir, faithfully yours,

                                        CHARLES SUMNER.



The history of the efforts for the exclusion of Slavery from the Northwest
Territory is thus related by Mr. Webster, in the speeches above
referred to.

    "An attempt has been made to transfer from the North to the South
    the honor of this exclusion of Slavery from the Northwestern
    Territory. The Journal, without argument or comment, refutes such
    attempts. The cession by Virginia was made in March, 1784. On
    the 19th of April following, a committee, consisting of Messrs.
    Jefferson, Chase, and Howell, reported a plan for a temporary
    government of the Territory, in which was this article: 'That,
    after the year 1800, there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary
    servitude in any of the said States, otherwise than in punishment
    of crimes, whereof the party shall have been convicted.' Mr
    Spaight, of North Carolina, moved to strike out this paragraph.
    The question was put, according to the form then practised,
    'Shall these words stand as a part of the plan?' New Hampshire,
    Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and
    Pennsylvania, seven States, voted in the affirmative; Maryland,
    Virginia, and South Carolina, in the negative. North Carolina was
    divided. As the consent of nine States was necessary, the words
    could not stand, and were struck out accordingly. Mr. Jefferson
    voted for the clause, but was overruled by his colleagues.

    "In March of the next year (1785), Mr. King, of Massachusetts,
    seconded by Mr. Ellery, of Rhode Island, proposed the formerly
    rejected article, with this addition: 'And that this regulation
    shall be an article of compact, and remain a fundamental principle
    of the constitutions between the thirteen original States and each
    of the States described in the resolve.' On this clause, which
    provided the adequate and thorough security, the eight Northern
    States at that time voted affirmatively, and the four Southern
    States negatively.[101] The votes of nine States were not yet
    obtained, and thus the provision was again rejected by the Southern
    States. The perseverance of the North held out, and two years
    afterwards the object was attained," by the passage, on the 13th of
    July, 1787, with only one dissenting voice, of the "Ordinance for
    the Government of the Territory of the United States Northwest of
    the River Ohio."

    "We are accustomed, Sir, to praise the lawgivers of Antiquity; we
    help to perpetuate the fame of Solon and Lycurgus; but I doubt
    whether one single law of any lawgiver, ancient or modern, has
    produced effects of more distinct, marked, and lasting character
    than the Ordinance of 1787. That instrument was drawn by Nathan
    Dane, then and now a citizen of Massachusetts. It was adopted,
    as I think I have understood, without the slightest alteration;
    and certainly it has happened to few men to be the authors of
    a political measure of more large and enduring consequence.
    It fixed forever the character of the population in the vast
    regions northwest of the Ohio, by excluding from them involuntary
    servitude. It impressed on the soil itself, while it was yet a
    wilderness, an incapacity to sustain any other than freemen. It
    laid the interdict against personal servitude in original compact,
    not only deeper than all local law, but deeper, also, than all
    local constitutions."

    [101] More precisely, the seven Northern States, together with
    Maryland, affirmatively,--and four of the Southern States,
    namely, Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia,
    negatively,--Delaware being unrepresented.

       *       *       *       *       *


                         ACT, AUGUST 26, 1852.

Nihil autem gloriosius libertate præter virtutem, si tamen libertas recte a
virtute sejungitur.--JOHN OF SALISBURY.

If any man thinks that the interest of these Nations and the interest of
Christianity are two separate and distinct things, I wish my soul may never
enter into his secret.--OLIVER CROMWELL.

Mr. Madison thought it WRONG to admit in the Constitution the idea
that there could be property in men.--_Debates in the Federal Convention_,
August 25, 1787.

"O Slave, I have bought thee." "That is thy business," he replied.
"Wilt thou run away?" "That is my business," said the slave.

                                                _Arabian Proverb._

Aliæ sunt leges Cæsarum, aliæ Christi: aliud Papinianus, aliud Paulus
noster præcipit.

                        ST. JEROME, _Epistola ad Oceanum de Morte Fabiolæ_.

If the marshal of the host bids us do anything, shall we do it, if it
be against the great captain? Again, if the great captain bid us do
anything, and the king or the emperor commandeth us to do another, dost
thou doubt that we must obey the commandment of the king or emperor,
and contemn the commandment of the great captain? Therefore, if the
king or the emperor bid one thing, and God another, we must obey God,
and contemn and not regard neither king nor emperor.

                                        HENRY VIII., _Glasse of Truth_.

Si _la peste_ avoit des charges, des dignités, des honneurs, des
bénéfices et des pensions à distribuer, elle auroit bientôt des
théologiens et des juris-consultes qui soutiendroient qu'elle est de
droit divin, et que c'est un péché de s'opposer à ses ravages.

                ABBÉ DE MABLY, _Droits et Devoirs du Citoyen_, Lettre II.

    _Cleanthes._ What, to kill innocents, Sir? It cannot be. It is no
    rule in justice there to punish.

    _Lawyer._ Oh, Sir, You understand a conscience, but not law.

    _Cleanthes._ Why, Sir, is there so main a difference?

    _Lawyer._ You'll never be good lawyer, if you understand not that.

    _Cleanthes._ I think, then, 'tis the best to be a bad one.

                                        MASSINGER, _The Old Law_, Act I. Sc. 1.

                Among the assemblies of the great
                A greater Ruler takes his seat;
                The God of heaven as judge surveys
                Those gods on earth and all their ways.

                Why will ye, then, frame wicked laws?
                Or why support the unrighteous cause?

                                                ISAAC WATTS.

When Mr. Sumner entered the Senate, he found what were known as the
Compromise Measures already adopted, among which was the odious
Fugitive Slave Bill. These were maintained by the constant assumption
that Slavery was a national institution, entitled to the protection
of the Nation, while those who opposed them were denounced as
Sectionalists. These words were made to play a great part. Both the old
parties, Whig and Democrat, plumed themselves upon being _national_,
and one of their hardest hits at a political opponent was to charge
him with _sectionalism_. Mr. Sumner undertook, while showing the
unconstitutionality and offensive character of the Fugitive Slave Bill,
to turn these party words upon his opponents, insisting that Slavery
was Sectional and Freedom National. The title of the speech embodies
this fundamental idea, which was generally adopted by the opponents of

In making this effort Mr. Sumner had against him both the old parties,
fresh from their National Conventions. The Democrats had just nominated
Franklin Pierce for the Presidency, and the Whigs General Scott; but
the two parties concurred on the Slavery Question, and especially in
support of the Fugitive Slave Bill, which was named in both platforms.

The Democrats, in their platform, declared as follows:--

    "That the Democratic party will resist all attempts at renewing, in
    Congress or out of it, the agitation of the Slavery question, under
    whatever shape or color the attempt may be made."

The Whigs, in their platform, declared as follows:--

    "That ... we will discountenance all efforts to continue or renew
    such agitation, whenever, wherever, or however the attempt may be

Here was nothing less than a joint gag, which would have been enforced
against Mr. Sumner, as it had been a few weeks before, if he had not
succeeded in planting himself on a motion clearly in order, which
opened the whole question. Before speaking, he was approached by
several, who asked him to give up his purpose, or at least, if he
spoke, not to divide the Senate. To all he replied, that, God willing,
he should speak, and would press the question to a vote, if he were
left alone. A curious parallel to this incident will be found in the
Life of Sir Fowell Buxton, when this eminent Abolitionist was pressed
not to bring forward in the House of Commons his motion against
Slavery, and especially not to divide the House. Against the entreaties
of friends, personal and political, he persevered; and this firmness of
purpose was the beginning of that victory by which shortly afterwards
British Emancipation was secured.[102]

From the statement in the _Globe_ it appears that Mr. Sumner spoke for
three hours and three quarters, when a debate ensued, in which the
following Senators took part: Messrs. Clemens, of Alabama, Badger,
of North Carolina, Dodge, of Iowa, Hale, of New Hampshire, Douglas,
of Illinois, Weller, of California, Chase, of Ohio, Rusk, of Texas,
Toucey, of Connecticut, Bradbury, of Maine, Hunter, of Virginia, James,
of Rhode Island, Bright, of Indiana, Cooper, of Pennsylvania, Butler,
of South Carolina, Brodhead, of Pennsylvania, Pratt, of Maryland,
Mason, of Virginia, and Cass, of Michigan.

Mr. Clemens opened the debate with personal attack which is a specimen
of the brutalities of Slavery; but there was no call to order. He was
followed by Mr. Badger, who undertook a formal reply, but could not
avoid the personalities which were so natural to speakers vindicating
Slavery. He began by remarking: "I think I may say, without hazard or
fear of contradiction, that the Senate of the United States never heard
a more extraordinary speech than that which has just been delivered by
the Senator from Massachusetts,--extraordinary in its character, and
most extraordinary in the time and the occasion which the gentleman
chose for its delivery.... Three hours and three quarters has the
gentleman occupied, at this late period of the session, with this
discussion." After considering at some length the constitutionality
of the Fugitive Slave Bill, especially in answer to Mr. Sumner, he
proceeded to quote from the speech at Faneuil Hall (_ante_, Vol.
II. pp. 398-424) denouncing the Fugitive Slave Bill, and then said,
"I shudder, when I think of these expressions." Numerous quotations
followed, and he charged upon the speech a pernicious influence on
the public mind, stimulating to violence. After exposing the former
speech, Mr. Badger proceeded to comment again upon that just made.
"This speech, Mr. President, is well calculated to stir up the people
of Massachusetts. They look to the honorable Senator for direction and
guidance; they consider him a 'marvellous proper man,' and, availing
himself of his influence over them, he delivers himself of such a
tirade of abuse upon the law of his own country--a law passed by this
very Senate, in which he knows there are many gentlemen who voted
for and still support that law--as is calculated, if any one lent a
moment's credence to what he says, to cover us with scorn.... Does he
hope to accomplish anything, except to stir up sedition at home against
this law, and make the streets of Boston again the scene of disgraceful
riots and lawless violence by the lawless opposers of the Constitution
and laws of the United States? Never, Sir, since I have been a member
of this body, has the Senate witnessed such an exhibition." Then, with
a sneer at Antislavery men as of "one idea," the Senator added, that,
"admitting everything they say as to the desirableness of abolishing
Slavery, it is utterly impracticable."

    [102] Memoirs of Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, by his Son, Ch. 18.

Mr. Dodge and Mr. Douglas insisted upon the obligations under the
Constitution. So did Mr. Toucey, Mr. Bradbury, Mr. Bright, and others.
Mr. Cass justified his original support of the Compromise measures by
his fear for the Union, saying, "To speak in ordinary language, I was
almost frightened to death.... I would have voted for twenty Fugitive
Slave Laws, if I had believed the safety of the Union depended upon my
doing so"; and then he added: "Sir, the Fugitive Slave Law is now in
force. It shall never be touched, or altered, or shaken, or repealed,
by any vote of mine. That is the plain English of it."

Mr. Weller imitated Mr. Clemens and Mr. Badger in personalities. He
began by a confession as follows. "I will say, Sir, at the outset, that
this is the first time in the course of my life that I have listened to
the whole of an Abolition speech. I did not know that it was possible
that I could endure a speech for over three hours upon the subject
of the Abolition of Slavery. But this oration of the Senator from
Massachusetts to-day has been so handsomely embellished with poetry,
both Latin and English, so full of classical allusions and rhetorical
flourishes, as to make it much more palatable than I supposed it could
have been made." He then proceeded to say, among other things, "If the
constituents of the Senator from Massachusetts follow his direction, if
they obey his counsels, murder, I repeat, is inevitable; and upon your
hands, Sir, ay, upon your hands [addressing Mr. SUMNER], must
rest the blood of those murdered men.... This forcible resistance is
not only calculated to strike at the very foundation of our republican
institutions by dissolving the Union, but to bring upon the head of the
learned Senator from Massachusetts the blood of murdered men. He who
counsels murder is himself a murderer." Here Mr. Weller followed the
lead of Mr. Badger in misrepresenting the speech just made. Mr. Sumner
interrupted him to say,

    "Not one word has fallen from my lips to-day, suggesting in any way
    a resort to force."

Mr. Sumner was not without defenders, and what they said belongs
to this history. Early in the debate Mr. Hale expressed himself

    "I feel that I should be doing injustice to my own feelings, and
    injustice to my friend, the Senator from Massachusetts, if I were
    to fail at this time to express the very great gratification with
    which I listened to his speech. In saying that, I do not mean
    to pass by entirely the honorable Senator from North Carolina
    [Mr. BADGER], for I listened to him, as I always do, with great
    pleasure; but justice compels me to say that by far the best part
    of his speech was the extract which he read from a former speech of
    the honorable Senator from Massachusetts. [_Laughter._] I listened
    to them both with great pleasure; but, Sir, I feel bound to say
    to-day, that it is my deliberate conviction that the honorable
    Senator from Massachusetts, if he were actuated by as corrupt and
    selfish motives as can possibly be attributed to him, has, so far
    as his own personal fame and reputation are concerned, done enough
    by the effort he has made here to-day to place himself side by side
    with the first orators of antiquity, and as far ahead of any living
    American orator as Freedom is ahead of Slavery. I believe that he
    has formed to-day a new era in the history of the politics and of
    the eloquence of the country, and that in future generations the
    young men of this nation will be stimulated to effort by the record
    of what an American Senator has this day done, to which all the
    appeals drawn from ancient history would be entirely inadequate.
    Yes, Sir, he has to-day made a draft upon the gratitude of the
    friends of humanity and of liberty that will not be paid through
    many generations, and the memory of which shall endure as long as
    the English language is spoken, or the history of this Republic
    forms a part of the annals of the world. That, Sir, is what I
    believe; and if I had one other feeling, or could indulge in it, in
    reference to that effort, it would be a feeling of envy, that it
    was not in me to tread even at an humble distance in the path which
    he has so nobly and eloquently illustrated."

Mr. Chase adopted the argument of Mr. Sumner against the Fugitive Slave
Bill, and vindicated him personally.

    "The argument which my friend from Massachusetts has addressed
    to us to-day was not an assault upon the Constitution. It was a
    noble vindication of that great charter of government from the
    perversions of the advocates of the Fugitive Slave Act.... What
    has the Senator from Massachusetts asserted? That the fugitive
    servant clause of the Constitution is a clause of compact between
    the States, and confers no legislative power upon Congress. He has
    arrayed history and reason in support of this proposition; and I
    avow my conviction, now and here, that, logically and historically,
    his argument is impregnable, entirely impregnable....

    "Let me add, Mr. President, that in my judgment the speech of my
    friend from Massachusetts will mark AN ERA in American history.
    It will distinguish the day when the advocates of that theory of
    governmental policy, constitutional construction, which he has so
    ably defended and so brilliantly illustrated, no longer content to
    stand on the defensive in the contest with Slavery, boldly attacked
    the very citadel of its power, in that doctrine of finality which
    two of the political parties of the country, through their national
    organizations, are endeavoring to establish as the impregnable
    defence of its usurpations."

       *       *       *       *       *

On the close of the debate, the proposition of Mr. Sumner was rejected
by the following vote.

YEAS,--Messrs. Chase, Hale, Sumner, and Wade,--4.

NAYS,--Messrs. Adams, Badger, Bayard, Bell, Borland, Bradbury,
Bright, Brodhead, Brooke, Butler, Cass, Charlton, Clarke, Clemens,
Cooper, Dawson, De Saussure, Dodge, of Iowa, Douglas, Felch, Fish,
Geyer, Gwin, Hamlin, Houston, Hunter, James, Jones, of Iowa, King,
Mallory, Mangum, Mason, Meriwether, Miller, Morton, Pearce, Pratt,
Rusk, Shields, Smith, Soulé, Spruance, Toucey, Underwood, Upham,
Walker, and Weller,--47.

Mr. Seward was absent,--probably constrained by his prominence
as a supporter of General Scott.

       *       *       *       *       *

This speech, when published, found an extensive echo. It was circulated
not only through the press, but in large pamphlet editions, amounting
to several hundred thousand. It was translated into German. Two or more
editions appeared in England. In the preface to the English edition
of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," Lord Carlisle associated the speech with that
work, and signalized "the closeness of its logic and the masculine
vigor of its eloquence." Lord Shaftesbury, in a letter to the London
Times, wrote, "What noble eloquence!" Mr. Combe, the phrenologist, in
a letter to a distinguished American, which was published at the time,
said: "I have read every word of this speech with pleasure and with
pain. The pain arose from the subject,--the pleasure from sympathy with
and admiration of the speaker. I have long desired to know the merits
of that most cruel and iniquitous enactment, and this speech has made
them clear as day." The London Examiner said: "Apart from its noble
and affecting eloquence, it is one of the closest and most convincing
arguments we have ever read on the policy of the earlier and greater,
as contrasted with that of the later and meaner statesmen of America."
These testimonies might be accumulated. They are introduced only so far
as may be important in giving an idea of the contemporaneous reception
of this speech. The title had a vogue beyond the speech itself, as it
became one of the countersigns of our politics.

Letters also illustrate the speech. Mr. Seward, who was not in his seat
at its delivery, wrote, on reading it: "Your speech is an admirable,
a great, a very great one. That is my opinion, and everybody around
me, of all sorts, confesses it." Mr. Chase wrote also: "I have read,
as well as heard, your truly great speech. Hundreds of thousands will
read it, and everywhere it will carry conviction to all willing to
be convinced, and will infuse a feeling of incertitude and a fearful
looking for judgment in the minds of those who resist the light and
toil in the harness of party platforms irreconcilable with justice."
Mr. Wilson, who had not yet been elected to the Senate, wrote: "I have
read your glorious speech. How proud I am that God gave me the power
to aid in placing you in the Senate! You have exhausted the question.
Hereafter all that can be said will be to repeat your speech. It will
afford to any one the most complete view of the questions in dispute
of anything ever published." Hon. Stephen C. Phillips, who had taken a
leading part in the Free-Soil organization of Massachusetts, wrote: "I
regard it as a contribution of inestimable value to our noble cause,
worth all the labor, all the time, all the self-sacrifice, and all
the misrepresentation it has cost you. It is statesmanlike in all its
features, and does all that is necessary to place our simple and entire
design in its true light before the country, and before the world, and
in the records of history." Wendell Phillips, while differing on some
points, wrote: "I have read your speech with envious admiration. It is
admirable, both as a masterly argument and a noble testimony, and will
endear you to thousands." These extracts, which might be extended, show
the response to this effort.

       *       *       *       *       *


THURSDAY, _26th August, 1852_.--The Civil and Diplomatic
Appropriation Bill being under consideration, the following amendment
was moved by Mr. Hunter, of Virginia, on the recommendation of the
Committee on Finance.

    "That, where the ministerial officers of the United States have or
    shall incur extraordinary expense in executing the laws thereof,
    the payment of which is not specifically provided for, the
    President of the United States is authorized to allow the payment
    thereof, under the special taxation of the District or Circuit
    Court of the District in which the said services have been or shall
    be rendered, to be paid from the appropriation for defraying the
    expenses of the Judiciary."

MR. SUMNER seized the opportunity for which he had been
waiting, and at once moved the following amendment to the amendment:--

    "_Provided_, That no such allowance shall be authorized for any
    expenses incurred in executing the Act of September 18, 1850, for
    the surrender of fugitives from service or labor; which said Act is
    hereby repealed."

On this he took the floor, and spoke as follows.

    MR. PRESIDENT,--Here is a provision for extraordinary expenses
    incurred in executing the laws of the United States. Extraordinary
    expenses! Sir, beneath these specious words lurks the very subject
    on which, by a solemn vote of this body, I was refused a hearing.
    Here it is; no longer open to the charge of being an "abstraction,"
    but actually presented for practical legislation; not introduced
    by me, but by the Senator from Virginia [Mr. HUNTER], on the
    recommendation of an important committee of the Senate; not
    brought forward weeks ago, when there was ample time for
    discussion, but only at this moment, without any reference to the
    late period of the session. The amendment which I offer proposes to
    remove one chief occasion of these extraordinary expenses. Beyond
    all controversy or cavil it is strictly in order. And now, at last,
    among these final crowded days of our duties here, but at this
    earliest opportunity, I am to be heard,--not as a favor, but as a
    right. The graceful usages of this body may be abandoned, but the
    established privileges of debate cannot be abridged. Parliamentary
    courtesy may be forgotten, but parliamentary law must prevail. The
    subject is broadly before the Senate. By the blessing of God it
    shall be discussed.

    Sir, a severe lawgiver of early Greece vainly sought to secure
    permanence for his imperfect institutions by providing that the
    citizen who at any time attempted their repeal or alteration
    should appear in the public assembly with a halter about his neck,
    ready to be drawn, if his proposition failed. A tyrannical spirit
    among us, in unconscious imitation of this antique and discarded
    barbarism, seeks to surround an offensive institution with similar
    safeguard. In the existing distemper of the public mind, and at
    this present juncture, no man can enter upon the service which I
    now undertake, without personal responsibility, such as can be
    sustained only by that sense of duty which, under God, is always
    our best support. That personal responsibility I accept. Before the
    Senate and the country let me be held accountable for this act and
    for every word which I utter.

