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Title: Charles Sumner; his complete works, volume 5 (of 20)
Author: Sumner, Charles
Language: English
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           [Illustration: STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS]

    Statesman Edition                        VOL. V

                     Charles Sumner

                   HIS COMPLETE WORKS

                    With Introduction
                HON. GEORGE FRISBIE HOAR


                    LEE AND SHEPARD

                    COPYRIGHT, 1900,
                    LEE AND SHEPARD.

                   Statesman Edition.
                   OF WHICH THIS IS
                        No. 565

                    Norwood Press:
                NORWOOD, MASS., U.S.A.



    Address before the People of New York, at the Metropolitan
    Theatre, May 9, 1855                                             1

    Williamson, in Moyamensing Prison, August 11, 1855              52

    THE PEN BETTER THAN THE SWORD. Letter to Committee of
    Publishers in New York, September 26, 1855                      58

    REPUBLICAN PARTY IN NEW YORK. Letter to a New York Committee,
    October 7, 1855                                                 60

    COUNTRY. Letter to a Boston Committee, October 8, 1855          61

    a Republican Rally in Faneuil Hall, November 2, 1855            62

    on the Usurpation of the Senate in the Origination of
    Appropriation Bills, February 7, 1856                           83

    Director of the Exchange News-room, Boston, February 18, 1856   93

    NOW. Letter to a Committee of the Boston Mercantile Library
    Association, February 19, 1856                                  95

    Massachusetts Committee, February 25, 1856                      97

    ABROGATION OF TREATIES. Speeches in the Senate, March 6 and
    May 8, 1856                                                     98

    Senate, on the Report of the Committee on Territories, March
    12, 1856                                                       121

    a New York Committee, April 28, 1856                           123

    TRUE REMEDY. Speech in the Senate, May 19 and 20, 1856. With
    Appendix                                                       125

    KANSAS.” Telegraphic Despatch to Boston, June 6, 1856          343

    Letter to a Committee in Boston, June 13, 1856                 344


9, 1855.

    The principles of true politics are those of morality enlarged;
    and I neither now do nor ever will admit of any other.--BURKE,
    _Letter to the Bishop of Chester: Correspondence_, Vol. I. p.

    True politics I look on as a part of moral philosophy, which
    is nothing but the art of conducting men right in society, and
    supporting a community amongst its neighbors.--JOHN LOCKE,
    _Letter to the Earl of Peterborough: Life, by Lord King_, Vol.
    I. p. 9.

    Malus usus abolendus est.--LAW MAXIM.

    All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to
    you, do ye even so to them; for this is the Law and the
    Prophets.--MATTHEW, viii. 12.

    You have among you many a purchased slave,
    Which, like your asses, and your dogs, and mules,
    You use in abject and in slavish parts,
    Because you bought them.

                                   SHAKESPEARE, _Merchant of Venice_.

    From Guinea’s coast pursue the lessening sail,
    And catch the sounds that sadden every gale.
    Tell, if thou canst, the sum of sorrows there;
    Mark the fixed gaze, the wild and frenzied glare,
    The racks of thought, and freezings of despair!
    But pause not then,--beyond the western wave,
    Go, view the captive bartered as a slave!

                                        ROGERS, _Pleasures of Memory_.

    Through the influence of the late Dr. James W. Stone, an
    indefatigable Republican, a course of lectures was organized in
    Boston especially for the discussion of Slavery. This course
    marks the breaking of the seal on the platform. Mr. Sumner
    undertook to open this course, which was to begin in the week
    after his address before the Mercantile Library Association;
    but he was prevented by sudden disability from a cold. His
    excuse was contained in the following letter.

                           “HANCOCK STREET, 23d November, 1854.

        “MY DEAR SIR,--An unkindly current of air is often more
        penetrating than an arrow. From such a shaft I suffered
        on the night of my address to the Mercantile Library
        Association, more than a week ago, and no care or skill has
        been efficacious to relieve me. I am admonished alike by
        painful consciousness and by the good physician into whose
        hands I have fallen, that I am not equal to the service I
        have undertaken on Thursday evening.

        “Fitly to inaugurate that course of lectures would task the
        best powers in best health of any man. Most reluctantly,
        but necessarily, I must lose sight of the inspiring company
        there assembled in the name of Freedom to sit in judgment
        on Slavery, and postpone till some other opportunity what
        I had hoped to say. You, who know the effort I have made
        to rally for this occasion, will appreciate my personal

        “It is my habit to keep my engagements. Not for a single
        day have I been absent from my seat in the Senate during
        the three sessions in which duty has called me there; and
        never before, in the course of numerous undertakings to
        address public bodies, at different times and in different
        places, has there been any failure through remissness or
        disability on my part.

        “Pardon these allusions, which I make that you may better
        understand my feelings, now that I am compelled to depart
        for the moment from a cherished rule of fidelity.

            “Ever faithfully yours,

                “CHARLES SUMNER.

        “DR. STONE.”

    Failing to open the course, Mr. Sumner closed it, on his return
    from Washington in the spring, with the following address,
    which he was called to repeat in the same hall a few days
    later. Yielding to friendly pressure, he consented to repeat
    it at several places in New York, among which was Auburn, the
    residence of Mr. Seward, by whom he was introduced to the
    audience in the following words.

        “FELLOW-CITIZENS,--A dozen years ago I was honored by
        being chosen to bring my neighbors residing here to the
        acquaintance of a statesman of Massachusetts who was then
        directing the last energies of an illustrious life to the
        removal of the crime of Human Slavery from the soil of our
        beloved country,--a statesman whose course I had chosen for
        my own guidance,--John Quincy Adams, ‘the old man eloquent.’

        “He has ascended to heaven: you and I yet remain here, in
        the field of toil and duty. And now, by a rare felicity, I
        have your instructions to present to you another statesman
        of Massachusetts, him on whose shoulders the mantle of the
        departed one has fallen, and who more than any other of the
        many great and virtuous citizens of his native Commonwealth
        illustrates the spirit of the teacher whom, like us, he
        venerated and loved so much,--a companion and friend of my
        own public labors,--the _young_ ‘man eloquent,’--Charles

    In the city of New York the same address formed the last of
    an Antislavery course. It was delivered in the Metropolitan
    Theatre, before a crowded audience, May 9, 1855. Mr. Sumner
    had never before spoken in New York. He was introduced by Hon.
    William Jay, in the following words.

        “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,--I have been requested, on the part
        of the Society, to perform the pleasing, but unnecessary,
        office of introducing to you the honored and well-known
        advocate of Justice, Humanity, and Freedom, Charles Sumner.
        It is not for his learning and eloquence that I commend
        him to your respectful attention; for learning, eloquence,
        and even theology itself, have been prostituted in the
        service of an institution well described by John Wesley
        as the sum of all villanies. I introduce him to you as a
        Northern Senator on whom Nature has conferred the unusual
        gift of a backbone,--a man who, standing erect on the floor
        of Congress, amid creeping things from the North, with
        Christian fidelity denounces the stupendous wickedness of
        the Fugitive Law and the Nebraska Perfidy, and in the name
        of Liberty, Humanity, and Religion demands the repeal of
        those most atrocious enactments. May the words he is about
        to utter be impressed on your consciences and influence
        your conduct.”

    The reception of the address attested the change in the public
    mind. Frederick Douglass, who was present, wrote:--

        “Metropolitan Theatre was literally packed, and, for
        two hours and a half, the vast audience, with attention
        unwearied, and with interest rising with every sentence
        which dropped from the speaker, indorsed sentiments which
        many of the same parties would five years ago have stoned
        any one for uttering.”

    The _Tribune_ said:--

        “Mr. Sumner’s speech last night was the greatest
        oratorical and logical success of the year, and was most
        enthusiastically praised by the largest audience yet
        gathered in New York to hear a lecture.”

    The interest was such, that he was constrained, much against
    his own disposition, to repeat it in Brooklyn, where he was
    introduced by Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, and then again at
    Niblo’s Theatre, New York, where he was introduced by Joseph
    Blunt, Esq. The concluding words of Mr. Beecher were as follows.

        “I am to introduce to you a statesman who follows a long
        train of representatives and statesmen who were false
        to the North, false to Liberty; and then they made a
        complaint that there was no North! It was because the
        North lost faith in her recreant children. It lost faith
        in its traitors, and not in Liberty. But now, if the
        haughty Southerners wish to engage in any more conflicts
        of this kind, I think they will have to find some other
        than the speaker to-night with whom to break a lance.
        [_Loud cheers._] I do not wish merely to introduce to you
        the ‘honorable gentleman’ sent from Massachusetts as a
        United States Senator; my wish is to do better than that; I
        wish to introduce to you the MAN,--CHARLES SUMNER. [_Loud

    The _Tribune_ spoke thus of these meetings:--

        “That a lecture should be repeated in New York is a
        rare occurrence. That a lecture on Antislavery should
        be repeated in New York, even before a few despised
        ‘fanatics,’ is an unparalleled occurrence. But that an
        Antislavery lecture should be repeated night after night
        to successive multitudes, each more enthusiastic than the
        last, marks the epoch of a revolution in popular feeling;
        it is an era in the history of Liberty. Niblo’s Theatre was
        crowded last evening long before the hour of commencement.
        Hundreds stood through the three hours’ lecture. We give a
        full report of the words, but only of the words.”

    Other newspapers were enthusiastic in their comments.

    The _National Era_, at Washington, in printing the address,
    said of its delivery in Metropolitan Hall:--

        “Mr. Sumner closed, as he had continued, amid loud and
        protracted applause. Especially at the point when he said
        that the Fugitive Slave Bill must be made a dead letter,
        the audience seemed wild with enthusiasm. Handkerchiefs
        waved from fair hands, and reporters almost forgot their
        stolid unconcern.”

    Such extracts might be multiplied. Beyond these was the
    testimony of individuals gratified at the hearing obtained for
    cherished sentiments. One wrote from Philadelphia as follows.

        “I cannot forbear, not for your gratification, but for my
        own, to testify my unbounded sympathy and satisfaction in
        the Three Days’ Ovation of May that you have enjoyed in
        New York, in reward of your faithful sentinelship on the
        ramparts of Liberty in that sin-beleaguered fortress, the
        Capitol at Washington, faithfully supporting the cause of
        the weak against insolence and haughty vulgarity.… You have
        gloriously and faithfully withstood obloquy and reproach:
        the hour of triumph is now well assured.”

    Another wrote from Albany:--

        “I have never read anything so magnificent as your Lecture
        in the _Independent_. How I wish I could have heard it!
        Letters from judges in such matters inform me that no
        speech in New York for many years has produced such a

    Count Gurowski, writing from Brattleboro’, Vermont, expressed
    his enthusiastic sympathy, and at the same time predicted the
    adverse feeling among slave-masters.

        “I have just finished the reading of your admirable
        Oration. I am _en extase_. I was near to cry.… But you
        have thrown the gauntlet once more to the ‘gentlemen from
        the South,’ bravely, decidedly, and pitilessly. Do not be
        astonished, if they shall send you, covered with laurels as
        you are, to Coventry. This undoubtedly they will do.”

    These extracts show something of public sentiment at this stage
    of the great contest with Slavery. From this time forward the
    discussion broadened and deepened.


History abounds in vicissitudes. From weakness and humility, men ascend
to power and place. From defeat and disparagement, enterprises are
borne on to recognition and triumph. The martyr of to-day is gratefully
enshrined on the morrow. The stone that the builders rejected is made
head of the corner. Thus it always has been, and ever will be.

Only twenty years ago, in 1835, the friends of the slave in our country
were weak and humble, while their great undertaking, just then showing
itself, was trampled down and despised. Small companies, gathered
together in the name of Freedom, were interrupted and often dispersed
by riotous mobs. At Boston, a feeble association of women, called the
Female Antislavery Society, sitting in a small room of an upper story
in an obscure building, was insulted and then driven out of doors by a
frantic crowd, politely termed at the time “gentlemen of property and
standing,” which, after various deeds of violence and vileness, next
directed itself upon William Lloyd Garrison,--known as the determined
editor of the “Liberator,” and originator of the Antislavery Enterprise
in our day,--then ruthlessly tearing him away, amidst savage threats
and with a halter about his neck, dragged him through the streets,
until, at last, guilty only of loving liberty, if not wisely, too well,
this unoffending citizen was thrust into the common jail for protection
against an infuriate populace. Nor was Boston alone. Even villages
in remote rural solitude broke out in similar outrage,--while large
towns, like Providence, New Haven, Utica, Worcester, Alton, Cincinnati,
Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York, became so many fiery craters
overflowing with rage and madness. What lawless violence failed to
accomplish was urged next through forms of law. By solemn legislative
acts, the Slave States called on the Free States “promptly and
effectually to suppress all those associations within their respective
limits purporting to be Abolition Societies”;[1] and Rhode Island,
Massachusetts, and New York basely hearkened to the base proposition.
The press, too, with untold power, exerted itself in this behalf, while
pulpit, politician, and merchant conspired to stifle discussion, until
the voice of Freedom was hushed to a whisper, “alas! almost afraid to
know itself.”

Since then, in the lapse of few years only, a change has taken
place. Instead of those small companies, counted by tens, we have
now this mighty assembly, counted by thousands; instead of an
insignificant apartment, like that in Boston, the mere appendage of a
printing-office, where, as in the manger itself, Truth was cradled,
we have this Metropolitan Hall, ample in proportion and central in
place; instead of a profane and clamorous mob, beating at our gates,
dispersing our assembly, and making one of our number the victim
of its fury, we have peace and harmony at unguarded doors, ruffled
only by generous competition to participate in this occasion; while
Legislatures openly declare their sympathies, villages, towns, and
cities vie in the new manifestation, and the press itself, with
increased power, heralds, applauds, and extends the prevailing
influence, which, gushing from every fountain, and pouring through
every channel, at last, by quickening power of pulpit, politician, and
merchant, swells into an irresistible tide.

Here is a great change, worthy of notice and memory, for it attests the
first stage of victory. Slavery, in all its many-sided wrong, still
continues; but here in this metropolis--ay, Sir, and throughout the
whole North--freedom of discussion is at length secured. And this, I
say, is the first stage of victory,--herald of the transcendent future.

    “Hark! a glad voice the lonely desert cheers:
    Prepare the way! a God, a God appears!
    A God! a God! the vocal hills reply:
    The rocks proclaim the approaching Deity.”

Nor is there anything peculiar in the trials to which our cause
has been exposed. Thus in all ages is Truth encountered. At first
persecuted, gagged, silenced, crucified, she cries out from the prison,
the rack, the stake, the cross, until at last her voice is heard.
And when that voice is really heard, whether in martyr cries, or in
earthquake tones of civil convulsion, or in the calmness of ordinary
speech, such as I now employ, or in that still, small utterance
inaudible to the common ear, then is the beginning of victory! “Give me
where to stand and I will move the world,” said Archimedes; and Truth
asks no more than did the master of geometry.

Viewed in this aspect, the present occasion rises above any ordinary
course of lectures or series of political meetings. It is the
inauguration of Freedom. From this time forward, her voice of warning
and command cannot be silenced. The sensitive sympathies of property,
in this commercial mart, may yet again recognize property in man; the
watchful press itself may falter or fail; but the vantage-ground of
free discussion now achieved cannot be lost. On this I take my stand,
and, as from the Mount of Vision, behold the whole field of our great
controversy spread before me. There is no point, topic, fact, matter,
reason, or argument, touching the question between Slavery and Freedom,
which is not now open. From these I might aptly select some one, and
confine myself to its development. But I should not in this way best
satisfy the seeming requirement of the occasion. According to the
invitation of your Committee, I was to make an address introductory to
the present course of lectures, but was prevented by ill-health. And
now, at the close of the course, I am to say what I failed to say at
its beginning. Not as Caucus or as Congress can I address you; nor am I
moved to undertake a political harangue or constitutional argument. Out
of the occasion let me speak, and, discarding any individual topic, aim
to exhibit the entire field, in its divisions and subdivisions, with
metes and bounds.

       *       *       *       *       *

By this enterprise I do not mean the efforts of any restricted circle,
sect, or party, but the cause of the slave, in all its forms and
under all its names,--whether inspired by pulpit, press, economist,
or politician,--whether in the early, persistent, and comprehensive
demands of Garrison, the gentler tones of Channing, or the strictly
constitutional endeavors of others now actually sharing the public
councils of the country. To carry through this review, under its
different heads, I shall not hesitate to meet the objections urged
against it, so far at least as I am aware of them. As I speak to you
seriously, I venture to ask your serious attention even to the end.
Not easily can a public address reach that highest completeness which
is found in mingling the useful and the agreeable; but I desire to
say that it will be my effort to cultivate that highest courtesy of a
speaker which is found in clearness.


I begin with the NECESSITY of the Antislavery Enterprise. In the wrong
of Slavery, _as defined by existing law_, this necessity is plainly
apparent; nor can any man within the sound of my voice, who listens
to the authentic words of the law, hesitate in my conclusion. A wrong
so grievous and unquestionable should not be allowed to continue. For
the honor of human nature, and the good of all concerned, _it must at
once cease_. On this simple statement, as corner-stone, I found the
necessity of the Antislavery Enterprise.

I do not dwell, Sir, on the many tales which come from the house
of bondage: on the bitter sorrows undergone; on the flesh galled
by manacle, or spurting blood beneath the lash; on the human form
mutilated by knife, or seared by red-hot iron; on the ferocious scent
of bloodhounds in chase of human prey; on the sale of fathers and
mothers, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, little children,
even infants, at the auction block; on the practical prostration of all
rights, all ties, and even all hope; on the deadly injury to morals,
substituting concubinage for marriage, and changing the whole land of
Slavery into a by-word of shame, only fitly pictured by the language
of Dante, when he called his own degraded country a House of Ill
Fame;[2] and, last of all, on the pernicious influence upon master as
well as slave, showing itself too often, even by his own confession,
in rudeness of manners and character, and especially in that blindness
which renders him insensible to the wrongs he upholds. On these things
I do not dwell, although volumes are at hand of unquestionable fact,
and also of illustrative story so just and germane as to vie with fact,
out of which I might draw, until, like Macbeth, you had “supped full
with horrors.”

All these I put aside,--not because I do not regard them of moment
in exhibiting the true character of Slavery, but because I desire to
present this argument on grounds above all controversy, impeachment, or
suspicion, even from slave-masters themselves. Not on triumphant story,
not even on indisputable fact, do I now accuse Slavery, but on its
character, as revealed in its own simple definition of itself. Out of
its own mouth do I condemn it. By the _Law of Slavery_, man, created in
the image of God, is divested of the human character, and declared to
be a mere chattel. That this statement may not seem to be put forward
without precise authority, I quote the law of two different States. The
Civil Code of Louisiana thus defines a slave:--

    “A slave is one who is in the power of a master to whom he
    belongs. The master may sell him, dispose of his person, his
    industry, and his labor. He can do nothing, possess nothing,
    nor acquire anything but what must belong to his master.”[3]

The law of another polished Slave State gives this definition:--

    “Slaves shall be deemed, sold, taken, reputed, and adjudged in
    law to be _chattels personal_, in the hands of their owners and
    possessors, and their executors, administrators, and assigns,
    to all intents, constructions, and purposes whatsoever.”[4]

And a careful writer, Judge Stroud, in a work of juridical as well as
philanthropic merit, thus sums up the law:--

    “The cardinal principle of Slavery, that the slave is not to
    be ranked among _sentient beings_, but among _things_, is an
    article of property, a chattel personal, obtains as undoubted
    law in all of these [Slave] States.”[5]

Sir, this is enough. As out of its small egg crawls forth the slimy,
scaly, reptile crocodile, so out of this simple definition crawls
forth the whole slimy, scaly, reptile monstrosity by which a man is
changed into a chattel, a person is converted into a thing, a soul
is transmuted into merchandise. According to this very definition,
the slave is held simply for the good of his master, to whose behest
his life, liberty, and happiness are devoted, and by whom he may be
bartered, leased, mortgaged, bequeathed, invoiced, shipped as cargo,
stored as goods, sold on execution, knocked off at public auction, and
even staked at the gaming-table on the hazard of a card or die. The
slave may seem to have a wife; but he has not, for his wife belongs to
his master. He may seem to have a child; but he has not, for his child
is owned by his master. He may be filled with desire of knowledge,
opening to him the gates of joy on earth and in heaven; but the master
may impiously close all these gates. Thus is he robbed, not merely of
privileges, but of himself,--not merely of money and labor, but of
wife and children,--not merely of time and opportunity, but of every
assurance of happiness,--not merely of earthly hope, but of all those
divine aspirations that spring from the Fountain of Light. He is not
merely restricted in liberty, but totally deprived of it,--not merely
curtailed in rights, but absolutely stripped of them,--not merely
loaded with burdens, but changed into a beast of burden,--not merely
bent in countenance to the earth, but sunk in law to the level of a
quadruped,--not merely exposed to personal cruelty, but deprived of
his character as a person,--not merely compelled to involuntary labor,
but degraded to a rude thing,--not merely shut out from knowledge, but
wrested from his place in the human family. _And all this, Sir, is
according to the simple Law of Slavery._

And even this is not all. The law, by cumulative provisions,
positively forbids that a slave shall be taught to read. Hear this,
fellow-citizens, and confess that no barbarity of despotism, no
extravagance of tyranny, no excess of impiety can be more blasphemous
or deadly. “Train up a child in the way he should go” is the
lesson of Divine Wisdom; but the Law of Slavery boldly prohibits
any such training, and dooms the child to hopeless ignorance and
degradation. “Let there be light” was the Divine behest at the dawn
of Creation,--and this commandment, travelling with the ages and the
hours, still speaks with the voice of God; yet the Law of Slavery says,
“Let there be darkness.”

But it is earnestly averred that slave-masters are humane, and slaves
are treated with kindness. These averments, however, I properly
put aside, precisely as I have already put aside the multitudinous
illustrations from the cruelty of Slavery. On the simple _letter of the
law_ I take my stand, and do not go beyond what is there nominated.
The masses of men are not better than their laws, and, whatever may be
the eminence of individual virtue, it is not reasonable to infer that
the body of slave-masters is better than the Law of Slavery. And since
this law submits the slave to their irresponsible control, with power
to bind and to scourge, to shut the soul from knowledge, to separate
families, to unclasp the infant from a mother’s breast, and the wife
from a husband’s arms, it is natural to conclude that such enormities
are sanctioned by them, while the supplementary denial of instruction
gives conclusive evidence of their full complicity. And this conclusion
must exist unquestioned, just so long as the law exists unrepealed.
Cease, then, to blazon the humanity of slave-masters. Tell me not
of the lenity with which this cruel law is tempered to its unhappy
subjects. Tell me not of the sympathy which overflows from the mansion
of the master to the cabin of the slave. In vain you assert these
instances. In vain you show that there are individuals who do not exert
the wickedness of the law. The law still endures. Slavery, which it
defines and upholds, continues to outrage Public Opinion, and, within
the limits of our Republic, more than three millions of human beings,
guilty only of a skin not colored like your own, are left the victims
of its unrighteous, irresponsible power.

Power divorced from right is devilish; power without the check
of responsibility is tyrannical; and I need not go back to the
authority of Plato, when I assert that the most complete injustice
is that erected into the form of law. But all these things concur in
Slavery. It is, then, on the testimony of slave-masters, solemnly,
legislatively, judicially attested in the very law itself, that I now
arraign this institution as an outrage upon man and his Creator. And
herein is the necessity of the Antislavery Enterprise. A wrong so
transcendent, so loathsome, so direful, must be encountered, _wherever
it can be reached_; and the battle must be continued without truce or
compromise, until the field is entirely won. Freedom and Slavery can
hold no divided empire; nor can there be any true repose, until Freedom
is everywhere established.

       *       *       *       *       *

To the _necessity_ of the Antislavery Enterprise there are two, and
only two, main objections,--one founded on the alleged distinction of
race, and the other on the alleged sanction of Christianity. All other
objections are of inferior character, or are directed logically at its
_practicability_. Of these two main objections let me briefly speak.

       *       *       *       *       *

1. I begin with the alleged _distinction of race_. This objection
assumes two different forms,--one founded on a prophetic malediction in
the Old Testament, and the other on professed observations of recent
science. Its importance is apparent in the obvious fact, that, unless
such distinction be clearly and unmistakably established, every
argument by which our own freedom is vindicated, every applause awarded
to the successful rebellion of our fathers, every indignant word ever
hurled against the enslavement of white fellow-citizens by Algerine
corsairs, must plead trumpet-tongued against the deep damnation of
Slavery, black as well as white.

It is said that Africans are the posterity of Ham, son of Noah, through
Canaan cursed by Noah, to be the servant of his brethren, and that
this malediction has fallen upon all his descendants, including the
unhappy Africans,--who are accordingly devoted by God, through unending
generations, to unending bondage. Such is the favorite argument at
the South, and more than once directly addressed to myself. Here, for
instance, is a passage from a letter recently received. “You need not
persist,” says the writer, “in confounding Japheth’s children with
Ham’s, and making both races one, and arguing on their rights as those
of man broadly.” And I have been seriously assured, that, until this
objection is answered, it will be vain to press my views upon Congress
or the country. Listen now to the texts of the Old Testament which are
so strangely employed.

    “And he [Noah] said, Cursed be Canaan: a servant of servants
    shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the Lord
    God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge
    Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem, and Canaan
    shall be his servant.”[6]

That is all; and I need only read these words in order to expose the
whole--transpicuous humbug. I am tempted to add, that, to justify
this objection, it is necessary to maintain at least five different
propositions, as essential links in the chain of the African slave:
_first_, that by this malediction Canaan himself was actually changed
into a _chattel_,--whereas he is simply made the servant of his
brethren; _secondly_, that not merely Canaan, but all his posterity,
to the remotest generation, was so changed,--whereas the language has
no such extent; _thirdly_, that the African actually belongs to the
posterity of Canaan,--an ethnographical assumption absurdly difficult
to establish; _fourthly_, that each descendant of Shem and Japheth has
a right to hold an African fellow-man as chattel,--a proposition which
finds no semblance of support; and, _fifthly_, that every slave-master
is truly descended from Shem or Japheth,--a pedigree which no anxiety
or assurance can prove. This plain analysis, which may fitly excite
a smile, shows the fivefold absurdity of an attempt to found this
revolting wrong on any

        “successive title, long and dark,
    Drawn from the mouldy rolls of Noah’s ark.”[7]

The small bigotry which finds comfort in these texts has been
exalted lately by the voice of Science, undertaking to suggest that
the different races of men are not derived from a single pair, but
from several distinct stocks, according to their several distinct
characteristics; and it is haughtily argued, that the African is so far
inferior as to lose all title to that liberty which is the birthright
of the lordly white. Now I have neither time nor disposition, on
this occasion, to discuss the question of the unity of races; nor
is it necessary to my present purpose. It may be that the different
races of men proceeded from different stocks; but there is but _one_
great Human Family, in which Caucasian and African, Chinese and
Indian, are all brothers, children of _one_ Father, and heirs to
_one_ happiness,--alike on earth and in heaven. “Star-eyed Science”
cannot shake this everlasting truth. It may exhibit peculiarities in
the African, by which he is distinguishable from the Caucasian. In
his physical form and intellectual character it may presume to find
the stamp of permanent inferiority. But by no reach of learning, no
torture of fact, no effrontery of dogma, can any science show that he
is not _a man_. And as a man he stands before you an unquestionable
member of the Human Family, entitled to _all the rights of man_. You
can claim nothing for yourself, _as man_, which you must not accord to
him. _Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness_, which you proudly
declare to be your own inalienable, God-given rights, and to the
support of which your fathers pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred
honor, are his by the same immortal title that they are yours.

       *       *       *       *       *

2. From the objection founded on alleged distinction of race, I pass to
that other founded on alleged _sanction of Slavery by Christianity_.
Striving to be brief, I shall not undertake to reconcile texts often
quoted from the Old Testament, which, whatever their import, are
all absorbed in the New; nor shall I stop to consider the precise
interpretation of the familiar phrase, _Servants, obey your masters_,
nor seek to weigh any such imperfect injunction in the scales against
those grand commandments on which hang all the Law and the Prophets.
Surely, in the example and teachings of the Saviour, who lifted up
the down-trodden, who enjoined purity of life, and overflowed with
tenderness even to little children, human ingenuity can find no apology
for an institution which tramples on man, which defiles woman, and
sweeps little children beneath the hammer of the auctioneer. If to
any one these things seem to have the license of Christianity, it is
only because they have first secured a license in his own soul. Men are
prone in uncertain, disconnected texts to find confirmation of their
own personal prejudices or prepossessions. And I--who am no theologian,
but only a simple layman--make bold to say, that whoever finds in the
Gospel any sanction of Slavery finds there merely a reflection of
himself. On a matter so irresistibly clear authority is superfluous;
but an eminent character, who as poet makes us forget his high place
as philosopher, and as philosopher makes us forget his high place as
theologian, exposes the essential antagonism between Christianity
and Slavery in a few pregnant words, which, by recalling the spirit
of our Faith, are more satisfactory than whole volumes of ingenious
discussion. “By a principle essential to Christianity,” says Coleridge,
“a _person_ is eternally differenced from a _thing_; so that _the idea
of a Human Being necessarily excludes the idea of property in that

With regret, though not with astonishment, I learn that a Boston divine
has sought to throw the seamless garment of Christ over this shocking
wrong. But I am patient, and see clearly how vain is his effort, when I
call to mind, that, within this very century, other divines in another
country sought to throw the same sacred vesture over the more shocking
slave-trade,--and that, among many publications, a little book was then
put forth by a reverend clergyman, with the title, “The African Trade
for Negro Slaves shewn to be consistent with Principles of Humanity and
with the Laws of Revealed Religion.”[9] Thinking of these things, I am
ready to say, with Shakespeare,--

                        “In religion,
    What damnèd error, but some sober brow
    Will bless it, and approve it with a text?”

In support of Slavery, it is the habit to pervert texts and to invent
authority. Even St. Paul is vouched for a wrong which his Christian
life rebukes. Much stress is now laid on his example, as it appears
in the Epistle to Philemon, written at Rome, and sent by Onesimus, a
servant. From the single chapter constituting the entire epistle I take
the following ten verses, most strangely invoked for Slavery.

    “_I beseech thee for my son Onesimus_, whom I have begotten
    in my bonds; which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but
    now profitable to thee and to me; whom I have sent again.
    Thou, therefore, receive him, that is, mine own bowels: whom I
    would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have
    ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel; but without thy
    mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it
    were of necessity, but willingly. For perhaps he therefore
    departed for a season that thou shouldest receive him forever;
    _not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved_,
    specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh
    and in the Lord! _If thou count me, therefore, a partner,
    receive him as myself._ If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee
    aught, put that on mine account: I Paul have written it with
    mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do not say to thee how
    thou owest unto me even thine own self besides.”[10]

Out of this affectionate epistle, where St. Paul calls the converted
servant, Onesimus, his _son_, precisely as in another epistle he
calls Timothy his son, Slavery is elaborately vindicated, and the
great Apostle to the Gentiles made the very tutelary saint of the
Slave-Hunter. Now, without invoking his real judgment of Slavery from
his condemnation on another occasion of “men-stealers,” or what I
prefer to call _slave-hunters_, in company with “murderers of fathers
and murderers of mothers,” and without undertaking to show that the
present epistle, when truly interpreted, is a protest against Slavery
and a voice for Freedom,--all of which might be done,--I content myself
with calling attention to two things, apparent on its face, and in
themselves an all-sufficient response. _First_, while it appears that
Onesimus had been in some way the servant of Philemon, it does not
appear that he was ever held as _chattel_; and how gross and monstrous
is the effort to derive such a wrong out of words, whether in the
Constitution of our country or in the Bible, which do not explicitly,
unequivocally, and exclusively define this wrong! _Secondly_, in
charging Onesimus with this epistle to Philemon, the Apostle recommends
him as “not now a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved,”
and he enjoins upon his correspondent the hospitality due to a freeman,
saying expressly, “If thou count me, therefore, a partner, _receive
him as myself_”: ay, Sir, not as slave, not even as servant, but as
brother beloved, even as the Apostle himself. Thus, with apostolic pen,
wrote Paul to his disciple, Philemon. In these words of gentleness,
benediction, and equal rights, dropping with celestial, soul-awakening
power, there can be no justification for a conspiracy, which, beginning
with the treachery of Iscariot and the temptation of pieces of silver,
seeks, by fraud, brutality, and violence, through officers of the law
armed to the teeth, like pirates, and amidst soldiers who degrade
their uniform, to hurl a fellow-man back into the lash-resounding den
of American Slavery; and when any one thus perverts this beneficent
example, allow me to say that he gives too much occasion to doubt his
intelligence or his sincerity.

Certainly I am right in stripping from Slavery the apology of
Christianity, which it has tenaciously hugged; and here I leave the
first part of my subject, asserting, against every objection, the
Necessity of our Enterprise.


I am now brought, in the _second_ place, to the PRACTICABILITY of the
Enterprise. And here the way is easy. In showing its necessity, I have
already demonstrated its practicability; for the former includes the
latter, as the greater includes the less. Whatever is necessary must be
practicable. By a decree which is a proverb of tyranny, the Israelites
were compelled to make bricks without straw; but it is not according
to the ways of a benevolent Providence that man should be constrained
to do what cannot be done. Besides, the Antislavery Enterprise is
right; and the right is always practicable.

I know well the little faith of the world in the triumph of principles,
and I readily imagine the despair with which our object is regarded;
but not on this account am I disheartened. That exuberant writer,
Sir Thomas Browne, breaks into ecstatic wish for some new difficulty
in Christian belief, that his faith may have a new victory; and an
eminent enthusiast went so far as to say, “I believe because it is
impossible,”--_Credo quia impossibile_. No such exalted faith is now
required. Here is no impossibility; nor is there any difficulty which
will not yield to faithful, well-directed endeavor. If to any timid
soul the Enterprise seems impossible because it is too beautiful, then
do I say at once that it is too beautiful not to be possible.

Descending from these summits, let me show plainly the object it
seeks to accomplish; and here you will see and confess its complete
practicability. While discountenancing all prejudice of color and
every establishment of caste, the Antislavery Enterprise--at least so
far as I may speak for it--does not undertake to change human nature,
or to force any individual into relations of life for which he is not
morally, intellectually, and socially adapted; nor does it necessarily
assume that a race, degraded for long generations under the iron
heel of bondage, can be taught at once all the political duties of
an American citizen. But, Sir, it does confidently assume, against
all question, contradiction, or assault whatever, _that every man is
entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and, with
equal confidence, it asserts that every individual who wears the human
form, whether black or white, should be recognized at once as man_.
When this is done, I know not what other trials may be in wait for the
unhappy African; but this I do know, that the Antislavery Enterprise
will then have triumphed, and the institution of Slavery, _as defined
by existing law_, will no longer shock mankind.

In this work, the first essential, practical requisite is, that
the question shall be openly and frankly confronted. Do not put it
aside. Do not blink it out of sight. Do not dodge it. Approach it.
Study it. Ponder it. Deal with it. Let it rest in the illumination of
speech, conversation, and the press. Let it fill the thoughts of the
statesman and the prayers of the pulpit. When Slavery is thus regarded,
its true character will be recognized, _as a hateful assemblage of
unquestionable wrongs under sanction of existing law_, and good men
will be moved to apply the remedy. Already even its zealots admit that
its “abuses” should be removed. This is their word, not mine. Alas!
alas! Sir, it is these very “abuses” that constitute its component
parts, without which it would not exist,--even as the scourges in a
bundle with the axe constituted the dread fasces of the Roman lictor.
Take away these, and the whole embodied outrage disappears. Surely
that central assumption--more deadly than axe itself--by which man is
changed into a chattel, may be abandoned; and is not this practicable?
The associate scourges by which that transcendent “abuse” is surrounded
may, one by one, be subtracted. The “abuse” which substitutes
concubinage for marriage, the “abuse” which annuls the parental
relation, the “abuse” which closes the portals of knowledge, the
“abuse” which tyrannically usurps all the labor of another, now upheld
by positive law, may by positive law be abolished. To say that this is
not practicable, in the nineteenth century, is a scandal upon mankind,
and just in proportion as these “abuses” cease to have the sanction
of law will the institution of Slavery cease to exist. The African,
whatever may be then his condition, will no longer be the _slave_ over
whose wrongs and sorrows the world throbs at times fiercely indignant,
and at times painfully sad, while with outstretched arms he sends forth
the piteous cry, “Am I not a man and a brother?”

In pressing forward to this result, the inquiry is often presented, To
what extent, if any, shall compensation be allowed to slave-masters?
Clearly, if the point be determined by _absolute justice_, not the
masters, but the slaves, are entitled to compensation; for it is
the slaves who, throughout weary generations, have been deprived of
the fruits of their toil, all constantly enriching their masters.
Besides, it seems hardly reasonable to pay for the relinquishment
of disgusting “abuses,” which, in their aggregation, constitute the
bundle of Slavery. Pray, Sir, by what tariff, price-current, or
principle of equation, shall their several values be estimated? What
sum shall be counted out as the proper price for the abandonment of
that pretension--more indecent than the _jus primæ noctis_ of the
feudal age--which leaves woman, whether in the arms of master or slave,
always a concubine? What bribe shall be proffered for restoration of
God-given paternal rights? What money shall be paid for taking off the
padlock by which souls are fastened down in darkness? How much for a
quit-claim to labor now meanly exacted by the strong from the weak?
And what compensation shall be awarded for the egregious assumption,
condemned by reason and abhorred by piety, which changes man into a
thing? I put these questions without undertaking to pass upon them.
Shrinking instinctively from any recognition of _rights founded
on wrongs_, I find myself shrinking also from any austere verdict
which shall deny any means necessary to the great consummation. Our
fathers, under Washington, did not hesitate, by Act of Congress, to
appropriate largely for the ransom of white fellow-citizens enslaved
by Algerine corsairs; and, following this example, I am disposed to
consider the question of compensation as one of expediency, to be
determined by the exigency of the hour and the constitutional powers
of the Government,--though such is my desire to see the disappearance
of Slavery, that I could not hesitate to build a Bridge of Gold, if
necessary, for the retreating fiend.

The _Practicability_ of the Antislavery Enterprise is constantly
questioned, often so superficially as to be answered at once. I shall
not take time to consider the allegation, founded on assumptions
of economy, which audaciously assumes that Slave Labor is more
advantageous than Free Labor, that Slavery is more profitable
than Freedom, for this is all exploded by official tables of the
census,--nor that other futile argument, that the slaves are not
prepared for Freedom, and therefore should not be precipitated into
this condition, for this is no better than the ancient Greek folly,
where the anxious mother would not allow her son to enter the water
until he had learned to swim.

       *       *       *       *       *

As against the Necessity of the Antislavery Enterprise there were
two chief objections, so also against its Practicability there are
two,--the first founded on alleged danger to the master, and the second
on alleged damage to the slave himself.

       *       *       *       *       *

1. The first objection, founded on alleged _danger to the master_,
most generally takes the extravagant form, that the slave, if released
from his present condition, would “cut his master’s throat.” Here is
a blatant paradox, which can pass for reason only among those who
have lost their reason. With absurdity having no parallel except in
the defences of Slavery, it assumes that the African, when treated
justly, will show a vindictiveness he does not exhibit when treated
unjustly,--that, when elevated by the blessings of Freedom, he will
develop an appetite for blood never manifested when crushed by the
curse of bondage. At present, the slave sees his wife ravished from
his arms,--sees his infant swept away to the auction-block,--sees the
heavenly gates of knowledge shut upon him,--sees his industry and
all its fruits unjustly snatched by another,--sees himself and his
offspring doomed to servitude from which there is no redemption; and
still his master sleeps secure. Will the master sleep less secure when
the slave no longer smarts under these revolting atrocities? I will
not trifle with your intelligence, or with the quick-passing hour, by
arguing this question.

There is a lofty example, brightening the historic page, by which the
seal of experience is affixed to the conclusion of reason; and you
would hardly pardon me, if I failed to adduce it. By a single Act of
Parliament the slaves of the British West Indies were changed at once
to freedmen; and this great transition was accomplished absolutely
without personal danger of any kind to the master. And yet the chance
of danger there was greater far than among us. In our broad country
the slaves are overshadowed by a more than sixfold white population.
Only in two States, South Carolina and Mississippi, do the slaves
outnumber the whites, and there not greatly, while in the entire Slave
States the whites outnumber the slaves by millions. It was otherwise
in the British West Indies, where the whites were overshadowed by
a more than sixfold population. The slaves were 800,000, while the
whites numbered only 131,000, distributed in different proportions
on the different islands. And this disproportion has since increased
rather than diminished, always without danger to the whites. In
Jamaica, the largest of these possessions, there are now upwards of
400,000 Africans, and only 15,000 whites; in Barbadoes, the next
largest, 120,000 Africans, and only 16,000 whites; in St. Lucia, 24,000
Africans, and only 900 whites; in Tobago, 14,000 Africans, and only 160
whites; in Montserrat, 7,000 Africans, and only 150 whites; and in the
Grenadines, upwards of 6,000 Africans, and only about 60 whites.[11]
And yet the authorities in all these places attest the good behavior
of the Africans. Sir Lionel Smith, Governor of Jamaica, in a speech to
the Assembly, declares that their conduct “amply proves how well they
have deserved the boon of Freedom”;[12] the Governor of the Leeward
Islands dwells on “the peculiarly rare instances of the commission
of grave or sanguinary crimes amongst the emancipated population of
these islands”;[13] and the Queen of England, in a speech from the
throne, has announced that the complete and final emancipation of the
Africans had “taken place without any disturbance of public order and
tranquillity.”[14] In this example I find new confirmation of the rule,
that the highest safety is in doing right; and thus do I dismiss the
objection founded on alleged danger to the master.

       *       *       *       *       *

2. I am now brought to the second objection, founded on alleged _damage
to the slave_. It is common among partisans of Slavery to assert that
our Enterprise has actually retarded the cause it seeks to promote; and
this paradoxical accusation, which might naturally show itself among
the rank weeds of the South, is cherished here on our Northern soil
among those who look for any fig-leaf with which to cover indifference
or tergiversation.

This peculiar form of complaint is an old device, instinctively
employed on other occasions, until it ceases to be even plausible.
Thus, throughout all time, has every good cause been encountered. The
Saviour was nailed to the cross with a crown of thorns on his head,
as a disturber of that peace on earth which he came to declare. The
Disciples, while preaching the Gospel of forgiveness and good-will,
were stoned as preachers of sedition and discord. The Reformers, who
sought to establish a higher piety and faith, were burnt at the stake
as blasphemers and infidels. Patriots, in all ages, striving for their
country’s good, have been doomed to the scaffold or to exile, even
as their country’s enemies. Those brave Englishmen, who, at home,
under the lead of Edmund Burke, espoused the cause of our fathers,
shared the same illogical impeachment, which was touched to the quick
by that orator statesman, when, after exposing its essential vice, in
“attributing the ill effect of ill-judged conduct to the arguments
which had been used to dissuade us from it,” he denounced it as
“absurd, but very common in modern practice, and very wicked.”[15] Ay,
Sir, it is common in modern practice. In England it has vainly renewed
itself with special frequency against Bible Societies,--against the
friends of education,--against the patrons of vaccination,--against
the partisans of peace,--all of whom have been openly arraigned as
provoking and increasing the very evils, whether of infidelity,
ignorance, disease, or war, which they benignly seek to check. To
bring an instance precisely applicable to our own,--Wilberforce, when
conducting the Antislavery Enterprise of England, first against the
Slave-Trade, and then against Slavery itself, was told that those
efforts, by which his name is now consecrated forevermore, tended to
increase the hardships of the slave, even to the extent of riveting
anew his chains. Such are precedents for the imputation to which our
Enterprise is exposed; and such, also, are precedents by which I
exhibit the fallacy of the imputation.

Sir, I do not doubt that the Enterprise produces heat and irritation,
amounting often to inflammation, among slave-masters, which to
superficial minds seems inconsistent with success, but which the
careful observer will recognize at once as the natural and not
unhealthy effort of a diseased body to purge itself of existing
impurities; and just in proportion to the malignity of the concealed
poison will be the extent of inflammation. A distemper like Slavery
cannot be ejected like a splinter. It is too much to expect that men
thus tortured should reason calmly, that patients thus suffering should
comprehend the true nature of their case and kindly acknowledge the
beneficent cure; but not on this account can it be suspended. Nor,
when we consider the character of Slavery, can it be expected that men
who sustain it will be tranquil. Conscience has its voice, and will be
heard in awful warning hurrying to and fro in the midnight hour. Its
outcry is more natural than silence.

In the face of this complaint, I assert that the Antislavery Enterprise
has already accomplished incalculable good. Even now it sweeps the
national heart, compelling it to emotions of transforming power. All
are touched,--the young, the middle-aged, the old. There is a new glow
at the household hearth. Mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters are
aroused to take part in the great battle. There is a new aspiration for
justice on earth, awakening not merely a sentiment against Slavery,
such as prevailed with our fathers, but a deep, undying conviction of
its wrong, and a determination to leave no effort unattempted for its
removal. With the sympathies of all Christendom as allies, already it
encompasses the slave-masters by a _moral blockade_, invisible to the
eye, but more potent than navies, from which there can be no escape
except in final capitulation. Thus it has created the irresistible
influence which itself constitutes the beginning of success.

Already are signs of change. In common speech, as well as in writing,
among slave-masters, the bondman is no longer called _slave_, but
_servant_,--thus, by soft substitution, concealing and condemning the
true relation. Newspapers, even in the land of bondage, blush at the
hunt of men by bloodhounds,--thus protesting against an unquestionable
incident of Slavery. Other signs appear in the added comfort of the
slave,--in the enlarged attention to his wants,--in the experiments
now beginning, by which the slave is enabled to share in the profits
of his labor, and thus finally secure his freedom,--and, above all, in
the consciousness among slave-masters that they dwell now, as never
before, under the keen observation of an ever-wakeful Public Opinion,
quickened by an ever-wakeful Public Press. Nor is this all. Only lately
propositions were introduced into the Legislatures of different States,
and countenanced by Governors, to mitigate the existing Law of Slavery;
and almost while speaking, I have received drafts of two different
memorials, one to the Legislature of Virginia, and the other to that
of North Carolina, asking for the slave three things, which it will be
monstrous to refuse, but which, if conceded, will take from Slavery its
existing character: I mean, _first_, the protection of the marriage
relation; _secondly_, the protection of the parental relation; and,
_thirdly_, the privilege of knowledge. Grant these, and the girdled
Upas tree soon must die. Sir, amidst these tokens of present success,
and the auguries of the future, I am not disturbed by complaints of
seeming damage. “Though it consume our own dwelling, who does not
venerate fire, without which human life can hardly exist on earth?”
says the Hindoo proverb; and the time is even now at hand, when the
Antislavery Enterprise, which is the very fire of Freedom, with all its
incidental excesses and excitements, will be hailed with similar regard.


It remains to show, in the _third_ place, that the Antislavery
Enterprise, which stands before you at once necessary and practicable,
is commended by inherent DIGNITY. Here reasons are obvious and

Its object is benevolent; nor is there in the dreary annals of the
Past a single enterprise more clearly and indisputably entitled to
this character. With unsurpassed and touching magnanimity, it seeks to
benefit the lowly whom your eyes have not seen, and who are ignorant
even of your labors, while it demands and receives a self-sacrifice
calculated to ennoble an enterprise of even questionable merit. Its
true rank is among works properly called _philanthropic_,--the title
of highest honor on earth. “I take goodness in this sense,” says Lord
Bacon in his Essays, “_the affecting of the weal of men_, which is that
the Grecians call Philanthropia, … of all virtues and dignities of
the mind the greatest, being the character of the Deity; and without
it, man is a busy, mischievous, wretched thing, no better than a
kind of vermin.”[16] Lord Bacon was right, and perhaps unconsciously
followed a higher authority; for, when Moses asked the Lord to show
him his glory, the Lord said, “I will make all my goodness pass before
thee.”[17] Ah! Sir, Peace has trophies fairer and more perennial than
any snatched from fields of blood, but, among all these, the fairest
and most perennial are the trophies of beneficence. Scholarship,
literature, jurisprudence, art, may wear their well-deserved honors;
but an enterprise of goodness deserves, and will yet receive, a higher
palm than these.

In other aspects its dignity is apparent. It concerns the cause of
Human Freedom, which from earliest days has been the darling of
History. By all the memories of the Past, by the stories of childhood
and the studies of youth, by every example of magnanimous virtue, by
every aspiration for the good and true, by the fame of martyrs swelling
through all time, by the renown of patriots whose lives are landmarks
of progress, by the praise lavished upon our fathers, are you summoned
to this work. Unless Freedom be an illusion, and Benevolence an error,
you cannot resist the appeal. Who can doubt that our cause is nobler
even than that of our fathers? for is it not more exalted to struggle
for the freedom of _others_ than for our _own_?

Its practical importance at this moment gives to it additional
eminence. Whether measured by the number of beings it seeks to benefit,
by the magnitude of the wrongs it hopes to relieve, by the difficulties
with which it is beset, by the political relations which it affects,
or by the ability and character it enlists, the cause of the slave now
assumes proportions of grandeur which dwarf all other interests in our
broad country. In its presence the machinations of politicians, the
aspirations of office-seekers, and the subterfuges of party, all sink
below even their ordinary insignificance. For myself, Sir, I see among
us at this time little else by which an honest man, wishing to leave
the world better than he found it, can be tempted out upon the exposed
steeps of public life. I see little else which can afford any of those
satisfactions an honest man should covet. Nor is there any cause so
surely promising final success:--

    “Oh! a fair cause stands firm and will abide;
    Legions of angels fight upon her side!”[18]

It is written that in the last days there shall be scoffers, and
even this Enterprise, thus philanthropic, does not escape their
aspersions. As the objections to its Necessity were twofold, and the
objections to its Practicability twofold, so also are the aspersions
twofold,--_first_, in the form of hard words, and, _secondly_, by
personal disparagement of those engaged in it.

       *       *       *       *       *

1. The _hard words_ are manifold as the passions and prejudices of
men; but they generally end in the imputation of “fanaticism.” In such
a cause I am willing to be called “fanatic,” or what you will; I care
not for aspersions, nor shall I shrink before hard words, either here
or elsewhere. They do not hurt. “My dear Doctor,” said Johnson to
Goldsmith, “what harm does it do any man to call him Holofernes?” From
that great Englishman, Oliver Cromwell, I have learned that one cannot
be trusted “who is afraid of a paper pellet”; and I am too familiar
with history not to know that every movement for reform, in Church
or State, every endeavor for Human Liberty or Human Rights, has been
thus assailed. I do not forget with what facility and frequency hard
words are employed: how that grandest character of many generations,
the precursor of our own Washington, without whose example our
Republic might have failed, the great William, Prince of Orange,
founder of the Dutch Republic, the United States of Holland,--I do
not forget how he was publicly branded as “a perjurer and a pest of
society”; and, not to dwell on general instances, how the enterprise
for the abolition of the slave-trade was characterized on the floor of
Parliament, by one eminent speaker as “mischievous,” and by another
as “visionary and delusive”; and how the exalted characters which it
enlisted were arraigned by still another eminent speaker,--none other
than that Tarleton, so conspicuous as commander of the British horse
in the Southern campaigns of our Revolution, but more conspicuous in
politics at home,--“as a junto of sectaries, sophists, enthusiasts,
and fanatics”; and yet again were arraigned by no less a person than
a prince of the blood, the Duke of Clarence, afterwards William the
Fourth of England, as “either fanatics or hypocrites,” in one of which
categories he openly placed William Wilberforce.[19] Impartial History,
with immortal pen, has redressed these impassioned judgments; nor has
the voice of the poet been wanting:--

    “Thy country, Wilberforce, with just disdain,
    Hears thee by cruel men and impious called
    Fanatic, for thy zeal to loose the inthralled
    From exile, public sale, and slavery’s chain.”[20]

But the same impartial History will yet re-judge the impassioned
judgments of this hour.

       *       *       *       *       *

2. Hard words have been followed by _personal disparagement_, and the
sneer is often raised that our Enterprise lacks the authority of names
eminent in Church and State. If this be so, the more is the pity on
their account; for our cause is needful to them more than they are
needful to our cause. Alas! it is only according to example of history
that it should be so. It is not the eminent in Church and State, the
rich and powerful, the favorites of fortune and of place, who most
promptly welcome Truth, when she heralds change in the existing order
of things. It is others in poorer condition who open hospitable hearts
to the unattended stranger. This is a sad story, beginning with the
Saviour, whose disciples were fishermen, and ending only in our own
day. Each generation has its instances. But the cause cannot be judged
by any such indifference. Strong in essential truth, it awaits the day,
surely at hand, when all will flock to its support. As the rights of
man are at last recognized, the scoffers, now so heartless, will forget
to scoff.

       *       *       *       *       *

And now, Sir, I present to you the Antislavery Enterprise vindicated,
in Necessity, Practicability, and Dignity, against all objection. If
there be any which I have not answered, it is because I am not aware of
its existence. It remains that I should give a practical conclusion to
this whole matter, by showing, though in glimpses only, your SPECIAL
DUTIES AS FREEMEN OF THE NORTH. And, thank God! at last there is a

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. President, it is not uncommon to hear persons among us at the North
confess the wrong of Slavery, and then, folding the hands in absolute
listlessness, ejaculate, “What can we do about it?” Such we encounter
daily. You all know them. Among them are men in every department of
human activity,--who perpetually buy, build, and plan,--who shrink
from no labor,--who are daunted by no peril of commercial adventure,
by no hardihood of industrial enterprise,--who, reaching in their
undertakings across ocean and continent, would promise to “put a girdle
round about the earth in forty minutes”; and yet, disheartened, they
can join in no effort against Slavery. Others there are, especially
among the youthful and enthusiastic, who vainly sigh because they
were not born in the age of Chivalry, or at least in the days of the
Revolution, not thinking that in this Enterprise there is opportunity
for lofty endeavor such as no Paladin of Chivalry or chief of the
Revolution enjoyed. Others there are who freely bestow means and
time upon distant, inaccessible heathen of another hemisphere, in
islands of the sea; and yet they can do nothing to mitigate our graver
heathenism here at home. While confessing that it ought to disappear
from the earth, they forego, renounce, and abandon all effort to this
end. Others there are still (such is human inconsistency!) who plant
the tree in whose full-grown shade they can never expect to sit,--who
hopefully drop the acorn in the earth, trusting that the oak which
it sends upward to the skies will shelter their children beneath its
shade; but they do nothing to plant or nurture the great tree of
Liberty, that it may shield with its arms unborn generations of men.

Others still there are, particularly in large cities, who content
themselves with occasional contribution to the redemption of a slave.
To this object they give out of ample riches, and thus seek to silence
the monitions of conscience. I would not discountenance any activity
by which Human Freedom, even in a single case, may be secured; but I
desire to say that such an act--too often accompanied by pharisaical
pretension, in contrast with the petty performance--cannot be
considered essential aid to the Antislavery Enterprise. Not in this
way can impression be made on an evil so vast as Slavery,--so widely
scattered, and so exhaustless in its unnatural supply. The god Thor,
of Scandinavian mythology, whose power surpassed that of Hercules, was
once challenged to drain dry a simple cup. He applied it to his lips,
and with superhuman capacity drank, but the water did not recede even
from the rim, and at last the god abandoned the trial. The failure of
even his extraordinary prowess was explained, when he learned that the
cup communicated, by invisible connection, with the whole vast ocean
behind, out of which it was perpetually supplied, and which remained
absolutely unaffected by the effort. And just so will these occasions
of charity, though encountered by the largest private means, be
constantly renewed; for they communicate with the whole Black Sea of
Slavery behind, out of which they are perpetually supplied, and which
remains absolutely unaffected by the effort. Sir, private means may
cope with individual necessities, but they are powerless to redress the
evils of a wicked institution. Charity is limited and local; the evils
of Slavery are infinite and everywhere. Besides, a wrong organized and
upheld by law can be removed only through change of the law. Not, then,
by occasional contribution to ransom a slave can your duty be done in
this great cause, but only by earnest, constant, valiant effort against
the institution, against the law, which makes slaves.

I am not insensible to the difficulties of this work. Full well I know
the power of Slavery. Full well I know all its various intrenchments in
the Church, the politics, and the prejudices of the country. Full well
I know the wakeful interests of property, amounting to many hundred
millions of dollars, which are said to be at stake. But these things
can furnish no motive or apology for indifference, or any folding
of the hands. Surely the wrong is not less wrong because gigantic;
the evil is not less evil because immeasurable; nor can the duty of
perpetual warfare with wrong and evil be in this instance suspended.
Nay, because Slavery is powerful, because the Enterprise is difficult,
therefore is the duty of all more exigent. The well-tempered soul does
not yield to difficulties, but presses _onward forever_ with increased

But the question recurs, so often pressed in argument, or in taunt,
_What have we at the North to do with Slavery?_ In answer, I might
content myself by saying, that, as members of the human family, bound
together by cords of common manhood, there is no human wrong to which
we can be insensible, nor is there any human sorrow which we should
not seek to relieve; but I prefer to say, on this occasion, that, as
citizens of the United States, anxious for the good name, the repose,
and the prosperity of the Republic, that it may be a blessing and not a
curse to mankind, there is nothing among all its diversified interests,
under the National Constitution, with which, at this moment, we have
so much to do; nor is there anything with regard to which our duties
are so irresistibly clear. I do not dwell on the scandal of Slavery
in the national capital, of Slavery in the national territories,
of the coastwise slave-trade on the high seas beneath the national
flag,--all of which are outside State limits, and within the exclusive
jurisdiction of Congress, where you and I, Sir, and every freeman of
the North, are compelled to share the giant sin and help to bind its
chain. To dislodge Slavery from these usurped footholds, and thus at
once relieve ourselves from grievous responsibility, and begin the
great work of Emancipation, were an object worthy an exalted ambition.
But before even this can be commenced, there is a great work, more
than any other important and urgent, which must be consummated in
the domain of national politics, and also here at home in the Free
States. The National Government itself must be emancipated, so that
it shall no longer wear the yoke of servitude; and Slavery in all its
pretensions must be dislodged from a usurped foothold in the Free
States themselves, thus relieving ourselves from serious responsibility
at our own door, and emancipating the North. Emancipation, even within
the national jurisdiction, can be achieved only through emancipation
of the Free States, accompanied by complete emancipation of the
National Government. Ay, Sir, emancipation at the South can be reached
only through emancipation of the North. And this is my answer to the
interrogatory, What have we at the North to do with Slavery?

But the answer may be made yet more irresistible, while, with mingled
sorrow and shame, I portray the tyrannical power which holds us in
thraldom. Notwithstanding all its excess of numbers, wealth, and
intelligence, the North is now the vassal of an OLIGARCHY, whose single
inspiration comes from Slavery. According to official tables of our
recent census, the slave-masters, all told, are only THREE HUNDRED AND
small company now dominates over the Republic, determines its national
policy, disposes of its offices, and sways all to its absolute will.
With a watchfulness that never sleeps and an activity that never tires,
the SLAVE OLIGARCHY asserts its perpetual and insatiate masterdom,--now
seizing a broad territory once covered by a time-honored ordinance of
Freedom,--now threatening to wrest Cuba from Spain by violent war,
or hardly less violent purchase,--now hankering for another slice of
Mexico, merely to find new scope for Slavery,--now proposing once more
to open the hideous, Heaven-defying Slave-Trade, thus replenishing its
shambles with human flesh,--and now, by the lips of an eminent Senator,
asserting an audacious claim to the whole group of the West Indies,
whether held by Holland, Spain, France, or England, as “our Southern
islands,”[22] while it assails the independence of Hayti, and extends
its treacherous ambition even to the distant valley of the Amazon.

For all this tyranny there must be tools, and these are found through
a new test for office, where Slavery is the shibboleth. Nobody,
throughout this Republic, who cannot repeat the hateful word, is
taken,--nobody, unless faithful to Slavery, is accepted for any post
under the National Government. Yes, let it be proclaimed, that now
at last, not honesty, not capacity, not fidelity to the Constitution
is the test for office, but unhesitating support of Slavery. This is
fidelity, this is loyalty, according to the new dispensation. And thus
the strength of the whole people is transfused into this oligarchy.
The Constitution, the flag itself, and everything we call our own, is
degraded to this wicked rule.

And this giant strength is used with giant heartlessness. By cruel
enactment, which has no source in the Constitution, which defies
justice, tramples on humanity, and rebels against God, the Free States
are made the hunting-ground for slaves, and you and I and all good
citizens are pressed to join in the loathsome and abhorred work. Your
hearts and judgments, swift to feel and to condemn, will not require
me to expose here the abomination of the Fugitive Slave Bill, or
its unconstitutionality. Elsewhere I have done this, and never been
answered. Nor will you expect that an enactment so entirely devoid of
all just sanction should be called by the sacred name of _law_. History
still repeats the language in which our fathers persevered, when they
denounced the last emanation of British tyranny which heralded the
Revolution, as the Boston Port _Bill_; and I am content with this
precedent. I have said, that, if any man finds in the Gospel any
support of Slavery, it is because Slavery is already in himself; so
do I now say, if any man finds in the Constitution of our country any
support of the Fugitive Slave Bill, it is because that bill is already
in himself. One of our ancient masters--Aristotle, I think--tells us
that every man has a beast in his bosom; but the Northern citizen who
has the Fugitive Slave Bill there has worse than a beast,--a devil!
And yet in this bill, more even than in the ostracism at which you
rebel, does the Slave Oligarchy stand confessed,--heartless, grasping,
tyrannical,--careless of humanity, right, or the Constitution,--whose
foundation is a coalition of wrong-doers, without even the semblance
of decency,--while it degrades the Free States to the condition of a
slave plantation, under the lash of a vulgar, despised, and revolting

Surely, fellow-citizens, without hesitation or postponement, you
will insist that this Oligarchy shall be overthrown; and here is the
foremost among the special duties of the North, now required for the
honor of the Republic, for our own defence, and in obedience to God.

In urging this comprehensive duty, I ought to have hours rather than
minutes; but in a few words you shall see its comprehensive importance.
With the disappearance of the Slave Oligarchy, the wickedness of the
Fugitive Slave Bill will drop from the statute-book,--Slavery will
cease at the national capital,--Freedom will become the universal law
of the national territory,--the Slave-Trade will no longer skulk along
our coast beneath the national flag,--the Slave-marriage of the nation
will be dissolved,--the rule of our country will be Freedom instead of
Slavery,--the North will no longer be trampled on by the South,--the
North will at last be allowed its just proportion of office and honor.
Let all this be done, and much more will follow. With the disappearance
of the Slave Oligarchy, you will possess the master-key to unlock the
whole house of bondage. Oh, Sir! prostrate the Slave Oligarchy, and the
gates of Emancipation will be open at the South.

Without waiting for this consummation, there is another special duty
here at home, on our own soil, which must be made free in reality,
as in name. And here I shall speak frankly, though not without a
proper sense of the responsibility of my words. I know that I cannot
address you entirely as a private citizen; but I shall say nothing
here which I have not said elsewhere, and which I shall not be proud
to vindicate everywhere. “A lie,” it has been declared, “should be
trampled out and extinguished forever”; and surely you will do nothing
less with a tyrannical and wicked enactment. The Fugitive Slave Bill,
while it continues unrepealed, must be made a dead letter,--not by
violence, not by any unconstitutional activity or intervention, not
even by hasty conflict between jurisdictions,--but by an aroused Public
Opinion, which, in its irresistible might, shall blast with contempt,
indignation, and abhorrence all who consent to be its agents. Thus did
our fathers blast all who became agents of the Stamp Act; and surely
their motive was small, compared with ours. The Slave-Hunter who
drags his victim from Africa is loathed as a monster; but I defy any
acuteness of reason to indicate the moral difference between his act
and that of the Slave-Hunter who drags his victim from our Northern
free soil. A few puny persons, calling themselves Congress, with
titles of Representatives and Senators, cannot turn wrong into right,
cannot change a man into a thing, cannot reverse the irreversible
law of God, cannot make him wicked who hunts a slave on the burning
sands of Congo or Guinea, and make him virtuous who hunts a slave over
the pavements of Boston or New York. Nor can any acuteness of reason
distinguish between the original bill of sale from the kidnapper, by
which the unhappy African was transferred in Congo or Guinea, and the
certificate of the Commissioner, by which, when once again in Freedom,
he is reduced anew to bondage. The acts are kindred, and should share a
kindred condemnation.

One man’s virtue becomes a standard of excellence for all; and there
is now in Boston a simple citizen whose example may be a lesson
to Commissioners, Marshals, Magistrates, while it fills all with
the beauty of a generous act. I refer to Mr. Hayes, who resigned
his place in the city police rather than take part in the pack of
the Slave-Hunter. He is now the door-keeper of the public edifice
honored this winter by the triumphant lectures on Slavery. Better be
a door-keeper in the house of the Lord than a dweller in the tents of
the ungodly. Has he not chosen well? Little think those now doing the
work of Slavery that the time is near when all this will be dishonor
and sadness. For myself, long ago my mind was made up. Nothing will
I have to do with it. How can I help to make a slave? The idea alone
is painful. To do this thing would plant in my soul a remorse which
no time could remove or mitigate. His chains would clank in my ears.
His cries would strike upon my heart. His voice would be my terrible
accuser. Mr. President, may no such voice fall on your soul or mine!

Yes, Sir, here our duty is plain and paramount. While the Slave
Oligarchy, through its unrepealed Slave Bill, undertakes to enslave our
free soil, we can only turn for protection to a Public Opinion worthy
of a humane, just, and religious people, which shall keep perpetual
guard over the liberties of all within our borders. On this from the
beginning I have relied. On this I now rely. Wherever it is already
strong, I would keep it so; wherever it is weak, I would strengthen it,
until of itself it is an all-sufficient protection, with watch and ward
surrounding the fugitive, surrounding all. And this Public Opinion,
with Freedom as its countersign, must proclaim not only the overthrow
of the Slave Bill, but also the overthrow of the Slave Oligarchy
behind,--the two pressing duties of the North, essential to our own
emancipation; and believe me, Sir, while they remain undone, nothing is

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. President, far already have I trespassed upon your generous
patience; but there are other things pressing for utterance. Something
would I say of the arguments by which our Enterprise is commended;
something also of the appeal it makes to people of every condition;
and something, too, of union, as a vital necessity, among all who love

I know not if our work will be soon accomplished. I know not, Sir, if
you or I shall live to see in our Republic the vows of the Fathers
at length fulfilled, as the last fetter falls from the last slave.
But one thing I do know, beyond all doubt or question: that this
Enterprise must go on; that, in its irresistible current, it will sweep
schools, colleges, churches, the intelligence, the conscience, and the
religious aspiration of the land, while all who stand in its way or
speak evil of it are laying up sorrow and shame for their children, if
not for themselves. Better strive in this cause, even unsuccessfully,
than never strive at all. The penalty of indifference is akin to the
penalty of opposition,--as is well pictured by the great Italian poet,
when, among the saddest on the banks of Acheron, rending the air with
outcries of torment, shrieks of anger, and smiting of hands, he finds
the troop of dreary souls who had been ciphers in the great conflicts
of life:--

    “Mingled with whom, of their disgrace the proof,
    Are the vile angels, who did not rebel,
    Nor kept their faith to God, _but stood aloof_.”[23]

There is no weapon in the celestial armory of Truth, no sweet influence
from the skies, no generous word from human lips, which may not be
employed. Ours, too, is the argument alike of the Conservative and
the Reformer; for our cause stands on the truest conservatism and
the truest reform. It seeks the conservation of Freedom itself, and
of kindred historic principles; it seeks also the reform of Slavery,
and of the kindred tyranny by which it is upheld. Religion, morals,
justice, economy, the Constitution, each and all, may be invoked; and
one person is touched by one argument, while another person is touched
by another. You do not forget how Christopher Columbus won Isabella of
Spain to his enterprise of discovery. He began with the temptation of
extending her dominions; but she hearkened not. Next he promised the
dazzling wealth of the Indies; and still she hearkened not. When, at
last, to her pious imagination were pictured poor heathen with souls
to be saved, then the youthful Queen poured her royal jewels into the
lap of the Genoese adventurer, and at her expense went forth that small
fleet which gave to Spain and to mankind a New World.