    With me, Sir, there is no alternative. Painfully convinced of
    the unutterable wrong and woe of Slavery,--profoundly believing,
    that, according to the true spirit of the Constitution and the
    sentiments of the Fathers, it can find no place under our National
    Government,--that it is in every respect _sectional_, and in no
    respect _national_,--that it is always and everywhere creature and
    dependant of the _States_, and never anywhere creature or dependant
    of the _Nation_,--and that the _Nation_ can never, by legislative
    or other act, impart to it any support, under the Constitution of
    the United States,--with these convictions I could not allow this
    session to reach its close without making or seizing an opportunity
    to declare myself openly against the usurpation, injustice, and
    cruelty of the late intolerable enactment for the recovery of
    fugitive slaves. Full well I know, Sir, the difficulties of this
    discussion, arising from prejudices of opinion and from adverse
    conclusions strong and sincere as my own. Full well I know that
    I am in a small minority, with few here to whom I can look for
    sympathy or support. Full well I know that I must utter things
    unwelcome to many in this body, which I cannot do without pain.
    Full well I know that the institution of Slavery in our country,
    which I now proceed to consider, is as sensitive as it is powerful,
    possessing a power to shake the whole land, with a sensitiveness
    that shrinks and trembles at the touch. But while these things
    may properly prompt me to caution and reserve, they cannot change
    my duty, or my determination to perform it. For this I willingly
    forget myself and all personal consequences. The favor and
    good-will of my fellow-citizens, of my brethren of the Senate, Sir,
    grateful to me as they justly are, I am ready, if required, to
    sacrifice. Whatever I am or may be I freely offer to this cause.

    Here allow, for one moment, a reference to myself and my position.
    Sir, I have never been a politician. The slave of principles, I
    call no party master. By sentiment, education, and conviction a
    friend of Human Rights in their utmost expansion, I have ever
    most sincerely embraced the Democratic Idea,--not, indeed, as
    represented or professed by any party, but according to its real
    significance, as transfigured in the Declaration of Independence
    and in the injunctions of Christianity. In this idea I see no
    narrow advantage merely for individuals or classes, but the
    sovereignty of the people, and the greatest happiness of all
    secured by equal laws. Amidst the vicissitudes of public affairs
    I shall hold fast always to this idea, and to any political party
    which truly embraces it.

    Party does not constrain me; nor is my independence lessened by
    any relations to the office which gives me a title to be heard
    on this floor. Here, Sir, I speak proudly. By no effort, by no
    desire of my own, I find myself a Senator of the United States.
    Never before have I held public office of any kind. With the ample
    opportunities of private life I was content. No tombstone for me
    could bear a fairer inscription than this: "Here lies one who,
    without the honors or emoluments of public station, did something
    for his fellow-men." From such simple aspirations I was taken
    away by the free choice of my native Commonwealth, and placed at
    this responsible post of duty, without personal obligation of any
    kind, beyond what was implied in my life and published words. The
    earnest friends by whose confidence I was first designated asked
    nothing from me, and throughout the long conflict which ended in my
    election rejoiced in the position which I most carefully guarded.
    To all my language was uniform: that I did not desire to be brought
    forward; that I would do nothing to promote the result; that I had
    no pledges or promises to offer; that the office should seek me,
    and not I the office; and that it should find me in all respects an
    independent man, bound to no party and to no human being, but only,
    according to my best judgment, to act for the good of all. Again,
    Sir, I speak with pride, both for myself and others, when I add
    that these avowals found a sympathizing response. In this spirit I
    have come here, and in this spirit I shall speak to-day.

    Rejoicing in my independence, and claiming nothing from party ties,
    I throw myself upon the candor and magnanimity of the Senate. I
    ask your attention; I trust not to abuse it. I may speak strongly,
    for I shall speak openly and from the strength of my convictions.
    I may speak warmly, for I shall speak from the heart. But in no
    event can I forget the amenities which belong to debate, and which
    especially become this body. Slavery I must condemn with my whole
    soul; but here I need only borrow the language of slaveholders; nor
    would it accord with my habits or my sense of justice to exhibit
    them as the impersonation of the institution--Jefferson calls it
    the "enormity"[103]--which they cherish. Of them I do not speak;
    but without fear and without favor, as without impeachment of any
    person, I assail this wrong. Again, Sir, I may err; but it will
    be with the Fathers. I plant myself on the ancient ways of the
    Republic, with its grandest names, its surest landmarks, and all
    its original altar-fires about me.

    [103] Letter to Dr. Price, August 7, 1785: Memoir, Correspondence,
    etc., ed. Randolph, Vol. I. p. 269; Writings, Vol. I. p. 377.

    And now, on the very threshold, I encounter the objection, that
    there is a final settlement, in principle and substance, of the
    question of Slavery, and that all discussion of it is closed.
    Both the old political parties, by formal resolutions, in recent
    conventions at Baltimore, have united in this declaration. On a
    subject which for years has agitated the public mind, which yet
    palpitates in every heart and burns on every tongue, which in
    its immeasurable importance dwarfs all other subjects, which by
    its constant and gigantic presence throws a shadow across these
    halls, which at this very time calls for appropriations to meet
    extraordinary expenses it has caused, they impose the rule of
    silence. According to them, Sir, we may speak of everything except
    that alone which is most present in all our minds.

    To this combined effort I might fitly reply, that, with flagrant
    inconsistency, it challenges the very discussion it pretends to
    forbid. Their very declaration, on the eve of an election, is, of
    course, submitted to the consideration and ratification of the
    people. Debate, inquiry, discussion, are the necessary consequence.
    Silence becomes impossible. Slavery, which you profess to banish
    from public attention, openly by your invitation enters every
    political meeting and every political convention. Nay, at this
    moment it stalks into this Senate, crying, like the daughters of
    the horseleech, "Give! give!"

    But no unanimity of politicians can uphold the baseless assumption,
    that a law, or any conglomerate of laws, under the name of
    Compromise, or howsoever called, is final. Nothing can be plainer
    than this,--that by no parliamentary device or knot can any
    Legislature tie the hands of a succeeding Legislature, so as to
    prevent the full exercise of its constitutional powers. Each
    Legislature, under a just sense of its responsibility, must judge
    for itself; and if it think proper, it may revise, or amend, or
    absolutely undo the work of any predecessor. The laws of the Medes
    and Persians are said proverbially to have been unalterable; but
    they stand forth in history as a single example where the true
    principles of all law have been so irrationally defied.

    To make a law final, so as not to be reached by Congress, is, by
    mere legislation, to fasten a new provision on the Constitution.
    Nay, more; it gives to the law a character which the very
    Constitution does not possess. The wise Fathers did not treat
    the country as a Chinese foot, never to grow after infancy; but,
    anticipating progress, they declared expressly that their great
    Act is not final. According to the Constitution itself, there is
    not one of its existing provisions--not even that with regard to
    fugitives from labor--which may not at all times be reached by
    amendment, and thus be drawn into debate. This is rational and
    just. Sir, nothing from man's hands, nor law nor constitution, can
    be final. Truth alone is final.

    Inconsistent and absurd, this effort is tyrannical also. The
    responsibility for the recent Slave Act, and for Slavery everywhere
    within the jurisdiction of Congress, necessarily involves the
    right to discuss them. To separate these is impossible. Like
    the twenty-fifth rule[104] of the House of Representatives
    against petitions on Slavery,--now repealed and dishonored,--the
    Compromise, as explained and urged, is a curtailment of the actual
    powers of legislation, and a perpetual denial of the indisputable
    principle, that the right to deliberate is coextensive with the
    responsibility for an act. To sustain Slavery, it is now proposed
    to trample on _free speech_. In any country this would be grievous;
    but here, where the Constitution expressly provides against
    abridging freedom of speech, it is a special outrage. In vain do we
    condemn the despotisms of Europe, while we borrow the rigors with
    which they repress Liberty, and guard their own uncertain power.
    For myself, in no factious spirit, but solemnly and in loyalty to
    the Constitution, as a Senator of the United States, representing
    a free Commonwealth, I protest against this wrong. On Slavery,
    as on every other subject, I claim the right to be heard. That
    right I cannot, I will not abandon. "Give me the liberty to know,
    to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all
    liberties":[105] these are glowing words, flashed from the soul
    of John Milton in his struggles with English tyranny. With equal
    fervor they should be echoed now by every American not already a

    [104] Originally the twenty-first, adopted January 28, 1840 (26th
    Cong. 1st Sess.), by Yeas 114, Nays 108; rescinded, on motion of
    John Quincy Adams, December 3, 1844 (28th Cong. 2d Sess.), by Yeas
    108, Nays 80. It will be observed that the vote of the opponents
    of the rule was precisely the same (108) on its adoption as on its
    abrogation. Obviously many of the original supporters or their
    successors withheld their votes on the latter occasion. The rule in
    question was in these words: "No petition, memorial, resolution,
    or other paper, praying the abolition of slavery in the District
    of Columbia, or any State or Territory, or the slave-trade between
    the States or Territories of the United States in which it now
    exists, shall be received by this House, or entertained in any way

    [105] Milton, Areopagitica: A Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed
    Printing: Prose Works, ed. Symmons, Vol. I. p. 325.

    But, Sir, this effort is impotent as tyrannical. Convictions of
    the heart cannot be repressed. Utterances of conscience must be
    heard. They break forth with irrepressible might. As well attempt
    to check the tides of Ocean, the currents of the Mississippi,
    or the rushing waters of Niagara. The discussion of Slavery will
    proceed, wherever two or three are gathered together,--by the
    fireside, on the highway, at the public meeting, in the church. The
    movement against Slavery is from the Everlasting Arm. Even now it
    is gathering its forces, soon to be confessed everywhere. It may
    not be felt yet in the high places of office and power, but all who
    can put their ears humbly to the ground will hear and comprehend
    its incessant and advancing tread.

    The relations of the National Government to Slavery, though plain
    and obvious, are constantly misunderstood. A popular belief at
    this moment makes Slavery a national institution, and of course
    renders its support a national duty. The extravagance of this
    error can hardly be surpassed. An institution which our fathers
    most carefully omitted to name in the Constitution, which,
    according to the debates in the Convention, they refused to cover
    with any "sanction," and which, at the original organization of
    the Government, was merely _sectional_, existing nowhere on the
    _national_ territory, is now, above all other things, blazoned as
    national. Its supporters pride themselves as national. The old
    political parties, while upholding it, claim to be national. A
    National Whig is simply a Slavery Whig, and a National Democrat is
    simply a Slavery Democrat, in contradistinction to all who regard
    Slavery as a sectional institution, within the exclusive control of
    the States, and with which the nation has nothing to do.

    As Slavery assumes to be national, so, by an equally strange
    perversion, Freedom is degraded to be sectional, and all who uphold
    it, under the National Constitution, are made to share this same
    epithet. Honest efforts to secure its blessings everywhere within
    the jurisdiction of Congress are scouted as sectional; and this
    cause, which the founders of our National Government had so much
    at heart, is called _Sectionalism_. These terms, now belonging to
    the commonplaces of political speech, are adopted and misapplied
    by most persons without reflection. But here is the power of
    Slavery. According to a curious tradition of the French language,
    Louis the Fourteenth, the Grand Monarch, by an accidental error
    of speech, among supple courtiers, changed the gender of a noun.
    But Slavery does more. It changes word for word. It teaches men to
    say _national_ instead of _sectional_, and _sectional_ instead of

    Slavery national! Sir, this is a mistake and absurdity, fit to
    have a place in some new collection of Vulgar Errors, by some
    other Sir Thomas Browne, with the ancient, but exploded stories,
    that the toad has a gem in its head, and that ostriches digest
    iron. According to the true spirit of the Constitution, and
    the sentiments of the Fathers, _Slavery_, and not Freedom, is
    _sectional_, while _Freedom_, and not Slavery, is _national_. On
    this unanswerable proposition I take my stand, and here commences
    my argument.

    The subject presents itself under two principal heads: first, _the
    true relations of the National Government to Slavery_, wherein it
    will appear that there is no national fountain from which Slavery
    can be derived, and no national power, under the Constitution, by
    which it can be supported. Enlightened by this general survey,
    we shall be prepared to consider, secondly, _the true nature of
    the provision for the rendition of fugitives from service_, and
    herein especially the unconstitutional and offensive legislation of
    Congress in pursuance thereof.


These are readily apparent, if we do not neglect well-established

If Slavery be national, if there be any power in the National
Government to uphold this institution,--as in the recent Slave
Act,--it must be by virtue of the Constitution. Nor can it be by
mere inference, implication, or conjecture. According to the uniform
admission of courts and jurists in Europe, again and again promulgated
in our country, Slavery can be derived only from clear and special
recognition. "The state of Slavery," said Lord Mansfield, pronouncing
judgment in the great case of Sommersett, "is of such a nature, that it
is incapable of being introduced on any reasons, moral or political,
_but only by positive law_.... It is so odious, that _nothing can be
suffered to support it_ but POSITIVE LAW."[106] And a slaveholding
tribunal,--the Supreme Court of Mississippi,--adopting the same
principle, has said:--

    "Slavery is condemned by reason and the Laws of Nature. It exists,
    and can _only_ exist, through municipal regulations."[107]

And another slaveholding tribunal--the Court of Appeals of
Kentucky--has said:--

    "We view this as a right existing by _positive law_ of a municipal
    character, without foundation in the Law of Nature or the unwritten
    and Common Law."[108]

Of course every power to uphold Slavery must have an origin as
distinct as that of Slavery itself. Every presumption must be as strong
against such a power as against Slavery. A power so peculiar and
offensive, so hostile to reason, so repugnant to the Law of Nature and
the inborn Rights of Man,--which despoils its victim of the fruits of
labor,--which substitutes concubinage for marriage,--which abrogates
the relation of parent and child,--which, by denial of education,
abases the intellect, prevents a true knowledge of God, and murders
the very soul,--which, amidst a plausible physical comfort, degrades
man, created in the divine image, to the state of a beast,--such a
power, so eminent, so transcendent, so tyrannical, so unjust, can find
no place in any system of Government, unless by virtue of _positive
sanction_. It can spring from no doubtful phrase. It must be declared
by unambiguous words, incapable of a double sense.

    [106] Howell's State Trials, Vol. XX. col. 82.

    [107] Harry et al. _v._ Decker et al., Walker, 42.

    [108] Rankin _v._ Lydia, 2 Marshall, 470.

Slavery, I repeat, is not mentioned in the Constitution. The name
Slave does not pollute this Charter of our Liberties. No "positive"
language gives to Congress any _power_ to make a slave or to hunt a
slave. To find even any seeming sanction for either, we must travel,
with doubtful footstep, beyond express letter, into the region of
interpretation. But here are rules which cannot be disobeyed. With
electric might for Freedom, they send a pervasive influence through
every provision, clause, and word of the Constitution. Each and all
make Slavery impossible as a national institution. They shut off from
the Constitution every fountain out of which it can be derived.

_First_, and foremost, is the _Preamble_. This discloses the prevailing
objects and principles of the Constitution. This is the vestibule
through which all must pass who would enter the sacred temple. Here
are the inscriptions by which they are earliest impressed. Here is
first seen the genius of the place. Here the proclamation of Liberty
is soonest heard. "We, the People of the United States," says the
Preamble, "in order to form a more perfect Union, _establish justice_,
insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, _promote
the general welfare, and secure the blessings of Liberty_ to ourselves
and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the
United States of America." Thus, according to undeniable words, the
Constitution was ordained, not to establish, secure, or sanction
Slavery,--not to promote the special interests of Slaveholders,--not to
make Slavery national, in any way, form, or manner,--but to "establish
justice," "promote the general welfare," and "secure the blessings of
Liberty." Here, surely, Liberty is national.

_Secondly._ Next to the Preamble in importance are the explicit
_contemporaneous declarations_ in the Convention which framed
the Constitution, and elsewhere, expressed in different forms of
language, but all tending to the same conclusion. By the Preamble
the Constitution speaks for Freedom. By these declarations the
Fathers speak as the Constitution speaks. Early in the Convention,
Gouverneur Morris, of Pennsylvania, broke forth in the language of an
Abolitionist: "_He never would concur in upholding domestic slavery._
It was a nefarious institution. It was the curse of Heaven on the
States where it prevailed."[109] These positive words, in harmony with
other things from the same quarter, show a vehement determination that
Slavery should not be national.

    [109] Madison's Debates, August 8, 1787.

At a later day a discussion ensued on the clause touching the African
slave-trade, which reveals the definitive purposes of the Convention.
From the report of Mr. Madison we learn what was said. Oliver
Ellsworth, of Connecticut, said: "The morality or wisdom of Slavery are
considerations belonging to the States themselves."[110] According to
him, Slavery was sectional. Elbridge Gerry, of Massachusetts, "thought
we had nothing to do with the conduct of the States as to slaves, _but
ought to be careful not to give any sanction to it_."[111] According
to him, Slavery is sectional, and he would not make it national. Roger
Sherman, of Connecticut, "was opposed to a tax on slaves imported, as
making the matter worse, _because it implied they were property_."[112]
He would not have Slavery national. After debate, the subject was
referred to a committee of eleven, who reported a substitute,
authorizing "a tax or duty on such migration or importation, at a rate
_not exceeding the average of the duties laid on imports_."[113] This
language, classifying _persons_ with merchandise, seemed to imply a
recognition that they were _property_. Mr. Sherman at once declared
himself "against this part, _as acknowledging men to be property_, by
taxing them as such under the character of slaves."[114] Mr. Gorham
"thought that Mr. Sherman should consider the duty, _not as implying
that slaves are property_, but as a discouragement to the importation
of them."[115] Mr. Madison, in mild juridical phrase, "_thought it
wrong to admit in the Constitution the idea that there could be
property in men_."[116] After discussion it was finally agreed to make
the clause read:--

    "But a tax or duty may be imposed on such importation, not
    exceeding ten dollars _for each person_."[117]

    [110] Madison's Debates, Aug. 21, 1787.

    [111] Ibid., Aug. 22.

    [112] Ibid.

    [113] Ibid., Aug. 24.

    [114] Ibid., Aug. 25.

    [115] Ibid.

    [116] Ibid.

    [117] Madison's Debates, Aug. 25.

The difficulty seemed then to be removed, and the whole clause was
adopted. This record demonstrates that the word "persons" was employed
to show that slaves, everywhere under the Constitution, are always to
be regarded as _persons_, and not as _property_, and thus to exclude
from the Constitution all idea that there can be property in man.
Remember well, that Mr. Sherman was opposed to the clause in its
original form, "as acknowledging men to be _property_,"--that Mr.
Madison was also opposed to it, because he "thought it _wrong_ to
admit in the Constitution the idea that there could be property in
men,"--and that, after these objections, the clause was so amended as
to exclude the idea. But Slavery cannot be national, unless this idea
is distinctly and unequivocally admitted into the Constitution.

The evidence still accumulates. At a later day in the proceedings of
the Convention, as if to set the seal upon the solemn determination to
have no sanction of Slavery in the Constitution, the word "servitude,"
which appeared in the clause on the apportionment of representatives
and taxes was struck out, and the word "service" inserted. This was
done by unanimous vote, on the motion of Mr. Randolph, of Virginia; and
the reason assigned for this substitution, according to Mr. Madison, in
his authentic report of the debate, was, that "the former was thought
to express the condition of slaves, and the latter _the obligations
of free persons_."[118] With such care was Slavery excluded from the

    [118] Ibid., Sept. 13.

Nor is this all. In the Massachusetts Convention, to which the
Constitution, when completed, was submitted for ratification, a
veteran of the Revolution, General Heath, openly declared, that,
according to his view, Slavery was sectional, and not national. His
language was pointed. "I apprehend," he said, "that it is not in our
power _to do anything for or against those who are in slavery in the
Southern States_. No gentleman within these walls detests every idea of
Slavery more than I do; it is generally detested by the people of this
Commonwealth; and I ardently hope that the time will soon come when
our brethren in the Southern States will view it as we do, and put a
stop to it; but to this we have no right to compel them. Two questions
naturally arise: _If we ratify the Constitution, shall we do anything
by our act to hold the blacks in slavery? or shall we become partakers
of other men's sins? I think neither of them._"[119]

Afterwards, in the first Congress under the Constitution, on a motion,
much debated, for a duty on the importation of slaves, the same Roger
Sherman, who in the National Convention opposed the idea of property
in man, authoritatively exposed the true relations of the Constitution
to Slavery. His language was, that "the Constitution does not
consider these persons as a species of property; it speaks of them as

    [119] Debates, Resolutions, etc., of the Convention of
    Massachusetts, January 30, 1788.

    [120] Annals of Congress, 1st Cong. 1st Sess., col. 342.

Thus distinctly and constantly, from the very lips of the framers of
the Constitution, we learn the falsehood of recent assumptions in favor
of Slavery and in derogation of Freedom.