As in this Enterprise there is a place for every argument, so also is
there a place for every man. Even as on the broad shield of Achilles,
sculptured by divine art, was wrought every form of human activity, so
in this cause, which is the very shield of Freedom, whatever man can
do by deed or speech will find its place. One may act in one way, and
another in another way; but all must act. Providence is felt through
individuals; the dropping of water wears away the rock; and no man
can be too humble or poor for this work, while to all the happy in
genius, fortune, or fame it makes a special appeal. Here is room for
the strength of Luther and the sweetness of Melancthon, for the wisdom
of age and the ardor of youth, for the judgment of the statesman and
the eloquence of the orator, for the grace of the scholar and the
aspiration of the poet, for the learning of the professor and the skill
of the lawyer, for the exhortation of the preacher and the persuasion
of the press, for the various energy of man and the abounding sympathy
of woman.

And still one thing more is needed, without which Liberty-loving men,
and their arguments, will fail in power,--even as without charity all
graces of knowledge, speech, and faith are said to profit nothing. I
mean that _Unity of Spirit_--in itself a fountain of strength--which,
filling the people of the North, shall make them tread under foot past
antipathies, decayed dissensions, and those irritating names which
now exist only as tattered ensigns of ancient strife. It is right to
be taught by the enemy; and with their example before us, and their
power brandished in our very faces, we cannot hesitate. With them
Slavery is the mainspring of political life, and the absorbing centre
of political activity; with them all differences are swallowed up by
this _one idea_, as all other rods were swallowed up by the rod of
Aaron; with them all unite to keep the National Government under the
control of slave-masters: and surely we should not do less for Freedom
than they do for Slavery. _We, too, must be united._ Among us at last
mutual criticism, crimination, and feud must give place to mutual
sympathy, trust, and alliance. Face to face against the Slave Oligarchy
must be rallied the UNITED MASSES of the North, in compact political
association,--planted on the everlasting base of justice,--knit
together by instincts of a common danger and holy sympathies of
humanity,--enkindled by love of Freedom, not only for themselves, but
for others,--determined to enfranchise the National Government from
degrading thraldom,--and constituting the BACKBONE PARTY, powerful
in numbers, wealth, and intelligence, but more powerful still in an
inspiring cause. Let this be done, and victory will be ours.



    Mr. Sumner occupied several weeks of this summer in a tour to
    the West, ascending the Mississippi to St. Paul, and then,
    from Detroit, visiting Lake Superior. While on board a steamer
    in Lake Superior, he learned by the newspapers that Passmore
    Williamson, an excellent citizen of Philadelphia, had been
    flung into prison for the offence of reminding a person claimed
    as slave, that, being brought to Philadelphia voluntarily by
    her pretended master, she was free, according to well-known
    principles of jurisprudence. The indignation of Mr. Sumner
    found expression in the following letter, which he addressed to
    the new victim of Slavery.

    This remarkable case will be found in a volume published at
    Philadelphia, in 1856, with the following title: “Case of
    Passmore Williamson. Report of the Proceedings on the Writ of
    Habeas Corpus issued by the Hon. John K. Kane, Judge of the
    District Court of the United States for the Eastern District
    of Pennsylvania, in the Case of the United States of America
    _ex rel._ John H. Wheeler _vs._ Passmore Williamson, including
    the several Opinions delivered, and the Arguments of Counsel,
    reported by Arthur Cannon, Esq., Phonographer.” From this it
    appears that John H. Wheeler, of Virginia, in a petition to
    Hon. John K. Kane, Judge of the District Court of the United
    States for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, dated July 18,
    1855, sets forth, that he is “the owner of three persons held
    to service or labor by the laws of the State of Virginia, said
    persons being respectively named Jane, aged about thirty-five
    years, Daniel, aged about twelve years, and Isaiah, aged about
    seven years, persons of color, and that they are detained from
    the possession of your petitioner by one Passmore Williamson,
    resident of the city of Philadelphia, and that they are not
    detained for any criminal or supposed criminal matter,” and
    asks a writ of _Habeas Corpus_ commanding Mr. Williamson to
    bring before the Judge the bodies of the said Jane, Daniel, and
    Isaiah. The writ was at once allowed, and the next day followed
    by another, to which Mr. Williamson made return, that “the
    within named Jane, Daniel, and Isaiah, or by whatsoever names
    they may be called, nor either of them, are not now, nor was at
    the time of the issuing of said writ or the original writ, or
    at any other time, in the custody, power, or possession of, nor
    confined nor restrained their liberty by him, the said Passmore
    Williamson. Therefore he cannot have the bodies of the said
    Jane, Daniel, and Isaiah, or either of them, before your Honor,
    as by the said writ he is commanded.”

    In the course of the proceedings, Mr. Williamson, who was
    Secretary to the Acting Committee of the Pennsylvania Abolition
    Society, testified as follows.

        “I was informed that three slaves were at Bloodgood’s
        Hotel, who wished to assert their right to freedom; I went
        to the hotel, and saw a yellow boy on the steps fronting on
        Walnut Street; I made inquiry of him, and he stated that
        such was the case, but referred me up stairs to one of the
        waiters for further information; the latter informed me
        that the slaves, with their master, had just gone on board
        the steamboat at the end of Walnut Street wharf, for the
        purpose of going to New York in the five o’clock line. I
        went on board the boat, looked through the cabin, and then
        went up on the promenade deck; I saw that man” (_pointing
        to Mr. Wheeler_) “sitting sideways on the bench on the
        farther side; Jane was sitting next to and three or four
        feet from him; the two children were sitting close to her.
        I approached her and said, ‘You are the person I am looking
        for, I presume’; Wheeler turned towards me and asked what I
        wanted with him; I replied, Nothing, that my business was
        entirely with this woman; he said, ‘She is my slave, and
        anything you have to say to her you can say to me.’ _I then
        said to her, ‘You may have been his slave, but you are now
        free; he brought you here into Pennsylvania, and you are
        now as free as either of us; you cannot be compelled to go
        with him, unless you choose; if you wish your liberty, all
        you have to do is to walk ashore with your children.’_ Some
        five minutes were consumed in conversation with Wheeler,
        Jane, and a stranger, when the bell rang, and I told her,
        if she wished to be free, she would have to act at once, as
        the boat was about starting. She took one of her children
        by the hand and attempted to rise from her seat; Wheeler
        placed his hands upon her shoulders and prevented her; I
        then, for the first time, took hold of her arm and assisted
        her to rise; the colored people who had collected around
        us seized hold of the two children, and the whole party
        commenced a movement towards the head of the stairs leading
        to the lower deck, Mr. Wheeler having at the start clinched
        Jane, and during the progress repeatedly and earnestly
        entreated her to say she wished to stay with him; at the
        head of the stairway I took Wheeler by the collar and held
        him to one side. The whole company passed down and left
        the boat, proceeding peacefully and quietly to Dock and
        Front Streets, where Jane and her children, with some of
        her friends, entered a carriage and were driven down Front
        Street; I returned to my office. _After the colored people
        left Dock Street in the carriage, I saw no more of them,
        have had no control of them, and do not know where they
        are. My whole connection with the affair was this._”

    At the conclusion of Mr. Williamson’s cross-examination, he
    declared to the Court “that in the proceedings he had not
    designed to do violence to any law, but supposed that he had
    acted throughout in accordance with the law, and the legal
    rights of the respective parties.”

    On his return to the writ of _Habeas Corpus_, Mr. Williamson
    was held to bail in the sum of $5,000 for perjury, and
    subsequently committed, without bail, for contempt,--the
    alleged contempt being the declaration that the parties were
    never in his custody. In the course of the hearing, the Judge
    remarked that “the conduct of those who interfered with Mr.
    Wheeler’s rights was a criminal, wanton, and cruel outrage.”
    His final decree, July 27, 1855, was as follows: “Let Mr.
    Williamson, the respondent, be committed to the custody of the
    marshal without bail or mainprise, as for a contempt of the
    Court in refusing to answer to the writ of _Habeas Corpus_,
    heretofore awarded against him at the relation of Mr. Wheeler.”
    On the motion looking to a committal for perjury the Judge
    “withheld an expression of opinion,” observing, that, “Mr.
    Williamson being under arrest, he may be charged at any time by
    the grand jury.”

    The respondent attempted to regain his freedom by an
    application to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. After solemn
    hearing, the application was refused, the Hon. J. S. Black,
    afterwards a member of President Buchanan’s cabinet, giving
    the opinion of the Court. The State Court was in obvious
    sympathy with the National Court, and both were sympathetic
    with Slavery. Meanwhile Mr. Williamson continued a prisoner,
    until, at last, November 3, 1855, his case was again presented
    to the Judge who committed him, when, in reply to formal
    interrogatories, he declared: “I did not seek to obey the writ
    by producing the persons therein mentioned before the Court,
    because I had not, at the time of the service of the writ, the
    power over, the custody, or control of them, and therefore it
    was impossible for me to do so.… I sought to obey the writ by
    answering it truly; the parties not being in my possession or
    control, it was impossible for me to obey the writ by producing
    them.” The Judge announced the contempt purged and the party
    released from custody.

    While the immediate object of this proceeding was to compel
    Mr. Williamson to produce the bodies of Jane, Daniel, and
    Isaiah, claimed as slaves in Philadelphia by a person who had
    voluntarily brought them there, it is impossible to explain
    the action of the Judge except by his desire to establish
    the protection of the National Government over slave-masters
    travelling with their slaves in Free States. The claimant, at
    the discharge of Mr. Williamson, stated by his counsel that he
    “sought an adjudication, by the highest judicial tribunal of
    the country, of the questions, whether Mr. Wheeler was entitled
    to pass over the soil of Pennsylvania with his property? and
    whether or not a wrong had been committed in the forcible
    abduction thereof?”[24]

    Mr. Williamson was in the Moyamensing Prison from July 27th to
    November 3, 1855.

                              LAKE SUPERIOR, ON BOARD THE NORTH STAR,
                                           Saturday, August 11, 1855.

  MY DEAR SIR,--With astonishment and indignation I have learned
  the story of your imprisonment; and now, from this distant
  retreat, where I am for the moment, make haste to send you my

  From beginning to end, from side to side, and in every aspect,
  this transaction can be regarded only as a clear, indubitable,
  and utterly unmitigated outrage. The new-fangled doctrine, that
  a slave-master can _voluntarily_ import his alleged slave--of
  course with all the revolting incidents of Slavery--into the Free
  States, is not more odious than preposterous. It is scouted by
  reason, and disowned by universal jurisprudence. You were right
  in disregarding it. In stepping forward to remind persons claimed
  as slaves on this pretext that all such claim is baseless, you
  did a good work. It was this knowledge which filled them with
  confidence to regain their God-given liberty. And for this it
  appears that you have been brought before a man, “dressed in a
  little brief authority,” who has cast you into prison.

  This outrage is rendered more outrageous by the way in which it
  was done. It was perpetrated through perversion of the great writ
  of _Habeas Corpus_. This writ of freedom and deliverance, which
  in England is often styled the Palladium of the Constitution,
  which is recognized as a distinctive feature of Constitutional
  Government, which finds no place in despotism, and which is the
  very master-key appointed to unlock prison-doors and let the
  oppressed go free, has been made in your case, by a hocus-pocus
  without precedent, the instrument of imprisonment and oppression.

  Strange and disgraceful as all this is, it must be considered
  the natural fruit of Slavery. Any person, whosoever he may be,
  whether simple citizen or magistrate, who undertakes to uphold
  this wrong, seems forthwith to lose his reason. He may be just,
  humane, and decent in other things, but in the support of Slavery
  he becomes unjust, inhuman, and indecent,--often in obvious
  unconsciousness of his degradation. The blindness which makes
  him insensible to wrong so transcendent naturally makes him
  insensible to the lesser wrong by which it is maintained. What
  is the writ of _Habeas Corpus_, the trial by jury, the privilege
  of debate, or your liberty or mine, in the estimation of a
  person who has already screwed himself to the pitch of injustice
  necessary for the vindication of an institution which separates
  parent and child, which stamps woman as a concubine, which shuts
  the gates of knowledge, and which snatches from the weak all the
  hard-earned fruits of incessant toil?

  But there must be an end to these things; and as Shakespeare
  found a jewel in the toad’s head, so do I find a cheering omen
  even in the injustice which has made you its victim. There is
  an old saying, handed down from distant antiquity, that “whoso
  the gods wish to destroy they first make mad”; and I have often
  of late been impressed by its truth. The Slave Oligarchy is
  mad, and their overflowing madness runs through every agent and
  tool. In all that they do--especially in the Fugitive Slave Bill
  and its cruel enforcement, the Nebraska Bill and its felonious
  administration, and now in the imprisonment of an unoffending
  citizen--I rejoice to believe that there is unmistakable evidence
  of that madness which precedes a fall. Verily the day is at hand
  when returning justice will once more bear sway; then, among the
  triumphs of Freedom, will be a reckoning with unjust judges.

  Meanwhile accept my congratulations on the portion of
  responsibility and dignity which is yours. It is a privilege
  to suffer for truth; and I envy not the meanness of that soul
  which would hesitate to prefer your place within the stone walls
  of a prison to the cushioned bench of the magistrate by whose
  irrational and tyrannical edict you have been condemned.

    Believe me, my dear Sir, with much regard,

        Very faithfully yours,

            CHARLES SUMNER.

  PASSMORE WILLIAMSON, Esq., Moyamensing Prison, Philadelphia.



                                     BOSTON, 26th September, 1855.

  MY DEAR SIR,--Constrained by other things, I renounce with much
  reluctance the opportunity which you offer me of partaking in the
  splendid hospitality prepared by the Publishers for the Authors
  of our country.

  The occasion will be of special interest. It would be pleasant
  to sit at feast with so many, who, as Authors, adorn our
  national name. And it would be pleasant also to be the guest of
  those active, enlightened, and generous Publishers who do so
  much for Authors. But I must forego this luxury. Only in “bare
  imagination” can I enjoy it.

  At your table there will be an aggregation of various genius
  and talent constituting a true _Witenagemote_, which may justly
  gratify an honest pride of country. Grateful as this may be as
  a token of power, it will be more grateful still as a token of
  that concord growing among men in all the relations of life.
  The traditional feud between Authors and Publishers promises
  to lose itself in your Festival, even as the traditional feud
  between England and France is absorbed in the welcome of Victoria
  by Louis Napoleon. This is beautiful. And the whole scene,
  where differing Authors commingle under auspices of differing
  Publishers, will be an augury of that permanent coöperation and
  harmony which will secure to the pen its mightiest triumphs.

  It is in honor of the pen that the company will be gathered
  together. If any word of mine be expected, please let me offer
  the following sentiment.

      _The Pen of the Author_,--Exposing error, defending truth,
      instructing the ignorant, cheering the unhappy, while
      charming and animating _all_, it can do better than the
      Sword, and will yet receive from the world a higher praise.

  Believe me, dear Sir,

      Very faithfully yours,


  G. P. PUTNAM, Esq.



                                        BOSTON, October 7, 1855.

  GENTLEMEN,--Your summons addressed to me at Newport was forwarded
  to me at this place.

  I wish I could be at your proposed meeting, but I cannot. Accept
  my best wishes for the Republican party of New York, which you
  represent. Among the multitudes already rallying spontaneously in
  this bodyguard of Freedom my presence cannot be needed.

  The infant Hercules strangled the serpents in his cradle, and the
  new party, just born, gives token of a like precocious strength.

  Believe me, Gentlemen, very respectfully yours,


  Committee, &c.



                               HANCOCK STREET, 8th October, 1855.

  MY DEAR SIR,--Your invitation for to-night, after a journey to
  Newport and back, reached me only yesterday. It finds me already
  engaged, so that I cannot join my fellow-citizens in the proposed
  ratification at Faneuil Hall of the nominations lately made by
  the Republican Party of Massachusetts.

  In my heart I have already ratified those nominations. On some
  other occasion I hope for an opportunity at Faneuil Hall to do
  the same by public speech.

  Meanwhile accept my Godspeed for the good cause which we seek to
  promote, and for the Republican Party which is its organ. The
  cause is blessed alike in itself and in its influence on all
  who espouse it. No man can exert himself for Freedom without
  feeling better than before. The party is so entirely in harmony
  with prevailing opinion, it is such a natural and inevitable
  expression of the existing state of things, it is so clearly
  the offspring of the aroused conscience of the country, that it
  begins with auguries of success. Already it draws into its ranks
  good men from all sides, who, forgetting the things that are
  behind, press on to the things that are before.

  Believe me, dear Sir, very faithfully yours,





    Immediately before the election there was a Republican Rally
    at Faneuil Hall, with the following officers: Richard H. Dana,
    Jr., Esq., _President_; Dr. Edward Reynolds, Ezra Lincoln,
    William Pope, Josiah W. Butler, Aaron Bancroft, Samuel Johnson,
    James P. Whitney, Prince Hawes, Daniel Kimball, Charles
    M. Ellis, N. Davies Cotton, Frederick A. Sumner, John G.
    Webster, George S. Winslow, Henry W. Farley, of East Boston,
    William P. Houston, of South Boston, Henry Slade, of Chelsea,
    Francis B. Fay, of Chelsea, and James L. Jones, of Chelsea,
    _Vice-Presidents_; John D. W. Joy, E. Baker Welch, Franklin W.
    Smith, Samuel W. Lane, _Secretaries_.

    On taking the chair, Mr. Dana made an able speech especially
    in reply to one recently made by Mr. Choate, in the course of
    which he said that the Republicans repudiated the charge of
    ignoring the Constitution or menacing the Union.

    Mr. Sumner was then introduced, and spoke for two hours and a
    quarter, with the marked attention of a very large audience.
    This speech was reported at length in the papers, and was
    afterwards printed in a pamphlet. It particularly discussed
    the Slave Oligarchy and its usurpations,--the outrages in
    Kansas,--the different political parties,--the rights of
    our foreign-born population,--and the Republican party.
    Several of these topics, being treated in other speeches,
    are omitted here. The part relating to our foreign-born
    population attracted attention at the time, and has been
    often quoted since. Among the audience were many persons of
    the Know-Nothing party, pledged against the foreign-born, who
    were there to create difficulty; but Mr. Sumner was allowed
    to proceed uninterrupted. The papers speak of “rapturous
    applause.” In this vindication of our foreign-born population,
    he acted only according to his convictions and all his votes
    in the Senate. Although the Know-Nothing party prevailed in
    Massachusetts, Mr. Sumner refused all association with it; and
    yet, such was the recklessness of misrepresentation, that the
    Richmond _Enquirer_ announced him as “the head of the Northern
    Know-Nothing party.” The following speech is sufficient answer
    to this assertion.

    In the course of this speech Mr. Sumner gives his personal
    testimony as to Slavery, founded on what he saw in a short
    journey he had made through Kentucky as far as Nashville in


Are you for Freedom, or are you for Slavery? This is the question which
you are to answer at the coming election. Above all other questions,
national or local, it lifts itself directly in the path of every voter.
There it is. It cannot be avoided. It cannot be banished away. It
cannot be silenced. Forever sounding in our ears, it has a mood for
every hour,--stirring us at times as with the blast of a trumpet, then
visiting us in solemn tones, like the bell which calls to prayer, and
then again awaking us to unmistakable duty, like the same bell, when at
midnight it summons all to stay the raging conflagration.

And yet there are persons among us who seek to put this great question
aside. Some clamor for financial reform, and hold up a tax-bill; others
clamor for a modification of the elective franchise, and they hold up
the Pope; some speak in the name of old parties, calling themselves
Democrats or Whigs; others in the name of a new party, which shall be
nameless at present. Surely the people of Massachusetts will not be
diverted from the true issue, involving Freedom for broad territories
and Freedom for themselves, by holding up a tax-bill or by holding up
the Pope. The people of Massachusetts are intelligent and humane.


But above all these is heard the great question, which will not be
postponed, Are you for Freedom, or are you for Slavery? “Under which
king, Bezonian? Speak or die!” Are you for Freedom, with its priceless
blessings, or are you for Slavery, with its countless wrongs and woes?
Are you for God, or are you for the Devil?

Fellow-Citizens, I speak plainly; nor can words exhibiting the
enormity of Slavery be too plain, whether it be regarded simply in the
legislative and judicial decisions by which it is upheld, or in the
unquestionable facts by which its character is revealed. It has been my
fortune latterly to see Slavery face to face in its own home, in the
Slave States; and I take this early opportunity to offer my testimony
to the open barbarism which it sanctions. I have seen a human being
knocked off at auction on the steps of a court-house, and, as the
sale went on, compelled to open his mouth and show his teeth, like a
horse; I have been detained in a stage-coach, that our driver might,
in the phrase of the country, “help lick a nigger”; and I have been
constrained, at public table, to witness the revolting spectacle of a
poor slave, yet a child, almost felled to the floor by a blow on the
head from a clenched fist. Such incidents were not calculated to shake
my original convictions. The distant slaveholder, who, in generous
solicitude for that truth which makes for Freedom, feared, that, like
a certain Doctor of Divinity, I might, under influence of personal
kindness, be hastily swayed from these convictions, may be assured
that I saw nothing to change them one tittle, but much to confirm
them,--while I was entirely satisfied that here in Massachusetts,
where all read, the true character of Slavery is better known than in
the Slave States themselves, where ignorance and prejudice close the
avenues of knowledge.

And now, grateful for the attention with which you honor me, I venture
to hope that you are assembled honestly to hear the truth,--not to
gratify prejudice, to appease personal antipathies, or to indulge
a morbid appetite for excitement, but with candor and your best
discrimination to weigh facts and arguments in order to determine
the course of duty. I address myself particularly to the friends of
Freedom, Republicans, on whose invitation I appear to-night; but I make
bold to ask you of other parties, who now listen, to divest yourselves,
for the time, of partisan constraint,--to forget, for the moment, that
you are Whigs or Democrats, or however called, and to remember only
that you are _men_, with hearts to feel, with heads to understand,
and with consciences to guide. Then only will you be in condition to
receive the truth. “If men are not aware of the probable influence
of party over them, they are so much the more likely to be blindly
governed by it.” Such is the wise remark of Wilberforce.[25] And I
fear that among us there are too many unconsciously governed by such
bias. There are men, who, while professing candor, yet show that the
bitterness of party has entered into their whole character and lives,
as the bitterness of the soil in Sardinia is said to appear even in its


There are honorable responsibilities belonging to Massachusetts, as an
early and constant vindicator of Freedom, which she cannot renounce.
“If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself
to the battle?” The distant emigrant, the whole country, awaits the
voice of our beloved Commonwealth in answer to the question, Are you
for Freedom, or are you for Slavery? So transcendent, so exclusive, so
all-absorbing at the present juncture is this question, that it is vain
to speak of the position of candidates on other things. To be doubtful
on this is to be wrong, and to be wrong on this is to be wholly wrong.
Passing strange it is that here in Massachusetts, in this nineteenth
century, we should be constrained to put this question; passing
strange, that, when it is put, there should be any hesitation to answer
it, by voice and vote, in such way as to speak the loudest for Freedom.


But, without exposing the game of political sweepstakes which the Slave
Oligarchy has perpetually played,--interesting as it would be,--I
prefer to hold up for one moment the assumptions, aggressions, and
usurpations by which, in defiance of the Constitution, it has made
Slavery national, when it is in reality sectional. Here is a brief


Fellow-citizens, I have said enough to stir you; but this humiliating
tale is not yet finished. An oligarchy seeking to maintain an outrage
like Slavery, and drawing its inspirations from this fountain of
wickedness, is naturally base, false, and heedless of justice. It
is vain to expect that men who have brought themselves to become
propagandists of this enormity will be constrained by any compromise,
compact, bargain, or plighted faith. As the less is contained in the
greater, so there is no vileness of dishonesty, no denial of human
rights, that is not plainly involved in the support of an enormity
which begins by changing man, created in the image of God, into a
chattel, and consigns little children to the auction-block. A power
which Heaven never gave can be maintained only by means which Heaven
can never sanction. And this conclusion of reason is confirmed by late

And here I approach the special question under which the country now
shakes from side to side. The protracted struggle of 1820, known as
the Missouri Question, ended with the admission of Missouri as a
slaveholding State, and the prohibition of Slavery in all the remaining
territory west of the Mississippi and north of 36° 30´. Here was a
solemn act of legislation, called at the time a compromise, a covenant,
a compact, first brought forward by the Slave Oligarchy, vindicated
by it in debate, finally sanctioned by its votes,--also upheld at the
time by a slaveholding President, James Monroe, and his cabinet, of
whom a majority were slaveholders, including Mr. Calhoun himself,--and
made the condition of the admission of Missouri, without which that
State could not have been received into the Union. Suddenly, during the
last year, without any notice in the public press or the prayer of a
single petition, after an acquiescence of thirty-four years, and the
irreclaimable possession by the Slave Oligarchy of its special share in
the provisions of this Compromise, in violation of every obligation of
honor, compact, and good neighborhood, and in contemptuous disregard
of the outgushing sentiments of an aroused North, this time-honored
Prohibition, in itself a Landmark of Freedom, was overturned, and the
vast region now known as Kansas and Nebraska was opened to Slavery:
and this was done under the disgraceful lead of Northern politicians,
and with the undisguised complicity of a Northern President, forgetful
of Freedom, forgetful also of his reiterated pledges that during his
administration the repose of the country should receive no shock.

And all this was perpetrated under pretences of popular rights. Freedom
was betrayed by a kiss. In defiance of uninterrupted prescription
down to our day, early sustained at the South as well as the North,
leaning at once on Jefferson and Washington, sanctioned by all the
authoritative names of our history, and beginning with the great
Ordinance by which Slavery was prohibited in the Northwest,--it was
pretended that the people of the United States, who are the proprietors
of the national domain, and who, according to the Constitution,
may “make all needful rules and regulations” for its government,
nevertheless were not its sovereigns, that they had no power to
interdict Slavery there, but that this eminent dominion resided in the
few settlers, called squatters, whom chance or a desire to better their
fortunes first hurried into these places. To this precarious handful,
sprinkled over immense spaces, it was left, without any constraint
from Congress, to decide whether into these vast unsettled lands, as
into the veins of an infant, should be poured the festering poison of
Slavery, destined, as time advances, to show itself in cancers and
leprous disease, or whether they should be filled with all the glowing
life of Freedom. And this great power, transferred from Congress to
these few settlers, was hailed by the new-fangled name of _Squatter

It was fit that the original outrage perpetrated under such pretences
should be followed by other outrages perpetrated in defiance of these
pretences. In the race of emigration the Freedom-loving citizens of
the North promised to obtain the ascendency, and, in the exercise of
the conceded sovereignty of the settlers, to prohibit Slavery. The
Slave Oligarchy was aroused to other efforts. Of course it stuck at
nothing. On the day of election, when this vaunted popular sovereignty
was first invoked, hirelings from Missouri, having no home in the
Territory, entered it in bands of fifties and hundreds, and, assuming
an electoral franchise to which they had no claim, trampled under
foot the Constitution and laws. Violently, ruthlessly, the polls were
possessed by these invaders. The same Northern President, who did not
shrink from unblushing complicity in the original outrage, now assumed
another complicity. Though prompt to lavish the Treasury, the Army,
and the Navy of the Republic in hunting a single slave through the
streets of Boston, he could see the Constitution and laws which he
was sworn to protect, and those popular rights which he had affected
to promote, all struck down in Kansas,--and then give new scope to
these invaders by the removal of the faithful Governor, who had become
obnoxious to the Slave Oligarchy because he would not become its tool,
and the substitution of another, who vindicated the dishonest choice by
making haste, on his first arrival there, to embrace the partisans of
Slavery. The Legislature, which was constituted by the overthrow of the
electoral franchise, proceeded to overthrow every safeguard of Freedom.
At one swoop it adopted all the legislation of Missouri, including its
Slave Code; by another act it imposed unprecedented conditions upon
the exercise of the electoral franchise; and by still another act it
denounced _the punishment of death_ no less than five times against as
many different forms of interference with the alleged property in human
flesh, while all who but write or speak against Slavery are adjudged
to be felons. Yes, fellow-citizens, should any person there presume
to print or circulate the speech in which I now express my abhorrence
of Slavery, and deny its constitutional existence anywhere within the
national jurisdiction, he would become liable under this act as a
felon. And this overthrow of all popular rights is done in the name of
Popular Sovereignty. Surely its authors follow well the example of the
earliest Squatter Sovereign,--none other than Satan,--who, stealing
into Eden, was there discovered by the celestial messengers just
beginning his work: as Milton tells us,--

                              “Him there they found
    _Squat_ like a toad, close at the ear of Eve.”

Would you know the secret of this unprecedented endeavor, beginning
with the repeal of the Prohibition of Slavery, down to the latest
atrocity? The answer is at hand. It is not merely to provide new
markets for slaves, or even to guard Slavery in Missouri, but to build
another Slave State, and thus, by the presence of two additional
Slaveholding Senators, to give increased preponderance to the Slave
Oligarchy in the National Government. As men are murdered for the sake
of their money, so is this Territory blasted in peace and prosperity in
order to wrest its political influence to the side of Slavery.

       *       *       *       *       *

But a single usurpation is not enough to employ the rapacious energies
of our Oligarchy. At this moment, while the country is pained by the
heartless conspiracy against Freedom in Kansas, we are startled by
another effort, which contemplates not merely the political subjugation
of the National Government, but the actual introduction of Slavery into
the Free States. The vaunt is made that slaves will yet be counted in
the shadow of the monument on Bunker Hill, and more than one step has
been taken towards this effrontery. A person of Virginia has asserted
his right to hold slaves in New York on the way to Texas; and this
claim is still pending before the highest judicial tribunal of the
land. A similar claim has been asserted in Pennsylvania, and thus far
been sustained by the court. A blameless citizen, who, in obedience to
generous impulses, and in harmony with received law, merely gave notice
to a person held as a slave in a Free State that she was in reality
free, has been thrust into jail, and now, after the lapse of months,
still languishes there, the victim of this pretension; while--that
no excess might be wanting in the madness of this tyranny--the great
writ of Habeas Corpus, proudly known as the writ of deliverance, has
been made the instrument of his imprisonment.[26] Outrage treads upon
outrage, and great rights pass away to perish. Alas! the needful tool
for such work is too easily found in places low and high,--in the lanes
and cellars of Boston, on the bench of the judge, in the chair of
the President. But it is the power behind which I impeach. The Slave
Oligarchy does it; the Slave Oligarchy does it all.

       *       *       *       *       *

To the prostration of this Oligarchy we are bound by a threefold
cord of duty: _first_, as we would secure Freedom for ourselves;
_secondly_, as we would uphold Freedom in distant Kansas; and,
_thirdly_, as we would preserve the Union in its early strength
and integrity. The people of Kansas are, many of them, from
Massachusetts,--bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh; but as
fellow-citizens under the Constitution they are bound to us by ties
which we cannot disown; nay, more,--by the subtile cord which connects
this embryo settlement with the Republic, they are made part of us.
The outrage which touches them touches us. What galls them galls us.
The fetter which binds the slave in Kansas binds every citizen in
Massachusetts. Thus are we prompted to their rescue, not only to save
them, but also to save ourselves. The tyranny which now treads them
down has already trampled on us, and only awaits an opportunity to do
it again. In its complete overthrow is the only way of safety. Indeed,
this must be done before anything else can be done.


In the choice of men we are driven to the organization of parties;
and here occurs the practical question on which hinges immediate
duty,--By what political party can our desire be accomplished? There
are individuals in all parties, even the Democratic, who hate Slavery,
and say so; but a political party cannot be judged by the private
opinions of some of its members. Something else, more solid and
tangible, must appear. The party that we select to bear the burden and
honor of our great controversy should be adapted to the work. It must
be a perfect machine. Wedded to Freedom for better or for worse, and
clinging to it with a grasp never to be unloosed, it must be clear,
open, and unequivocal in its declarations, and should admit no other
question to divert its energies. It must be all for Freedom, and, like
Cæsar’s wife, above suspicion. But besides this character which it
should sustain in Massachusetts, it must be prepared to take its place
in close phalanx with the united masses of the North, now organizing
through all the Free States, _junctæque umbone phalanges_, for the
protection of Freedom and the overthrow of the Slave Oligarchy.

Bearing these conditions in mind, there are three parties which we may
dismiss, one by one, as they pass in review. Men do not gather grapes
from thorns, nor figs from thistles; nor do they expect patriotism from
Benedict Arnold. A party which sustains the tyrannies and perfidies of
the Slave Oligarchy, and is represented by the President, through whom
has come so much of all our woe, need not occupy our time; and such is
the Democratic party. If there be within the sound of my voice a single
person, professing sympathy with Freedom, who still votes with this
party, to him I would say: The name of Democrat is a tower of strength;
let it not be the bulwark of Slavery; for the sake of a name do not
sacrifice the thing; for the sake of party do not surrender Freedom.

According to familiar rule, handed down from distant antiquity, we are
to say nothing but good of the dead. How, then, shall I speak of the
late powerful Whig party, by whose giant contests the whole country was
once upheaved, but which has now ceased to exist, except as the shadow
of a name? Here in Massachusetts, a few who do not yet know that it is
dead have met together and proffered the old allegiance. They are the
Rip Van Winkles of our politics. This respectable character, falling
asleep in the mountains, drowsed undisturbed throughout the war of the
Revolution, and then, returning to his native village, ignorant of all
that had passed, made haste to declare himself “a loyal subject of
the King, God bless him!” But our Whigs are less tolerant and urbane
than this awakened sleeper. In petulant and irrational assumption
they are like the unfortunate judge, who, being aroused from slumber
on the bench by a sudden crash of thunder, exclaimed, “Mr. Crier,
stop the noise in Court!” The thunder would not be hushed; nor will
the voice of Freedom, now reverberating throughout the land. Some
there are among these who openly espouse the part of Slavery, while
others, by indifference, place themselves in the same unhappy company.
If their position at this moment were of sufficient importance to
justify grave remark, they should be exhibited as kindred in spirit and
isolation to the Tories of our Revolution, or at least as the Bourbons
of Massachusetts,--always claiming everything, learning nothing,
forgetting nothing, and at last condemned by an aroused people for
disloyalty to Freedom. Let no person who truly loves Freedom join this
company, tempted by its name and old associations.

There is still another party claiming your votes, but permit me to
say, at this crisis, with little reason. I am at a loss to determine
the name by which it may be called. It is sometimes styled the Know
Nothing party, sometimes the American party; but it cannot be entitled
to these designations,--if they be of any value,--for it does not claim
to belong to the organization which first assumed and still retains
them. It is an isolated combination, peculiar to Massachusetts, which,
while professing certain political sentiments, is bound together by
the support of one of the candidates for Governor.[27] At this moment
this is its controlling idea. It is therefore a _personal_ party;
and I trust that I shall not be considered as departing from that
courtesy which is with me a law, if I say, that, in the absence of any
appropriate name, expressive of principles, it may properly take its
designation from the candidate it supports.

Of course such a party wants the first essential condition of the
organization which we seek. It is a _personal_ party, whose controlling
idea is predilection for a man, and not a principle. Whatever may
be the private sentiments of some of its members, clearly it is not
a party wedded to Freedom for better and for worse, and clinging to
it with a grasp never to be unloosed. While professing opposition to
Slavery, it also arraigns Catholics and foreigners, and allows the
question of their privileges to disturb its energies. It is not all
for Freedom; nor is it, like Cæsar’s wife, above suspicion. Besides,
even as party of Freedom, it is powerless from its isolation; for it
stands by itself, and is in no way associated with that great phalanx
now rallying throughout the North. In this condition should it continue
to exist, it will, in the coming Presidential contest, from natural
affinity, lapse back into the American party of the country, which
is ranged on the side of Slavery. Of course, as a separate party, it
is necessarily short-lived. Cut off from the main body, it may show
a brief vitality, as the head of a tortoise still bites for some
days after it is severed from the neck; but it can have no permanent
existence. Surely this is not the party of Freedom which we seek.

The incompetency of this party, as organ of our cause, is enhanced by
the uncongenial secrecy in which it had its origin and yet shrouds
itself. For myself let me say, that on the floor of the Senate I have
striven by vote and speech, in conjunction with my distinguished friend
Mr. Chase, to limit the secret sessions of that body, under shelter of
which so much of the public business is transacted; and I have there
presented, as the fit model for American institutions, the example of
that ancient Roman who bade his architect so construct his house that
all that he did might be seen by the world.[28] What I urged there I
now urge here. But the special aims which this party proposes are in
harmony with the darkness in which it begins. Even if justifiable on
any ground of public policy, they should not be associated with our
cause: but I am unwilling to allude to them without expressing my frank

It is proposed to attaint men for religion, and also for birth. If
this object can prevail, vain are the triumphs of Civil Freedom in its
many hard-fought fields, vain is that religious toleration which we
profess. The fires of Smithfield, the tortures of the Inquisition, the
proscriptions of Non-Conformists may all be revived. Mainly to escape
these outrages, dictated by a dominant religious sect, was our country
early settled: in one place by Pilgrims, who sought independence; in
another by Puritans, who disowned bishops; in another by Episcopalians,
who take their name from bishops; in another by Quakers, who set
at nought all forms; and in yet another by Catholics, who look to
the Pope as spiritual father. Slowly among the struggling sects was
evolved that great idea of the equality of all men before the law
without regard to religious belief; nor can any party now organize a
proscription merely for religious belief, without calling in question
this well-established principle.

But Catholics are mostly foreigners, and on this account are condemned.
Let us see if there be any reason in this; and here indulge me with one
word on foreigners.

With the ancient Greeks a foreigner was _a barbarian_, and with the
ancient Romans he was _an enemy_. In early modern times the austerity
of this judgment was relaxed; but, under the influence of feudalism,
different sovereignties, whether provinces or nations, were kept in a
condition of isolation, from which they have gradually passed, until
now provinces are merged in nations, and nations are giving signs
that they too will yet combine in one. In our country a new example
is already displayed. From all nations people commingle here. As in
ancient Corinth, by accidental fusion of all metals, accumulated in
the sacred temples, a peculiar metal was produced, better than any
individual metal, even silver or gold,--so, perhaps, in the order of
Providence, by fusion of all races here, there will be a better race
than any individual race, even Saxon or Celt. Originally settled from
England, the Republic has been strengthened and enriched by generous
contributions of population from Scotland, Ireland, Switzerland,
Sweden, France, and Germany; and the cry is, Still they come! At no
time since the discovery of the New World has the army of emigrants
pressed so strongly upon us. More than one quarter of a million are
annually landed on our shores. The manner in which they shall be
received is a problem of national policy.

All will admit that any influence which they bring, hostile to our
institutions, calculated to substitute priestcraft for religion and
bigotry for Christianity, must be deprecated and opposed. All will
admit, too, that there must be some assurance of their purpose to
become not merely consumers of the fruits of our soil, but useful,
loyal, and permanent members of our community, upholders of the general
welfare. With this simple explanation, I cannot place any check upon
the welcome to foreigners. There are our broad lands, stretching
towards the setting sun; let them come and take them. Ourselves
children of the Pilgrims of a former generation, let us not turn from
the Pilgrims of the present. Let the home founded by our emigrant
fathers continue open in its many mansions to the emigrants of to-day.

The history of our country, in its humblest as well as most exalted
spheres, testifies to the merit of foreigners. Their strong arms
have helped furrow our broad territory with canals, and stretch in
every direction the iron rail. They fill our workshops, navigate
our ships, and even till our fields. Go where you will among the
hardy sons of toil on land or sea, and there you find industrious
and faithful foreigners bending their muscles to the work. At the
bar and in the high places of commerce you find them. Enter the
retreats of learning, and there too you find them, shedding upon our
country the glory of science.[29] Nor can any reflection be cast upon
foreigners, coming for hospitality now, which will not glance at once
upon the distinguished living and the illustrious dead,--upon the
Irish Montgomery, who perished for us at the gates of Quebec,--upon
Pulaski the Pole, who perished for us at Savannah,--upon De Kalb and
Steuben, the generous Germans, who aided our weakness by their military
experience,--upon Paul Jones, the Scotchman, who lent his unsurpassed
courage to the infant thunders of our navy,--also upon those great
European liberators, Kosciusko of Poland, and Lafayette of France, each
of whom paid his earliest vows to Liberty in our cause. Nor should
this list be confined to military characters, so long as we gratefully
cherish the name of Alexander Hamilton, who was born in the West
Indies, and the name of Albert Gallatin, who was born in Switzerland,
and never, to the close of his octogenarian career, lost the French
accent of his boyhood,--both of whom rendered civic services to be
commemorated among the victories of peace.

Nor is the experience of our Republic peculiar. Where is the country or
power which does not inscribe the names of foreigners on its historic
scroll? It was Christopher Columbus, of Genoa, who disclosed to Spain
the New World; it was Magellan, of Portugal, sailing in the service of
Spain, who first passed with adventurous keel through those distant
Southern straits which now bear his name, and opened the way to the
vast Pacific Sea; and it was Cabot, the Venetian, who first conducted
English enterprise to this North American continent. As in triumphs
of discovery, so also in other fields have foreigners excelled, while
serving states to which they were bound by no tie of birth. The Dutch
Grotius, author of the great work, “Laws of War and Peace,” an exile
from his own country, became Ambassador of Sweden; and, in our own day,
the Italian Pozzo di Borgo, turning his back upon his own country,
reached the most exalted diplomatic trust in the jealous service of
Russia. In the list of monarchs on the throne of England, not one
has been more truly English than the Dutch William. In Holland no
ruler has equalled in renown the German William, Prince of Orange.
In Russia the German Catharine the Second takes place among the most
commanding sovereigns. And who of Swedish monarchs was a better Swede
than Bernadotte, the Frenchman? and what Frenchman was ever filled with
aspiration for France more than the Italian Napoleon Bonaparte?

       *       *       *       *       *

I pass from these things, which have occupied me too long. A party,
which, beginning in secrecy, interferes with religious belief, and
founds a discrimination on the accident of birth, is not the party for

       *       *       *       *       *

“Where Liberty is, there is my country,” was the sentiment of that
great Apostle of Freedom, Benjamin Franklin, uttered during the trials
of the Revolution. In similar strain, I would say, “Where Liberty is,
there is my party.” Such an organization is now happily constituted
here in Massachusetts, and in all the Free States, under the name of

In assuming our place as a distinct party, we simply give form
and direction, in harmony with the usage and genius of popular
governments, to a movement which stirs the whole country, and does
not find adequate and constant organ in either of the other existing
parties. The early opposition to Slavery was simply a sentiment,
outgushing from the hearts of the sensitive and humane. In the lapse
of time it became a determined principle, inspiring larger numbers,
and showing itself first in an organized endeavor to resist the
annexation of slaveholding Texas; next, to prohibit Slavery in newly
acquired territories; and now, alarmed by the overthrow of all rights
in Kansas, and the domination of the Slave Oligarchy throughout the
Republic, it breaks forth in a stronger effort, a wider union, and
a deeper channel, inspiring yet larger numbers and firmer resolves,
while opposite quarters contribute to its power,--even as the fountain,
first outgushing from the weeping sides of its pure mountain home,
trickles in the rill, leaps in the torrent, and flows in the river,
till, at last, swollen with accumulated waters, it presses onward, in
irresistible, beneficent current, fertilizing and uniting the spaces
which it traverses, washing the feet of cities, and wooing states to
repose upon its banks.


Our party has its origin in the exigencies of the hour. Vowing
ourselves against Slavery, wherever it exists, whether enforced by
Russian knout, Turkish bastinado, or lash of Carolina planter, we
do not seek to interfere with it at Petersburg, Constantinople, or
Charleston; nor does any such grave duty rest upon us. Political duties
are properly limited by political responsibilities; and we are in
no just sense responsible for the local law or usage by which human
bondage in these places is upheld. But wherever we are responsible for
the wrong, there our duty begins. The object to which, as a party, we
are pledged, is all contained in acceptance of the issue which the
Slave Oligarchy tenders. To its repeal of the Missouri Compromise, and
its imperious demand that Kansas shall be surrendered to Slavery, we
reply, that Freedom shall be made the universal law of all the national
domain, without compromise, and that hereafter no Slave State shall be
admitted into the Union. To its tyrannical assumption of supremacy in
the National Government we reply, that the Slave Oligarchy shall be
overthrown. Such is the practical purpose of the Republican Party.



    On the 11th of December, 1855, Mr. Brodhead, of Pennsylvania,
    introduced a resolution directing the Committee on Finance to
    consider the expediency of reporting the appropriation bills
    for the support of the Government. The resolution was allowed
    to lie on the table till January 7, 1856, when it was called
    up for consideration, and adopted. On the 4th of February, Mr.
    Hunter, of Virginia, Chairman of the Committee on Finance,
    reported to the Senate the following resolution:--

        “_Resolved_, That the Committee on Finance be instructed to
        prepare and report such of the general appropriation bills
        as they may deem expedient.”

    The resolution was adopted by the Senate, February 7, but this
    was all. Nothing was done under it.

    This attempt was prompted by the protracted contest in the
    organization of the House of Representatives, when, after one
    hundred and thirty-three ballotings, Mr. Banks was chosen
    Speaker, February 2, and the Slave Power received its first

    In the course of the debate, February 7, Mr. Sumner spoke as

MR. PRESIDENT,--Whatever the Senator from New York [Mr. SEWARD] touches
he handles with a completeness to render anything superfluous from
one who follows on the same side; but the opposition which his views
have encountered from the Senator from Virginia [Mr. HUNTER], and also
from the Senator from Georgia [Mr. TOOMBS], as well as the intrinsic
importance of the question, may justify the attempt to state the
argument anew.

We are carried first to the words of the Constitution, which are as

    “All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House
    of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with
    amendments, as on other bills.”

Under this provision, the annual appropriation bills for the Army,
Navy, Post-Office, and civil and diplomatic service, from the beginning
of the Government, have originated in the House of Representatives;
and this has always been so, I believe, without question. It is now
proposed to reverse the standing policy, and to originate such bills in
the Senate; and this proposition has the sanction of the Committee on

The proposition is a clear departure from usage, and on this account
must be regarded with suspicion. A slight examination will demonstrate
that it tends to subvert well-established landmarks.

By looking at the debates in the Convention which framed the National
Constitution, it will be found that this clause was not hastily or
carelessly adopted,--that it was the subject of much discussion, and
was viewed as essentially important in establishing the system of
checks and balances peculiar to our Republic. It was, indeed, part of
the compromise between the small States and the large States.

After much consideration, the _equality of the States_ was recognized
in the Constitution of the Senate, and small States, like Delaware
and Rhode Island, were allowed, in this body, equal power with large
States, like Virginia and Massachusetts. But this great concession to
the small States was coupled at the time with a condition that “money
bills” should originate in the House of Representatives, where the
people were represented according to numbers. The language finally
employed was, “All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the
House of Representatives.” This was adopted, as compensation to the
large and populous States for their comparative weakness in the Senate.

That I do not go too far, when I call it part of the compromise between
the great States and small States, I proceed to show, from the debates
in the National Convention, as reported by Mr. Madison, how it was
regarded there.

The provision owes its authoritative introduction to Dr. Franklin,
who moved it in the committee which subsequently reported it.[30]
Afterwards, in Convention, when the clause relating to _equality of
votes_ was under consideration, we have this report of what he said.

    “Dr. Franklin observed, that this question could not be
    properly put by itself, the Committee having reported several
    propositions as _mutual conditions of each other_. He could not
    vote for it, if separately taken, but should vote for the whole

Colonel Mason, of Virginia, was of the same opinion, and desired “that
the whole might be brought _into one view_.”[32]

Mr. Gerry, of Massachusetts, followed up the idea of the mutual
dependence of the two propositions, remarking,--

    “He would not say that the concession was a sufficient
    one on the part of the small States; but he could not but
    regard it in the light of a _concession_. It would make it
    a constitutional principle, that the second branch were not
    possessed of the confidence of the people in _money matters_,”--

Please, Sir, to mark the breadth of this expression.

    --“which would lessen their weight and influence.”[33]

Mr. Pinckney, of South Carolina, followed, saying,--

    “He thought it evident that the concession was wholly on one
    side, that of the large States; the privilege of originating
    _money bills_ being of no account.”[34]

At a later stage of the debates the subject was resumed, and the two
propositions still appear together.

    “Mr. Rutledge [of South Carolina] proposed to reconsider the
    two propositions touching the originating of _money bills_ in
    the first, and the _equality of votes_ in the second branch.”

    “Mr. Sherman [of Connecticut] was for the question on the whole
    at once. It was, he said, _a conciliatory plan_. It had been
    considered in all its parts.”

    “Mr. Luther Martin [of Maryland] urged the question on the
    whole. He did not like many parts of it.… He was willing,
    however, to make trial of the plan, rather than do nothing.”

    “Mr. Gerry [of Massachusetts] did not approve of a
    reconsideration of the clause relating to _money bills_. It
    was of great consequence. _It was the corner-stone of the

At a still later stage Mr. Pinckney moved to strike out the section
on money bills, “as giving no peculiar advantage to the House of
Representatives, and as clogging the Government.” Mr. Gorham “was
against allowing the Senate to _originate_, but was for allowing
it only to _amend_.” Mr. Gouverneur Morris urged, that it was
“particularly proper that the Senate should have the right of
originating _money bills_. They will sit constantly, will consist of
a smaller number, and will be able to prepare such bills with due
correctness, and so as to prevent delay of business in the other
House.” To all this Colonel Mason replied, in the strong language which
seems to have been natural to him, that he “was unwilling to travel
over this ground again. _To strike out the section was to unhinge the
compromise of which it made a part._”[36]

I might adduce other authorities; but here surely is enough to show
that the provision was in reality one of the important compromises of
the Constitution.

       *       *       *       *       *

This brings me, Sir, to the precise meaning of the provision. The
seeming indefiniteness of the term, “bills for raising revenue,”
may alone furnish apology for the present debate. It may be argued,
that, while the Senate is placed under certain restrictions, it may
nevertheless originate “appropriation bills.” This, of course, is a
question of interpretation. Does this interdict upon the Senate extend
to bills by which money is appropriated to the support of Government,
as well as to bills by which it is directly obtained? Are appropriation
bills included under the term, “bills for raising revenue”? Now I
cannot accord with opinions so confidently expressed by the Senator
from Virginia [Mr. HUNTER], and the Senator from Georgia [Mr. TOOMBS],
that it was clearly the intention of the Constitution to concede to the
Senate the power of originating all appropriation bills; nor, on the
other hand, do I assert that such exercise of power is in the strict
sense unconstitutional. I approach the question as an inquirer anxious
to find the real purpose.

Several considerations seem to shed light on the path to our conclusion.

_First._ The compromise between the small States and large States
can be made completely effective, according to obvious intent of
the authors of the Constitution, only by interdicting the Senate
from originating the great appropriation bills. If this interdict is
restricted simply to tariff bills, which occur only at rare intervals,
it becomes a very inadequate compensation for the surrender by the
large States to the small States in the constitution of the Senate.
According to the reason of the rule, the great appropriation bills must
be equally within its intendment. The reason is as strong in one case
as in the other.

In the debates of the Convention, Dr. Franklin said:--

    “As it had been asked what would be the use of restraining the
    second branch from meddling with _money bills_, he could not
    but remark, that it was always of importance that the people
    should know who had disposed of their money, _and how it had
    been disposed of_.”

Please, Sir, to mark these words.

    “It was a maxim, that those who feel can best judge. This end
    would, he thought, be best attained, if _money affairs_ were to
    be confined to the immediate representatives of the people.”[37]

Mr. Gerry, in urging the restraint upon the Senate, said:--

    “The other branch was more immediately the representatives of
    the people, _and it was a maxim that the people ought to hold
    the purse-strings_.”[38]

How, Sir, can the people hold the purse-strings, unless they hold the
bills by which the purse is appropriated?

And Colonel Mason broke forth in language clearly revealing his sense
of danger against which to guard.

    “If the Senate can originate, they will, in the recess of
    the legislative sessions, hatch their mischievous projects
    for their own purposes, and have their _money bills_ cut and
    dried (to use a common phrase) for the meeting of the House of

I repeat, then, according to the reason of the rule, the great
appropriation bills must be embraced by the prohibition.

_Secondly._ There is a further consideration, founded on the familiar
use of the term _money bills_ throughout the debates in the Convention,
as applicable to bills which the Senate cannot originate. I need not
occupy time by reference to instances; but whoever takes the trouble to
investigate the matter in Mr. Madison’s report of the debates, and also
in the report of the Virginia Convention, will find that this term is
universally employed,--unless, indeed, where Mr. Gouverneur Morris uses
the broader term “money plans,”[40] and Mr. Gerry “money matters.”[41]
Now all these phrases are clearly applicable to “appropriation bills,”
by which the Government is carried on; and the inference seems
irresistible, that the parties who used them must have had such bills
in mind.

In the Virginia Convention objection was made by Mr. Grayson “to the
power of the Senate to propose or concur with _amendments to money
bills_.” The objection is even to “amendments.” He pronounced this “a
departure from that great principle which required that the _immediate
representatives_ of the people only should interfere with _money
bills_.… The Lords in England had never been allowed to intermeddle
with money bills. He knew not why the Senate should.”[42]

_Thirdly._ This brings me to another consideration, founded on the
example of England, which was obviously present to the framers of
the Constitution. The Senator from Virginia [Mr. HUNTER] is clearly
mistaken on this point. It was often adduced in debate in the National
Convention, and, as we have just seen, in the Virginia Convention also.
In England the rule is explicit, and of ancient date. As early as July
3, 1678, the Commons resolved:--

    “That all aids and supplies, and aids to his Majesty in
    Parliament, are the sole gift of the Commons; _and all bills
    for the granting of any such aids and supplies ought to begin
    with the Commons; and that it is the undoubted and sole right
    of the Commons to direct, limit, and appoint, in such bills,
    the ends, purposes, considerations, conditions, limitations,
    and qualifications of such grants_, which ought not to be
    changed or altered by the House of Lords.”[43]

In pursuance of this rule, estimates for the annual expenditure are
submitted by the Ministry to the House of Commons, sitting as a
Committee of Supply. This process is explained as follows.

    “The member of the Administration representing the department
    for which the supplies are required first explains to the
    Committee such matters as may satisfy them of the correctness
    and propriety of the estimates, and then proceeds to propose
    each grant in succession, which is put from the Chair in these
    words: ‘That a sum not exceeding ---- be granted to her Majesty,
    for the object specified in the estimate.’ … The Committee of
    Supply votes every sum which is granted annually for the public
    service,--the army, the navy, the ordnance, and the several
    civil departments.”[44]

At the close of the session all the grants are embodied in a bill,
which is known as “Appropriation Bill,” and, as it is kindred in
character to that under our system, doubtless has given its name to
ours. This bill is thus described:--

    “It enumerates every grant made during the whole session, and
    authorizes the several sums, as voted by the Committee of
    Supply, to be issued and applied to each service.”[45]

Thus, on three grounds,--first, by the reason of the thing,--secondly,
by the familiar use in all the debates of the descriptive term, “money
bills,”--and, thirdly, by the example of England,--the conclusion is
inevitable, that “appropriation bills,” _by which the Government is
carried on_, are within the spirit of the interdict upon the Senate,
and that this body cannot originate such bills without violation of a
well-established principle inherited from English jurisprudence, and
also without _unhinging_, according to the language of Colonel Mason,
that compromise by virtue of which the small States are admitted to
equality of representation on this floor.

I am not unmindful of the fact, on which the Senator from Virginia has
dwelt so emphatically, that the Senate is in the habit of originating
pension bills, also bills for payment of private claims, and kindred
measures. I was glad, to-day, to vote for the bill originating in
this body for the relief of our late distinguished Minister at
Constantinople.[46] But against this usage, which is exceptional
in character, and has probably attracted little attention, from
its considerable convenience and little importance, may be opposed
the uniform practice by which the great bills providing for the
necessities of the Government have always originated in the House of
Representatives. And you will bear in mind, Sir, that the question is
now on these bills.

Mr. President, it is a received maxim, that it is the part of a good
judge to amplify his jurisdiction; but it will hardly be accepted,
that it is the part of the American Senate to amplify its powers,
particularly in derogation of the popular branch. And it surely cannot
escape observation, that the present effort is launched at a moment
when the popular branch promises to differ from the Senate on important
questions of national policy. I am not insensible to the public
convenience, which has been pressed in this debate; but permit me to
say, Sir, that, should this convenience require the proposed departure
from our standing policy, we shall be wise, if we hearken to the
counsels of the Senator from New York, and refrain from any innovation,
unless assured of the consent and coöperation of the other House.



                                SENATE CHAMBER, February 18, 1856.

  DEAR SIR,--I have pleasure in acknowledging the receipt of the
  memorial, forwarded by you from the underwriters and merchants
  of Boston, and addressed to the Secretary of the Treasury,
  asking the despatch of immediate relief to the large fleet of
  vessels now distressed by the rigors of this severe winter on our
  northern coast. It reached me Sunday morning; but its charitable
  object did not allow delay, and on that day I placed the memorial
  in the hands of the Secretary.

  I have his verbal answer to-day, expressing great interest in
  the object of the memorial, but saying, that, beyond the revenue
  cutter, the Treasury Department has no vessel at Boston which can
  be detached on this service, and that the cutter was directed
  some weeks ago to do what it could for the relief of distressed

  Though the memorial was addressed to the Secretary of the
  Treasury, I felt it my duty to apply to the Secretary of the
  Navy. He entered into the plan with much benevolence, and
  expressed a desire to do all that the means at his command
  would permit. The only vessel at Boston in readiness is
  the steam-frigate Merrimack, which is about to start on a
  “trial-trip” of one week, previous to a cruise of six months.
  This vessel has already been ordered to make the week’s voyage
  direct from Boston to Norfolk; but the Secretary will give
  directions that she shall proceed to the Great Banks as far as
  can be judiciously done, under the circumstances, in order to
  afford relief to vessels in distress. He would extend the cruise
  to a longer term at once, but the contractors who have furnished
  her engines have certain rights which he is bound to respect.

  The Secretary authorizes me to say also that he will send further
  relief, if possible.

  I beg you to assure the memorialists that it will give me
  pleasure to promote the objects of the memorial to the full
  extent of my power.

      Believe me, dear Sir, faithfully yours,


  JOHN T. SMITH, Esq., Exchange News-Room.


FEBRUARY 19, 1856.

                                    WASHINGTON, February 19, 1856.

  DEAR SIR,--I have been honored by your invitation to be with the
  Mercantile Library Association on the 22d instant. You know well
  the happiness I find in any coöperation with the young men of
  that Association, and I need not assure you of the gratification
  with which I should participate in any services calculated to
  exalt the example of Washington.

  Particularly at this moment should it be invoked, when the
  Republic, which he helped to found, seems to shake with the
  first throes of civil war, engendered by an interest which was
  condemned by him during life and formally abjured by him at his
  death. His great name should now be employed for the suppression
  of that Slave Power which is the fruitful mother of so much
  wretchedness. It will not be enough to quote his paternal words
  for Union: his example must be arrayed against the gigantic wrong
  which now disturbs this Union to its centre, and, in the madness
  of its tyranny, destroys the very objects of Union.

  The play of Othello without the part of Othello would be a barren
  spectacle; and the example of Washington, without his testimony
  against the malevolent force which disturbs the Republic, would
  be hardly less barren. Let the young men of Boston be encouraged
  to dwell on those sentiments and acts which, while they elevate
  his name, apply with prevailing power to the existing state of
  things among us. Let them bear in mind that he declared it to
  be “_among his first wishes_ to see some plan adopted by which
  Slavery in this country may be _abolished by law_,”--that, to
  promote this purpose, he expressed a desire, in a recorded
  interview with a distinguished foreigner, for the formation of
  an Antislavery Society,--that on many occasions he condemned
  Slavery,--that, in congratulations to Lafayette on his purchase
  of a plantation with a view of emancipating the slaves on it,
  he exclaimed, “Would to God a like spirit might diffuse itself
  generally into the minds of the people of this country!”--and
  that, finally, by his last will and testament, written within six
  months of his death, he bore his practical testimony to those
  ideas and aspirations, by the emancipation of his slaves. With
  these things taken to heart, the example of Washington will exert
  its just conservative influence over the country, holding it back
  from the extension of that evil against which he set himself, and
  arousing the general sentiment to repulse the aggressions which
  now threaten civil war. Then, indeed, will the Father of his
  Country have a new birth and influence.

      Believe me, my dear Sir, very faithfully yours,


  CHARLES G. CHASE, Esq., &c., &c., &c.



    The papers announce, that the following letter, when read, was
    received with six rousing cheers.

                               SENATE CHAMBER, February 25, 1856.

  MY DEAR SIR,--I cannot be present at the festival in
  commemoration of the election of Mr. Banks as Speaker. My duties
  will keep me here.

  But with you I rejoice in this triumph of Freedom, which is the
  first achieved in the National Government, since the recognition,
  by the earliest Congress under Washington, of the Ordinance
  prohibiting Slavery in the Northwestern Territory. To advance
  this victory, and to obtain its just fruits, there must be no
  relaxation of efforts, but constant exertion, with union among
  good men, and a determination to yield no jot in the conflict.

  To Massachusetts belongs an honorable place at the head of the
  battle. May no treason or hesitation of any of her sons deprive
  her of this post!

      Yours, faithfully,


  F. H. UNDERWOOD, Secretary, &c., &c.



    The effort to obtain for the Senate the power to abrogate
    treaties had peculiar interest at this time, from the known
    desire of certain Senators to terminate the stipulation between
    the United States and Great Britain, requiring a naval force on
    the coast of Africa for the suppression of the slave-trade. In
    1854 Mr. Slidell brought forward a proposition to this effect
    in Executive Session, assuming that the stipulation could be
    terminated by a simple vote of the Senate. Mr. Sumner insisted
    that the prerogative belonged to the law-making power, and
    could be exercised only by Act of Congress. By his effort the
    proposition was defeated.

    The power of the Senate over the abrogation of treaties was
    brought forward in Legislative Session, on the motion of Mr.
    Sumner, in connection with the Danish Sound dues, being the
    tax at Elsinore laid by Denmark upon the cargoes of vessels
    passing through the Sound into and out from the Baltic Sea.
    In 1841, Mr. Webster, as Secretary of State, traced the
    origin of this tax to the treaty of 1645 between Denmark and
    Holland, embracing a tariff of the principal articles then
    known in commerce; which treaty was the basis of our own
    concluded with Denmark in 1826, and limited to continue ten
    years from date, and further until the end of one year after
    notice by either party of an intention to terminate it; but
    he contented himself with recommending friendly negotiations,
    “with a view of securing to the commerce of the United States
    a full participation in any reduction of these duties, or the
    benefits resulting from any new arrangements respecting them
    which may be granted to the commerce of other states.”[47]
    In 1848, Mr. Buchanan, as Secretary of State, instructed our
    Minister at Copenhagen, that, “under the public law of nations,
    it cannot be pretended that Denmark has any right to levy
    duties on vessels passing through the Sound from the North Sea
    to the Baltic.” President Pierce, in his annual message of
    1854, proposed to terminate the treaty of 1826; the Senate,
    by simple resolution in Executive Session, March 3, 1855,
    undertook to terminate it; and the President, in his annual
    message of 1855, announced that the proper notice had been
    given to Denmark.[48]

    Mr. Sumner, impressed with the conviction that this notice
    was a bad precedent, and in the interest of the Slave Power,
    which controlled the Senate, besides being inadequate under the
    Constitution, brought forward the following resolution:--

    “_Resolved_, That the Committee on Foreign Relations be
    directed to consider the expediency of some act of legislation,
    having the concurrence of both Houses of Congress, by which the
    treaty with Denmark regulating the payment of Sound dues may be
    effectively abrogated, in conformity with the requirements of
    the Constitution, under which every treaty is a part of ‘the
    supreme law of the land,’ and in conformity with the practice
    of the Government in such cases,--and especially to consider
    if such legislation be not necessary forthwith, in order to
    supply a defect in the notice of the purpose of the United
    States to abrogate the said treaty, which the President has
    undertaken to give to Denmark without the authority of an Act
    of Congress, and in disregard of the function of the House of
    Representatives in the abrogation of all existing laws.”

    On his motion the Senate proceeded to its consideration, March
    6, when he spoke as follows.

MR. PRESIDENT,--If I can have the attention of the Senate for a brief
time, I will explain the object of this inquiry. The subject may be
dry, but it is important, and, at this moment, of direct practical

The President in his annual message named three different questions,
arising out of our relations with foreign nations. Two of these,
concerning England, have been discussed in the Senate; the other,
which concerns the payment of the Sound dues to Denmark, has not yet
been mentioned here. Introducing it now, I have no purpose to say
anything on the character of these dues, or to arrest the efforts of
the Government for the relief of our commerce from foreign exactions.
That is a broad field of history and of public law, which for the
present there is no occasion to enter. My desire is simply to open a
question of domestic interest under our own Constitution, with which,
of course, Denmark has no concern, but which is necessarily involved in
the determination of our course on this matter.

The President, in his annual message, announces:--

    “In pursuance of the authority conferred by a resolution of the
    Senate of the United States, passed on the 3d of March last,
    notice was given to Denmark, on the 14th day of April, of the
    intention of this Government to avail itself of the stipulation
    of the subsisting convention of friendship, commerce, and
    navigation, between that kingdom and the United States, whereby
    _either party_ might, after ten years, terminate the same at
    the expiration of one year from the date of notice for that

The treaty, it will be noted, reserves to _either party_--that is, to
_either of the Governments_ between whom it is made--the privilege of
terminating it by notice; and the President, without the sanction of an
Act of Congress, but simply in pursuance of a resolution of the Senate,
passed in Executive Session, _has constituted himself the Government_,
so far as to give such notice, and by such notice to abrogate the
treaty. Acting under his instructions, our Minister at Copenhagen, on
the 14th of April, 1855, notified the Danish Government, that,--

    “After the expiration of one year from the date of this
    communication, the United States will regard the general
    convention of ‘friendship, commerce, and navigation,’ agreed
    upon by Denmark and themselves on the 26th of April, 1826, as
    _finally abrogated_, and that after that period its provisions
    will not be binding upon our Government.”[50]

Thus undertaking, merely with the consent of the Senate, and without
the concurrence of the House of Representatives, to abrogate a treaty,
the President has assumed a power inconsistent with the Constitution,
and disowned by the practice of the Government, adopted, after debate,
on leading occasions. Such a usurpation cannot be justified by the good
that is sought; for that good might have been sought, and may still be
sought, by another course, in entire harmony with the Constitution and
the practice of the Government. Nor will any temporary purpose justify
the removal of constitutional safeguards.

The Constitution declares that the President “_shall have power_,
by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties,
provided two thirds of the Senators present concur”; but it does not
declare that the President, by and with the consent of the Senate,
shall have power to abrogate treaties. The absence of all language
conferring this extraordinary power is itself an unanswerable argument
against the existence of the power. But we are not left to found our
conclusion even on irresistible inference. There are explicit words
of the Constitution, which determine it beyond doubt. It is declared,

    “This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which
    shall be made in pursuance thereof, AND ALL TREATIES MADE _or
    which shall be made under the authority of the United States_,

Thus declaring treaties to be “the supreme law of the land,” the
Constitution not only gives to them the highest authority, but places
them under the highest safeguard known to our institutions. When once
made, they are obligatory on our side as _laws_, and can be abrogated
by no power less than that which may abrogate existing laws. Not the
President alone, not the President and Senate, can set them aside; but
for this purpose the whole power of the Government must be invoked,
in its most solemn form, by Act of Congress. In conformity with
this requirement, the power to declare war, involving, of course,
the abrogation of treaties, is expressly lodged with Congress. The
President, with the consent of the Senate, cannot declare war; and it
is difficult to see what greater power he possesses in the abrogation
of a treaty, involving possibly the rupture of friendly intercourse
with a foreign nation, and involving certainly the overthrow of what
the Constitution declares to be the supreme law.

Thus placing treaties under all the sanctions of law, I follow the best
authorities. The eminent commentator, Mr. Justice Story, in speaking of
them, gives them this character. Expounding this very clause, he says:--

    “It is therefore indispensable that they should have the
    obligation and force of a law, that they may be executed by the
    judicial power, _and be obeyed like other laws_. This will not
    prevent them from being cancelled or abrogated by the nation,
    upon grave and suitable occasions; for it will not be disputed
    _that they are subject to the legislative power, and may be
    repealed, like other laws, at its pleasure_.”[51]

And the Supreme Court of the United States affirm the same principle.

    “A treaty is in its nature a contract between two nations,
    not a legislative act.… In the United States a different
    principle is established. _Our Constitution declares a
    treaty to be the law of the land._ It is consequently to be
    regarded in courts of justice as _equivalent to an Act of the
    Legislature_, whenever it operates of itself, without the aid
    of any legislative provision.”[52]

This is a decision comparatively recent. But early in our history the
authority of treaties was much considered by the Supreme Court, in the
famous case of _Ware_ v. _Hylton et al._, 3 Dallas, 199-285, and we
find judges from opposite sections of the country arriving at the same
conclusion. Mr. Justice Gushing, of Massachusetts, said:--

    “The treaty … is of _equal force_ with the Constitution
    itself, and _certainly with any law whatsoever_.”[53]

Mr. Justice Iredell, of North Carolina, passed directly upon the power
of Congress, asserting that to this body alone was given the power to
abrogate a treaty under our Constitution. These are his words:--

    “It is a part of the Law of Nations, that, if a treaty be
    violated by _one party_, it is at the option of _the other
    party_, if innocent, to declare, in consequence of the breach,
    that the treaty is void. _If Congress, therefore, who, I
    conceive, alone have such authority under our Government_,
    shall make such a declaration in any case like the present, I
    shall deem it my duty to regard the treaty as void.”[54]

In practical illustration of the legal character attributed to
treaties, it will be observed that they are published with _the Laws of
the United States_, and constitute part of this collection, being bound
between the same covers; and I submit that the President and Senate
might undertake to tear out a leaf from the Statutes at Large with as
much propriety as to tear out an existing treaty.

Such is the rule of the Constitution, in conformity with which is the
practice of the country. Never before has the President assumed to act
without the House of Representatives in the performance of this duty.

       *       *       *       *       *

This question arose early after the adoption of the Constitution, in
our relations with France; and you will find, Sir, on our statute-book
the evidence of the way in which it was regarded. In 1798, the existing
treaties with France were abrogated by Act of Congress, which, after a
preamble, proceeded as follows:--

    “_Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
    of the United States of America in Congress assembled_, That
    the United States are of right freed and exonerated from the
    stipulations of the treaties and of the consular convention
    heretofore concluded between the United States and France,
    and that the same shall not henceforth be regarded as legally
    obligatory on the Government or citizens of the United

This very Act of Congress originated in the Senate, which at that
day undertook to exercise no such power as is now claimed. It was
not passed hastily, or without debate. The subject of our relations
with France was referred to a committee of that body on the 29th of
November, 1797. After the lapse of months, on the 21st of June, 1798,
Mr. Goodhue, from that committee, reported a bill to abrogate existing
treaties with that nation, which passed the Senate on the 23d of June,
by a vote of thirteen yeas to five nays. On the 25th it was carried to
the House of Representatives, where it was referred to the Committee
of the Whole on the State of the Union, fully debated, and finally
passed on the 6th of July. In the course of the debate, _treaties
were recognized as laws, to be abrogated only by Act of Congress_.
A Representative from Massachusetts, afterwards an eminent judicial
character, Mr. Sewall, put this point in these words:--

    “It is certainly a novel doctrine to pass a law declaring
    a treaty void; but the necessity arose from the peculiar
    situation of this country. In most countries it is in the power
    of the Chief Magistrate to suspend a treaty, whenever he thinks
    proper. _Here Congress only has that power._”[56]

This view was in no respect controverted or questioned. On the
contrary, it was recognized by the whole debate. Mr. Dana, of
Connecticut, said:--

    “France has violated the faith pledged by her treaties
    with America. This, by the Law of Nations, _puts it within
    the option of the Legislature to decide_, as a question of
    expediency, whether the United States shall any longer continue
    to observe their stipulations.”[57]

Mr. Gallatin, whose position in our public affairs was afterwards so
justly distinguished, employed the very language applicable to laws,
when he spoke of the proposed abrogation of the treaty as a _repeal_.

    “He knew of no precedent of a Legislature _repealing a
    treaty_. It is therefore an act of a peculiar kind, and it
    appeared to him necessary that _Congress_ should justify it
    by a declaration of their reasons.… It is not sufficient to
    say, that, because a treaty has been violated, _we will repeal

Such is the first and leading precedent in our history. The next is
more recent, and of hardly less importance. It was the notice to Great
Britain of the termination of the convention of 1827, relating to the
joint occupancy of certain parts of Oregon. This was not done by the
President, with the advice of the Senate in secret session, but by Act
of Congress. President Polk, in his annual message of 2d December,
1845, called upon Congress to act. These are his words:--

    “Under that convention, a year’s notice is required to be given
    by _either party_ to the other, before the joint occupancy
    shall terminate, and before either can rightfully assert
    or exercise exclusive jurisdiction over any portion of the
    territory. This notice it would, in my judgment, be proper to
    give; _and I recommend that provision be made by law for giving
    it accordingly_, and terminating in this manner the convention
    of the 6th of August, 1827.”[59]

In pursuance of this recommendation, _provision was made by law for
this notice_. You will remember, Sir, the debate which for months
occupied both Houses of Congress, and was closed by the passage of a
joint resolution, approved 27th April, 1846, which, after a preamble,
proceeds as follows.

    “_Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of
    the United States of America in Congress assembled_, That
    the President of the United States be, and he is hereby,
    authorized, at his discretion, to give to the Government of
    Great Britain the notice required by the second article of
    the said convention of the sixth of August, 1827, for the
    abrogation of the same.”[60]

This instance is particularly in point; for the treaty was terminated,
in accordance with its stipulations, by notice from the United
States,--precisely as it is now proposed to terminate the treaty with
Denmark. And the notice given to Great Britain with regard to the
treaty is declared to be “for the abrogation of the same.”

Such, Sir, is the rule of the Constitution, sustained by authoritative
precedents, in the abrogation of successive treaties with two powerful
nations, France and Great Britain. Surely there cannot be one rule for
large nations and another for small nations; nor will any one argue
that a treaty with France or Great Britain can be abrogated only by
Act of Congress, but a treaty with Denmark may be abrogated by the
President without an Act of Congress. And yet, in apparent harmony with
this fallacious distinction, the Executive, merely with the consent
of the Senate, obtained in secret session, assumes to abrogate a
treaty with weaker Denmark, and has given notice that this abrogation
will take effect on the ensuing 14th of April. Not content with the
_treaty-making_ power which it possesses under the Constitution, it
assumes the _treaty-abrogating_ power, which it does not possess. And
this assumption becomes more objectionable, when it is considered how
completely it excludes the House of Representatives from an important
function in the Government. Louis the Fourteenth, in the pride of
conscious power, exclaimed, “I am the State”; and permit me to say,
that our own Executive, undertaking to act in this matter without
the sanction of Congress, effectively makes the same declaration. To
the Senate is justly accorded large powers; but it now assumes more.
Only lately it authorized the origination of the great appropriation
bills, constituting the mainspring of the Government, in defiance of
uninterrupted usage, and, as I submit, the spirit of the Constitution.
What next, Sir? “Glamis thou art, and Cawdor!” And where, Sir, in this
career of aggrandizement, will you stop?

Whatever may be the merits of the existing controversy with Denmark,
I trust that the President will not clutch so eagerly at the promised
fruits as to disregard the requirement of the Constitution, and the
voice of the popular branch, in the repeal of an existing law. In vain
you will urge the good accomplished. To do even a great right, it is
not safe to do even a little wrong. At all events, I call attention
to this extraordinary assumption, that it may not be recorded for a
precedent. I call attention to it, also, that the needful steps may be
taken forthwith, in order to make effective the notice which has been
given, without due authority under the Constitution. The treaty with
Denmark is at this moment part of the supreme law of the land, and can
be abrogated only by Act of Congress.

    A debate ensued, in which the conclusions of Mr. Sumner were
    maintained by Mr. Seward, of New York, Mr. Fessenden, of
    Maine, Mr. Collamer, of Vermont, Mr. Crittenden, of Kentucky,
    and Mr. Stuart, of Michigan,--and controverted by Mr. Mason,
    of Virginia, Mr. Toucey, of Connecticut, and Mr. Cass, of
    Michigan. Mr. Mason proposed to amend the pending resolution by
    striking out the second clause, which amendment Mr. Sumner at
    once accepted, and closed the debate as follows.

MR. PRESIDENT,--My desire is simply to bring the question before the
Committee, and, to accomplish this, I shall not stand on the form of
the resolution. I am aware that it is argumentative, and involves,
perhaps, a reflection upon the course of the Executive; but I adopted
this form purposely, from a desire that the resolution should tell
the whole story on its face, and speak for itself. The ample debate
that has occurred supersedes all such desire. The subject is fully
before the Senate, and I doubt not will receive the attention of the

In introducing this question, I remarked that it was of domestic
concern under our own Constitution, with which, of course, Denmark
has nothing to do. All references, therefore, to that power have
been superfluous, if not illogical. Her consent is not sought in
the proposed termination of the treaty. On the contrary, it will be
terminated against her desires. We must look for our rule of conduct to
our own Constitution. This I assume as an undeniable postulate.

The discussion, though protracted, has not been unprofitable; but at
each stage we have been brought back to the clear and unmistakable
distinction between the power to make treaties and the power to
abrogate them, under the Constitution. The President, by and with the
advice and consent of the Senate, may make treaties; but there is
nothing in our Constitution conferring upon them the power to abrogate
treaties. To attribute to them any such power is to go beyond the
Constitution. Nor has any Senator distinctly, and in terms, claimed
for them this power. On the contrary, I think that Senators on the
other side--both the Senator from Virginia and the Senator from
Connecticut--admit that a treaty cannot be abrogated, except by virtue
of an Act of Congress. I understood the Senator from Connecticut to
make this admission, and I believe the Senator from Virginia did also.

    MR. MASON nodded assent.

    MR. TOUCEY. I mean, except by Act of Congress or a new treaty.

MR. SUMNER. I put aside the whole idea of a new treaty, constituting in
itself a new transaction, and involving the concurrence of the foreign
power. The President and Senate, with the concurrence of a foreign
power, may, of course, make a new treaty; but we are now dealing with
the case where the whole proceeding is without any such concurrence.
The question does not turn on the _treaty-making_ power, but on the
_treaty-abrogating_ power. And I come back again to the admission of
both Senators, that a treaty can be abrogated only by Act of Congress.
This admission is important, and, as it seems to me, conclusive.

But here a distinction is made by these Senators between treaties
which contain no provision for their termination and treaties which
contain such provision. And I understand the Senator from Virginia to
maintain that a treaty terminated in pursuance of such a provision
is not _abrogated_. This is strange; for in both cases the treaty
is brought to an end by our special intervention, and this is done
_without the concurrence of the other contracting party_. If this is
not the abrogation of a treaty, I do not see what can be. You may, if
you choose, call it by a softer term, but still it is the same thing.
The treaty is invalidated, or made to cease. But I will not argue this
question. I submit to Senators opposite, who have maintained their
views with so much constancy, that their position is not tenable; I say
this frankly, but with entire respect for their learning and ability.
The same power must be invoked to terminate a treaty containing a
provision for its termination, on notice from _either party_, as to
terminate a treaty containing no such provision; and in both cases the
treaty may properly be said to be abrogated. The single distinction
between the two cases is, that the treaty in one case is abrogated
in defiance of the other party, and perhaps on hostile ground, while
in the other case it is abrogated in pursuance of a power specially
reserved, and therefore without any just cause of offence; but in both
cases the life of the treaty is destroyed by our act. Permit me to add,
that the distinction made between these two classes is a distinction
without a difference, and the admission that a treaty can be abrogated
only by Act of Congress is as applicable to one class as to the other:
it settles the question.

I rest, then, confidently in the conclusion, that a treaty is part
of the supreme law of the land, and cannot be set aside, terminated,
superseded, disclaimed, repealed, or abrogated, except by the exercise
of the highest power known to the Constitution, embodying the collected
will of the whole people in a legislative act, under the sanction
of the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States in
Congress assembled.

    The resolution, as modified, was adopted.

    On the 7th of April, Mr. Mason, from the Committee on Foreign
    Relations, reported the following resolution.

        “_Resolved_, That the notice which has been given by
        the President to Denmark, pursuant to the resolution of
        the Senate of the 3d of March, 1855, to terminate the
        treaty with that power of the 26th of April in the year
        1826, is sufficient to cause such treaty to terminate and
        be annulled to all intents whatsoever, pursuant to the
        eleventh article thereof, and that no other or further act
        of legislation is necessary to put an end to said treaty,
        as part of the law of the land.”

    This was considered May 8th, 1856, when Mr. Sumner spoke as

Mr. President,--As this subject was originally brought before the
Senate on my motion, I hope to be indulged while I state briefly what
seems to be the true state of the question.

By the usage of most countries, the war-making power, the
treaty-making power, and the treaty-abrogating power are all lodged in
one and the same body. For instance, in England, the Queen in council
declares war, makes treaties, and also abrogates treaties: so also do
the other sovereigns of Europe. This is the growth of custom, and has
become European constitutional law. But it is otherwise in the United
States, where, according to the Constitution, the war-making power
is expressly lodged in Congress, while the treaty-making power is
expressly lodged in the President, acting with the advice of two thirds
of the Senate. Nothing express appears in the Constitution with regard
to the treaty-abrogating power. We are left to argument and inference,
in order to ascertain whether this great attribute belongs with the
war-making power to Congress, or with the treaty-making power to the
President and Senate.

To me there are three considerations, each of which seems to be
decisive, while the three combined compel us irresistibly to the true

_First._ In the absence of any express words in the Constitution,
the power to abrogate treaties should not be attributed to any _mere
fraction_ of the Government, as to the President, or to the President
and Senate, nor to any branches short of the whole Government embodied
in an Act of Congress. In view of the magnitude of the power, I am at a
loss to see how any other conclusion can be adopted on this point.

_Secondly._ The Constitution has expressly lodged the war-making power
in Congress, and, in doing so, seems by implication to have placed the
treaty-abrogating power in the same body; for the latter seems to be an
incident of the former. The abrogation of a treaty may be the prelude
of war; indeed, it may practically amount to a declaration of war.
The powers, though differing in degree, are kindred in character, and
should go together.

_Thirdly._ The Constitution has stepped forward, and expressly declared
that treaties shall be “the supreme law of the land”; and I know no
way in which these words can have complete efficacy, unless they are
held to impress upon treaties _the character of law, so that they will
not only be recognized as such by the courts, but also be irrepealable
except by Act of Congress_.

And this conclusion is confirmed by the practice of the Government
on two important occasions, in abrogating all subsisting treaties
with France in 1798, and in abrogating the convention with England
relating to Oregon as late as 1846. I do not dwell on these instances,
or their authoritative character; for I went over them at length on a
former occasion. Now, for the first time in our history, an opposite
practice is adopted, contrary to precedents, and also, as it seems
to me, contrary to reason. It is proposed to terminate a subsisting
treaty with Denmark, establishing reciprocal privileges of trade,
and especially regulating the payment of Sound dues, without any Act
of Congress, but simply by virtue of a resolution of the Senate. The
novelty of this course creates an impression against it. But this is
vindicated by the Committee on Foreign Relations, in an elaborate
report, on the ground of a peculiar provision in the treaty, as follows.

     “The present convention shall be in force for ten years from
    the date hereof, and further until the end of one year _after
    either of the contracting parties_ shall have given notice
    to the other of its intention to terminate the same,--_each
    of the contracting parties_ reserving to itself the right of
    giving such notice _to the other_ at the end of the said term
    of ten years; and it is hereby agreed between them, that, on
    the expiration of one year after such notice shall have been
    received _by either from the other party_, this convention
    and all the provisions thereof shall altogether cease and

It is admitted, as I understand, that, without this provision, the
treaty could not be terminated, except by Act of Congress; but it
is said, that, under this provision, no such Act is required. It is
difficult to understand the ground of this distinction; for there is
nothing in this provision to take power from Congress and confer it
upon the Senate alone. Point out the words, if they exist. They are not
there. How, then, can you infer them? The treaty is to be terminated
on notice from _either party_; and this notice must proceed from _the
same power_ which, in the absence of such provision, would be competent
to act. The mode of action is different, but _the acting power_ is the
same in both cases.

This treaty may be terminated on notice from “either of the contracting
parties.” In other treaties, having a similar provision, other
equivalent terms are employed: as in the treaty with Greece in 1837,
and with Sardinia in 1838, where the term “high contracting parties”
is employed; the treaty with Hanover in 1840, and with the Hanseatic
Republics in 1852, where the term “Government of the United States on
the one part” is employed; and, again, in the treaty with New Granada
in 1844, where the term “one of the two Governments” is employed. These
terms are all identical in meaning; and they signify that the notice in
all cases must be _an act of the Government_.

Who, then, for this purpose, is the Government, under the Constitution
of the United States? Surely, the power that can abrogate a treaty,
and nothing short of this; and this power, we have already seen, is
represented by an Act of Congress alone.

The Committee in their report, undertake to set forth the difference
between treaties which contain no provision for their termination and
those which do contain such provision, as follows.

    “The distinction in the character of the acts, in the one class
    of treaties and in the other, consists in this: that in the
    first class, as in the treaties with France in 1798, they were
    annulled as to the other party, _se invito_; in the second, in
    the case with England, they became null with the assent of that
    power previously given.”

Permit me to say that this does not seem to be a correct statement of
the difference between the two classes; for in both cases the treaties
were annulled contrary to the desire of the opposite party; and it is
notorious that the pending proceedings to annul the treaty with Denmark
are contrary to the desire of that power. No, Sir: the difference
between the two cases must be found in something else, which seems to
me palpable and unmistakable. It is this.

By the Law of Nations, in the absence of any express stipulation, a
treaty is of perpetual obligation on both parties,--to be abrogated
only by a new treaty having the assent of both parties, or by the act
of one party, alleging bad faith or hostile intent in the other, and on
this account declaring before the civilized world a release from all
its obligations. Such an act not only operates upon the other party _in
invitum_, but it is also _offensive in character_. But if any express
stipulation is introduced, authorizing the termination of the treaty
on notice from either party, then it may be abrogated in conformity to
the stipulation, even contrary to the desire of the opposite party,
_without giving cause of offence_; and this will be found to be the
sole practical distinction between the two cases. In both, the same
_power_ must be invoked; but it acts in different ways.

The question in the present case is of importance in two aspects:
_first_, as it involves the determination of a question of political
power under our Constitution; and, _secondly_, as it may affect the
interest of private individuals.

In the first aspect, the question would not be unimportant,
constitutionally, if the treaty with Denmark were the only one affected
by it; but the frequency of the provision in recent treaties adds to
its interest. Unknown in early days, it makes its first appearance as
late as 1822 in a treaty with France, and then in 1826 in this very
treaty with Denmark; but it has been repeated constantly since. Here is
a list, now in my hand, of no less than _forty-six_ different treaties
of the United States with _thirty-two_ different foreign powers, in
which this provision will be found. Among these is the important
stipulation with Great Britain, under which a squadron is kept on the
coast of Africa for the suppression of the slave-trade; and you are now
to determine whether the Senate will assume to itself the extraordinary
power now claimed over all these treaties, or will leave it in the
hands of Congress. And, still further, if this power is assumed by
the Senate, can it be exercised by a mere majority, or will a vote of
two thirds be required? How shall this question be decided? This very
difficulty of detail helps point to the true conclusion. But here is
the list.

_Memorandum of Treaties containing provision for their termination._

    |  With what country   |     Date.      |Article |Vol. of|Pages.|
    |        made.         |                |        | Laws. |      |
    |France                |24 June,    1822|    7   |   8   |  280 |
    |  ”                   | 9 Nov.,    1843|    6   |   8   |  582 |
    |  ”                   |23 Feb.,    1853|   13   |  10   |  999 |
    |Denmark               |26 April,   1826|   11   |   8   |  342 |
    |Sweden and Norway     | 4 July,    1827|   19   |   8   |  356 |
    |Great Britain         | 6 August,  1827|    2   |   8   |  360 |
    |  ”      ”            | 6 August,  1827|    2   |   8   |  362 |
    |  ”      ”            | 9 August,  1842|   11   |   8   |  577 |
    |  ”      ”            |15 Dec.,    1848|   22   |   9   |  970 |
    |  ”      ”            | 5 June,    1854|    5   |  10   | 1092 |
    |Hanseatic Republics   |20 Dec.,    1827|   10   |   8   |  370 |
    |   ”         ”        |30 April,   1852|    2   |  10   |  962 |
    |Prussia               | 1 May,     1828|   15   |   8   |  386 |
    |  ”                   |16 June,    1852|    5   |  10   |  967 |
    |Brazil                |12 Dec.,    1828|   33   |   8   |  397 |
    |Austria               |27 August,  1829|   12   |   8   |  401 |
    |  ”                   | 8 May,     1848|    5   |   9   |  947 |
    |Mexico                | 5 April,   1831|   34   |   8   |  426 |
    |  ”                   | 2 Feb.,    1848|   17   |   9   |  935 |
    |Chile                 |16 May,     1832|   31   |   8   |  440 |
    |Russia                | 6-18 Dec., 1832|   12   |   8   |  450 |
    |Venezuela             |20 Jan.,    1836|   34   |   8   |  482 |
    |Morocco               |16 Sept.,   1836|   25   |   8   |  487 |
    |Peru-Bolivian Confed’n|30 Nov.,    1836|   30   |   8   |  495 |
    |Greece                |10-22 Dec., 1837|   17   |   8   |  506 |
    |Sardinia              |26 Nov.,    1838|   19   |   8   |  520 |
    |Netherlands           |19 Jan.,    1839|    6   |   8   |  526 |
    |    ”                 |26 August,  1852|    6   |  10   |  985 |
    |    ”                 |22 Jan.,    1855|   15   |  10   | 1156 |
    |Ecuador               |13 June,    1839|   35   |   8   |  550 |
    |Hanover               |20 May,     1840|    9   |   8   |  558 |
    |  ”                   |10 June,    1846|   11   |   9   |  866 |
    |  ”                   |18 Jan.,    1855|    5   |  10   | 1141 |
    |Portugal              |26 August,  1840|   14   |   8   |  568 |
    |New Granada           | 6 March,   1844|   11   |   8   |  586 |
    | ”    ”               |12 Dec.,    1846|   35   |   9   |  899 |
    |Belgium               |10 Nov.,    1845|   19   |   8   |  612 |
    |Two Sicilies          | 1 Dec.,    1845|   12   |   9   |  841 |
    |Swiss Confederation   |18 May,     1847|    3   |   9   |  903 |
    |Mecklenburg-Schwerin  | 9 Dec.,    1847|   11   |   9   |  920 |
    |Guatemala             | 3 March,   1849|   33   |  10   |  888 |
    |Hawaiian Islands      |20 Dec.,    1849|   16   |   9   |  982 |
    |San Salvador          | 2 Jan.,    1850|   35   |  10   |  898 |
    |Costa Rica            |10 July,    1851|   13   |  10   |  924 |
    |Peru                  |26 July,    1851|   40   |  10   |  946 |
    |Bavaria               |12 Sept.,   1853|    5   |  10   | 1025 |

Are you aware, Sir, of the extent to which the abrogation of this
treaty may affect private interests, and therefore directly raise
for the judgment of the courts the question of the validity of your
proceeding? By this treaty Danish ships and cargoes are put upon
the footing of those of the most favored nations, and exempted from
discriminating duties; but these privileges must, of course, cease
with the treaty. Now, if a Danish vessel should arrive in the coming
month at New York, from St. Thomas, or at San Francisco, on her way
from Manila, as has latterly happened, the question would at once be
presented, whether the treaty had been legally abrogated, so as to
expose the vessel and cargo to the discriminating duties and fees? That
I may not seem to imagine a case, I call your attention to a list of
these duties and fees.

    [Here Mr. Sumner went into details which are omitted. At
    this stage he was interrupted by a question from a Senator.]

    MR. CLAYTON. I wish to ask the Senator, whether, in his
    judgment, supposing the treaty to be abrogated, our Act of
    Congress of 1828 would not authorize the executive department
    of the Government to admit free of duty any articles from

MR. SUMNER. The Senator is, perhaps, right. The President may remit
these discriminating duties; but I believe he can do it only after
information from Denmark as to her course. He cannot do it _at once_;
and I now refer to these duties simply to show that at this moment,
while I speak, a practical question may arise in our courts, or at our
custom-houses, as to the validity of the act of abrogation.

These things will at least make you hesitate before you assert a
power which is without precedent, and which at a former day was
disowned in this very case. By referring to the published diplomatic
correspondence, it appears that Mr. Buchanan, when Secretary of State,
in a letter to our representative at Copenhagen, dated 14th October,
1848, twice over recognized this power in Congress. “_Congress_ may,
therefore, at any moment, authorize the President to terminate this
convention.” Mark, Sir, he did not say the Senate, but Congress. And
then again he says: “It is probable that two years might elapse before
the existing convention could be terminated, AS AN ACT MUST FIRST PASS
CONGRESS _to enable the President to give the required notice, after
which a year must expire before it could be rendered effectual_.”[61]
It appears, also, that the House of Representatives, proceeding on
this understanding, had already initiated a joint resolution on this
subject, and therefore were in some measure seized of it, when the
Senate undertook to act alone. It seems to me that the course you have
commenced should be retraced, and that a joint resolution, or Act of
Congress, for the abrogation of the treaty, should be introduced at
once, if it is considered, in the present state of negotiations on this
question among the European nations, that the abrogation of the treaty
should be pressed immediately.

I desire the opinion of the Senate simply on the necessity of
present action by joint resolution,--leaving to another time, or to
the Committee, the question, whether the joint resolution shall be
prospective in its operation, or retroactive, so as to take advantage
of the notice already given? In order to have a decision of
this single point, I move to strike out all of the resolution now
pending after the word “_Resolved_,” and insert as follows:--

“That the Committee on Foreign Relations be instructed to report a
joint resolution of Congress, providing for the effectual termination
of the convention with Denmark of the 26th of April, 1826.”

    The subject was debated by Mr. Stuart, Mr. Clayton, Mr. Hale,
    Mr. Bayard, Mr. Toombs, Mr. Collamer, Mr. Benjamin, and Mr.
    Crittenden, when the Senate adjourned without a vote. It rested
    for a long time, when, on July 22d, while Mr. Sumner was absent
    from the Senate, disabled by injuries, Mr. Mason moved it
    again. The Senate refused to consider it by a vote of sixteen
    ayes to twenty noes, and from that time it was abandoned. Since
    then treaties have been abrogated by Act of Congress, and this
    may be considered the established rule.

    The question of the Sound Dues, out of which this debate
    arose, was settled by “friendly negotiation,” according to the
    original suggestion of Mr. Webster. An arrangement was made by
    the different powers of Europe, March 14, 1857, capitalizing
    the tax levied by Denmark, and assuming in ratable proportions
    the payment of the full sum on condition that the tax should
    cease. The United States kept aloof from this arrangement, but
    by separate treaty, April 11, 1857, obtained the same immunity
    by paying 717,829 rix dollars, with the further recognition of
    the treaty of 1826, except the article on the Sound Dues.[62]


MARCH 12, 1856.

    The terrible strife which began with the Kansas and Nebraska
    Bill was at its height during the winter. Freedom and Slavery
    were at a death-grapple in the Territory. Organized bands
    proceeded from the South, which were encountered by peaceful
    emigration from the North. The whole country was aroused.
    South and North were in a flame. On the one side there was a
    persistent effort to subject the Territory to Slavery; on the
    other side an equally persistent effort to save it to Freedom.
    At this stage, Mr. Douglas, from the Committee on Territories,
    presented a very long Report, purporting to be on the affairs
    of Kansas, where everything was represented unfavorably to
    the Northern emigrants, and especially to the Emigrant Aid
    Society of Massachusetts. This Report was read at the desk by
    its author, a course to which the Senate was not accustomed.
    Mr. Collamer presented a Minority Report, which he read at the
    desk also. As soon as the reading was over, Mr. Sumner took the
    floor and made the following remarks.

MR. PRESIDENT,--In those two reports the whole subject is presented
characteristically on both sides. In the report of the majority the
true issue is smothered; in that of the minority the true issue stands
forth as a pillar of fire to guide the country. The first proceeds from
four Senators; but against it I fearlessly put that report signed by
a single Senator [Mr. Collamer], to whom I offer my thanks for this
service. Let the two go abroad together. Error is harmless, while
reason is left free to combat it.

I have no desire to precipitate the debate on this important question,
under which the country already shakes from side to side, and which
threatens to scatter from its folds civil war. Nor, indeed, am I
disposed to enter upon it, until I have the opportunity of seeing in
print the elaborate documents which have been read to-day. But I cannot
allow the subject to pass away, even for this hour, without repelling
at once, distinctly and unequivocally, the assault which has been made
upon the Emigrant Aid Company of Massachusetts. That Company has done
nothing for which it can be condemned under the laws and Constitution
of the land. These it has not offended in letter or spirit,--not in
the slightest letter, nor in the remotest spirit. It is true, it has
sent men to Kansas; and had it not a right to send them? It is true, I
trust, that its agents love Freedom and hate Slavery; and have they not
a right to do so? Their offence has this extent, and no more. Sir, to
the whole arraignment of that Company, in the report of the Committee
on Territories, I now for them plead, “Not guilty!” and confidently
appeal to the country for that honorable acquittal which is due to
their patriot services.

The outrages in Kansas are vindicated or extenuated by the alleged
misconduct of the Emigrant Aid Company. Very well, Sir; a bad cause is
naturally staked on untenable ground. You cannot show the misconduct.
Any such allegation will fail. And you now begin your game with loaded



                               SENATE CHAMBER, April 28, 1856.

  DEAR SIR,--I cannot be at your proposed meeting, where are
  to assemble the patriotism, intelligence, and wealth of the
  metropolis; but I recognize its importance, and cry to it

  The work before us is plain. Kansas must be saved from a
  tyrannical usurpation, under which Slavery has been forcibly
  established on Free Soil. This is the special object of labor
  to which we are summoned by every consideration of regard for
  that distant Territory, and also by every sentiment of love for
  our common country. But this can be done only by her immediate
  welcome into the Union, under her present Constitution, as a Free
  State,--of course without recognition of the usurping Tyranny.
  Upon this we must insist, as the means essential to the end.

  In achieving this result, an incidental good will be
  accomplished, which of itself should impel us to any exertion.
  The Slave Oligarchy has staked its power in the National
  Government upon the support of this usurpation. In the madness
  of its despotism, it has selected a position the least tenable
  of all its assumptions. To dislodge it from this position, and
  at the same time from its disgusting supremacy in the National
  Government, will be one and the same work. And all this will be
  easy to do, if the good people of the populous North, forgetting
  past differences, will but rally together. _Union to save Kansas,
  and Union to save ourselves_, should be the watchword.

      Believe me, dear Sir, very faithfully yours,


  E. D. MORGAN, Esq., Chairman, &c.




    Such busy multitudes I fain would see
    Stand upon Free Soil with a people free.
                                 GOETHE, _Faust_, Part II. Act V.

    Nihil autem gloriosius libertate præter virtutem, si tamen
    libertas recte a virtute sejungitur.--JOHN OF SALISBURY,
    _Polycraticus_, Lib. VII. cap. 25.

    On the 17th of March, 1856, Mr. Douglas introduced “A Bill
    to authorize the People of the Territory of Kansas to form
    a Constitution and State Government, preparatory to their
    Admission into the Union, when they have the requisite
    Population.” Subsequently, Mr. Seward moved, by way of
    substitute, another bill, providing for immediate action, and
    entitled “A Bill for the Admission of the State of Kansas into
    the Union.” Debate ensued, and was continued by adjournment
    from time to time. In the course of this debate, on the 19th
    and 20th of May, Mr. Sumner made the following speech.

       *       *       *       *       *

    This speech found unexpected audience from an incident which
    followed its delivery. It became a campaign document in the
    Presidential election then at hand, and was circulated by the
    hundred thousand. Besides reprint in newspapers, there were
    large pamphlet editions in Washington, New York, Boston, and
    San Francisco. Editions appeared in German and Welsh. It was
    reprinted in London, in a publication by Nassau W. Senior, the
    eminent publicist and economist, entitled “American Slavery: A
    Reprint of an Article on ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ in the ‘Edinburgh
    Review,’ and of Mr. Sumner’s Speech of the 19th and 20th of
    May, 1856.”

    At the period of its delivery an intense excitement prevailed
    throughout the country. At the North there was a deep sense of
    wrong, with indignation at the pretensions of the Slave Power,
    yearning for a voice in Congress that should speak out the
    general sentiment. These influences reached Mr. Sumner before
    he spoke, in numerous letters.

    Hon. William Jay, of New York, the able and eminent
    Abolitionist, being on the point of sailing for Europe, wrote

        “It is with heavy forebodings in regard to Kansas that
        I leave the country. I have long been convinced that
        the great obstacle to the cause of human rights and the
        ultimate prosperity and freedom of our native land is the
        corruption of the moral sense of our nation. We are very
        religious as a people, so far as religion is convenient,
        and consistent with money-getting, office, and power; but
        so far as it interferes with those pursuits, we are a
        nation of infidels. To me it seems the Democratic party
        is utterly and ostentatiously profligate, the unblushing
        advocates of human slavery and piratical warfare, the
        most God-defying party which ever cursed our country.
        As to Slavery, the Church is exerting a most corrupting
        influence. Our cotton parsons preach to please the rich
        pew-holders, and are becoming more and more bold in
        defending Slavery, while ---- keeps watch and ward over
        the press of the Tract Society as the guardian of human
        bondage, and decent men are not ashamed to give their hands
        to this shameless renegade, this reproach to Christianity.
        The violence, insolence, cruelty, and injustice springing
        from Slavery are gradually drifting into anarchy,--and
        anarchy leads first to civil war, and then to military

        “But duty is ours, and events belong to Providence. I think
        all honest men must now be convinced that nothing is gained
        to Freedom by compromises. Had Webster been a true man,
        there would have been no trouble about Kansas. I never see
        his portrait or bust without a shudder. I am for bold deeds
        and bold language.

                ‘Fear admitted into public councils
            Betrays like treason.’

        “May God direct and bless you!”

    Another friend wrote from Massachusetts as follows.

        “Pardon me for the expression of an earnest wish to hear
        from you soon on the Kansas Freedom Question. However ably
        ---- and others have treated it, and they have done noble
        things, I am persuaded that you can impress the public mind
        with the magnitude of the momentous issue more than any
        other man.

        “Excuse me again for suggesting, that, as Douglas charges
        as a reason, or pretence, for calling the Freedom party
        ‘Black Republicans,’ because, as he says, their platform
        all relates to ‘the Nigger Question,’ it may with the
        greatest force be retorted, that the party in power should
        justly be named Black Democrats, because their whole
        foreign and domestic policy is dictated by the slaveholding
        oligarchy, and basely surrenders every other interest of
        the country to it, if it interfere.

        “Especially, I know that it would exceedingly gratify
        the friends of Freedom, if the arrogance and bullyism of
        Douglas could be signally rebuked, and his faithlessness to
        the honor and welfare of his native land be conspicuously

    Eli Thayer, of Worcester, who, more than any other person, was
    author of the system of emigration which was redeeming Kansas,
    addressed Mr. Sumner as follows, under date of May 8.

        “I am happy to learn that you intend to speak next Monday.
        In my judgment that speech has a very important mission
        to perform, and I rejoice that it is soon to be before
        the people. But there will be gnashing of teeth among the
        defenders of Slavery. Be prepared, therefore, for the worst
        of their endeavors.

        “Your shafts will fall among them as did those of the
        far-shooting god among the Greeks before the walls of Troy,
        when he punished them for enslaving the daughter of his

        Δεινὴ δὲ κλαγγὴ γένετ’ ἀργυρέοιο βιοῖο.

        “My friend Mr. Williams will be present to hear you. I envy
        him the pleasure of the occasion.

        “May good fortune attend you!”

    Dr. Le Baron Russell, of Boston, an active member of the
    Emigration Society, wrote, under date of May 11:--

        “We have had enough of truckling in Northern men. It is
        time for us to show that we mean to submit to the Southern
        bravado no longer. I have always felt humiliated by the
        tone our men have taken in Congress, yielding everything,
        and never daring to assert their rights or to exercise
        their true power to crush these fellows into submission.”

    Such was the prompting under which Mr. Sumner spoke, while the
    whole country watched the debate. The response to the speech
    was in harmony with the prompting.

    The correspondent of the _New York Tribune_ thus by telegraph
    described the speech immediately after its delivery:--

        “Senator Sumner’s Kansas speech is the most masterly,
        striking, and scathing production of the session. The
        galleries were crowded with intellect, beauty, and fashion,
        and the anterooms were also thronged. His excoriation
        of Douglas was scornfully withering and scorching. He
        designated Senator Butler as the Don Quixote of Slavery,
        and Douglas as its Sancho Panza. Mr. Sumner never before
        made such an impression in force, manner, and emphatic
        style. He was animated and glowing throughout, hurling
        defiance among the opposition, and bravely denouncing the
        Kansas swindle from first to last. Some passages quite
        electrified the Chamber, and gave a new conception of the
        man. Finer effect has rarely been produced.”

    The scene was sketched by a correspondent of the _Missouri
    Democrat_, at St. Louis, as follows.

        “It may be rash to publish in Missouri a just estimate of
        the abilities of an Abolitionist. Sectional opinion demands
        caricatures, and not portraits. It views the leading men
        of the other section through the medium of its fear, its
        hatred, or its contempt, and can recognize no likeness,
        unless the features are distorted and the canvas is
        darkened, unless the countenance is wicked and the figure

        “Sumner had an audience calculated to arouse all his
        faculties, and to remind him that his position was in
        many respects similar to that of Burke, when he impeached
        Warren Hastings. His brother Senators were mostly in their
        seats,--by no means a common occurrence. The lobbies
        were crowded with the great outside politicians, of whom
        Senators and Members are frequently the instruments,
        who originate and guide political movements by means
        of the press. Francis P. Blair, and Thurlow Weed, and
        Robert J. Walker, and bevies of Southern delegates to the
        Cincinnati Convention were there; and the young orators of
        the House were also there,--Stephens, the keenest blade
        in the Proslavery ranks, looking as if his face was the
        battle-ground of boyhood and old age, and Keitt, measuring
        himself silently with Sumner, and doubtless thinking
        that the speech to which he was listening so attentively
        was like a Burmese idol, a monster covered with jewels.
        The ladies’ gallery was crowded to excess, and the fair
        ones overflowed into the anteroom of the Senate. The
        letter-writers in double file occupied their own gallery
        (for which their best thanks are due to John P. Hale), and
        passed upon the speech as it gradually came forth. The
        people in compact mass occupied the background.

        “That Sumner displayed great ability, and showed that in
        oratorical talent he was no unworthy successor of Adams,
        Webster, and Everett, no one who heard him will deny. In
        vigor and richness of diction, in felicity and fecundity
        of illustration, in breadth and completeness of view,
        he stands unsurpassed. He laid the classics, the Gothic
        mythology, the imaginative literature of Europe, and the
        Bible under tribute for imagery or quotation. That he had
        the great speech of Cicero and the greater speech of Burke
        in his mind’s eye, there can be no doubt.

        “In his reply to Cass, Douglas, and Mason, who stung him
        into excitement, he was more successful than at any other
        time. The collision knocked fire from him; and well it
        might, for he was abused and insulted as grossly as any man
        could be; but he replied successfully to the unmeasured
        vituperation of Douglas, and the aristocratic and withering
        hauteur of Mason.”

    The able correspondent of the _Evening Post_ at New York,
    William S. Thayer, afterwards Consul-General at Alexandria,
    furnished this description.

        “There is but one opinion among all competent judges
        as to the unexampled feast of eloquence which has been
        enjoyed in the Senate for the past two days, from the
        lips of Senator Sumner. In a speech of five hours in
        length, he has exhibited the most signal combination of
        oratorical splendors which, in the opinion of a veteran
        Senator, has ever been witnessed in that Hall. Indeed,
        for the union of clear statement, close and well-put
        reasoning, piquant personality and satire, freighted with
        a wealth of learned and apposite illustrations, every
        one of which was subsidiary to the main purpose of the
        argument, it may safely challenge comparison with the great
        speeches of Burke, to whom the Massachusetts Senator, in
        the ripened vigor of his abilities, and in his varied
        accomplishments, bears no small similitude.… But Mr. Sumner
        was more fortunate than Burke in drawing and detaining his
        audience.… From the beginning to the end of each session,
        not only were the galleries thronged to their utmost
        capacities with ladies and gentlemen, but all the doorways
        were completely blocked up with listeners who hung in
        breathless suspense upon his eloquence. It seemed even as
        if the members of the other House had adjourned to crowd
        the lobbies of the Senate. No such scene has been witnessed
        since the days of Webster.”

    A writer in the _Liberator_ thus recorded his impressions on
    reading the speech:--

        “Never, I think, from anything did I receive an impression
        of greater power and grandeur. It came over me like the
        sound of many waters. I laid down the paper, and still
        there seemed to press around me a solemn, majestic anthem
        from a mighty organ. I can almost imagine that around that
        sick-bed the invisible angels gather, and that on that
        bruised and mangled head the rays of a divine halo gleam
        between the blossoms of an imperishable wreath.”

    Another writer, in a country journal of Massachusetts,
    expresses himself thus:--

        “It were the merest commonplace to say that Massachusetts
        may well be proud of her son. She owes him a debt which she
        can never fitly discharge. I would avoid estimating him
        too highly; but it seems to me that it may be said without
        extravagance, that to much of the firmly knit strength and
        unassailable logic of a Webster he unites all the fire and
        fervor of an Otis, with the grace and classic elegance of
        an Everett. But underlying, interpenetrating, and informing
        all this brilliancy of genius is the earnest philanthropy
        of the man,--a philanthropy which gives an effect to all
        his productions, which the cold-blooded politician, or
        statesman, even, can never hope to attain. His words go
        straight to the popular heart, and find there an earnest
        and immediate response.”

    The Rev. Gilbert Haven, in a published sermon at Westfield,
    Massachusetts, spoke thus:--

        “Read the great speech which excited such rage, and won
        for its author the crown of a martyr. For, before he
        uttered a word, he knew its probable effect; he measured
        the danger before he struck the blow. But three or four
        in all history are its equals in beauty and strength of
        thought and language,--Demosthenes against the Philipizing
        Douglas of Athens, the keen, ready, insolent tool of her
        tyrants,--Cicero against the Atchison Catiline of the Roman
        Republic,--Burke against the wholesale enslaver of India,
        Hastings,--Webster against the South Carolinian traducer of
        Freedom and its fruits: with these four, this stands, and
        will always stand, equal to the highest in all the literary
        qualities of an oration, higher than the highest in the
        sweep of his theme,--the preservation of the liberty,
        culture, and religion of a great Christian nation.”

    The testimony of the press was followed by that of
    correspondents, who vied in grateful felicitations. Of these a
    few examples are given.

    John G. Whittier, the poet, wrote:--

        “I have read and re-read thy speech, and I look upon it as
        thy best. A grand and terrible philippic, worthy of the
        great occasion; the severe and awful truth which the sharp
        agony of the national crisis demanded. It is enough for
        immortality. So far as thy own reputation is concerned,
        nothing more is needed. But this is of small importance. We
        cannot see as yet the entire results of that speech, but
        everything now indicates that it has _saved the country_.”

    Joseph E. Worcester, the distinguished lexicographer, wrote:--

        “I take my pen in hand to express to you--shall I say my
        sympathy or congratulation, or something of both, for
        the scene through which you have recently passed? No one
        would wish to be the victim of ‘border-ruffianism,’ which
        has broken out in so disgraceful a manner at Washington;
        yet I am happy to be able to congratulate you on standing
        so honorably as you do in relation to this affair before
        the public, and that such public feeling is manifested
        in relation to the transaction. I cannot but hope that
        the recent occurrence will have a powerful influence in
        advancing the good cause which you have so zealously and
        ably defended.”

    The Count Gurowski wrote from New York:--

        “That is grand and beautiful, what you uttered again, and
        hurled against traitors,--grand and beautiful in thought
        (_der Idee_), which is principal with an old German
        pupil, but not less so in form, for which likewise I have
        appreciation. I wish I could find new words to communicate
        to you the impression full of charm and joy, reading your
        speech this morning. You still ascend in higher regions
        with every one of your oratorical efforts.”

    George P. Putnam, of New York, the eminent publisher, wrote:--

        “May so small an item as myself, among the millions who
        are electrified by this bold and masterly exposition of
        the great curse of the land, be permitted to join in the
        expression of hearty admiration of the consummate ability
        and unflinching fearlessness of the man who thus stands up
        in the front ranks of the battle for Freedom and Humanity!

        “Be assured, dear Sir, that you have gained a great many
        repenting sinners from the ranks of the timid cotton-bound
        apologists of Southern tyranny. Scarcely a man of
        intelligence and standing within my range of observation
        will now hesitate to indorse heartily your position on this
        question, which was so recently in advance of the age.
        ‘There is a good time coming.’”

    Simeon Draper, of New York, active and eminent as a political
    leader, wrote:--

        “I sincerely regret that you have received from the hand
        of an assassin so serious a blow. I pray you may be
        saved from pain, and soon be brought to your seat in the
        Senate, and be long spared to defend the right and tell
        the truth. In this great city of money-worshippers, thank
        God, there are none to defend this act of cowardice and
        meanness. Your sufferings may be great and even prolonged
        by this scoundrelism, _but the life of Slavery will be much

    Cassius M. Clay, of Kentucky, famous for his early and constant
    warfare with Slavery, afterwards Minister of the United States
    at Petersburg, wrote:--

        “I think your speech is far the best one delivered this
        session, and will confer upon you immortality as a
        parliamentary debater,--not merely a ‘maker of addresses,’
        as your enemies would have it. I think it will stand
        right alongside with Webster’s reply to Hayne on the Foot
        resolution, which was his greatest effort in my judgment,
        and will be considered equal to it in apt classical
        allusion, strength of argument, bitter irony, and lofty
        patriotism. Perhaps the only drawback in the comparison is
        the studied arrangement of your speech, which, although
        assisting the memory in the public mind, savors too much
        of the pulpit, and ‘smells too much of the lamp.’ My dear
        Sir, I have said thus much of your speech because I think
        every orator would like to hear a candid criticism from any
        source, however humble.

        “The effect of your speech will be tremendous,--all the
        more effective on account of the sequel.”

    George W. Curtis, of New York, the elegant writer and speaker,
    wrote to George Sumner:--

        “While the whole free country is testifying its respect for
        the statesman, and its honor for the brave defender of the
        only great cause in human politics, it is a privilege upon
        which I congratulate myself, that I may send my love to
        your brother.

        “Tell him that those of us whose pursuits are not political
        postpone them to the commanding interest of the time, and
        stand ready to prove our sympathy.

        “I am writing an oration, to be delivered before the
        societies of the Wesleyan University at Middletown,
        Connecticut,--unfortunately not until August; my theme is
        naturally the duty of the American scholar to politics;
        and as I remember the scholar John Milton, who was the
        great orator of Liberty in those days, I shall not forget,
        nor allow my audience to forget, the scholar who in later
        days--these very summer months, that will not then have
        passed by--stood in the same way, splendid, not only by the
        glory of his cause, but by the powers he consecrated to it,
        and by the wrongs he suffered for it.”

    Hon. E. Rockwood Hoar, afterwards Attorney-General, wrote from
    Concord, Massachusetts:--

        “Courage and good cheer, my noble friend! We will stand by
        you in everything that head can devise or hand can execute.

        “If you had been killed, no man could desire a nobler
        epitaph than your speech; and you will live to say again,
        in many a form, and on many a fit occasion, the stinging
        home truths to which no reply could be found but this.”

    Edwin P. Whipple, of Boston, admired as a writer, wrote with
    the warmth of personal friendship:--

        “You have been constantly in my mind and heart since the
        attempt at your assassination, and I must tell you how
        much I sympathize with the sentiments of your speech, how
        I glory in its genius, and how impossible it is for me to
        find words to express my rage and abhorrence in regard to
        the outrage that followed it. I cannot account for the
        course of Senator Butler, and of South Carolina, except on
        the supposition, that, fearing certain charitable persons
        might think you were too severe in your comments on them,
        they hastened to prove they were worse than it had ever
        entered your imagination to conceive them to be.

        “Your speech is more than a speech: it is an event. It
        would have been an event, had not your opponents answered
        it in the only way they were capable of answering it.
        It is much more so now. But your position, though more
        glorious than that of any other living man, has great
        responsibilities attached to it.”

    Chauncey Clark, an earnest constituent, of Northampton, Mass.,

        “I have carefully read your speech; I have read the
        concluding retort, which some of your friends wish had not
        been made; and I most fervently thank God for enabling you
        to say just what you said, and to say it in the very manner
        you did. And, Sir, you may well thank God, too. It required
        no ordinary power. It was not the work of a day nor of a
        night, nor of successive nights with lamps and ‘nigger
        boys.’ Douglas knows little of the requisites necessary for
        bringing up through this crooked world, and establishing
        the heart and mind, in such a place as the Senate Chamber,
        of _an honest man_.

        “Had not God separated you early in life, and guided and
        guarded and instructed you through many years, with special
        reference to this very exigency, that concentration of
        clear and just conception, of indignant hatred of tyranny,
        and of confidence in the final triumph of justice, could
        not have been called up at pleasure by you, merely to grace
        a speech.”

    Rev. Francis Wayland, of Providence, the able author of works
    on Moral Philosophy and Political Economy, wrote:--

        “I will not say that I, the whole nation, or the free
        portion of it, sympathize with you,--and, what is far
        better, I believe them to be solemnly moved. At least I
        have seen nothing like it before. With us the wave has
        reached an elevation which it never before touched. Our
        ablest, best, and most influential men, men who have
        been highly conservative, as it is called, have made up
        their minds on this subject. They are calm, considerate,
        constitutional; but they mean what they say, and they will
        never go back.…

        “I thank you for your speech, as I do for all the others
        you have sent me. I hope you will deliver many such, and
        I think you will do it henceforth without peril. Do not,
        however, go out, or use your mind actively, until you are
        perfectly well.”

    Rev. Convers Francis, of Harvard University, wrote:--

        “I remember you told me last November, just before your
        departure for Washington, that you were looking forward to
        fearful trials in the approaching session, but that the
        path of duty was plain before you, and that you should
        walk therein. Nobly, most nobly, have you redeemed that
        pledge. But the apprehension with which the first part of
        your remark filled me at the time included nothing like
        this scene of murderous guilt. How could it? How could any
        one, who had not measured all the length and breadth of
        slaveholding depravity, as I had not, have brought such a
        thing within the range of imagination or prophecy?”

    Thomas Sherwin, Head Master of the Boston High School, wrote:--

        “To-day we have had a public Declamation, and in the
        preparation my chief difficulty was to determine how many
        lads should be allowed to make selections from your speech.
        I send you a programme, from which you will see that there
        is a good sprinkling of the true spirit. To you, intrusted
        with the momentous interests of our whole country, not
        to say those of the world, these boyish affairs may seem

    Dr. Joseph Sargent, the eminent surgeon, of Worcester, wrote:--

        “You have not said one word that we would have unsaid; and
        when you shall have opportunity again to speak those words
        of truth which are words of fire, we only wish to be at
        hand to take the blows ourselves, while you shall have the
        glory of having aroused a nation as it has not been aroused
        before, since the days which preceded the Revolution. Shame
        on the country which needed such a wrong to move it to the

    Mrs. Lydia Maria Child wrote thus:--

        “My chief motive in writing is to thank you for your
        magnificent speech, which met the requirements of the time
        with so much intellectual strength and moral heroism. Some
        ‘patriots’ called it ‘Un-American.’ It recalled to my mind
        the words of Aristophanes:--

                        “‘Sparta shall find
        An _honest_ chronicler, though Fear may try
        The prize with Truth. Yes, I have fears, and those
        In no small brood. I know the people well,
        Their temper’s edge and humor. Does some tongue
        Link cunning commendation with their own
        And country’s name? Their joy o’erflows the measure;
        It matters not the praise be wrong, nor that
        Their freedom pays the tickling of their ears.’

        “Your political adversaries made such an outcry about your
        imprudent severity and unjustifiable personalities, that
        I cautiously examined whether there was any ground for
        such an allegation. Few persons have stronger aversion
        to harsh epithets and personal vituperation than I have,
        but I confess I could find nothing in your Kansas Speech
        which offended either my taste or my judgment. You rebuked
        States and individuals merely as the representatives of
        that ever-encroaching Slave Power, whose characteristic
        artifice, arrogance, and despotism it was necessary for you
        to portray in connection with the subject under debate.”

    These testimonies, which reveal the feelings of the time, might
    be multiplied indefinitely. The “sequel,” to which Mr. Clay
    refers, and to which allusion is made by other correspondents,
    will be found at the end of the speech in an Appendix.


MR. PRESIDENT,--You are now called to redress a great wrong. Seldom
in the history of nations is such a question presented. Tariffs, army
bills, navy bills, land bills, are important, and justly occupy your
care; but these all belong to the course of ordinary legislation. As
means and instruments only, they are necessarily subordinate to the
conservation of Government itself. Grant them or deny them, in greater
or less degree, and you inflict no shock. The machinery of Government
continues to move. The State does not cease to exist. Far otherwise is
it with the eminent question now before you, involving, as it does,
Liberty in a broad Territory, and also involving the peace of the whole
country, with our good name in history forevermore.

       *       *       *       *       *

Take down your map, Sir, and you will find that the Territory of
Kansas, more than any other region, occupies the middle spot of North
America, equally distant from the Atlantic on the east and the Pacific
on the west, from the frozen waters of Hudson’s Bay on the north
and the tepid Gulf Stream on the south,--constituting the precise
geographical centre of the whole vast Continent. To such advantages
of situation, on the very highway between two oceans, are added a
soil of unsurpassed richness, and a fascinating, undulating beauty
of surface, with a health-giving climate, calculated to nurture a
powerful and generous people, worthy to be a central pivot of American
institutions. A few short months have hardly passed since this spacious
mediterranean country was open only to the savage, who ran wild in its
woods and prairies; and now it has drawn to its bosom a population of
freemen larger than Athens crowded within her historic gates, when
her sons, under Miltiades, won liberty for mankind on the field of
Marathon,--more than Sparta contained, when she ruled Greece, and sent
forth her devoted children, quickened by a mother’s benediction, to
return with their shields or on them,--more than Rome gathered on her
seven hills, when, under her kings, she commenced that sovereign sway
which afterwards embraced the whole earth,--more than London held,
when, on the fields of Crécy and Agincourt, the English banner was
borne victorious over the chivalrous hosts of France.

Against this Territory, thus fortunate in position and population, a
Crime has been committed which is without example in the records of
the Past. Not in plundered provinces or in the cruelties of selfish
governors will you find its parallel; and yet there is an ancient
instance which may show at least the path of justice. In the terrible
impeachment by which the Roman Orator has blasted through all time the
name of Verres, charges were, that he had carried away productions
of Art, and had violated the sacred shrines. But, amidst charges of
robbery and sacrilege, the enormity which most aroused the indignant
voice of his accuser, and which still stands forth with strongest
distinctness, arousing the sympathetic indignation of all who read
the story, was, that away in Sicily he had scourged a citizen of
Rome,--that the cry, “I am a Roman citizen,” had been interposed in
vain against the lash of the tyrant governor. It was in the presence
of the Roman Senate that this arraignment proceeded,--in a temple of
the Forum,--amidst crowds such as no orator had ever before drawn
together, thronging the porticos and colonnades, even clinging to
the house-tops and neighboring slopes, and under the anxious gaze
of witnesses summoned from the scene of crime. But an audience
grander far, of higher dignity, of more various people, and of wider
intelligence,--the countless multitude of succeeding generations, in
every land where eloquence has been studied, or where the Roman name
has been recognized,--has listened to the accusation, and throbbed with
condemnation of the criminal. Sir, speaking in an age of light, and in
a land of constitutional liberty, where the safeguards of elections are
justly placed among the highest triumphs of civilization, I fearlessly
assert that the wrongs of much-abused Sicily, thus memorable in
history, were small by the side of the wrongs of Kansas, where the very
shrines of popular institutions, more sacred than any heathen altar,
are desecrated,--where the ballot-box, more precious than any work in
ivory or marble from the cunning hand of Art, is plundered,--and where
the cry, “I am an American citizen,” is interposed in vain against
outrage of every kind, even upon life itself. Are you against robbery?
I hold it up to your scorn. Are you against sacrilege? I present it for
your execration. Are you for the protection of American citizens? I
show you how their dearest rights are cloven down, while a Tyrannical
Usurpation seeks to install itself on their very necks!

The wickedness which I now begin to expose is immeasurably aggravated
by the motive which prompted it. Not in any common lust for power did
this uncommon tragedy have its origin. It is the rape of a virgin
Territory, compelling it to the hateful embrace of Slavery;[63] and
it may be clearly traced to a depraved desire for a new Slave State,
hideous offspring of such a crime, in the hope of adding to the power
of Slavery in the National Government. Yes, Sir, when the whole world,
alike Christian and Turk, is rising up to condemn this wrong, making
it a hissing to the nations, here in our Republic, _force_--ay, Sir,
FORCE--is openly employed in compelling Kansas to this pollution, and
all for the sake of political power. There is the simple fact, which
you will vainly attempt to deny, but which in itself presents an
essential wickedness that makes other public crimes seem like public

This enormity, vast beyond comparison, swells to dimensions of crime
which the imagination toils in vain to grasp, when it is understood
that for this purpose are hazarded the horrors of intestine feud, not
only in this distant Territory, but everywhere throughout the country.
The muster has begun. The strife is no longer local, but national.
Even now, while I speak, portents lower in the horizon, threatening to
darken the land, which already palpitates with the mutterings of civil
war. The fury of the propagandists, and the calm determination of their
opponents, are diffused from the distant Territory over wide-spread
communities, and the whole country, in all its extent, marshalling
hostile divisions, and foreshadowing a conflict which, unless happily
averted by the triumph of Freedom, will become war,--fratricidal,
parricidal war,--with an accumulated wickedness beyond that of any war
in human annals, justly provoking the avenging judgment of Providence
and the avenging pen of History, and constituting a strife such as
was pictured by the Roman historian, more than _foreign_, more than
_social_, more than _civil_, being something compounded of all these,
and in itself more than war,--“_sed potius commune quoddam ex omnibus,
et plus quam bellum_.”[64]

       *       *       *       *       *

Such is the Crime which you are to judge. The criminal also must be
dragged into day, that you may see and measure the power by which all
this wrong is sustained. From no common source could it proceed. In
its perpetration was needed a spirit of vaulting ambition which would
hesitate at nothing; a hardihood of purpose insensible to the judgment
of mankind; a madness for Slavery, in spite of Constitution, laws,
and all the great examples of our history; also a consciousness of
power such as comes from the habit of power; a combination of energies
found only in a hundred arms directed by a hundred eyes; a control of
Public Opinion through venal pens and a prostituted press; an ability
to subsidize crowds in every vocation of life,--the politician with
his local importance, the lawyer with his subtle tongue, and even the
authority of the judge on the bench,--with a familiar use of men in
places high and low, so that none, from the President to the lowest
border postmaster, should decline to be its tool: all these things,
and more, were needed, and they were found in the Slave Power of our
Republic. There, Sir, stands the criminal, all unmasked before you,
heartless, grasping, and tyrannical, with an audacity beyond that of
Verres, a subtlety beyond that of Machiavel, a meanness beyond that of
Bacon, and an ability beyond that of Hastings. Justice to Kansas can
be secured only by the prostration of this influence: for this is the
Power behind--greater than any President--which succors and sustains
the Crime. Nay, the proceedings I now arraign derive their fearful
consequence only from this connection.

In opening this great matter, I am not insensible to the austere
demands of the occasion; but the dependence of the Crime against Kansas
upon the Slave Power is so peculiar and important that I trust to be
pardoned while I impress it by an illustration which to some may seem
trivial. It is related in Northern Mythology, that the God of Force,
visiting an enchanted region, was challenged by his royal entertainer
to what seemed a humble feat of strength,--merely, Sir, to lift a cat
from the ground. The god smiled at the challenge, and, calmly placing
his hand under the belly of the animal, with superhuman strength
strove, while the back of the feline monster arched far upwards, even
beyond reach, and one paw actually forsook the earth, when at last
the discomfited divinity desisted; but he was little surprised at his
defeat, when he learned that this creature, which seemed to be a cat,
and nothing more, was not merely a cat, but that it belonged to and
was part of the great Terrestrial Serpent which in its innumerable
folds encircled the whole globe. Even so the creature whose paws are
now fastened upon Kansas, whatever it may seem to be, constitutes
in reality part of the Slave Power, which, with loathsome folds, is
now coiled about the whole land. Thus do I exhibit the extent of the
present contest, where we encounter not merely local resistance, but
also the unconquered sustaining arm behind. But from the vastness of
the Crime attempted, with all its woe and shame, I derive well-founded
assurance of commensurate effort by the aroused masses of the country,
determined not only to vindicate Right against Wrong, but to redeem the
Republic from the thraldom of that Oligarchy which prompts, directs,
and concentrates the distant wrong.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such is the Crime and such the criminal which it is my duty to expose;
and, by the blessing of God, this duty shall be done completely to the
end. But this will not be enough. The Apologies which, with strange
hardihood, are offered for the Crime must be torn away, so that it
shall stand forth without a single rag or fig-leaf to cover its
vileness. And, finally, the True Remedy must be shown. The subject is
complex in relations, as it is transcendent in importance; and yet, if
I am honored by your attention, I hope to present it clearly in all its
parts, while I conduct you to the inevitable conclusion that Kansas
must be admitted at once, with her present Constitution, as a State of
this Union, and give a new star to the blue field of our National Flag.
And here I derive satisfaction from the thought, that the cause is so
strong in itself as to bear even the infirmities of its advocates;
nor can it require anything beyond that simplicity of treatment and
moderation of manner which I desire to cultivate. Its true character
is such, that, like Hercules, it will conquer just so soon as it is

My task will be divided under three different heads: _first_, THE CRIME
AGAINST KANSAS, in its origin and extent; _secondly_, THE APOLOGIES FOR
THE CRIME; and, _thirdly_, THE TRUE REMEDY.

       *       *       *       *       *

Before entering upon the argument, I must say something of a general
character, particularly in response to what has fallen from Senators
who have raised themselves to eminence on this floor in championship
of human wrong: I mean the Senator from South Carolina [Mr. BUTLER]
and the Senator from Illinois [Mr. DOUGLAS], who, though unlike as Don
Quixote and Sancho Panza, yet, like this couple, sally forth together
in the same adventure. I regret much to miss the elder Senator from
his seat; but the cause against which he has run a tilt, with such
ebullition of animosity, demands that the opportunity of exposing him
should not be lost; and it is for the cause that I speak. The Senator
from South Carolina has read many books of chivalry, and believes
himself a chivalrous knight, with sentiments of honor and courage.
Of course he has chosen a mistress to whom he has made his vows, and
who, though ugly to others, is always lovely to him,--though polluted
in the sight of the world, is chaste in his sight: I mean the harlot
Slavery. For her his tongue is always profuse in words. Let her be
impeached in character, or any proposition be made to shut her out
from the extension of her wantonness, and no extravagance of manner
or hardihood of assertion is then too great for this Senator. The
frenzy of Don Quixote in behalf of his wench Dulcinea del Toboso is
all surpassed. The asserted rights of Slavery, which shock equality
of all kinds, are cloaked by a fantastic claim of equality. If the
Slave States cannot enjoy what, in mockery of the great fathers of the
Republic, he misnames Equality under the Constitution,--in other words,
the full power in the National Territories to compel fellow-men to
unpaid toil, to separate husband and wife, and to sell little children
at the auction-block,--then, Sir, the chivalric Senator will conduct
the State of South Carolina out of the Union! Heroic knight! Exalted
Senator! A second Moses come for a second exodus!

Not content with this poor menace, which we have been twice told
was “measured,” the Senator, in the unrestrained chivalry of his
nature, has undertaken to apply opprobrious words to those who differ
from him on this floor. He calls them “sectional and fanatical”;
and resistance to the Usurpation of Kansas he denounces as “an
uncalculating fanaticism.” To be sure, these charges lack all grace of
originality and all sentiment of truth; but the adventurous Senator
does not hesitate. He is the uncompromising, unblushing representative
on this floor of a flagrant _sectionalism_, now domineering over the
Republic,--and yet, with a ludicrous ignorance of his own position,
unable to see himself as others see him, or with an effrontery which
even his white head ought not to protect from rebuke, he applies
to those here who resist his _sectionalism_ the very epithet which
designates himself. The men who strive to bring back the Government to
its original policy, when Freedom and not Slavery was national, while
Slavery and not Freedom was sectional, he arraigns as _sectional_.
This will not do. It involves too great a perversion of terms. I tell
that Senator that it is to himself, and to the “organization” of which
he is the “committed advocate,” that this epithet belongs. I now
fasten it upon them. For myself, I care little for names; but, since
the question is raised here, I affirm that the Republican party of the
Union is in no just sense _sectional_, but, more than any other party,
_national_,--and that it now goes forth to dislodge from the high
places that tyrannical sectionalism of which the Senator from South
Carolina is one of the maddest zealots.