_Thirdly._ According to a familiar rule of interpretation, all laws
concerning the same matter, _in pari materia_, are to be construed
together. By the same reason, _the grand political acts of the
Nation are to be construed together_, giving and receiving light
from each other. Earlier than the Constitution was the Declaration
of Independence, embodying, in immortal words, those primal truths
to which our country pledged itself with baptismal vows as a Nation.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident," says the Nation: "that all
men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with
certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, _liberty_, and
the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are
instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of
the governed." But this does not stand alone. There is another national
act of similar import. On the successful close of the Revolution, the
Continental Congress, in an Address to the States, repeated the same
lofty truth. "Let it be remembered," said the Nation again, "that it
has ever been the pride and boast of America, _that the rights for
which she contended were the rights of human nature_. By the blessing
of the Author of _these rights_ on the means exerted for their defence,
they have prevailed against all opposition, and FORM THE BASIS
of thirteen independent States."[121] Such were the acts of the Nation
in its united capacity. Whatever may be the privileges of States in
their individual capacities, within their several local jurisdictions,
no power can be attributed to the Nation, in the absence of positive,
unequivocal grant, inconsistent with these two national declarations.
Here, Sir, is the national heart, the national soul, the national
will, the national voice, which must inspire our interpretation of the
Constitution, entering into all the national legislation and spreading
through all its parts. Thus again is Freedom national.

    [121] Journal of Congress, April 26, 1783, Vol. VIII. p. 201.

_Fourthly._ Beyond these is a principle of the Common Law, clear and
indisputable, a supreme rule of interpretation, from which in this
case there can be no appeal. In any question under the Constitution
_every word must be construed in favor of Liberty_. This rule, which
commends itself to the natural reason, is sustained by time-honored
maxims of early jurisprudence. Blackstone aptly expresses it, when
he says that "the law is always ready to catch at anything in favor
of Liberty."[122] The rule is repeated in various forms. _Favores
ampliandi sunt; odia restringenda_: "Favors are to be amplified;
hateful things to be restrained." _Lex Angliæ est lex misericordiæ_:
"The law of England is a law of mercy." _Angliæ jura in omni casu
Libertati dant favorem_: "The laws of England in every case show favor
to Liberty." And this sentiment breaks forth in natural, though intense
force, in the maxim, _Impius et crudelis judicandus est qui Libertati
non favet_: "He is to be adjudged impious and cruel who does not favor
Liberty." Reading the Constitution in the admonition of these rules,
Freedom, again I say, is national.[123]

    [122] Commentaries, Vol. II. p. 94.

    [123] These maxims are enforced with beautiful earnestness in
    a tract which appeared at Baltimore shortly after the adoption
    of the Constitution, with the following title-page: "Letter from
    Granville Sharp, Esq., of London, to the Maryland Society for
    Promoting the Abolition of Slavery and the Relief of Free Negroes
    and others unlawfully held in Bondage. Published by Order of the
    Society. Baltimore: Printed by D. Graham, L. Yundt, and W. Patton,
    in Calvert Street, near the Court-House. M.DCC.XCIII."

_Fifthly._ From a learned judge of the Supreme Court of the United
States, in an opinion of the Court, we derive the same lesson. In
considering the question, whether a State can prohibit the importation
of slaves as merchandise, and whether Congress, in the exercise of
its power to regulate commerce among the States, can interfere with
the slave-trade between the States, a principle was enunciated,
which, while protecting the trade from any intervention of Congress,
declares openly that the Constitution acts upon no man as property.
Mr. Justice McLean says: "If slaves are considered in some of the
States as merchandise, that cannot divest them of the leading and
controlling quality of persons, by which they are designated in the
Constitution. The character of property is given them by the local
law. This law is respected, and all rights under it are protected,
by the Federal authorities; _but the Constitution acts upon slaves
as PERSONS, and not as property_.... The power over Slavery
belongs to the States respectively. It is local in its character, and
in its effects."[124] Here again Slavery is sectional, while Freedom is

Sir, such, briefly, are the rules of interpretation, which, as applied
to the Constitution, fill it with the breath of Freedom,--

          "Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt."[125]

To the _history and prevailing sentiments_ of the times we may turn
for further assurance. In the spirit of Freedom the Constitution was
formed. In this spirit our fathers always spoke and acted. In this
spirit the National Government was first organized under Washington.
And here I recall a scene, in itself a touchstone of the period, and an
example for us, upon which we may look with pure national pride, while
we learn anew the relations of the National Government to Slavery.

    [124] Groves et al. _v._ Slaughter, 15 Peters, 507, 508.

    [125] Milton, Comus, 456.

The Revolution was accomplished. The feeble Government of the
Confederation passed away. The Constitution, slowly matured in a
National Convention, discussed before the people, defended by masterly
pens, was adopted. The Thirteen States stood forth a Nation, where
was unity without consolidation, and diversity without discord. The
hopes of all were anxiously hanging upon the new order of things and
the mighty procession of events. With signal unanimity Washington was
chosen President. Leaving his home at Mount Vernon, he repaired to New
York,--where the first Congress had commenced its session,--to assume
his place as elected Chief of the Republic. On the 30th of April, 1789,
the organization of the Government was completed by his inauguration.
Entering the Senate Chamber, where the two Houses were assembled, he
was informed that they awaited his readiness to receive the oath of
office. Without delay, attended by the Senators and Representatives,
with friends and men of mark gathered about him, he moved to the
balcony in front of the edifice. A countless multitude, thronging the
open ways, and eagerly watching this great espousal,

                "With reverence look on his majestic face,
                 Proud to be less, but of his godlike race."[126]

The oath was administered by the Chancellor of New York. At such
time, and in such presence, beneath the unveiled heavens, Washington
first took this vow upon his lips: "I do solemnly swear that I will
faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and
will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the
Constitution of the United States."

    [126] Dryden, Epistle XVI. [XIV.], To Sir Godfrey Kneller.

Over the President, on this new occasion, floated the national flag,
with its stripes of red and white, its stars on a field of blue. As his
patriot eye rested upon the glowing ensign, what currents must have
rushed swiftly through his soul! In the early days of the Revolution,
in those darkest hours about Boston, after the Battle of Bunker Hill,
and before the Declaration of Independence, the thirteen stripes had
been first unfurled by him, as the emblem of Union among the Colonies
for the sake of Freedom. By him, at that time, they had been named the
Union Flag. Trial, struggle, and war were now ended, and the Union,
which they first heralded, was unalterably established. To every
beholder these memories must have been full of pride and consolation.
But, looking back upon the scene, there is one circumstance which,
more than all its other associations, fills the soul,--more even than
the suggestions of Union, which I prize so much. AT THIS MOMENT,
TERRITORY, COVERED A SINGLE SLAVE. Then, indeed, was Slavery
Sectional, and Freedom National.

On the sea an execrable piracy, the trade in slaves, to the national
scandal, was still tolerated under the national flag. In the States,
as a sectional institution, beneath the shelter of local laws, Slavery
unhappily found a home. But in the only territories at this time
belonging to the nation, the broad region of the Northwest, it was
already made impossible, by the Ordinance of Freedom, even before the
adoption of the Constitution. The District of Columbia, with its Fatal
Dowry, was not yet acquired.

The government thus organized was Antislavery in character. Washington
was a slaveholder, but it would be unjust to his memory not to say that
he was an Abolitionist also. His opinions do not admit of question.
Only a short time before the formation of the National Constitution,
he declared, by letter, that it was "among his first wishes to see
some plan adopted by which Slavery in this country might be abolished
by law";[127] and again, in another letter, that, in support of any
legislative measure for the abolition of Slavery, his suffrage should
"never be wanting";[128] and still further, in conversation with a
distinguished European Abolitionist, a travelling propagandist of
Freedom, Brissot de Warville, recently welcomed to Mount Vernon, he
openly announced, that, to promote this object in Virginia, "he desired
the formation of a SOCIETY, and that he would second it."[129]
By this authentic testimony he takes his place with the early patrons
of Abolition Societies.

    [127] Letter to John F. Mercer, September 9, 1786: Writings, ed.
    Sparks, Vol. IX. p. 159, note.

    [128] Letter to Robert Morris, April 12, 1786: Writings, ed.
    Sparks, Vol. IX. p. 159.

    [129] Brissot de Warville, New Travels in the United States, 2d
    ed., Vol. I. pp. 246, 247.

By the side of Washington, as, standing beneath the national flag, he
swore to support the Constitution, were illustrious men, whose lives
and recorded words now rise in judgment. There was John Adams, the
Vice-President, great vindicator and final negotiator of our national
independence, whose soul, flaming with Freedom, broke forth in the
early declaration, that "consenting to Slavery is a sacrilegious
breach of trust,"[130] and whose immitigable hostility to this
wrong is immortal in his descendants. There also was a companion in
arms and attached friend, of beautiful genius, the yet youthful and
"incomparable" Hamilton,--fit companion in early glories and fame with
that darling of English history, Sir Philip Sidney, to whom the latter
epithet has been reserved,--who, as member of the Abolition Society
of New York, had recently united in a solemn petition for those who,
though "_free by the laws of God_, are held in Slavery _by the laws of
this State_."[131] There, too, was a noble spirit, of spotless virtue,
the ornament of human nature, who, like the sun, ever held an unerring
course,--John Jay. Filling the important post of Secretary for Foreign
Affairs under the Confederation, he found time to organize the "Society
for Promoting the Manumission of Slaves" in New York, and to act as
its President, until, by the nomination of Washington, he became Chief
Justice of the United States. In his sight Slavery was an "iniquity,"
"a sin of crimson dye," against which ministers of the Gospel should
testify, and which the Government should seek in every way to abolish.
"Till America comes into this measure," he wrote, "her prayers to
Heaven for liberty will be impious. This is a strong expression, but
it is just. Were I in your Legislature, I would prepare a bill for
the purpose with great care, and I would never cease moving it till it
became a law or I ceased to be a member."[132] Such words as these,
fitly coming from our leaders, belong to the true glories of the

                "While we such precedents can boast at home,
                 Keep thy Fabricius and thy Cato, Rome!"

    [130] Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law: Works, Vol. III. p.

    [131] Life and Writings of John Jay, Vol. I. p. 231. Slavery and
    AntiSlavery, by William Goodell, p. 97.

    [132] Life and Writings, Vol. I. pp. 229, 230.

They stood not alone. The convictions and earnest aspirations of the
country were with them. At the North these were broad and general.
At the South they found fervid utterance from slaveholders. By
early and precocious efforts for "total emancipation," the author
of the Declaration of Independence placed himself foremost among
the Abolitionists of the land. In language now familiar to all, and
which can never die, he perpetually denounced Slavery. He exposed its
pernicious influence upon master as well as slave, declared that the
love of justice and the love of country pleaded equally for the slave,
and that "the abolition of domestic slavery was the greatest object of
desire." He believed that "the sacred side was gaining daily recruits,"
and confidently looked to the young for the accomplishment of this good
work.[133] In fitful sympathy with Jefferson was another honored son of
Virginia, the Orator of Liberty, Patrick Henry, who, while confessing
that he was a master of slaves, said: "I will not, I cannot justify it.
However culpable my conduct, I will so far pay my devoir to Virtue as
to own the excellence and rectitude of her precepts, and lament my want
of conformity to them."[134] At this very period, in the Legislature
of Maryland, on a bill for the relief of oppressed slaves, a young man,
afterwards by consummate learning and forensic powers acknowledged
head of the American bar, William Pinkney, in a speech of earnest,
truthful eloquence,--better for his memory than even his professional
fame,--branded Slavery as "iniquitous and most dishonorable," "founded
in a disgraceful traffic," "its continuance as shameful as its origin";
and he openly declared, that "by the eternal principles of natural
justice, no master in the State has a right to hold his slave in
bondage for a single hour."[135]

    [133] Notes on Virginia, Query XVIII.: Writings, Vol. VIII. pp.
    403, 404. Summary View of the Rights of British America: American
    Archives, 4th Ser. Vol. I. col 696; Writings, Vol. I. p. 135.
    Letter to Dr. Price, August 7, 1785: Writings, Vol. I. p. 377.

    [134] Letter to Robert Pleasants, January 18, 1779: Goodloe's
    Southern Platform, p. 79.

    [135] Speeches in the House of Delegates of Maryland in 1788 and
    1789: Wheaton's Life of Pinkney, p. 11; American Museum for 1789,
    Vol. VI. p. 75.

Thus at that time spoke the NATION. The CHURCH also joined its voice.
And here, amidst diversities of religious faith, it is instructive to
observe the general accord. Quakers first bore their testimony. At
the adoption of the Constitution, their whole body, under the early
teaching of George Fox, and by the crowning exertions of Benezet and
Woolman, had become an organized band of Abolitionists, penetrated by
the conviction that it was unlawful to hold a fellow-man in bondage.
Methodists, numerous, earnest, and faithful, never ceased by their
preachers to proclaim the same truth. Their rules in 1788 denounced,
in formal language, "the buying or selling the bodies and souls of
men, women, or children, with an intention to enslave them."[136] The
words of their great apostle, John Wesley, were constantly repeated.
On the eve of the National Convention, that burning tract was
circulated in which he exposes American Slavery as "vilest" of the
world,--"such slavery as is not found among the Turks at Algiers";
and after declaring "Liberty the right of every human creature," of
which "no human law can deprive him," he pleads, "If, therefore, you
have any regard to justice (to say nothing of mercy, nor the revealed
law of God), render unto all their due. Give liberty to whom liberty
is due,--that is, to every child of man, to every partaker of human
nature."[137] At the same time the Presbyterians, a powerful religious
body, inspired by the principles of John Calvin, in more moderate
language, but by a public act, recorded their judgment, recommending
"to all their people to use the most prudent measures, consistent with
the interest and the state of civil society in the counties where
they live, _to procure eventually the final abolition of Slavery in
America_."[138] The Congregationalists of New England, also nurtured in
the faith of John Calvin, and with the hatred of Slavery belonging to
the great Nonconformist, Richard Baxter, were sternly united against
this wrong. As early as 1776, Samuel Hopkins, their eminent leader and
divine, published his tract showing it to be the Duty and Interest
of the American Colonies to emancipate all their African slaves, and
declaring that Slavery is "in every instance wrong, unrighteousness,
and oppression,--a very great and crying sin,--there being nothing
of the kind equal to it on the face of the earth."[139] And in 1791,
shortly after the adoption of the Constitution, the second Jonathan
Edwards, a twice-honored name, in an elaborate discourse often
published, called upon his country, in "the present blaze of light" on
the injustice of Slavery, to "prepare the way for its total abolition."
This he gladly thought at hand. "If we judge of the future by the
past," said the celebrated preacher, "within fifty years from this time
it will be as shameful for a man to hold a negro slave as to be guilty
of common robbery or theft."[140]

    [136] Bangs's History of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the
    United States, Vol. I. pp. 213, 218.

    [137] Thoughts upon Slavery, by John Wesley, (London, 1774,) pp.
    24, 27.

    [138] Minutes of the Synod of New York and Philadelphia, 1787:
    Records of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, p. 540.

    [139] A Dialogue concerning the Slavery of the Africans; Works,
    Vol. II. p. 552.

    [140] The Injustice and Impolicy of the Slave-Trade, and of the
    Slavery of the Africans, (Providence, 1792,) pp. 27-30.

Thus, at this time, the Church, in harmony with the Nation, by its
leading denominations, Quakers, Methodists, Presbyterians, and
Congregationalists, thundered against Slavery. The COLLEGES
were in unison with the Church. Harvard University spoke by the voice
of Massachusetts, which already had abolished Slavery. Dartmouth
College, by one of its learned Professors, claimed for the slaves "an
equal standing, in point of privileges, with the whites."[141] Yale
College, by its President, the eminent divine, Ezra Stiles, became the
head of the Abolition Society of Connecticut.[142] And the University
of William and Mary, in Virginia, at this very time testified its
sympathy with the cause by conferring upon Granville Sharp, the
acknowledged chief of British Abolitionists, the honorary degree of
Doctor of Laws.[143]

    [141] Tyrannical Liberty-Men: A Discourse on Negro Slavery in
    the United States, February 19, 1795, by Moses Fiske, Tutor in
    Dartmouth College. American Quarterly Register, May, 1840. Weld,
    Power of Congress over the District of Columbia, p. 33.

    [142] Kingsley's Life of Stiles: Sparks's American Biography,
    Second Series, Vol. VI. p. 69.

    [143] Hoare's Memoirs of Sharp, p. 254. Weld's Power of Congress,
    p. 34.

The LITERATURE of the land, such as then existed, agreed
with the Nation, the Church, and the College. Franklin, in the
last literary labor of his life,[144]--Jefferson, in his "Notes on
Virginia,"--Barlow, in his heroic verse,--Rush, in a work which
inspired the praise of Clarkson,[145]--the ingenious author of the
"Algerine Captive," the earliest American novel, and, though now
but little known, one of the earliest American books republished in
London,--were all moved by the contemplation of Slavery. "If our
fellow-citizens in the Southern States are deaf to the pleadings
of Nature," exclaims the last earnestly, "I will conjure them, for
the sake of consistency, to cease to deprive their fellow-creatures
of freedom, which their writers, their orators, representatives,
senators, and even their Constitutions of Government, have declared to
be the unalienable birthright of man."[146] A female writer and poet,
earliest in our country among the graceful throng, Sarah Wentworth
Morton, at the very period of the National Convention, admired by the
polite society in which she lived, poured forth her sympathies also.
The generous labors of John Jay in behalf of the crushed African
inspired her muse; and in another poem, commemorating a slave who fell
while vindicating his freedom, she rendered a truthful homage to his
inalienable rights, in words which I now quote as testimony of the

                "Does not the voice of Reason cry,
                  'Claim the first right that Nature gave,
                 From the red scourge of bondage fly,
                   Nor deign to live a burdened slave'?"[147]

    [144] Speech of Sidi Mehemet Ibrahim in the Divan of Algiers
    against granting the Petition of the Sect called Erika, or Purists,
    for the Abolition of Piracy and Slavery: Works, ed. Sparks, Vol.
    II. pp. 517-521.

    [145] An Address to the Inhabitants of the British Settlements on
    the Slavery of the Negroes. Clarkson's History of the Abolition of
    the African Slave-Trade, Vol. I. p. 152.

    [146] Algerine Captive, Vol. I. p. 213.

    [147] The African Chief: My Mind and its Thoughts, p. 201.

Such, Sir, at the adoption of the Constitution and the first
organization of the National Government, was the outspoken, unequivocal
heart of the country. Slavery was abhorred. Like the slave-trade, it
was regarded as transitory; and by many it was supposed that they would
disappear together. As the oracles grew mute at the coming of Christ,
and a voice was heard, crying to mariners at sea, "Great Pan is dead!"
so at this time Slavery became dumb, and its death seemed to be near.
Voices of Freedom filled the air. The patriot, the Christian, the
scholar, the writer, the poet, vied in loyalty to this cause. All were

The earliest Congress under the Constitution attests this mood. One
of its first acts was to accept the Ordinance of Freedom for the
Northwestern Territory, thus ratifying the prohibition of Slavery in
all _existing_ territory. It is impossible to exaggerate the importance
of this act as a national landmark, especially when we consider that on
the list of those who sanctioned it were men fresh from the National
Convention, and therefore familiar with the Constitution which it
framed. The same Congress entertained the question of Slavery in
other forms,--sometimes on memorials duly presented, and then again
in debate. Virginia was heard by her Abolition Society denouncing
Slavery as "not only an odious degradation, but an outrageous
violation of one of the most essential rights of human nature, and
utterly repugnant to the precepts of the Gospel."[148] There was
another petitioner, whose illustrious services at home and abroad
entitled him to speak with authority rather than with prayer. It
was none other than Benjamin Franklin. After a long life of various
effort,--representing his country in England during the controversies
that preceded the Revolution,--returning to take his great part in
the Declaration of Independence,--then representing his country in
its European negotiations,--then again returning to take his great
part in the formation of the National Constitution, while all the
time his life was elevated by philosophy and the peculiar renown he
had won,--this Apostle of Liberty, recognized as such in the two
hemispheres, whose name was signed to the Declaration of Independence,
was signed to the Treaty of Alliance with France, was signed to the
Treaty of Independence with Great Britain, was signed to the National
Constitution, now set this same name to another instrument, a simple
petition to Congress. At the age of eighty-four, venerable with years,
and with all the honors of philosophy, diplomacy, and statesmanship,--a
triple crown never before enjoyed,--the patriot sage comes forward,
as President of the Abolition Society of Pennsylvania, and entreats
Congress "that it would be pleased to countenance the restoration
of Liberty to those unhappy men who alone in this land of Freedom
are degraded into perpetual bondage,"--and then again, in concluding
words, "that it would _step to the very verge of the power vested in
it for discouraging every species of traffic in the persons of our
fellow-men_."[149] Shortly after this prayer the petitioner descended
to his tomb, from which he still prays that Congress _will step to the
very verge of the power vested in it to DISCOURAGE Slavery_;
and this prayer, in simple words, proclaims the National policy of the
Fathers. Not encouragement, but discouragement of Slavery,--not its
_nationalization_, but its _denationalization_, was their rule.

    [148] Weld, Power of Congress over the District of Columbia, p. 29.

    [149] Annals of Congress, 1st Cong. 2d Sess., col. 1198.