To the charge of fanaticism I also reply. Sir, fanaticism is found in
an enthusiasm or exaggeration of opinion, particularly on religious
subjects; but there may be fanaticism for evil as well as for good.
Now I will not deny that there are persons among us loving Liberty too
well for personal good in a selfish generation. Such there may be; and,
for the sake of their example, would that there were more! In calling
them “fanatics,” you cast contumely upon the noble army of martyrs,
from the earliest day down to this hour,--upon the great tribunes of
human rights, by whom life, liberty, and happiness on earth have been
secured,--upon the long line of devoted patriots, who, throughout
history, have truly loved their country,--and upon all who, in noble
aspiration for the general good, and in forgetfulness of self, have
stood out before their age, and gathered into their generous bosoms the
shafts of tyranny and wrong, in order to make a pathway for Truth;--you
discredit Luther, when alone he nailed his articles to the door of the
church at Wittenberg, and then to the imperial demand that he should
retract firmly replied, “Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help
me God!” you discredit Hampden, when alone he refused to pay the few
shillings of ship money, and shook the throne of Charles the First;
you discredit Milton, when, amidst the corruptions of a heartless
court, he lived on, the lofty friend of Liberty, above question or
suspicion; you discredit Russell and Sidney, when, for the sake of
country, they calmly turned from family and friends, to tread the
steps of the scaffold; you discredit those early founders of American
institutions, who preferred the hardships of a wilderness, surrounded
by a savage foe, to injustice on beds of ease; you discredit our later
fathers, who, few in numbers and weak in resources, yet strong in their
cause, did not hesitate to brave the mighty power of England, already
encircling the globe with her morning drumbeats. Yes, Sir, of such
are the fanatics, according to the Senator. But I tell the Senator
that there are characters, badly eminent, of whose fanaticism there
can be no question. Such were the ancient Egyptians, who worshipped
divinities in brutish forms; the Druids, who darkened the forests of
oak, in which they lived, by sacrifices of blood; the Mexicans, who
surrendered countless victims to the propitiation of obscene idols;
the Spaniards, who, under Alva, sought to force the Inquisition upon
Holland, by a tyranny kindred to that now employed to force Slavery
upon Kansas; and such were the Algerines, when, in solemn conclave,
after listening to a speech not unlike that of the Senator from South
Carolina, they resolved to continue the slavery of white Christians,
and to extend it over countrymen of Washington,--ay, Sir, extend it!
And in this same dreary catalogue faithful History must record all who
now, in an enlightened age, and in a land of boasted Freedom, stand
up, in perversion of the Constitution, and in denial of immortal truth,
to fasten a new shackle upon their fellow-man. If the Senator wishes
to see fanatics, let him look round among his own associates,--let him
look at himself.

But I have not done with the Senator. There is another matter regarded
by him of such consequence that he interpolated it into the speech
of the Senator from New Hampshire [Mr. HALE], and also announced
that he had prepared himself with it, to take in his pocket all the
way to Boston, when he expected to address the people there.[65]
On this account, and for the sake of truth, I stop for one moment
and tread it to the earth. The North, according to the Senator, was
engaged in the slave-trade, and helped to introduce slaves into the
Southern States; and this undeniable fact he proposed to establish
by statistics, in giving which his errors exceeded his sentences in
number. I let these pass for the present, that I may deal with his
argument. Pray, Sir, is acknowledged turpitude in a departed generation
to become the example for us? And yet the suggestion, if entitled
to any consideration in this discussion, must have this extent. I
join my friend from New Hampshire in thanking the Senator from South
Carolina for this instance, since it gives me opportunity to say that
the Northern merchants, with homes in Boston, Bristol, Newport, New
York, and Philadelphia, who catered for Slavery during the years of
the slave-trade, are lineal progenitors of the Northern men, with
homes in these places, who lend themselves to Slavery in our day,--and
especially that all, whether North or South, who take part, directly
or indirectly, in the conspiracy against Kansas, do but continue the
work of the slave-traders, which you condemn. It is true, too true,
alas! that our fathers were engaged in this traffic; but that is
no apology for it. And in repelling the authority of this example,
I repel also the trite argument founded on the earlier example of
England. It is true that our mother country, at the Peace of Utrecht,
extorted from Spain the shameful Asiento, securing the monopoly of
the slave-trade with the Spanish Colonies, as part pay for the blood
of great victories,--that she higgled at Aix-la-Chapelle for another
lease of this exclusive traffic,--and again at the Treaty of Madrid
bartered the wretched piracy for money. It is true that in this spirit
the power of the mother country was prostituted to the same base ends
in her American Colonies, against indignant protests from our fathers.
All these things now rise in judgment against her. Let us not follow
the Senator from South Carolina to do the very evil which in another
generation we condemn.

As the Senator from South Carolina is the Don Quixote, so the Senator
from Illinois [Mr. DOUGLAS] is the squire of Slavery, its very Sancho
Panza, ready to do its humiliating offices. This Senator, in his
labored address vindicating his labored report,--piling one mass of
elaborate error upon another mass,--constrained himself, as you will
remember, to unfamiliar decencies of speech. Of that address I have
nothing to say at this moment, though before I sit down I shall show
something of its fallacies. But I go back now to an earlier occasion,
when, true to native impulses, he threw into this discussion, “for a
charm of powerful trouble,” personalities most discreditable to this
body. I will not stop to repel imputations which he cast upon myself;
but I mention them to remind you of the “sweltered venom sleeping
got,” which, with other poisoned ingredients, he cast into the caldron
of this debate. Of other things I speak. Standing on this floor, the
Senator issued his rescript requiring submission to the Usurped Power
of Kansas; and this was accompanied by a manner--all his own--befitting
the tyrannical threat. Very well. Let the Senator try. I tell him now
that he cannot enforce any such submission. The Senator, with the Slave
Power at his back, is strong; but he is not strong enough for this
purpose. He is bold. He shrinks from nothing. Like Danton, he may cry,
“_De l’audace! encore de l’audace! et toujours de l’audace!_” but even
his audacity cannot compass this work. The Senator copies the British
officer who with boastful swagger said that with the end of his sword
he would cram the “stamps” down the throats of the American people;
and he will meet a similar failure. He may convulse this country with
civil feud. Like the ancient madman, he may set fire to this Temple
of Constitutional Liberty, grander than Ephesian dome; but he cannot
enforce obedience to that tyrannical Usurpation.

The Senator dreams that he can subdue the North. He disclaims the
open threat, but his conduct implies it. How little that Senator
knows himself, or the strength of the cause which he persecutes! He
is but mortal man; against him is immortal principle. With finite
power he wrestles with the infinite, and he must fall. Against him are
stronger battalions than any marshalled by mortal arm,--the inborn,
ineradicable, invincible sentiments of the human heart; against him is
Nature with all her subtile forces; against him is God. Let him try to
subdue these.

Passing from things which, though touching the very heart of the
discussion, are yet preliminary, I press at once to the main question.


I undertake, in the first place, to expose the CRIME AGAINST KANSAS, in
origin and extent. Logically this is the beginning of the argument. I
say Crime, and deliberately adopt this strongest term, as better than
any other denoting the consummate transgression. I would go further,
if language could further go. It is the _Crime of Crimes_,--surpassing
far the old _Crimen Majestatis_, pursued with vengeance by the laws
of Rome, and containing all other crimes, as the greater contains the
less. I do not go too far, when I call it the _Crime against Nature_,
from which the soul recoils, and which language refuses to describe.
To lay bare this enormity I now proceed. The whole subject has become
a twice-told tale, and its renewed recital will be a renewal of sorrow
and shame; but I shall not hesitate. The occasion requires it from the

It is well remarked by a distinguished historian of our country, that,
“at the Ithuriel touch of the Missouri discussion, the Slave Interest,
hitherto hardly recognized as a distinct element in our system, started
up portentous and dilated,”[66] with threats and assumptions which are
the origin of our existing national politics. This was in 1820. The
debate ended with the admission of Missouri as a Slaveholding State,
and the prohibition of Slavery in all the remaining territory west of
the Mississippi and north of 36° 30´, leaving the condition of other
territory south of this line, or subsequently acquired, untouched by
the arrangement. Here was a solemn act of legislation, called at the
time compromise, covenant, compact, first brought forward in this
body by a slaveholder, vindicated in debate by slaveholders, finally
sanctioned by slaveholding votes,--also upheld at the time by the
essential approbation of a slaveholding President, James Monroe, and
his Cabinet, of whom a majority were slaveholders, including Mr.
Calhoun himself; and this compromise was made the condition of the
admission of Missouri, without which that State could not have been
received into the Union. The bargain was simple, and was applicable,
of course, only to the territory named. Leaving all other territory
to await the judgment of another generation, the South said to the
North, Conquer your prejudices so far as to admit Missouri as a Slave
State, and, in consideration of this much coveted boon, Slavery shall
be prohibited “forever” (mark here the word “_forever_”)[67] in all the
remaining Louisiana Territory above 36° 30´; and the North yielded.

In total disregard of history, the President, in his annual message,
tells us that this compromise “was _reluctantly_ acquiesced in by
Southern States.” Just the contrary is true. It was the work of
slaveholders, and by their concurring votes was crowded upon a
reluctant North. It was hailed by slaveholders as a victory. Charles
Pinckney, of South Carolina, in an oft quoted letter, written at eight
o’clock on the night of its passage, says: “It is considered here by
the Slaveholding States as a great triumph.”[68] At the North it was
accepted as a defeat, and the friends of Freedom everywhere throughout
the country bowed their heads with mortification. Little did they know
the completeness of their disaster. Little did they dream that the
prohibition of Slavery in the territory, which was stipulated as the
price of their fatal capitulation, would also, at the very moment of
its maturity, be wrested from them.

Time passed, and it became necessary to provide for this territory an
organized government. Suddenly, without notice in the public press, or
the prayer of a single petition, or one word of open recommendation
from the President, after an acquiescence of thirty-four years, and
the irreclaimable possession by the South of its special share under
this compromise, in breach of every obligation of honor, compact, and
good neighborhood, and in contemptuous disregard of the outgushing
sentiments of an aroused North, this time-honored Prohibition--in
itself a Landmark of Freedom--was overturned, and the vast region now
known as Kansas and Nebraska was opened to Slavery. It is natural that
a measure thus repugnant in character should be pressed by arguments
mutually repugnant. It was urged on two principal reasons, so opposite
and inconsistent as to fight with each other: one being, that, by the
repeal of the Prohibition, the Territory would be left open to the
entry of slaveholders with their slaves, without hindrance; and the
other being, that the people would be left absolutely free to determine
the question for themselves, and to prohibit the entry of slaveholders
with their slaves, if they should think best. With some the apology
was the alleged rights of slaveholders; with others it was the alleged
rights of the people. With some it was openly the extension of Slavery;
and with others it was openly the establishment of Freedom, under the
guise of Popular Sovereignty. The measure, thus upheld in defiance of
reason, was carried through Congress in defiance of all securities of
legislation. These things I mention that you may see in what foulness
the present Crime was engendered.

It was carried, _first_, by _whipping in_, through Executive influence
and patronage, men who acted against their own declared judgment and
the known will of their constituents; _secondly_, by _thrusting out
of place_, both in the Senate and House of Representatives, important
business, long pending, and usurping its room; _thirdly_, by _trampling
under foot_ the rules of the House of Representatives, always before
the safeguard of the minority; and, _fourthly_, by _driving it to a
close_ during the very session in which it originated, so that it
might not be arrested by the indignant voice of the People. Such are
some of the means by which this snap judgment was obtained. If the
clear will of the people had not been disregarded, it could not have
passed. If the Government had not nefariously interposed, it could not
have passed. If it had been left to its natural place in the order of
business, it could not have passed. If the rules of the House and the
rights of the minority had not been violated, it could not have passed.
If it had been allowed to go over to another Congress, when the People
might be heard, it would have been ended; and then the Crime we now
deplore would have been without its first seminal life.

Mr. President, I mean to keep absolutely within the limits of
parliamentary propriety. I make no personal imputations, but only
with frankness, such as belongs to the occasion and my own character,
describe a great historical act, now enrolled in the Capitol. Sir, the
Nebraska Bill was in every respect a swindle. It was a swindle of the
North by the South. On the part of those who had already completely
enjoyed their share of the Missouri Compromise, it was a swindle
of those whose share was yet absolutely untouched; and the plea of
unconstitutionality set up--like the plea of usury after the borrowed
money has been enjoyed--did not make it less a swindle. Urged as a
bill of peace, it was a swindle of the whole country. Urged as opening
the doors to slave-masters with their slaves, it was a swindle of
Popular Sovereignty in its asserted doctrine. Urged as sanctioning
Popular Sovereignty, it was a swindle of slave-masters in their
asserted rights. It was a swindle of a broad territory, thus cheated
of protection against Slavery. It was a swindle of a great cause,
early espoused by Washington, Franklin, and Jefferson, surrounded by
the best fathers of the Republic. Sir, it was a swindle of God-given,
inalienable rights. Turn it over, look at it on all sides, and it
is everywhere a swindle; and if the word I now employ has not the
authority of classical usage, it has, on this occasion, the indubitable
authority of fitness. No other word will adequately express the mingled
meanness and wickedness of the cheat.

Its character is still further apparent in the general structure
of the bill. Amidst overflowing professions of regard for the
sovereignty of the people in the Territory, they are despoiled of every
essential privilege of sovereignty. They are not allowed to choose
Governor, Secretary, Chief Justice, Associate Justices, Attorney, or
Marshal,--all of whom are sent from Washington; nor are they allowed
to regulate the salaries of any of these functionaries, or the daily
allowance of the legislative body, or even the pay of the clerks
and door-keepers: but they are left free to adopt Slavery. And this
is nicknamed Popular Sovereignty! Time does not allow, nor does the
occasion require, that I should stop to dwell on this transparent
device to cover a transcendent wrong. Suffice it to say, that Slavery
is in itself an arrogant denial of human rights, and by no human reason
can the power to establish such a wrong be placed among the attributes
of any just sovereignty. In refusing it such a place, I do not deny
popular rights, but uphold them, I do not restrain popular rights, but
extend them. And, Sir, to this conclusion you must yet come, unless
deaf, not only to the admonitions of political justice, but also to the
genius of our Constitution, under which, when properly interpreted,
no valid claim for Slavery can be set up anywhere in the National
territory. The Senator from Michigan [Mr. CASS] may say, in response
to the Senator from Mississippi [Mr. BROWN], that Slavery cannot
go into the Territory, under the Constitution, without legislative
introduction; and permit me to add, in response to both, that Slavery
cannot go there at all. _Nothing can come out of nothing_; and there
is absolutely nothing in the Constitution out of which Slavery can be
derived, while there are provisions, which, when properly interpreted,
make its existence anywhere within the exclusive National jurisdiction

The offensive provision in the bill is in its form a legislative
anomaly, utterly wanting the natural directness and simplicity of an
honest transaction. It does not undertake openly to repeal the old
Prohibition of Slavery, but seems to mince the matter, as if conscious
of the swindle. It says that this Prohibition, “being inconsistent
with the principle of non-intervention by Congress with Slavery in
the States and Territories, as recognized by the legislation of 1850,
commonly called the Compromise Measures, is hereby declared inoperative
and void.” Thus, with insidious ostentation, is it pretended that an
act violating the greatest compromise of our legislative history,
and loosening the foundations of all compromise, is derived out of a
compromise. Then follows in the bill the further declaration, entirely
without precedent, which has been aptly called “a stump speech in its
belly,” namely, “it being the true intent and meaning of this act not
to legislate Slavery into any Territory or State, nor to exclude it
therefrom, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form and
regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to
the Constitution of the United States.”[69] Here are smooth words, such
as belong to a cunning tongue enlisted in a bad cause. But whatever
may have been their various hidden meanings, this at least is evident,
that, by their effect, the Congressional prohibition of Slavery, which
had always been regarded as a seven-fold shield, covering the whole
Louisiana Territory north of 36° 30´, is now removed, while a principle
is declared which renders the supplementary prohibition of Slavery in
Minnesota, Oregon, and Washington “inoperative and void,” and thus
opens to Slavery all these vast regions, now the rude cradles of
mighty States. Here you see the magnitude of the mischief contemplated.
But my purpose is with the Crime against Kansas, and I shall not stop
to expose the conspiracy beyond.

Mr. President, men are wisely presumed to intend the natural
consequences of their conduct, and to seek what their acts seem to
promote. Now the Nebraska Bill, on its very face, openly clears the
way for Slavery, and it is not wrong to presume that its originators
intended the natural consequences of such an act, and sought in this
way to extend Slavery. Of course they did. And this is the first stage
in the Crime against Kansas.

This was speedily followed by other developments. It was soon whispered
that Kansas must be a Slave State. In conformity with this barefaced
scheme was the Government of this unhappy Territory organized in all
its departments; and thus did the President, by whose complicity
the Prohibition of Slavery was overthrown, lend himself to a new
complicity,--giving to the conspirators a lease of connivance,
amounting even to copartnership. The Governor, Secretary, Chief
Justice, Associate Justices, Attorney, and Marshal, with a whole caucus
of other stipendiaries, nominated by the President and confirmed by
the Senate, are all commended as friendly to Slavery. No man with the
sentiments of Washington or Jefferson or Franklin finds favor; nor
is it too much to say, that, had these great patriots once more come
among us, not one of them, with his recorded, unretracted opinions on
Slavery, could be nominated by the President or confirmed by the Senate
for any post in that Territory. With such auspices the conspiracy
proceeded. Even in advance of the Nebraska Bill, secret societies
were organized in Missouri, ostensibly to protect her institutions,
and afterwards, under the name of “Self-Defensive Associations” and
“Blue Lodges,” these were multiplied throughout the western counties
of that State, _before any counter movement from the North_. It was
confidently anticipated, that, by the activity of these societies, and
the interest of slaveholders everywhere, with the advantage derived
from the neighborhood of Missouri and the influence of the Territorial
Government, Slavery might be introduced into Kansas, quietly, but
surely, without arousing conflict,--that the crocodile egg might
be stealthily dropped in the sunburnt soil, there to be hatched,
unobserved until it sent forth its reptile monster.

But the conspiracy was unexpectedly balked. The debate, which convulsed
Congress, stirred the whole country. From all sides attention was
directed upon Kansas, which at once became the favorite goal of
emigration. The bill loudly declares that its object is “to leave
the people perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic
institutions in their own way”; and its supporters everywhere challenge
the determination of the question between Freedom and Slavery by
a competition of emigration. Thus, while opening the Territory to
Slavery, the bill also opens it to emigrants from every quarter, who
may by votes redress the wrong. The populous North, stung by sense of
outrage, and inspired by a noble cause, are pouring into the debatable
land, and promise soon to establish a supremacy of numbers there,
involving, of course, a just supremacy of Freedom.

Then was conceived the consummation of the Crime against Kansas. What
could not be accomplished peaceably was to be accomplished forcibly.
The reptile monster, that could not be quietly and securely hatched
there, is to be pushed full-grown into the Territory. All efforts are
now applied to the dismal work of forcing Slavery upon Free Soil.
In flagrant derogation of the very Popular Sovereignty whose name
helped to impose this bill upon the country, the atrocious object is
distinctly avowed. And the avowal is followed by the act. Slavery is
forcibly introduced into Kansas, and placed under formal safeguard of
pretended law. How this is done belongs to the argument.

In depicting this consummation, the simplest outline, without one word
of color, will be best. Whether regarded in mass or detail, in origin
or result, it is all blackness, illumined by nothing from itself, but
only by the heroism of the undaunted men and women whom it environed. A
plain statement of facts is a picture of direst truth, which faithful
History will preserve in its darkest gallery. In the foreground all
will recognize a familiar character, in himself connecting link between
President and border ruffian,--less conspicuous for ability than for
the exalted place he has occupied,--who once sat in the seat where you
now sit, Sir,--where once sat John Adams and Thomas Jefferson,--also,
where once sat Aaron Burr. I need not add the name of David R.
Atchison.[70] You do not forget, that, at the session of Congress
immediately succeeding the Nebraska Bill, he came tardily to his duty
here, and then, after a short time, disappeared. The secret was long
since disclosed. Like Catiline, he stalked into this Chamber, reeking
with conspiracy,--_immo etiam in Senatum venit_,--and then, like
Catiline, he skulked away,--_abiit, excessit, evasit, erupit_,--to join
and provoke the conspirators, who at a distance awaited their congenial
chief. Under the influence of his malign presence the Crime ripened
to its fatal fruits, while the similitude with Catiline is again
renewed in the sympathy, not even concealed, which he finds in the very
Senate itself, where, beyond even the Roman example, a Senator has not
hesitated to appear as his open compurgator.

And now, as I proceed to show the way in which this Territory was
overrun and finally subjugated to Slavery, I desire to remove, in
advance, all question with regard to the authority on which I rely. The
evidence is secondary, but it is the best which, in the nature of the
case, can be had; and it is not less clear, direct, and peremptory than
any by which we are assured of the campaigns in the Crimea or the fall
of Sebastopol. In its manifold mass, I confidently assert that it is
such a body of evidence as the human mind is not able to resist. It is
found in the concurring reports of the public press, in the letters of
correspondents, in the testimony of travellers, and in the unaffected
story to which I have listened from leading citizens, who, during
this winter, have “come flocking” here from that distant Territory.
It breaks forth in the irrepressible outcry, reaching us from Kansas,
whose truthful tones leave no ground of mistake. It addresses us in
formal complaint, instinct with the indignation of a people determined
to be free, and unimpeachable as the declarations of a murdered man
on his dying-bed against his murderer. And let me add, that all this
testimony finds echo in the very statute-book of the conspirators, and
also in language dropped from the President of the United States.

I begin with an admission from the President himself, in whose sight
the people of Kansas have little favor. After arraigning the innocent
emigrants from the North, he is constrained to declare that their
conduct is “far from justifying the _illegal_ and _reprehensible_
counter movements which ensued.”[71] By the reluctant admission of the
Chief Magistrate, then, there was a counter movement at once “_illegal_
and _reprehensible_.” I thank thee, President, for teaching me these
words; and I now put them in the front of this exposition, as in
themselves a confession. Sir, this “illegal and reprehensible counter
movement” is none other than the dreadful Crime--under an apologetic
_alias_--by which, through successive invasions, Slavery is forcibly
planted in this Territory.

Next to this Presidential admission must be placed details of
invasions, which I now present as not only “illegal and reprehensible,”
but also unquestionable evidence of the resulting Crime.

The violence, for some time threatened, broke forth on the 29th of
November, 1854, at the first election of a Delegate to Congress,
when companies from Missouri, amounting to upwards of one thousand,
crossed into Kansas, and with force and arms proceeded to vote for
General Whitfield, the candidate of Slavery. An eye-witness, General
Pomeroy,[72] of superior intelligence and perfect integrity, thus
describes this scene.

     “The first ballot-box that was opened upon our virgin soil
    was closed to us by overpowering numbers and impending force.
    So bold and reckless were our invaders, that they cared not to
    conceal their attack. They came upon us, not in the guise of
    voters, to steal away our franchise, but boldly and openly, to
    snatch it with a strong hand. They came directly from their own
    homes, and in compact and organized bands, with arms in hand
    and provisions for the expedition, marched to our polls, and,
    when their work was done, returned whence they came.”

Here was an outrage at which the coolest blood of patriotism boils.
Though, for various reasons unnecessary to develop, the busy settlers
allowed the election to pass uncontested, still the means employed were
none the less “illegal and reprehensible.”

This infliction was a significant prelude to the grand invasion of
the 30th of March, 1855, at the election of the first Territorial
Legislature under the organic law, when an armed multitude from
Missouri entered the Territory in larger numbers than General Taylor
commanded at Buena Vista, or than General Jackson had within his lines
at New Orleans,--much larger than our fathers rallied on Bunker Hill.
On they came as “an army with banners,” organized in companies, with
officers, munitions, tents, and provisions, as though marching upon a
foreign foe, and breathing loud-mouthed threats that they would carry
their purpose, if need were, by the bowie-knife and revolver. Among
them, according to his own confession, was David R. Atchison, belted
with the vulgar arms of his vulgar comrades. Arrived at their several
destinations on the night before the election, the invaders pitched
their tents, placed their sentries, and waited for the coming day. The
same trustworthy eye-witness whom I have already quoted says of one

    “Baggage-wagons were there, with arms and ammunition enough
    for a protracted fight, and among them two brass field-pieces,
    ready charged. They came with drums beating and flags flying,
    and their leaders were of the most prominent and conspicuous
    men of their State.”

Of another locality he says:--

    “The invaders came together in one armed and organized body,
    with trains of fifty wagons, besides horsemen, and the night
    before election pitched their camp in the vicinity of the
    polls; and having appointed their own judges in place of those
    who, from intimidation or otherwise, failed to attend, they
    voted without any proof of residence.”

With this force they were able, on the succeeding day, in some places,
to intimidate the judges of elections, in others to substitute judges
of their own appointment, in others to wrest the ballot-boxes from
their rightful possessors, and everywhere to exercise a complete
control of the election, and thus, by preternatural audacity of
usurpation, impose a Legislature upon the free people of Kansas. Thus
was conquered the Sebastopol of that Territory!

It was not enough to secure the Legislature. The election of a member
of Congress recurred on the 1st of October, 1855, and the same
foreigners, who had learned their strength, again manifested it.
Another invasion, in controlling numbers, came from Missouri, and once
more forcibly exercised the electoral franchise in Kansas.

At last, in the latter days of November, 1855, a storm, long gathering,
burst upon the heads of the devoted people. The ballot-boxes had been
violated, and a Legislature installed, which proceeded to carry out
the conspiracy of the invaders; but the good people of the Territory,
born to Freedom, and educated as American citizens, showed no signs
of submission. Slavery, though recognized by pretended law, was in
many places practically an outlaw. To the lawless borderers this was
hard to bear; and, like the heathen of old, they raged, particularly
against the town of Lawrence, already known, by the firmness of its
principles and the character of its citizens, as citadel of the good
cause. On this account they threatened, in their peculiar language, to
“wipe it out.” Soon the hostile power was gathered for this purpose.
The wickedness of this invasion was enhanced by the way in which it
began. A citizen of Kansas, by the name of Dow, was murdered by a
partisan of Slavery, in the name of “law and order.” Such an outrage
naturally aroused indignation and provoked threats. The professors of
“law and order” allowed the murderer to escape, and, still further to
illustrate the irony of the name they assumed, seized the friend of
the murdered man, whose few neighbors soon rallied for his rescue.
This transaction, though totally disregarded in its chief front of
wickedness, became the excuse for unprecedented excitement. The weak
Governor,[73] with no faculty higher than servility to Slavery,--whom
the President, in official delinquency, had appointed to a trust worthy
only of a well-balanced character,--was frightened from his propriety.
By proclamation he invoked the Territory. By telegraph he invoked the
President. The Territory would not respond to his senseless appeal. The
President was false. But the proclamation was circulated throughout
the border counties of Missouri; and Platte, Clay, Carroll, Saline,
Howard, and Jackson, each of them, contributed a volunteer company,
recruited from the roadsides, and armed with weapons which chance
afforded, known as “the shot-gun militia,”--with a Missouri officer as
commissary-general, dispensing rations, and another Missouri officer
as general-in-chief,--with two wagon-loads of rifles, belonging to
Missouri, drawn by six mules, from its arsenal at Jefferson City,--with
seven pieces of cannon, belonging to the United States, from its
arsenal at Liberty; and this formidable force, amounting to at least
1,800 men, terrible with threats, oaths, and whiskey, crossed the
borders, and encamped in larger part on the Wakarusa, over against the
doomed town of Lawrence, now threatened with destruction. With these
invaders was the Governor, who by this act levied war upon the people
he was sent to protect. In camp with him was the original Catiline of
the conspiracy, while by his side were the docile Chief Justice and the
docile Judges. But this is not the first instance in which an unjust
governor has found tools where he ought to have found justice. In the
great impeachment of Warren Hastings, the British orator by whom it was
conducted exclaims, in words strictly applicable to the misdeed I here
denounce: “Had he not the Chief Justice, the tamed and domesticated
Chief Justice, who waited on him like a familiar spirit?”[74] Thus
was this invasion countenanced by those who should have stood in the
breach against it. For more than a week it continued, while deadly
conflict was imminent. I do not dwell on the heroism by which it was
encountered, or the mean retreat to which it was compelled; for that
is not necessary in exhibiting the Crime which you are to judge. But I
cannot forbear to add other features, furnished in a letter written at
the time by a clergyman, who saw and was part of what he describes.

    “Our citizens have been shot at, _and in two instances
    murdered_, our houses invaded, hay-ricks burnt, corn and other
    provisions plundered, cattle driven off, all communication
    cut off between us and the States, wagons on the way to us
    with provisions stopped and plundered, and the drivers taken
    prisoners, and we in hourly expectation of an attack. _Nearly
    every man has been in arms in the village._ Fortifications
    have been thrown up, by incessant labor night and day. The
    sound of the drum and the tramp of armed men resounded through
    our streets, _families fleeing with their household goods for
    safety_. Day before yesterday the report of cannon was heard
    at our house, from the direction of Lecompton. Last Thursday
    one of our neighbors,--one of the most peaceable and excellent
    of men, from Ohio,--on his way home, was set upon by a gang of
    twelve men on horseback, and shot down. Over eight hundred men
    are gathered under arms at Lawrence. As yet no act of violence
    has been perpetrated by those on our side. _No blood of
    retaliation stains our hands. We stand, and are ready to act,
    purely in the defence of our homes and lives._”

The catalogue is not yet complete. On the 15th of December, when the
people assembled to vote on the Constitution submitted for adoption,
only a few days after the Treaty of Peace between the Governor on the
one side and the town of Lawrence on the other, another and fifth
irruption was made. But I leave all this untold. Enough of these
details has been given.

Five several times and more have these invaders entered Kansas in
armed array, and thus five several times and more have they trampled
upon the organic law of the Territory. These extraordinary expeditions
are simply the extraordinary witnesses to successive, uninterrupted
violence. They stand out conspicuous, but not alone. The spirit of
evil, in which they had their origin, is wakeful and incessant.
From the beginning it hung upon the skirts of this interesting
Territory, harrowing its peace, disturbing its prosperity, and keeping
its inhabitants under the painful alarms of war. All security of
person, property, and labor was overthrown; and when I urge this
incontrovertible fact, I set forth a wrong which is small only by the
side of the giant wrong for the consummation of which all this is done.
Sir, what is man, what is government, without security, in the absence
of which nor man nor government can proceed in development or enjoy
the fruits of existence? Without security civilization is cramped and
dwarfed. Without security there is no true Freedom. Nor shall I say too
much, when I declare that security, guarded of course by its parent
Freedom, is the true end and aim of government. Of this indispensable
boon the people of Kansas are despoiled,--absolutely, totally. All
this is aggravated by the nature of their pursuits, rendering them
peculiarly sensitive to interruption, and at the same time attesting
their innocence. They are for the most part engaged in the cultivation
of the soil, which from time immemorial has been the sweet employment
of undisturbed industry. Contented in the returns of bounteous Nature
and the shade of his own trees, the husbandman is not aggressive;
accustomed to produce, and not to destroy, he is essentially peaceful,
unless his home is invaded, when his arm derives vigor from the soil he
treads, and his soul inspiration from the heavens beneath whose canopy
he daily toils. Such are the people of Kansas, whose security has been
overthrown. Scenes from which Civilization averts her countenance
are part of their daily life. Border incursions, which in barbarous
ages or barbarous lands fretted and harried an exposed people, are
here renewed, with this peculiarity, that our border robbers do not
simply levy blackmail and drive off a few cattle, like those who acted
under the inspiration of the Douglas of other days,--they do not seize
a few persons, and sweep them away into captivity, like the African
slave-traders, whom we brand as pirates,--but they commit a succession
of deeds in which border sorrows and African wrongs are revived
together on American soil, while, for the time being, all protection is
annulled, and the whole Territory is enslaved.

Private griefs mingle their poignancy with public wrongs. I do not
dwell on the anxieties of families exposed to sudden assault, and
lying down to rest with the alarms of war ringing in the ears, not
knowing that another day may be spared to them. Throughout this
bitter winter, with the thermometer at thirty degrees below zero,
the citizens of Lawrence were constrained to sleep under arms, with
sentinels pacing constant watch against surprise. Our souls are wrung
by individual instances. In vain do we condemn the cruelties of another
age, the refinements of torture to which men were doomed, the rack
and thumb-screw of the Inquisition, the last agonies of the regicide

    “Luke’s iron crown, and Damien’s bed of steel”;

for kindred outrages disgrace these borders. Murder stalks,
Assassination skulks in the tall grass of the prairie, and the
vindictiveness of man assumes unwonted forms. A preacher of the Gospel
has been ridden on a rail, then thrown into the Missouri, fastened
to a log, and left to drift down its muddy, tortuous current. And
lately we have the tidings of that enormity without precedent, a
deed without a name, where a candidate for the Legislature was most
brutally gashed with knives and hatchets, and then, after weltering in
blood on the snow-clad earth, trundled along, with gaping wounds, to
fall dead before the face of his wife. It is common to drop a tear of
sympathy over the sorrows of our early fathers, exposed to the stealthy
assault of the savage foe,--and an eminent American artist[75] has
pictured this scene in a marble group, on the front of the National
Capitol, where the uplifted tomahawk is arrested by the strong arm
and generous countenance of the pioneer, whose wife and children find
shelter at his feet; but now the tear must be dropped over the sorrows
of fellow-citizens building a new State in Kansas, and exposed to the
perpetual assault of murderous robbers from Missouri. Hirelings, picked
from the drunken spew and vomit of an uneasy civilization, having the
form of men,--

    “Ay, in the catalogue ye go for men;
    As hounds and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs,
    Shoughs, water-rugs, and demi-wolves are clept
    All by the name of dogs,”--

leashed together by secret signs and lodges, renew the incredible
atrocities of the Assassins and the Thugs,--showing the blind
submission of the Assassins to the Old Man of the Mountain in robbing
Christians on the road to Jerusalem, and the heartlessness of the
Thugs, who, avowing that murder is their religion, waylay travellers on
the great road from Agra to Delhi,--with the more deadly bowie-knife
for the dagger of the Assassin, and the more deadly revolver for the
noose of the Thug.

In these invasions, with the entire subversion of all security in this
Territory, the plunder of the ballot-box, and the pollution of the
electoral franchise, I show simply the process in unprecedented Crime.
If that be the best government where injury to a single citizen is
resented as injury to the whole State, what must be the character of
a government which leaves a whole community of citizens thus exposed?
In the outrage upon the ballot-box, even without the illicit fruits
which I shall soon exhibit, there is a peculiar crime, of the deepest
dye, though subordinate to the final Crime, which should be promptly
avenged. In other lands, where royalty is upheld, it is a special
offence to rob the crown jewels, which are emblems of that sovereignty
before which the loyal subject bows, and it is treason to be found in
adultery with the queen, for in this way may a false heir be imposed
upon the State; but in our Republic the ballot-box is the single
priceless jewel of that sovereignty which we respect, and the electoral
franchise, where are born the rulers of a free people, is the royal bed
we are to guard against pollution. In this plain presentment, whether
as regards security or as regards elections, there is enough, without
proceeding further, to justify the intervention of Congress, promptly
and completely, to throw over this oppressed people the impenetrable
shield of the Constitution and laws. But the half is not yet told.

As every point in a wide-spread horizon radiates from a common centre,
so everything said or done in this vast circle of Crime radiates from
the _One Idea_, that Kansas, at all hazards, must be made a Slave
State. In all the manifold wickednesses that occur, and in every
successive invasion, this _One Idea_, is ever present, as Satanic
tempter, motive power, _causing cause_. Talk of “one idea!” Here it is
with a vengeance!

To accomplish this result, three things are attempted: _first_, by
outrage of all kinds, to drive the friends of Freedom out of the
Territory; _secondly_, to deter others from coming; and, _thirdly_,
to obtain complete control of the Government. The process of driving
out, and also of deterring, has failed. On the contrary, the friends
of Freedom there have become more fixed in resolve to stay and fight
the battle which they never sought, but from which they disdain to
retreat,--while the friends of Freedom elsewhere are more aroused to
the duty of timely succor by men and munitions of just self-defence.

While defeated in the first two processes, the conspirators succeeded
in the last. By the violence already portrayed at the election of
the 30th of March, when the polls were occupied by armed hordes from
Missouri, they imposed a Legislature upon the Territory, and thus,
under the iron mask of law, established a Usurpation not less complete
than any in history. That this was done I proceed to prove. Here is the

1. Only in this way can this extraordinary expedition be adequately
explained. In the words of Molière, once employed by John Quincy
Adams in the other House, “_Que diable allaient-ils faire dans cette
galère?_” What did they go into the Territory for? If their purposes
were peaceful, as has been suggested, why cannons, arms, flags,
numbers, and all this violence? As simple citizens, proceeding to the
honest exercise of the electoral franchise, they might go with nothing
more than a pilgrim’s staff. Philosophy always seeks a _sufficient
cause_, and only in the _One Idea_ already presented can a cause be
found in any degree commensurate with the Crime; and this becomes so
only when we consider the mad fanaticism of Slavery.

2. Public notoriety steps forward to confirm the suggestion of reason.
In every place where Truth can freely travel it is asserted and
understood that the Legislature was imposed upon Kansas by foreigners
from Missouri; and this universal voice is now received as undeniable

3. It is also attested by harangues of the conspirators. Here is what
Stringfellow said _before_ the invasion.

    “To those who have qualms of conscience as to violating laws,
    State or National, the time has come when such impositions must
    be disregarded, as your rights and property are in danger; _and
    I advise you, one and all, to enter every election district in
    Kansas, in defiance of Reeder and his vile myrmidons, and vote
    at the point of the bowie-knife and revolver_. Neither give nor
    take quarter, as our cause demands it. It is enough that the
    slaveholding interest wills it, from which there is no appeal.
    What right has Governor Reeder to rule Missourians in Kansas?
    His proclamation and prescribed oath must be repudiated. It is
    your interest to do so. Mind that Slavery is established where
    it is not prohibited.”

Here is what Atchison said _after_ the invasion.

     “Well, what next? Why, an election for members of the
    Legislature to organize the Territory must be held. What did I
    advise you to do then? Why, meet them on their own ground, and
    beat them at their own game again; and cold and inclement as
    the weather was, I went over with a company of men. My object
    in going was not to vote. I had no right to vote, unless I had
    disfranchised myself in Missouri. I was not within two miles
    of a voting-place. My object in going was not to vote, but to
    settle a difficulty between two of our candidates; and the
    Abolitionists of the North said, _and published it abroad, that
    Atchison was there with bowie-knife and revolver,--and, by God,
    ’twas true! I never did go into that Territory, I never intend
    to go into that Territory, without being prepared for all such
    kind of cattle._ Well, we beat them, and Governor Reeder gave
    certificates to a majority of all the members of both Houses,
    and then, after they were organized, as everybody will admit,
    they were the only competent persons to say who were and who
    were not members of the same.”

4. It is confirmed by contemporaneous admission of “The Squatter
Sovereign,” a paper published at Atchison, and at once the organ of the
President and of these Borderers, which, under date of 1st April, thus
recounts the victory.

                            “INDEPENDENCE, [MISSOURI,] March 31, 1855.

    “Several hundred emigrants from Kansas have just entered our
    city. They were preceded by the Westport and Independence brass
    bands. They came in at the west side of the public square, and
    proceeded entirely around it, the bands cheering us with fine
    music, and the emigrants with good news. Immediately following
    the bands were about two hundred horsemen in regular order;
    following these were one hundred and fifty wagons, carriages,
    &c. They gave repeated cheers for Kansas and Missouri. They
    report that not an Antislavery man will be in the Legislature
    of Kansas. _We have made a clean sweep._”

5. It is also confirmed by contemporaneous testimony of another paper,
always faithful to Slavery, the “New York Herald,” in the letter of a
correspondent from Brunswick, Missouri, under date of 20th April, 1855.

    “From five to seven thousand men started from Missouri to
    attend the election, some to remove, but the most to return to
    their families, with an intention, if they liked the Territory,
    to make it their permanent abode at the earliest moment
    practicable. But they intended to vote. The Missourians were,
    many of them, Douglas men. There were one hundred and fifty
    voters from this county, one hundred and seventy-five from
    Howard, one hundred from Cooper. Indeed, every county furnished
    its quota; and when they set out, it looked like an army.…
    They were armed.… And, as there were no houses in the
    Territory, they carried tents. Their mission was a peaceable
    one,--to vote, and to drive down stakes for their future homes.
    After the election some fifteen hundred of the voters sent a
    committee to Mr. Reeder to ascertain if it was his purpose to
    ratify the election. He answered that it was, and said the
    majority at an election must carry the day. But it is not to be
    denied that the fifteen hundred, apprehending that the Governor
    might attempt to play the tyrant,--since his conduct had
    already been insidious and unjust,--wore on their hats bunches
    of hemp. They were resolved, if a tyrant attempted to trample
    upon the rights of the sovereign people, to hang him.”

6. It is again confirmed by testimony of a lady for five years resident
in Western Missouri, who thus writes in a letter published in the “New
Haven Register.”

                             “MIAMI, SALINE COUNTY, November 26, 1855.

    “You ask me to tell you something about the Kansas and Missouri
    troubles. Of course you know in what they have originated.
    _There is no denying that the Missourians have determined to
    control the elections, if possible_; and I do not know that
    their measures would be justifiable, except upon the principle
    of self-preservation; and that, you know, is the first law of

7. And it is confirmed still further by the Circular of the Emigration
Society of Lafayette County, in Missouri, dated as late as 25th March,
1856, where the efforts of Missourians are openly confessed.

    “The western counties of Missouri have for the last two years
    been heavily taxed, both in money and time, in fighting the
    battles of the South. _Lafayette County alone has expended more
    than one hundred thousand dollars in money, and as much or more
    in time. Up to this time the border counties of Missouri have
    upheld and maintained the rights and interests of the South in
    this struggle, unassisted, and not unsuccessfully._ But the
    Abolitionists, staking their all upon the Kansas issue, and
    hesitating at no means, fair or foul, are moving heaven and
    earth to render that beautiful Territory _a Free State_.”

8. Here, also, is amplest testimony to the Usurpation, by the
“Intelligencer,” a leading paper of St. Louis, Missouri, made in the
ensuing summer.

     “Atchison and Stringfellow, with their Missouri followers,
    overwhelmed the settlers in Kansas, browbeat and bullied them,
    and took the Government from their hands. Missouri votes
    elected the present body of men, who insult public intelligence
    and popular rights by styling themselves ‘the Legislature
    of Kansas.’ This body of men are helping themselves to fat
    speculations by locating the ‘seat of Government’ and getting
    town lots for their votes. They are passing laws disfranchising
    all the citizens of Kansas who do not believe Negro Slavery to
    be a Christian institution and a national blessing. They are
    proposing to punish with imprisonment the utterance of views
    inconsistent with their own. And they are trying to perpetuate
    their preposterous and infernal tyranny by appointing _for a
    term of years_ creatures of their own, as commissioners in
    every county, to lay and collect taxes, and see that the laws
    they are passing are faithfully executed. Has this age anything
    to compare with these acts in audacity?”

9. In harmony with all these is the authoritative declaration of
Governor Reeder, in a speech to his neighbors at Easton, Pennsylvania,
at the end of April, 1855, and immediately afterwards published in the
Washington “Union.” Here it is.

    “It was, indeed, too true that Kansas had been invaded,
    conquered, subjugated, by an armed force from beyond her
    borders, led on by a fanatical spirit, trampling under foot the
    principles of the Kansas Bill and the right of suffrage.”

10. In similar harmony is the complaint of the people of Kansas, in
public meeting at Big Springs, on the 5th of September, 1855, embodied
in these words.

    “_Resolved_, That the body of men who for the last two months
    have been passing laws for the people of our Territory, moved,
    counselled, and dictated to by the demagogues of Missouri, are
    to us a foreign body, representing only the lawless invaders
    who elected them, and not the people of the Territory,--that we
    repudiate their action, as the monstrous consummation of an act
    of violence, usurpation, and fraud, unparalleled in the history
    of the Union, and worthy only of men unfitted for the duties
    and regardless of the responsibilities of Republicans.”

11. Finally, the invasion which ended in the Usurpation is clearly
established from official Minutes laid on our table by the President.
But the effect of this testimony has been so amply exposed by the
Senator from Vermont [Mr. COLLAMER], in his able and indefatigable
argument, that I content myself with simply referring to it.

       *       *       *       *       *

On this cumulative, irresistible evidence, in concurrence with
antecedent history, I rest. And yet Senators here argue that this
cannot be,--precisely as the conspiracy of Catiline was doubted in
the Roman Senate. “_Nonnulli sunt in hoc ordine, qui aut ea quæ
imminent non videant, aut ea quæ vident dissimulent; qui spem Catilinæ
mollibus sententiis aluerunt, conjurationemque nascentem non credendo
corroboraverunt._”[76] These words of the Roman Orator picture the case
here. As I listened to the Senator from Illinois, while he painfully
strove to show that there is no Usurpation, I was reminded of the
effort by a distinguished logician to prove that Napoleon Bonaparte
never existed. And permit me to say, that the fact of his existence is
not more entirely above doubt than the fact of this Usurpation. This
I assert on proofs already presented. But confirmation comes almost
while I speak. The columns of the public press are daily filled with
testimony solemnly taken before the Committee of Congress in Kansas,
which attests, in awful light, the violence ending in the Usurpation.
Of this I may speak on some other occasion.[77] Meanwhile I proceed
with the development of the Crime.

       *       *       *       *       *

The usurping Legislature assembled at the appointed place in the
interior, and then at once, in opposition to the veto of the Governor,
by a majority of two thirds, removed to the Shawnee Mission, a place
in most convenient proximity to the Missouri borderers, by whom it had
been constituted, and whose tyrannical agent it was. The statutes of
Missouri, in all their text, with their divisions and subdivisions,
were adopted bodily, and with such little local adaptation that the
word “State” in the original is not even changed to “Territory,”
but is left to be corrected by an explanatory act. All this general
legislation was entirely subordinate to the special chapter entitled
“An Act to punish Offences against Slave Property,” where the One
Idea that provoked this whole conspiracy is at last embodied in
legislative form, and Human Slavery openly recognized on Free Soil,
under the sanction of pretended law.[78] This chapter, of thirteen
sections, is in itself a _Dance of Death_. But its complex completeness
of wickedness without parallel may be partially conceived, when it
is understood that in three sections only is the penalty of death
denounced no less than forty-eight different times, by as many changes
of language, against the heinous offence, described in forty-eight
different ways, of interfering with what does not exist in that
Territory, and under the Constitution cannot exist there,--I mean
property in human flesh. Thus is Liberty sacrificed to Slavery, and
Death summoned to sit at the gates as guardian of the Wrong.

The work of Usurpation was not perfected even yet. It had already cost
too much to be left at any hazard.

                  “To be thus is nothing,
    But to be safely thus.”

Such was the object. And this could not be, except by the entire
prostration of all the safeguards of Human Rights. Liberty of speech,
which is the very breath of a Republic,--the press, which is the terror
of wrong-doers,--the bar, through which the oppressed beards the
arrogance of law,--the jury, by which right is vindicated,--all these
must be struck down, while officers are provided in all places, ready
to be the tools of this Tyranny; and then, to obtain final assurance
that their crime is secure, the whole Usurpation, stretching over the
Territory, must be fastened and riveted by legislative bolt, spike,
and screw, _so as to defy all effort at change through ordinary forms
of law_. To this work, in its various parts, were bent the subtlest
energies; and never, from Tubal Cain to this hour, was any fabric
forged with more desperate skill and completeness.

Mark, Sir, three different legislative enactments, constituting part of
this work. _First_, according to one act, all who deny, by spoken or
written word, “the right of persons to hold slaves in this Territory,”
are denounced as felons, to be punished by imprisonment at hard labor
for a term not less than two years,--it may be for life. To show the
extravagance of this injustice, it is well put by the Senator from
Vermont [Mr. COLLAMER], that, should the Senator from Michigan [Mr.
CASS], who believes that Slavery cannot exist in a Territory, unless
introduced by express legislative act, venture there with his moderate
opinions, his doom must be that of a felon! To such extent are the
great liberties of speech and of the press subverted! _Secondly_,
by another act, entitled “An Act concerning Attorneys-at-Law,” no
person can practise as attorney, unless he _shall obtain a license_
from the Territorial courts, which, of course, a tyrannical discretion
will be free to deny; and after obtaining such license, he is
constrained to take an oath not only “to support” the Constitution
of the United States, but also “to support and sustain”--mark here
the reduplication--the Territorial Act and the Fugitive Slave Bill:
thus erecting a test for admission to the bar, calculated to exclude
citizens who honestly regard the latter legislative enormity as
unfit to be obeyed. And, _thirdly_, by another act, entitled “An
Act concerning Jurors,” all persons “conscientiously opposed to the
holding slaves,” or “who do not admit the right to hold slaves in this
Territory,” are excluded from the jury on every question, civil or
criminal, arising out of asserted slave property,--while, in all cases,
the summoning of the jury is left, without one word of restraint, to
“the marshal, sheriff, or other officer,” who is thus free to pack it
according to his tyrannical discretion.

For the ready enforcement of all statutes against Human Freedom, the
President furnished a powerful quota of officers, in the Governor,
Chief Justice, Judges, Secretary, Attorney, and Marshal. The
Legislature completed this part of the work, by constituting in each
county a Board of Commissioners, composed of two persons, associated
with the Probate Judge, whose duty it is to “appoint a county
treasurer, coroner, justices of the peace, constables, and _all_ other
officers provided for by law,” and then proceeding to the choice of
this very Board: thus delegating and diffusing their usurped power, and
tyrannically imposing upon the Territory a crowd of officers, in whose
appointment the people had no voice, directly or indirectly.

And still the final, inexorable work remained to be done. A Legislature
renovated in both branches could not assemble until 1858: so that,
during this long intermediate period, this whole system must continue
in the likeness of law, unless overturned by the National Government,
or, in default of such interposition, by the generous uprising of an
oppressed people. But it was necessary to guard against possibility
of change, even tardily, at a future election; and this was done by
two different acts, under the _first_ of which all who do not take the
oath to support the Fugitive Slave Bill are excluded from the elective
franchise, and under the _second_ of which all others are entitled
to vote who tender a tax of one dollar to the sheriff on the day of
election; thus, by provision of Territorial law, disfranchising all
opposed to Slavery, and at the same time opening the door to the votes
of the invaders; by an unconstitutional shibboleth excluding from the
polls the body of actual settlers, and by making the franchise depend
upon a petty tax only admitting to the polls the mass of borderers from
Missouri. By tyrannical forethought, the Usurpation not only fortified
all that it did, but assumed a _self-perpetuating_ energy.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus was the Crime consummated. Slavery stands erect, clanking its
chains on the Territory of Kansas, surrounded by a code of death,
and trampling upon all cherished liberties, whether of speech, the
press, the bar, the trial by jury, or the electoral franchise. And,
Sir, all this is done, not merely to introduce a wrong which in itself
is a denial of all rights, and in dread of which mothers have taken
the lives of their offspring,--not merely, as is sometimes said, to
protect Slavery in Missouri, since it is futile for this State to
complain of Freedom on the side of Kansas, when Freedom exists without
complaint on the side of Iowa, and also on the side of Illinois,--but
it is done for the sake of political power, in order to bring two new
slaveholding Senators upon this floor, and thus to fortify in the
National Government the desperate chances of a waning Oligarchy. As
the gallant ship, voyaging on pleasant summer seas, is assailed by a
pirate crew, and plundered of its doubloons and dollars, so is this
beautiful Territory now assailed in peace and prosperity, and robbed of
its political power for the sake of Slavery. Even now the black flag of
the land pirates from Missouri waves at the mast-head; in their laws
you hear the pirate yell and see the flash of the pirate knife; while,
incredible to relate, the President, gathering the Slave Power at his
back, testifies a pirate sympathy.

Sir, all this was done in the name of Popular Sovereignty. And
this is the close of the tragedy. Popular Sovereignty, which, when
truly understood, is a fountain of just power, has ended in Popular
Slavery,--not in the subjection of the unhappy African race merely,
but of this proud Caucasian blood which you boast. The profession
with which you began, of _All by the People_, is lost in the wretched
reality of _Nothing for the People_. Popular Sovereignty, in whose
deceitful name plighted faith was broken and an ancient Landmark of
Freedom overturned, now lifts itself before us like Sin in the terrible
picture of Milton, which

        “seemed woman to the waist, and fair,
    But ended foul in many a scaly fold
    Voluminous and vast, a serpent armed
    With mortal sting: about her middle round
    A cry of hell-hounds never ceasing barked
    With wide Cerberean mouths full loud, and rung
    A hideous peal; yet, when they list, would creep,
    If aught disturbed their noise, into her womb,
    And kennel there, yet there still barked and howled
    Within, unseen.”

The image is complete at all points; and with this exposure I take my
leave of the Crime against Kansas.


Emerging from all the blackness of this Crime, where we seem to have
been lost, as in a savage wood, and turning our backs upon it, as upon
desolation and death, from which, while others have suffered, we have
escaped, I come now to THE APOLOGIES which the Crime has found. Sir,
well may you start at the suggestion, that such a series of wrongs,
so clearly proved by various testimony, so openly confessed by the
wrong-doers, and so widely recognized throughout the country, should
find apologists. But partisan spirit, now, as in other days, hesitates
at nothing. Great crimes of history have never been without apologies.
The massacre of St. Bartholomew, which you now instinctively condemn,
was at the time applauded in high quarters, and even commemorated by a
Papal medal, which may still be procured at Rome,--as the Crime against
Kansas, which is hardly less conspicuous in dreadful eminence, has been
shielded on this floor by extenuating words, and even by a Presidential
message, which, like the Papal medal, can never be forgotten in
considering the perversity of men.

Sir, the Crime cannot be denied. The President himself has admitted
“illegal and reprehensible” conduct. To such conclusion he was
compelled by irresistible evidence. But what he mildly describes I
openly denounce. Senators may affect to put it aside by sneer, or
to reason it away by figures, or to explain it by theory, such as
desperate invention has produced on this floor, that the Assassins and
Thugs of Missouri are in reality citizens of Kansas; but all these
efforts, so far as made, are only tokens of weakness, while to the
original Crime they add another offence of false testimony against
innocent and suffering men. But the Apologies for the Crime are worse
than the efforts at denial. In essential heartlessness they identify
their authors with the great iniquity.

They are four in number, and fourfold in character. The first is the
_Apology tyrannical_; the second, the _Apology imbecile_; the third,
the _Apology absurd_; and the fourth, the _Apology infamous_. This is
all. Tyranny, imbecility, absurdity, and infamy all unite to dance,
like the weird sisters, about this Crime.

       *       *       *       *       *

The _Apology tyrannical_ is founded on the mistaken act of Governor
Reeder, in authenticating the Usurping Legislature, by which it is
asserted, that, whatever may have been the actual force or fraud in its
election, the people of Kansas are effectually concluded, and the whole
proceeding is placed under formal sanction of law. According to this
assumption, complaint is now in vain, and it only remains that Congress
should sit and hearken to it, without correcting the wrong, as the
ancient tyrant listened and granted no redress to the human moans that
issued from the heated brazen bull which subtile cruelty had devised.
This I call the Apology of technicality inspired by tyranny.

The facts on this head are few and plain. Governor Reeder, after
allowing only five days for objections to the returns,--a space of time
unreasonably brief in that extensive Territory,--declared a majority
of the members of the Council and of the House of Representatives
“duly elected,” withheld certificates from certain others, because of
satisfactory proof that they were not duly elected, and appointed a
day for new elections to supply these vacancies. Afterwards, by formal
message, he recognized the Legislature as a legal body, and when he
vetoed their act of adjournment to the neighborhood of Missouri, he did
it simply on the ground of illegality in such adjournment under the
organic law. Now to every assumption founded on these facts there are
two satisfactory replies: _first_, that no certificate of the Governor
can do more than authenticate a subsisting legal act, without of
itself infusing legality where the essence of legality is not already;
and, _secondly_, that violence or fraud, wherever disclosed, vitiates
completely every proceeding. In denying these principles, you place
the certificate above the thing certified, and give a perpetual lease
to violence and fraud, merely because at an ephemeral moment they are
unquestioned. This will not do.

Sir, I am no apologist for Governor Reeder. There is sad reason to
believe that he went to Kansas originally as tool of the President;
but his simple nature, nurtured in the atmosphere of Pennsylvania,
revolted at the service required, and he turned from his patron to
duty. Grievously did he err in yielding to the Legislature any act of
authentication; but in some measure he has answered for this error
by determined effort since to expose the utter illegality of that
body, which he now repudiates entirely. It was said of certain Roman
Emperors, who did infinite mischief in their beginnings and infinite
good towards their end, that they should never have been born or
never died; and I would apply the same to the official life of this
Kansas Governor. At all events, I dismiss the Apology founded on his
acts, as the utterance of Tyranny by the voice of Law, transcending
the declaration of the pedantic judge, in the British Parliament, on
the eve of our Revolution, that our fathers, notwithstanding their
complaints, were in reality represented in Parliament, inasmuch
as their lands, under the original charters, were held “in common
socage, as of the manor of East Greenwich in Kent,” which, being duly
represented, carried with it all the Colonies.[79] Thus in another age
has Tyranny assumed the voice of Law.

       *       *       *       *       *

Next comes the _Apology imbecile_, which is founded on the alleged want
of power in the President to arrest this Crime. It is openly asserted,
that, under existing laws, the Chief Magistrate has no authority to
interfere in Kansas for this purpose. Such is the broad statement,
which, even if correct, furnishes no Apology for any proposed
ratification of the Crime, but which is in reality untrue; and this I
call the Apology of imbecility.

In other matters no such ostentatious imbecility appears. Only
lately, a vessel of war in the Pacific has chastised the cannibals of
the Feejee Islands for alleged outrage on American citizens. But no
person of ordinary intelligence will pretend that American citizens in
the Pacific have received wrongs from these cannibals comparable in
atrocity to those suffered by American citizens in Kansas. Ah, Sir, the
interests of Slavery are not touched by any chastisement of Feejees!

Constantly we are informed of efforts at New York, through the agency
of the Government, and sometimes only on the breath of suspicion,
to arrest vessels about to sail on foreign voyages in violation of
our neutrality laws or treaty stipulations. Now no man familiar with
the cases will presume to suggest that the urgency for these arrests
is equal to the urgency for interposition against these successive
invasions from Missouri. But the Slave Power is not disturbed by such
arrests in New York.

At this moment the President exults in the vigilance with which he
prevented the enlistment of a few soldiers, for transportation to
Halifax, in breach of our territorial sovereignty, and England is
bravely threatened, even to the extent of rupture of diplomatic
relations, for her endeavor, though unsuccessful, and at once
abandoned.[80] No man in his senses will urge that this act was
anything but trivial by the side of the Crime against Kansas. But the
Slave Power is not concerned in this controversy.

Thus, where the Slave Power is indifferent, the President will see
that the laws are faithfully executed; but in other cases, where
the interests of Slavery are at stake, he is controlled absolutely
by this tyranny, ready at all times to do, or not to do, precisely
as it dictates. Therefore it is that Kansas is left a prey to the
Propagandists of Slavery, while the whole Treasury, the Army, and Navy
of the United States are lavished to hunt a single slave through the
streets of Boston. You have not forgotten the latter instance; but I
choose to refresh it in your minds.

As long ago as 1851 the War Department and Navy Department concurred in
placing the forces of the United States near Boston at the command of
the Marshal, if needed for the enforcement of an Act of Congress which
is without support in the public conscience, as I believe it without
support in the Constitution; and thus these forces were degraded to
the loathsome work of slave-hunters. More than three years afterwards
an occasion arose for their intervention. A fugitive from Virginia,
who for some days had trod the streets of Boston as a freeman, was
seized as a slave. The whole community was aroused, while Bunker
Hill and Faneuil Hall quaked with responsive indignation. Then, Sir,
the President, anxious that no tittle of Slavery should suffer, was
curiously eager in the enforcement of the statute. The despatches
between him and his agents in Boston attest his zeal. Here are some of

                                           “BOSTON, May 27, 1854.

    “_To the President of the United States._

    “In consequence of an attack upon the Court House last night,
    for the purpose of rescuing a fugitive slave under arrest,
    and in which one of my own guards was killed, _I have availed
    myself of the resources of the United States, placed under my
    control by letter from the War and Navy Departments in 1851_,
    and now have two companies of troops from Fort Independence
    stationed in the Court House. Everything is now quiet. The
    attack was repulsed by my own guard.

            “WATSON FREEMAN.

    “_United States Marshal, Boston, Mass._”

                                        “WASHINGTON, May 27, 1854.

    “_To_ WATSON FREEMAN, _United States Marshal, Boston, Mass._

    “Your conduct is approved. The law must be executed.

            “FRANKLIN PIERCE.”

                                         “WASHINGTON, May 30, 1854.

    “_To_ HON. B. F. HALLETT, _Boston, Mass._

    “What is the state of the case of Burns?

            “SIDNEY WEBSTER.

    “_Private Secretary of the President._”

                                         “WASHINGTON, May 31, 1854.

    “_To_ B. F. HALLETT, _United States Attorney, Boston, Mass._

    “Incur any expense deemed necessary by the Marshal and yourself
    for City Military, or otherwise, to insure the execution of the

            “FRANKLIN PIERCE.”

The President was not content with the forces then on hand in the
neighborhood. Other posts also were put under requisition. Two
companies of national troops, stationed at New York, were kept
under arms, ready at any moment to proceed to Boston; and the
Adjutant-General of the Army was directed to repair to the scene, there
to superintend the execution of the statute. All this was done for
the sake of Slavery. But during long months of menace suspended over
the Free Soil of Kansas, breaking forth in successive invasions, the
President folds his hands in complete listlessness, or, if he moves at
all, it is only to encourage the robber propagandists.

And now the intelligence of the country is insulted by the Apology,
that the President had no power to interfere. Why, Sir, to make this
confession is to confess our Government a practical failure, which I
will never do,--except, indeed, as it is administered now. No, Sir, the
imbecility of the Chief Magistrate shall not be charged upon American
Institutions. Where there is a will, there is a way; and in his case,
had the will existed, there would have been a way, easy and triumphant,
to guard against the Crime we deplore. His powers are in every respect
ample; and this I prove by the statute-book. By the Act of Congress of
28th February, 1795, it is enacted, “that, whenever the laws of the
United States shall be opposed, _or the execution thereof obstructed_,
in any State, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the
ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in
the marshals by this Act, it shall be lawful for the President of the
United States to call forth the militia.”[81] By the supplementary Act
of 3d March, 1807, in all cases where he is authorized to call forth
the militia “for the purpose of causing the laws to be duly executed,”
the President is further empowered, in any State _or Territory_, “to
employ for the same purposes such part of the land or naval force of
the United States as shall be judged necessary.”[82] There is the
letter of the law; and you will please to mark the power conferred.
In no case, where _the laws of the United States_ are _opposed_, or
their execution _obstructed_, is the President constrained to wait
for the requisition of a Governor, or even the petition of a citizen.
Just so soon as he learns the fact, no matter by what channel, he is
invested by law with full power to counteract it. True it is, that,
when _the laws of a State_ are obstructed, he can interfere only on
the application of the Legislature of such State, or of the Executive,
when the Legislature cannot be convened; but when the National laws are
obstructed, no such preliminary application is necessary. It is his
high duty, under his oath of office, to see that they are executed,
and, if need be, by the National forces.

And, Sir, this is the precise exigency that arises in Kansas,--exactly
this,--nor more, nor less. The Act of Congress constituting the very
_organic law_ of the Territory, which, in peculiar phrase, as if to
avoid ambiguity, declares, as its “true intent and meaning,” that the
people thereof shall be left “perfectly free to form and regulate their
domestic institutions in their own way,” has been from the beginning
_opposed_ and _obstructed_ in its execution. If the President had
power to employ the national forces in Boston, when he supposed the
Fugitive Slave Bill was obstructed, and merely in anticipation of such
obstruction, it is absurd to say that he has not power in Kansas,
when, in the face of the whole country, the very _organic law_ of the
Territory is trampled under foot by successive invasions, and the
freedom of the people there overthrown. To assert ignorance of this
obstruction--premeditated, long-continued, and stretching through
months--attributes to him not merely imbecility, but idiocy. And thus
do I dispose of this Apology.

       *       *       *       *       *

Next comes the _Apology absurd_, which is, indeed, in the nature of
pretext. It is alleged that a small printed pamphlet, containing the
“Constitution and Ritual of the Grand Encampment and Regiments of the
Kansas Legion,” was taken from the person of one George F. Warren, who
attempted to avoid detection by chewing it. The oaths and grandiose
titles of the pretended Legion are all set forth, and this poor mummery
of a secret society, which existed only on paper, is gravely introduced
on this floor, in order to extenuate the Crime against Kansas. It has
been paraded in more than one speech, and even stuffed into the report
of the Committee.

A part of the obligations assumed by the members of this Legion shows
why it is thus pursued, while also attesting its innocence. It is as

    “I will never knowingly propose a person for membership in this
    order _who is not in favor of making Kansas a Free State_,
    and whom I feel satisfied will exert his entire influence to
    bring about this result. I will support, maintain, and abide
    by any honorable movement made by the organization to secure
    this great end, _which will not conflict with the laws of the
    country and the Constitution of the United States_.”[83]

Kansas is to be made a Free State by an honorable movement which will
not conflict with the laws and the Constitution. That is the object
of the organization, declared in the very words of the initiatory
obligation. Where is the wrong in this? What is there here to cast
reproach, or even suspicion, upon the people of Kansas? Grant that the
Legion was constituted, can you extract from it any Apology for the
original Crime, or for its present ratification? Secret societies,
with extravagant oaths, are justly offensive; but who can find in this
mistaken machinery any excuse for the denial of all rights to the
people of Kansas? All this I say on the supposition that the society
is a reality, which it is not. Existing in the fantastic brains of
a few persons only, it never had any practical life. It was never
organized. The whole tale, with the mode of obtaining the copy of the
Constitution, is at once cock-and-bull story and mare’s nest,--trivial
as the former, absurd as the latter,--and to be dismissed, with the
Apology founded upon it, to the derision which triviality and absurdity
justly receive.

       *       *       *       *       *

It only remains, under this head, that I should speak of the _Apology
infamous_,--founded on false testimony against the Emigrant Aid
Company, and assumptions of duty more false than the testimony. Defying
truth and mocking decency, this Apology excels all others in futility
and audacity, while, from its utter hollowness, it proves the utter
impotence of the conspirators to defend their Crime. Falsehood, always
_infamous_, in this case arouses unwonted scorn. An association of
sincere benevolence, faithful to the Constitution and laws, whose
only fortifications are hotels, school-houses, and churches, whose
only weapons are saw-mills, tools, and books, whose mission is peace
and good-will, is grossly assailed on this floor, and an errand of
blameless virtue made the pretext for an unpardonable Crime. Nay,
more,--the innocent are sacrificed, and the guilty set at liberty. They
who seek to do the mission of the Saviour are scourged and crucified,
while the murderer, Barabbas, with the sympathy of the chief priests,
goes at large.

Were I to take counsel of my own feelings, I should dismiss this whole
Apology to the ineffable contempt which it deserves; but it is made to
play such a part in this conspiracy, that I feel it a duty to expose it

Sir, from the earliest times, men have recognized the advantages of
organization, as an effective agency in promoting the business of
life. Especially at this moment, there is no interest, public or
private, high or low, of charity or trade, of luxury or convenience,
which does not seek its aid. Men organize to rear churches and to make
pins,--to build schools and to sail ships,--to construct roads and to
manufacture toys,--to spin cotton and to print books,--to weave cloths
and to increase harvests,--to provide food and to distribute light,--to
influence Public Opinion and to secure votes,--to guard infancy
in its weakness, old age in its decrepitude, and womanhood in its
wretchedness; and now, in all large towns, when death has come, they
are buried by organized societies, and, emigrants to another world,[84]
they lie down in pleasant places, adorned by organized skill. To
complain that this prevailing principle has been applied to living
emigration is to complain of Providence and the irresistible tendencies
implanted in man.

This application of the principle is no recent invention, brought forth
for an existing emergency. It has the best stamp of Antiquity. It
showed itself in the brightest days of Greece, where colonists moved
in organized bands. It became part of the mature policy of Rome, where
bodies of men were constituted expressly for this purpose,--_triumviri
ad colonos deducendos_.[85] Naturally it is accepted in modern times
by every civilized state. With the sanction of Spain, an association
of Genoese merchants first introduced slaves to this continent. With
the sanction of France, the Society of Jesuits stretched their labors
over Canada and the Great Lakes to the Mississippi. It was under the
auspices of Emigrant Aid Companies that our country was originally
settled by the Pilgrim Fathers of Plymouth, by the Adventurers of
Virginia, and by the philanthropic Oglethorpe, whose “benevolent soul,”
commemorated by Pope, sought to plant a Free State in Georgia. At this
day, such associations, of humbler character, are found in Europe, with
offices in the great capitals, through whose activity emigrants are
directed hither.

For a long time, emigration to the West, from the Northern and
Middle States, but particularly from New England, has been of marked
significance. In quest of better homes, annually it presses to the
unsettled lands, in numbers counted by tens of thousands; but this
has been done heretofore with little knowledge, and without guide
or counsel. Finally, when, by the establishment of a government in
Kansas, the tempting fields of that central region were opened to
the competition of peaceful colonization, and especially when it
was declared that the question of Freedom or Slavery there was to
be determined by the votes of actual settlers, then at once was
organization enlisted as an effective agency in quickening and
conducting the emigration impelled thither, and, more than all, in
providing homes on its arrival.

The Company was first constituted under an Act of the Legislature of
Massachusetts, April 26, 1854, some weeks prior to the passage of the
Nebraska Bill. The original act of incorporation was subsequently
abandoned, and a new charter received in February, 1855, in which the
objects of the Society are thus declared:--

    “For the purposes of directing emigration westward, and _aiding
    in providing accommodations for the emigrants after arriving at
    their places of destination_.”[86]

At any other moment an association for these purposes would take
its place, by general consent, among philanthropic experiments; but
Crime is always suspicious, and shakes, like a sick man, merely at
the pointing of a finger. The conspirators against Freedom in Kansas
became alarmed at the movement. Their wicked plot was about to fail.
To help themselves, they denounced the Emigrant Aid Company; and their
denunciations, after finding an echo in the President, are repeated,
with much particularity, on this floor, in the formal report of your

The falsehood of the whole accusation will appear in illustrative

A charter is set out, section by section, which, though originally
granted, was subsequently abandoned, and is not in reality the charter
of the Company, but is materially unlike it.

The Company is represented as “a powerful corporation, with a capital
of five millions,” when, by its actual charter, it is not allowed to
hold property above one million, and, in point of fact, its capital has
not exceeded one hundred thousand dollars.

Then, again, it is suggested, if not alleged, that this enormous
capital, which I have already said does not exist, is invested in
“cannon and rifles, in powder and lead,” and “implements of war,”
all of which, whether alleged or suggested, is absolutely false. The
officers of the Company authorize me to give this whole assumption a
point-blank denial.

These allegations are of small importance, and I mention them only
because they show the character of the report, and also something of
the quicksand on which the Senator from Illinois chooses to plant
himself. But these are all capped by the unblushing assertion, that the
proceedings of the Company were “in perversion of the plain provisions
of an Act of Congress,”--and also another unblushing assertion, as
“certain and undeniable,” that the Company was formed to promote
certain objects, “regardless of the rights and wishes of the people,
as guarantied by the Constitution of the United States, and secured by
their organic law,” when it is certain and undeniable that the Company
has done nothing in perversion of any Act of Congress, while, to the
extent of its power, it seeks to protect the rights and wishes of the
actual people in the Territory.

Sir, this Company has violated in no respect the Constitution or laws
of the land,--not in the merest letter or the slightest spirit. But
every other imputation is equally baseless. It is not true, as the
Senator from Illinois alleges, in order in some way to compromise the
Company, that it was informed before the public of the date fixed for
the election of the Legislature. This statement is pronounced by the
Secretary, in a letter now before me, “an unqualified falsehood, not
having even the shadow of a shade of truth for its basis.” It is not
true that men have been hired by the Company to go to Kansas; for every
emigrant going under its direction himself provides the means for
his journey. Of course, Sir, it is not true, as is complained by the
Senator from South Carolina, with that proclivity to error which marks
all his utterances, that men have been sent by the Company “with one
uniform gun, Sharp’s rifle”; for it has supplied no arms of any kind to
anybody. It is not true that the Company has encouraged any fanatical
aggression upon the people of Missouri; for it counsels order, peace,
forbearance. It is not true that the Company has chosen its emigrants
on account of political opinions; for it asks no questions with
regard to the opinions of any whom it aids, and at this moment stands
ready to forward those from the South as well as the North, while,
in the Territory, all, from whatever quarter, are admitted to equal
enjoyment of its tempting advantages. It is not true that the Company
has sent persons merely to control elections, and not to remain in the
Territory; for its whole action, and all its anticipation of pecuniary
profits, are founded on the hope of stocking the country with permanent
settlers, by whose labor the capital of the Company shall be made to
yield its increase, and by whose fixed interest in the soil the welfare
of all shall be promoted.

Sir, it has not the honor of being an Abolition Society, or of
numbering Abolitionists among its officers. Its President[87] is a
retired citizen, of ample means and charitable life, who has taken no
part in the conflicts with Slavery, and never allowed his sympathies
to be felt by Abolitionists. One of its Vice-Presidents is a gentleman
from Virginia,[88] with family and friends there, who has always
opposed the Abolitionists. Its generous Treasurer,[89] now justly
absorbed by the objects of the Company, has always been understood as
ranging with his extensive connections, by blood and marriage, on the
side of that quietism which submits to all the tyranny of the Slave
Power. Its Directors are more conspicuous for wealth and science than
for any activity against Slavery. Among these is an eminent lawyer of
Massachusetts, Mr. Chapman,[90]--personally known, doubtless, to some
who hear me,--who has distinguished himself by an austere conservatism,
too natural to the atmosphere of courts, which does not flinch even
from the support of the Fugitive Slave Bill. In a recent address at a
public meeting in Springfield, this gentleman thus speaks for himself
and his associates:--

    “I have been a Director of the Society from the first, and
    have kept myself well informed in regard to its proceedings.
    I am not aware that any one in this community ever suspected
    me of being an Abolitionist; but I have been accused of being
    Proslavery, and I believe many good people think I am quite
    too conservative on that subject. I take this occasion to
    say that all the plans and proceedings of the Society have
    met my approbation; and I assert that it has never done a
    single act with which any political party or the people of any
    section of the country can justly find fault. The name of its
    President, Mr. Brown, of Providence, and of its Treasurer,
    Mr. Lawrence, of Boston, are a sufficient guaranty, in the
    estimation of intelligent men, against its being engaged in
    any fanatical enterprise. Its stockholders are composed of
    men of all political parties except Abolitionists. I am not
    aware that it has received the patronage of that class of our
    fellow-citizens, and I am informed that some of them disapprove
    of its proceedings.”

The acts of the Company have been such as might be expected from
auspices thus severely careful at all points. The secret through which,
with small means, it has been able to accomplish so much is, that,
_as inducement to emigration, it goes forward and plants capital in
advance of population_. According to the old immethodical system, this
rule is reversed, and population is left to grope blindly, without the
advantage of fixed centres, with mills, schools, and churches,--all
calculated to soften the hardships of pioneer life,--such as are
established beforehand in Kansas. Here, Sir, is the secret of
the Emigrant Aid Company. By this single principle, which is now
practically applied for the first time in history, and which has the
simplicity of genius, a business association at a distance, without
large capital, has become the beneficent instrument of civilization,
exercising the functions of various societies, and being in itself
Missionary Society, Bible Society, Tract Society, Education Society,
and Society for the Diffusion of the Mechanic Arts. I would not claim
too much for this Company; but I doubt if at this moment there is any
society so completely philanthropic; and since its leading idea, like
the light of a candle from which other candles are lighted without
number, may be applied indefinitely, it promises to be an important
aid to Human Progress. The lesson it teaches cannot be forgotten;
and hereafter, wherever unsettled lands exist, intelligent capital
will lead the way, anticipating the wants of the pioneer,--nay, doing
the very work of the original pioneer,--while, amidst well-arranged
harmonies, a new community arises, to become, by example, a more
eloquent preacher than any solitary missionary. In subordination to
this essential idea is its humbler machinery for the aid of emigrants
on their way, by combining parties, so that friends and neighbors
journey together,--by purchasing tickets at wholesale, and furnishing
them to individuals at actual cost,--by providing for each party a
conductor familiar with the road, and, through these simple means,
promoting the economy, safety, and comfort of the expedition. The
number of emigrants it has directly aided, even thus slightly, in
their journey, is infinitely exaggerated. From the beginning of its
operations down to the close of the last autumn, all its detachments
from Massachusetts contained only thirteen hundred and twelve persons.

Such is the simple tale of the Emigrant Aid Company. Sir, not even
suspicion can justly touch it. But it must be made a scapegoat. This
is the decree which has gone forth. I was hardly surprised at this
outrage, when it proceeded from the President, for, like Macbeth, he is
“stepped in so far,” that “returning were as tedious as go o’er”; but
I did not expect it from the Senator from Missouri [Mr. GEYER], whom I
have learned to respect for the general moderation of his views, and
the name he has won in an honorable profession. Listening to him, I was
saddened by the spectacle of the extent to which Slavery will sway a
candid mind to do injustice. Were any other interest in question, that
Senator would scorn to join in impeachment of such an association. His
instincts, as lawyer, as man of honor, and as Senator, would forbid;
but the Slave Power, in enforcing its behests, allows no hesitation,
and the Senator surrenders.

In this vindication I content myself with a statement of facts,
rather than an argument. It might be urged that Missouri organized a
propagandist emigration long before any from Massachusetts, and you
might be reminded of the wolf in the fable, which complained of the
lamb for disturbing the waters, when in fact the alleged offender was
lower down the stream. It might be urged also that South Carolina
lately entered upon a similar system,--while one of her chieftains, in
rallying recruits, has unconsciously attested the cause in which he was
engaged, by exclaiming, in the words of Satan, addressed to his wicked

    “Awake! arise! or be forever fallen!”[91]

But the occasion needs no such defences. I put them aside. Not on the
example of Missouri or the example of South Carolina, but on inherent
rights, which no man, whether Senator or President, can justly assail,
do I plant this impregnable justification. It will not do, in specious
phrase, to allege the right of every State to be free in domestic
policy from foreign interference, and then to assume such wrongful
interference by this Company. By the law and Constitution we stand or
fall; and that law and Constitution we have in no respect offended.

To cloak the overthrow of all law in Kansas, an assumption is now
set up which utterly denies one of the plainest rights of the
people everywhere. Sir, I beg Senators to understand that this is a
government of laws, and that, under these laws, the people have an
incontestable right to settle any portion of our broad territory,
and, if they choose, to propagate any opinions there not forbidden by
the laws. If this be not so, pray, Sir, by what title is the Senator
from Illinois, who is an emigrant from Vermont,[92] propagating his
disastrous opinions in another State? Surely he has no monopoly of
this right. Others may do what he is doing; nor can the right be in
any way restricted. It is as broad as the people; nor does it matter
whether they go in numbers small or great, with assistance or without
assistance, under the auspices of societies or not under such auspices.
If this be not so, then by what title are so many foreigners annually
naturalized, under Democratic auspices, in order to secure votes for
misnamed Democratic principles? And if capital as well as combination
cannot be employed, by what title do venerable associations exist, of
ampler means and longer duration than any Emigrant Aid Company, around
which cluster the regard and confidence of the country,--the Tract
Society, a powerful corporation, which scatters its publications freely
in every corner of the land,--the Bible Society, an incorporated body,
with large resources, which seeks to carry the Book of Life alike into
Territories and States,--the Missionary Society, also an incorporated
body, with large resources, which sends its agents everywhere, at home
and in foreign lands? By what title do all these exist? Nay, Sir, by
what title does an Insurance Company in New York send its agent to open
an office in New Orleans? and by what title does Massachusetts capital
contribute to the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad in Missouri, and
also to the copper mines of Michigan? The Senator inveighs against
the Native American party; but his own principle is narrower than any
attributed to them. They object to the influence of emigrants from
abroad: he objects to the influence of American citizens at home, when
exerted in States or Territories where they were not born. The whole
assumption is too audacious for respectful argument. But since a great
right is denied, the children of the Free States, over whose cradles
has shone the North Star, owe it to themselves, to their ancestors, and
to Freedom itself, that this right shall now be asserted to the fullest
extent. By the blessing of God, and under the continued protection of
the laws, they will go to Kansas, there to plant homes, in the hope of
elevating this Territory soon into the sisterhood of Free States; and
to such end they will not hesitate in the employment of all legitimate
means, whether by companies of men or contributions of money, to swell
a virtuous emigration, and they will justly scout any attempt to
question this unquestionable right. Sir, if they fail to do this, they
will be fit only for slaves themselves.

God be praised, Massachusetts, honored Commonwealth, that gives me the
privilege to plead for Kansas on this floor, knows her rights, and
will maintain them firmly to the end. This is not the first time in
history that her public acts have been impeached and her public men
exposed to contumely. Thus was it in the olden time, when she began
the great battle whose fruits you all enjoy. But never yet has she
occupied a position so lofty as at this hour. By the intelligence of
her population, by the resources of her industry, by her commerce,
cleaving every wave, by her manufactures, various as human skill,
by her institutions of education, various as human knowledge, by
her institutions of benevolence, various as human suffering, by the
pages of her scholars and historians, by the voices of her poets and
orators, she is now exerting an influence more subtile and commanding
than ever before,--shooting her far-darting rays wherever ignorance,
wretchedness, or wrong prevails, and flashing light even upon those
who travel far to persecute her. Such is Massachusetts; and I am proud
to believe that you may as well attempt with puny arm to topple down
the earth-rooted, heaven-kissing granite which crowns the historic sod
of Bunker Hill as to change her fixed resolve for Freedom everywhere,
and especially now for Freedom in Kansas. I exult, too, that in this
battle, which in moral grandeur surpasses far the whole war of the
Revolution, she is able to preserve her just eminence. To the first she
contributed troops in larger numbers than any other State, and larger
than all the Slave States together; and now to the second, which is
not of contending armies, but of contending opinions, on whose issue
hangs trembling the advancing civilization of the age, she contributes,
through the manifold and endless intellectual activity of her children,
more of that divine spark by which opinions are quickened into life
than is contributed by any other State, or by all the Slave States
together, while her annual productive industry exceeds in value three
times the whole vaunted cotton crop of the whole South.

Sir, to men on earth it belongs only to deserve success, not to secure
it; and I know not how soon the efforts of Massachusetts will wear the
crown of triumph. But it cannot be that she acts wrong for herself
or her children, when in this cause she encounters reproach. No: by
the generous souls once exposed at Lexington,--by those who stood
arrayed at Bunker Hill,--by the many from her bosom who, on all the
fields of the first great struggle, lent their vigorous arms to the
cause of all,--by the children she has borne, whose names alone are
national trophies, is Massachusetts now vowed irrevocably to this work.
What belongs to the faithful servant she will do in all things, and
Providence shall determine the result.[93]

And here ends what I have to say of the four Apologies for the Crime
against Kansas.[94]


From this ample survey, where one obstruction after another has been
removed, I now pass, in the third place, to the consideration of the
_remedies proposed_, ending with THE TRUE REMEDY.

The Remedy should be coextensive with the original Wrong; and since, by
the passage of the Nebraska Bill, not only Kansas, but also Nebraska,
Minnesota, Washington, and even Oregon, are opened to Slavery, the
original Prohibition should be restored to its full activity throughout
these various Territories. By such happy restoration, made in good
faith, the whole country would be replaced in the condition it enjoyed
before the introduction of that dishonest measure. Here is the Alpha
and the Omega of our aim in this immediate controversy. But no such
extensive measure is now in question. The Crime against Kansas is
special, and all else is absorbed in the special remedies for it. Of
these I shall now speak.

As the Apologies were fourfold, so are the proposed Remedies fourfold;
and they range themselves in natural order, under designations which so
truly disclose their character as even to supersede argument. First,
we have _the Remedy of Tyranny_; next, _the Remedy of Folly_; next,
_the Remedy of Injustice and Civil War_; and, fourthly, _the Remedy
of Justice and Peace_. There are the four caskets; and you are to
determine which shall be opened by Senatorial votes.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is _the Remedy of Tyranny_, which, like its complement, the
Apology of Tyranny,--though espoused on this floor, especially by the
Senator from Illinois,--proceeds from the President, and is embodied in
a special message. It proposes enforced obedience to the existing laws
of Kansas, “whether Federal or _local_,” when, in fact, Kansas has no
“local” laws, except those imposed by the Usurpation from Missouri, and
it calls for additional appropriations to complete this work of tyranny.

I shall not follow the President in his elaborate endeavor to prejudge
the contested election now pending in the House of Representatives; for
this whole matter belongs to the privileges of that body, and neither
the President nor the Senate has a right to intermeddle therewith. I do
not touch it. But now, while dismissing it, I should not pardon myself,
if I failed to add, that any person who founds his claim to a seat in
Congress on the pretended votes of hirelings from another State, with
no home on the soil of Kansas, plays the part of Anacharsis Clootz,
who, at the bar of the French Convention, undertook to represent
nations that knew him not, or, if they knew him, scorned him, with
this difference, that in our American case the excessive farce of the
transaction cannot cover its tragedy. But all this I put aside, to deal
only with what is legitimately before the Senate.

I expose simply the tyranny which upholds the existing Usurpation,
and asks for additional appropriations. Let it be judged by example
from which in this country there can be no appeal. Here is the speech
of George the Third, made from his throne to Parliament, in response
to the complaints of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, which, though
smarting under laws passed by usurped power, had yet avoided all armed
opposition, while Lexington and Bunker Hill still slumbered in rural
solitude, unconscious of the historic kindred they were soon to claim.
Instead of Massachusetts Bay, in the royal speech, substitute Kansas,
and the message of the President will be found fresh on the lips of the
British King. Listen now to the words, which, in opening Parliament,
30th November, 1774, his Majesty, according to the official report, was
pleased to speak.

    “_My Lords and Gentlemen_:--

    “It gives me much concern, that I am obliged, at the opening
    of this Parliament, to inform you that a most daring _spirit
    of resistance and disobedience to the law_ still unhappily
    prevails in the Province of the _Massachusetts Bay_, and has
    in divers parts of it broke forth in fresh violences of a very
    criminal nature. _These proceedings have been countenanced and
    encouraged in other of my Colonies, and unwarrantable attempts
    have been made to obstruct the commerce of this kingdom by
    unlawful combinations._ I have taken such measures and given
    such orders as I judged most proper and effectual _for carrying
    into execution the laws which were passed in the last session
    of the late Parliament_, for the protection and security of the
    commerce of my subjects, and for the restoring and preserving
    peace, order, and good government in the Province of the
    _Massachusetts Bay_.”[95]

The King complained of a “daring spirit of resistance and disobedience
to the law”: so also does the President. The King adds, that it has
“broke forth in fresh violences of a very criminal nature”: so also
does the President. The King declares that these proceedings have been
“countenanced and encouraged in other of my Colonies”: even so the
President declares that Kansas has found sympathy in “remote States.”
The King inveighs against “unwarrantable attempts” and “unlawful
combinations”: even so inveighs the President. The King proclaims that
he has taken the necessary steps “for carrying into execution the
laws,” passed in defiance of the constitutional rights of the Colonies:
even so the President proclaims that he shall “exert the whole power
of the Federal Executive” to support the Usurpation in Kansas. The
parallel is complete. The Message, if not copied from the Speech of
the King, has been fashioned on the same original block, and must be
dismissed to the same limbo. I dismiss its tyrannical assumptions in
favor of the Usurpation. I dismiss also its petition for additional
appropriations, in the affected desire to maintain order in Kansas. It
is not money or troops that you need there, but simply the good-will
of the President. That is all, absolutely. Let his complicity with the
Crime cease, and peace will be restored. For myself, I will not consent
to wad the national artillery with fresh appropriation bills, when its
murderous hail is to be directed against the constitutional rights of
my fellow-citizens.

       *       *       *       *       *

Next comes _the Remedy of Folly_, which, indeed, is also a Remedy
of Tyranny; but its Folly is so surpassing as to eclipse even its
Tyranny. It does not proceed from the President. With this proposition
he is not in any way chargeable. It comes from the Senator from South
Carolina, who, at the close of a long speech, offered it as his single
contribution to the adjustment of this question, and who thus far
stands alone in its support. It might, therefore, fitly bear his name;
but that which I now give to it is a more suggestive synonym.

This proposition, nakedly expressed, is, that the people of Kansas
should be deprived of their arms. That I may not do the least injustice
to the Senator, I quote his precise words.

    “The President of the United States is under the highest and
    most solemn obligations to interpose; and if I were to indicate
    the manner in which he should interpose in Kansas, I would
    point out the old Common Law process. I would serve a warrant
    on Sharp’s rifles; and if Sharp’s rifles did not answer the
    summons, and come into court on a day certain, or if they
    resisted the sheriff, I would summon the _posse comitatus_,
    and I would have Colonel Sumner’s regiment to be part of that
    _posse comitatus_.”[96]

Really, Sir, has it come to this? The rifle has ever been the companion
of the pioneer, and, under God, his tutelary protector against the
red man and the beast of the forest. Never was this efficient weapon
more needed in just self-defence than now in Kansas; and at least
one article in our National Constitution must be blotted out before
the complete right to it can be in any way impeached. And yet such is
the madness of the hour, that, in defiance of the solemn guaranty in
the Amendments to the Constitution, that “the right of the people to
keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” the people of Kansas are
arraigned for keeping and bearing arms, and the Senator from South
Carolina has the face to say openly on this floor that they should
be disarmed,--of course that the fanatics of Slavery, his allies and
constituents, may meet no impediment. Sir, the Senator is venerable
with years; he is reputed also to have worn at home, in the State he
represents, judicial honors; and he is placed here at the head of
an important Committee occupied particularly with questions of law;
but neither his years, nor his position, past or present, can give
respectability to the demand he makes, or save him from indignant
condemnation, when, to compass the wretched purposes of a wretched
cause, he thus proposes to trample on one of the plainest provisions of
Constitutional Liberty.

       *       *       *       *       *

Next comes _the Remedy of Injustice and Civil War_,--organized by
Acts of Congress. This proposition, which is also an offshoot of the
original Remedy of Tyranny, proceeds from the Senator from Illinois
[Mr. DOUGLAS], with the sanction of the Committee on Territories, and
is embodied in the bill now pressed to a vote.

By this bill it is proposed as follows:--

    “That, whenever it shall appear, by a census to be taken
    under the direction of the Governor, by the authority of
    the Legislature, that there shall be 93,420 inhabitants
    (that being the number required by the present ratio of
    representation for a member of Congress) within the limits
    hereafter described as the Territory of Kansas, _the
    Legislature of said Territory shall be, and is hereby,
    authorized to provide by law for the election of delegates_ by
    the people of said Territory, to assemble in Convention and
    form a Constitution and State Government, preparatory to their
    admission into the Union on an equal footing with the original
    States in all respects whatsoever, by the name of the State of

Now, Sir, consider these words carefully, and you will see, that,
however plausible and velvet-pawed they may seem, yet in reality
they are most unjust and cruel. While affecting to initiate honest
proceedings for the formation of a State, they furnish to this
Territory no redress for the Crime under which it suffers; nay, they
recognize the very Usurpation in which the Crime ends, and proceed to
endow it with new prerogatives. It is _by authority of the Legislature_
that the census is to be taken, which is the first step in the work.
It is also _by authority of the Legislature_ that a Convention is to
be called for the formation of a Constitution, which is the second
step. But the Legislature is not obliged to take either of these steps.
To its absolute wilfulness is it left to act or not to act in the
premises. And since, in the ordinary course of business, there can be
no action of the Legislature till January of the next year, all these
steps, which are preliminary in character, are postponed till after
that distant day,--thus keeping this great question open, to distract
and irritate the country. Clearly this is not what is required. The
country desires peace at once, and is determined to have it. But this
objection is slight by the side of the glaring tyranny, that, in
recognizing the Legislature, and conferring upon it these new powers,
the bill recognizes the existing Usurpation, not only as the authentic
government of the Territory for the time being, but also as possessing
a creative power to reproduce itself in the new State. Pass this bill,
and you enlist Congress in the conspiracy, not only to keep the people
of Kansas in their present subjugation throughout their Territorial
existence, but also to protract this subjugation into their existence
as a State, while you legalize and perpetuate the very _force_ by which
Slavery is already planted there.

I know that there is another deceptive clause which seems to throw
certain safeguards around the election of delegates to the Convention,
_when that Convention shall be ordered by the Legislature_; but out
of this very clause do I draw judgment against the Usurpation which
the bill recognizes. It provides that the tests, coupled with the
electoral franchise, shall not prevail in the election of delegates,
and thus impliedly condemns them. But if they are not to prevail
on this occasion, why are they permitted at the election of the
Legislature? If they are unjust in the one case, they are unjust in
the other. If annulled at the election of delegates, they should be
annulled at the election of the Legislature; _whereas the bill of
the Senator leaves all these offensive tests in full activity at the
election of the very Legislature out of which this whole proceeding
is to come_, and it leaves the polls at both elections in the control
of the officers appointed by the Usurpation. Consider well the
facts. By existing statute establishing the Fugitive Slave Bill as
a shibboleth, a large portion of honest citizens are excluded from
voting for the Legislature, while, by another statute, all who present
themselves with a fee of one dollar, whether from Missouri or not, and
who can pronounce this shibboleth, are entitled to vote. And it is a
Legislature thus chosen, under the auspices of officers appointed by
the Usurpation, that you now propose to invest with parental powers
to rear the Territory into a State. You recognize and confirm the
Usurpation which you ought to annul without delay. You put the infant
State, now preparing to take a place in our sisterhood, to suckle the
wolf which you ought at once to kill. The marvellous story of Baron
Munchausen is verified. The wolf which thrust itself into the harness
of the horse it had devoured, and then whirled the sledge according to
mere brutal bent, is recognized by this bill, and kept in its usurped
place, when the safety of all requires that it should be shot.

In characterizing this bill as _the Remedy of Injustice and Civil War_,
I give it a plain, self-evident title. It is a continuation of the
Crime against Kansas, and as such deserves the same condemnation. It
can be defended only by those who defend the Crime. Sir, you cannot
expect that the people of Kansas will submit to the Usurpation which
this bill sets up and bids them bow before, as the Austrian tyrant set
up the ducal hat in the Swiss market-place. If you madly persevere,
Kansas will not be without her William Tell, who will refuse at all
hazards to recognize the tyrannical edict; and this will be the
beginning of civil war.

Next, and lastly, comes _the Remedy of Justice and Peace_, proposed by
the Senator from New York [Mr. SEWARD], and embodied in his bill for
the immediate admission of Kansas as a State of this Union, now pending
as a substitute for the bill of the Senator from Illinois. This is
sustained by the prayer of the people of the Territory, setting forth
a Constitution formed by spontaneous movement, in which all there had
opportunity to participate, without distinction of party. Rarely is any
proposition presented so simple in character, so entirely practicable,
so absolutely within your power, and promising at once such beneficent
results. In its adoption, the Crime against Kansas will be all happily
absolved, the Usurpation it established peacefully suppressed, and
order permanently secured. By a joyful metamorphosis this fair
Territory may be saved from outrage.

    “Oh, help,” she cries, “in this extremest need,
    If you who hear are Deities indeed!
    Gape, Earth, and make for this dread foe a tomb
    _Or change my form, whence all my sorrows come_![98]

In offering this proposition, the Senator from New York has entitled
himself to the gratitude of the country. Throughout a life of
unsurpassed industry and of eminent ability, he has done much for
Freedom, which the world will not let die; but than this he has done
nothing more opportune, and he has uttered no words more effective than
the speech, so masterly and ingenious, by which he vindicated it.

Kansas now presents herself for admission with a Constitution
republican in form. And, independently of the great necessity of the
case, three considerations of fact concur in commending her. First,
she thus testifies her willingness to relieve the National Government
of the considerable pecuniary responsibility to which it is now exposed
on account of the pretended Territorial Government. Secondly, by her
recent conduct, particularly in repelling the invasion on the Wakarusa,
she has evinced an ability to defend her government. And, thirdly, by
the pecuniary credit she now enjoys, she shows undoubted ability to
support it. What can stand in her way?

       *       *       *       *       *

The power of Congress to admit Kansas at once is explicit. It is found
in a single clause of the Constitution, which, taken by itself, without
any qualification applicable to the present case, and without doubtful
words, requires no commentary. Here it is.

    “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.”

New States MAY be admitted. Out of that little word _may_ comes the
power, broadly and fully, without any limitation founded on population
or preliminary forms, provided the State is not within the jurisdiction
of another State, nor formed by the junction of two or more States,
or parts of States, without the consent of the Legislatures of the
States. Kansas is not within the _legal_ jurisdiction of another
State, although the laws of Missouri are tyrannically extended over
her; nor is Kansas formed by the junction of two or more States; and
therefore Kansas _may_ be admitted by Congress into the Union, without
regard to population or preliminary forms. You cannot deny the power,
without obliterating this clause. The Senator from New York was right
in rejecting all appeal to precedents as entirely irrelevant; for
the power invoked is clear and express in the Constitution, which is
above all precedent. But since precedent is enlisted, let us look at

It is objected that the _population_ of Kansas is not sufficient
for a State; and this objection is sustained by under-reckoning the
numbers there, and exaggerating the numbers required by precedent. In
the absence of any recent census, it is impossible to do more than
approximate to the actual population; but, from careful inquiry of the
best sources, I am led to place it now at 50,000, though I observe that
a prudent authority, the “Boston Daily Advertiser,” puts it as high as
60,000; and while I speak, this remarkable population, fed by fresh
emigration, is outstripping even these calculations. Nor can there be
doubt, that, before the assent of Congress can be perfected in the
ordinary course of legislation, this population will swell to the large
number of 93,420, required in the bill of the Senator from Illinois.
_But, in making this number the condition of the admission of Kansas,
you set up an extraordinary standard._ There is nothing out of which
it can be derived, from the beginning to the end of the precedents.
Going back to the days of the Continental Congress, you find that in
1784 it was declared that 20,000 free inhabitants in a Territory might
“establish a permanent Constitution and Government for themselves”;[99]
and though this number was afterwards, in the Ordinance of 1787 for
the Northwestern Territory, raised to 60,000, yet the power was left
in Congress, and subsequently exercised in more than one instance, to
constitute a State with a smaller number. Out of all the new States,
only Maine, Wisconsin, and Texas contained, at the time of admission
into the Union, so large a population as is required in Kansas,--while
no less than _fifteen_ new States have been admitted with a smaller
population, as will appear by the following list, which is the result
of research, showing the number of “free inhabitants” in these States
at the date of the proceedings which ended in their admission.

    Vermont        85,399
    Kentucky       61,247
    Tennessee      66,650
    Ohio           45,028
    Louisiana      41,896
    Indiana        63,897
    Mississippi    25,938
    Illinois       40,156
    Alabama        48,871
    Missouri       56,364
    Arkansas       42,635
    Michigan       87,273
    Florida        32,500
    Iowa           78,819
    California     92,597

But this is not all. At the adoption of the National Constitution
there were three of the old Thirteen whose respective populations did
not reach the amount now required of Kansas: these were Delaware,
with only 50,209 free inhabitants; Rhode Island, with only 68,158
free inhabitants; and Georgia, with only 53,284 free inhabitants. And
even while I speak, there are at least three States, with Senators on
this floor, which, according to the last census, do not contain the
population now required of Kansas: I refer to California, with only
92,597 free inhabitants; Delaware, with only 89,242 free inhabitants;
and Florida, with only 48,135 free inhabitants. So much for precedents
of population.

In sustaining this objection, it is not uncommon to abandon the strict
rule of numerical precedent, and to allege that the population required
in a new State has always been, in point of fact, above the existing
ratio of representation for a member of the House of Representatives.
But this is not true; for no less than three States, Mississippi,
Arkansas, and Florida, being all Slave States, were admitted with a
free population below this ratio. So much, again, for precedents. But
even if this coincidence were complete, it would be impossible to press
it into binding precedent. The rule seems reasonable, and in ordinary
cases would not be questioned; but it cannot be drawn or implied from
the Constitution. Besides, this ratio is in itself a sliding scale. At
first it was 30,000, increased in 1793 to 33,000, and thus continued
till 1813, when it was put at 35,000. In 1823 it was 40,000; in 1833 it
was 47,700; in 1843 it was 70,680; and now it is 93,420. If any ratio
is to be made the foundation of binding rule, it should be that which
prevailed at the adoption of the Constitution,--or at least that which
prevailed when Kansas, as part of Louisiana, was acquired from France,
under solemn stipulation that it should “be incorporated in the Union
of the United States, and admitted _as soon as possible_, according to
the principles of the Federal Constitution.” But this whole objection
is met by the memorial of the people of Florida, which, if good for
that State, is also good for Kansas. Here is a passage.

    “But the people of Florida respectfully insist that their
    right to be admitted into the Federal Union as a State is not
    dependent upon the fact of their having a population equal
    to such ratio. Their right to admission, it is conceived,
    is guarantied by the express pledge in the sixth article of
    the treaty [with Spain] before quoted; and if any rule as to
    the number of population is to govern, it should be that in
    existence at the time of the cession, which was thirty-five
    thousand.[100] They submit, however, that any ratio of
    representation, dependent on legislative action, based solely
    on convenience and expediency, shifting and vacillating as the
    opinion of a majority of Congress may make it, now greater than
    at a previous apportionment, but which a future Congress may
    prescribe to be less, cannot be one of the _constitutional_
    ‘PRINCIPLES’ referred to in the treaty, consistency with
    which, by its terms, is required. It is, in truth, but a mere
    regulation, not founded on principle. No specific number
    of population is required by any recognized principle as
    necessary in the establishment of a free Government.… It is
    in no wise ‘_inconsistent with the principles of the Federal
    Constitution_’ that the population of a State should be less
    than the ratio of Congressional representation. The very case
    is provided for in the Constitution. With such deficient
    population, she would be entitled to one Representative. If
    any event should cause a decrease of the population of one
    of the States even to a number below the _minimum_ ratio of
    representation prescribed by the Constitution, she would
    still remain a member of the Confederacy, and be entitled to
    such Representative. It is respectfully urged, that a rule or
    principle which would not justify the _expulsion_ of a State
    with a deficient population, on the ground of inconsistency
    with the Constitution, should not exclude or prohibit

Thus, Sir, do the people of Florida plead for the people of Kansas.

Distrusting the objection from inadequacy of population, it is said
that _the proceedings for the formation of a new State are fatally
defective in form_. It is not asserted that a previous enabling Act of
Congress is indispensable; for there are notorious precedents the other
way: among which are Kentucky, in 1791; Tennessee, in 1796; Maine,
in 1820; and Arkansas and Michigan, in 1836. But it is urged that in
no instance has a State been admitted whose Constitution was formed
without such enabling Act, or without authority of the Territorial
Legislature. This is not true; for California came into the Union with
a Constitution formed not only without any previous enabling Act,
but also without any sanction from a Territorial Legislature. The
proceedings which ended in this Constitution were initiated by the
military Governor there, acting under the exigency of the hour. This
instance may not be identical in all respects with that of Kansas;
but it displaces completely one of the assumptions which Kansas now
encounters, and it completely shows the disposition to relax all rule,
under the exigency of the occasion, in order to do substantial justice.

There is a memorable instance, which contains in itself every element
of irregularity which you denounce in the proceedings of Kansas.
Michigan, now cherished with such pride as a sister State, achieved
admission into the Union in persistent defiance of all rule. Do you ask
for precedents? Here is a precedent for the largest latitude, which
you who profess deference to precedent cannot disown. Mark now the
stages of this case. The first proceedings of Michigan were without any
previous enabling Act of Congress; and she presented herself at your
door with a Constitution thus formed, and with Senators chosen under
that Constitution, precisely as Kansas does. This was in December,
1835, while Andrew Jackson was President. The leaders of the Democracy
at that time scouted all objection for alleged defects of form,
employing language strictly applicable to Kansas. There is nothing
new under the sun; and the very objection of the President, that the
application of Kansas proceeds from “persons acting against authorities
duly constituted by Act of Congress,”[102] was hurled against the
application of Michigan, in debate on this floor. This was the language
of Mr. Hendricks, of Indiana:--

    “But the people of Michigan, in presenting their Senate and
    House of Representatives as the legislative power existing
    there, _showed that they had trampled upon and violated the
    laws of the United States establishing a Territorial Government
    in Michigan_. These laws were, or ought to be, in full force
    there; but, by the character and position assumed, they had set
    up a Government antagonist to that of the United States.”[103]

To this impeachment Mr. Benton replied in these effective words:--

    “Conventions were original acts of the people. They depended
    upon inherent and inalienable rights. The people of any
    State may at any time meet in Convention, without a law of
    their Legislature, and without any provision, or against any
    provision, in their Constitution, and may alter or abolish the
    whole frame of Government as they please. The sovereign power
    to govern themselves was in the majority, and they could not be
    divested of it.”[104]

Mr. Buchanan vied with Mr. Benton in vindicating the new State.

    “The precedent in the case of Tennessee … has completely
    silenced all opposition in regard to the necessity of a
    previous Act of Congress to enable the people of Michigan to
    form a State Constitution. It now seems to be conceded that our
    subsequent approbation is equivalent to our previous action.
    This can no longer be doubted. _We have the unquestionable
    power of waiving any irregularities in the mode of framing the
    Constitution, had any such existed._”[105]

    “He did hope that by this bill all objections would be
    removed,--and that this State, so ready to rush into our
    arms, would not be repulsed, _because of the absence of some
    formalities which perhaps were very proper, but certainly not

After an animated contest in the Senate, the bill for the admission
of Michigan, _on her assent to certain conditions_, was passed, by 23
yeas to 8 nays. You find weight, as well as numbers, on the side of the
new State. Among the yeas were Thomas H. Benton, of Missouri, James
Buchanan, of Pennsylvania, Silas Wright, of New York, and William R.
King, of Alabama.[107] Subsequently, on motion of Mr. Buchanan, the
gentlemen sent as Senators and Representative by the new State received
the regular compensation for attendance throughout the very session in
which their seats had been so acrimoniously contested.[108]

In the House of Representatives the application was equally successful.
The Committee on the Judiciary, in an elaborate report, reviewed the
objections, and, among other things, said:--

    “That the people of Michigan have without due authority formed
    a State Government; but, nevertheless, _that Congress has
    power to waive any objection which might on that account be
    entertained_ to the ratification of the Constitution which they
    have adopted, and to admit their Senators and Representatives
    to take their seats in the Congress of the United States.”[109]

The House sustained this view by a vote of 153 yeas to 45 nays.
In this large majority, by which the title of Michigan was then
recognized, will be found the name of Franklin Pierce, at that time a
Representative from New Hampshire.

But the case was not ended. The fiercest trial and the greatest
irregularity remained. The Act providing for the admission of the new
State contained a modification of its boundaries, and proceeded to
require, as _a fundamental condition_, that these should “receive the
assent of a Convention of delegates elected by the people of the said
State, for the sole purpose of giving the assent herein required.”[110]
Such a Convention, duly elected under call from the Legislature, met
in pursuance of law, and, after consideration, declined to come into
the Union on the condition proposed. The action of this Convention was
not universally satisfactory; and in order to effect admission into the
Union, another Convention was called, _professedly_ by the people in
their sovereign capacity, without authority from State or Territorial
Legislature,--nay, Sir, borrowing the language of the present
President, “against authorities duly constituted by Act of Congress,”
at least as much as the recent Convention in Kansas. The irregularity
of this Convention was increased by the circumstance that two of the
oldest counties of the State, comprising a population of some 25,000
souls, refused to take part in it, even to the extent of not opening
the polls for the election of delegates, claiming that it was held
without warrant of law, and in defiance of the legal Convention. This
popular Convention, though wanting popular support coextensive with the
State, yet proceeded, by formal act, to give the assent of the people
of Michigan to the fundamental condition proposed by Congress.

The proceedings of the two Conventions were transmitted to President
Jackson, who, by message, 27th December, 1836, laid them both before
Congress, indicating very clearly his desire to ascertain the will
of the people, without regard to form. The origin of the popular
Convention he thus describes:--

    “This latter Convention was not held or elected by virtue of
    any Act of the Territorial or State Legislature. It originated
    from the People themselves, and was chosen by them in pursuance
    of resolutions adopted in primary assemblies held in the
    respective counties.”[111]

And the President then declares, that, had these proceedings come to
him during the recess of Congress, he should have felt it his duty,
on being satisfied that they emanated from a Convention of delegates
elected _in point of fact by the People of the State_, to issue his
proclamation for the admission of the State.

The Committee on the Judiciary in the Senate, of which Felix Grundy
was Chairman, after inquiry, recognized the competency of the popular
Convention, as “elected by the People of the State of Michigan,”
and reported a bill, responsive to their acceptance of the proposed
condition, for the admission of the State without further terms.[112]
Then, Sir, appeared the very objections now directed against Kansas.
It was complained, that the movement for immediate admission was the
work of “a minority,” and that “a great majority of the State feel
otherwise.”[113] And a leading Senator, of great ability and integrity,
Mr. Ewing, of Ohio, broke forth in catechism which would do for the
present hour. He exclaimed:--

    “What evidence had the Senate of the organization of the
    Convention? of the organization of the popular assemblies who
    appointed their delegates to that Convention? None on earth.
    Who they were that met and voted we had no information. Who
    gave the notice? And for what did the People receive that
    notice? To meet and elect? What evidence was there that the
    Convention acted according to law? Were the delegates sworn?
    And if so, they were extrajudicial oaths, and not binding
    upon them.… Were the votes counted? In fact, it was not
    a proceeding under the forms of law, for they were totally

And the same able Senator, on another occasion, after exposing the
imperfect evidence with regard to the action of the Convention,
existing only in letters and in an article from a Detroit newspaper,
again exclaimed:--

    “This, Sir, is the evidence to support an organic law of a
    new State about to enter the Union,--yes, of an organic law,
    the very highest act a community of men can perform: letters
    referring to other letters, and a scrap of a newspaper!”[115]

It was Mr. Calhoun, however, who pressed the opposition with the most
persevering intensity. In his sight, the admission of Michigan, under
the circumstances, “would be the most monstrous proceeding under
our Constitution, that can be conceived, the most repugnant to its
principles and dangerous in its consequences.”[116] “There is not,”
he exclaimed, “one particle of official evidence before us. We have
nothing but the private letters of individuals, who do not know even
the numbers that voted on either occasion. They know nothing of the
qualifications of voters, nor how their votes were received, nor by
whom counted.”[117] And he proceeded to characterize the popular
Convention as “not only a party caucus, for party purpose, but a
criminal meeting,--a meeting to subvert the authority of the State,
and to assume its sovereignty,”--adding, that “the actors in that
meeting might be indicted, tried, and punished.”[118] And he expressed
astonishment that “a self-created meeting, convened for a criminal
object, had dared to present to this Government an act of theirs, and
to expect that we are to receive this irregular and criminal act, as a
fulfilment of the condition which we had prescribed for the admission
of the State.”[119] No stronger words are employed against Kansas.

The single question on which all the proceedings then hinged, and
which is as pertinent in the case of Kansas as in the case of Michigan,
was thus put by Mr. Morris, of Ohio: “_Will Congress recognize as
valid, constitutional, and obligatory, without the color of a law
of Michigan to sustain it, an act done by the People of that State
in their primary assemblies, and acknowledge that act as obligatory
on the constituted authorities and Legislature of the State?_”[120]
This question, thus distinctly presented, was answered in debate by
able Senators, among whom were Mr. Benton and Mr. King. There was one
person, who has since enjoyed much public confidence, and left many
memorials of an industrious career in the Senate and in diplomatic
life, James Buchanan, who rendered himself conspicuous by the ability
and ardor with which, against all assault, he upheld the cause of the
popular Convention, which was so strongly denounced, and the entire
conformity of its proceedings with the genius of American Institutions.
His speeches on that occasion contain an unanswerable argument at
all points, _mutato nomine_, for the immediate admission of Kansas
under her present Constitution; nor is there anything by which he is
now distinguished that will redound so truly to his fame, if he only
continues true to them. The question was emphatically answered in the
Senate by the final vote on the passage of the bill, where we find 25
yeas to only 10 nays. In the House of Representatives, after debate,
the question was answered in the same way, by a vote, on ordering the
bill to a third reading, of 140 yeas to 57 nays; and among the yeas is
again the name of FRANKLIN PIERCE, a Representative from New Hampshire.

Thus, in that day, by triumphant votes, did the cause of Kansas
prevail in the name of Michigan. A popular Convention, called
absolutely without authority, and containing delegates from a portion
only of the population,--called, too, in opposition to constituted
authorities, and in derogation of another Convention assembled under
forms of law,--stigmatized as a caucus and a criminal meeting, whose
authors were liable to indictment, trial, and punishment,--was, after
ample debate, recognized by Congress as valid; and Michigan now
holds her place in the Union, and her Senators sit on this floor, by
virtue of that act. Sir, if Michigan is legitimate, Kansas cannot be
illegitimate. You bastardize Michigan, when you refuse to recognize

But this is not all. The precedent is still more clinching. Thus far I
have followed exclusively the public documents laid before Congress,
and illustrated by the debates of that body; but well-authenticated
facts, not of record here, make the case stronger still. It is
sometimes said that the proceedings in Kansas are defective because
they originated in a party. This is not true; but even if it were true,
yet would they find support in the example of Michigan, where all the
proceedings, stretching through successive years, began and ended in
party. The proposed State Government was pressed by the Democrats as a
_party test_; and all who did not embark in it were denounced. Of the
Legislative Council which called the first Constitutional Convention
in 1835, all were Democrats; and in the Convention itself, composed of
eighty-seven members, only seven were Whigs. The Convention of 1836
which gave the final assent originated in a Democratic Convention, on
the 29th of October, in the County of Wayne, composed of one hundred
and twenty-four delegates, all Democrats, who proceeded to resolve:--

    “That the delegates of the _Democratic party_ of Wayne,
    solemnly impressed with the spreading evils and dangers which
    a refusal to go into the Union has brought upon the people
    of Michigan, earnestly recommend meetings to be immediately
    convened by their fellow-citizens in every county of the State,
    with a view to the expression of their sentiments in favor of
    the election and call of another Convention, in time to secure
    our admission into the Union before the first of January next.”

Shortly afterwards, a committee of five, appointed by this Convention,
all leading Democrats, issued a circular, “under the authority of
the delegates of the County of Wayne,” recommending that the voters
throughout Michigan should meet and elect delegates to a Convention to
give the necessary assent to the Act of Congress. In pursuance of this
call, the Convention met; and as it originated in an exclusively party
recommendation, so it was of an exclusively party character. And it
was the action of this Convention that was submitted to Congress, and,
after discussion in both bodies, on solemn votes, approved.

The precedent of Michigan has another feature, which is entitled to
gravest attention, especially at this moment, when citizens exerting
themselves to establish a State Government in Kansas are openly
arrested on the charge of treason, and we are startled by tidings of
maddest efforts to press this procedure of preposterous Tyranny. No
such madness prevailed under Andrew Jackson,--although, during the
long pendency of the Michigan proceedings, for more than fourteen
months, the Territorial Government was entirely ousted, and the
State Government organized in all its departments. One hundred and
thirty-seven different legislative acts and resolutions were passed,
providing for elections, imposing taxes, erecting corporations, and
organizing courts of justice, including a Supreme Court and a Court of
Chancery. All process was issued in the name of the People of the State
of Michigan. And yet no attempt was made to question the legal validity
of these proceedings, whether legislative or judicial. Least of all did
any menial Governor, “dressed in a little brief authority,” play the
fantastic tricks now witnessed in Kansas; nor did any person wearing
the robes of justice shock high Heaven with the mockery of injustice
now enacted by emissaries of the President in that Territory. No, Sir:
nothing of this kind then occurred. Andrew Jackson was President.

Again I say, do you require a precedent? I give it. But I will not
stake this cause on any precedent. I plant it firmly on the fundamental
principle of American Institutions, as embodied in the Declaration
of Independence, by which government is recognized as deriving its
just powers only _from the consent of the governed_, who may alter or
abolish it, when it becomes destructive of their rights. In the debate
on the Nebraska Bill, at the overthrow of the Prohibition of Slavery,
the Declaration of Independence was denounced as “a self-evident lie.”
It is only by similar effrontery that the fundamental principle which
sustains the proceedings in Kansas can be assailed. Nay, more: you
must disown the Declaration of Independence, and adopt the Circular
of the Holy Alliance, which declares that “useful or necessary changes
in legislation and in the administration of states _ought to emanate
only from the free will and the deliberate and enlightened impulse of
those whom God, has rendered responsible for power_.”[121] Face to
face I put the principle of the Declaration of Independence and the
principle of the Holy Alliance, and bid them grapple. “The one places
the remedy in the hands which _feel_ the disorder; the other places
the remedy in those hands which _cause_ the disorder”; and when I thus
truthfully characterize them, I but adopt a sententious phrase from
the Debates in the Virginia Convention on the adoption of the National
Constitution.[122] And now these two principles, embodied in the
rival propositions of the Senator from New York and the Senator from
Illinois, must grapple on this floor.

Statesmen and judges, publicists and authors, with names of authority
in American history, espouse and vindicate the American principle. Hand
in hand they now stand around Kansas, and feel this new State lean on
them for support. I content myself with adducing two only, both from
slaveholding Virginia, in days when Human Rights were not without
support in that State. Listen to the language of St. George Tucker, the
distinguished commentator upon Blackstone, uttered from the bench in a
judicial opinion.

    “The power of convening the legal Assemblies, or the ordinary
    constitutional Legislature, _resided solely in the Executive_.
    They could neither be chosen without writs issued by its
    authority, nor assemble, when chosen, but under the same
    authority. The Conventions, on the contrary, were chosen and
    assembled either in pursuance of recommendations from Congress
    or from their own bodies, _or by the discretion and common
    consent of the people_. They were held even whilst a legal
    Assembly existed.… The Convention, then, was not the ordinary
    Legislature of Virginia. It was the body of the people,
    impelled to assemble from a sense of common danger, consulting
    for the common good, and acting in all things for the common

Listen also to the language of James Madison:--

    “That, in all great changes of established governments, forms
    ought to give way to substance; that a rigid adherence in
    such cases to the former would render nominal and nugatory
    the transcendent and precious right of the people to ‘abolish
    or alter their governments as to them shall seem most likely
    to effect their safety and happiness.’ … Nor could it have
    been forgotten _that no little ill-timed scruples, no zeal for
    adhering to ordinary forms, were anywhere seen, except in those
    who wished to indulge, under these masks, their secret enmity
    to the substance contended for_.”[124]

Proceedings thus sustained I am unwilling to call _revolutionary_,
although this term has the sanction of the Senator from New York.
They are founded on unquestionable American right, declared with
Independence, confirmed by the blood of the Fathers, and expounded by
patriots, which cannot be impeached without impairing the liberties
of all. On this head the language of Mr. Buchanan, in reply to Mr.
Calhoun, is explicit.

    “Does the gentleman [Mr. CALHOUN] contend, then, that,
    if, in one of the States of this Union, the Government be
    so organized as utterly to destroy the right of equal
    representation, there is no mode of obtaining redress, but
    by an Act of the Legislature authorizing a Convention, or by
    open rebellion? Must the people step at once from oppression
    to open war? Must it be either absolute submission or absolute
    revolution? _Is there no middle course?_ I cannot agree with
    the Senator. I say that the whole history of our Government
    establishes the principle that the people are sovereign, and
    that a majority of them can alter or change their fundamental
    laws at pleasure. _I deny that this is either rebellion or
    revolution. It is an essential and a recognized principle in
    all our forms of government._”[125]

Surely, Sir, if ever there was occasion for the exercise of this
right, the time had come in Kansas. The people there were subjugated
by a horde of foreign invaders, and brought under a tyrannical code of
revolting barbarity, while among them property and life were exposed
to shameless assaults which flaunted at noonday, and to reptile abuses
which crawled in the darkness of night. _Self-defence is the first law
of Nature_; and unless this law is temporarily silenced, as all other
law is silenced there, you cannot condemn the proceedings in Kansas.
Here, Sir, is unquestionable authority, _in itself an overwhelming
law_, which belongs to all countries and times,--which is the same in
Kansas as at Athens and Rome,--which is now, and will be hereafter,
as it was in other days,--in presence of which Acts of Congress and
Constitutions are powerless as the voice of man against the thunder
which rolls through the sky,--which declares itself coëval with
life,--whose very breath is life itself; and now, in the last resort,
do I place all these proceedings under this supreme safeguard, which
you will assail in vain. Any opposition must be founded on absolute
perversion of facts, or perversion of fundamental principles, which no
speeches can uphold, though surpassing in numbers the myriad piles sunk
in the mud to sustain the Dutch Stadthouse at Amsterdam.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus, on every ground of precedent, whether as regards population
or forms of proceeding,--also, on the vital principle of American
Institutions,--and, lastly, on the supreme law of self-defence, do I
now invoke the power of Congress to admit Kansas at once and without
hesitation into the Union. “New States _may_ be admitted by the
Congress into this Union”: such are the words of the Constitution.
If you hesitate for want of precedent, then do I appeal to the great
principle of American Institutions. If, forgetting the origin of the
Republic, you turn away from this principle, then, in the name of human
nature, trampled down and oppressed, but aroused to just self-defence,
do I plead for the exercise of this power. Do not hearken, I pray you,
to the propositions of Tyranny and Folly; do not be ensnared by that
other proposition of the Senator from Illinois [Mr. DOUGLAS], where is
the horrid root of Injustice and Civil War; but apply gladly, and at
once, the True Remedy, where are Justice and Peace.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. President, an immense space has been traversed, and I stand now at
the goal. The argument in its various parts is here closed. The Crime
against Kansas has been displayed in its origin and extent, beginning
with the overthrow of the Prohibition of Slavery, next cropping out in
conspiracy on the borders of Missouri, then hardening into continuity
of outrage through organized invasion and miscellaneous assaults
where all security was destroyed, and ending at last in the perfect
subjugation of a generous people to an unprecedented Usurpation.
Turning aghast from the Crime, which, like murder, confesses itself
“with most miraculous organ,” we have looked with mingled shame and
indignation upon the four Apologies, whether of Tyranny, Imbecility,
Absurdity, or Infamy, in which it is wrapped, marking especially false
testimony, congenial with the original Crime, against the Emigrant Aid
Company. Then were noted, in succession, the four Remedies, whether
of Tyranny, Folly, Injustice and Civil War, or of Justice and Peace,
which last bids Kansas, in conformity with past precedents and under
exigencies of the hour, for redemption from Usurpation, to take her
place as a State of the Union; and this is the True Remedy. If in this
argument I have not unworthily vindicated Truth, then have I spoken
according to my desires,--if imperfectly, then only according to my
powers. But there are other things, not belonging to the argument,
which still press for utterance.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sir, the people of Kansas, bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh,
with the education of freemen and the rights of American citizens,
now stand at your door. Will you send them away, or bid them enter?
Will you push them back to renew their struggle with a deadly foe, or
will you preserve them in security and peace? Will you cast them again
into the den of Tyranny, or will you help their despairing efforts to
escape? These questions I put with no common solicitude, for I feel
that on their just determination depend all the most precious interests
of the Republic; and I perceive too clearly the prejudices in the
way, and the accumulating bitterness against this distant people, now
claiming a simple birthright, while I am bowed with mortification, as
I recognize the President of the United States, who should have been
a staff to the weak and a shield to the innocent, at the head of this
strange oppression.

At every stage the similitude between the wrongs of Kansas and those
other wrongs against which our fathers rose becomes more apparent.
Read the Declaration of Independence, and there is hardly an
accusation against the British Monarch which may not now be hurled
with increased force against the American President. The parallel
has fearful particularity. Our fathers complained, that the King had
“sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out
their substance,”--that he had “combined with others to subject us
to a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, _giving his assent
to their acts of pretended legislation_,”--that he had “abdicated
government here, by declaring us out of his protection, and _waging
war against us_,”--that he had “excited domestic insurrections amongst
us, and _endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the
merciless savages_,”--that “our repeated petitions have been answered
only by repeated injury.” And this arraignment was aptly followed by
the damning words, that “a Prince whose character is thus marked by
every act which may define a tyrant is unfit to be the ruler of a free
people.” And surely the President who does all these things cannot be
less unfit than a Prince. At every stage the responsibility is brought
directly to him. His offence is of commission and omission. He has done
that which he ought not to have done, and has left undone that which
he ought to have done. By his activity the Prohibition of Slavery was
overturned. By his failure to act the honest emigrants in Kansas are
left a prey to wrong of all kinds. His activity and inactivity are
alike fatal. And now he stands forth the most conspicuous enemy of that
unhappy Territory.

As the tyranny of the British King is all renewed in the President,
so are renewed on this floor the old indignities which embittered
and fomented the troubles of our fathers. The early petition of
the American Congress to Parliament, long before any suggestion of
Independence, was opposed--like the petitions of Kansas--because that
body “was assembled without any requisition on the part of the Supreme
Power.” Another petition from New York, presented by Edmund Burke, was
flatly rejected, as claiming rights derogatory to Parliament. And still
another petition from Massachusetts Bay was dismissed as “vexatious and
scandalous,” while the patriot philosopher who bore it was exposed to
peculiar contumely. Throughout the debates our fathers were made the
butt of sorry jest and supercilious assumption. And now these scenes,
with these precise objections, are renewed in the American Senate.

With regret I come again upon the Senator from South Carolina [Mr.
BUTLER], who, omnipresent in this debate,[126] overflows with rage
at the simple suggestion that Kansas has applied for admission as a
State, and, with incoherent phrase, discharges the loose expectoration
of his speech, now upon her representative, and then upon her people.
There was no extravagance of the ancient Parliamentary debate which
he did not repeat; nor was there any possible deviation from truth
which he did not make,--with so much of passion, I gladly add, as to
save him from the suspicion of intentional aberration. But the Senator
touches nothing which he does not disfigure--with error, sometimes
of principle, sometimes of fact. He shows an incapacity of accuracy,
whether in stating the Constitution or in stating the law, whether in
details of statistics or diversions of scholarship. He cannot ope his
mouth, but out there flies a blunder. Surely he ought to be familiar
with the life of Franklin; and yet he referred to this household
character, while acting as agent of our fathers in England, as above
suspicion: and this was done that he might give point to a false
contrast with the agent of Kansas,[127]--not knowing, that, however
the two may differ in genius and fame, they are absolutely alike in
this experience: that Franklin, when intrusted with the petition of
Massachusetts Bay, was assaulted by a foul-mouthed speaker where he
could not be heard in defence, and denounced as “thief,” even as the
agent of Kansas is assaulted on this floor, and denounced as “forger.”
And let not the vanity of the Senator be inspired by parallel with the
British statesmen of that day; for it is only in hostility to Freedom
that any parallel can be found.

But it is against the people of Kansas that the sensibilities of the
Senator are particularly aroused. Coming, as he announces, “from a
State,”--ay, Sir, from South Carolina,--he turns with lordly disgust
from this newly formed community, which he will not recognize even as
“a member of the body politic.”[128] Pray, Sir, by what title does he
indulge in this egotism? Has he read the history of the “State” which
he represents? He cannot, surely, forget its shameful imbecility from
Slavery, confessed throughout the Revolution, followed by its more
shameful assumptions for Slavery since. He cannot forget its wretched
persistence in the slave-trade, as the very apple of its eye, and the
condition of its participation in the Union. He cannot forget its
Constitution, which is republican only in name, confirming power in the
hands of the few, and founding the qualifications of its legislators
on “a settled freehold estate of five hundred acres of land _and_ ten
negroes.”[129] And yet the Senator to whom this “State” has in part
committed the guardianship of its good name, instead of moving with
backward-treading steps to cover its nakedness, rushes forward, in the
very ecstasy of madness, to expose it, by provoking comparison with
Kansas. South Carolina is old; Kansas is young. South Carolina counts
by centuries, where Kansas counts by years. But a beneficent example
may be born in a day; and I venture to declare, that against the two
centuries of the older “State” may be set already the two years of
trial, evolving corresponding virtue, in the younger community. In the
one is the long wail of Slavery; in the other, the hymn of Freedom.
And if we glance at special achievement, it will be difficult to
find anything in the history of South Carolina which presents so much
of heroic spirit in an heroic cause as shines in that repulse of the
Missouri invaders by the beleaguered town of Lawrence, where even the
women gave their effective efforts to Freedom. The matrons of Rome who
poured their jewels into the treasury for the public defence, the wives
of Prussia who with delicate fingers clothed their defenders against
French invasion, the mothers of our own Revolution who sent forth
their sons covered over with prayers and blessings to combat for Human
Rights, did nothing of self-sacrifice truer than did these women on
this occasion. Were the whole history of South Carolina blotted out of
existence, from its very beginning down to the day of the last election
of the Senator to his present seat on this floor, civilization might
lose--I do not say how little, but surely less than it has already
gained by the example of Kansas, in that valiant struggle against
oppression, and in the development of a new science of emigration.
Already in Lawrence alone are newspapers and schools, including a High
School,--and throughout this infant Territory there is more of educated
talent, in proportion to its inhabitants, than in his vaunted “State.”
Ah, Sir, I tell the Senator, that Kansas, welcomed as a Free State, “a
ministering angel shall be” to the Republic, when South Carolina, in
the cloak of darkness which she hugs, “lies howling.”[130]

The Senator from Illinois [Mr. DOUGLAS] naturally joins the Senator
from South Carolina, and gives to this warfare the superior intensity
of his nature. He thinks that the National Government has not
completely proved its power, as it has never hanged a traitor,--but,
if occasion requires, he hopes there will be no hesitation; and this
threat is directed at Kansas, and even at the friends of Kansas
throughout the country. Again occurs a parallel with the struggles
of our fathers; and I borrow the language of Patrick Henry, when, to
the cry from the Senator of “Treason! treason!” I reply, “If this be
treason, make the most of it.” Sir, it is easy to call names; but I
beg to tell the Senator, that, if the word “traitor” is in any way
applicable to those who reject a tyrannical Usurpation, whether in
Kansas or elsewhere, then must some new word, of deeper color, be
invented to designate those mad spirits who would endanger and degrade
the Republic, while they betray all the cherished sentiments of the
Fathers and the spirit of the Constitution, that Slavery may have new
spread. Let the Senator proceed. Not the first time in history will a
scaffold become the pedestal of honor. Out of death comes life, and the
“traitor” whom he blindly executes will live immortal in the cause.

    “For Humanity sweeps onward: where to-day the martyr stands,
    On the morrow crouches Judas, with the silver in his hands;
    Far in front the cross stands ready and the crackling fagots burn,
    While the hooting mob of yesterday in silent awe return
    To glean up the scattered ashes into History’s golden urn.”[131]

Among these hostile Senators is yet another, with all the prejudices
of the Senator from South Carolina, but without his generous impulses,
who, from his character before the country, and the rancor of his
opposition, deserves to be named: I mean the Senator from Virginia [Mr.
MASON], who, as author of the Fugitive Slave Bill, has associated
himself with a special act of inhumanity and tyranny. Of him I shall
say little, for he has said little in this debate, though within that
little was compressed the bitterness of a life absorbed in support of
Slavery. He holds the commission of Virginia; but he does not represent
that early Virginia, so dear to our hearts, which gave to us the pen of
Jefferson, by which the equality of men was declared, and the sword of
Washington, by which Independence was secured: he represents that other
Virginia, from which Washington and Jefferson avert their faces, where
human beings are bred as cattle for the shambles, and a dungeon rewards
the pious matron who teaches little children to relieve their bondage
by reading the Book of Life.[132] It is proper that such a Senator,
representing such a State, should rail against Free Kansas.

Such as these are natural enemies of Kansas, and I introduce them with
reluctance, simply that the country may understand the character of
the hostility to be overcome. Arrayed with them are all who unite,
under any pretext or apology, in propagandism of Human Slavery. To
such, indeed, time-honored safeguards of popular rights can be a name
and nothing more. What are trial by jury, _Habeas Corpus_, ballot-box,
right of petition, liberty in Kansas, your liberty, Sir, or mine,
to one who lends himself, not merely to the support at home, but to
propagandism abroad, of that preposterous wrong which denies even the
right of a man to himself? Such a cause can be maintained only by the
practical subversion of all rights. It is, therefore, merely according
to reason that its partisans should uphold the Usurpation in Kansas.

To overthrow this Usurpation is now the special, importunate duty of
Congress, admitting of no hesitation or postponement. To this end must
it ascend from the cabals of candidates, the machinations of party, and
the low level of vulgar strife. Especially must it turn from that Slave
Oligarchy now controlling the Republic, and refuse to be its tool. Let
its power be stretched forth into this distant Territory, not to bind,
but to release,--not for oppression of the weak, but for subversion of
the tyrannical,--not for prop and maintenance of revolting Usurpation,
but for confirmation of Liberty.

    “These are imperial arts, and worthy thee!”[133]

Let it now take stand between the living and dead, and cause this
plague to be stayed. All this it can do; and if the interests of
Slavery were not hostile, all this it would do at once, in reverent
regard for justice, law, and order, driving far away all alarms of war;
nor would it dare to brave the shame and punishment of this “Great
Refusal.”[134] But the Slave Power dares anything; and it can be
conquered only by the united masses of the People. From Congress to the
People I appeal.