Sir, enough has been said to show the sentiment which, like a vital
air, surrounded the National Government as it stepped into being. In
the face of this history, and in the absence of any positive sanction,
it is absurd to suppose that Slavery, which under the Confederation had
been merely sectional, was now constituted national. Our fathers did
not say, with the apostate angel, "Evil, be thou my good!" In different
spirit they cried out to Slavery, "Get thee behind me, Satan!"

There is yet another link. In the discussions which took place
in the local conventions on the adoption of the Constitution, a
sensitive desire was manifested to surround all persons under the
Constitution with additional safeguards. Fears were expressed, from
the supposed indefiniteness of some of the powers conceded to the
National Government, and also from the absence of a Bill of Rights.
Massachusetts, on ratifying the Constitution, proposed a series of
amendments, at the head of which was this, characterized by Samuel
Adams, in the Convention, as "A Summary of a Bill of Rights":--

    "That it be explicitly declared, that all powers not expressly
    delegated by the aforesaid Constitution are reserved to the several
    States, to be by them exercised."[150]

New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, South Carolina, and
North Carolina, with minorities in Pennsylvania and Maryland, united
in this proposition. In pursuance of these recommendations, the
First Congress presented for adoption the following article, which,
being ratified by the proper number of States, became part of the
Constitution as the Tenth Amendment:--

    "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution,
    nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States
    respectively, or to the people."

    [150] Debates, etc., of the Massachusetts Convention, February 1
    and 6, 1788. Elliot's Debates, Vol. IV. p. 211.

Stronger words could not be employed to limit the power under the
Constitution, and to protect the people from all assumptions of the
National Government, _particularly in derogation of Freedom_. Its
guardian character commended it to the sagacious mind of Jefferson, who
said: "I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this
ground."[151] And Samuel Adams, ever watchful for Freedom, said: "It
removes a doubt which many have entertained respecting this matter, and
gives assurance, that, _if any law made by the federal Government shall
be extended beyond the power granted by the proposed Constitution_, and
inconsistent with the Constitution of this State, it will be an error,
and adjudged by the courts of law to be void."[152]

    [151] Opinion against the Constitutionality of a National Bank,
    Feb. 15, 1791: Memoir, Correspondence, etc., Vol. IV. p. 523;
    Writings, Vol. VII. p. 556. See also Letter to Judge Johnson, June
    12, 1823: Memoir, Correspondence, etc., Vol. IV. p. 374; Works,
    Vol. VII. p. 297.

    [152] Debates, etc., of the Massachusetts Convention, February 1,
    1788. See also Life of Samuel Adams, by William V. Wells, Vol. III.
    pp. 271, 272, 325, 331.

Beyond all question, the National Government, ordained by the
Constitution, is not general or universal, but special and particular.
It is a government of limited powers. It has no power which is not
delegated. Especially is this clear with regard to an institution
like Slavery. The Constitution contains no power to make a king, or
to support kingly rule. With similar reason it may be said, that it
contains no power to make a slave, or to support a system of Slavery.
The absence of all such power is hardly more clear in the one case
than in the other. But if there be no such power, all national
legislation upholding Slavery must be unconstitutional and void. The
stream cannot be higher than the fountain-head. Nay, more, _nothing can
come out of nothing_; the stream cannot exist, if there be no spring
from which it is fed.

       *       *       *       *       *

At the risk of repetition, but for the sake of clearness, review
now this argument, and gather it together. Considering that Slavery
is of such an offensive character that it can find sanction only in
"positive law," and that it has no such "positive" sanction in the
Constitution,--that the Constitution, according to its Preamble,
was ordained to "establish justice" and "secure the blessings of
liberty,"--that, in the Convention which framed it, and also elsewhere
at the time, it was declared not to sanction Slavery,--that, according
to the Declaration of Independence, and the Address of the Continental
Congress, the Nation was dedicated to "Liberty," and the "rights of
human nature,"--that, according to the principles of the Common Law,
the Constitution must be interpreted openly, actively, and perpetually
for Freedom,--that, according to the decision of the Supreme Court, it
acts upon slaves, _not as property_, but as PERSONS,--that,
at the first organization of the National Government under Washington,
Slavery had no national favor, existed nowhere on the national
territory, beneath the national flag, but was openly condemned by
Nation, Church, Colleges, and Literature of the time,--and, finally,
that, according to an Amendment of the Constitution, the National
Government can exercise only powers delegated to it, among which
is none to support Slavery,--considering these things, Sir, it is
impossible to avoid the single conclusion, that Slavery is in no
respect a national institution, and that the Constitution nowhere
upholds property in man.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is one other special provision of the Constitution, which I have
reserved to this stage, not so much from its superior importance, but
because it fitly stands by itself. This alone, if practically applied,
would carry Freedom to all within its influence. It is an Amendment
proposed by the First Congress, as follows:--

    "No _person_ shall be deprived of life, _liberty_, or property,
    _without due process of law_."

Under this great ægis the liberty of every person within the national
jurisdiction is unequivocally placed. I say every person. Of this there
can be no question. The word "person" in the Constitution embraces
every human being within its sphere, whether Caucasian, Indian, or
African, from the President to the slave. Show me a person within the
national jurisdiction, and I confidently claim for him this protection,
no matter what his condition or race or color. The natural meaning
of the clause is clear, but a single fact of its history places it
in the broad light of noon. As originally recommended by Virginia,
North Carolina, and Rhode Island, it was restricted to the _freeman_.
Its language was, "No _freeman_ ought to be deprived of his life,
_liberty_, or property, but by the law of the land."[153] In rejecting
this limitation, the authors of the Amendment revealed their purpose,
that no person, under the National Government, of whatever character,
should be deprived of liberty without due process of law,--that is,
without due presentment, indictment, or other judicial proceeding. But
this Amendment is nothing less than an express guaranty of Personal
Liberty, and an express prohibition of its invasion anywhere, at least
within the national jurisdiction.

    [153] Journal of Federal Convention, Supplement, pp. 419, 441, 455.
    Elliot's Debates, II. 484, III. 211, IV. 223.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sir, apply these principles, and Slavery will again be as when
Washington took his first oath as President. The Union Flag of the
Republic will become once more the flag of Freedom, and at all points
within the national jurisdiction will refuse to cover a slave. Beneath
its beneficent folds, wherever it is carried, on land or sea, Slavery
will disappear, like darkness under the arrows of the ascending
sun,--like the Spirit of Evil before the Angel of the Lord.

In all national territories Slavery will be impossible.

On the high seas, under the national flag, Slavery will be impossible.

In the District of Columbia Slavery will instantly cease.

Inspired by these principles, Congress can give no sanction to Slavery
by the admission of new Slave States.

Nowhere under the Constitution can the Nation, by legislation or
otherwise, support Slavery, hunt slaves, or hold property in man.

Such, Sir, are my sincere convictions. According to the Constitution,
as I understand it, in the light of the Past and of its true
principles, there is no other conclusion which is rational or tenable,
which does not defy authoritative rules of interpretation, does not
falsify indisputable facts of history, does not affront the public
opinion in which it had its birth, and does not dishonor the memory of
the Fathers. And yet politicians of the hour undertake to place these
convictions under formal ban. The generous sentiments which filled
the early patriots, and impressed upon the government they founded,
as upon the coin they circulated, the image and superscription of
LIBERTY, have lost their power. The slave-masters, few in
number, amounting to not more than three hundred and fifty thousand,
according to the recent census, have succeeded in dictating the policy
of the National Government, and have written SLAVERY on its
front. The change, which began in the desire for wealth, was aggravated
by the desire for political predominance.[154] Through Slavery the
cotton crop increased, with its enriching gains; through Slavery States
became part of the Slave Power. And now an arrogant and unrelenting
ostracism is applied, not only to all who express themselves against
Slavery, but to every man unwilling to be its menial. A novel test
for office is introduced, which would have excluded all the Fathers
of the Republic,--even Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin! Yes, Sir!
Startling it may be, but indisputable. Could these revered demigods of
history once again descend upon earth and mingle in our affairs, not
one of them could receive a nomination from the National Convention
of either of the two old political parties! Out of the convictions of
their hearts and the utterances of their lips against Slavery they
would be condemned.

This single fact reveals the extent to which the National Government
has departed from its true course and its great examples. For myself, I
know no better aim under the Constitution than to bring the Government
back to the precise position on this question it occupied on the
auspicious morning of its first organization by Washington,--

                              "Nunc retrorsum
                        Vela dare, atque iterare cursus
                        . . . . relictos,"[155]--

that the sentiments of the Fathers may again prevail with our rulers,
and the National Flag may nowhere shelter Slavery.

    [154] The same progression in ancient Rome arrested the observation
    of Sallust: "Primo pecuniæ, dein imperii cupido crevit. Ea quasi
    materies omnium malorum fuere."--_Catilina_, c. 10

    [155] Hor., Carm. I. xxxiv. 3-5.

To such as count this aspiration unreasonable let me commend a renowned
and life-giving precedent of English history. As early as the days
of Queen Elizabeth, a courtier boasted that the air of England was
too pure for a slave to breathe,[156] and the Common Law was said to
forbid Slavery. And yet, in the face of this vaunt, kindred to that of
our fathers, and so truly honorable, slaves were introduced from the
West Indies. The custom of Slavery gradually prevailed. Its positive
legality was affirmed, in professional opinions, by two eminent
lawyers, Talbot and Yorke, each afterwards Lord Chancellor. It was also
affirmed on the bench by the latter as Lord Hardwicke.[157] England
was already a Slave State. The following advertisement, copied from a
London newspaper, _The Public Advertiser_, of November 22, 1769, shows
that the journals there were disfigured as some of ours, even in the
District of Columbia.

    "To be sold, a black girl, the property of J.B., eleven years
    of age, who is extremely handy, works at her needle tolerably,
    and speaks English perfectly well; is of an excellent temper and
    willing disposition. Inquire of her owner at the Angel Inn, behind
    St. Clement's Church, in the Strand."

    [156] Case of Sommersett, Howell's State Trials, XX. 51.

    [157] Ibid., 81.

At last, in 1772, only three years after this advertisement, the single
question of the legality of Slavery was presented to Lord Mansfield,
on a writ of _Habeas Corpus_. A poor negro, named Sommersett, brought
to England as a slave, became ill, and, with an inhumanity disgraceful
even to Slavery, was turned adrift upon the world. Through the charity
of an estimable man, the eminent Abolitionist, Granville Sharp, he was
restored to health, when his unfeeling and avaricious master again
claimed him as bondman. The claim was repelled. After elaborate and
protracted discussion in Westminster Hall, marked by rarest learning
and ability, Lord Mansfield, with discreditable reluctance, sullying
his great judicial name, but in trembling obedience to the genius of
the British Constitution, pronounced a decree which made the early
boast a practical verity, and rendered Slavery forever impossible in
England. More than fourteen thousand persons, at that time held as
slaves, and breathing English air,--four times as many as are now
found in this national metropolis,--stepped forth in the happiness and
dignity of freemen.

With this guiding example I cannot despair. The time will yet come when
the boast of our fathers will be made a practical verity also, and
Court or Congress, in the spirit of this British judgment, will proudly
declare that nowhere under the Constitution can man hold property
in man. For the Republic such a decree will be the way of peace and
safety. As Slavery is banished from the national jurisdiction, it will
cease to vex our national politics. It may linger in the States as a
local institution; but it will no longer engender national animosities,
when it no longer demands national support.


From this general review of the relations of the National Government
to Slavery, I pass to the consideration of THE TRUE NATURE OF THE
an examination of this provision in the Constitution, and especially
of the recent Act of Congress in pursuance thereof. As I begin this
discussion, let me bespeak anew your candor. Not in prejudice, but in
the light of history and of reason, we must consider this subject. The
way will then be easy, and the conclusion certain.

Much error arises from the exaggerated importance now attached to this
provision, and from assumptions with regard to its origin and primitive
character. It is often asserted that it was suggested by some special
difficulty, which had become practically and extensively felt, anterior
to the Constitution. But this is one of the myths or fables with which
the supporters of Slavery have surrounded their false god. In the
Articles of Confederation, while provision is made for the surrender
of fugitive criminals, nothing is said of fugitive slaves or servants;
and there is no evidence in any quarter, until after the National
Convention, of hardship or solicitude on this account. No previous
voice was heard to express desire for any provision on the subject. The
story to the contrary is a modern fiction.

I put aside, as equally fabulous, the common saying, that this
provision was one of the original compromises of the Constitution,
and an essential condition of Union. Though sanctioned by eminent
judicial opinions, it will be found that this statement is hastily
made, without any support in the records of the Convention, the only
authentic evidence of the compromises; nor will it be easy to find
any authority for it in any contemporary document, speech, published
letter, or pamphlet of any kind. It is true that there were compromises
at the formation of the Constitution, which were the subject of anxious
debate; but this was not one of them.

There was a compromise between the small and large States, by which
equality was secured to all the States in the Senate.

There was another compromise finally carried, under threats from the
South, _on the motion of a New England member_, by which the Slave
States are allowed Representatives according to the whole number
of free persons and "three fifths of all other persons,"[158] thus
securing political power on account of their slaves, in consideration
that direct taxes should be apportioned in the same way. Direct taxes
have been imposed at only four brief intervals. The political power has
been constant, and at this moment sends twenty-one members to the other

    [158] Madison's Debates, July 12, 1787.

There was a third compromise, not to be mentioned without shame. It
was that hateful bargain by which Congress was restrained until 1808
from the prohibition of the foreign slave-trade, thus securing, down
to that period, toleration for crime. This was pertinaciously pressed
by the South, even to the extent of absolute restriction on Congress.
John Rutledge said: "If the Convention thinks that North Carolina,
South Carolina, and Georgia will ever agree to the Plan [the National
Constitution], unless their right to import slaves be untouched,
the expectation is vain. The people of those States will never be
such fools as to give up so important an interest." Charles Pinckney
said: "South Carolina can never receive the Plan, if it prohibits the
slave-trade." Charles Cotesworth Pinckney "thought himself bound to
declare candidly, that he did not think South Carolina would stop her
importations of slaves in any short time."[159] The effrontery of the
slave-masters was matched by the sordidness of the Eastern members, who
yielded again. Luther Martin, the eminent member of the Convention, in
his contemporary address to the Legislature of Maryland, described the
compromise. "I found," he said, "the Eastern States, notwithstanding
their aversion to Slavery, were very willing to indulge the Southern
States at least with a temporary liberty to prosecute the slave-trade,
_provided the Southern States would in their turn gratify them by
laying no restriction on navigation acts_."[160] The bargain was
struck, and at this price the Southern States gained the detestable
indulgence. At a subsequent day Congress branded the slave-trade as
piracy, and thus, by solemn legislative act, adjudged this compromise
to be felonious and wicked.

    [159] Madison's Debates, August 21 and 22, 1787.

    [160] The Genuine Information delivered to the Legislature of Maryland,
    etc. p. 36: Appended to Vol. IV. Elliot's Debates.

Such are the three chief original compromises of the Constitution and
essential conditions of Union. The case of fugitives from service is
not of these. During the Convention it was not in any way associated
with these. Nor is there any evidence from the records of this body,
that the provision on this subject was regarded with any peculiar
interest. As its absence from the Articles of Confederation had not
been the occasion of solicitude or desire, anterior to the National
Convention, so it did not enter into any of the original plans of
the Constitution. It was introduced tardily, at a late period of the
Convention, and adopted with very little and most casual discussion. A
few facts show how utterly unfounded are recent assumptions.

The National Convention was convoked to meet at Philadelphia on the
second Monday in May, 1787. Several members appeared at this time, but,
a majority of the States not being represented, those present adjourned
from day to day until the 25th, when the Convention was organized by
the choice of George Washington as President. On the 28th a few brief
rules and orders were adopted. On the next day they commenced their
great work.

On the same day, Edmund Randolph, of slaveholding Virginia, laid before
the Convention a series of fifteen resolutions, containing his plan for
the establishment of a New National Government. Here was no allusion to
fugitive slaves.

Also, on the same day, Charles Pinckney, of slaveholding South
Carolina, laid before the Convention what was called "A Draft of a
Federal Government, to be agreed upon between the Free and Independent
States of America," an elaborate paper, marked by considerable
minuteness of detail. Here are provisions, borrowed from the Articles
of Confederation, securing to the citizens of each State equal
privileges in the several States, giving faith to the public records
of the States, and ordaining the surrender of fugitives from justice.
But this draft, though from the flaming guardian of the slave interest,
contained no allusion to fugitive slaves.

In the course of the Convention other plans were brought forward:
on the 15th June, a series of eleven propositions by Mr. Patterson,
of New Jersey, "so as to render the Federal Constitution adequate
to the exigencies of Government and the preservation of the Union";
on the 18th June, eleven propositions by Mr. Hamilton, of New York,
"containing his ideas of a suitable plan of Government for the
United States"; and on the 19th June, Mr. Randolph's resolutions,
originally offered on the 29th May, "as altered, amended, and agreed
to in Committee of the Whole House." On the 26th July, twenty-three
resolutions, already adopted on different days in the Convention, were
referred to a "Committee of Detail," for reduction to the form of a
Constitution. On the 6th August this Committee reported the finished
draft of a Constitution. And yet in all these resolutions, plans, and
drafts, _seven_ in number, proceeding from eminent members and from
able committees, no allusion is made to fugitive slaves. For three
months the Convention was in session, and not a word uttered on this

At last, on the 28th August, as the Convention was drawing to a close,
on the consideration of the article providing for the privileges of
citizens in different States, we meet the first reference to this
matter, in words worthy of note. "General [Charles Cotesworth] Pinckney
was not satisfied with it. He SEEMED _to wish some provision_
should be included in favor of property in slaves." _But he made no
proposition._ Unwilling to shock the Convention, and uncertain in his
own mind, he only _seemed_ to wish such a provision. In this vague
expression of a vague desire this idea first appeared. In this modest,
hesitating phrase is the germ of the audacious, unhesitating Slave Act.
Here is the little vapor, which has since swollen, as in the Arabian
tale, to the power and dimensions of a giant. The next article under
discussion provided for the surrender of fugitives from justice. Mr.
Butler and Mr. Charles Pinckney, both from South Carolina, now moved
openly to require "fugitive slaves and servants to be delivered up
like criminals." Here was no disguise. With Hamlet, it was now said in

            "_Seems_, Madam! Nay, it is. I know not _seems_."

But the very boldness of the effort drew attention and opposition.
Mr. Wilson, of Pennsylvania, the learned jurist and excellent man, at
once objected: "This would oblige the Executive of the State to do
it at the public expense." Mr. Sherman, of Connecticut, "saw no more
propriety in the public seizing and surrendering a slave or servant
than a horse." Under the pressure of these objections, _the offensive
proposition was withdrawn_,--never more to be renewed. The article
for the surrender of criminals was then unanimously adopted.[161] On
the next day, 29th August, profiting by the suggestions already made,
Mr. Butler moved a proposition,--substantially like that now found in
the Constitution,--for the surrender, not of "fugitive slaves," as
originally proposed, but simply of "persons bound to service or labor,"
which, without debate or opposition of any kind, was unanimously

    [161] "Agreed to, _nem. con._," are Madison's words.

    [162] "Agreed to, _nem. con._," are again Madison's words.

Here, palpably, was no labor of compromise, no adjustment of
conflicting interests,--nor even any expression of solicitude. The
clause finally adopted was vague and faint as the original suggestion.
In its natural import it is not applicable to slaves. If supposed by
some to be applicable, it is clear that it was supposed by others to
be inapplicable. It is now insisted that the term "_persons bound to
service_," or "_held to service_," as expressed in the final revision,
is the equivalent or synonym for "_slaves_." This interpretation is
rebuked by an incident to which reference has been already made, but
which will bear repetition. On the 13th September--a little more than
a fortnight after the clause was adopted, and when, if deemed to be
of any significance, it could not have been forgotten--the very word
"service" came under debate, and received a fixed meaning. It was
unanimously adopted as a substitute for "servitude" in another part of
the Constitution, for the reason that it expressed "the _obligations of
free persons_," while the other expressed "the condition of slaves."
In the face of this authentic evidence, reported by Mr. Madison, it is
difficult to see how the term "persons held to _service_" can be deemed
to express anything beyond "the obligations of _free persons_." Thus,
in the light of calm inquiry, does this exaggerated clause lose its

The provision, showing itself thus tardily, and so slightly regarded in
the National Convention, was neglected in much of the contemporaneous
discussion before the people. In the Conventions of South Carolina,
North Carolina, and Virginia, it was commended as securing important
rights, though on this point there was difference of opinion. In
the Virginia Convention, an eminent character, Mr. George Mason,
with others, expressly declared that there was "no security of
property coming within this section." In the other Conventions it was
disregarded. Massachusetts, while exhibiting peculiar sensitiveness at
any responsibility for Slavery, seemed to view it with unconcern. One
of her leading statesmen, General Heath, in the debates of the State
Convention, strenuously asserted, that, in ratifying the Constitution,
the people of Massachusetts "would do nothing to hold the blacks in
slavery." "The Federalist,"[163] in its classification of the powers
of Congress, describes and groups a large number as "those which
provide for the harmony and proper intercourse among the States," and
therein speaks of the power over public records, standing next in the
Constitution to the provision concerning fugitives from service; but
it fails to recognize the latter among the means of promoting "harmony
and proper intercourse"; nor does its triumvirate of authors anywhere
allude to the provision.