Already Public Opinion gathers unwonted forces to scourge the
aggressors. In the press, in daily conversation, wherever two or three
are gathered together, there the indignant utterance finds vent. And
trade, by unerring indications, attests the growing energy. Public
credit in Missouri droops. The six per cents of that State, which
at par should be 102, have sunk to 84,--thus at once completing the
evidence of Crime, and attesting its punishment. Business is now
turning from the Assassins and Thugs that infest the Missouri River,
to seek some safer avenue. And this, though not unimportant in itself,
is typical of greater change. The political credit of the men who
uphold the Usurpation droops even more than the stocks; and the People
are turning from all those through whom the Assassins and Thugs derive
their disgraceful immunity.

It was said of old, “Cursed be he that removeth his neighbor’s
Landmark. _And all the people shall say, Amen._”[135] “Cursed,” it
is said, “in the city and in the field; cursed in basket and store;
cursed when thou comest in, and cursed when thou goest out.”[136] These
are terrible imprecations; but if ever any Landmark were sacred, it
was that by which an immense territory was guarded _forever_ against
Slavery; and if ever such imprecations could justly descend upon any
one, they must descend now upon all who, not content with the removal
of this sacred Landmark, have since, with criminal complicity, fostered
the incursions of the great Wrong against which it was intended to
guard. But I utter no imprecations. These are not my words; nor is it
my part to add to or subtract from them. But, thanks be to God! they
find response in the hearts of an aroused People, making them turn from
every man, whether President or Senator or Representative, engaged in
this Crime,--especially from those who, cradled in free institutions,
are without the apology of education or social prejudice,--until upon
all such those other words of the Prophet shall be fulfilled: “I will
set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb,
and I will cut him off from the midst of my people.”[137] Turning thus
from the authors of this Crime, the People will unite once more with
the Fathers of the Republic in just condemnation of Slavery, determined
especially that it shall find no home in the National territories,
while the Slave Power, in which the Crime had its beginning, and by
which it is now sustained, will be swept into the charnel-house of
defunct Tyrannies.

In this contest Kansas bravely stands forth, the stripling leader, clad
in the panoply of American Institutions. Calmly meeting and adopting a
frame of government, her people with intuitive promptitude perform the
duties of freemen; and when I consider the difficulties by which she is
beset, I find dignity in her attitude. _Offering herself for admission
into the Union as a_ FREE STATE, _she presents a single issue for the
people to decide_. And since the Slave Power now stakes on this issue
all its ill-gotten supremacy, the People, while vindicating Kansas,
will at the same time overthrow this Tyranny. Thus the contest which
she begins involves Liberty not only for herself, but for the whole
country. God be praised that Kansas does not bend ignobly beneath the
yoke! Far away on the prairies, she is now battling for the Liberty of
all, against the President, who misrepresents all. Everywhere among
those not insensible to Right, the generous struggle meets a generous
response. From innumerable throbbing hearts go forth the very words of
encouragement which in the sorrowful days of our fathers were sent by
Virginia, speaking by the pen of Richard Henry Lee, to Massachusetts,
in the person of her popular tribune, Samuel Adams:--

                                    “CHANTILLY, VA., June 23, 1774.

    “I hope the good people of Boston will not lose their spirits,
    under their present heavy oppression, for they will certainly
    be supported by the other Colonies; and the cause for which
    they suffer is so glorious, and so deeply interesting to the
    present and future generations, that all America will owe, in a
    great measure, their political salvation to the present virtue
    of Massachusetts Bay.”[138]

In all this sympathy there is strength. But in the cause itself there
is angelic power. Unseen of men, the great spirits of History combat
by the side of the people of Kansas, breathing divine courage. Above
all towers the majestic form of Washington, once more, as on the bloody
field, bidding them remember those rights of Human Nature for which
the War of Independence was waged. Such a cause, thus sustained, is

       *       *       *       *       *

The contest, which, beginning in Kansas, reaches us will be transferred
soon from Congress to that broader stage, where every citizen is
not only spectator, but actor; and to their judgment I confidently
turn. To the People, about to exercise the electoral franchise, in
choosing a Chief Magistrate of the Republic, I appeal, to vindicate
the electoral franchise in Kansas. Let the ballot-box of the Union,
with multitudinous might, protect the ballot-box in that Territory.
Let the voters everywhere, while rejoicing in their own rights, help
guard the equal rights of distant fellow-citizens, that the shrines of
popular institutions, now desecrated, may be sanctified anew,--that
the ballot-box, now plundered, may be restored,--and that the cry, “I
am an American citizen,” shall no longer be impotent against outrage.
In just regard for free labor, which you would blast by deadly contact
with slave labor,--in Christian sympathy with the slave, whom you would
task and sell,--in stern condemnation of the Crime consummated on
that beautiful soil,--in rescue of fellow-citizens, now subjugated to
Tyrannical Usurpation,--in dutiful respect for the early Fathers, whose
aspirations are ignobly thwarted,--in the name of the Constitution
outraged, of the Laws trampled down, of Justice banished, of Humanity
degraded, of Peace destroyed, of Freedom crushed to earth,--and in the
name of the Heavenly Father, whose service is perfect Freedom, I make
this last appeal.

    Mr. Sumner spoke for two days. As soon as he took his seat, the
    storm which had been preparing broke forth. Mr. Cass was the
    first to speak. He began by saying that he had “listened with
    equal regret and surprise” to the speech of Mr. Sumner, which
    he characterized as “the most un-American and unpatriotic that
    ever grated on the ears of the members of this high body.”
    Mr. Douglas followed in a tirade of personality, in which he
    renewed the old assault of two years before, charging Mr.
    Sumner with defying the Constitution, when he exclaimed with
    regard to the rendition of a fugitive slave, “Is thy servant
    a dog, that he should do this thing?”[139] The speech of Mr.
    Sumner was characterized in the most offensive terms. “He seems
    to get up a speech as in Yankee-land they get up a bed-quilt.”
    Then again: “Is it his object to provoke some of us to kick
    him as we would a dog in the street, that he may get sympathy
    upon the just chastisement?” Then again: “We have had another
    dish of the classics served up,--classic allusions, each one
    only distinguished for its lasciviousness and obscenity,--each
    one drawn from those portions of the classics which all decent
    professors in respectable colleges cause to be suppressed, as
    unfit for decent young men to read. Sir, I cannot repeat the
    words. I should be condemned as unworthy of entering decent
    society, if I repeated those obscene, vulgar terms which have
    been used at least a hundred times in that speech.” Then,
    further, he said that “the Senator from Massachusetts had his
    speech written, printed, committed to memory, practised every
    night before the glass, with a negro boy to hold the candle and
    watch the gestures, and annoying the boarders in the adjoining
    rooms until they were forced to quit the house.” All this was
    uttered with the sympathy of the slave-masters about him.

    Mr. Mason followed with a bitterness which seemed a
    prolongation of the debate two years before. The tone of his
    speech appears in these words:--

    “The necessities of our political position bring us into
    relations and associations upon this floor, which, in obedience
    to a common government, we are forced to admit. They bring
    us into relations and associations which beyond the walls of
    this Chamber we are enabled to avoid,--associations here whose
    presence elsewhere is dishonor, and the touch of whose hand
    would be a disgrace.…

    “I have said that the necessity of political position alone
    brings me into relations with men upon this floor who elsewhere
    I cannot acknowledge as possessing manhood in any form. I am
    constrained to hear here depravity, vice in its most odious
    form uncoiled in this presence, exhibiting its loathsome
    deformities in accusation and vilification against the quarter
    of the country from which I come; and I must listen to it
    because it is a necessity of my position, under a common
    government, to recognize as an equal politically one whom to
    see elsewhere is to shun and despise.”

This debate, which was much in harmony with that of June, 1854, showed
a state of feeling bordering on violence. The language of Mr. Douglas
seemed to invite it, especially when he asked, “Is it his object to
provoke some of us to kick him as we would a dog in the street, that he
may get sympathy upon the just chastisement?” It came soon.

Mr. Sumner followed in unpremeditated remarks, replying to the only
point of argument, and giving expression to the indignant sentiments
inspired by the attack. These are preserved here as belonging to the
history of this occasion.

MR. PRESIDENT,--Three Senators have spoken: one venerable in years,
with whom I have had associations of personal regard longer than with
anybody now within the sound of my voice,--the Senator from Michigan
[Mr. CASS]; another, the Senator from Illinois [Mr. DOUGLAS]; and a
third, the Senator from Virginia [Mr. MASON].

The Senator from Michigan knows well that nothing I say can have
anything but kindness for him. He has declared on this floor to-day
that he listened with regret to my speech. I have never avowed on
this floor how often, with heart brimming full of friendship for him,
I have listened with regret to what has fallen from his lips. I have
never said that he stood here to utter sentiments which seemed beyond
all question disloyal to the character of the Fathers and to the true
spirit of the Constitution; but this, with his permission, and in all
kindness, I do now say to him.

The Senator proceeded very briefly and in a cursory manner to criticise
my statement of the Michigan case. Sir, my statement was founded on
the actual documents. No word was mine: it was all from Jackson, from
Grundy, from Buchanan, from Benton, from the Democratic leaders of that
day. When the Senator criticised me, his shaft did not touch me, but
fell upon them. And here I leave the Senator from Michigan.

To the Senator from Illinois I should willingly yield the privilege of
the common scold,--the last word; but I will not yield to him, in any
discussion with me, the last argument, or the last semblance of it. He
has crowned the outrage of this debate by venturing to rise here and
calumniate me. He has said that I came here, took an oath to support
the Constitution, and yet determined not to support a particular
clause in that Constitution. To that statement I give, to his face,
the flattest denial. When it was made previously on this floor by the
absent Senator from South Carolina [Mr. BUTLER], I then repelled it:
you shall see how explicitly and completely. I read from the debate of
the 28th of June, 1854, as published in the “Globe.” Here is what I
answered to the Senator from South Carolina:--

    “This Senator was disturbed, when, to his inquiry, personally,
    pointedly, and vehemently addressed to me, whether I would join
    in returning a fellow-man to Slavery, I exclaimed: ‘Is thy
    servant a dog, that he should do this thing?’”

You will observe that the inquiry of the Senator was, whether I would
join in returning my fellow-man to slavery? It was not, whether I would
support any clause of the Constitution of the United States?--far from
that. I then proceeded:--

    “In fitful phrase, which seemed to come from unconscious
    excitement, so common with the Senator, he shot forth various
    cries about ‘dogs,’ and, among other things, asked if there was
    any ‘dog’ in the Constitution? The Senator did not seem to bear
    in mind, through the heady currents of that moment, that, by
    the false interpretation he fastens upon the Constitution,”--

and in which the Senator from Illinois now joins,--

    “he has helped to nurture there a whole kennel of Carolina
    bloodhounds, trained, with savage jaw and insatiable scent,
    for the hunt of flying bondmen. No, Sir, I do not believe that
    there is any ‘kennel of bloodhounds,’ or even any ‘dog,’ in the

I said further:--

    “Since I have been charged with openly declaring a purpose to
    violate the Constitution, and to break the oath which I have
    taken at that desk, I shall be pardoned for showing simply how
    a few plain words will put all this down.”

I next proceeded to cite the memorable veto by President Jackson, in
1832, of the Bank of the United States. It will be remembered that
to his course at that critical time were opposed the authority of the
Supreme Court and his oath to support the Constitution,--precisely as
the Senator from Illinois now, with ignorance, or with want of logic
greater than his ignorance, undertakes to revile me. Here is the
triumphant reply of President Jackson:--

    “If the opinion of the Supreme Court covered 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

After this passage from General Jackson I proceeded as follows:--

     “In swearing to support the Constitution at your desk, Mr.
    President, I did not swear to support it as _you_ understand
    it,--oh, no, Sir!--or as the Senator from Virginia understands
    it,--by no means!--or as the Senator from South Carolina
    understands it, with a kennel of bloodhounds, or at least
    a ‘dog’ in it, ‘pawing to get free his hinder parts,’ in
    pursuit of a slave. No such thing. Sir, I swore to support the
    Constitution _as I understand it_,--nor more, nor less.”

Then explaining at some length my understanding of the clause, I
concluded on this point in these words:--

    “I desire to say, that, as I understand the Constitution,
    this clause does not impose upon me, as Senator or citizen,
    any obligation to take part, directly or indirectly, in the
    surrender of a fugitive slave.”

Yet, in the face of all this, which occurred in open debate on the
floor of the Senate, which is here in the records of the country, and
has been extensively circulated, quoted, discussed, criticised, the
Senator from Illinois, in the swiftness of his audacity, presumes to
assail me. Perhaps I had better leave that Senator without a word more;
but this is not the first, or the second, or the third, or the fourth
time that he has launched against me his personalities. Sir, if this be
agreeable to him, I make no complaint,--though, for the sake of truth
and the amenities of debate, I could wish that he had directed his
assaults upon my arguments; but since he has presumed to touch me, he
will not complain, if I administer to him a word of advice.

Sir, this is the Senate of the United States, an important body under
the Constitution, with great powers. Its members are justly supposed,
from years, to be above the intemperance of youth, and from character
to be above the gusts of vulgarity. They are supposed to have something
of wisdom and something of that candor which is the handmaid of wisdom.
Let the Senator bear these things in mind, and remember hereafter that
the bowie-knife and bludgeon are not proper emblems of senatorial
debate. Let him remember that the swagger of Bob Acres and the ferocity
of the Malay cannot add dignity to this body. The Senator infused into
his speech the venom sweltering for months,--ay, for years; and he has
alleged matters entirely without foundation, in order to heap upon me
some personal obloquy. I will not descend to things which dropped so
naturally from his tongue. I only brand them to his face as false. I
say also to that Senator, and I wish him to bear it in mind, that no
person with the upright form of man can be allowed---- [_Hesitation._]

    MR. DOUGLAS. Say it.

MR. SUMNER. I will say it,--no person with the upright form of man can
be allowed, without violation of all decency, to switch out from his
tongue the perpetual stench of offensive personality. Sir, that is not
a proper weapon of debate, at least on this floor. The noisome, squat,
and nameless animal to which I now refer is not the proper model for an
American Senator. Will the Senator from Illinois take notice?

    MR. DOUGLAS. I will,--and therefore will not imitate you, Sir.

MR. SUMNER. I did not hear the Senator.

    MR. DOUGLAS. I said, if that be the case, I would certainly
    never imitate you in that capacity,--recognizing the force of
    the illustration.

MR. SUMNER. Mr. President, again the Senator switches his tongue, and
again he fills the Senate with its offensive odor. But I drop the

There was still another, the Senator from Virginia, who is now also in
my eye. That Senator said nothing of argument, and therefore there is
nothing of that to be answered. I simply say to him that hard words
are not argument, frowns are not reasons, nor do scowls belong to the
proper arsenal of parliamentary debate. The Senator has not forgotten
that on a former occasion I did something to exhibit the plantation
manners which he displays. I will not do any more now.


On the second day after the Speech an event occurred which aroused
the country, and was characterized at the time by an eminent English
statesman, Sir George Cornewall Lewis, as “the beginning of civil war.”
Mr. Sumner was sitting at his desk in the Senate Chamber shortly after
the adjournment of the Senate, when he was attacked by the Hon. Preston
S. Brooks, a Representative of South Carolina, and by a succession of
blows on the head with a bludgeon rendered senseless. As confederates
with Mr. Brooks were Hon. Lawrence M. Keitt, a Representative of South
Carolina, and Hon. Henry A. Edmundson, a Representative of Virginia,
who stood at some distance, evidently to sustain the assault. Mr.
Sumner sunk upon the floor of the Senate Chamber. After some time he
was carried to an adjoining room, where his wounds were dressed, and he
was then taken to his lodgings.

The newspapers of the time attest the profound and wide-spread
excitement. The titles of the articles are suggestive. “The Attempt
to murder Mr. Sumner,”--“Ruffianism National,”--“Blood in the
Senate,”--“Outrageous Assault on Senator Sumner,”--“Brutal and Cowardly
Assault upon Charles Sumner,”--“Ruffianism in Washington,”--“A
Crisis at Hand,”--“The Outrage on Mr. Sumner,”--“Atrocious
Outrage,”--“Disgraceful Assault upon a Senator,”--“Another Outrage upon
Massachusetts,”--“A Border Ruffian in the Senate,”--“The Last Argument
of Slavery,”--“Barbarism at the Capitol,”--“Shame! Shame!” Such were
the general voices. The article in the _National Intelligencer_ at
Washington was entitled “Painful Occurrence.”

This incident is inseparable from the speech on the Crime against
Kansas, although some have supposed that the earlier speech, of June
28, 1854, in Reply to Assailants,[140] contributed essentially to the
feeling which broke forth on this occasion. The documents, resolutions,
speeches, and articles which it prompted would occupy volumes. An
attempt will be made to present an abstract under the following heads.








On Friday, May 23, the day after the assault, Hon. Henry Wilson,
colleague of Mr. Sumner, rising in his seat immediately after the
reading of the Journal, made the following remarks.

    “Mr. President,--The seat of my colleague is vacant to-day.
    That seat is vacant to-day for the first time during five
    years of public service. Yesterday, after a touching tribute
    of respect to the memory of a deceased member of the House of
    Representatives, the Senate adjourned. My colleague remained
    in his seat, busily engaged in his public duties. While thus
    engaged, with pen in hand, and in a position which rendered
    him utterly incapable of protecting or defending himself, Mr.
    Preston S. Brooks, a member of the House of Representatives,
    approached his desk unobserved, and abruptly addressed him.
    Before he had time to utter a single word in reply, he received
    a stunning blow upon the head from a cane in the hands of
    Mr. Brooks, which made him blind and almost unconscious.
    Endeavoring, however, to protect himself, in rising from his
    chair his desk was overthrown; and while in that condition, he
    was beaten upon the head by repeated blows, until he sunk upon
    the floor of the Senate, exhausted, unconscious, and covered
    with his own blood. He was taken from this Chamber to the
    anteroom, his wounds were dressed, and then by friends he was
    carried to his home and placed upon his bed. He is unable to
    be with us to-day to perform the duties that belong to him as a
    member of this body.

    “Sir, to assail a member of the Senate out of this Chamber,
    ‘for words spoken in debate,’ is a grave offence, not only
    against the rights of the Senator, but the constitutional
    privileges of this House; but, Sir, to come into this Chamber,
    and assault a member in his seat until he falls exhausted and
    senseless on this floor, is an offence requiring the prompt and
    decisive action of the Senate.

    “Senators, I have called your attention to this transaction.
    I submit no motion. I leave it to older Senators, whose
    character, whose position in this body and before the country,
    eminently fit them for the task of devising measures to redress
    the wrongs of a member of this body, and to vindicate the honor
    and dignity of the Senate.”

Mr. Seward followed with a resolution.

    “_Resolved_, That a Committee of five members be appointed by
    the President to inquire into the circumstances attending the
    assault committed on the person of the Hon. Charles Sumner, a
    member of the Senate, in the Senate Chamber yesterday; and that
    the said Committee be instructed to report a statement of the
    facts, together with their opinion thereon to the Senate.”

On motion of Mr. Mason, of Virginia, the resolution was amended,
so that the Committee should be elected by the Senate. It was then
adopted. Mr. Pearce, of Maryland, Mr. Allen, of Rhode Island, Mr.
Dodge, of Wisconsin, Mr. Geyer, of Missouri, and Mr. Cass, of Michigan,
were elected. Mr. Seward, who introduced the resolution, and Mr.
Wilson, who announced the assault, were excluded.

On the 28th of May Mr. Pearce made a report from the Select Committee,
which, after a brief statement of facts, says, that “the Senate,
for a breach of its privileges, cannot arrest a member of the House
of Representatives, and, _a fortiori_, cannot try and punish him”;
that “that authority devolves solely upon the House of which he is
a member”; and that “the Senate cannot proceed further than to make
complaint to the House of Representatives of the assault committed by
one of its members.” It was ordered that “a copy of this report, and
the affidavits accompanying the same, be transmitted to the House of

Nothing further was done in the Senate on this matter.

In the House of Representatives, on the day after the assault, Hon.
Lewis D. Campbell, of Ohio, moved a Select Committee of five “to
investigate the subject, and to report the facts, with such resolutions
in reference thereto as in their judgments may be proper and necessary
for the vindication of the character of the House.” The resolution was
adopted, and the following Committee was appointed by the Speaker:
Lewis D. Campbell, of Ohio, John Allison, of Pennsylvania, Howell Cobb,
of Georgia, Alfred B. Greenwood, of Arkansas, and Francis E. Spinner,
of New York. Alexander C. M. Pennington, of New Jersey, was substituted
for Mr. Allison. To this Committee were referred the proceedings of the

       *       *       *       *       *

In the testimony taken and reported by the Committee will be found an
authentic account of the assault. The Committee visited Mr. Sumner at
his house.

    “HON. CHARLES SUMNER, being sworn, testified.

    “_Question_ (by Mr. Campbell). What do you know of the facts
    connected with the assault alleged to have been made upon you
    in the Senate Chamber by Hon. Mr. Brooks, of South Carolina, on
    Thursday, May 22, 1856?

    “_Answer._ I attended the Senate as usual on Thursday, the 22d
    of May. After some formal business, a message was received
    from the House of Representatives, announcing the death of a
    member of that body from Missouri. This was followed by a brief
    tribute to the deceased from Mr. Geyer, of Missouri, when,
    according to usage, and out of respect to the deceased, the
    Senate adjourned.

    “Instead of leaving the Chamber with the rest on the
    adjournment, I continued in my seat, occupied with my pen.
    While thus intent, in order to be in season for the mail,
    which was soon to close, I was approached by several persons
    who desired to speak with me; but I answered them promptly
    and briefly, excusing myself, for the reason that I was much
    engaged. When the last of these left me, I drew my arm-chair
    close to my desk, and, with my legs under the desk, continued
    writing. My attention at this time was so entirely withdrawn
    from all other objects, that, though there must have been many
    persons on the floor of the Senate, I saw nobody.

    “While thus intent, with my head bent over my writing, I was
    addressed by a person who had approached the front of my desk
    so entirely unobserved that I was not aware of his presence
    until I heard my name pronounced. As I looked up, with pen in
    hand, I saw a tall man, whose countenance was not familiar,
    standing directly over me, and at the same moment caught these
    words: ‘I have read your speech twice over carefully. It is
    a libel on South Carolina, and Mr. Butler, who is a relative
    of mine----’ While these words were still passing from his
    lips, he commenced a succession of blows with a heavy cane
    on my bare head, by the first of which I was stunned so as
    to lose sight. I no longer saw my assailant, nor any person
    or object in the room. What I did afterwards was done almost
    unconsciously, acting under the instinct of self-defence.
    With head already bent down, I rose from my seat, wrenching
    up my desk, which was screwed to the floor, and then pressed
    forward, while my assailant continued his blows. I have no
    other consciousness until I found myself ten feet forward, in
    front of my desk, lying on the floor of the Senate, with my
    bleeding head supported on the knee of a gentleman, whom I soon
    recognized, by voice and countenance, as Mr. Morgan, of New
    York. Other persons there were about me offering me friendly
    assistance; but I did not recognize any of them. Others there
    were at a distance, looking on and offering no assistance, of
    whom I recognized only Mr. Douglas, of Illinois, Mr. Toombs, of
    Georgia, and I thought also my assailant, standing between them.

    “I was helped from the floor and conducted into the lobby of
    the Senate, where I was placed upon a sofa. Of those who helped
    me to this place I have no recollection. As I entered the
    lobby, I recognized Mr. Slidell, of Louisiana, who retreated;
    but I recognized no one else until some time later, as I
    supposed, when I felt a friendly grasp of the hand, which
    seemed to come from Mr. Campbell, of Ohio. I have a vague
    impression that Mr. Bright, President of the Senate, spoke to
    me while I was lying on the floor of the Senate or in the lobby.

    “I make this statement in answer to the interrogatory
    of the Committee, and offer it as presenting completely
    all my recollections of the assault and of the attending
    circumstances, whether immediately before or immediately after.
    I desire to add, that, besides the words which I have given as
    uttered by my assailant, I have an indistinct recollection of
    the words, ‘old man’; but these are so enveloped in the mist
    which ensued from the first blow, that I am not sure whether
    they were uttered or not.

    “_Ques._ (by Mr. Greenwood). How long do you suppose it was
    after the adjournment of the Senate before this occurrence took

    “_Ans._ I am very much at a loss to say whether it was half
    an hour or fifteen minutes: I should say ranging from fifteen
    minutes to half an hour, more or less; perhaps not more than
    fifteen minutes. I have already testified that I was so much
    absorbed with what I was doing at my desk, that I took very
    little note of anything, not even of time.

    “_Ques._ (by Mr. Cobb). Was the first blow you received from
    Mr. Brooks before he had finished the sentence?

    “_Ans._ I have no recollection beyond what I have stated.

    “_Ques._ My question was, whether a blow was struck before Mr.
    Brooks finished the remark to you which you have just quoted?

    “_Ans._ The blow came down with the close of the sentence.

    “_Ques._ Then the sentence was closed before the blow was

    “_Ans._ It seemed to me that the blow came in the middle of an
    unfinished sentence. In the statement I have made I used the
    language, ‘While these words were still passing from his lips,
    he commenced a succession of blows.’ I heard distinctly the
    words I have given; I heard the words ‘a relative of mine,’ and
    then it seemed to me there was a break, and I have left it as
    an unfinished sentence, the sequel of which I did not hear on
    account of the blows.

    “_Ques._ (by Mr. Campbell). Did you, at any time between the
    delivery of your speech referred to and the time when you were
    attacked, receive any intimation, in writing or otherwise, that
    Mr. Brooks intended to attack you?

    “_Ans._ Never, directly or indirectly; nor had I the most
    remote suspicion of any attack, nor was I in any way prepared
    for an attack. I had no arms or means of defence of any kind.
    I was, in fact, entirely defenceless at the time, except so
    far as my natural strength went. In other words, I had no arms
    either about my person or in my desk. Nor did I ever wear arms
    in my life. I have always lived in a civilized community,
    where wearing arms has not been considered necessary. When
    I had finished my speech on Tuesday,[141] I think it was,
    my colleague came to me and said, ‘I am going home with you
    to-day; several of us are going home with you.’ Said I, ‘None
    of that, Wilson.’ And instead of waiting for him, or allowing
    him to accompany me home, I shot off just as I should any other
    day. While on my way from the Capitol, I overtook Mr. Seward,
    with whom I had engaged to dine. We walked together as far as
    the omnibuses. He then proposed that we should take an omnibus,
    which I declined, stating that I must go to the printing-office
    to look over proofs. I therefore walked alone, overtaking one
    or two persons on the way. I have referred to this remark of my
    colleague in answer to your question, whether I had in any way
    been put on my guard?

    “_Ques._ (by Mr. Cobb). What do you attribute the remark of
    your colleague to? In other words, was it founded upon an
    apprehension growing out of what you had said in your speech?

    “_Ans._ I understand that it was. He has told me since that
    a member of the House had put him on his guard, but he did
    not mention it to me at the time. I suspected no danger, and
    therefore I treated what he said to me as trifling.

    “_Ques._ (by Mr. Pennington). Have you ever defied or invited

    “_Ans._ Never, at any time.

    “_Ques._ State what was the condition of your clothing after
    this violence, when you were taken from the Chamber.

    “_Ans._ I was in such a condition at the time that I was
    unaware of the blood on my clothes. I know little about it
    until after I reached my room, when I took my clothes off. The
    shirt, around the neck and collar, was soaked with blood. The
    waistcoat had many marks of blood upon it; also the trousers.
    The broadcloth coat was covered with blood on the shoulders
    so thickly that the blood had soaked through the cloth, even
    through the padding, and appeared on the inside; there was also
    a great deal of blood on the back of the coat and its sides.

    “_Ques._ Were you aware of the intention of Mr. Brooks to
    strike or inflict a blow before the blow was felt?

    “_Ans._ I had not the remotest suspicion of it until I felt the
    blow on my head.

    “_Ques._ (by Mr. Campbell). Do you know how often you were

    “_Ans._ I have not the most remote idea.

    “_Ques._ How many wounds have you upon your head?

    “_Ans._ I have two principal wounds upon my head, and several
    bruises on my hands and arms. The doctor will describe them
    more particularly than I am able to.

    “_Ques._ (by Mr. Cobb). You stated, that, when Mr. Brooks
    approached you, he remarked that he had read your speech, and
    it was a libel upon his State and upon his relative. I will ask
    you, if you had, prior to that assault, in any speech, made any
    personal allusions to Mr. Brooks’s relative, Mr. Butler, or to
    the State of South Carolina, to which Mr. Brooks applied this

    “_Ans._ At the time my assailant addressed me I did not know
    who he was, least of all did I suppose him to be a relative
    of Mr. Butler. In a speech recently made in the Senate I have
    alluded to the State of South Carolina, and to Mr. Butler; but
    I have never said anything which was not in just response to
    his speeches, according to parliamentary usage, nor anything
    which can be called a libel upon South Carolina or Mr. Butler.”

HON. HENRY WILSON, the colleague of Mr. Sumner, first heard of the
assault as he was passing down the street, and hastened back. As to
threats of violence before the assault, he testified:--

    “I know of none, of my own knowledge. Mr. Bingham, of the
    House of Representatives, said to me just about the time the
    Senate adjourned: ‘You had better go down with Mr. Sumner; I
    think there will be an assault upon him.’ Said I, ‘Do you think
    so?’ He said, ‘I have heard remarks made from which I think an
    assault will be made.’ I afterwards said to Mr. Sumner that
    I would like to talk with him, and I spoke to Mr. Burlingame
    and to Mr. Colfax to walk down with us. While I was standing
    talking to Mr. Burlingame, Mr. Sumner went to Mr. Sutton’s[142]
    desk, and then went out of the side door. I waited, supposing
    he would come back and go down with us. But he did not come,
    and we left the Capitol, but waited some time near the porter’s
    lodge, until we heard he had gone home. That is all I know, and
    it is merely hearsay. I gave myself little trouble about it. I
    went up to his room afterwards, but did not find him at home.
    Mr. Sumner paid no attention to what I said. I merely said I
    wanted to walk down with him,--that I wanted to talk with him.”

HON. JOHN A. BINGHAM, of Ohio, being sworn, testified.

    “_Ques._ Had you any reason to apprehend that an assault would
    be made on Mr. Sumner after the delivery of that speech?

    “_Ans._ I can only say that I had no reason to apprehend danger
    to Mr. Sumner, except what I inferred from the language of
    Senators at the time he closed his speech. What they said then
    led me to believe that an attempt to assail him was intended,
    or was intended to be encouraged.

    “_Ques._ Were the threats of Senators, of which you speak,
    uttered in debate or outside?

    “_Ans._ They were uttered in debate. I do not recollect hearing
    anything of the kind except what was uttered in debate, coupled
    with the manner of Senators. These are all the reasons I had
    for apprehending an assault.

    “_Ques._ (by Mr. Cobb). Did you communicate to Mr. Wilson your
    apprehensions in reference to Mr. Sumner?

    “_Ans._ I did, before the Senate adjourned, communicate with
    Mr. Wilson. I said to Mr. Wilson that it was my opinion an
    assault was intended upon Mr. Sumner, and that he had better
    see to it that no assault was made.”

JAMES W. SIMONTON, ESQ., reporter of the _New York Times_, being sworn,

    “I was standing in the Senate Chamber near Mr. Clayton’s seat,
    conversing with Mr. Morgan and Mr. Murray of the House, when
    I heard a blow. I exclaimed, ‘What is that?’ and immediately
    started. One step brought me in view of the parties. My
    attention was directed at once to Mr. Sumner, with a view to
    notice his condition. I saw that he was just in the act of
    springing forward. As he came upon his feet, I noticed him spin
    around, and then stagger backwards and sideways until he fell.
    Mr. Brooks was striking him with his cane, which then seemed
    to be broken off one third its length. I rushed up as rapidly
    as possible, with other gentlemen, and, as I reached him, or
    near him, Mr. Keitt rushed in, running around Mr. Sumner and
    Mr. Brooks with his cane raised, crying, ‘Let them alone! let
    them alone!’ threatening myself and others who had rushed in to
    interfere. Mr. Brooks continued to strike until he was seized
    by Mr. Murray, and until Mr. Sumner, who had lodged partly
    against the desk, had fallen to the floor. He did not fall
    directly, but, after lodging for an instant upon, then slipped
    off from his desk, and fell upon the floor. I do not know of
    anything further.

    “_Ques._ How often did Mr. Brooks strike?

    “_Ans._ With great rapidity: at least a dozen, and I should
    think twenty blows. Mr. Sumner, at the first moment when I
    looked at him, seemed to me to be unconscious.

    “_Ques._ (by Mr. Pennington). Do you know of any concert
    between Mr. Brooks and any other person, a member of Congress,
    to attack Mr. Sumner?

    “_Ans._ I do not know anything of my own knowledge. I noticed
    several persons who were there. I saw Mr. Keitt there. I have
    a distinct recollection of seeing several parties, perhaps not
    distinct enough to mention them. I saw several Senators present
    immediately afterwards, but whether they were there at the time
    of the occurrence I could not say. My attention was directed
    especially to Mr. Sumner, and to Mr. Keitt, who seemed to be
    acting in concert with Mr. Brooks.

    “_Ques._ State, if you can, what Mr. Keitt said or did from
    first to last.

    “_Ans._ I saw him as I was approaching the parties. I noticed
    him run in from the centre aisle, and raise his cane. He used
    the words I have spoken; or rather, my impression is that the
    precise expression was, ‘Let them alone, God damn you!’”

This is only a portion of the evidence.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Committee, after taking evidence, made a report, signed by Mr.
Campbell, Mr. Spinner, and Mr. Pennington, which, after setting forth
the facts, concludes with the following resolutions.

    “_Resolved_, That Preston S. Brooks be, and he is forthwith,
    expelled from this House as a Representative from the State of
    South Carolina.

    “_Resolved_, That this House hereby declare its disapprobation
    of the said act of Henry A. Edmundson and Lawrence M. Keitt in
    regard to the said assault.”

A minority report, signed by Mr. Cobb and Mr. Greenwood, concluded with
the following resolution.

    “_Resolved_, That this House has no jurisdiction over the
    assault alleged to have been committed by the Hon. Preston
    S. Brooks, a member of this House from the State of South
    Carolina, upon the Hon. Charles Sumner, a Senator from the
    State of Massachusetts, and therefore deem it improper to
    express any opinion on the subject.”

In the House, the substitute moved by Mr. Cobb was lost,--yeas 66, nays
145. The resolution of expulsion was lost,--yeas 121, nays 95,--the two
thirds required for expulsion not voting in favor thereof. The other
resolution, declaring disapprobation of the act of Henry A. Edmundson
and Lawrence M. Keitt, was divided, and the censure of Keitt was
voted,--yeas 106, nays 96; that of Edmundson was lost,--yeas 60, nays
136. A long preamble, setting forth the facts, was adopted,--yeas 104,
nays 83.[143]

Immediately after the vote upon the resolution of expulsion, Mr.
Brooks, with some difficulty, obtained leave to address the House.
Mr. Giddings objected, but, at the request of friends, withdrew his
objection, contrary to his own judgment. In the course of a speech
vindicating his conduct, Mr. Brooks took credit to himself for not
beginning a revolution.

     “Sir, I cannot, _on my own account_, assume the
    responsibility, in the face of the American people, of
    commencing a line of conduct which in my heart of hearts I
    believe would result in subverting the foundations of this
    Government and in drenching this Hall in blood. No act of
    mine, and on my personal account, shall inaugurate revolution;
    but when you, Mr. Speaker, return to your own home, and
    hear the people of the great North--and they are a great
    people--speak of me as a bad man, you will do me the justice
    to say that a blow struck by me at this time would be followed
    by revolution,--and this I know. [_Applause and hisses in the

Afterwards he seemed to take credit for using the instrument he did.

    “I went to work very deliberately, as I am charged,--and this
    is admitted,--and speculated somewhat as to whether I should
    employ a horsewhip or a cowhide; but, knowing that the Senator
    was my superior in strength, it occurred to me that he might
    wrest it from my hand, and then--for I never attempt anything I
    do not perform--_I might have been compelled to do that which I
    would have regretted the balance of my natural life_.”

At these words, according to the papers of the day, there was a voice
from the House:--

    “He would have killed him!”

The speech concluded:--

    “And now, Mr. Speaker, I announce to you, and to this House,
    that I am no longer a member of the Thirty-Fourth Congress.”

On which the _Globe_ remarks:--

    “Mr. Brooks then walked out of the House of

In fact, his resignation was already in the hands of the Governor of
South Carolina, to take effect on his announcing his resignation to the
House. In this way he avoided any other censure, after the failure of
the resolution of expulsion.

Returning to South Carolina, Mr. Brooks presented himself again to his
constituents, and was triumphantly reëlected. On the 1st of August,
1856, his commission was presented to the House, when, according to the
_Globe_, he “came forward and the Speaker administered to him the oath
to support the Constitution of the United States.”

While proceedings were pending in the House, Mr. Brooks was indicted by
the Grand Jury of the District of Columbia. The following letters of
Mr. Sumner, written at Silver Spring, near Washington, where he was the
guest of F. P. Blair, Esq., show his indisposition to take part in the

                                      “SILVER SPRING, June 30, 1856.

    “DEAR SIR,--I find myself unable to attend Court to-day. Since
    the summons of the Marshal, I have suffered a relapse, by which
    I am enfeebled, and also admonished against exertion. Being
    out of town, I have not had an opportunity of consulting my
    attending physician; but a skilful medical friend, who has
    visited me here, earnestly insists that I cannot attend Court
    for some time without peril to my health.

        “I have the honor to be, dear Sir,

            “Your faithful servant,

                “CHARLES SUMNER.

    “P. BARTON KEY, Esq., Attorney of the United States.”

                                       “SILVER SPRING, July 1, 1856.

    “DEAR SIR,--I have your letter of 30th June, in which you ask
    my consent with regard to the course you shall take in the
    conduct of a criminal proceeding now pending in the Circuit
    Court of the United States for the District of Columbia. I am
    surprised at this communication. In giving my testimony before
    the Grand Jury, I stated that I appeared at the summons of
    the law, and that I wished it distinctly understood that the
    proceeding was instituted without any suggestion on my part,
    and that I had nothing to do, directly or indirectly, with its
    conduct. Nothing has occurred to change my relation to the
    proceeding. Its whole conduct belongs to the Attorney of the
    United States.

        “I am, dear Sir,

            “Your faithful servant,

               “CHARLES SUMNER.

    “P. BARTON KEY, Esq., Attorney of the United States.”

When the trial came on, Mr. Sumner had left for Philadelphia. Mr.
Brooks was sentenced to pay a fine of three hundred dollars.

William Y. Leader, of Philadelphia, who testified before the
magistrate, drew up the following account of the assault, which is now
published for the first time.

     “I arrived in Washington City on the morning of the 22d of
    May, 1856. It was my first visit to Washington. After attending
    to some business, I visited the Capitol. It was about twelve
    o’clock, and both Houses of Congress were in session. I went
    to the Hall of the House of Representatives first. I remained
    until the House adjourned, which was in a short time, as no
    business was transacted further than the passage of some
    resolutions in relation to, and several addresses on, the
    death of Hon. John G. Miller, of Missouri. I next went to the
    gallery of the Senate Chamber. Hon. Mr. Geyer, of Missouri, was
    delivering a eulogy on the death of Mr. Miller, after which a
    series of resolutions on the same subject were passed, when
    the Senate adjourned. I then went into the Senate Chamber, for
    the purpose of delivering a letter to Hon. J. J. Crittenden,
    but, finding him engaged talking to the Hon. L. S. Foster, of
    Connecticut, I walked up and down the Chamber, waiting until he
    would be disengaged. While doing so, a gentleman mentioned the
    name of Mr. Sumner. I had never seen Mr. Sumner, but, having
    read several of his speeches, I was anxious to see him, and,
    looking in the direction from which the voice came, I observed
    Dr. Madeira, of Philadelphia, introducing to Mr. Sumner
    one of the then editors of the Chambersburg, Pennsylvania,
    _Transcript_. Mr. Sumner then shook the person by the hand and
    begged him to excuse him, as he was writing on time, that he
    might get a number of documents, which he was franking, ready
    for the mail, and told the gentleman he would be pleased to see
    him at his residence at any time he might call. The gentleman
    left him, and I walked to the seat of Senator Seward, which was
    vacant, and which is next but one from Senator Sumner’s, in
    the same row. Senator Sumner was writing at his seat. On his
    table was a large pile of documents, and he was writing very
    rapidly, with his head very close to the desk. While he was
    thus engaged, I observed a gentleman come in the door and walk
    to the seat of Mr. Sumner. He came up in a quiet, easy manner,
    and spoke, saying, ‘Mr. Sumner.’ Mr. Sumner did not rise, but
    merely turned up his head, as if to see who was speaking to
    him, when the gentleman continued, saying, ‘I have read your
    speech twice, and have come to the conclusion that it is an
    insult to my native State, and my gray-haired relative, Judge
    Butler,’--and before he had finished the sentence, he struck
    Mr. Sumner a blow on the top of his head, which was uncovered,
    which must have stunned him. He struck him two or three times
    after, when Mr. Sumner raised himself in his chair, not, as
    has been said, to defend himself, but with his head bent down,
    as if trying to extricate himself from his chair and desk.
    While in this position he received several more blows, when he
    fell against his desk, which upset, and he fell to the floor.
    While lying here, he was struck until the cane broke into
    pieces. _Mr. Sumner uttered no word_, and no one attempted
    to interfere, though a number of persons gathered around,
    crying, ‘Don’t interfere!‘ ‘Go it, Brooks!’ ‘Give the damned
    Abolitionists hell!’ &c. Mr. Crittenden was the first man to
    seize the perpetrator of the outrage, and take him off his
    victim. Several of his friends led him off, while Mr. Sumner
    lay on the floor until Mr. Morgan and Mr. Simonton and one or
    two others came in and took him into an adjoining room. I was
    the only person who saw the whole of the transaction, and,
    being so close to Mr. Sumner, I heard and saw all that was said
    and done. I afterwards had Mr. Brooks arrested for the offence,
    and on the trial of the case gave my testimony as I have here
    related it, and which is substantially correct. I had never
    known Mr. Sumner, and, as we belonged to different political
    parties, I had no prejudice in his favor. From beginning to
    end it was one of the most cold-blooded, high-handed outrages
    ever committed, and had Mr. Sumner not been a very large and
    powerfully built man, it must have resulted in his death. No
    ordinary man could possibly have withstood so many blows upon
    his bare head.”

General James Watson Webb, afterwards Minister to Brazil, and at the
time editor of the New York _Courier and Enquirer_, made the following
report to his paper.

    “Those who witnessed the assault say, that, in receiving the
    blows, given in quick succession and with terrible force, Mr.
    Sumner attempted to rise from his seat, to which he was in a
    measure pinioned by his legs being under the desk,--the legs of
    which, like all the desks of the Senate Chamber, have plates of
    iron fastened to them, and these plates are firmly secured to
    the floor. His first attempt to rise was a failure, and he fell
    back into his chair, and the blows of his assailant continued
    to fall mercilessly upon his uncovered head. His second attempt
    ripped up the iron fastenings of his desk, and he precipitated
    himself forward, but, being blinded and stunned, wide of the
    direction in which Mr. Brooks stood. Prostrated on the floor,
    and covered with blood as I never saw man covered before,
    the assault continued, until Mr. Murray and Mr. Morgan, both
    members of the House of Representatives from New York, had time
    to come from the extreme southeast angle of the Senate Chamber,
    and who, forcing their way through the crowd of Senators, and
    others, in the midst of whom Mr. Sumner was lying senseless and
    being beaten, they seized the assailant and rescued the body of

On the morning of January 28, 1857, the country was startled by the
telegraphic news that Mr. Brooks had died suddenly on the evening
before, in great pain, at his hotel in Washington. The terms of this
despatch belong to this note.

    “The Hon. Preston S. Brooks died this evening at Brown’s Hotel.
    He had been in bed for a day or two, suffering from the effects
    of a severe cold. He was telling his friends that he had passed
    the crisis of his illness, and felt considerably improved in
    health, when he was seized with violent croup, and died in
    about ten minutes afterwards. He expired in intense pain.
    The event, so sudden, has caused much surprise and sympathy
    throughout the city.

    “Dr. Boyle, who was called to dress the wounds of Mr. Sumner,
    was his physician. Considerable excitement was produced by
    this visitation of Providence. His personal friends seem
    smitten, while the mass of those who crowd the hotels come to
    the general conclusion that the wrath of man is avenged in the
    justice of God. There are numerous knots of people in each of
    the hotels, talking about the death of Brooks. He died a horrid
    death, and suffered intensely. He endeavored to tear his own
    throat open to get breath.”

Later advices revealed that Mr. Keitt, with others, was by his bedside.
His death was announced to the House of Representatives, January 29th,
when his funeral took place in the House.

Senator Butler died at home, in South Carolina, May 25, 1857. Mr.
Keitt, after an active and vindictive part in the Rebellion, died in
battle in Virginia, in June, 1864.



More significant even than the assault was the evidence, which soon
accumulated, showing its adoption at the South. Had it been disapproved
there, it would have stood as the act of an individual. Had it been
received even in silence, without formal disapprobation, there would
have been at least a question with regard to the sentiment there, and
charity would have supplied the most extenuating interpretation. But
the spirit of Slavery was too strong, making haste to speak out by its
representatives of every degree. It began at once.

On the publication of Mr. Sumner’s testimony, there were some
explanations in the Senate.[145] Hon. John Slidell, of Louisiana,
described himself as in conversation with several gentlemen, in the
anteroom of the Senate, when he first heard of the assault.

    “We had been there some minutes,--I think we were alone in the
    antechamber,--when a person (if I recollect aright, it was
    Mr. Jones, a messenger of the Senate) rushed in, apparently
    in great trepidation, and said that somebody was beating Mr.
    Sumner. We heard this remark without any particular emotion;
    for my own part, I confess I felt none.”

He then describes meeting Mr. Sumner in the doorway of the
reception-room, “leaning on two persons whom I did not recognize. His
face was covered with blood.” He adds:--

    “I am not particularly fond of scenes of any sort. I have no
    associations or relations of any kind with Mr. Sumner; I have
    not spoken to him for two years.”

Hon. Robert Toombs, of Georgia, said:--

    “As for rendering Mr. Sumner any assistance, I did not do it.
    As to what was said, some gentleman present condemned it in
    Mr. Brooks. I stated to him, or to some of my own friends,
    probably, _that I approved it. That is my opinion._”

Hon. Benjamin P. Wade, of Ohio, followed.

    “If the principle now announced here is to prevail, let us come
    armed for the combat; and although you are four to one, I am
    here to meet you. God knows a man can die in no better cause
    than in vindicating the rights of debate on this floor; and
    I have only to ask, that, if the principle is to be approved
    by the majority, and to become part and parcel of the law of
    Congress, it may be distinctly understood.”

Hon. Henry Wilson followed, saying:--

    “Mr. Sumner was stricken down on this floor by a brutal,
    murderous, and cowardly assault.”

At this point he was interrupted by Hon. A. P. Butler, of South
Carolina, according to the unamended report of the newspapers, by the
exclamation from his seat,--

    “You are a liar!”

In the _Globe_ it is said:--

    “Mr. Butler, in his seat, impulsively uttered words which
    Senators around advised him were not parliamentary, and he
    subsequently, at the instance of Senators, requested that the
    words might be withdrawn.”

Hon. Lafayette S. Foster, of Connecticut, followed.

    “As I understood the honorable Senator from Georgia to remark
    that he approved of striking forcibly down in this Chamber a
    member of the Senate, I think it incumbent on me, recently
    a member of this body, and not having participated in its
    debates, to say a word.”

Mr. Foster then proceeded to vindicate liberty of speech.

       *       *       *       *       *

Shortly afterwards, in another speech, Senator Butler said of Mr.

    “Though his friends have invested him with the dress of
    Achilles and offered him his armor, he has shown that he is
    only able to fight with the weapons of Thersites, _and deserved
    what that brawler received from the hands of the gallant

The declaration of Mr. Wilson, that the attack upon Mr. Sumner was “a
brutal, murderous, and cowardly assault,” incensed the friends of Mr.
Brooks, and many threats of personal violence were made. General Lane,
of Oregon, afterward Democratic candidate for Vice-President, called
upon Mr. Wilson, and placed a challenge from Mr. Brooks in his hands.
Mr. Wilson promptly placed in General Lane’s hands, contrary to the
urgent advice of Mr. Giddings and other friends, who thought his reply
might bring on a personal conflict, an answer to his hostile note, in
which he said:--

     “I characterized, on the floor of the Senate, the assault
    upon my colleague as ‘brutal, murderous, and cowardly.’ I
    thought so then: I think so now: I have no qualification
    whatever to make in regard to those words. I have never
    entertained, in the Senate or elsewhere, the idea of personal
    responsibility, in the sense of the duellist. I have always
    regarded duelling as the lingering relic of a barbarous
    civilization, which the law of the country has branded as
    crime. While, therefore, I religiously believe in the right of
    self-defence in its broadest sense, the law of my country and
    the matured convictions of my whole life alike forbid me to
    meet you for the purpose indicated in your letter.”

The Hon. James M. Mason, a Senator from Virginia, already odious as
author of the Fugitive Slave Bill, and afterwards so conspicuous in the
Rebellion, thus declared his approbation of the assault:--

                                      “SELMA, FREDERICK COUNTY, VA.,
                                               29th September, 1856.

    “GENTLEMEN,--I have had the honor to receive your letter of
    the 13th instant, inviting me, on behalf of the constituents
    of Colonel Preston S. Brooks, to a dinner to be given to him
    by them, on the 3d of October next, in ‘testimony of their
    complete indorsement of his Congressional course.’

    “It has been my good fortune to have enjoyed the acquaintance
    of your able and justly honored Representative, on terms both
    of social and political intercourse, from his entrance into
    the House of Representatives, and I know of none whose public
    career I hold more worthy the full and cordial approbation of
    his constituents than his.

    “He has shown himself alike able and prompt to sustain the
    rights and the interests of his constituents in debate and
    by vote, or to vindicate in a different mode, and under
    circumstances of painful duty, the honor of his friend. I would
    gladly, therefore, unite with you, were it in my power, in the
    testimonial proposed by his generous constituents, but regret
    that the distance which separates us, and my engagements at
    home, must forbid it.


    “But, in reverse of all this, should a dominant sectional
    vote be directed to bring into power those pledged in advance
    to break down the barriers interposed by the compact of
    federation for the security of one section against the other,
    then, in my calmest judgment, but one course remains for the
    South,--_immediate, absolute, and eternal separation_.


    “Again regretting, Gentlemen, that I cannot be with you,

        “I am, with great respect,

            “J. M. MASON.”

The Hon. Jefferson Davis, Secretary of War, and afterwards President of
the Rebel States, thus declared his approbation:--

                           “WASHINGTON, Monday, September 22, 1856.

    “GENTLEMEN,--I have the honor to acknowledge your polite and
    very gratifying invitation to a public dinner, to be given
    by the people of the Fourth Congressional District to their
    Representative, Hon. P. S. Brooks.

    “It would give me much pleasure, on any occasion, to meet you,
    fellow-citizens of the Fourth District of South Carolina;
    and the gratification would be materially heightened by the
    opportunity to witness their approbation of a Representative
    _whom I hold in such high regard and esteem_. Circumstances
    will not permit me, however, to be with you, as invited, and I
    have only to express to you my sympathy with the feeling which
    prompts the sons of Carolina to welcome the return of a brother
    who has been the subject of vilification, misrepresentation,
    and persecution, _because he resented a libellous assault upon
    the reputation of their mother_.

    “With many thanks to you and those whom you represent for your
    kind remembrance of me,

        “I am very truly your friend and fellow-citizen,

            “JEFFERSON DAVIS.


Here may properly be introduced the language of Mr. Savage, of
Tennessee, in the House of Representatives, in his eulogy of Mr. Brooks.

    “To die nobly is life’s chief concern. History records but one
    Thermopylæ: there ought to have been another, and that one for
    Preston S. Brooks. Brutus stabbed Cæsar in the Capitol, and,
    whatever we may now think of the wisdom and justice of the
    deed, the world has ever since approved and applauded it. So
    shall the scene in the Senate Chamber carry the name of the
    deceased to all future generations, long to be remembered after
    all here are forgotten, and until these proud walls crumble
    into ruins.”[147]

These uttered words were modified in the _Globe_.[148]

       *       *       *       *       *

In these adhesions it will not fail to be observed that Toombs,
Slidell, Mason, and Davis, afterwards chiefs in the Rebellion, made
themselves conspicuous by their positive and unequivocal language.

Mr. Buchanan, the Democratic candidate for the Presidency, deserves
to be added to this list. At the Commencement of Franklin and Marshall
College, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, July 23, 1856, one of the
students, W. W. Davis, of Sterling, Illinois, made an address on “The
Decline of Political Integrity,” where he described modern politicians
as “so truckling in their character and destitute of moral courage
and political integrity, that men are found who applaud the attack of
_Canine_ Brooks upon the noble Sumner for defending Freedom.” The scene
that ensued, and the remarks of Mr. Buchanan, who was present on the
stage, were given by a correspondent of the _New York Tribune_.

    “During the delivery of this sentence, the whole house was
    still as death, and at its close it was heartily applauded.
    Mr. Davis finished his oration and retired from the front of
    the stage amid thunders of applause and showers of bouquets
    from his lady friends. For him it was truly a triumph. But
    on retiring to his seat, next to that of Mr. Buchanan, did
    he receive congratulation of the Sage of Wheatland? No, no.
    Mr. Buchanan said to him, loud enough that the whole class
    could hear: ‘_My young friend, you look upon the dark side of
    the picture. Mr. Sumner’s speech was the most vulgar tirade
    of abuse ever delivered in a deliberative body._’ To which
    the young orator replied, that he ‘hoped Mr. Buchanan did
    not approve of the attacks upon Mr. Sumner by Brooks and
    others.’ To which Mr. Buchanan rejoined, that ‘_Mr. Brooks
    was inconsiderate, but that Senator Butler was a very mild
    man_.’ Mr. Davis expressed his regret at the moderation of
    Mr. Buchanan’s views, and dropped the conversation. After the
    close of the exercises, the friends of Mr. Davis related what
    I have written. Mr. Davis himself said, he ‘did not think for
    a moment that he was not in conversation with James Buchanan,’
    but now learns that it was the Representative of the Cincinnati
    Platform he was addressed by.”

With such words of approbation from eminent leaders of the South, it
was natural that other organs of opinion there should be stronger
in their language. The people by formal acts, and the press by a
succession of articles, signalized their adhesion.

The following extract from a letter of a young gentleman, said to be of
“high respectability,” at Charleston, South Carolina, was communicated
for publication.

     “I suppose you have heard of the lambasting Mr. Brooks gave
    Mr. Sumner. Well, the Charlestonians have subscribed ten cents
    each and bought a splendid cane, with the words ‘_Hit him
    again_’ engraved on the head; and if Mr. Sumner troubles South
    Carolina or Mr. Brooks again, he will get something _engraved
    on his head_ which will be very apt to make him a _grave_

At a meeting at Martin’s Depot, South Carolina, the following
resolution was adopted.

    “_Resolved_, If Northern fanatics will persist in meddling with
    our private institutions, we deem it expedient that Southern
    members should reply to them by the use of _gutta-percha_.”

At a meeting in Clinton, South Carolina, the following resolutions were
adopted by acclamation.

    “_Resolved_, That we, as a portion of the constituents of
    the Hon. Preston S. Brooks, do heartily agree with him in
    chastising, coolly and deliberately, the vile and lawless
    Sumner, of Massachusetts.

    “_Resolved_, That, for the high respect and full appreciation
    of Colonel Brooks’s conduct, we present him a cane from the
    soil of his own Congressional district, with this inscription:
    ‘_Use knock-down arguments_’: feeling that none other can be
    effectual on a perverted mind and degenerate race.”

The Columbia _South Carolinian_, of May 28, spoke thus:--

    “We learn that some of the gentlemen of Charleston have
    provided a suitable present, in the shape of a cane, to be
    given to Mr. Brooks, to show their appreciation of his late
    act of ‘hiding’ the Abolition Senator Sumner. It is to bear
    the inscription, ‘_Hit him again_.’ Meetings of approval and
    sanction will be held not only in Mr. Brooks’s district,
    but throughout the State at large, and a general and hearty
    response of approval will reëcho the words ‘_Well done_,’ from
    Washington to the Rio Grande.”

_The Richmond Enquirer_, of May 30, reports a response from the
University of Virginia.

    “ANOTHER CANE FOR MR. BROOKS.--We understand that a very
    large meeting of the students of the University of Virginia
    was held on Tuesday evening, to take into consideration the
    recent attack of the Hon. Preston S. Brooks on Charles Sumner,
    in the United States Senate Chamber. Several very eloquent
    speeches were delivered, all of which fully approved the course
    of Mr. Brooks, and the resolution was passed to purchase for
    Mr. Brooks a splendid cane. The cane is to have a heavy gold
    head, which will be suitably inscribed, and also bear upon
    it a device of the human head, badly cracked and broken. The
    chivalry of the South, it seems, has been thoroughly aroused.”

The _Richmond Examiner_, of May 30, testifies thus:--

    “The chastisement of Sumner, in spite of the blustering
    nonsense of the regiments of Yankee Bob Acres, who have been
    talking about ‘avenging his wrongs,’ will be attended with good
    results. The precedent of Brooks _vs._ Sumner will become a
    respected authority at Washington. It will be a ‘leading case,’
    as it clearly defines the distinction between the liberty of
    speech as guarantied to the respectable American Senator and
    that scandalous abuse of it by such men as Charles Sumner.


    “Far from blaming Mr. Brooks, we are disposed to regard him
    as a conservative gentleman seeking to restore to the Senate
    that dignity and respectability of which the Abolition Senators
    are fast stripping it. His example should be followed by every
    Southern gentleman whose feelings are outraged by unprincipled

The _Richmond Enquirer_ thus spoke, June 9th:--

    “It is idle to think of union or peace or truce with Sumner
    or Sumner’s friends. Catiline was purity itself, compared to
    the Massachusetts Senator, and his friends are no better than
    he. They are all (we mean the leading and conspicuous ones)
    avowed and active traitors.… Sumner and Sumner’s friends must
    be punished and silenced. Government which cannot suppress
    such crimes as theirs has failed of its purpose. Either such
    wretches must be hung or put in the penitentiary, or the South
    should prepare at once to quit the Union. We would not jeopard
    the religion and morality of the South to save a Union that had
    failed for every useful purpose. Let us tell the North at once,
    If you cannot suppress the treasonable action, and silence
    the foul, licentious, and infidel propagandism of such men as
    Stephen Pearl Andrews, Wendell Phillips, Beecher, Garrison,
    Sumner, and their negro and female associates, let us part in


    “Your sympathy for Sumner has shaken our confidence in your
    capacity for self-government more than all your past history,
    full of evil portents as that has been. He had just avowed
    his complicity in designs far more diabolical than those of
    Catiline or Cethegus,--nay, transcending in iniquity all that
    the genius of a Milton has attributed to his fallen angels.
    We are not surprised that he should be hailed as hero and
    saint, for his proposed war on everything sacred and divine, by
    that Pandemonium where the blasphemous Garrison, and Parker,
    and Andrews, with their runaway negroes and masculine women,

The _Richmond Enquirer_ again spoke, June 12th:

    “In the main, the press of the South applaud the conduct of
    Mr. Brooks, without condition or limitation. Our approbation,
    at least, is entire and unreserved. We consider the act
    good in conception, better in execution, and best of all in
    consequence. The vulgar Abolitionists in the Senate are getting
    above themselves. They have been humored until they forget
    their position. They have grown saucy, and dare to be impudent
    to gentlemen! Now, they are a low, mean, scurvy set, with some
    little book-learning, but as utterly devoid of spirit or honor
    as a pack of curs. Intrenched behind ‘privilege,’ they fancy
    they can slander the South and insult its representatives with
    impunity. The truth is, they have been suffered to run too long
    without collars. They must be lashed into submission. Sumner,
    in particular, ought to have nine-and-thirty early every
    morning. He is a great strapping fellow, and could stand the
    cowhide beautifully. Brooks frightened him, and at the first
    blow of the cane he bellowed like a bull-calf. There is the
    blackguard Wilson, an ignorant Natick cobbler, swaggering in
    excess of muscle, and absolutely dying for a beating. Will not
    somebody take him in hand? Hale is another huge, red-faced,
    sweating scoundrel, whom some gentleman should kick and cuff
    until he abates something of his impudent talk. These men are
    perpetually abusing the people and representatives of the
    South, for tyrants, robbers, ruffians, adulterers, and what
    not. Shall we stand it?


    “Mr. Brooks has initiated this salutary discipline, and he
    deserves applause for the bold, judicious manner in which he
    chastised the scamp Sumner. It was a proper act, done at the
    proper time, and in the proper place.”

In a Democratic procession at Washington, one of the party banners had
this inscription:--


Texts like these might be multiplied; but here are more than enough to
exhibit the brutal spirit of Slavery, and the extent of its sympathy
with the assault. This head may be properly closed by the words of the
_Charleston Standard_ on the death of Mr. Brooks.

     “Within the last year his name has transcended the limits
    of tongues and nations. What will be the verdict of posterity
    upon him will depend upon the question of power between the
    North and South. If the North shall triumph, if the South shall
    be gradually ground under, if Slavery shall be smuggled out
    of sight, and decent people shall be ashamed to own it, he
    will be condemned and execrated; but if the South shall stand
    firm in her integrity, if Slavery shall not fall before its
    antagonist, but shall stand, as it is capable of standing, _the
    great central institution of the land for all other interests
    to climb upon_, and shall give law to opinion, as it shall
    give regulation to Liberty, then his memory will be loved and
    venerated; _he will be recognized as one of the first who
    struck for the vindication of the South_; and as, like those
    who seized the tea in Boston Harbor, he had no other warrant of
    authority than that afforded _by his own brave heart_, he will
    only the more certainly be placed among the heroes and patriots
    of his country.”

Here is a plain and most interesting recognition of the assault as
belonging to the glories of Slavery, while the author is one of its



There is a proper interest in knowing the personal provocation under
which Mr. Sumner spoke. Something of this will be seen in the early
onslaught upon him by the combined forces of Slavery, to which he
replied promptly.[149] The _Globe_ shows constantly the tone which was
adopted by the representatives of Slavery towards all who presumed in
any way to question its rights. Here Mr. Butler, of South Carolina, was
always prominent; and when the question of the admission of Kansas as a
Free State occurred, he was especially aroused.

His previous personalities and aggressions were set forth by Hon.
Henry Wilson, in a speech made in the Senate, June 13, 1856, in direct
reply to him, after he had spent two days in criticising Mr. Sumner
and defending his assailant. On this occasion Senator Butler was
particularly indignant because Mr. Sumner had personified Slavery as
a “harlot,” saying, “What in the name of justice and decency could
have ever led that man to use such language?”[150] In the course of
his speech the Senator described his former patronage of Mr. Sumner,
saying, “I did not hesitate to keep up what my friends complained of,
an intercourse with him, _which was calculated to give him a currency
far beyond what he might have had, if I had not indulged in that
species of intercourse_. My friends here and everywhere know it.”[151]
Mr. Wilson’s reply is important in this history.


“MR. PRESIDENT,--I feel constrained, by a sense of duty to my State, by
personal relations to my colleague and friend, to trespass for a few
moments upon the time and attention of the Senate.

“You have listened, Mr. President, the Senate has listened, these
thronged seats and these crowded galleries have listened, to the
extraordinary speech of the honorable Senator from South Carolina,
which has now run through two days. I must say, Sir, that I have
listened to that speech with painful and sad emotions. A Senator of a
sovereign State more than twenty days ago was stricken down senseless
on the floor for words spoken in debate. For more than three weeks he
has been confined to his room upon a bed of weakness and of pain. The
moral sentiment of the country has been outraged, grossly outraged,
by this wanton assault, in the person of a Senator, on the freedom
of debate. The intelligence of this transaction has flown over the
land, and is now flying abroad over the civilized world; and wherever
Christianity has a foothold, or civilization a resting-place, that act
will meet the stern condemnation of mankind.

“Intelligence comes to us, Mr. President, that a civil war is raging
beyond the Mississippi; intelligence also comes to us that upon the
shores of the Pacific Lynch Law is again organized; and the telegraph
brings us news of assaults and murders around the ballot-boxes of
New Orleans, growing out of differences of opinion and of interests.
Can we be surprised, Sir, that these scenes, which are disgracing
the character of our country and our age, are rife, when a venerable
Senator--one of the oldest members of the Senate, and chairman of its
Judiciary Committee--occupies four hours of the important time of the
Senate in vindication of and apology for an assault unparalleled in the
history of the country? If lawless violence here, in this Chamber,
upon the person of a Senator, can find vindication, if this outrage
upon the freedom of debate finds apology from a veteran Senator, why
may not violent counsels elsewhere go unrebuked?

“The Senator from South Carolina commenced his discursive speech by
an allusion to the present condition of my colleague which I cannot
say exhibited good taste. I know it, personally, to be grossly unjust,
because I know that for more than twenty days--three weeks--Mr. Sumner
has been compelled to lie upon a bed of pain, from the effects of blows
received by him here in the Senate Chamber.

“The Senator from South Carolina, I am aware, referred to the evidence
of a medical person, who was accidentally employed in the early stages
of the case, but who has not seen Mr. Sumner lately. I have in my
hands the testimony of his present medical adviser, a distinguished
physician of this city, who has been selected for his known talents and
character, and who _understands_ his present condition. The Secretary
will please to read his letter, which I now send to the desk.”

The Secretary read as follows.

                                          “C STREET, June 12, 1856.

    “DEAR SIR,--In answer to your inquiries, I have to state that
    I have been in attendance on the Hon. Charles Sumner, as his
    physician, on account of the injuries received by him in the
    Senate Chamber, from the 29th of May to the present time,--part
    of this time in consultation with Dr. Perry, of Boston, and Dr.
    Miller, of Washington.

    “I have visited him at least once every day. During all this
    time Mr. Sumner has been confined to his room, and the greater
    part of the day confined to his bed.

    “NEITHER AT THE PRESENT MOMENT, _nor at any time since Mr.
    Sumner’s case came under my charge_, HAS HE BEEN IN A CONDITION

    “My present advice to him is to go into the country, where he
    can enjoy fresh air; and I think it will not be prudent for him
    to enter upon his public duties for some time to come.

        “Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

            “H. LINDSLY.”


MR. WILSON. “Mr. President, this is the testimony of Dr. Lindsly, known
by the members of the Senate, and others around me, to be an eminent
physician of Washington. I will say, that Mr. Sumner, and Mr. Sumner’s
friends, when he was first assailed, underestimated altogether the
force of the assault. He is a man of great physical power, in full
vigor and maturity, and in the glow of health. For a day or two after
that assault he believed, and his friends believed, that he would soon
throw off its effects; but time disclosed the extent and force of his
injuries, while he was doomed to hours of restless, sleepless pain.
Dr. Perry, of Boston, a gentleman of great professional eminence,
accidentally in Washington, expressed the strongest solicitude
concerning his case. To his skill and advice I believe my colleague and
his friends are under the deepest obligations. His testimony before the
Committee is the testimony of one who knows what he affirms.--But I
pass from this topic.