    [163] No. 42.

The indifference thus far attending this subject still continued. The
earliest Act of Congress, passed in 1793, drew little attention. It
was not suggested originally by any difficulty or anxiety touching
fugitives from service, nor is there any contemporary record, in debate
or otherwise, showing that any special importance was attached to its
provisions in this regard. The attention of Congress was directed to
fugitives from justice, and, with little deliberation, it undertook, in
the same bill, to provide for both cases. In this accidental manner was
legislation on this subject first attempted.

There is no evidence that fugitives were often seized under this Act.
From a competent inquirer we learn that twenty-six years elapsed before
it was successfully enforced in any Free State. It is certain, that,
in a case at Boston, towards the close of the last century, illustrated
by Josiah Quincy as counsel, the crowd about the magistrate, at the
examination, quietly and spontaneously opened a way for the fugitive,
and thus the Act failed to be executed. It is also certain, that, in
Vermont, at the beginning of the century, a Judge of the Supreme Court
of the State, on application for the surrender of an alleged slave,
accompanied by documentary evidence, gloriously refused compliance,
_unless the master could show a Bill of Sale from the Almighty_. Even
these cases passed without public comment.

In 1801 the subject was introduced in the House of Representatives by
an effort for another Act, which, on consideration, was rejected. At
a later day, in 1817-18, though still disregarded by the country, it
seemed to excite a short-lived interest in Congress. In the House of
Representatives, on motion of Mr. Pindall, of Virginia, a committee was
appointed to inquire into the expediency of "providing more effectually
by law for reclaiming servants and slaves escaping from one State into
another," and a bill reported by them to amend the Act of 1793, after
consideration for several days in Committee of the Whole, was passed.
In the Senate, after much attention and warm debate, it passed with
amendments. But on return to the House for adoption of the amendments,
it was dropped.[164] This effort, which, in the discussions of this
subject, has been thus far unnoticed, is chiefly remarkable as the
earliest recorded evidence of the unwarrantable assertion, now so
common, that this provision was originally of vital importance to the
peace and harmony of the country.

    [164] Annals of Congress, House and Senate Journals, 15th Cong.
    1st Sess.

At last, in 1850, we have another Act, passed by both Houses of
Congress, and approved by the President, familiarly known as the
Fugitive Slave Bill. As I read this statute, I am filled with painful
emotions. The masterly subtlety with which it is drawn might challenge
admiration, if exerted for a benevolent purpose; but in an age of
sensibility and refinement, a machine of torture, however skilful
and apt, cannot be regarded without horror. Sir, in the name of the
Constitution, which it violates, of my country, which it dishonors,
of Humanity, which it degrades, of Christianity, which it offends,
I arraign this enactment, and now hold it up to the judgment of the
Senate and the world. Again, I shrink from no responsibility. I may
seem to stand alone; but all the patriots and martyrs of history, all
the Fathers of the Republic, are with me. Sir, there is no attribute of
God which does not take part against this Act.

But I am to regard it now chiefly as an infringement of the
Constitution. Here its outrages, flagrant as manifold, assume the
deepest dye and broadest character only when we consider that by its
language it is not restricted to any special race or class, to the
African or to the person with African blood, but that any inhabitant
of the United States, of whatever complexion or condition, may be its
victim. Without discrimination of color even, and in violation of every
presumption of freedom, the Act surrenders all who may be claimed as
"owing service or labor" to the same tyrannical proceeding. If there be
any whose sympathies are not moved for the slave, who do not cherish
the rights of the humble African, struggling for divine Freedom, as
warmly as the rights of the white man, let him consider well that the
rights of all are equally assailed. "Nephew," said Algernon Sidney in
prison, on the night before his execution, "I value not my own life a
chip; but what concerns me is, that _the law_ which takes away my life
may hang every one of you, whenever it is thought convenient."

Whilst thus comprehensive in its provisions, and applicable to all,
there is no safeguard of Human Freedom which the monster Act does not
set at nought.

It commits this great question--than which none is more sacred in the
law--not to a solemn trial, but to summary proceedings.

It commits this great question, not to one of the high tribunals of the
land, but to the unaided judgment of a single petty magistrate.

It commits this great question to a magistrate appointed, not by the
President with the consent of the Senate, but by the Court,--holding
office, not during good behavior, but merely during the will of the
Court,--and receiving, not a regular salary, but fees according to each
individual case.

It authorizes judgment on _ex parte_ evidence, by affidavit, without
the sanction of cross-examination.

It denies the writ of Habeas Corpus, ever known as the Palladium of the

Contrary to the declared purposes of the framers of the Constitution,
it sends the fugitive back "at the public expense."

Adding meanness to violation of the Constitution, it bribes the
Commissioner by a double stipend to pronounce against Freedom. If he
dooms a man to Slavery, the reward is ten dollars; but saving him to
Freedom, his dole is five.

The Constitution expressly secures the "free exercise of religion":
but this Act visits with unrelenting penalties the faithful men and
women who render to the fugitive that countenance, succor, and shelter
which in their conscience "religion" requires; and thus is practical
religion directly assailed. Plain commandments are broken; and are we
not told that "whosoever shall break one of these least commandments,
and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of

    [165] Matt. v. 19.

As it is for the public weal that there should be an end of suits, so
by the consent of civilized nations these must be instituted within
fixed limitations of time; but this Act, exalting Slavery above even
this practical principle of universal justice, ordains proceedings
against Freedom without any reference to the lapse of time.

Glancing only at these points, and not stopping for argument,
vindication, or illustration, I come at once upon two chief radical
objections to this Act, identical in principle with those triumphantly
urged by our fathers against the British Stamp Act: _first_, that it is
a usurpation by Congress of powers not granted by the Constitution, and
an infraction of rights secured to the States; and, _secondly_, that it
takes away Trial by Jury in a question of Personal Liberty and a suit
at Common Law. Either of these objections, if sustained, strikes at the
very root of the Act. That it is obnoxious to both is beyond doubt.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here, at this stage, I encounter the difficulty, that these objections
are already foreclosed by legislation of Congress and decisions of the
Supreme Court,--that as early as 1793 Congress assumed power over this
subject by an Act which failed to secure Trial by Jury, and that the
validity of this Act under the Constitution has been affirmed by the
Supreme Court. On examination, this difficulty will disappear.

The Act of 1793 proceeded from a Congress that had already recognized
the United States Bank, chartered by a previous Congress, which, though
sanctioned by the Supreme Court, has been since in high quarters
pronounced unconstitutional. If it erred as to the Bank, it may have
erred also as to fugitives from service. But the Act itself contains a
capital error on this very subject, so declared by the Supreme Court,
in pretending to vest a portion of the judicial power of the Nation
in State officers. This error takes from the Act all authority as an
interpretation of the Constitution. I dismiss it.

The decisions of the Supreme Court are entitled to great consideration,
and will not be mentioned by me except with respect. Among the memories
of my youth are happy days when I sat at the feet of this tribunal,
while MARSHALL presided, with STORY by his side. The pressure now
proceeds from the case of _Prigg_ v. _Pennsylvania_ (16 Peters, 539),
where is asserted the power of Congress. Without going into minute
criticism of this judgment, or considering the extent to which
it is extra-judicial, and therefore of no binding force,--all
which has been done at the bar in one State, and by an able court in
another,--but conceding to it a certain degree of weight as a rule to
the judiciary on this particular point, still it does not touch the
grave question which springs from the denial of Trial by Jury. This
judgment was pronounced by Mr. Justice Story. From the interesting
biography of the great jurist, recently published by his son, we learn
that the question of Trial by Jury was not considered as before the
Court; so that, in the estimation of the learned judge himself, it was
still an open question. Here are the words.

    "One prevailing opinion, which has created great prejudice against
    this judgment, is, that it denies the right of a person claimed as
    a fugitive from service or labor to a trial by jury. This mistake
    arises from supposing the case to involve the general question as
    to the constitutionality of the Act of 1793. But in fact no such
    question was in the case; and the argument, that the Act of 1793
    was unconstitutional, because it did not provide for a trial by
    jury according to the requisitions of the sixth article in the
    Amendments to the Constitution, having been suggested to my father
    on his return from Washington, he replied, that this question was
    not argued by counsel nor considered by the Court, and that he
    should still consider it an open one."[166]

    [166] Life and Letters of Joseph Story, edited by his Son, Vol. II.
    p. 396.

But whatever may be the influence of this judgment as a rule to the
judiciary, it cannot arrest our duty as legislators. And here I adopt
with entire assent the language of President Jackson, in his memorable
Veto, in 1832, of the Bank of the United States. To his course was
opposed the authority of the Supreme Court, and this is his reply.

    "If the opinion of the Supreme Court cover the whole ground of
    this Act, it ought not to control the coördinate authorities of
    this Government. The Congress, the Executive, and the Court must
    each for itself be guided by its own opinion of the Constitution.
    _Each public officer who takes an oath to support the Constitution
    swears that he will support it_ _as he understands it, and not
    as it is understood by others._ It is as much the duty of the
    House of Representatives, of the Senate, and of the President,
    to decide upon the constitutionality of any bill or resolution
    which may be presented to them for passage or approval, as it is
    of the Supreme Judges, when it may be brought before them for
    judicial decision.... The authority of the Supreme Court must not,
    therefore, be permitted to control the Congress or the Executive,
    when acting in their legislative capacities, but to have only such
    influence as the force of their reasoning may deserve."[167]

    [167] Senate Journal, 22d Cong. 1st Sess., pp. 438, 439.

With these authoritative words I dismiss this topic. The early
legislation of Congress and the decisions of the Supreme Court cannot
stand in our way. I advance to the argument.

       *       *       *       *       *

       (1.) _First, of the power of Congress over this subject._

The Constitution contains _powers_ granted to Congress, _compacts_
between the States, and _prohibitions_ addressed to the Nation and
to the States. A compact or prohibition may be accompanied by a
power,--but not necessarily, for it is essentially distinct in nature.
And here the single question arises, Whether the Constitution, by
grant, general or special, confers upon Congress any _power_ to
legislate on the subject of fugitives from service.

The whole legislative power of Congress is derived from two distinct
sources: first, from the general grant, attached to the long catalogue
of powers, "to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for
carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers
vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States,
or in any department or officer thereof"; and, secondly, from special
grants in other parts of the Constitution. As the provision in question
does not appear in the catalogue of powers, and does not purport to
vest any power in the Government of the United States, or in any
department or officer thereof, no power to legislate on this subject
can be derived from the general grant. Nor can any such power be
derived from any special grant in any other part of the Constitution;
for none such exists. The conclusion must be, that no power is
delegated to Congress over the surrender of fugitives from service.

In all contemporary discussions and comments, the Constitution was
constantly justified and recommended on the ground that the powers not
given to the Government were withheld. If under its original provisions
any doubt on this head could have existed, it was removed, so far as
language could remove it, by the Tenth Amendment, which, as we have
already seen, expressly declares, that "the powers _not delegated_ to
the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the
States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
Here, on the simple text of the Constitution, I might leave this
question. But its importance justifies more extended examination, in
twofold light: _first_, in the history of the Convention, revealing the
unmistakable intention of its members; and, _secondly_, in the true
principles of our Political System, by which the powers of the Nation
and of the States are respectively guarded.

Look first at the _history of the Convention_. The articles of the
old Confederation, adopted by the Continental Congress 15th November,
1777, though containing no reference to fugitives from service, had
provisions substantially like those in our present Constitution,
touching the privileges of citizens in the several States, the
surrender of fugitives from justice, and the credit due to the public
records of States. But, since the Confederation had no powers not
"expressly delegated," and as no power was delegated to legislate
on these matters, they were nothing more than articles of treaty or
compact. Afterwards, at the National Convention, these three provisions
found place in the first reported draft of a Constitution, and were
arranged in the very order which they occupied in the Articles of
Confederation. _The clause relating to public records stood last._ Mark
this fact.

When this clause, being in form merely a _compact_, came up for
consideration in the Convention, various efforts were made to graft
upon it a _power_. This was on the very day of the adoption of the
clause relating to fugitives from service. Charles Pinckney moved to
commit it, with a proposition for a _power_ to establish uniform laws
on the subject of bankruptcy and foreign bills of exchange. Mr. Madison
was in favor of a _power_ for the execution of judgments in other
States. Gouverneur Morris, on the same day, moved to commit a further
proposition for a _power_ "to determine the proof and effect of such
acts, records, and proceedings." Amidst all these efforts to associate
a power with this compact, it is clear that nobody supposed that any
such already existed. This narrative places the views of the Convention
beyond question.

The compact regarding public records, together with these various
propositions, was referred to a committee, on which were Mr. Randolph
and Mr. Wilson, with John Rutledge, of South Carolina, as chairman.
After several days, they reported the compact, with a _power_ in
Congress to prescribe by general laws the manner in which such records
shall be proved. A discussion ensued, in which Mr. Randolph complained
that the "definition of the powers of the Government was so loose as to
give it opportunities of usurping all the State powers. _He was for not
going further than the Report, which enables the Legislature to provide
for the effect of judgments._"[168] The clause of compact with the
power attached was then adopted, and is now part of the Constitution.
In presence of this solicitude for the preservation of "State powers,"
even while considering a proposition for an express power, and also
of the distinct statement of Mr. Randolph, that he "was for not going
further than the Report," it is evident that the idea could not then
have occurred, that a power was coupled with the naked clause of
compact on fugitives from service.

    [168] Madison's Debates, Sept. 3, 1787.

At a later day the various clauses and articles severally adopted from
time to time in Convention were referred to a committee of revision
and arrangement, that they might be reduced to form as a connected
whole. _Here another change was made._ The clause relating to public
records, with the power attached, was taken from its original place
at the bottom of the clauses of compact, and promoted to stand first
in the article, as a distinct section, while the other clauses of
compact concerning citizens, fugitives from justice, and fugitives
from service, each and all without any power attached, by a natural
association compose but a single section, thus:--

                             "ARTICLE IV.

    "SECTION 1. Full faith and credit shall be given in each State to
    the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other
    State. _And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner
    in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and
    the effect thereof._

    "_Section 2._ The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all
    privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States.

    "A person charged in any State with treason, felony, or other
    crime, who shall flee from justice, and be found in another State,
    shall, on demand of the Executive authority of the State from
    which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having
    jurisdiction of the crime.

    "No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws
    thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or
    regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but
    shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or
    labor may be due.

    "SECTION 3. New States _may be admitted by the Congress_ into this
    Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the
    jurisdiction of any other State, nor any State be formed by the
    junction of two or more States or parts of States, without the
    consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned, _as well as of
    the Congress_.

    "_The Congress shall have power_ to dispose of and make all needful
    rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property
    belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution
    shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United
    States, or of any particular State.

    "SECTION 4. _The United States shall guaranty_ to every State in
    this Union a republican form of Government, and _shall protect_
    each of them against invasion, and, on application of the
    Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be
    convened), against domestic violence."

Here is the whole article, in its final form. It will be observed that
the third section, immediately following the triad section of compacts,
contains two specific powers,--one with regard to new States, and
the other with regard to the public Territory. These are naturally
grouped together, while the fourth section of this same article, which
is distinct in character, is placed by itself. In the absence of all
specific information, reason alone can determine why this arrangement
was made. But the conclusion is obvious, that, in the view of the
Committee and of the Convention, each of these sections differs from
the others. The first contains a compact with a grant of power. The
second contains provisions, all of which are simple compacts, and
two of which were confessedly simple compacts in the old Articles of
Confederation, from which, unchanged in character, they were borrowed.
The third is a twofold grant of power to Congress, without any compact.
The fourth is neither power nor compact merely, nor both united, but a
solemn injunction upon the National Government to perform an important

The framers of the Constitution were wise and careful, having a reason
for what they did, and understanding the language they employed. They
did not, after discussion, incorporate into their work any superfluous
provision; nor did they without design adopt the peculiar arrangement
in which it appears. Adding to the record compact an express grant of
power, they testified not only their desire for such power in Congress,
but their conviction that without such express grant it would not
exist. But if express grant was necessary in this case, it was equally
necessary in all the other cases. _Expressum facit cessare tacitum._
Especially, in view of its odious character, was it necessary in
the case of fugitives from service. Abstaining from any such grant,
and then grouping the bare compact with other similar compacts,
separate from every grant of power, they testified their purpose most
significantly. Not only do they decline all addition to the compact
of any such power, but, to render misapprehension impossible, to
make assurance doubly sure, to exclude any contrary conclusion, they
punctiliously arrange the clauses, on the principle of _noscitur a
sociis_, so as to distinguish all the grants of power, but especially
to make the new grant of power, in the case of public records, stand
forth in the front by itself, severed from the naked compacts with
which it was originally associated.

Thus the proceedings of the Convention show that the founders
understood the necessity of _powers_ in certain cases, and, on
consideration, jealously granted them. A closing example will
strengthen the argument. Congress is expressly empowered "_to establish
an uniform rule of_ Naturalization, and _uniform laws_ on the subject
of Bankruptcies, _throughout the United States_." Without this
provision these two subjects would have fallen within the control of
the States, leaving the Nation powerless _to establish a uniform rule_
thereupon. Now, instead of the existing compact on fugitives from
service, it would have been easy, had any such desire prevailed, to
add this case to the clause on Naturalization and Bankruptcies, and
course, whenever Congress undertook to exercise the power, all State
control of the subject would be superseded. The National Government
would have been constituted, like Nimrod, the mighty Hunter, with
power to gather the huntsmen, to halloo the pack, and to direct
the chase of men, ranging at will, without regard to boundaries
or jurisdictions, throughout all the States. But no person in the
Convention, not one of the reckless partisans of Slavery, was so
audacious as to make this proposition. Had it been distinctly made, it
would have been as distinctly denied.

The fact that the provision on this subject was adopted _unanimously_,
while showing the little importance attached to it _in the shape it
finally assumed_, testifies also that it could not have been regarded
_as a source of National power for Slavery_. It will be remembered
that among the members of the Convention were Gouverneur Morris, who
had said that he "NEVER would concur in upholding domestic
slavery,"--Elbridge Gerry, who thought we "ought to be careful
NOT _to give any sanction to it_,"--Roger Sherman, who "was
OPPOSED to a tax on slaves imported, _because it implied
they were property_,"--James Madison, who "thought it WRONG
to admit in the Constitution the idea that there could be property in
men,"--and Benjamin Franklin, who likened American slaveholders to
Algerine corsairs. In the face of these unequivocal judgments, it is
absurd to suppose that these eminent citizens consented _unanimously_
to any provision by which the National Government, the creature of
their hands, dedicated to Freedom, could become the most offensive
agent of Slavery.

Thus much for the evidence from the history of the Convention. But the
_true principles of our Political System_ are in harmony with this
conclusion of history; and here let me say a word of State Rights.

It was the purpose of our fathers to create a National Government,
and to endow it with adequate powers. They had known the perils of
imbecility, discord, and confusion, protracted through the uncertain
days of the Confederation, and they desired a government which should
be a true bond of Union and an efficient organ of national interests
at home and abroad. But while fashioning this agency, they fully
recognized the governments of the States. To the Nation were delegated
high powers, essential to the national interests, but specific in
character and limited in number. To the States and to the people were
reserved the powers, general in character and unlimited in number, not
delegated to the Nation or prohibited to the States.

The integrity of our Political System depends upon harmony in the
operations of the Nation and of the States. While the Nation within its
wide orbit is supreme, the States move with equal supremacy in their
own. But, from the necessity of the case, the supremacy of each in its
proper place excludes the other. The Nation cannot exercise rights
reserved to the States, nor can the States interfere with the powers
of the Nation. Any such action on either side is a usurpation. These
principles were distinctly declared by Mr. Jefferson in 1798, in words
often adopted since, and which must find acceptance from all parties.

    "That the several States composing the United States of America
    are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to
    their General Government; but that by a compact, under the
    style and title of a Constitution for the United States and of
    Amendments thereto, they constituted a General Government for
    special purposes, _delegated to that Government certain definite
    powers_, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass
    of right to their own self-government; and that _whensoever the
    General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are
    unauthoritative, void, and of no force_."[169]

    [169] Kentucky Resolutions of 1798: Jefferson's Writings, Vol. IX.
    p. 464. See also Elliot's Debates, Vol. IV., Appendix, p. 380.

I have already amply shown to-day that Slavery is in no respect
national,--that it is not within the sphere of national activity,--that
it has no "positive" support in the Constitution,--and that any
interpretation inconsistent with this principle would be abhorrent
to the sentiments of its founders. Slavery is a local institution,
peculiar to the States, and under the guardianship of State Rights.
It is impossible, without violence to the spirit and letter of the
Constitution, to claim for Congress any power to legislate either for
its abolition in the States or its support anywhere. _Non-Intervention_
is the rule prescribed to the Nation. Regarding the question in its
more general aspects only, and putting aside, for the moment, the
perfect evidence from the records of the Convention, it is palpable
that there is no _national fountain_ out of which the existing Slave
Act can possibly spring.

But this Act is not only an unwarrantable assumption of power by the
Nation, it is also an infraction of rights reserved to the States.
Everywhere within their borders the States are the peculiar guardians
of _personal liberty_. By Jury and Habeas Corpus to save the citizen
harmless against all assault is among their duties and rights. To his
State the citizen, when oppressed, may appeal; nor should he find that
appeal denied. But this Act despoils him of rights, and despoils his
State of all power to protect him. It subjects him to the wretched
chance of false oaths, forged papers, and facile commissioners, and
takes from him every safeguard. Now, if the slaveholder has a right
to be secure _at home_ in the enjoyment of _Slavery_, so also has
the freeman of the North--and every person there is presumed to be
a freeman--an equal right to be secure _at home_ in the enjoyment
of _Freedom_. The same principle of State Eights by which Slavery
is protected in the Slave States throws an impenetrable shield over
Freedom in the Free States. And here, let me say, is the only security
for Slavery in the Slave States, as for Freedom in the Free States. In
the present fatal overthrow of State Rights you teach a lesson which
may return to plague the teacher. Compelling the National Government to
stretch its Briarean arms into the Free States for the sake of Slavery,
you show openly how it may stretch these same hundred giant arms into
the Slave States for the sake of Freedom. This lesson was not taught by
our fathers.

Here I end this branch of the question. The true principles of our
Political System, the history of the National Convention, the natural
interpretation of the Constitution, all teach that this Act is a
usurpation by Congress of powers that do not belong to it, and an
infraction of rights secured to the States. It is a sword, whose
handle is at the National Capital, and whose point is everywhere in
the States. A weapon so terrible to Personal Liberty the Nation has no
power to grasp.

       *       *       *       *       *

            (2.) _And now of the denial of Trial by Jury._

Admitting, for the moment, that Congress is intrusted with power over
this subject, which truth disowns, still the Act is again radically
unconstitutional from its denial of Trial by Jury in a question of
Personal Liberty and a suit at Common Law. Since on the one side there
is a claim of property, and on the other of liberty, both property and
liberty are involved in the issue. To this claim on either side is
attached Trial by Jury.

To me, Sir, regarding this matter in the light of the Common Law and
in the blaze of free institutions, it has always seemed impossible to
arrive at any other conclusion. If the language of the Constitution
were open to doubt, which it is not, still all the presumptions of
law, all the leanings to Freedom, all the suggestions of justice,
plead angel-tongued for this right. Nobody doubts that Congress, if
it legislates on this matter, _may_ allow a Trial by Jury. But if it
_may_, so overwhelming is the claim of justice, it MUST.
Beyond this, however, the question is determined by the precise letter
of the Constitution.

Several expressions in the provision for the surrender of fugitives
from service show the essential character of the proceedings. In the
first place, the person must be, not merely _charged_, as in the case
of fugitives from justice, but actually _held to service_ in the State
from which he escaped. In the second place, he must "be delivered up
on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be _due_."
These two facts, that he was _held_ to service, and that his service
was _due_ to his claimant, are directly placed in issue, and must be
proved. Two necessary incidents of the delivery may also be observed.
First, it is made in the State where the fugitive is found; and,
secondly, it restores to the claimant complete control over the person
of the fugitive. From these circumstances it is evident that the
proceedings cannot be regarded, in any just sense, as preliminary, or
ancillary to some future formal trial, but as complete in themselves,
final and conclusive.

These proceedings determine on the one side the question of Property,
and on the other the sacred question of Personal Liberty in its most
transcendent form,--Liberty not merely for a day or a year, but for
life, and the Liberty of generations that shall come after, so long as
Slavery endures. To these questions the Constitution, by two specific
provisions, attaches Trial by Jury. One is the familiar clause,
already adduced: "No _person_ shall be deprived of life, _liberty_,
or property, _without due process of law_,"--that is, without due
proceeding at law, with Trial by Jury. Not stopping to dwell on this,
I press at once to the other provision, which is still more express:
"In suits at Common Law, where the value in controversy shall exceed
twenty dollars, the right of Trial by Jury shall be preserved." This
clause, which does not appear in the Constitution as first adopted, was
suggested by the very spirit of Freedom. At the close of the National
Convention, Elbridge Gerry refused to sign the Constitution because,
among other things, it established "a tribunal _without juries_, a Star
Chamber as to civil cases."[170] Many united in his opposition, and on
the recommendation of the First Congress this additional safeguard was
adopted as an amendment.

    [170] Madison's Debates, Sept. 15, 1787.

Now, regarding the question as one of Property, or of Personal
Liberty, in either alternative the Trial by Jury is secured. For this
position authority is ample. In the debate on the Fugitive Slave Bill
of 1817-18, a Senator from South Carolina, Mr. Smith, anxious for
the asserted right of property, objected, on this very floor, to a
reference of the question, under the writ of Habeas Corpus, to a judge
without a jury. Speaking solely for Property, these were his words.

    "This would give a judge the sole power of deciding _the right of
    property the master claims in his slave, instead of trying that
    right by a jury, as prescribed by the Constitution_. He would be
    judge of matters of law and matters of fact, clothed with all the
    powers of a jury as well as the powers of a court. Such a principle
    is unknown in your system of jurisprudence. _Your Constitution has
    forbid it._ It preserves the right of Trial by Jury in all cases
    where the value in controversy exceeds twenty dollars."[171]

    [171] Annals of Congress, 15th Cong. 1st Sess., March 6, 1818, col.

But this provision has been repeatedly discussed by the Supreme
Court, so that its meaning is not open to doubt. Three conditions are
necessary: _first_, the proceeding must be "a suit"; _secondly_, "at
Common Law"; and, _thirdly_, "where the value in controversy exceeds
twenty dollars." In every such case "the right of Trial by Jury _shall_
be preserved." Judgments of the Supreme Court cover each of these

_First._ In the case of _Cohens_ v. _Virginia_ (6 Wheaton, 407), the
Court say: "What is a _suit_? We understand it to be the prosecution
or pursuit of some _claim_, demand, or request." Of course, then, the
"claim" for a fugitive must be a "suit."

_Secondly._ In the case of _Parsons_ v. _Bedford et al._ (3 Peters,
447), while considering this very clause, the Court say: "By _Common
Law_ the framers of the Constitution meant ... not merely suits which
the Common Law recognized among its old and settled proceedings, but
suits in which _legal rights_ were to be ascertained and determined....
In a just sense, the Amendment may well be construed to embrace all
suits which are not of Equity and Admiralty jurisdiction, _whatever may
be the peculiar form which they may assume to settle legal rights_."
Now, since the claim for a fugitive is not a suit in Equity or
Admiralty, but a suit to settle what are called legal rights, it must
be a "suit at Common Law."

_Thirdly._ In the case of _Lee_ v. _Lee_ (8 Peters, 44), on a question
whether "the value in controversy" was "one thousand dollars or
upwards," it was objected, that the appellants, who were petitioners
for Freedom, were not of the value of one thousand dollars. But
the Court said: "The matter in dispute is the Freedom of the
petitioners.... _This is not susceptible of a pecuniary valuation...._
We entertain no doubt of the jurisdiction of the Court."[172] Of
course, then, since Liberty is above price, the claim to any fugitive
always and necessarily presumes that "the value in controversy exceeds
twenty dollars."

    [172] The rule of the Roman law was explicit: _Neque humanum fuerit
    ob rei pecuniariæ quæstlonem libertati moram fieri._ This is a
    text of Ulpian (Digestorum Lib. XL. Tit. V., _De Fideicommissariis
    Libertartibus_, 37). In the same spirit is the mediæval verse,--

                  "Non bene pro toto libertas venditur auro."

By these successive steps, sustained by judgments of the highest
tribunal, it appears, as in a diagram, that the right of Trial by Jury
is secured to the fugitive from service.

This conclusion needs no additional authority; but it receives curious
illustration from the ancient records of the Common Law, so familiar
and dear to the framers of the Constitution. It is said by Mr. Burke,
in his magnificent speech on Conciliation with America, that "nearly
as many of Blackstone's Commentaries were sold in America as in
England,"[173] carrying thither the knowledge of those vital principles
of Freedom which were the boast of the British Constitution. Thus
imbued, the earliest Continental Congress, in 1774, declared, "That the
respective Colonies are entitled to the Common Law of England, and more
especially to the great and inestimable privilege of being tried by
their Peers of the Vicinage, according to the course of that law."[174]
Amidst the troubles which heralded the Revolution, the Common Law was
claimed as a birthright.

    [173] Works (ed. 1801), Vol. III. p. 55.

    [174] Declaration of Rights, October 14, 1774: Journals of
    Congress, Vol. I. p. 29.

Now, although the Common Law may not be approached as a source of
jurisdiction under the National Constitution,--and on this interesting
topic I forbear to dwell,--_it is clear that it may be employed to
determine the meaning of technical terms in the Constitution borrowed
from this law_. This, indeed, is expressly sanctioned by Mr. Madison,
in his celebrated Report of 1799, while limiting the extent to
which the Common Law may be employed. Thus by this law we learn the
nature of _Trial by Jury_, which, though secured, is not described
by the Constitution; also what are _Attainder_, _Habeas Corpus_, and
_Impeachment_, all technical terms of the Constitution, borrowed from
the Common Law. By this law, and its associate Chancery, we learn what
are _cases in law and equity_ to which the judicial power of the
United States is extended. These instances I adduce merely for example.
Also in the same way we learn what are _suits at Common Law_.

Now, on principle and authority, _a claim for the delivery of a
fugitive slave is a suit at Common Law_, and is embraced naturally and
necessarily in this class of judicial proceedings. This proposition
can be placed beyond question. And here, especially, let me ask the
attention of all learned in the law. On this point, as on every other
in this argument, I challenge inquiry and answer.

History painfully records, that, during the early days of the Common
Law, and down even to a late period, a system of Slavery existed in
England, known under the name of _villenage_. The slave was generally
called a _villein_, though in the original Latin forms of judicial
proceedings he was termed _nativus_, implying slavery by birth. The
incidents of this condition are minutely described, and also the
mutual remedies of master and slave, all of which were regulated by
the Common Law. Slaves sometimes then, as now, _escaped_ from their
masters. The claim for them, after such _escape_, was prosecuted by a
"suit at Common Law," to which, as to every suit at Common Law, Trial
by Jury was necessarily attached. Blackstone, in his Commentaries, in
words which must have been known to all the lawyers of the Convention,
said of _villeins_: "They could not leave their lord without his
permission; _but if they ran away_, or were purloined from him,
_might be CLAIMED and recovered by ACTION, like beasts or other
chattels_."[175] This very word, "action," of itself implies "a
suit at Common Law" with Trial by Jury.

    [175] Commentaries, Vol. II. p. 93.

From other sources we learn precisely what the _action_ was. That great
expounder of the ancient law, Mr. Hargrave, says, "Our Year Books
and Books of Entries are full of the forms used in pleading a title
to villeins regardant."[176] Though no longer of practical value in
England, they remain as monuments of jurisprudence, and as mementos of
a barbarous institution. He thus describes the remedy of the master at
Common Law.

    "The lord's remedy for a _fugitive villein_ was either by seizure
    or by suing out a writ of _Nativo Habendo_, or Neifty, as it is
    sometimes called. If the lord seized, the villein's most effectual
    mode of recovering liberty was by the writ of _Homine Replegiando_,
    which had great advantage over the writ of _Habeas Corpus_. In
    the _Habeas Corpus_ the return cannot be contested by pleading
    against the truth of it, and consequently on a _Habeas Corpus the
    question of liberty cannot go to a jury for trial_.... But in the
    _Homine Replegiando_ it was otherwise.... The plaintiff, ... on the
    defendant's pleading the villenage, had the same opportunity of
    contesting it as when impleaded by the lord in a _Nativo Habendo_.
    If the lord sued out a _Nativo Habendo_, and the villenage was
    denied, in which case the sheriff could not seize the villein, _the
    lord was then to enter his plaint in the county court_; and as the
    sheriff was not allowed to try the question of villenage in his
    court, the lord could not have any benefit from the writ, without
    removing the cause by the writ of _Pone_ into the King's Bench or
    Common Pleas."[177]

    [176] Argument in Sommersett's Case: Howell's State Trials, XX. 42.

    [177] Ibid., 38, 39, note.

The authority of Mr. Hargrave is sufficient. But I mean to place this
matter beyond all cavil. From the Digest of Lord Chief Baron Comyns,
which at the adoption of the Constitution was among the classics of
our jurisprudence, I derive another description of the remedy.

    "If the lord claims an inheritance in his villein, _who flies from
    his lord against his will_, and lives in a place out of the manor
    to which he is regardant, the lord shall have a _Nativo Habendo_.
    And upon such writ, directed to the sheriff, he may seize him who
    does not deny himself to be a villein. But if the defendant say
    that he is a freeman, the sheriff cannot seize him, but the lord
    must remove the writ by _Pone_ before the Justices in Eyre, or in
    C.B., _where he must count upon it_."[178]

An early writer of peculiar authority, Fitzherbert, in his _Natura
Brevium_, on the writs of the Common Law, thus describes these

    [178] Comyns's Digest: Remedy for a Villein, (C. 1,) _Nativo

    "The writ _de Nativo Habendo_ lieth for the lord who claimeth
    inheritance in any villein, _when his villein is run from him_, and
    is remaining within any place out of the manor unto which he is
    regardant, or when he departeth from his lord against the lord's
    will: and the writ shall be directed unto the sheriff.... And the
    sheriff may seize the villein, and deliver him unto his lord, if
    the villein confess unto the sheriff that he is his villein; but if
    the villein say to the sheriff that he is frank, then it seemeth
    that the sheriff ought not to seize him: as it is in a replevin,
    if the defendant claim property, the sheriff cannot replevy
    the cattle, but the party ought to sue a writ _de Proprietate
    Probanda_: and so if the villein say that he is a freeman, &c.,
    then the sheriff ought not to seize him, but then the lord ought
    to sue a _Pone_ to remove the plea before the Justices in the
    Common Pleas, or before the Justices in Eyre. But if the villein
    purchase a writ _de Libertate Probanda_ before the lord hath sued
    the _Pone_ to remove the plea before the Justices, then that writ
    of _Libertate Probanda_ is a _Supersedeas_ unto the lord, that he
    proceed not upon the writ of _Nativo Habendo_ till the Eyre of
    the Justices, or till the day of the plea be adjourned before the
    Justices, and that the lord ought not to seize the villein in the
    mean time."[179]

    [179] Fitzherbert, Natura Brevium, Vol. I. p. 77.

These authorities are not merely applicable to the general question of
freedom, but they distinctly contemplate the case of _fugitive_ slaves,
and the "suits at Common Law" for their rendition. Blackstone speaks
of villeins who "ran away"; Hargrave of "fugitive villeins"; Comyns of
a villein "who flies from his lord against his will"; and Fitzherbert
of the proceedings of the lord "when his villein is run from him." The
forms, writs, counts, pleadings, and judgments in these suits are all
preserved among the precedents of the Common Law. The writs are known
as original writs, which the party on either side, at the proper stage,
could sue out of right without showing cause. The writ of _Libertate
Probanda_ for a fugitive slave was in this form:--

                         "LIBERTATE PROBANDA.

    "The king to the sheriff, &c. A. and B. her sister have showed unto
    us, that, whereas they are free women, and ready to prove their
    liberty, F., claiming them to be his neifs unjustly, vexes them;
    and therefore we command you, that, if the aforesaid A. and B.
    shall make you secure touching the proving of their liberty, then
    put that plea before our justices at the first assizes, when they
    shall come into those parts, because proof of this kind belongeth
    not to you to take; and in the mean time cause the said A. and B.
    to have peace thereupon, and tell the aforesaid F. that he may
    be there, if he will, to prosecute his plea thereof against the
    aforesaid A. and B. And have there this writ. Witness, &c."[180]

    [180] Fitzherbert, Vol. I. p. 77.

By these various proceedings, all ending in Trial by Jury, Personal
Liberty was guarded, even in the unrefined and barbarous days of the
early Common Law. Any person claimed as a fugitive slave might invoke
this Trial as a sacred right. Whether the master proceeded by seizure,
as he might, or by legal process, Trial by Jury, in a suit at Common
Law, before one of the high courts of the realm, was equally secured.
In the case of seizure, the fugitive, reversing the proceedings, might
institute process against his master, and appeal to a Court and Jury.
In the case of process by the master, the watchful law secured to the
fugitive the same protection. By no urgency of force, by no device
of process, could any person claimed as a slave be defrauded of this
Trial. Such was the Common Law. If its early boast, that there could
be no slaves in England, fails to be true, this at least may be its
pride,--that, according to its indisputable principles, the liberty of
every man was placed under the guard of Trial by Jury.

These things may seem new to us; but they must have been known to the
members of the Convention, particularly to those from South Carolina,
through whose influence the provision on this subject was adopted.
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and Mr. Rutledge had studied law at the
Temple, one of the English Inns of Court. It would be a discredit to
them, and also to other learned lawyers, members of the Convention,
to suppose that they were not conversant with the principles and
precedents directly applicable to this subject, all of which are
set down in works of acknowledged authority, and at that time of
constant professional study. Only a short time before, in the case of
Sommersett, they had been most elaborately examined in Westminster
Hall. In a forensic effort of unsurpassed learning and elevation, which
of itself vindicates for its author his great juridical name, Mr.
Hargrave had fully made them known to such as were little acquainted
with the more ancient sources. But even if we could suppose them
unknown to the lawyers of the Convention, they are none the less
applicable in determining the true meaning of the Constitution.

The conclusion is explicit. Clearly and indisputably, in England, the
country of the Common Law, a claim for a fugitive slave was "a suit at
Common Law," recognized "among its old and settled proceedings." To
question this, in the face of authentic principles and precedents, is
preposterous. As well might it be questioned, that a writ of replevin
for a horse, or a writ of right for land, was "a suit at Common Law."
It follows, then, that this _technical term_ of the Constitution,
read in the illumination of the Common Law, naturally and necessarily
embraces proceedings for the recovery of fugitive slaves, _if any
such be instituted or allowed under the Constitution_. And thus, by
the letter of the Constitution, in harmony with the requirements of
the Common Law, all such persons, when claimed by their masters, are
entitled to Trial by Jury.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such, Sir, is the argument, briefly uttered, against the
constitutionality of the Slave Act. Much more I might say on this
matter; much more on the two chief grounds of objection which I have
occupied. But I am admonished to hasten on.

Opposing this Act as doubly unconstitutional from the want of power
in Congress and from the denial of Trial by Jury, I find myself again
encouraged by the example of our Revolutionary Fathers, in a case which
is a landmark of history. The parallel is important and complete. In
1765, the British Parliament, by a notorious statute, attempted to draw
money from the Colonies through a stamp tax, while the determination
of certain questions of forfeiture under the statute was delegated,
not to the Courts of Common Law, but to Courts of Admiralty without a
jury. The Stamp Act, now execrated by all lovers of Liberty, had this
extent and no more. Its passage was the signal for a general flame of
opposition and indignation throughout the Colonies. It was denounced
as contrary to the British Constitution, on two principal grounds:
_first_, as a usurpation by Parliament of powers not belonging to it,
and an infraction of rights secured to the Colonies; and, _secondly_,
as a denial of Trial by Jury in certain cases of property.

The public feeling was variously expressed. At Boston, on the day
the Act was to take effect, the shops were closed, the bells of the
churches tolled, and the flags of the ships hung at half-mast. At
Portsmouth, in New Hampshire, the bells were tolled, and the friends of
Liberty were summoned to hold themselves in readiness for her funeral.
At New York, the obnoxious Act, headed "Folly of England and Ruin
of America," was contemptuously hawked about the streets. Bodies of
patriots were organized everywhere under the name of "Sons of Liberty."
The merchants, inspired then by Liberty, resolved to import no more
goods from England until the repeal of the Act. The orators also spoke.
James Otis with fiery tongue appealed to Magna Charta.

Of all the States, Virginia--whose shield bears the image of Liberty
trampling upon chains--first declared herself by solemn resolutions,
which the timid thought "treasonable,"[181] but which soon found
response. New York followed. Massachusetts came next, speaking by the
pen of the inflexible Samuel Adams. In an Address from the Legislature
to the Governor, the true grounds of opposition to the Stamp Act,
coincident with the two radical objections to the Slave Act, are
clearly set forth.

    [181] Hutchinson, History of Massachusetts, Vol. III. p. 119.