“The Senator from South Carolina, through this debate, has taken
occasion to apply to Mr. Sumner, to his speech, to all that concerns
him, all the epithets----

    [MR. BUTLER. I used criticism, but not epithets.]

Mr. WILSON. “Well, Sir, I accept the Senator’s word, and I say
‘criticism.’ But I say, in his criticism, he used every word that I can
conceive a fertile imagination could invent, or a malignant passion
suggest. He has taken his full revenge here on the floor of the Senate,
here in debate, for the remarks made by my colleague. I do not take
any exception to this mode. This is the way in which the speech of my
colleague should have been met,--not by blows, not by an assault.

“The Senator tells us that this is not, in his opinion, an assault
upon the constitutional rights of a member of the Senate. He tells us
that a member cannot be permitted to print and send abroad over the
world, with impunity, his opinions,--but that he is liable to have them
questioned in a judicial tribunal. Well, Sir, if this be so,--he is a
lawyer, I am not,--I accept his view, and I ask, Why not have tested
Mr. Sumner’s speech in a judicial tribunal, and let that tribunal have
settled the question whether Mr. Sumner uttered a libel or not? Why
was it necessary, why did the ‘chivalry’ of South Carolina require,
that for words uttered on this floor, under the solemn guaranties of
Constitutional Law, a Senator should be met here by violence? Why
appeal from the floor of the Senate, from a judicial tribunal, to
the bludgeon? I put the question to the Senator,--to the ‘chivalry’
of South Carolina,--ay, to ‘the gallant set’ (to use the Senator’s
own words) of ‘Ninety-Six,’--Why was it necessary to substitute the
bludgeon for the judicial tribunal?

“Sir, the Senator from South Carolina--and in what I say to him to-day
I have no disposition to say anything unkind or unjust, and if I utter
any such word, I will withdraw it at once--told us, that, when my
colleague came here, he came holding fanatical ideas, but that he met
him, offered him his hand, and treated him with courtesy, supposing,
as in other cases which had happened under his eye, that acquaintance
with Southern gentlemen might cure him of his fanaticism. He gravely
told us that his courtesy and attentions introduced Mr. Sumner where he
could not otherwise have gone. The Senator will allow me to say that
this is not the first time during this session we have heard this kind
of talk about ‘social influence,’ and the necessity of association
with gentlemen from the South, in order to have intercourse with the
refined and cultivated society of Washington. Sir, Mr. Sumner was
reared in a section of country where men know how to be gentlemen. He
was trained in the society of gentlemen, in as good society as could
be found in _that_ section of the country. He went abroad. In England
and on the Continent he was received everywhere, as he had a right to
be received, into the best social circles, into literary associations,
and into that refined and polished society which adorns and graces the
present age in Western Europe. I do not know where any gentleman could
desire to go that Mr. Sumner could not go, without the assistance of
the Senator from South Carolina, or any other person on this floor.
Sir, we have heard quite enough of this. It is a piny-wood doctrine, a
plantation idea. Gentlemen reared in refined and cultivated society are
not accustomed to this language, and never indulge in its use towards

“The Senator from South Carolina commenced his speech by proclaiming
what he intended to do, and he closed it by asserting what he had done.
Well, Sir, I listened to his speech with some degree of attention, and
I must say that the accomplishment did not come quite up to what was
promised, and that without his assurance the Senate and the country
would never have supposed that his achievements amounted to what he
assured us they did in this debate.

“The Senator complained of Mr. Sumner for quoting the Constitution of
South Carolina; and he asserted over and over again, and he winds up
his speech by the declaration, that the quotation made is not in the
Constitution. After making that declaration, he read the Constitution,
and read the identical quotation. Mr. Sumner asserted what is in the
Constitution; but there is an addition to it which he did not quote.
The Senator might have complained because he did not quote it; but the
portion not quoted carries out only the letter and the spirit of the
portion quoted. To be a member of the House of Representatives of South
Carolina, it is necessary to own a certain number of acres of land and
ten slaves, or seven hundred and fifty dollars of real estate, free
of debt. The Senator declared with great emphasis--and I saw nods,
Democratic nods, all around the Senate--that ‘a man who was not worth
that amount of money was not fit to be a Representative.’ That may be
good Democratic doctrine,--it comes from a Democratic Senator of the
Democratic State of South Carolina, and received Democratic nods and
Democratic smiles,--but it is not in harmony with the Democratic ideas
of the American people.

“The charge made by Mr. Sumner was, that South Carolina was nominally
republican, but in reality had aristocratic features in her
Constitution. Well, Sir, is not this charge true? To be a member of
the House of Representatives of South Carolina, the candidate must
own ten men,--yes, Sir, ten men,--five hundred acres of land, or have
seven hundred and fifty dollars of real estate, free of debt; and
to be a member of the Senate double is required. This Legislature,
having these personal qualifications, placing them in the rank of a
privileged few, are elected upon a representative basis as unequal as
the rotten-borough system of England in its most rotten days. That is
not all. This Legislature elects the Governor of South Carolina and
the Presidential Electors. The people have the privilege of voting for
men with these qualifications, upon this basis, and they select their
Governor for them, and choose the Presidential Electors for them. The
privileged few govern; the many have the privilege of being governed by

“Sir, I have no disposition to assail South Carolina. God knows that I
would peril my life in defence of any State of this Union, if assailed
by a foreign foe. I have voted, and I will continue to vote, while I
have a seat on this floor, as cheerfully for appropriations, or for
anything that can benefit South Carolina, or any other State of this
Union, as for my own Commonwealth of Massachusetts. South Carolina
is a part of my country. Slaveholders are not the tenth part of her
population. There is somebody else there besides slaveholders. I am
opposed to its system of Slavery, to its aristocratic inequalities, and
I shall continue to be opposed to them; but it is a sovereign State
of this Union, a part of my country, and I have no disposition to do
injustice to it.

“The Senator assails Mr. Sumner for referring to the effects of Slavery
upon South Carolina in the Revolutionary era. What Mr. Sumner said in
regard to the imbecility of South Carolina, produced by Slavery, in the
Revolution, is true, and more than true,--yes, Sir, true, and more than
true. I can demonstrate its truth by the words and correspondence of
General Greene, by the words and correspondence of Governor Matthews,
General Barnwell, General Marion, Judge Johnson, Dr. Ramsay, the
historian, Mr. Gadsden, Mr. Burk, Mr. Huger, and her Representatives,
who came to Congress and asked the nation to relieve her from her
portion of the common burdens, because it was necessary for her men
to stay at home to keep her negro slaves in subjection. These sons of
South Carolina have given to the world the indisputable evidence that
Slavery impaired the power of that State in the War of Independence.

“The Senator told us that South Carolina, which furnished one fifteenth
as many men as Massachusetts in the Revolution, ‘shed hogsheads
of blood where Massachusetts shed gallons.’ That is one of the
extravagances of the Senator,--one of his loose expressions, absurd
and ridiculous to others,--one of that class of expressions which
justify Mr. Sumner in saying that ‘he cannot ope his mouth, but out
there flies a blunder.’ This is one of those characteristics of the
Senator which naturally arrested the attention of a speaker like Mr.
Sumner, accustomed to think accurately, to speak accurately, to write
accurately, and to be accurate in all his statements. I say that such
expressions as those in which the Senator from South Carolina has
indulged in reference to this matter are of the class in which he too
often indulges, and which brought from my colleague that remark at
which he takes so much offence.--But enough of this.

“Sir, the Senator from South Carolina has undertaken to assure the
Senate and the country to-day that he is not the aggressor. Here and
now I tell him that Mr. Sumner was not the aggressor,--that the Senator
from South Carolina was the aggressor. I will prove this declaration to
be true beyond all question. Mr. Sumner is not a man who desires to be
aggressive towards any one. He came into the Senate ‘a representative
man.’ His opinions were known to the country. He came here knowing
that there were but few in this body who could sympathize with him. He
was reserved and cautious. For eight months here he made no speeches
upon any question that could excite the animadversion even of the
sensitive Senator from South Carolina. He made a brief speech in favor
of the system of granting lands for constructing railways in the new
States, which the people of those States justly applauded; and I will
undertake to say that he stated the whole question briefly, fully, and
powerfully. He also made a brief speech welcoming Kossuth to the United
States. But, beyond the presentation of a petition, he took no steps to
press his earnest convictions upon the Senate; nor did he say anything
which could by possibility disturb the most excitable Senator.

“On the 28th day of July, 1852, after being in this body eight months,
Mr. Sumner introduced a proposition to repeal the Fugitive Slave Act.
Mr. Sumner and his constituents believed that act to be not only a
violation of the Constitution of the United States, and a violation
of all the safeguards of the Common Law which have been garnered
up for centuries to protect the rights of the people, but at war
with Christianity, humanity, and human nature,--an enactment that is
bringing upon this Republic the indignant scorn of the Christian and
civilized world. With these convictions, he proposed to repeal that
act, as he had a right to propose. He had made no speech. He rose and
asked the Senate to give him the privilege of making a speech. ‘Strike,
but hear,’ said he, using a quotation. I do not know that he gave
the authority for it. Perhaps the Senator from South Carolina will
criticise it as a plagiarism, as he has criticised another application
of a classical passage. Mr. Sumner asked the privilege of addressing
the Senate. The Senator from South Carolina, who now tells us that
he had been his friend, an old and veteran Senator here, instead of
feeling that Mr. Sumner was a member standing almost alone, with only
the Senator from New York [Mr. SEWARD], the Senator from New Hampshire
[Mr. HALE], and Governor Chase, of Ohio, in sympathy with him, objected
to his being heard. He asked Mr. Sumner, tauntingly, if he wished to
make an ‘oratorical display’? and talked about ‘playing the orator’ and
‘the part of a parliamentary rhetorician.’ These words, in their scope
and in their character, were calculated to wound the sensibilities
of a new member, and perhaps bring upon him what is often brought
on a member who maintains here the great doctrines of Liberty and
Christianity,--the sneer and the laugh under which men sometimes shrink.

“Thus was Mr. Sumner, _before he had ever uttered a word on the subject
of Slavery here_, arraigned by the Senator from South Carolina, not for
what he ever had said, but for what he intended to say; and the Senator
announced that he must oppose his speaking, because he would attack
South Carolina. Mr. Sumner quietly said that he had no such purpose;
but the Senator did not wish to allow him to ‘make the Senate the
vehicle of communication for his speech throughout the United States,
to wash deeper and deeper the channel through which flow the angry
waters of agitation.’

“Now I charge here on the floor of the Senate, and before the country,
that the Senator from South Carolina was the aggressor,--that he
arraigned, in language which no man can defend, my colleague, before he
ever uttered a word on this subject on the floor of the Senate, and in
the face of his express disclaimer that he had no purpose of alluding
to South Carolina. This was the beginning; other instances follow.

“Mr. Sumner made, in February, 1854, a speech on the Kansas-Nebraska
Bill; and I want to call the attention of the Senate to the manner in
which he opened that speech. No man will pretend, that, up to that
day, he had ever uttered a word here to which any, the most captious,
could take objection. He commenced this magnificent speech, which any
man within sound of my voice would have been proud to have uttered, by

    “‘I would not forget those amenities which belong to this
    place, and are so well calculated to temper the antagonism
    of debate; nor can I cease to remember, and to feel, that,
    amidst all diversities of opinion, we are the representatives
    of thirty-one sister republics, knit together by indissoluble
    ties, and constituting that Plural Unit which we all embrace by
    the endearing name of country.’

“Thus, on that occasion, by those words of kindness, did he commence
his speech; and he continued it to the end in that spirit. The effort
then made might be open to opposition by argument; but there is no
word there to wound the sensibilities of any Senator, or to justify
any personal bitterness. And yet this speech, so cautious and guarded,
and absolutely without any allusion to the Senator from South Carolina
or his State, brought down upon him the denunciations and assaults of
the Senator, who now complains that his own example has been in some
measure followed. I intend to hold that Senator to-day to the record.
Yes, Sir, I have his words, and I intend to hold him responsible for
them. I am accustomed to deal with facts, as that Senator will discover
before I close.

“A few days after this speech was delivered, the Senator from South
Carolina addressed the Senate,--then, as now, in a long speech, running
through two days. You will find his speech in the _Congressional
Globe_, Appendix, Vol. XXIX. pp. 232-240. Sir, you must read that
speech, read it all through, look at it carefully, consider its words
and its phrases, to understand the tone he evinced towards Mr. Sumner,
and towards Massachusetts, and the Northern men who stood with him.
I need not say that there were bitter words, taunting words, in the
speech. I was not here to listen to it; but we all know--and I say it
without meaning to give offence--that the Senator from South Carolina
is often more offensive in the manner which he exhibits, and he throws
more of contempt and more of ridicule in that manner than he can put in
his words,--and he is not entirely destitute of the ability of using
words in that connection.

“On page 232 we have the insinuation that Mr. Sumner is a ‘plunging
agitator,’--that is the phrase, ‘plunging agitator.’ That is a plunging
expression. I think it is one of those loose expressions that brought
down on the Senator the censure of my colleague the other day. Then
we have another insinuation,--that he is a ‘rhetorical advocate’; and
then these words: ‘He has not, in my judgment, spoken with the wisdom,
the judgment, and the responsibilities of a statesman.’ Now, Sir, I
doubt the propriety of applying to members of this body such phrases as
these, ‘plunging agitator,’ ‘rhetorical advocate,’ and then to say he
has not shown ‘the wisdom, the judgment, and the responsibilities of a

“On page 234 he says of Mr. Sumner: ‘It seems to me, that, if he wished
to write poetry, he would get a negro to sit for him.’ That is his
expression, and the report says it was followed by ‘laughter,’--whether
laughter at Mr. Sumner, or at the refined wit of the Senator from South
Carolina, I cannot say, not having been present.

“On page 236 he again alludes to a remark by Mr. Sumner, saying (to
quote his own words), ‘which I think even _common prudence or common
delicacy_ would have suggested to him that he ought not to have made.’

“On the same page, again alluding to Mr. Sumner, he says: ‘Our
Revolutionary fathers thought nothing of these _sickly distinctions_
which gentlemen use now to make the South odious.’

“Again, on the same page, alluding to other remarks of Mr. Sumner,
he says: ‘They may furnish materials for what I understand is a very
popular novel,--_Uncle Tom’s Cabin_. I have no doubt they may do this;
but I put it to the gentleman, _are his remarks true?_’ ‘Are his
remarks true?’ was the question, full of insolence and of accusation,
put to Mr. Sumner in the face of the Senate.

And again he says: ‘They dealt some hard licks, _but they are not true
as historical facts_.’

“So you will perceive Mr. Sumner was not the first man to raise this
question of truth and veracity on the floor of the Senate.

“On the same page the Senator from South Carolina made a misstatement
of a fact, which was promptly corrected by Mr. Sumner, and by General
Shields, then a member of the Senate.

“On page 237 there are insinuations made of ‘pseudo-philanthropy,’
and also insinuations of ‘_mere_ eloquence,--professions of
philanthropy,--a philanthropy of adoption more than affection.’
Yes, Sir, according to the Senator from South Carolina, the Senator
from Massachusetts, and those who think with him, have ‘adopted’
their philanthropy; it is not the ‘philanthropy of affection, but of
adoption,’--‘a philanthropy that professes much and does nothing, with
a long advertisement and short performance.’ These are expressive
words, and the Senator from South Carolina should remember that these
words, uttered with the peculiar forms which he affects, are anything
but calculated to be complimentary to my colleague or any other Senator.

“On the same page, allusions, which, from the context, are in the
nature of insinuations, are made against Mr. Sumner and his associates,
as to ‘those who stand aloof and hold up an ideal standard of morality,
emblazoned by imagination and sustained in ignorance, or _perhaps more
often planted by criminal ambition and heartless hypocrisy_.’ ‘Criminal
ambition and heartless hypocrisy’ are the terms used by the Senator
from South Carolina, in application to Senators on this floor, and to a
large portion of the country, which concurs with them!

“On page 239 he tauntingly speaks of a ‘machine,’ in reference to the
people who hold Mr. Sumner’s opinions, ‘oiled by Northern fanaticism.’
I do not know what kind of a machine that is,--a machine ‘oiled by
Northern fanaticism.’ The Senator who uses these phrases towards
members of this body, and towards a section of the Union, is a Senator
who tries to make us believe that he is a man who comprehends the whole
country and all its interests, and who has nothing in him of the spirit
of a sectional agitator! He takes great offence because my colleague
holds him up as one of the chieftains of sectional agitation. I think
my colleague is right,--that the Senator from South Carolina _is_ one
of the chieftains of a _sectionalism_ at war with the fundamental ideas
that underlie our democratic institutions, and at war with the repose
and harmony of the country.

“On page 234 he again talks about ‘sickly sentimentality,’ and he
charges that this ‘sickly sentimentality’ now governs the councils of
the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Yes, Sir, the Senator from South
Carolina makes five distinct assaults upon Massachusetts. Massachusetts
councils governed by sickly sentimentality! Sir, Massachusetts stands
to-day where she stood when the little squad assembled, on the 19th of
April, 1775, to fire the first gun of the Revolution. The sentiments
that brought those humble men to the little green at Lexington, and to
the bridge at Concord, which carried them up the slope of Bunker Hill,
and which drove forth the British troops from Boston, never again to
press the soil of Massachusetts,--that sentiment still governs the
councils of Massachusetts, and rules in the hearts of her people. The
feeling which governed the men of that glorious epoch of our history is
the feeling of the men of Massachusetts of to-day.

“Those sentiments of liberty and patriotism have penetrated the hearts
of the whole population of that Commonwealth. Sir, in that State, every
man, no matter what blood runs in his veins, or what may be the color
of his skin, stands up before the law the peer of the proudest that
treads her soil. This is the sentiment of the people of Massachusetts.
In equality before the law they find their strength. They know this to
be right, if Christianity is true,--and they will maintain it in the
future, as they have in the past; and the civilized world, the coming
generations, those who are hereafter to give law to the universe, will
pronounce that in this contest Massachusetts is right, inflexibly
right, and South Carolina, and the Senator from South Carolina, wrong.
The latter are maintaining the odious relics of a barbarous age and
civilization,--not the civilization of the New Testament,--not the
civilization that is now blessing and adorning the best portions of the

“On page 234 he says: ‘At the time of the passage of the law in
Massachusetts abolishing Slavery, pretty near all the grown negroes
disappeared somewhere; and, as the historian expresses it, the little
negroes were left there, without father or mother, and with hardly a
God,--were sent about as puppies, to be taken by those who would feed

“Now, Sir, the Constitution of Massachusetts was framed and went into
operation in 1780. The Supreme Court decided, that, by the provisions
of that Constitution, slaves could not be held as bondmen in the
Commonwealth. Slavery was abolished by judicial decision,--abolished at
once, without limitation, without time to send men out of the State.
It may be that some mean Yankee in Massachusetts--and God never made a
meaner man than a mean Yankee [_laughter_]--may have hurried his slave
out of that Commonwealth, and sold him into bondage. But Massachusetts,
by one stroke of the pen of the Supreme Court, abolished Slavery
forever in that State, and the slaves became freemen. They and their
descendants are there to-day, as intelligent as the average people of
the United States, many of them being men that grace and adorn the
State, which, by just and equal laws, protects them in the enjoyment of
all their rights,--men whom I am proud here to call my constituents,
and some of whom I recognize as my friends.

“On page 236 he introduced statistics into his speech, in regard
to pauperism, insanity, and drunkenness, in disparagement of
Massachusetts. This introduction called up Mr. Everett to respond for
his State; and if gentlemen are anxious to know what he said, they have
but to turn to the debates of that day, and read the words of a man
always to be comprehended, whatever his opinions may be.

“On page 240 it will be found that the Senator from South Carolina
asserts that Massachusetts has been an ‘anti-nigger State.’ This is
the classic phrase of the Senator from South Carolina. He said that
Massachusetts was an ‘anti-nigger State,’ and that, ‘when she had to
deal with these classes of persons practically, her philanthropy became
very much attenuated.’ Attenuated philanthropy! These are the words
of the Senator who never makes assaults, who is never the aggressor!
They were in reply to a speech which made no personal assault upon the
Senator or upon his State. These remarks were made in regard to the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

“And again, still anxious to make his lunge at Massachusetts, on page
240 he repeats the accusation that Massachusetts ‘treated her little
slaves as puppies.’

“To all these _personal_ allusions of the Senator Mr. Sumner made no
reply. He did reply for his State, and replied fully, as the occasion
required, and in a manner contrasting by its moderation and its decency
with that of the Senator from South Carolina. I have references to
other passages in that speech by the Senator from South Carolina, but
I shall not weary the Senate by quoting them. They are of the same
nature and character. In this same speech, however, not content with
assailing Mr. Sumner, he went on to attack the honorable Senator from
New York [Mr. SEWARD], and he compared him to ‘the condor, that soars
in the frozen regions of ethereal purity, yet lives on garbage and
putrefaction.’ This is the language of an honorable Senator, who prides
himself upon his elegant diction, and whose friends plume themselves
upon the exceeding care with which he turns his phrases in debate.

“For some time I have been giving elegant extracts from a single speech
of the Senator from South Carolina. I come here to another. On the
14th of March, 1854, he assailed the three thousand clergymen of New
England who had sent their remonstrance here against the passage of
the Nebraska Bill. He declared ‘they deserved the grave censure of the
Senate.’ Sir, I have great respect for the Senate of the United States,
and I have respect for these three thousand clergymen. I suppose they
care more for their own opinions, and the approbation of their own
consciences, than even for the grave censure of this Senate.

“He then went on to make use of one of those loose expressions for
which Mr. Sumner censured him the other day so severely. He employed
this language: ‘I venture to say that they [the clergymen] never saw
the memorial they sent’: thus directly charging the religious teachers
of our country with palming on the Senate a spurious document.

“To this attack of the Senator from South Carolina, and others, on the
clergy of New England, a portion of Mr. Sumner’s reply may be given, as
an illustration of the parliamentary character and perfect temper of
his discourse.

    “‘There are men in this Senate justly eminent for eloquence,
    learning, and ability, but there is no man here competent,
    except in his own conceit, to sit in judgment on the clergy of
    New England. Honorable Senators who have been so swift with
    criticism and sarcasm might profit by their example. _Perhaps
    the Senator from South Carolina_ [Mr. BUTLER], _who is not
    insensible to scholarship, might learn from them something of
    its graces_. Perhaps the Senator from Virginia [Mr. MASON], who
    finds no sanction under the Constitution for any remonstrance
    from clergymen, might learn from them something of the
    privileges of an American citizen. Perhaps the Senator from
    Illinois [Mr. DOUGLAS], who precipitated this odious measure
    upon the country, might learn from them something of political

“But this history of personalities is not complete. One of the greatest
outbreaks is yet to come.

“On the 22d June, 1854, my predecessor, Mr. Rockwell, presented a
memorial, signed by three thousand citizens of Boston, asking for the
immediate repeal of the Fugitive Slave Act. That memorial was severely
attacked, and Mr. Sumner rose to vindicate it. He was followed by the
Senator from South Carolina, who made a succession of assaults and

“Among other things, he characterized Mr. Sumner’s speech as ‘a species
of rhetoric which is intended to feed the fires of _fanaticism_ which
he has helped to kindle in his own State,--a species of rhetoric which
is not becoming the gravity of this body.’

“And again, on the same page, the Senator says: ‘When gentlemen rise
and _flagrantly misrepresent_ history, as that gentleman has done, by
a Fourth-of-July oration, by vapid rhetoric, by a species of rhetoric
which, I am sorry to say, ought not to come from a scholar, a rhetoric
with more fine color than real strength, I become impatient under it.’

“Here, it will be observed, is a direct charge that Mr. Sumner had
_flagrantly misrepresented_ history, that his speech was ‘vapid
rhetoric’ and ‘a Fourth-of-July oration.’ The Senator displays great
sensibility because Mr. Sumner charges him, in guarded phrase,
with a ‘deviation from truth, with so much of passion as to save
him from the suspicion of intentional aberration.’ And yet, with
unblushing assurance, he openly charges Mr. Sumner with _flagrant
misrepresentation_, without any of that apology of passion which Mr.
Sumner conceded to him. Nor is this the first or the last time in which
the Senator did this.

“Again, on the same page, he insinuates that Mr. Sumner was ‘a
rhetorician playing a part.’ This is a favorite idea of the polite
Senator. And yet again, on page 1517, first column, he breaks forth
in insinuations against Mr. Sumner, as follows: ‘I do not want any
of these flaming speeches here, calculated to excite merely, to feed
a flame without seeing where it shall extend. No, Sir: do not let us
involve the country in a contest to be decided by mobs infuriated by
_the flaming speeches of servile orators_.’

“Then follows a passage which can be appreciated only by giving it at

    “‘I have said I am perfectly willing, so far as I am concerned,
    to let the memorial be referred; but I wish to ask the
    honorable Senator from Massachusetts who presented it [Mr.
    ROCKWELL] a question, and I believe, from the impression which
    he made on me to-day, that he will answer it. If we repeal the
    Fugitive Slave Law, will the honorable Senator tell me that
    Massachusetts will execute the provision of the Constitution
    without any law of Congress? Suppose we should take away all
    laws, and devolve upon the different States the duties that
    properly belong to them, I would ask that Senator, whether,
    under the prevalence of public opinion there, Massachusetts
    would execute that provision as one of the constitutional
    members of this Union? Would they send fugitives back to us,
    after trial by jury, or any other mode? Will this honorable
    Senator [Mr. SUMNER] tell me that he will do it?

    “‘MR. SUMNER. Does the honorable Senator ask me if I would
    personally join in sending a fellow-man into bondage? “Is thy
    servant a dog, that he should do this thing?”

    “‘MR. BUTLER. _These are the prettiest speeches that I ever
    heard._ [_Laughter._] He has them turned down in a book by him,
    I believe, and he has them so elegantly fixed that I cannot
    reply to them. [_Laughter._] _They are too delicate for my
    use._ [_Renewed laughter._] _They are beautiful things_, made
    in a factory of rhetoric, somewhat _of a peculiar shape_, but,
    I must be permitted to say, not of a definite texture. Now what
    does he mean by talking about his not being a dog? [_Continued
    laughter._] What has that to do with the Constitution, or the
    constitutional obligations of a State? [_Laughter._] _Well,
    Sir, it was a beautiful sentiment, no doubt, as he thought,
    and perhaps he imagined he expressed it with Demosthenian
    abruptness and eloquence._ [_Laughter._] I asked him whether he
    would execute the Constitution of the United States, without
    any Fugitive Slave Law, and he answered me, is he a dog----

    “‘MR. SUMNER. The Senator asked me if I would help to reduce a
    fellow-man to bondage. I answered him.

    “‘MR. BUTLER. Then you would not obey the Constitution. Sir
    [_turning to Mr._ SUMNER], standing here before this tribunal,
    where you swore to support it, _you rise and tell me that you
    regard it the office of a dog to enforce it. You stand in my
    presence, as a coëqual Senator, and tell me that it is a dog’s
    office to execute the Constitution of the United States?_

    “‘MR. PRATT. Which he has sworn to support.

    “‘MR. SUMNER. I recognize no such obligation.

    “‘MR. BUTLER. I know you do not. _But nobody cares about
    your recognitions as an individual; but as a Senator, and a
    constitutional representative, you stand differently related to
    this body._ But enough of this.’

“This attack upon Mr. Sumner is without a parallel in the records
of the Senate. But the Senator from South Carolina was not alone
in this outrage. He was assisted, I regret to say, by other
Senators,--particularly by the Senator from Virginia [Mr. MASON], by
the then Senator from Indiana [Mr. PETTIT]; but I do not quote their
words, for I am now dealing with the Senator from South Carolina.

“To all these Mr. Sumner replied fully and triumphantly, in a speech
which, though justly severe throughout, was perfectly parliamentary,
and which was referred to at that time, and has been often mentioned
since, as a specimen of the greatest severity, united with perfect
taste and propriety.

“The above imputation which had been heaped upon him, with regard
to the Constitution, was completely encountered, and his position
vindicated by the authority of Andrew Jackson, and the still earlier
authority of Thomas Jefferson. On this point no attempt has ever been
made to answer him.

“In the course of this speech, alluding to the Senator from South
Carolina, Mr. Sumner used words which I now adopt, not only for myself
on this occasion, but also as an illustration of his course in this

    “‘It is he, then, who is the offender. For myself, Sir, I
    understand the sensibilities of Senators from “slaveholding
    communities,” and would not wound them by a superfluous word.
    Of Slavery I speak strongly, as I must; but thus far, even
    at the expense of my argument, I have avoided the contrasts,
    founded on details of figures and facts, which are so obvious,
    between the Free States and “slaveholding communities”;
    especially have I shunned all allusion to South Carolina. But
    the venerable Senator, to whose discretion that State has
    entrusted its interests here, will not allow me to be still.
    God forbid that I should do injustice to South Carolina!’

“But the Senator from South Carolina was not to be silenced or
appeased. He still returned to those personalities which flow so
naturally and unconsciously from his lips. The early, bitter, personal
assaults were repeated. He charged Mr. Sumner’s speech with being
‘unfair in statement.’ This is one of the delicate accusations of
the Senator. The next is bolder. He charged Mr. Sumner as ‘guilty
of historical perversion.’ Pray, with what face, after this, can he
complain of my colleague? But he seems determined still to press
this imputation in the most offensive form, for he next charges my
colleague with ‘_historical falsehood_, which the gentleman has
committed in the fallacy of his _sectional_ vision.’ It would be
difficult to accumulate into one phrase more offensive suggestions; and
yet the Senator now complains that he has had administered to him what
he has so often employed himself.

“All these are understood to have been accompanied by a manner more
offensive than the words.

“In these extracts you will see something of the Senator’s insolence,
in contrast with the quiet manner of Mr. Sumner, who, while defending
his position, was perfectly parliamentary.

“Other passages from the speech of the Senator might be quoted; but the
patience of the Senate is wellnigh exhausted by this long exhibition of
personalities; therefore I will content myself with only one more. Here
it is.

    “‘I know, Sir, he said the other day that all he said was
    the effusion of an impulsive heart. But it was the effusion
    of his drawer. Talk to me about the effusions of the heart!
    What kind of effusions are those which escape from tables,
    from papers played like cards sorted for the purpose? They
    are weapons prepared by contribution, and discharged in this
    body with a view of gratifying the feelings of resentment and
    malice,--with a view of wounding the pride of the State which I
    represent, and through her to stab the reputation of the other
    Southern States. _But, Sir, we are above the dangers of open
    combat, and cannot be hurt by the assaults even of attempted

“‘We cannot be hurt by attempted assassination,’ exclaims the Senator
from South Carolina!

“‘Attempted assassination’?

“It ill becomes the Senator from South Carolina to use these words in
connection with Massachusetts or the North. The arms of Massachusetts
are Freedom, Justice, Truth. Strong in these, she is not driven to the
necessity of resorting to ‘attempted assassination,’ either in or out
of the Senate.

“But the whole story is not yet told. I wish to refer to another
assault made by the Senator, which I witnessed myself a few days after
I took a seat in this body. On the 23d of February, 1855, on one of the
last days of the last session, to the bill introduced by the Senator
from Connecticut [Mr. TOUCEY] Mr. Sumner moved an amendment providing
for the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Act. He made some remarks in
support of that proposition. The Senator from South Carolina followed
him, saying, ‘I would ask him one question, which he, perhaps, will not
answer _honestly_.’ Mr. Sumner said, ‘I will answer any question.’ The
Senator went on to ask questions, and received his answers; and then
he said, speaking of Mr. Sumner, ‘I know he is not a tactician, and I
shall not take advantage of the infirmity of a man who does not know
half his time exactly what he is about.’ This is indeed extraordinary
language for the Senator from South Carolina to apply to the Senator
from Massachusetts. I witnessed that scene. I then deemed the language
insulting: the manner was more so. I hold in my hands the remarks of
the _Louisville Journal_, a Southern press, upon this scene. I shall
not read them to the Senate, for I do not wish to present anything
which the Senator may even deem offensive. I will say, however, that
his language and his deportment to my colleague on that occasion were
aggressive and overbearing in the extreme. And this is the Senator who
never makes assaults! But not content with assaulting Mr. Sumner, he
winds up his speech by a taunt at ‘Boston philanthropy.’ Surely, no
person ever scattered assault more freely.

“I have almost done. But something has occurred this session which
illustrates the Senator’s manner. Not content with making his own
speeches, he interrupted the Senator from Missouri [Mr. GEYER], and
desired him to insert in his speech an assault on Massachusetts. Here
are his words.

    “‘I wish my friend would incorporate into his speech an old
    law of Massachusetts which I have found. I would remind my
    friend of an old league between the four New England States,
    made while they were colonies, expressly repudiating trial by
    jury for the reclamation of fugitive slaves. They called them
    “slaves,” too, or rather “fugitive servants”; and they say they
    shall be delivered up on the certificate of one magistrate.’

“Here is another instance of the Senator’s looseness of assertion,
even on law, upon the knowledge of which he has plumed himself in this
debate. Sir, there were no slaves in Massachusetts at that day. The
law alluded to was passed in 1643. It was not until 1646, three years
afterward, that the first slaves were imported into Massachusetts from
the coast of Africa, and these very slaves were sent back to their
native land at public expense. The following is a verbatim copy of the
remarkable statute by which these Africans were returned to Guinea, at
the expense of the Commonwealth.

    “‘The General Court, conceiving themselves bound by the
    first opportunity to bear witness against the heinous and
    crying sin of man-stealing, as also to prescribe _such timely
    redress for what is past, and such a law for the future, at may
    sufficiently deter all others belonging to us to have to do in
    such vile and most odious courses, justly abhorred of all good
    and just men_, do order that the negro interpreter, with others
    unlawfully taken, be, by the first opportunity, at the charge
    of the country for present, sent to his native country of
    Guinea, and a letter with him, of the indignation of the Court
    thereabouts, and justice hereof.’

“In the face of this Act of 1646, the learned Senator from South
Carolina wished his friend from Missouri to incorporate into his speech
a false accusation against Massachusetts and the New England colonies.
And he went so far as to assert that this old law contained an allusion
to ‘slaves,’ when the word ‘slaves’ was not mentioned, and ‘servants’
only was employed.

“Sir, I might here refer to the assault made by the Senator from South
Carolina on the Senator from Iowa [Mr. HARLAN], in which he taunted
that Senator with being a clergyman, and modestly told him, in the
face of the country, that ‘he understood Latin as well as that Senator
understood English.’

    [MR. BUTLER. I never taunted any gentleman with being a
    clergyman; and the Senator from Iowa will not say so. I said
    that I had respect for his vocation; but when he attempted to
    correct my speech, I put him right.]

MR. WILSON. “Whether it was a taunt or not, the Senator disclaims its
being so, and I accept the disclaimer; but I apprehend it was not
intended as a compliment to the Senator from Iowa, or that it was
received as such by that Senator, particularly when taken in connection
with the other taunting assumption of the Senator from South Carolina,
that he ‘understood Latin as well as that Senator understood English.’

“Thus has Mr. Sumner been by the Senator from South Carolina
systematically assailed in this body, from the 28th of July, 1852, up
to the present time,--a period of nearly four years. He has applied to
my colleague every expression calculated to wound the sensibilities
of an honorable man, and to draw down upon him sneers, obloquy, and
hatred, in and out of the Senate. In my place here, I now pronounce
these continued assaults upon my colleague unparalleled in the history
of the Senate.

       *       *       *       *       *

“I come now to speak for one moment of the late speech of my colleague,
which is the alleged cause of the recent assault upon him, and which
the Senator from South Carolina has condemned so abundantly. That
speech--a thorough and fearless exposition of what Mr. Sumner entitled
‘The Crime against Kansas’--from beginning to end is marked by entire
plainness. Things are called by their right names. The usurpation
in Kansas is exposed, and also the apologies for it, successively.
No words were spared which seemed necessary to the exhibition.
In arraigning the _Crime_, it was natural to speak of those who
sustained it. Accordingly, the Administration is constantly held up to
condemnation. Various Senators who have vindicated this Crime are at
once answered and condemned. Among these are the Senator from South
Carolina, the Senator from Illinois [Mr. DOUGLAS], the Senator from
Virginia [Mr. MASON], and the Senator from Missouri [Mr. GEYER]. The
Senator from South Carolina now complains of Mr. Sumner’s speech.
Surely, it is difficult to see on what ground that Senator can make any
such complaint. The speech was, indeed, severe,--severe as truth,--but
in all respects parliamentary. It is true that it handles the Senator
from South Carolina freely; but that Senator had spoken repeatedly in
the course of the Kansas debate, once at length and elaborately, and
at other times more briefly, and foisting himself into the speeches of
other Senators, and identifying himself completely with the Crime which
my colleague felt it his duty to arraign. It was natural, therefore,
that his course in the debate, and his position, should be particularly
considered. And in this work Mr. Sumner had no reason to hold back,
when he thought of the constant and systematic and ruthless attacks
which, utterly without cause, he had received from that Senator. The
only objection which the Senator from South Carolina can reasonably
make to Mr. Sumner is, that he struck a strong blow.

“The Senator complains that the speech was printed before it was
delivered. Here, again, is his accustomed inaccuracy. It is true that
it was in the printer’s hands, and was mainly in type; but it received
additions and revisions after its delivery, and was not put to press
till then. Away with this petty objection! The Senator says that twenty
thousand copies have gone to England. Here, again, is his accustomed
inaccuracy. If they have gone, it is without Mr. Sumner’s agency. But
the Senator foresees the truth. Sir, that speech will go to England;
it will go to the Continent of Europe; it has gone over the country,
and has been read by the American people as no speech ever delivered
in this body was read before. That speech will go down to coming ages.
Whatever men may say of its sentiments,--and coming ages will indorse
its sentiments,--it will be placed among the ablest parliamentary
efforts of our own age or of any age.

“The Senator from South Carolina tells us that the speech is to be
condemned, and he quotes the venerable and distinguished Senator
from Michigan [Mr. CASS]. I do not know what Mr. Sumner could stand.
The Senator says he could not stand the censure of the Senator from
Michigan. _I could_; and I believe there are a great many in this
country whose powers of endurance are as great as my own. I have great
respect for that venerable Senator; but the opinions of no Senator
here are potential in the country. This is a Senate of equals. The
judgment of the country is to be made up on the records formed here.
The opinions of the Senator from Michigan, and of other Senators here,
are to go into the record, and will receive the verdict of the people.
By that I am willing to stand.

“The Senator from South Carolina tells us that the speech is to be
condemned. It has gone out to the country. It has been printed by the
million. It has been scattered broadcast amongst seventeen millions
of Northern freemen who can read and write. The Senator condemns it;
South Carolina condemns it: but South Carolina is only a part of this
Confederacy, and but a part of the Christian and civilized world.
South Carolina makes rice and cotton, but South Carolina contributes
little to make up the judgment of the Christian and civilized world. I
value her rice and cotton more than I do her opinions on questions of
scholarship and eloquence, of patriotism or of liberty.

“Mr. President, I have no desire to assail the Senator from South
Carolina, or any other Senator in this body; but I wish to say now
that we have had quite enough of this asserted superiority, social and
political. We were told, some time ago, by the Senator from Alabama
[Mr. CLAY], that those of us who entertained certain sentiments fawned
upon him and other Southern men, if they permitted us to associate with
them. This is strange language to be used in this body. I never fawned
upon that Senator. I never sought his acquaintance,--and I do not know
that I should feel myself honored, if I had it. I treat him as an equal
here,--I wish always to treat him respectfully; but when he tells me
or my friends that we fawn upon him or his associates, I say to him
that I have never sought, and never shall seek, any other acquaintance
than what official intercourse requires with a man who declared, on the
floor of the Senate, that he would do what Henry Clay once said ‘no
gentleman could do,’--hunt a fugitive slave.

“The Senator from Virginia, not now in his seat [Mr. MASON], when
Mr. Sumner closed his speech, saw fit to tell the Senate that his
hands would be soiled by contact with ours. The Senator is not here:
I wish he were. I have simply to say that I know nothing in that
Senator, moral, intellectual, or physical, which entitles him to use
such language towards members of the Senate, or any portion of God’s
creation. I know nothing in the State from which he comes, rich as
it is in the history of the past, that entitles him to speak in such
a manner. I am not here to assail Virginia. God knows I have not a
feeling in my heart against her, or against her public men; but I do
say it is time that these arrogant assumptions ceased here. This is no
place for assumed social superiority, as though certain Senators held
the keys of cultivated and refined society. Sir, they do not hold the
keys, and they shall not hold over me the plantation whip.

“I wish always to speak kindly towards every man in this body. Since
I came here, I have never asked an introduction to a Southern member
of the Senate,--not because I have any feelings against them, for
God knows I have not; but I knew that they believed I held opinions
hostile to their interests, and I supposed they would not desire my
society. I have never wished to obtrude myself on their society, so
that certain Senators could do with me, as they have boasted they did
with others,--refuse to receive their advances, or refuse to recognize
them on the floor of the Senate. Sir, there is not a Coolie in the
Guano Islands of Peru who does not think the Celestial Empire the whole
Universe. There are a great many men who have swung the whip over the
plantation, who think they not only rule the plantation, but make up
the judgment of the world, and hold the keys not only to political
power, as they have done in this country, but to social life.

“The Senator from South Carolina assails the resolutions of my State,
with his accustomed looseness, as springing from ignorance, passion,
prejudice, excitement. Sir, the testimony before the House Committee
sustains all that is contained in those resolutions. Massachusetts has
spoken her opinions; and although the Senator has quoted the _Boston
Courier_ to-day,--and I would not rob him of any consolation he can
derive from that source,--I know Massachusetts, and I can tell him,
that, of the twelve hundred thousand people of Massachusetts, you
cannot find in the State one thousand, Administration office-holders
included, who do not look with loathing and execration upon the outrage
on the person of their Senator and the honor of their State. The
sentiment of Massachusetts, of New England, of the North, approaches
unanimity. Massachusetts has spoken her opinions. The Senator is
welcome to assail them, if he chooses; but they are on the record.
They are made up by the verdict of her people, and they understand the
question, and from their verdict there is no appeal.

       *       *       *       *       *

“Mr. President, I have spoken freely; I shall continue always to speak
freely. I seek no controversy with any man; but I shall express my
sentiments frankly, and the more frankly because on this floor my
colleague has been smitten down for words spoken in debate, and because
there are those who, unmindful of the Constitution of their country,
claim the right thus to question us.”



Under this head must be put the speech of Hon. Anson Burlingame,
afterwards so justly distinguished as the Minister of China, made in
the House of Representatives, June 21, 1856. Here is an extract.

    “But, Mr. Chairman, all these assaults upon the State of
    Massachusetts sink into insignificance, compared with the one I
    am about to mention. On the 19th of May it was announced that
    Mr. Sumner would address the Senate upon the Kansas question.
    The floor of the Senate, the galleries, and avenues leading
    thereto were thronged with an expectant audience; and many of
    us left our places in this House to hear the Massachusetts
    orator. To say that we were delighted with the speech we heard
    would but faintly express the deep emotions of our hearts
    awakened by it. I need not speak of the classic purity of its
    language, nor of the nobility of its sentiments. It was heard
    by many; it has been read by millions. There has been no such
    speech made in the Senate since the days when those Titans of
    American eloquence, the Websters and the Haynes, contended with
    each other for mastery.

    “It was severe, because it was launched against tyranny. It
    was severe as Chatham was severe, when he defended the feeble
    colonies against the giant oppression of the mother country.
    It was made in the face of a hostile Senate. It continued
    through the greater portion of two days; and yet, during that
    time, the speaker was not once called to order. This fact is
    conclusive as to the personal and parliamentary decorum of the
    speech. He had provocation enough. His State had been called
    ‘hypocritical.’ He himself had been called ‘a puppy,’ ‘a fool,’
    ‘a fanatic,’ and ‘a dishonest man.’ Yet he was parliamentary
    from the beginning to the end of his speech. No man knew better
    than he did the proprieties of the place, for he had always
    observed them. No man knew better than he did parliamentary
    law, because he had made it the study of his life. No man saw
    more clearly than he did the flaming sword of the Constitution
    turning every way, guarding all the avenues of the Senate. But
    he was not thinking of these things; he was not thinking then
    of the privileges of the Senate, nor of the guaranties of the
    Constitution. He was there to denounce tyranny and crime; and
    he did it. He was there to speak for the rights of an empire;
    and he did it bravely and grandly.

    “So much for the occasion of the speech. A word, and I shall be
    pardoned, about the speaker himself. He is my friend; for many
    and many a year I have looked to him for guidance and light,
    and I never looked in vain. He never had a personal enemy in
    his life; his character is as pure as the snow that falls on
    his native hills; his heart overflows with kindness for every
    being having the upright form of man; he is a ripe scholar, a
    chivalric gentleman, and a warm-hearted, true friend. He sat at
    the feet of Channing, and drank in the sentiments of that noble
    soul. He bathed in the learning and undying love of the great
    jurist, Story; and the hand of Jackson, with its honors and its
    offices, sought him early in life, but he shrank from them with
    instinctive modesty. Sir, he is the pride of Massachusetts.
    His mother Commonwealth found him adorning the highest
    walks of literature and law, and she bade him go and grace
    somewhat the rough character of political life. The people of
    Massachusetts--the old, and the young, and the middle-aged--now
    pay their full homage to the beauty of his public and private
    character. Such is Charles Sumner.

    “On the 22d day of May, when the Senate and the House had
    clothed themselves in mourning for a brother fallen in the
    battle of life in the distant State of Missouri, the Senator
    from Massachusetts sat in the silence of the Senate Chamber,
    engaged in the employments appertaining to his office, when
    a member from this House, who had taken an oath to sustain
    the Constitution, stole into the Senate, that place which had
    hitherto been held sacred against violence, and smote him as
    Cain smote his brother.

        [MR. KEITT (in his seat). That is false.

        MR. BURLINGAME. I will not bandy epithets with the
        gentleman. I am responsible for my own language. Doubtless
        he is responsible for his.

        MR. KEITT. I am.

        MR. BURLINGAME. I shall stand by mine.]

    “One blow was enough; but it did not satiate the wrath of
    that spirit which had pursued him through two days. Again and
    again, quicker and faster, fell the leaden blows, until he was
    torn away from his victim, when the Senator from Massachusetts
    fell in the arms of his friends, and his blood ran down on
    the Senate floor. Sir, the act was brief, and my comments
    on it shall be brief also. I denounce it in the name of the
    Constitution it violated. I denounce it in the name of the
    sovereignty of Massachusetts, which was stricken down by the
    blow. I denounce it in the name of civilization, which it
    outraged. I denounce it in the name of humanity. I denounce it
    in the name of that fair play which bullies and prize-fighters
    respect. What! strike a man when he is pinioned,--when he
    cannot respond to a blow? Call you that chivalry? In what code
    of honor did you get your authority for that? I do not believe
    that member has a friend so dear who must not, in his heart of
    hearts, condemn the act. Even the member himself, if he has
    left a spark of that chivalry and gallantry attributed to him,
    must loathe and scorn the act. God knows, I do not wish to
    speak unkindly or in a spirit of revenge; but I owe it to my
    manhood, and the noble State I in part represent, to express my
    deep abhorrence of the act.

    “But, much as I reprobate the act, much more do I reprobate the
    conduct of those who were by and saw the outrage perpetrated.
    Sir, especially do I notice the conduct of that Senator,
    recently from the free platform of Massachusetts, with the odor
    of her hospitality on him, who stood there, not only silent and
    quiet, while it was going on, but, when it was over, approved
    the act. And worse,--when he had time to cool, when he had
    slept on it, he went into the Senate Chamber of the United
    States, and shocked the sensibilities of the world by approving
    it. Another Senator did not take part because he feared his
    motives might be questioned, exhibiting as extraordinary a
    delicacy as that individual who refused to rescue a drowning
    mortal because he had not been introduced to him. [_Laughter._]
    Another was not on good terms; and yet, if rumor be true, that
    Senator has declared that himself and family are more indebted
    to Mr. Sumner than to any other man; yet, when he saw him
    borne bleeding by, he turned and went on the other side. O
    magnanimous Slidell! O prudent Douglas! O audacious Toombs!”

This speech drew from Mr. Brooks a challenge, which was promptly
accepted by Mr. Burlingame, who insisted upon these terms: “Weapons,
rifles; distance, twenty paces; place, District of Columbia; time of
meeting, the next morning.” Hon. L. D. Campbell, who acted as Mr.
Burlingame’s friend, substituted the Clifton House, Canada, for the
District of Columbia. The friends of Mr. Brooks, assuming that the
excitement growing out of the assault made it dangerous for him to
traverse the country, prevented the meeting from taking place.

       *       *       *       *       *

The following resolves were adopted by the Legislature of
Massachusetts, and duly presented to both Houses of Congress.

    “_Resolves concerning the recent Assault upon the Honorable
    Charles Sumner at Washington._

    “_Resolved_, By the Senate and House of Representatives of the
    Commonwealth of Massachusetts, that we have received with deep
    concern information of the recent violent assault committed
    in the Senate Chamber at Washington upon the person of the
    Honorable Charles Sumner, one of our Senators in Congress, by
    Preston S. Brooks, a member of the House of Representatives
    from South Carolina,--an assault which no provocation could
    justify, brutal and cowardly in itself, a gross breach of
    parliamentary privilege, a ruthless attack upon the liberty of
    speech, an outrage of the decencies of civilized life, and an
    indignity to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

    “_Resolved_, That the Legislature of Massachusetts, in the
    name of her free and enlightened people, demands for her
    representatives in the National Legislature entire _Freedom of
    Speech_, and will uphold them in the proper exercise of that
    essential right of American citizens.

    “_Resolved_, That we approve of Mr. Sumner’s manliness and
    courage in his earnest and fearless declaration of free
    principles and his defence of human rights and free territory.

    “_Resolved_, That the Legislature of Massachusetts is
    imperatively called upon by the plainest dictates of duty,
    from a decent regard to the rights of her citizens, and
    respect for her character as a sovereign State, to demand, and
    the Legislature of Massachusetts hereby does demand, of the
    National Congress, a prompt and strict investigation into the
    recent assault upon Senator Sumner, and the expulsion by the
    House of Representatives of Mr. Brooks of South Carolina, and
    any other member concerned with him in said assault.

    “_Resolved_, That his Excellency the Governor be requested to
    transmit a copy of the foregoing resolves to the President
    of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives,
    and to each of the Senators and Members of the House of
    Representatives from this Commonwealth, in the Congress of the
    United States.”

The Governor of New York addressed Mr. Sumner directly by letter as

                          “STATE OF NEW YORK, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT.
                                              ALBANY, MAY 28, 1856.


    “MY DEAR SIR,--From the moment the lightning flashed the
    intelligence of the barbarous and brutal assault made upon you
    by the sneaking, slave-driving scoundrel Brooks, the blood
    has tingled in my veins, and I have desired to express to
    you, not my abhorrence of the villain, for I could not find
    words adequate, but my personal sympathy for you, and, in
    their behalf, that of the people of this State (except a few
    ‘doughfaces,‘--we have still a very few, the breed is not yet
    quite extinct here),--assuring you that the hearts of our
    people are warmly and strongly with you, and that your noble
    and eloquent speech has already been very generally read by
    our citizens,--that it is not only entirely approved, but
    highly applauded,--and that its doctrines, sentiments, and
    expressions, and its author, will be _sustained_ and DEFENDED
    by the people of this State.

    “Ardently hoping for your recovery and speedy restoration to
    health, I have the honor to remain, with the highest regard,

        “Your friend and servant,

            “MYRON H. CLARK.”

Of the resolutions at public meetings a few only are presented.

The following, from the pen of William Lloyd Garrison, were adopted by
the New England Antislavery Society.

    “1. _Resolved_, That this Convention fully participates in
    the general feeling of indignation and horror which is felt
    in view of the recent dastardly and murderous assault made
    in the Senate Chamber at Washington upon the person of the
    distinguished Senator from Massachusetts, Hon. Charles Sumner,
    by a fitting Representative of and from the lawless State of
    South Carolina; that, whether regard be had to the place or to
    the manner in which it was committed, or to the position and
    character of the victim, an assault characterized by greater
    cowardice and ruffianism, or more daring in its contempt
    for all that is sacred in constitutional liberty, or more
    comprehensively malignant against the cause of human freedom,
    cannot be found on the page of history; that it indicates a
    conspiracy, on the part of the Slave Oligarchy, to ‘crush out’
    freedom of speech on the floor of Congress as effectually as
    it is done on the slave plantation, by putting in peril the
    life of every Northern Senator or Representative who shall
    dare to lift up a manly voice against Executive usurpation and
    border-ruffianism; and, therefore, that whoever shall attempt
    to find any justification, or to frame any apology for it, will
    reveal himself to be on a level with the base assailant of as
    pure and generous and noble a man as ever yet occupied a seat
    in our national legislature.

    “2. _Resolved_, That the speech made by Mr. Sumner, which
    has subjected him to this most brutal treatment, is a speech
    at any time worth dying for,--perfect in its conception,
    arrangement, and execution, conclusive in its argument and
    evidence, masterly in its exposure of Executive usurpation,
    sublime in its moral heroism, invincible in its truthfulness,
    just in its personal impeachment, unsurpassed in its eloquence,
    and glorious in its object; that, sealed with his blood, it
    shall quicken the pulses of millions now living to engage in a
    death-grapple with the Slave Power, and go down to posterity as
    a rich legacy to the cause of Universal Liberty.”

The following resolution was passed unanimously, at the meeting of
Ministers in Boston, immediately after the news of the assault.

    “_Resolved_, That the murderous assault upon our honored
    Senator, Charles Sumner, is not only a dastardly assault upon
    his person, and, through him, upon the right of free speech,
    but also a wound which we individually feel, and by which
    our very hearts bleed; and whether he shall recover, or sink
    into a martyr’s grave,--which may God avert!--we will address
    ourselves unto prayer and effort that this sorrowful event may
    become the glorious resurrection of national virtue, and the
    triumph of Freedom.”

At the Political Radical Abolition Convention, held at Syracuse, N. Y.,
May 28th and 29th, 1856, on motion of Lewis Tappan, the following was
unanimously adopted.

    “_Resolved_, That we hold in grateful admiration the character
    of the Hon. Charles Sumner; that we honor the splendid services
    he has rendered to the cause of Liberty; that we deeply
    sympathize with him in his present sufferings in consequence
    of the cowardly and brutal attack of the villain who dared to
    assault the intrepid advocate of the Slave in the American
    Senate Chamber; and that we hope and pray that Mr. Sumner’s
    valuable life will be spared until he shall witness the
    complete overthrow of the execrable system that now brutalizes
    our brethren in bondage, and brutalizes their oppressors, and
    disgraces our country.”

At New York there was a meeting immense in numbers and unprecedented in
character, of which George Griswold was Chairman. Among the speakers
were William C. Bryant, Daniel Lord, the eminent lawyer, Samuel
B. Ruggles, Charles King, President of Columbia College, Edwin B.
Morgan, John A. Stevens, Joseph Hoxie, and Henry Ward Beecher. The
following resolutions were moved by Hon. William M. Evarts, afterwards

    “_Whereas_ it has become certainly known to the citizens of New
    York, upon a formal investigation by a Committee of the Senate
    of the United States, and otherwise, that on the 22d day of
    May, instant, the Honorable Charles Sumner [_long, loud, and
    enthusiastic cheers_], Senator from Massachusetts, while in
    his seat in the Senate Chamber, was violently assaulted with a
    weapon of attack by Preston S. Brooks [_loud hisses and groans
    for Brooks_], a member of the House of Representatives from
    South Carolina, and beaten to insensibility upon the floor
    of the Senate, which was stained with his blood; that the
    assailant sought the Senate Chamber to perpetrate this outrage,
    provided with his weapon and attended by a follower in its aid,
    and, taking his unarmed victim unawares and in a posture which
    renders defence impossible, by a heavy blow utterly disabled
    him, and with cruel repetition inflicted frequent and bloody
    wounds upon his prostrate, helpless form, with which wounds
    Senator Sumner now languishes in peril of his life; that the
    sole reason alleged for this violent outrage was a speech made
    by Senator Sumner in debate upon a public question then pending
    in the Senate, no word of which was, during its delivery, made
    the subject of objection by the President of the Senate or
    any Senator, and which was concluded on the 20th day of May,
    instant: Now, at a public meeting of citizens of New York,
    convened without distinction of party [_applause_], and solely
    in reference to the public event above recited, it is

    “_Resolved_, That we sincerely and respectfully tender our
    sympathy to Senator Sumner in the personal outrage inflicted
    upon him, and the anguish and peril which he has suffered and
    still suffers from that outrage, and that we feel and proclaim
    that his grievance and his wounds are not of private concern
    [_cheers_], but were received in the public service, and every
    blow which fell upon his head we recognize and resent as an
    insult and injury to our honor and dignity as a people, and a
    vital attack upon the Constitution of the Union. [_Loud cheers
    and applause._]

    “_Resolved_, That we discover no trace or trait, either in
    the meditation, the preparation, or the execution of this
    outrage by Preston S. Brooks [_loud hisses and groans for
    Brooks_], which should qualify the condemnation with which
    we now pronounce it _brutal, murderous, and cowardly_.
    [_Continued cheers, and cries of ‘Read it again!’ Mr. Evarts
    repeated the last clause. Voices,--‘Yes, cowardly! that’s the
    word!--cowardly!’ Another voice,--‘Now let him send another


    “_Resolved_, That we have witnessed with unmixed astonishment
    and the deepest regret the clear, bold, exulting espousal of
    the outrage, and justification and honor of its perpetrator,
    exhibited by Senators and Representatives of the Slave States,
    without distinction of party, in their public places, and by
    the public press, without distinction of party, in the same
    portion of our country, and that, _upon the present state
    of the evidence_, we are forced most unwillingly to the sad
    conclusion that the general community of the Slave States is
    in complicity in feeling and principle with the system of
    intimidation and violence, for the suppression of freedom
    of speech and of the press, of which the assault on Senator
    Sumner is the most signal, but not the singular instance.
    [_Applause._] That we sincerely hope, that, on fuller and
    calmer consideration, the public men and public press and the
    general community of the Slave States will give us a distinct
    manifestation of their sentiments which will enable us, too, to
    reconsider our present judgment. [_Applause._]”

At this meeting the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher spoke as follows.

    “Had Mr. Sumner been a man of war, or a man of brawling words,
    had he been any other than what he was, the case could not
    have been so strong. I know not that there would have been
    found throughout all the land one man so fit to be offered up
    as a sacrifice for Liberty, a man so worthy to be offered up
    on the great altar of our country. [_Applause._] No aspiring
    politician has he been. His past career has not been marked by
    ambitious clutchings. A lawyer by profession, but a scholar by
    instinct,--a man of refined ideas, of social taste,--he was
    seized by one of those sudden gusts of popular feeling which
    break out occasionally in all our Free States, and elected to
    the Senate of the United States. While his election was yet
    pending, I had the pleasure of conversation with him in his
    office, I being a clergyman, and confessor on that occasion
    [_laughter_], and he told me the secrets of his heart. I am
    sure, that, although not without honorable and manly ambition,
    this man had no desire for that position. Since he has been
    in Washington, his course has been that which became a man,
    a Christian, a gentleman, a statesman, and a scholar. He has
    everywhere not merely observed the rules of decorum, but, with
    true chivalry, with the lowliest gentleness, he has maintained
    himself void of offence, so that the only complaint which I
    have ever heard of Senator Sumner has been this, that he, by
    his shrinking and sensitive nature, was not fit for the ‘rough
    and tumble’ of politics in our day.…

    “Mr. Sumner had no other weapon in his hand than his pen. Ah,
    Gentlemen, here we have it! The symbol of the North is the pen;
    the symbol of the South is the bludgeon.”

At a public meeting in Canandaigua, of which Hon. Francis Granger,
Postmaster-General under President Harrison, was Chairman, the
following resolutions were adopted.

    “1. _Resolved_, That in this premeditated and brutal attack
    upon Senator Sumner, for words spoken by him in legislative
    debate, and in the conscientious discharge of his public duty,
    we behold not only a malignant outrage upon the person of a
    distinguished public servant, but also a wanton violation of
    the right of freedom of speech,--a right which is guarantied to
    every Representative, and through him to his constituents, by
    the express provisions of the Constitution,--a right without
    which the office of the legislator would be powerless and the
    liberties of the people would become extinct, and which is
    therefore ‘inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.’

    “2. _Resolved_, That, participating in the righteous
    indignation which was recently expressed by thousands of
    freemen assembled in the city of New York, ‘we discover no
    trace or trait, either in the meditation, the preparation,
    or the execution of this outrage, which should qualify the
    condemnation with which we now pronounce it _brutal, murderous,
    and cowardly_.’


    “5. _Resolved_, That to the Hon. Charles Sumner, the man of
    pure and generous qualities, the accomplished scholar, the
    distinguished lawyer, and the able and eloquent Senator, we
    respectfully and sincerely offer our sympathies in the pain and
    peril which he has suffered and is still suffering from this
    despicable assault; and we earnestly hope that his restoration
    to health may be speedy and complete, and that he may long be
    spared to vindicate the great popular rights at which the blows
    inflicted upon him were aimed.”

At Providence, Rhode Island, there was a public meeting, in which the
most distinguished citizens took part. Among the able speakers was the
Rev. Dr. Hedge, who said, among other things:--

    “I have heard of crimes which betoken greater pravity of heart,
    but never have I heard or read of an act more flagitious in
    its open defiance of sacred rights, in its ruthless disregard
    of all humane sentiment and shameless violation of decency and
    order. We shall form a more just conception of the outrage by
    viewing it abstractedly from any interest we may feel in it as
    fellow-citizens of the parties concerned. Suppose we had read,
    among the items of recent transatlantic intelligence, that
    Count Buol, at the Peace Congress in Paris, offended by some
    expression of the Earl of Clarendon, had felled him to the
    ground with murderous blows. Imagine what a thrill of horror
    would have struck through the heart of Europe, and how the
    wrath of the nations would have chased the perpetrator of such
    an act from the face of the earth. Or suppose Mr. Hume, of the
    British Commons, had entered the House of Lords, and beaten
    Lord Brougham with a club until he was borne senseless from the
    spot. “With what confidence should we look to be advised by
    the next steamer that the culprit had been doomed to expiate
    his crime by the direst penalty which the laws of England have
    provided!--if, indeed, the English law has made any provision
    for such a case, and not rather, as the law of the Roman
    Commonwealth did the crime of parricide, left it unprovided
    for, as an impossible, unsupposable enormity.

    “One supposition more. Conceive the situation of the parties
    in the case before us reversed. Suppose Senator Butler, who
    has said severer things of Mr. Sumner than Mr. Sumner of him,
    to have been the victim, and some member from Massachusetts,
    perhaps a far-away cousin of Mr. Sumner, to have been the
    aggressor. Does any one here present imagine that the ‘gallant
    relative’ in that case would be going about unmolested on a
    paltry bail of five hundred dollars? If the trusty bowie-knife
    or omnipresent revolver of Southern chivalry did not otherwise
    dispose of him, does any one doubt that the summary and prompt
    vengeance of Congress and the law would have been demanded by
    one side and conceded by the other?”

Here is a brief extract from the speech of Rev. Dr. Wayland.

    “The question before us is simply, whether you, here and now,
    consent to this change in our form of government, and accept
    the position which it assigns to you,--and whether you agree
    to transmit to your children this precious inheritance? For
    myself, I must decline the arrangement. I was born free, and I
    cannot be made a slave. I bow before the universal intelligence
    and conscience of my country, and when I think this defective,
    I claim the privilege of using my poor endeavors to enlighten
    it. But to submit my reason to the bludgeon of a bully or the
    pistol of an assassin I cannot; nor can I tamely behold a step
    taken which leads inevitably to such a consummation.

    “You see that I consider this as a case of unusual solemnity.
    It becomes us to deliberate wisely, to resolve in view of the
    future as well as the past, and prepare ourselves to carry our
    resolutions out to all their legitimate conclusions, and, in
    doing this, to pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes,
    and our sacred honor.”

At a public meeting in Chapman Hall, Boston, immediately after the
assault, Wendell Phillips said:--

    “Nobody needs now to read this speech of Charles Sumner to know
    whether it is good. We measure the amount of the charge by the
    length of the rebound. [_Cheers._] When the spear, driven to
    the quick, makes the Devil start up in his own likeness, we
    may be sure it is the spear of Ithuriel. [_Great applause._]
    That is my way of measuring the speech which has produced this
    glorious result. Oh, yes, glorious! for the world will yet
    cover every one of those scars with laurels. [_Enthusiastic
    cheering._] Sir, he _must_ not die! We need him yet, as the
    vanguard leader of the hosts of Liberty. No, he shall yet
    come forth from that sick-chamber, and every gallant heart in
    the Commonwealth be ready to kiss his very footsteps. [_Loud


    “Perhaps, Mr. Chairman and fellow-citizens, I am wrong; but I
    accept that speech of my loved and honored friend, and with an
    unmixed approbation,--read it with envious admiration,--take
    it all. [_Cheers._] Yes, what word is there in it that any one
    of us would not have been proud to utter? Not one! [_Great
    applause._] In utter scorn of the sickly taste, of the
    effeminate scholarship, that starts back, in delicate horror,
    at a bold illustration, I dare to say there is no animal God
    has condescended to make that man may not venture to name.
    [_Applause._] And if any ground of complaint is supposable in
    regard to this comparison, which shocks the delicacy of some
    men and some presses, it is the animal, not Mr. Douglas, that
    has reason to complain. [_Thunders of applause, renewed again
    and again._]


    “Mr. Chairman, there are some characters whose worth is so
    clear and self-evident, so tried and approved, so much without
    flaw, that we lay them on the shelf,--and when we hear of
    any act attributed to them, no matter in what doubtful terms
    it be related, we judge the single act by the totality of
    the character, by our knowledge of the whole man, letting
    a lifetime of uprightness explain a doubtful hour. Now,
    with regard to our honored Senator, we know that his taste,
    intellect, and heart are all of this quality,--a total,
    unflawed gem; and I know, when we get the full and complete
    report of what he said, the _ipsissima verba_ in which it was
    spoken, that the most fastidious taste of the most delicate
    scholar will not be able to place finger on a word of Charles
    Sumner which the truest gentleman would not gladly indorse.
    [_Loud cheers._] I place the foot of my uttermost contempt on
    those members of the press of Boston that have anything to say
    in criticism of his language, while he lies thus prostrate and
    speechless,--our champion beaten to the ground for the noblest
    word Massachusetts ever spoke in the Senate. [_Prolonged

A great meeting in Faneuil Hall was remarkable for the speeches, of
which a few extracts are given.