    "You are pleased to say that the Stamp Act is an Act of Parliament,
    and as such ought to be observed. This House, Sir, has too
    great a reverence for the Supreme Legislature of the nation _to
    question its just authority_. It by no means appertains to us to
    presume to adjust the boundaries of the _power_ of Parliament;
    _but boundaries there undoubtedly are_. We hope we may without
    offence put your Excellency in mind of that most grievous sentence
    of excommunication solemnly denounced by the Church in the name
    of the Sacred Trinity, in the presence of King Henry the Third
    and the estates of the realm, _against all those who should make
    statutes, OR OBSERVE THEM, BEING MADE, contrary to the liberties
    of Magna Charta_.... The Charter of this Province invests the
    General Assembly with the _power_ of making laws for its internal
    government and taxation; and this Charter has never yet been
    forfeited. The Parliament has a right to make all laws within the
    limits of their own constitution.... The people complain that the
    Act invests a single judge of the Admiralty with a power to try and
    determine their property, in controversies arising from internal
    concerns, _without a jury_, contrary to the very expression of
    Magna Charta, that no freeman shall be amerced but by the oath of
    good and lawful men of the vicinage.... We deeply regret it that
    the Parliament has seen fit to pass such an act as the Stamp Act;
    we flatter ourselves that the hardships of it will shortly appear
    to them in such a point of light as shall induce them, in their
    wisdom, to repeal it; _in the mean time we must beg your Excellency
    to excuse us from doing anything to assist in the execution of

    [182] Journal of the House of Representatives of Massachusetts Bay,
    October 24, 1765, pp. 131-138. Hutchinson, Vol. III., Appendix, pp.

Thus in those days spoke Massachusetts. The parallel still proceeds.
The unconstitutional Stamp Act was welcomed in the Colonies by the
Tories of that day precisely as the unconstitutional Slave Act is
welcomed by large and imperious numbers among us. Hutchinson, at that
time Lieutenant-Governor and Chief-Justice of Massachusetts, wrote
to Ministers in England: "The Stamp Act is received among us with as
much decency as could be expected. It leaves no room for evasion, and
will execute itself."[183] Like the Judges of our day, in charges to
grand juries, he resolutely vindicated the Act, and admonished "the
jurors and people" to obey.[184] Like Governors of our day, Bernard, in
his speech to the Legislature of Massachusetts, demanded unreasoning
submission. "I shall not," says this British Governor, "enter into
any disquisition of the policy of the Act.... I have only to say that
it is an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain; ... and I trust that
the supremacy of that Parliament over all the members of their wide
and diffused empire never was and never will be denied within these
walls."[185] The military were against the people. A British major
of artillery at New York exclaimed, in tones not unlike those now
heard, "I will cram the stamps down their throats with the end of my
sword!"[186] The elaborate answer of Massachusetts, a paper of historic
grandeur, drawn by Samuel Adams, was pronounced "the ravings of a
parcel of wild enthusiasts."[187]

    [183] Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol. V. p. 272.

    [184] Ibid.

    [185] Journal of the House of Representatives, September 25, 1765,
    p. 119. Hutchinson, Vol. III., Appendix, pp. 467, 468.

    [186] Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol. V. p. 332.

    [187] Ibid., 349.

Thus in those days spoke the partisans of the Stamp Act. But their
weakness was soon manifest. In the face of an awakened community,
where discussion has free scope, no men, though supported by office
and wealth, can long maintain injustice. Earth, water, Nature they may
subdue; but Truth they cannot subdue. Subtle and mighty against all
efforts and devices, it fills every region of light with its majestic
presence. The Stamp Act was discussed and understood. Its violation of
constitutional rights was exposed. By resolutions of legislatures and
of town meetings, by speeches and writings, by public assemblies and
processions, the country was rallied in peaceful phalanx _against the
execution of the Act_. To this great object, within the bounds of Law
and the Constitution, were bent all the patriot energies of the land.

And here Boston took the lead. Her records at this time are full of
proud memorials. In formal instructions to her representatives, adopted
unanimously in Town Meeting at Faneuil Hall, "having been read several
times, and put paragraph by paragraph," the following rule of conduct
was prescribed.

    "We therefore think it our indispensable duty, in justice to
    ourselves and posterity, as it is our undoubted privilege, in the
    most open and unreserved, but decent and respectful terms, to
    declare our greatest dissatisfaction with this law: _and we think
    it incumbent upon you by no means to join in any public measures
    for countenancing and assisting in the execution of the same_,
    but to use your best endeavors in the General Assembly to have
    the inherent, unalienable rights of the people of this Province
    asserted and vindicated, and left upon the public records, that
    posterity may never have reason to charge the present times with
    the guilt of tamely giving them away."[188]

    [188] Town Records, MS., September 18; Boston Gazette, September
    23, 1765.

Virginia responded to Boston. Many of her justices of the peace
surrendered their commissions, rather than aid in the enforcement of
the law, or be "instrumental in the destruction of their country's most
essential rights and liberties."[189]

    [189] Pennsylvania Gazette, October 31, 1765. Annual Register for
    1765, p. [53.]

As the opposition deepened, there was a natural tendency to outbreak
and violence. But this was carefully restrained. On one occasion, in
Boston, it showed itself in the lawlessness of a mob. But the town, at
a public meeting in Faneuil Hall, called without delay on the motion of
the opponents of the Stamp Act, with James Otis as chairman, condemned
the outrage. Eager in hostility to the execution of the Act, Boston
cherished municipal order, and constantly discountenanced all tumult,
violence, and illegal proceedings. Her equal devotion to these two
objects drew the praises and congratulations of other towns. In reply,
March 24, 1766, to an Address from the inhabitants of Plymouth, her own
consciousness of duty done is thus expressed.

    "If the inhabitants of this metropolis have taken _the
    warrantable and legal measures to prevent that misfortune, of
    all_ _others the most to be dreaded, the execution of the Stamp
    Act_, and, as a necessary means of preventing it, have made
    any spirited applications for opening the custom-houses and
    courts of justice,--_if at the same time they have bore their
    testimony against outrageous tumults and illegal proceedings_,
    and given any example of the love of peace and good order,
    next to the consciousness of having done their duty is the
    satisfaction of meeting with the approbation of any of their

    [190] Town Records, MS., March 24: Boston Gazette, March 31, 1766.

Learn now from the Diary of John Adams the results of this system.

    "The year 1765 has been the most remarkable year of my life.
    That enormous engine, fabricated by the British Parliament, for
    battering down all the rights and liberties of America,--I mean
    the Stamp Act,--has raised and spread through the whole continent
    a spirit that will be recorded to our honor with all future
    generations. In every Colony, from Georgia to New Hampshire
    inclusively, the stamp distributors and inspectors have been
    compelled by the unconquerable rage of the people to renounce
    their offices. Such and so universal has been the resentment of
    the people, that every man who has dared to speak in favor of the
    stamps, or to soften the detestation in which they are held, how
    great soever his abilities and virtues had been esteemed before, or
    whatever his fortune, connections, and influence had been, has been
    seen to sink into universal contempt and ignominy."[191]

    [191] Diary, December 18, 1765: Works, Vol. II. p. 154.

The Stamp Act became a dead letter. At the meeting of Parliament
numerous petitions were presented, calling for its instant repeal.
Franklin, at that time in England, while giving his famous testimony
before the House of Commons, was asked whether he thought the
people of America would submit to this Act, if "moderated." His
brief, emphatic response was: "No, never, unless compelled by force
of arms."[192] Chatham, weak with disease, yet mighty in eloquence,
exclaimed in ever memorable words: "The gentleman tells us, America
is obstinate, America is almost in open rebellion. _Sir, I rejoice,
that America has resisted._ Three millions of people, so dead to all
the feelings of liberty as voluntarily to submit to be slaves, would
have been fit instruments to make slaves of the rest.... The Americans
have been wronged; they have been driven to madness by injustice....
Upon the whole, I will beg leave to tell the House what is really my
opinion. _It is, that the Stamp Act be repealed, absolutely, totally,
and immediately._"[193] It was repealed. Within less than a year from
its original passage, denounced and discredited, it was driven from the
Statute Book. In the charnel-house of history, with unclean things of
the Past, it now rots. Thither the Slave Act must follow.

    [192] Hansard, Parliamentary History, January 28, 1766, Vol. XVI.
    col. 140.

    [193] Ibid., January 14, 1766, Vol. XVI. 104-108.

Sir, regarding the Stamp Act candidly and cautiously, free from
animosities of the time, it is impossible not to see, that, though
gravely unconstitutional, it was at most an infringement of _civil_
liberty only, not of _personal_ liberty. There was an unjust tax of
a few pence, with the chance of amercement by a single judge without
a jury; but by no provision of this Act was the _personal_ liberty
of any man assailed. No freeman could be seized under it as a slave.
Such an Act, though justly obnoxious to every lover of Constitutional
Liberty, cannot be viewed with the feelings of repugnance enkindled by
a statute which assails the personal liberty of every man, and under
which any freeman may be seized as a slave. Sir, in placing the Stamp
Act by the side of the Slave Act, I do injustice to that emanation of
British tyranny. Both infringe important rights: one, of property; the
other, the vital right of all, which is to other rights as soul to
body,--_the right of a man to himself_. Both are condemned; but their
relative condemnation must be measured by their relative characters.
As Freedom is more than property, as Man is above the dollar that he
earns, as heaven, to which we all aspire, is higher than earth, where
every accumulation of wealth must ever remain, so are the rights
assailed by an American Congress higher than those once assailed by the
British Parliament. And just in this degree must history condemn the
Slave Act more than the Stamp Act.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sir, I might here stop. It is enough, in this place, and on this
occasion, to show the unconstitutionality of this enactment. Your duty
commences at once. All legislation hostile to the fundamental law of
the land should be repealed without delay. But the argument is not yet
exhausted. Even if this Act could claim any validity or apology under
the Constitution, which it cannot, _it lacks that essential support in
the Public Conscience of the States, where it is to be enforced, which
is the life of all law, and without which any law must become a dead

The Senator from South Carolina (Mr. BUTLER) was right, when, at the
beginning of the session, he pointedly said that a law which can be
enforced only by the bayonet is no law.[194] Sir, it is idle to suppose
that an Act of Congress becomes effective merely by compliance with
the forms of legislation. Something more is necessary. The Act must
be in harmony with the prevailing public sentiment of the community
upon which it bears. I do not mean that the cordial support of every
man or of every small locality is necessary; but I do mean that the
public feelings, the public convictions, the public conscience, must
not be touched, wounded, lacerated, by every endeavor to enforce it.
With all these it must be so far in harmony, that, like the laws by
which property, liberty, and life are guarded, it may be administered
by the ordinary process of courts, without jeoparding the public
peace or shocking good men. If this be true as a general rule, if the
public support and sympathy be essential to the life of all law, this
is especially the case in an enactment which concerns the important
and sensitive rights of Personal Liberty. In conformity with this
principle, the Legislature of Massachusetts, in 1850, by formal
resolution, declared with singular unanimity:--

    "We hold it to be the duty of Congress to pass such laws only in
    regard thereto as will be sustained by the public sentiment of the
    Free States, where such laws are to be enforced."[195]

    [194] Speech on the Compromise Measures, December 16, 1851:
    Congressional Globe, Vol. XXIV, p. 93.

    [195] Resolves concerning Slavery, May 1, 1850: Acts and Resolves,
    1849-51, p. 519.

The duty of consulting these sentiments was recognized by Washington.
While President of the United States, towards the close of his
administration, he sought to recover a slave who had fled to New
Hampshire. His autograph letter to Mr. Whipple, the Collector at
Portsmouth, dated at Philadelphia, 28th November, 1796, which I now
hold in my hand, and which has never before seen the light, after
describing the fugitive, and particularly expressing the desire of
"her mistress," Mrs. Washington, for her return, employs the following
decisive language:--

    "I do not mean, however, by this request, that such violent
    measures should be used AS WOULD EXCITE A MOB OR RIOT, WHICH MIGHT
    MINDS OF WELL-DISPOSED CITIZENS. Rather than either of these should
    happen, I would forego her services altogether,--and the example,
    also, which is of infinite more importance.

                                          "GEORGE WASHINGTON."

Mr. Whipple, in his reply, dated at Portsmouth, December 22, 1796, an
autograph copy of which I have, recognizes the rule of Washington.

    "I will now, Sir, agreeably to your desire, send her to Alexandria,
    _if it be practicable without the consequences which you
    except,--that of exciting a riot or a mob, or creating uneasy
    sensations in the minds of well-disposed persons_. The first cannot
    be calculated beforehand; it will be governed by the popular
    opinion of the moment, or the circumstances that may arise in
    the transaction. The latter may be sought into and judged of by
    conversing with such persons, without discovering the occasion. So
    far as I have had opportunity, I perceive that different sentiments
    are entertained on this subject."

The fugitive was never returned, but lived in freedom to a good old
age, down to a very recent day, a monument of the just forbearance
of him whom we aptly call Father of his Country. True, he sought her
return. This we must regret, and find its apology. He was at the
time a slaveholder. Often expressing himself with various degrees of
force against Slavery, and promising his suffrage for its abolition,
he did not see this wrong as he saw it at the close of life, in the
illumination of another sphere. From this act of Washington, still
swayed by the policy of the world, I appeal to Washington writing
his will. From Washington on earth I appeal to Washington in heaven.
Seek not by his name to justify any such effort. His death is above
his life. His last testament cancels his authority as a slaveholder.
However he may have appeared before man, he came into the presence
of God only as liberator of his slaves. Grateful for this example, I
am grateful also, that, while slaveholder, and seeking the return of
a fugitive, he has left in permanent record a rule of conduct which,
if adopted by his country, will make Slave-Hunting impossible. The
chances of riot, or mob, or "even uneasy sensations in the minds of
well-disposed citizens," must prevent any such pursuit.[196]

Sir, the existing Slave Act cannot be enforced without violating the
precept of Washington. Not merely "uneasy sensations of well-disposed
citizens," but rage, tumult, commotion, mob, riot, violence, death,
gush from its fatal overflowing fountains:--

                  "Hoc fonte derivata clades
                    In patriam populumque fluxit."[197]

    [196] The possibility of scandal and commotion was recognized by
    the great doctor of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas, as proper to
    determine human conduct. According to him, an unjust law is not
    binding in conscience, _nisi forte propter vitandum scandalum vel
    turbationem_.--_Summa Theologica_, 1ma 2dæ, Quæst. XCVI. art. 4.

    [197] Hor., Carm. III. vi. 19, 20.

Not a case occurs without endangering the public peace. Workmen are
brutally dragged from employments to which they are wedded by years
of successful labor; husbands are ravished from wives, and parents
from children. Everywhere there is disturbance,--at Detroit, Buffalo,
Harrisburg, Syracuse, Philadelphia, New York, Boston. At Buffalo
the fugitive was cruelly knocked by a log of wood against a red-hot
stove, and his mock trial commenced while the blood still oozed from
his wounded head. At Syracuse he was rescued by a sudden mob; so also
at Boston. At Harrisburg the fugitive was shot; at Christiana the
Slave-Hunter was shot. At New York unprecedented excitement, always
with uncertain consequences, has attended every case. Again at Boston
a fugitive, according to received report, was first seized under base
pretext that he was criminal; arrested only after deadly struggle;
guarded by officers acting in violation of the State laws; tried in
a court-house girdled by chains, contrary to the Common Law; finally
surrendered to Slavery by trampling on the criminal process of the
State, under an escort in violation again of the laws of the State,
while the pulpits trembled, and the whole people, not merely "uneasy,"
but swelling with ill-suppressed indignation, though, for the sake
of order and tranquillity, without violence, witnessed the shameful

Oppression by an individual is detestable; but oppression by law
is worse. Hard and inscrutable, when the law, to which the citizen
naturally looks for protection, becomes itself a standing peril. As the
sword takes the place of the shield, despair settles down like a cloud.
Montesquieu painted this most cruel tyranny, when he said that the
man is drowned by the very plank on which he thought to escape.[198]
And Moses exposes a kindred harshness, when, in commandment to the
Israelites, he mysteriously enjoins; "Thou shalt not seethe a kid in
its mother's milk"[199] Alas! every sacrifice under the form of law is
only a repetition of this forbidden offence. The victim is the innocent
kid, and the law is its mother's milk.

    [198] Grimm, Correspondance, Février, 1786, Tom. XIV. pp. 453, 454.

    [199] Deuteronomy, xiv. 21.

With every attempt to administer the Slave Act, it constantly becomes
more revolting, particularly in its influence on the agents it enlists.
Pitch cannot be touched without defilement, and all who lend themselves
to this work seem at once and unconsciously to lose the better part of
man. The spirit of the law passes into them, as the devils entered the
swine. Upstart commissioners, mere mushrooms of courts, vie and re-vie
with each other. Now by indecent speed, now by harshness of manner, now
by denial of evidence, now by crippling the defence, and now by open,
glaring wrong, they make the odious Act yet more odious. Clemency,
grace, and justice die in its presence. All this is observed by the
world. Not a case occurs which does not harrow the souls of good men,
bringing tears of sympathy to the eyes, and those other noble tears
which "patriots shed o'er dying laws."

Sir, I shall speak frankly. If there be an exception to this feeling,
it will be found chiefly with a peculiar class. It is a sorry fact,
that the "mercantile interest," in unpardonable selfishness, twice
in English history, frowned upon endeavors to suppress the atrocity
of Algerine Slavery, that it sought to baffle Wilberforce's great
effort for the abolition of the African slave-trade, and that, by a
sordid compromise, at the formation of our Constitution, it exempted
the same detested, Heaven-defying traffic from American judgment. And
now representatives of this "interest," forgetful that Commerce is
born of Freedom, join in hunting the Slave. But the great heart of the
people recoils from this enactment. It palpitates for the fugitive, and
rejoices in his escape. Sir, I am telling you facts. The literature
of the age is all on his side. Songs, more potent than laws, are for
him. Poets, with voices of melody, sing for Freedom. Who could tune
for Slavery? They who make the permanent opinion of the country, who
mould our youth, whose words, dropped into the soul, are the germs
of character, supplicate for the Slave. And now, Sir, behold a new
and heavenly ally. A woman, inspired by Christian genius, enters the
lists, like another Joan of Arc, and with marvellous power sweeps the
popular heart. Now melting to tears, and now inspiring to rage, her
work everywhere touches the conscience, and makes the Slave-Hunter
more hateful. In a brief period, nearly one hundred thousand copies
of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" have been already circulated.[200] But this
extraordinary and sudden success, surpassing all other instances in the
records of literature, cannot be regarded as but the triumph of genius.
Better far, it is the testimony of the people, by an unprecedented act,
against the Fugitive Slave Bill.

    [200] This was the number at the delivery of this speech. But the
    circulation has gone on indefinitely.

These things I dwell upon as incentives and tokens of an existing
public sentiment, rendering this Act practically inoperative, except as
a tremendous engine of horror. Sir, the sentiment is just. Even in the
lands of Slavery, the slave-trader is loathed as an ignoble character,
from whom the countenance is turned away; and can the Slave-Hunter
be more regarded, while pursuing his prey in a land of Freedom? In
early Europe, in barbarous days, while Slavery prevailed, a Hunting
Master--_nachjagender Herr_, as the Germans called him--was held in
aversion. Nor was this all. The fugitive was welcomed in the cities,
and protected against pursuit. Sometimes vengeance awaited the Hunter.
Down to this day, at Revel, now a Russian city, a sword is proudly
preserved with which a Hunting Baron was beheaded, who, in violation of
the municipal rights of the place, seized a fugitive slave. Hostile to
this Act as our public sentiment may be, it exhibits no similar trophy.
The State laws of Massachusetts have been violated in the seizure of a
fugitive slave; but no sword, like that of Revel, now hangs at Boston.

I have said, Sir, that this sentiment is just. And is it not? Every
escape from Slavery necessarily and instinctively awakens the regard
of all who love Freedom. The endeavor, though unsuccessful, reveals
courage, manhood, character. No story is read with greater interest
than that of our own Lafayette, when, aided by a gallant South
Carolinian, in defiance of despotic Austrian ordinances, kindred to our
Slave Act, he strove to escape from the bondage of Olmütz. Literature
pauses with exultation over the struggles of Cervantes, the great
Spaniard, while a slave in Algiers, to regain the liberty for which he
declared to his companions "we ought to risk life itself, Slavery being
the greatest evil that can fall to the lot of man."[201] Science, in
all her manifold triumphs, throbs with pride and delight, that Arago,
astronomer and philosopher,--devoted republican also,--was rescued from
barbarous Slavery to become one of her greatest sons. Religion rejoices
serenely, with joy unspeakable, in the final escape of Vincent de
Paul. In the public square of Tunis, exposed to the inspection of
traffickers in human flesh, this illustrious Frenchman was subjected
to every vileness of treatment, compelled, like a horse, to open his
mouth, to show his teeth, to trot, to run, to exhibit his strength in
lifting burdens, and then, like a horse, legally sold in market overt.
Passing from master to master, after protracted servitude, he achieved
his freedom, and, regaining France, commenced that resplendent career
of charity by which he is placed among the great names of Christendom.
Princes and orators have lavished panegyric upon this fugitive slave,
and, in homage to his extraordinary virtues, the Catholic Church has
introduced him into the company of Saints.

    [201] Navarrete, Vida de Cervantes, p. 38.

Less by genius or eminent service than by suffering are the fugitive
slaves of our country now commended. For them every sentiment of
humanity is aroused.

                        "Who could refrain,
          That had a heart to love, and in that heart
          Courage to make his love known?"

Rude and ignorant they may be; but in their very efforts for Freedom
they claim kindred with all that is noble in the Past. Romance has no
stories of more thrilling interest. Classical antiquity has preserved
no examples of adventure and trial more worthy of renown. They are
among the heroes of our age. Among them are those whose names will be
treasured in the annals of their race. By eloquent voice they have
done much to make their wrongs known, and to secure the respect of
the world. History will soon lend her avenging pen. Proscribed by you
during life, they will proscribe you through all time. Sir, already
judgment is beginning. A righteous public sentiment palsies your

And now, Sir, let us review the field over which we have passed.
We have seen that any compromise, finally closing the discussion
of Slavery under the Constitution, is tyrannical, absurd, and
impotent; that, as Slavery can exist only by virtue of positive
law, and as it has no such positive support in the Constitution, it
cannot exist within the national jurisdiction; that the Constitution
nowhere recognizes property in man, and that, according to its true
interpretation, Freedom and not Slavery is national, while Slavery and
not Freedom is sectional; that in this spirit the National Government
was first organized under Washington, himself an Abolitionist,
surrounded by Abolitionists, while the whole country, by its Church,
its Colleges, its Literature, and all its best voices, was united
against Slavery, and the national flag at that time nowhere within the
National Territory covered a single slave; still further, that the
National Government is a Government of delegated powers, and, as among
these there is no power to support Slavery, this institution cannot be
national, nor can Congress in any way legislate in its behalf; and,
finally, that the establishment of this principle is the true way of
peace and safety for the Republic. Considering next the provision
for the surrender of fugitives from service, we have seen that it
was not one of the original compromises of the Constitution; that it
was introduced tardily and with hesitation, and adopted with little
discussion, while then and for a long period thereafter it was regarded
with comparative indifference; that the recent Slave Act, though many
times unconstitutional, is especially so on two grounds,--_first_, as
a usurpation by Congress of powers not granted by the Constitution,
and an infraction of rights secured to the States, and, _secondly_,
as the denial of Trial by Jury, in a question of Personal Liberty and
a suit at Common Law; that its glaring unconstitutionally finds a
prototype in the British Stamp Act, which our fathers refused to obey
as unconstitutional on two parallel grounds,--_first_, because it was
a usurpation by Parliament of powers not belonging to it under the
British Constitution, and an infraction of rights belonging to the
Colonies, and, _secondly_, because it was the denial of Trial by Jury
in certain cases of property; that, as Liberty is far above property,
so is the outrage perpetrated by the American Congress far above that
perpetrated by the British Parliament; and, finally, that the Slave Act
has not that support, in the public sentiment of the States where it is
to be executed, which is the life of all law, and which prudence and
the precept of Washington require.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sir, thus far I have arrayed the objections to this Act, and the false
interpretations out of which it has sprung. But I am asked what I offer
as a substitute for the legislation which I denounce. Freely I answer.
It is to be found in a correct appreciation of the provision of the
Constitution under which this discussion occurs. Look at it in the
double light of Reason and of Freedom, and we cannot mistake the exact
extent of its requirements. Here is the provision:--

    "No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws
    thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or
    regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but
    shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or
    labor may be due."

From the very language employed, it is obvious that this is merely a
_compact_ between the States, with a _prohibition_ on the States,
_conferring no power on the Nation_. In its natural signification it
is a compact. According to examples of other countries, and principles
of jurisprudence, it is a compact. Arrangements for extradition
of fugitives have been customarily compacts. Except under express
obligations of treaty, no nation is bound to surrender fugitives.
Especially has this been the case with fugitives for Freedom. In
mediæval Europe cities refused to recognize this obligation in favor
of persons even under the same National Government. In 1531, while the
Netherlands and Spain were united under Charles the Fifth, the Supreme
Council of Mechlin rejected an application from Spain for the surrender
of a fugitive slave. By express compact alone could this be secured.
But the provision of the Constitution was borrowed from the Ordinance
of the Northwestern Territory,[202] which is expressly declared to
be a compact; and this Ordinance, finally drawn by Nathan Dane, was
itself borrowed, in distinctive feature, from the early institutions
of Massachusetts, among which, as far back as 1643, was a compact of
like nature with other New England States.[203] Thus this provision
is a compact in language, in nature, in its whole history; as we
have already seen, it is a compact according to the intentions of our
fathers and the genius of our institutions.

    [202] "ART. VI. There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary
    servitude in the said Territory, otherwise than in the punishment
    of crimes whereof the party shall have been duly convicted:
    Provided always, that any person escaping into the same, from
    whom labor or service is lawfully claimed in any one of the
    original States, such fugitive may be lawfully reclaimed, and
    conveyed to the person claiming his or her labor or service as
    aforesaid."--_Ordinance for the Government of the Territory
    Northwest of the River Ohio_, July 13, 1787: Journals of Congress,
    Vol. XII. pp. 92, 93.

    [203] "8.... It is also agreed, that if any servant run away from
    his master into any of the confederate jurisdictions, that in such
    case (upon certificate from one magistrate in the jurisdiction
    out of which the said servant fled, or upon other due proof) the
    said servant shall be either delivered to his master or any other
    that pursues and brings such certificate and proof."--_Articles
    of Confederation between the Plantations_, etc., May 29, 1643:
    Hubbard's History of New England, p. 472.

As a compact, its execution depends absolutely upon the States, without
any intervention of the Nation. _Each State, in the exercise of its own
judgment, will determine for itself the precise extent of obligation
assumed._ As a compact in derogation of Freedom, it must be construed
strictly in every respect, leaning always in favor of Freedom, and
shunning any meaning, not clearly necessary, which takes away important
personal rights; mindful that the parties to whom it is applicable are
regarded as "persons," of course with all the rights of "persons,"
under the Constitution; especially mindful of the vigorous maxim
of the Common Law, early announced by Fortescue, that "he is to be
adjudged impious and cruel who does not favor Liberty"[204]; and also
completely adopting, in letter and spirit, as becomes a just people,
the rule of the great Commentator, that "the law is always ready to
catch at anything in favor of Liberty."[205] With this key the true
interpretation is natural and easy.

    [204] De Laudibus Legum Angliæ, Cap. XLII.; Coke upon Littleton,
    124_b_. Granville Sharp, in the remarkable testimony already cited
    (_ante_, p. 108), quotes Fortescue thus: "For in behalf of Liberty
    human nature always implores: because _Slavery is introduced by
    man_, and _for vice_; but _Liberty_ is implanted _by God_ in the
    very nature of _man_: wherefore, when stolen by man, it always
    earnestly longs to return; as does everything which is deprived of
    _natural liberty_. For which reason the _man_ who does _not favor
    Liberty_ is to be adjudged _impious_ and _cruel_. The laws of
    England acknowledging these principles give favor to _Liberty in
    every case_." After this extract from Fortescue, we are reminded
    that "Slavery is properly declared by one of our oldest English
    authorities in law, Fleta, to be _contrary to Nature_ (Fleta, 2d
    edit. p. 1), which expression of Fleta is really a maxim of the
    Civil or Roman Law"; and then Sharp predicts the time when "our
    deluded statesmen, lawyers, commercial politicians, and planters
    shall be compelled to understand that a more forcible expression of
    illegality and iniquity could not have been used than that by which
    Slavery is defined in the Roman code, as well as by our English
    Fleta, _i. e._ that it is _contra naturam_, against Nature; for,
    consequently, it must be utterly illegal, a crime which by the
    first foundation of English law is justly deemed both _impious_ and
    _cruel_", and he adds, "The severity of these expressions cannot be
    restrained without injustice to the high authorities on which this
    argument is founded." (Letter to the Maryland Society for Promoting
    the Abolition of Slavery, etc., pp. 6-8.) This testimony of the
    great English Abolitionist is reinforced, especially with regard
    to fugitive slaves, when we consider its publication in 1793 by
    the Abolition Society of Maryland, with the prefatory observation,
    that, "in the case of slaves escaping from their masters, the
    friends of universal liberty are often embarrassed in their conduct
    by a conflict between their principles and _the obligations imposed
    by unwise and perhaps unconstitutional laws_."

    [205] Blackstone, Commentaries, Vol. II. p. 94.

Briefly, the States are prohibited from any "law or regulation" by
which any "person" escaped from "service or labor" may be discharged
therefrom, and on establishment of the claim to such "service or labor"
he is to be "delivered up." But the mode by which the claim shall be
tried and determined is not specified. All this is obviously within
the control of each State. It may be by virtue of express legislation;
in which event, any Legislature, justly careful of Personal Liberty,
would surround the fugitive with every shield of Law and Constitution.
But here a fact pregnant with Freedom must be studiously observed. The
name _Slave_--that litany of wrong and woe--does not appear in the
clause. Here is no unambiguous phrase, incapable of a double sense,--no
"positive" language, applicable only to slaves, and excluding all
other classes,--no word of that absolute certainty in every particular
which forbids any interpretation except that of Slavery, and makes
it impossible "to catch at anything in favor of Liberty." Nothing of
this kind is here. But, passing from this,--"impiously and cruelly"
renouncing for the moment all leanings for Freedom,--refusing "to
catch at anything in favor of Liberty,"--abandoning the cherished
idea of the Fathers, that it was "_wrong_ to admit in the Constitution
the idea that there could be property in men,"--and, in the face of
these commanding principles, assuming two things,--first, that, in the
evasive language of this clause, the Convention, whatever may have been
the aim of individual members, really intended fugitive slaves, which
is sometimes questioned, and, secondly, that, if they so intended,
the language employed can be judicially regarded as justly applicable
to fugitive slaves, which is often and earnestly denied,--then the
whole proceeding, without any express legislation, may be left to
ancient and authentic forms of the Common Law, familiar to the framers
of the Constitution, and ample for the occasion. If the fugitive be
seized without process, he will be entitled at once to his writ _de
Homine Replegiando_, while the master, resorting to process, may find
his remedy in the writ _de Nativo Habendo_, each requiring trial by
jury. If, from ignorance or lack of employment, these processes have
slumbered in our country, still they belong to the great arsenal of the
Common Law, and continue, like other ancient writs, _tanquam gladius
in vagina_, ready to be employed at the first necessity. They belong
to the safeguards of the citizen. But in any event, and in either
alternative, the proceeding would be by "suit at Common Law," with
Trial by Jury; and it would be the solemn duty of the court, according
to all the forms and proper delays of the Common Law, to try the case
on the evidence, strictly to apply all protecting rules of evidence,
and especially to require stringent proof, by competent witnesses under
cross-examination, that the person claimed was _held_ to service, that
his service was _due_ to the claimant, that he had _escaped_ from the
State where such service was due, and also proof of the _laws_ of the
State under which he was held. _Still further, to the Courts of each
State must belong the determination of the question, to what class of
persons, according to just rules of interpretation, the phrase "person
held to service or labor" is strictly applicable._

Such is this much debated provision. The Slave States, at the formation
of the Constitution, did not propose, as in cases of Naturalization
and Bankruptcy, to empower the National Government _to establish an
uniform rule_ for the rendition of fugitives from service, _throughout
the United States_; they did not ask the National Government to charge
itself in any way with this service; they did not venture to offend the
country, and particularly the Northern States, by any such assertion of
hateful pretension. They were content, under the sanctions of compact,
in leaving it to the public sentiment of the States. There, I insist,
it must remain.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. President, I have occupied much time; but the great subject still
stretches before us. One other point yet remains, which I must not
leave untouched, and which justly belongs to the close. The Slave Act
violates the Constitution, and shocks the Public Conscience. With
modesty, and yet with firmness, let me add, Sir, it offends against the
Divine Law. No such enactment is entitled to support. As the throne of
God is above every earthly throne, so are his laws and statutes above
all the laws and statutes of man. To question these is to question
God himself. But to assume that human laws are beyond question is to
claim for their fallible authors infallibility. To assume that they
are always in conformity with the laws of God is presumptuously and
impiously to exalt man even to equality with God. Clearly, human laws
are not always in such conformity; nor can they ever be beyond question
from each individual. Where the conflict is open, as if Congress should
command the perpetration of murder, the office of conscience as final
arbiter is undisputed. But in every conflict the same queenly office
is hers. By no earthly power can she be dethroned. Each person, after
anxious examination, without haste, without passion, solemnly for
himself must decide this great controversy. Any other rule attributes
infallibility to human laws, places them beyond question, and degrades
all men to an unthinking, passive obedience.

According to St. Augustine, an unjust law does not appear to be a
law: _Lex esse non videtur quæ justa non fuerit._[206] And the great
Fathers of the Church, while adopting these words, declare openly that
unjust laws are not binding. Sometimes they are called "iniquity," and
not law; sometimes "violences," and not laws.[207] And here again the
conscience of each person is final arbiter. But this lofty principle is
not confined to the Church. Earlier than the Church, a sublime Heathen
announced the same truth. After assailing indignantly that completest
folly which would find the rule of justice in human institutions and
laws, and then asking if the laws of tyrants are just simply because
laws, Cicero declares, that, if edicts of popular assemblies, decrees
of princes, and decisions of judges constitute right, then there may
be a right to rob, a right to commit adultery, a right to set up
forged wills; whereas he does not hesitate to say that pernicious and
pestilent statutes can be no more entitled to the name of law than
robber codes; and he concludes, in words as strong as those of St.
Augustine, that an unjust law is null.[208] A master of philosophy
in early Europe, of intellectual renown, the eloquent Abelard, in
Latin verses addressed to his son, clearly expresses the universal

          "Jussa potestatis terrenæ discutienda:
            Coelestis tibi mox perficienda scias.
          Si quis divinis jubeat contraria jussis,
            Te contra Dominum pactio nulla trahat."[209]

    [206] De Libero Arbitrio, Lib. I. c. 5. See Thomas Aquinas,
    Summa Theologica, 1ma 2dæ, Quæst. XCVI. art. 4; also, Balmez,
    Protestantism and Catholicity compared in their Effects on the
    Civilization of Europe, Ch. 53.

    [207] _Magis iniquitas quam lex, magis violentiæ quam leges._
    Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theol., 1ma 2dæ, Quæst. XC. art. 1, XCVI.
    art. 4. The supreme duty to God is recognized in a text of St.
    Basil, _Obediendum est in quibus mandatum Dei non impeditur_,
    quoted by Filmer, Patriarcha, Ch. III. § 3.

The mandates of an earthly power are to be discussed; those of Heaven
must at once be performed; nor should we suffer ourselves to be drawn
by any compact into opposition to God. Such is the rule of morals.
Such, also, by the lips of judges and sages, is the proud declaration
of English law, whence our own is derived. In this conviction, patriots
have braved unjust commands, and martyrs have died.

    [208] De Legibus, Lib. I. capp. 15, 16; Lib. II. capp. 5, 6. The
    conclusion appears in the dialogue between Cicero and his brother

    ARC. Ergo est lex justorum injustorumque distinctio, ad illam
    antiquissimam et rerum omnium principem expressa naturam....

    "QUINT. Præclare intelligo; nec vero jam aliam esse ullam legem
    puto non modo habendam, sed ne appellandam quidem."

    Among moderns, the Abbé de Mably, in an elaborate discussion,
    adopts the conclusion of Cicero, as well as his treatment of it
    by dialogue, making his interlocutor, Lord Stanhope, ask, "What
    other remedy can be applied to this evil than disobedience?" and
    representing him as "pulverizing without difficulty the miserable
    commonplaces in opposition."--_Des Droits et des Devoirs du
    Citoyen_, Lettre IV. OEuvres (Paris, 1797), Tom. XI. pp. 249, 251.

    Cicero was not alone among ancients in submission to an overruling
    law, nowhere pictured in greater sovereignty than by Sophocles, in
    a famous verse of the _OEdipus Tyrannus_:--

    Ϻέγας ἐν τούτοις Θεός, οὐδὲ γηράσκει.--v. 845 [871].

    Great in these laws is God, and grows not old.

    [209] Versus ad Astralabium Filium: Opera (ed. Cousin), Tom. I. pp.
    341, 342.

And now, Sir, the rule is commended to us. The good citizen, who sees
before him the shivering fugitive, guilty of no crime, pursued, hunted
down like a beast, while praying for Christian help and deliverance,
and then reads the requirements of this Act, is filled with horror.
Here is a despotic mandate "to aid and assist in the prompt and
efficient execution of this law."[210] Again let me speak frankly. Not
rashly would I set myself against any requirement of law. This grave
responsibility I would not lightly assume. But here the path of duty is
clear. By the Supreme Law, which commands me to do no injustice, by the
comprehensive Christian Law of Brotherhood, _by the Constitution, which
I have sworn to support_, I AM BOUND TO DISOBEY THIS ACT.
Never, in any capacity, can I render voluntary aid in its execution.
Pains and penalties I will endure, but this great wrong I will not do.
"Where I cannot obey actively, there I am willing to lie down and to
suffer what they shall do unto me": such was the exclamation of him to
whom we are indebted for the "Pilgrim's Progress," while in prison for
disobedience to an earthly statute.[211] Better suffer injustice than
do it. Better victim than instrument of wrong. Better even the poor
slave returned to bondage than the wretched Commissioner.

    [210] Fugitive Slave Act, September 18, 1850, Sec. 5.

    [211] Relation of the Imprisonment of Mr. John Bunyan, written by
    Himself: Works (Glasgow, 1853), Vol. I. pp. 59, 60. Balmez, the
    Spanish divine, whose vindication of the early Catholic Church is
    a remarkable monument, declares, after careful discussion, "that
    the rights of the civil power are limited, that there are things
    beyond its province,--cases in which a man may say, and ought to
    say, _I will not obey_." (Protestantism and Catholicity Compared,
    Ch. 54.) Devices to avoid the enforcement of unjust laws illustrate
    this righteous disobedience,--as where English juries, before the
    laws had been made humane, found an article stolen to be less
    than five shillings in value, in order to save the criminal from
    capital punishment. In the Diary of John Adams, December 14, 1779,
    at Ferrol, in Spain, there is a curious instance of law requiring
    that a convicted parricide should be headed up in a hogshead with
    an adder, a toad, a dog, and a cat, and then cast into the sea;
    but in a case that had recently occurred the barbarous law was
    evaded by painting these animals on a hogshead containing the
    dead body of the criminal. (Works, Vol. III. p. 233.) In similar
    spirit, the famous President Jeannin, high in the magistracy and
    diplomacy of France, when called to a consultation on a mandate
    of Charles the Ninth, at the epoch of St. Bartholomew, said, "We
    must obey the sovereign slowly, when he commands in anger"; and
    he concluded by asking "letters patent before executing orders so
    cruel." (Biographie Universelle, art. _Jeannin Pierre_.) The remark
    of Casimir Périer, when Prime-Minister, to Queen Hortense, that
    it might be "legal" for him to arrest her, but not "just," makes
    the same distinction. (Guizot, Mémoires pour servir à l'Histoire
    de mon Temps, Tom. II. p. 219. See _ante_. Vol. II. pp. 398, 399.)
    The case is stated with perfect moderation by Grotius, when he says
    that human laws have _a binding force_ only when they are made
    in a humane manner, not if they impose a burden which is plainly
    abhorrent to reason and Nature,--_non si onus injungant quod a
    ratione et natura plane abhorreat_. (De Jure Belli ac Pacis, Lib.
    III. Cap. XXIII. v. 3; also Lib. I. Cap. IV. vii. 2, 3.) These
    latter words aptly describe the "burden" imposed by the Slave Act.

There is, Sir, an incident of history which suggests a parallel,
and affords a lesson of fidelity. Under the triumphant exertions
of that Apostolic Jesuit, St. Francis Xavier, large numbers of
Japanese, amounting to as many as two hundred thousand,--among them
princes, generals, and the flower of the nobility,--were converted to
Christianity. Afterwards, amidst the frenzy of civil war, religious
persecution arose, and the penalty of death was denounced against
all who refused to trample upon the effigy of the Redeemer. This was
the Pagan law of a Pagan land. But the delighted historian records,
that from the multitude of converts scarcely one was guilty of this
apostasy. The law of man was set at nought. Imprisonment, torture,
death, were preferred. Thus did this people refuse to trample on the
painted image. Sir, multitudes among us will not be less steadfast in
refusing to trample on the living image of their Redeemer.

Finally, Sir, for the sake of peace and tranquillity, cease to shock
the Public Conscience; for the sake of the Constitution, cease to
exercise a power nowhere granted, and which violates inviolable rights
expressly secured. Leave this question where it was left by our
fathers, at the formation of our National Government,--in the absolute
control of the States, the appointed guardians of Personal Liberty.
Repeal this enactment. Let its terrors no longer rage through the
land. Mindful of the lowly whom it pursues, mindful of the good men
perplexed by its requirements, in the name of Charity, in the name of
the Constitution, repeal this enactment, totally and without delay.
There is the example of Washington; follow it. There also are words of
Oriental piety, most touching and full of warning, which speak to all
mankind, and now especially to us: "Beware of the groans of wounded
souls, since the inward sore will at length break out. Oppress not to
the utmost a single heart; for a solitary sigh has power to overturn a
whole world."

      *      *      *      *      *      *

Transcriber's note:

The punctuation and spelling are as in the original publication with
the exception of the following:

Professor Stearns, who resided in Cambridge, was occucupied . . .
was changed to
Professor Stearns, who resided in Cambridge, was occupied . . .

. . . leaning for support on the great Truimvirate
was changed to
. . . leaning for support on the great Triumvirate

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Charles Sumner; His Complete Works, Volume III (of 20)" ***

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