His Excellency, Henry J. Gardner, at the time Governor of
Massachusetts, said:--

    “Were this a party occasion, my feet would not be upon this
    platform; were this to stir up sectional animosity or promote
    local discord, my voice would never reverberate from these
    arches above my head; but when the State of Massachusetts is
    attacked in one of her dearest rights, one of her most glorious
    privileges, I should be recreant to my duty, I should be false
    to my trust, as every one who hears me would be, did I not
    protest against this infraction of our common rights. I wish,
    my friends, in order to give the greatest moral weight possible
    to this meeting, to give its proceedings the most cogent force,
    to assume in the outset that this case can in no wise, in no
    way, and under no consideration, be considered anything but a
    spontaneous expression of the sentiments of gentlemen of every
    party in the State of Massachusetts upon this question. The
    last time the eloquent and honorable Senator of Massachusetts
    addressed his fellow-citizens of Boston, he stood where I now
    stand, on the eve of the election in November last; and here,
    he being a Senator of Massachusetts in the Congress of the
    United States, and I being Governor of the Commonwealth of
    Massachusetts, he indulged in what he honestly believed to be
    facts and statements in regard to those of my friends who were
    striving to place me again in the post I then occupied, using
    no unfair, but only honest statements of the views he held;
    and he being still a Senator from Massachusetts, and I again
    her Governor, and this being the first time since then that
    my voice has been heard in Faneuil Hall, while I lament most
    deeply the circumstance which has called us together, I rejoice
    that it gives me an opportunity to rise superior to party
    feelings, to party bias, and to express my sentiments that we
    must stand by him who is the representative of Massachusetts,
    under all circumstances. [_Loud cheers._] And while he
    represents the old Commonwealth in the United States Senate, in
    the performance of his constitutional duties as he understands
    them, I will, so help me Heaven, do all in my humble ability to
    strengthen his arm and encourage his heart. [_Loud applause._]”

Hon. George S. Hillard said:--

    “But now, when I read of this event in the Senate, of this
    assault upon Sumner, it seemed to me it was a very bad specimen
    of a very bad school. [_Laughter._] And all of us were affected
    in the same manner, upon reading the account. What was our
    first exclamation? Not that it was an inhuman outrage, or
    a brutal outrage, but that it was cowardly. I say that the
    cowardliness of this attack stands out even more conspicuous,
    to my eye, than its brutality or its inhumanity. To approach
    a man imprisoned, tied hand and foot, as it were, between an
    arm-chair and a desk, and to strike him over the head without
    warning or immediate provocation, a stunning, deadly blow
    with a bludgeon, is, in my opinion, the act of an assassin.
    [_Applause._] And I say, that, compared to such an act, the act
    of the man who meets me on the high-road, and horsewhips, or at
    least attempts to horsewhip me [_laughter_], soars to something
    like manliness and courage. [_Cheers._]”

Hon. Peleg W. Chandler said:--

    “For more than twenty years, Mr. President and fellow-citizens,
    I have been on terms of the closest intimacy with Charles
    Sumner. For more than one half that period I have been his
    political opponent. It is precisely because I have been, and
    now am, his personal friend, and it is precisely because I have
    been, and now am, his political opponent, that I have come
    here to-night,--not with the intention of speaking upon this
    platform, but to listen to the voices of those who are his
    political as well as personal friends, in relation to the great
    outrage which has brought a stain upon our country.

    “I have heard here, Gentlemen, a great deal of sympathy
    expressed for Mr. Sumner. As his personal friend, I beg to say
    that that feeling is entirely uncalled for, if not to some
    extent misplaced. Have sympathy for the great martyrs of the
    past, for those who wear the civic crown, if you will,--but I
    tell you that that gentleman in Washington who now lies upon a
    bed of pain, whose life it may be is hanging in the balance,
    needs no sympathy from us. Every drop of blood shed by him in
    this disgraceful affair has raised up ten thousand armed men.
    [_Applause._] Every gash upon that forehead will be covered
    with a political crown, let it be resisted as much as it may
    be resisted, here or elsewhere. [_Loud cheers._] This matter
    is raised far above and beyond all personal considerations.
    It is a matter of trifling consequence to Mr. Sumner. It
    makes those who love him love him more,--and no man is more
    loved, or more to be considered, so far as the affections or
    friendship are concerned. Yet personal feelings are of little
    or no consequence in this outrage. It is a blow not merely at
    Massachusetts, a How not merely at the name and fame of our
    common country; it is a blow at constitutional liberty all the
    world over; it is a stab at the cause of Universal Freedom. It
    is aimed at all men, everywhere, who are struggling for what
    we now regard as our great birthright, and which we intend to
    transmit unimpaired to our latest posterity. [_Loud cheers._]

    “Whatever may be done in this matter, however, one thing is
    certain, one thing is sure. The blood of this Northern man, who
    had dared to stand up in the Senate of the United States under
    circumstances that would have discouraged a man of less ardor,
    less enthusiasm, and less courage,--that blood now stains the
    Senate floor; and let me tell you, that not all the water of
    the Potomac can wash it out. They may cry, with the great
    tragic queen, ‘Out, damned spot!’ but no water of this world
    can ever efface it. Forever, forever and aye, that stain will
    plead in silence for liberty, wherever man is enslaved, for
    humanity all over the world, for truth and for justice, now and
    forever. [_Continued applause._]”

The meeting at Cambridge was distinguished for the character of those
who took part in it, many of whom had not sympathized with Mr. Sumner
in his public life. The President was Hon. Joel Parker, formerly
Chief Justice of New Hampshire; and among the Vice-Presidents were
Theophilus Parsons, the eminent law-writer,--C. C. Felton, afterwards
President of Harvard University,--Jared Sparks, the historian,--Henry
W. Longfellow,--Charles Beck, the Latin scholar,--Joseph E. Worcester,
the lexicographer,--Willard Phillips, the law-writer and judge,--Joseph
T. Buckingham, the well-known editor.

Professor Felton thus alluded to Mr. Sumner:--

    “I know Mr. Sumner well. In former times I had a long, an
    intimate, and an affectionate acquaintance with him; and
    I feel bound to say that he is a scholar of rich and rare
    acquirements, a gentleman of noble qualities and generous
    aims, distinguished for the amenities of social life, and a
    companion most welcome in the society of the most generous, the
    most refined, the most exalted. Sir, I had nothing to do with
    sending Mr. Sumner to the Senate of the United States; I had no
    vote to cast on that occasion; and if I had had, it would not,
    on public grounds, have been cast for him. I shall have none to
    cast, when the time for another election comes; but if I had
    five hundred votes, every one should be given to send him back
    again. [_Great applause._]

    “Such is the man for whom ruffians lay in wait, whom they
    assaulted, when unarmed and defenceless, in the Senate House.”

Richard H. Dana, Jr., Esq., made an elaborate speech, of which the
following is only an extract.

    “But I cannot, if I would, altogether withdraw my thoughts from
    this personal outrage upon Mr. Sumner. Charles Sumner!

    ‘He is my friend,--faithful and just to me.’

    I cannot allow myself to call up that scene in the Senate
    House, lest I should feel more than I shall be able to express
    or be willing to betray. Boston, his native town, has spoken.
    Next to Boston, there is no place so dear to him as Cambridge.
    He is a true son of Harvard. The best years of his early life,
    from fifteen to twenty-three, he spent here: the four years
    of college,--a fifth year which he wisely, though unusually,
    added to his course, for the perfecting of his classical and
    general studies,--and the three years of his studies in the
    Law School. At the Law School his attainments were not only
    great, but wonderful; and for purity of character, kindness,
    and frankness, he was respected and beloved by all. He was the
    friend, young as he was, the beloved friend, the frequent and
    honored guest of Story, of Channing, and of Allston. He was the
    companion of your Longfellow and your Felton. No young man was
    more honored by Mr. Webster--in I had almost said his better
    days. He was the friend of every man and of every cause that
    deserved to have a friend. At the bar he distinguished himself,
    especially in juridical literature. He was the reporter of
    Judge Story’s decisions, and editor of the _Jurist_, where the
    young student will find the copious results of his enthusiastic
    labors in his then beloved profession. When he went abroad,
    he took nothing in his hand that his own merits had not given
    him. He had not one claim that did not rest on character,
    learning, and talents. Still under the age of thirty, he became
    in Europe the honored friend of men whose names have honored
    the world. Turning his back upon the attractions of dissipation
    and fashion, he devoted himself to the society of the learned,
    the wise, the philanthropic, and to all great and good objects.
    Thomas Carlyle, in a letter to America, says, “We have had
    _popular Sumner_ here,”--so universally was he liked. In Paris,
    while the Northeastern Boundary question was agitating England
    and America, and attracting much of the attention of Europe,
    Sumner shut himself into the libraries and public archives, and
    produced a treatise upon the subject, thought then to be almost
    exhausted, which, published in the great journals of Europe,
    and brought before Parliaments and Councils, changed the
    aspect of the question in Europe, and redounded to his great
    honor at home.

    “After his return, under the influence of Dr. Channing, and
    in sympathy with Dr. Howe and others, he devoted much of his
    time to the great philanthropic and social problems of the
    day,--Slavery, Pauperism, Crime, and Prison Discipline,--and
    gradually the overshadowing social, political, and national
    importance of the Slave question drew him first before the
    people and into public life. When his sentiments on the Slave
    question were to be sustained at the risk of his ease, his
    interests, his friendships, and his popularity, he put them all
    to the hazard. When proposed as candidate for the Senate, the
    highest office Massachusetts can give, while his election hung
    trembling in the balance week after week, when one or two votes
    would secure it, and this or that thing said or done it was
    thought would gain them, nothing would induce Charles Sumner
    to take one step from his regular course from his house to his
    office to speak to any man; he would not make one bow the more,
    nor put his hand to a line, however simple or unobjectionable,
    to secure the result. I know--I have right to say this--I know
    that in this course he resisted temptations and advice and
    persuasions which few men would not have yielded to. He was
    elected. It was a tribute to character and talent.

    “When he went to Washington, to fight almost alone, with only
    two or three allies, discountenanced by colleagues and cried
    down by the great majority, to fight the fight for Freedom, he
    determined not to speak on the subject of Slavery until he had
    done all in his power to secure the confidence and good-will
    of his opponents. So far did he carry this, that his friends
    here feared that he was bending before the idol, as others had
    bent. He secured his footing as well as it could be secured.
    All but fanatics for Slavery admitted his claims to personal
    affection and public respect. On this basis he took his stand
    for Freedom. You have seen the result. Few men in America have
    ever had, perhaps no one man now has, so many readers as he.
    His opponents say that he burns the midnight lamp. He does. And

        ‘How far that little candle throws his beams!’

    His opponents, too, burn the midnight lamp; but, as you
    remember, Sir, the great Athenian said, there is a difference
    between the objects on which their lamp throws its glare and

Among the meetings, that of Concord deserves mention. The resolutions,
introduced by Hon. E. Rockwood Hoar, were as follows.

    “_Resolved_, That we have heard with feelings of the deepest
    indignation of the cowardly and brutal assault upon a Senator
    of Massachusetts, in the Senate Chamber of the United States,
    for words spoken in debate, in his place, upon the floor of the

    “_Resolved_, That this dastardly outrage has in itself
    dishonored no one but the ruffian who committed it,--but
    that the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
    States will make themselves accomplices of the criminal, and
    deliberate partakers of the guilt and infamy of the crime, if
    they shall fail to visit upon him speedy and condign punishment.

    “_Resolved_, That, if there are those who imagine that the
    voice of a Senator of Massachusetts can be silenced, or the
    expression of the deliberate opinions of her people upon public
    measures and public men can be stifled and suppressed, _by the
    terrors of assassination_, we _know_ that in CHARLES SUMNER
    they have mistaken _the man_, and we will endeavor to show that
    they have mistaken the Commonwealth.

    “_Resolved_, That, in this assault upon our distinguished
    Senator, the right of free debate in Congress, guarantied by
    the Constitution of the United States, has been dangerously
    assailed; and all men who are not willing to see it wholly
    destroyed are called upon, personally, to rebuke the outrage,
    and all its abettors, defenders, and apologists.

    “_Resolved_, That we thank Mr. Sumner with our whole hearts
    for his heroic defence of the Kansas settlers, and his solemn
    arraignment before the country of the perpetrators of the great
    _Crime_ against that unhappy and conquered province.

    “_Resolved_, That we have a right to look to the House of
    Representatives to vindicate the honor of the country in the
    eyes of the civilized world, by expelling from their body a
    member with whom none but bullies and savages can hereafter
    fitly associate.”

These were followed by a speech from Ralph Waldo Emerson, of which this
is an extract.

    “The outrage is the more shocking from the singularly pure
    character of its victim. Mr. Sumner’s position is exceptional
    in its honor. He had not taken his degrees in the caucus and
    in hack politics. It is notorious, that, in the long time when
    his election was pending, he refused to take a single step to
    secure it. He would not so much as go up to the State House
    to shake hands with this or that person whose good-will was
    reckoned important by his friends. He was elected. It was a
    homage to character and talent. In Congress he did not rush
    into a party position. He sat long silent and studious. His
    friends, I remember, were told that they would find Sumner a
    man of the world, like the rest: ‘’Tis quite impossible to
    be at Washington and not bend; he will bend, as the rest have
    done.’ Well, he did not bend. He took his position, and kept
    it. He meekly bore the cold shoulder from some of his New
    England colleagues, the hatred of his enemies, the pity of the
    indifferent, cheered by the love and respect of good men with
    whom he acted, and has stood for the North, a little in advance
    of all the North, and therefore without adequate support. He
    has never faltered in his maintenance of justice and freedom.
    He has gone beyond the large expectation of his friends in his
    increasing ability and his manlier tone.

    “I have heard that some of his political friends tax him with
    indolence or negligence in refusing to make electioneering
    speeches, or otherwise to bear his part in the labor which
    party organization requires. I say it to his honor. But more to
    his honor are the faults which his enemies lay to his charge. I
    think, Sir, if Mr. Sumner had any vices, we should be likely to
    hear of them. They have fastened their eyes like microscopes,
    now for five years, on every act, word, manner, and movement,
    to find a flaw,--and with what result? His opponents accuse
    him neither of drunkenness, nor debauchery, nor job, nor
    peculation, nor rapacity, nor personal aims of any kind. No:
    but with what? Why, beyond this charge, which it is impossible
    was ever sincerely made, that he broke over the proprieties of
    debate, I find him accused of publishing his opinion of the
    Nebraska conspiracy in a letter to the People of the United
    States, with discourtesy. Then, that he is an Abolitionist:
    as if every sane human being were not an Abolitionist, or a
    believer that all men should be free. And the third crime he
    stands charged with is, that his speeches were written before
    they were spoken: which of course must be true in Sumner’s
    case,--as it was true of Webster, of Adams, of Calhoun, of
    Burke, of Chatham, of Demosthenes, of every first-rate speaker
    that ever lived. It is the high compliment he pays to the
    intelligence of the Senate and of the country. When the same
    reproach was cast upon the first orator of ancient times by
    some caviller of his day, he said, ‘I should be ashamed to come
    with one unconsidered word before such an assembly.’

    “Mr. Chairman, when I think of these most small faults as the
    worst which party hatred could allege, I think I may borrow the
    language which Bishop Burnet applied to Sir Isaac Newton, and
    say, that Charles Sumner ‘has the whitest soul I ever knew.’

    “Well, Sir, this noble head, so comely and so wise, must be the
    target for a pair of bullies to beat with clubs! The murderer’s
    brand shall stamp their foreheads, wherever they may wander
    in the earth. But I wish, Sir, that the high respects of this
    meeting shall be expressed to Mr. Sumner, that a copy of the
    resolutions that have been read may be forwarded to him. I
    wish that he may know the shudder of terror that ran through
    all this community on the first tidings of this brutal attack.
    Let him hear that every man of worth in New England loves his
    virtues,--that every mother thinks of him as the protector of
    families,--that every friend of Freedom thinks him the friend
    of Freedom. And if our arms at this distance cannot defend him
    from assassins, we confide the defence of a life so precious to
    all honorable men and true patriots, and to the Almighty Maker
    of men.”

At a meeting in Worcester, Hon. Charles Allen, the eminent Judge, and
formerly a Representative in Congress, said:--

    “Now, Sir, we have met to express our warm feelings of
    indignation--at what? That Charles Sumner has been stricken
    down by the hand of a brutal ruffian? No, Sir: that is but
    a small portion of the question which is presented for our
    consideration at this time. Not by the hand of Brooks of
    South Carolina, alone, did he fall; but it was through a
    _concerted effort_, which has not been denied in the House
    of Representatives, although the question was evaded by Mr.
    Brooks, declaring that he had informed no one of the _time_
    when it should take place; but he did not deny--and it is well
    known in Washington, and will be throughout the country, that
    this attack upon Mr. Sumner--that this slaughter of Mr. Sumner,
    for such was the purpose--was concerted among Southern men, and
    that Brooks was but the base instrument by which the purpose
    was to be carried into effect. Sir, we must hold, not Mr.
    Brooks responsible alone, but all those who combined with him
    to do this foul deed,--all those--and you will find there will
    be hosts in another section of the country--who will applaud
    the act, and profess to honor the man who was put forward to
    perpetrate this deed. And, Sir, if we consider it merely as a
    combination of slaveholders against our Senator, and nothing
    more, we shall not reach the magnitude of the question open
    for our consideration. That blow was not meant for Mr. Sumner
    alone. It was meant for the _State_ which he represented. It
    was the State of Massachusetts whose honor was outraged by
    that act. It was her majesty which was stricken down in the
    person of her Senator. It is her body that lies bleeding,
    and demands retribution at the hands of her children. Shall
    retribution not come? Shall there not be a voice from one end
    of Massachusetts to the other, calling aloud for retribution
    upon the perpetrator, and the aiders and abettors of that foul
    act? [_Loud cries of ‘Yes,’ and applause._]”

The voice of the Young Men of Boston found utterance at a large and
enthusiastic meeting of the Mercantile Library Association, held at
their rooms, June 6, 1856, when the following preamble and resolutions
were unanimously adopted.

    “_Whereas_ the Hon. Charles Sumner, Senator in Congress from
    this Commonwealth, and an honorary member of this Association,
    has been most brutally assaulted in his seat in Congress for
    words uttered in debate: Therefore

    “_Resolved_, That it is with feelings of profound sorrow and
    shame that we are obliged to recognize in this act a _cowardly_
    and _base_ assault upon the rights of free speech, and to
    regard this indignity, perpetrated upon the person of our
    honored and beloved Senator, as an insult to the city of Boston
    and its institutions, the State of Massachusetts, and our
    common country.

    “_Resolved_, That the members of the Mercantile Library
    Association of Boston, without distinction of party, most
    respectfully tender to the Hon. Charles Sumner their kindest
    feelings of sympathy and esteem, and earnestly hope, that, by
    the blessing of Divine Providence, he may resume his seat in
    Congress, and reiterate those principles of humanity which
    every institution, whether political or literary, should most
    earnestly espouse.

    “_Resolved_, That the Corresponding Secretary of this
    Association is hereby requested to furnish the Hon. Charles
    Sumner with an appropriate copy of these resolves.”

The sentiments of the medical profession appear in a speech and toast
by Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, at the dinner of the Massachusetts
Medical Society, at the Revere House, Boston.

    “Look into the chamber where our own fellow-citizen, struck
    down without warning by the hand of brutal violence, lies
    prostrate, and think what fearful issues hang on the skill or
    incompetence of those who have his precious life in charge. One
    little error, and the _ignis sacer_, the fiery plague of the
    wounded, spreads his angry blush over the surface, and fever
    and delirium are but the preludes of deadlier symptoms. One
    slight neglect, and the brain, oppressed with the products of
    disease, grows dreamy, and then drowsy, its fine energies are
    palsied, and too soon the heart that filled it with generous
    blood is still forever. It took but a little scratch from a
    glass, broken at his daughter’s wedding, to snatch from life
    the great anatomist and surgeon, Spigelius, almost at the very
    age of him for whose recovery we look, not without anxious

    “At such a moment as this, more than at any other, we feel
    the dignity, the awful responsibility, of the healing art.
    Let but that life be sacrificed, and left unavenged, and the
    wounds of that defenceless head, like the foul witch’s blow
    on her enchanted image, are repeated on the radiant forehead
    of Liberty herself, and flaw the golden circlet we had vainly
    written with the sacred name of Union!

        “‘Dî, prohibete minas! Dî, talem avertite casum!’

    “I give you, Mr. President,--

    “_The Surgeons of the City of Washington._--God grant them
    wisdom! for they are dressing the wounds of a mighty empire,
    and of uncounted generations.”

Hon. Josiah Quincy, in the eighty-fifth year of his age, addressed a
letter to the Unitarian Festival, in which he said:--

    “The hostile irruption of two members of Congress into the
    Senate Chamber of the United States, openly armed with deadly
    bludgeons, and probably secretly, according to the habits
    of their breed, with bowie-knives and revolvers, and there
    prostrating on the floor with their bludgeons a Senator of the
    United States, sitting peaceably in his seat, unconscious of
    danger, and from his position incapable of defence, inflicting
    upon him blows, until he sunk senseless under them, and which,
    if they do not prove mortal, it was not for want of malignant
    intent in the cowardly assassins,--and all this for words
    publicly spoken in the Senate, in the course of debate, allowed
    by its presiding officer to be spoken, _and exceeding not one
    hair’s breadth any line of truth or duty_: this is the fifth,
    and the climax, of this series of outrages, unparalleled,
    nefarious, and brutal.”

At an indignation meeting in the town of Quincy, this venerable citizen
spoke as follows.

    “The blow struck upon the head of Charles Sumner did not fall
    upon him alone. It was a blow purposely aimed at the North. It
    was a blow struck at the very Tree of Liberty. It speaks to
    us in words not to be mistaken. It says to us that Northern
    men shall not be heard in the halls of Congress, except at the
    peril of the bowie-knife, the bludgeon, and revolver. Nor is
    this any new thing.

    “The bludgeon, heretofore only brandished, has at last been
    brought down; and now is the time for the North to fight.
    Charles Sumner needs not our sympathy: if he dies, his name
    will be immortal,--his name will be enrolled with the names of
    Warren, Sidney, and Russell; if he lives, he is destined to be
    the light of the nation.”

Hon. Edward Everett, at Taunton, opened his “Address on the Character
of Washington” by allusion to the assault.

    “With the satisfaction which I feel in addressing you at
    the present time are mingled the profoundest anxiety and
    grief. An irrepressible sadness takes possession of my heart
    at the occurrences of the past week, and the most serious
    apprehensions force themselves upon me that events are already
    in train, with an impulse too mighty to be resisted, which will
    cause our beloved country to weep tears of blood through all
    her borders for generations to come. The civil war,--for such
    it is,--with its horrid train of pillage, fire, and slaughter,
    carried on, without the slightest provocation, against the
    infant settlements of our brethren on the frontier of the
    Union,--the worse than civil war which has for months raged
    unrebuked at the capital of the Union, and has at length, by
    an act of lawless violence, of which I know no parallel in the
    history of Constitutional Government, stained the floor of the
    Senate Chamber with the blood of an unarmed, defenceless man,
    and he a Senator of Massachusetts,--ah, my friends, these are
    events which, for the good name, the peace, the safety of the
    country, for the cause of free institutions throughout the
    world, it were worth all the gold of California to blot from
    the record of the past week. They sicken the heart of the good
    citizen, of the patriot, of the Christian; they awaken a gloomy
    doubt whether the sacrifices and the sufferings endured by
    our fathers, that they might found a purer, higher, and freer
    civilization on this Western Continent than the world had yet
    seen, have not been endured in vain.”

William H. Hurlbut, of New York, the eminent journalist, wrote thus,
under date of June 7, 1856.

    “The newspapers, which have for so long kept the millions of
    the North as watchers about your bed, now gladden all our
    hearts with the news that you are soon to stand again upon
    that floor which promises to become as sacred in the annals of
    Freedom as is the arena of the Coliseum in the story of our

    “Nothing, I am sure, could so have touched and roused every
    class of Northern society, nothing could so have put the
    terrible realities of the issue we _must_ confront before the
    most unwilling and the most indifferent minds, as the atrocious
    deed which, imbecile as it was atrocious, makes the firmest
    enemy of Slavery the perpetual representative alike of Northern
    honor and of Northern manhood, and enlists around you, as the
    perpetual Senator of Massachusetts, every instinct, passion,
    and necessity of Northern civilization.

    “It is your rare good fortune to be able to wear the martyr’s
    crown into the battle of life, and I really do not see how any
    true man can have any words for you but those of congratulation
    and of stern exultation. The scoundrelly simpleton who struck
    you fled from the recoil of his weapon; but there will be a
    fiercer recoil from that blow, and a flowing of blood not so
    easily to be stanched.

    “I think, if you could have seen the meeting at the Tabernacle,
    you would have marked the 22d of May with white in your
    calendar: it is marked with _red_ in the calendar of our

    “I am going to England in a few weeks, but I hope, before I
    go, to hear that you are quite reëstablished in health, and
    once more face to face with the lions,--I beg the pardon of the
    forest-king,--with the tigers of the Senate House.

    “In this season of our national degradation, it will be
    something, that, when Englishmen talk to me of their dead
    Miltons and Marvells and Hampdens and Sidneys, I can answer
    them with a living name, which, like these names, shall never
    cease to live.”

Dr. John W. Francis, the eminent physician, of New York, wrote, under
date of October 9, 1856:--

    “I now write a line or two for the purpose of renewing to you
    the sentiments I cherish in your behalf, and my admiration of
    your noble patriotism and commanding eloquence. I had read
    carefully your classical speeches, and rejoiced that there
    was at least one in the Senate who to rich culture added the
    graces of finished oratory and the abiding principles of
    constitutional freedom. Yes, my dear Sir, I have been for
    several months, amidst many cares, absorbed on the consequences
    which I inferred must follow the brutal assault which you
    received. I almost at once exclaimed, That _blow_ will effect a
    revolution in our political relationship; yet I pray God that
    the Union may continue intact under its momentous influences.
    You have, by your parliamentary demonstrations, evinced the
    heroism of the patriots of the earlier days of our Republic;
    you have stamped your Senatorial career with the impress of
    the loftiest intrepidity and moral courage. You are destined
    to occupy an ample page in your country’s history. These
    expressions, dear Sir, flow from a full heart and a deep

Governor Banks, in his annual message to the Legislature of
Massachusetts, January, 1858, associated the violence in Kansas with
that upon Mr. Sumner.

    “Nothing but the direct intervention of Federal influence can
    force through Congress the Lecompton Constitution; and if the
    Government, with the sanction of the people, can force upon
    Kansas a Constitution conceived in fraud and violence, it will
    be the weightiest blow ever given against free governments.

    “Violence and fraud, if successful in this instance, will be
    repeated whenever occasion demands it. It will not be limited
    to Territories or States. No shrine will be held sacred.
    The Senate Chamber of the United States has been already
    invaded, and this State was for a time bereft of a part of its
    representative power by an act of fearful wrong, committed upon
    the most cherished and brilliant of her sons, while in the
    performance of constitutional duty.”

The following extract from a poem by Mrs. Julia Ward Howe appeared in
the _New York Tribune_ at the time.


    “While she yet spake, from the heaven God’s thunder had fallen,
    And I heard: ‘The crime, not the paltry offender, so stirs us.’
    Take heart, thou lone one! a champion leaps to defend thee,
    Armed with the loftier issue, the art and the moral,--
    Eloquent lips, and the integral heart of Conviction,
    Powerful still when the arm of the spoiler has crumbled,--
    Doctrine of Right, and the Old-World tradition of Freedom,--
    Doctrine of Justice, thank God, no New-England invention,--
    Known to the ancients, known to the gods and their poets,
    Known to great Tully, whose pillars of perfect marble
    Stand in the temple of Truth, his remembrance for ages.
    There shall thy record be, Knight of the wronged and the helpless!
    There shall thy weapon be kept, with the motto, ‘I hurled it.’
    How hast thou hardened the living heart and quick feelings
    To stand up and speak the great spirit-dividing sentence,--
    To stand, a mark for the thief and assassin to aim at!
    More than our envy, more than thy hope, was thy guerdon,
    Setting the seal of thy blood to the word of thy courage!
    If but the pure of heart in a pure cause should suffer,
    SUMNER, the task thou hast chosen was thine for its fitness.
    Never was paschal victim more stainlessly offered,--
    Never on milder brow gleamed the crown of the martyr.

    “Stand thence, a mark for the better and nobler ambition!
    For they are holy, the wounds that the Southerner dealt thee:
    Count them blessed, and blessed the mother that bore thee.
    “Would that the thing I best love, ay, the son of my bosom,
    Suffering beside thee, had shared the high deed and its glory!
    Shall we bend over those wounds with our tears and our balsams,--
    Tears warm with rapture, balsams of costliest clearness?
    Take thy deserving, then; wear it for life on thy forehead!
    Crowned with those scars, shalt thou enter the just man’s heaven,--
    Crowned with those scars, shalt thou stand in the record of heroes!

    “If earthly counsel were vain, should the heavens befriend thee!
    Sinking Orion, flung far in the wrath of the tyrant,
    Calls not in vain on the dumb heart of Nature to help him:
    Lo! the deep comes to his aid, and its monsters upbear him;
    Hesper stoops over the Ocean her long shining tresses,
    Till he is drawn by them up to the zone of her beauty,
    And, like fair sisters, the stars close around him forever!”

The wide-spread, spontaneous sentiment of the North found echo in
Europe, especially in England. Among various testimonies, the following
is selected from the _Morning Star_ of London, June 24, 1856.

    “The assault upon Mr. Sumner stands without parallel in the
    annals of civilized communities. While sitting at his desk
    in the Senate Chamber, quietly engaged in writing, a member
    of the other legislative body, the House of Representatives,
    deliberately walks up to him, and, taking advantage of his
    utterly helpless position, where he could neither escape nor
    defend himself, begins to beat him violently upon his bare head
    with a heavy cane, until he falls down stunned and insensible,
    covered with his own blood, the cowardly ruffian not desisting
    even then, when the form of his antagonist lay prostrate and
    senseless before him. While this is taking place, a number of
    his brother Senators stand round and make no attempt to stay
    the arm of the assailant; some of them, indeed, mounted guard
    expressly to prevent interference. Such conduct is utterly
    inexplicable to us in this country.


    “If anything could aggravate the inherent brutality of
    this act, it is the character of the man upon whom it was
    committed. For Mr. Sumner is a gentleman in whom there meets a
    combination of qualities adapted in a rare degree to inspire
    the affectionate attachment of friends, and to command courtesy
    and respect from all generous and honorable opponents: a man
    of a chivalrous and heroic spirit, of a refined and sensitive
    nature, of a powerful and cultivated intellect disciplined
    by hard study and adorned with profound and various learning,
    who has led a life of irreproachable purity and active
    benevolence,--the favorite pupil of Story, the intimate friend
    and disciple of Channing, the chosen associate of the finest
    living minds of America, Quincy, Sparks, Longfellow, Goodrich,
    Dana, Everett, Bryant, Emerson.


    “And when the greatest of American orators and statesmen,
    Daniel Webster, was stricken down by the hand of death, Mr.
    Sumner was the man whom the State of Massachusetts chose from
    among her sons, as most worthy to be his successor. And most
    nobly has he vindicated the wisdom of their choice. Taking
    small interest in the ordinary conflicts of parties, he has
    stood forth, from the moment that he entered the Senate, as the
    courageous and resolute champion of the slave. His speeches are
    elaborate and masterly orations, with perhaps almost too much
    of classical stateliness and refinement for the tribune. Over
    the hard and dry abstraction of politics he throws the glancing
    lights of his fertile and polished fancy, and relieves the
    tedium of debate by the rich stores of an elegant and varied
    erudition. The speech that brought upon him the recent attack
    was perhaps the greatest of all his efforts. It is in every
    respect a magnificent production. With a lofty and relentless
    logic he tears away the covering veil of sophistry with which
    the Southern members had sought to conceal the naked iniquity
    of the transactions in Kansas. There are, no doubt, passages of
    terrible severity, but not, we think, exceeding the license of
    parliamentary debate among ourselves. And the most conclusive
    testimony to the power of the orator is afforded by the
    desperate extremities to which it reduced his discomfited foes.

    “We have no words of commiseration to offer to Mr. Sumner.
    God grant only that a life so valuable may be spared, and he
    will occupy in the estimation of all men, at home and abroad,
    whose judgment he would value, a prouder position than he ever
    occupied before. He stood in the vanguard of Freedom, and the
    marks of the ruffianly outrage inflicted upon him, which he
    will probably bear to the grave, he will wear as more honorable
    scars than ever warrior brought from a battle-field.”

This record of opinion at the North, echoed from Europe, may be closed
by words from an important journal at New York, _The Courier and
Enquirer_, in the summer of 1856.

     “The fact is incontestable, that, when the Massachusetts
    Senator again crosses the threshold of that Senate Chamber,
    Slavery will have to confront the most formidable foe it
    ever had to face before the public eye. He will come with
    every muscle braced and every sinew strung by the sense of
    measureless personal wrong; but infinitely more than that, he
    will come armed with the indignation and shielded by the moral
    support of the whole North. Hitherto he has figured but in one
    character, the assailant of Slavery; henceforth he will be
    also the accredited assertor and champion of the most sacred
    right of freedom of speech, and as such will command tenfold
    greater consideration. His antagonists have affected to despise
    him before, and to treat him with scorn. The day for that has
    passed. The public man, who has once been the occasion of
    such an outburst of sympathy and good-will as has within the
    last week sprung from the mouth of millions upon millions of
    his countrymen, is no longer a man to be disdained. He has
    henceforth position, power, and security, beyond any of his
    adversaries. Let his sentiments be what they may, his free
    utterance of them hereafter becomes an assured thing, insomuch
    as that utterance will serve as the best of all possible tests
    of that freedom of debate which has once been outraged in his
    person, and which it is the present determination of the North
    shall be maintained at all hazards.”



Senator Butler, in reply to Mr. Sumner, June 12, 1856, remarked on his
absence from his seat as follows.

    “If I give credence to the testimony of Dr. Boyle, I see no
    reason why he should not be present. For anything that appears
    in that testimony, if he had been an officer of the Army, and
    had not appeared the next day on the battle-field, he would
    have deserved to be cashiered.”[152]

This fling was so agreeable to the Senator that he repeated it, with a
variation, on the second day of his speech.

    “After all that has been said and done, on a _post bellum_
    examination, what is it? A fight in the Senate Chamber,
    resulting in two flesh wounds, which ought not to have detained
    him from the Senate. Being rather a handsome man, perhaps he
    would not like to expose himself by making his appearance for
    some time; but if he had been in the Army, there was no reason
    why he should not go to the field the next day; and he would
    deserve to be cashiered, if he did not go.”[153]

After such remarks in open Senate, it was easy for the press in
sympathy with Slavery to assert that Mr. Sumner had received no injury,
and that his reported disability was a pretence for the benefit of his
political party.

At the time of the assault Mr. Sumner was in perfect health, without
any weakness or disturbing incident. Having confidence in the
native force of his constitution, he looked forward to a very early
restoration, thinking that the injuries he had received would yield
easily to Nature. His disappointment affords another instance of
the extent to which patients are deceived with regard to their true
condition, which in his case was revealed tardily. He had hoped to
resume his seat in a few days. Months and years passed, leaving him an

On the healing of the flesh wounds, he found himself still a sufferer
from a pressure on the brain, with weakness in the spinal column. The
latter became more positive with time. First a guest of F. P. Blair,
Esq., at Silver Spring, near Washington, he was able early in July to
reach Philadelphia, where he found rest at the house of Rev. William H.
Furness. Here he came under the medical care of Dr. Caspar Wister. From
Philadelphia he went to Cape May, where he was welcomed by the family
of James T. Furness, Esq., at their cottage. Here he was very feeble,
so that his kind hosts were alarmed with regard to him. From Cape May
he went to Cresson, an elevated place in Pennsylvania, where he stayed
with Dr. R. M. Jackson. Once more in Philadelphia at the beginning
of September, he was welcomed by his hosts of Cape May, with whom he
remained until his return to Boston at the beginning of November. This
return was postponed by the advice of his physician, who was unwilling
that he should expose himself to the excitement of such an event.

In Boston he was treated by Dr. Marshall S. Perry, in consultation with
the venerable physician, Dr. James Jackson. Here he remained several
months, most of the time in the house, on his bed. He did not reach
Washington until just before the close of the session of Congress, but
in season to determine by his vote the fate of the tariff of 1857.[154]
On the 4th of March he was sworn as Senator for the second term, and
on the 7th of March sailed for Havre in the Steamer Fulton. Still
confident in his recuperative force, and underrating his injuries, his
object was simply rest and recreation, rather than medical treatment.
After some time in Paris, he travelled in France, Switzerland,
England, and Scotland, including a stay in London. While in Edinburgh
he became acquainted with George Combe, the eminent phrenologist and
physiologist, who, taking a strong interest in his case, wrote to Sir
James Clark, the Queen’s physician, for his opinion upon it. The two
united in advising against an early return to public duties; but Mr.
Sumner felt constrained to try himself at Washington. Accordingly he
resumed his seat at the beginning of the session, in December, 1857,
only to find himself within the circumscriptions of an invalid. Without
pretending to take part in business, he sought to be at hand to vote
on important questions. At last he was admonished by a succession
of relapses that he must make a more serious effort for recovery.
On the 22d May, 1858, just two years from his original injuries, he
sailed in the steamer Vanderbilt for Havre. His first purpose was to
visit Switzerland, and there commence pedestrian exercise in the open
air, beginning with a short distance and extending it daily, as the
athlete, beginning with the calf, at last carried the ox; but this idea
proceeded on a radical misconception of his case, which required repose
rather than exercise. A medical friend to whom he communicated this
plan warned him against it, saying, curtly, “Then you’ll be a dead man!”

At Paris he first enjoyed the advice of Dr. George Hayward, the eminent
surgeon of Boston, but soon afterward came under the care of that
remarkable physiologist and specialist, Dr. Brown-Séquard, who, after
a most careful diagnosis, reported that the blows on the head had
taken effect, by _contre-coups_, in the spine, producing disturbance
in the spinal cord. To Mr. Sumner’s instant inquiry as to the remedy,
the Doctor replied, “Fire.” The resolution of the former was taken
at once, and he asked, “When can you apply it?” “To-morrow, if you
please,” said the Doctor. “Why not this afternoon?” said the patient;
and that afternoon it was done by the _moxa_, which was followed by
other applications, being seven in number, always without chloroform,
which Mr. Sumner declined to take. This was in June. During this
painful treatment he found solace in the study of engravings, to which
he devoted himself, according to the limitations of his health, with
daily assiduity.

Some time in August he left Paris for the baths of Aix, in Savoy,
famous from antiquity, where he underwent still another treatment by
hot and cold _douches_. Then traversing Switzerland, he entered Germany
by Venice and Trieste, visiting Vienna, Berlin, and Munich. Reaching
Paris in November, he was arrested in his proposed return to the
Senate by a medical conference, in which Dr. Brown-Séquard, Dr. George
Hayward, and the eminent French practitioner, Dr. Trousseau, took part,
all uniting against it. Leaving the excitements of Paris, he passed
the ensuing winter at Montpellier, in the South of France. Here he led
a retired life, being cupped on the spine daily, and passing as many
as eighteen hours out of the twenty-four on the bed or sofa, finding
recreation in reading, and, so far as he could, in the public lectures
at the college on history and literature. Taking advantage of his
improved condition in the spring, he made a hurried visit to Italy, and
then reported himself to Dr. Brown-Séquard at Paris, who pronounced him
well. To the various treatments already mentioned he added sea-baths
at Havre during the following August. At the opening of Congress in
December, 1859, he was in his seat, with a certain consciousness of
restored health, although admonished to enter upon work slowly.

Contemporary reports in newspapers and letters illustrate the condition
of Mr. Sumner at the time, and something of his frame of mind.

A correspondent of the Boston _Telegraph and Chronicle_, under date of
February 20, 1857, shows his occupations at the time he was struck down.

    “It was my good fortune to be a frequent caller upon Mr. Sumner
    during his residence here. I always found him studiously
    devoted to the duties of his office. He was one of the most
    active, hard-working men in Congress. Down to the 22d day
    of May, 1856, when he was so brutally assailed by the agent
    of the Slave Oligarchy, he had never been out of his seat a
    single day. It was in this spirit of fidelity that he always
    discharged his duties. If I may be pardoned in the exhibition
    of a little selfishness, I will acknowledge that it was in
    part the discovery of the fact that Mr. Sumner kept a better
    run of all the public business before Congress than most other
    members, that induced me, as a member of the press, to make
    more frequent calls upon him than perhaps I should otherwise
    have done. He was particularly well posted on all questions
    of foreign affairs, from the reception of Kossuth down to the
    important part that he took in the Sound Dues of Denmark;
    he was always enlightened on all propositions of general
    legislation, touching the judiciary, commerce, patents, the
    tariff, and everything concerning the great interests of

    “At the time he was disabled, the Journal of the Senate will
    show a large number of special propositions introduced by
    him, among which was the proposition he has brought forward
    annually for the revision and consolidation of the Statutes
    of the United States, which must yet prevail; also for cheap
    ocean postage, another annual proposition; also for post-office
    orders, as a mode of transfer of money in small sums for
    the accommodation of the poor,--an idea recently adopted by
    the House Committee on Post-Offices and Post-Roads; several
    propositions of amendment of Patent Law, particularly one to
    take off the heavy fees on foreign patents, in order to pave
    the way for a similar reduction abroad; a bill altering the
    Commercial Law, so as to relieve ship-owners of liability in
    the case of fire under certain circumstances; a bill amending
    the Law of Copyright; a bill providing for the regulation
    of passengers coming into the United States; also a whole
    group of bills for the improvement of the rivers and harbors
    of Massachusetts, for the building of a Court-House and
    Post-Office at Boston, &c., &c.

    “None, except those who have had experience in Washington, and
    have had an inside view of the practical life of a Congressman,
    can form a correct idea of the vast amount of labor performed
    by them which does not appear before the public. Mr. Sumner’s
    correspondence was one of the largest in the Senate,--not
    confined to Massachusetts, but coming from every part of the
    country. He neglected nothing.”

While Mr. Sumner was at Cresson, Mrs. Swisshelm, who saw him there,
wrote a long letter on his condition, addressed to the _New York
Tribune_, under date of August 23, 1856, which contained the following.

    “He has all the impatience of ordinary men in illness, or in
    the prospect of restraint, and assures everybody that he is
    doing very well, feels very well, is quite strong, and will
    surely be able to go to Washington in two weeks. Mr. Burlingame
    assures me, with tears in his eyes, that this is what he always
    said. Ever since his injury he has been going to be quite well
    in two weeks; but when he rises from his chair, he takes hold
    of the table. His gait, at a first glance, appears that of a
    man of ninety years of age; but, watching him awhile, I felt
    that it was the very kind of step one takes when creeping
    through a darkened chamber under the influence of a paroxysm
    of nervous headache; but he says, with a kind of lofty,
    incredulous scorn, that his head does not ache! Sometimes he
    feels a _pressure_ on the top of his head, and it appears
    to hurt him when he walks; but he will be ready to go to
    Washington in two weeks.


    “Mr. Burlingame came on Friday evening, about six o’clock, in
    company with a gentleman and lady from Philadelphia. He had
    not before seen Mr. Sumner since the Brooks challenge, and we
    all sat together until after eleven o’clock,--there was so
    much to be told, and said, and explained. Without any personal
    resemblance, these two appeared together like father and son;
    but I could give no idea of their interview, even so much of
    it as the sacredness of private conversation would permit to
    be made public, in less than a column, and Mr. Sumner crowds
    everything from my thoughts just now. When his friends left, he
    had no disposition to retire, and when he did, slept but one


    “Those mistaken friends of his who would fain see Brooks killed
    or maimed would greatly distress him, if any such killing or
    maiming were done by their agency. He shudders at the thought
    that Burlingame might have shot him, and appears to feel
    about as much resentment against him as I should feel toward
    a tile which had fallen upon my head. I could not discern the
    slightest symptom of chagrin or mortification,--no sense of the
    dishonor which so many attach to the blow unrevenged.

    “I asked him if he would have defended himself, if it had been

    “‘Most certainly,’ was the prompt reply, ‘to the best of my
    ability, and the last extremity.’

    “To Dr. Jackson’s suggestion, that the same principle which
    permitted him to defend himself, when attacked, should induce
    him to punish the offence, he promptly explained the difference
    between self-defence and revenge. He appears to have no idea,
    however remote, of personal enmity in the matter,--but if
    he was only able to deliver one more speech! His brain is
    throbbing with pent thunderbolts,--and if he could only get
    into the citadel of his foes, and hurl them hissing into their
    faces! Kansas, Kansas and her wrongs, if he could but fight her
    battles! He does not appear as if he knew how to be afraid, or
    could learn, if he tried for a lifetime. There is a lion look
    about him, and a courage which could not stoop to assault so
    frail a thing as a human body.”

A correspondent of the _Springfield Republican_, after describing a
visit to Mr. Sumner, reports, under date of February 8, 1857:--

    “I ventured after a time to speak to him of the outrage from
    whose effects came this sad weakness, and to express a wonder
    which I have always felt that serious commotions did not follow
    it. ‘Oh, no,’ he said. ‘It was little, in comparison with daily
    occurrences. The poorest slave is in danger of worse outrages
    every moment of his life.’”

A correspondent of the _Boston Traveller_ reports, under date of
February 20, 1858:--

    “Much interest is felt, I find, among our friends in
    Massachusetts and elsewhere, to know the nature of Mr. Sumner’s
    feelings toward the person who inflicted upon him so great a
    calamity, taking from him nearly two years of active life, and
    putting in jeopardy both his life and reason. Sharing this
    feeling, I have endeavored to learn the Senator’s sentiments
    on the subject. Yet I have never heard him utter one word from
    which I could even found a conjecture of them, though the
    matter has been referred to by myself, and by others in my
    hearing, in the course of conversation. Moreover, I have heard
    his private secretary, who was his nurse and watcher during
    the long, sultry days and nights of his illness in Washington,
    remark that he had never heard the Senator speak of the assault
    or the assailant, or in any way express any feeling on the
    subject. But I presume, however, that the feelings of Mr.
    Sumner are justly excited against the cruel Slave Power, which
    originally instigated and has since sanctioned the assault.”

Mr. Sumner was constantly wrestling with his disability, and impatient
under the necessary constraint. He longed to be at work. Here friends
exerted an adverse pressure.

Wendell Phillips wrote from Nahant, under date of July 13, 1856:--

    “The rumor is, on all sides, that you purpose returning as soon
    as possible to your seat. Allow me, as a most near friend,
    careful alike of you and the cause, to urge you not to attempt
    taking your seat again this session. No such step is necessary.
    Every one here recognizes most fully and heartily your fearless
    devotion. Every one is more than ready, anxious, to wait till
    confirmed health and strength make it, not an effort, but a
    pleasure, for you to return to your place. The only fear is
    lest you be tempted to hurry back before your strength is
    fully restored. Nothing you can do will shut the mouths of
    journals whose trade is lying and abuse. It is fair to say,
    and a hopeful sign of the times also, that these cavils fall
    to the ground utterly ineffectual and harmless. At least their
    only result is indignation. Let this session go by. Be sure
    Massachusetts will give you six more years to work in. You have
    done more than your share in this session’s fight,--enough to
    satisfy the most impatient spirit. Come home and rest. Come
    home to recruit for years and a crisis when we shall need you
    even more than now,--when your voice will be worth more, far
    more, than even now. The most ardent wish of all who love you
    is that you _consider yourself_: in so doing _now_ you best
    serve the cause.”

Hon. Schuyler Colfax wrote from Washington, under date of July 21,

    “We miss you here very much, and, as I pass your recent
    lodgings, I often regret that I cannot run up and bore you
    with a few minutes’ talk; but I think, and such is the general
    feeling of all your friends, that you ought not to think of
    resuming your seat this session. The weather and the excitement
    will both be against you, if you do.

    “Besides, next December you can resume that expressively
    vacant seat with the proud consciousness that the wand of the
    Oligarchy is broken,--or, if a different fortune is reserved
    for us, which I pray God to avert, to head the forlorn hope
    which is then to battle for the Right against the Furies which
    the triumph of the Wrong will let loose on us all. But you know
    best, and I will not presume to advise.

    “I was glad to hear the report of your Philadelphia physician,
    which relieved the forebodings which I fear were preying on
    you; and it confirms what an eminent physician wrote me, that
    the action of the absorbent vessels would relieve you slowly,
    if you would abstain from all excitement and give them the

Rev. William H. Furness, of Philadelphia, wrote, under date of August
15, 1856:--

    “Dr. Wister says, ‘For God’s sake don’t let Mr. Sumner think
    of leaving the mountains till the 1st or 15th of September.’ I
    find that yesterday, when we were jogging down the gorge, it
    was oppressively hot here, and only last night came there a
    slight change. Dr. Wister is most _positive_ and _earnest_ in
    his _opinion_ that you should _remain_ where you are. You will
    lose everything, if you quit that invigorating mountain air,
    and run the hazard of being an invalid for months to come. ‘It
    would be the extreme of folly,’ he says, ‘to turn your back
    upon your present place.’”

The venerable Josiah Quincy wrote from Quincy, under date of August 22,

    “I entreat you, my dear friend, not to think or act on public
    affairs until your health is _firmly_ restored. You have time
    enough before you to perfect your duty to your country, which
    you have already so gloriously commenced. History will avenge
    you on your adversary, which not all the votes of all the
    slave-holders between the tropics can save from an infamy as
    lasting as the history of our country.

    “God bless you, and preserve you, and soon restore you to
    health, to your friends, and your country!”

Wendell Phillips, under date of August 23, 1856, renewed his appeal:--

    “I have talked with men of all parties, (on _your_ case there
    is but _one_ party worth naming,) and without a dissentient
    voice they deplore your anxiety to return this session to
    Washington. No man but urges me to write and make you _feel_
    that you have struck _the_ blow already, and that now our
    interests and that of the cause, as well as your own, and our
    hearts, too, demand of you to ‘stand and wait.’ I know you can
    make speeches worth dying for; but let me tell you, just now
    to the nation’s heart your empty chair can make a more fervent
    appeal than even you. The canvass goes well, the ‘idea’ grows.
    We thank God that he has given us such texts: now make our
    gratitude unalloyed by building up your strength in silence and
    quiet for that fiercer struggle yet which lies before us all.

    “I conjure you, as you love Freedom, save yourself: we need you
    more in the future than now. You are not the best judge.”

Hon. William H. Seward wrote from Auburn, under date of September 24,

    “I wish that I could convince you that it is neither necessary
    for the public nor would it be useful in any way to yourself to
    speak in this canvass, even if you should find yourself able.
    It belongs to others to do that work. You have suffered enough,
    even if you had done nothing; and yet what you have suffered is
    only a consequence of having done more than any other.


    “I believe with you that we shall succeed in this election, and
    I earnestly hope for it. It is time that Freedom should have
    a decided triumph in order to commend itself to a vacillating

By such letters was Mr. Sumner somewhat soothed in the seclusion which
had become a necessity.

The same spirit animated his friends to the end, following him to
Europe, and watching with sympathy the severe medical treatment
adopted. Without their countenance he would not have ventured to remain
so long absent from his duties. He would have resigned, or have resumed
them at any hazard.

In one of his letters, received in Europe, Mr. Chase wrote as follows,
under date of June 16, 1858.

    “We learn from the newspapers that you have submitted yourself
    to a most trying operation, and that the physicians give good
    hope of most beneficial results. Most earnestly do I hope,
    in common with many thousand friends of human liberty and
    progress, that their best anticipations may be fully realized.
    I am anxious to hear your voice once more in the Senate, _mirum
    spargens sonum_. I want to see the Oligarchs and Serviles once
    more cowering under your rebukes of despotism and servility.

    “It is amazing to see to what depths of baseness some of the
    partisan presses in the interest of the Oligarchy will descend.
    Not content with half vindications of the assassination
    attempted upon you, several have had the infinite meanness to
    represent you as playing a part all the while you have been
    suffering from the effects of the assault. When will men learn

    “Oh, if you shall be only able to take your seat again next
    winter in your full vigor! There is no one who hates the wrong
    of Slavery in its principle as you do: I should except Durkee.”

Mr. Wilson wrote as follows, under date of October 19, 1858.

     “We are all anxious about you. Get well, if possible, and do
    not trouble yourself about your duties as a Senator. Do not
    attempt to take your seat, unless your health will allow you
    to do it. The session will be a short one, and we can get on
    without you. Take time, if you require it, and let the next
    session go. Our friends will stand by you, if you do not feel
    able to take your seat next session. I feel confident that
    our friends desire above all things that you shall be able to
    keep your seat, and they will be pleased to have you adopt the
    course most conducive to the recovery of your health. If your
    health will be improved by continuing in Europe for months
    longer, pray take the time. This is my advice to you. I hope,
    however, you will be able to return to your home and your seat
    this winter, with health and vigor, able to engage once more in
    the battles for the great cause for which you have suffered so
    much and so long.”

Sustained by this testimony, and that of other friends, Mr. Sumner
submitted to the medical advice which postponed return to his public

       *       *       *       *       *

The authentic diagnosis of the case in its early stages is here


“Read before the Boston Society for Medical Improvement, December 15,


“The assault was made upon Mr. Sumner in the Senate of the United
States, on Thursday, May 22d. The first blow produced insensibility.
It is not certain how many blows he received: they were many. He bled
profusely, and fell insensible on the floor. When he was removed to the
anteroom, it was thought he could not survive. His wounds were dressed
by Dr. Boyle. He had two gashes on the back of the head, one above each
ear, about two or two and a half inches in length. These gashes went
through the scalp to the bone, which was laid bare, but it is supposed
not fractured. Besides these, he had bruises on the face, on the back
of each hand, and on the arms.

“From the time of the attack until the Monday following, no serious
symptoms manifested themselves, except some pain and soreness in the
head, and nervousness. Tuesday morning he had more pain, and in the
afternoon he was quite feverish. During the night the pain became
very violent, and when I saw him, early on Wednesday, for the first
time professionally, he had a high fever, pulse 104, intense pain in
the head, eyes suffused, and extreme nervousness. The scalp above the
right ear was inflamed, having the appearance of erysipelas. This
inflammation extended to the glands of the neck, which were swollen
and tender to the touch. On examination, it was found that pus had
formed under the scalp, which escaped readily on opening the wound,
which had been closed over with collodion by Dr. Boyle. Mr. Sumner had
suffered so much during the last ten hours, that he had become very
much exhausted. He was put under the influence of opium, the wound
was poulticed, and perfect rest enjoined. For three days he was in a
critical situation. The local inflammation, the danger of poison from
the absorption of pus, and the extreme nervous exhaustion made it a
formidable case. At the end, however, of this time, he appeared to be
out of immediate danger.

“The wound on the left side of the head healed by first intention. It
was several weeks before that on the right side closed over. During
this time he was very weak, had some fever, especially when excited,
and was confined mostly to his bed. He did not at that time complain of
much pain in his head, but, as the wound healed after several weeks, he
had neuralgic pain in the back of the head, coming on in paroxysms. As
these passed away, he had a feeling of oppressive weight or pressure of
the brain, which was increased when excited or engaged in conversation.
He described it as “a fifty-six pounds weight” upon his head. At the
same time he lost flesh and strength, his appetite was irregular,
and his nights wakeful,--sometimes lying awake all night, or, when
sleeping, disturbed. He had also increased sensibility of the spinal
cord, and a sense of weakness in the small of the back. These were
developed by walking, and every step he took seemed to produce a shock
upon the brain. His walk was irregular and uncertain, and after slight
efforts he would lose almost entire control of the lower extremities.

“In this condition he was advised by Dr. Lindsly, of Washington, to
remove from that place to some more quiet spot. He accordingly came to
Philadelphia, and there called upon Dr. Wister for advice. Mountain air
and complete seclusion were recommended; but Mr. Sumner undertook first
to try the sea air, and went to Cape May. Here he was very weak, so
that he was unable to bathe, and he finally left without any sensible
improvement. On the recommendation of Dr. Wister, he went to Cresson,
in the Alleghany Mountains. While there he was in the family of Dr. R.
M. Jackson, and under his medical direction.

“The following letters, received from Drs. Wister and Jackson, describe
Mr. Sumner’s condition while under their care.

                                      “‘PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 14, 1856.

    “‘DR. M. S. PERRY:--

    “‘DEAR SIR,--It gives me much pleasure to reply to your note of
    inquiry concerning the health of Mr. Sumner.

    “‘You are perfectly aware of the condition of Mr. Sumner when
    he reached this city on the 9th of July,--a condition of
    extreme nervous exhaustion, his circulation feeble, and in fact
    every vital power alarmingly sunken. At that time his steps
    were feeble and tottering, as in extreme old age; he complained
    of constant pain in the back and lower extremities,--in the
    latter it was a tired and weary sensation; and he had a sense
    of constriction and pressure about the head. At that time his
    pulse was quick and small, appetite languid, and his sleep
    broken, disturbed, and unrefreshing. All the above conditions
    were heightened by exertion, either mental or physical. I could
    find no evidence of organic disease. I understood Mr. Sumner to
    be in that state of extreme nervous exhaustion from which men
    are months, and at times even years, in being fully restored.

    “‘Mr. Sumner has done eminently well. His present state is
    but a shadow of that above described; and although none of
    the features of the past are lost, they are only evident when
    imprudent exertion, mental or physical, shall call them up.
    Within the limits of exertion of an ordinary retired gentleman,
    Mr. Sumner improves daily, and all his powers improve, with a
    steady progress towards perfect health. Indiscretion brings on
    morbid wakefulness, and, in the recurring outline of his former
    condition, admonishes him, that, though recovering, he is still
    in risk.

        “‘With much respect, truly yours,

            “‘CASPAR WISTER.’


    “‘You ask for a brief report of the case of the Hon. Charles
    Sumner, as it came under my observation during his visit and
    stay on the Alleghany Mountain in Pennsylvania. Mr. Sumner came
    to Cresson on the 3d of August last. On his arrival, he had the
    appearance of a man who had been sick for a long time, and was
    still extremely unwell. Careful observations and examinations
    of the case, for some time, revealed the following appearances
    and symptoms.

    “‘The lips were pale, showing a watery condition of the
    blood, evinced also by general pallor of the countenance
    and flabbiness of the solids. The action of the heart and
    arteries was weak, the pulse being slow and languid. On the
    surface of the head the integuments showed a slight redness
    around the cicatrices of the recently healed cuts,--also some
    morbid sensibility on pressure. Efforts at walking gave a
    tottering and uncertain gait, as if from partial paralysis (say
    threatened paraplegia),--the steps being short and unsteady,
    the muscles evidently not under the complete control of the
    will, the limbs even giving way partially. The slightest
    exertion was followed by lassitude quite disproportioned to the
    efforts. His nights were frequently passed in a state of morbid
    wakefulness and general uneasiness. The action of the brain was
    always followed by a sense of weight and dull throbbing pain in
    the head. This result invariably followed even the slightest
    mental effort of writing a common letter of business.

    “‘The entire chain of symptoms soon pointed to the head and
    spine as the seat of a highly morbid condition. The contents
    of the other cavities of the body seemed normal. As no regular
    medical report had been given me of the case before its arrival
    at the Mountain, its original condition after the assault had
    to be inferred from present inspection, without the history
    of its progress. From this it was clearly evident that the
    brain and spinal cord had been the seat of a grave and,
    formidable lesion. As the first violent symptoms had passed
    off, the consequences of which, veiled and obscure, were the
    only evidence by which the case could be read, it was clearly
    apparent that its present pathological condition was of a most
    serious character, and had been preceded by impending danger
    to life. From all the facts it was evident that from the blows
    upon the skull there must have been either congestion, or
    concussion followed by congestion, or positive inflammation
    of the brain or its investing membranes, in this case. Actual
    fracture is not at all necessary to this result. In Hope’s
    Pathological Anatomy we have the following statement: “In
    several cases of fracture of the skull, and in some of injury
    of the scalp alone (!), I have found pus, either liquid or
    of a pasty consistence, between the bone and the dura mater,
    and adhering to both.” Thus inflammation and its products
    on the interior of the skull proceed from “_injuries of the
    scalp alone_.” The injury occurring in a subject of a highly
    impressible and delicate nervous temperament, at a time in
    which the central organ of the nervous system was exhausted
    by excessive mental tension for days and nights of severe
    effort, carried with it impending destruction. The insidious
    danger of the first injury was _now_ only to be estimated
    by its threatening consequences at the stage of progress of
    the case when it arrived at the Mountain. All too plainly
    marked by fearful features the true character of the effects
    of the assault in the Senate, and plainly showed their fatal
    tendencies in the condition of the man. At this stage of the
    case, whatever might have been or might now be the condition of
    the suffering internal organs, debility and exhaustion of life
    was manifestly the clearest phenomenon visible.

    “‘This was accompanied with an interrupted action of the
    muscles of voluntary motion, great weakness of the loins,
    inability to protract beyond a few minutes any mental effort
    without pain, weight and uneasiness in the head, together
    with soreness in the region of the cervical vertebræ; all of
    which symptoms, taken together, demonstrate a case ravaged by
    severe disease in the great nervous centre, and showing in that
    region still a highly pathological condition of parts. All the
    symptoms being of a depressed order, exhaustion and weakness
    predominating in all the functions, the clear indication
    in the case was to reënergize the man in every way and by
    every influence. This, it seemed, would be most effectually
    secured by a judicious diet, mild tonic agents, constant
    exercise in the open air on horseback or in a carriage, and
    by cessation of all active efforts of the diseased parts, and
    a gradual stringing up and intonation of the whole body under
    the influence of mountain air, mountain water, and change of
    climate. Within five weeks, the effects of this treatment
    were marked and clearly visible to all. So emphatic were
    they in the consciousness of Mr. Sumner, that he could not be
    persuaded he was still an invalid, and not almost well and
    ready for the field of active operations. He left the Mountain
    prematurely, before he was hardened and his body restored to
    its normal tone. This was done contrary to my urgent advice and
    entreaties. It was clearly apparent, that, with one more month
    of the bracing influences of the Mountain, he would have been
    much better than at present, and the perfect final restoration
    of the Senator’s health greatly facilitated.

        “‘Yours truly,

            “‘R. M. JACKSON.

    “‘CRESSON, Nov. 12, 1856.’

“Since Mr. Sumner’s return to Boston, he has been gradually improving.
He has followed a rigid system of exercise in the open air, and
carefully avoided all intellectual excitement. The pressure in his
head, or sensation of weight, which formerly came on after the
slightest mental or physical exertion, and which was very oppressive,
is now felt only after great fatigue, or considerable effort of the
mind. He still complains, after sitting up for a long time, of pain in
his back; and when he rises from his bed or chair, he finds at first
some difficulty in using the muscles of the lower extremities, but
after walking a short time they become quite flexible and under the
complete control of the will. His appetite is good, he sleeps much
better than he did, and is gaining flesh and strength. I see no reason
why he may not entirely recover, unless he allows himself too soon to
enter upon his Senatorial duties. He has already assumed the external
appearance of health. Time and mental repose will do the rest.

“I think it is impossible to decide with absolute certainty what
the pathological condition of Mr. Sumner’s brain has been; but I am
inclined to the opinion of Dr. Jackson, ‘that the brain, as well as
the spinal cord, has been the seat of some serious lesion.’ The long
continued sense of weight in his head, the pain along the spine, the
partial loss of power in the lower extremities, the loss of flesh
during the first three months after the attack, and the wakefulness,
without any affection of the mind, would lead, I think, to this
conclusion. Had the patient died, a _post-mortem_ examination would
have determined conclusively the character of the injury; but we can
only make an approximation to a true appreciation of the case by a
cautious interpretation of the symptoms.”

       *       *       *       *       *

This diagnosis does not extend beyond December, 1856. Subsequent
newspapers contain notices of the case. The diagnosis, at a later day,
by Dr. Brown-Séquard, has never been published.



    On the 3d of June, 1856, a resolution for the relief of
    Kansas failed in the Massachusetts Legislature, mainly, it
    was alleged, through the hostility of Governor Gardner. On
    the next day a message from the Governor was received by the
    Legislature, recommending the payment of the expense of the
    illness of Mr. Sumner. This was followed in the Senate by a
    resolution to the same effect. On learning these proceedings,
    Mr. Sumner dictated the following telegraphic despatch, which
    was signed by his immediate representative in Congress.

                                     WASHINGTON, June 6, 1856.

  Mr. Sumner has just learned the recommendation of Governor
  Gardner that the Commonwealth should assume the expense of his
  illness. He desires me to telegraph at once his hope that the
  recommendation will not be pressed. In no event can he accept the
  allowance proposed, and Mr. Sumner adds, “Whatever Massachusetts
  can give, let it all go to suffering Kansas.”




    Immediately after the assault on Mr. Sumner a subscription was
    started for a testimonial to him. The terms of the paper were
    as follows.

        “Being desirous of expressing to the Hon. Charles Sumner,
        in some permanent and appropriate form, our admiration
        of his spotless public and private character, of our
        lively gratitude for his dauntless courage in the defence
        of Freedom on the floor of Congress, and especially our
        unqualified approbation of his speech in behalf of Free
        Kansas, delivered in the Senate on the 20th of May last,--a
        speech characterized by comprehensive knowledge of the
        subject, by logical acuteness, and by Spartan intrepidity
        in the chastisement of iniquity, for which he has wellnigh
        lost his life at the brutal and cowardly hands of the
        creature for which (thanks to the rarity of its appearance)
        the English tongue has as yet no appropriate name,--we
        deem it alike a privilege and an honor to participate in
        offering him some suitable token of our sentiments. For
        this purpose we subscribe the sums set opposite our names.”

    Among the early signers were the venerable Josiah Quincy, Henry
    W. Longfellow, Jared Sparks, F. D. Huntington, R. H. Dana, Jr.,
    Edward Everett, Edwin P. Whipple, Alexander H. Rice, Charles
    Hudson, Charles Francis Adams, Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, Charles
    A. Phelps, Amasa Walker, William Claflin, Eli Thayer, and
    George Bliss.

    Mr. Sumner was on his bed when he heard of this purpose. He at
    once dictated the following letter.

                                      WASHINGTON, June 13, 1856.

  MY DEAR SIR,--The papers speak of a token planned by you, in
  approbation of my recent speech exposing the _Crime against
  Kansas_. Pardon me, if, in advance of any direct information, I
  say to you frankly that I cannot allow this flattering project to
  proceed further.

  It is enough for me that you and your generous associates approve
  what I said. Such sympathy and support in the cause, of which I
  am a humble representative, is all that I ask for myself, or am
  willing to accept. But the cause itself has constant claims on
  us all. And I trust you will not deem me too bold, if I express
  a desire that the contributions intended for the testimonial to
  me may be applied at once, and without abatement of any kind, _to
  the recovery and security of Freedom in Kansas_.

  For this I spoke in the Senate, and I shall be proud to regard
  these contributions thus applied as my words hardened into deeds.

  Believe me, my dear Sir, with much regard,

      Very faithfully yours,



    This letter was laid before a meeting of the subscribers
    in Mercantile Hall, with Rev. F. D. Huntington, afterwards
    Bishop of the Western Diocese of New York, in the chair. A
    contemporary newspaper records what ensued.

        “A beautiful design of the testimonial which it had been
        proposed to offer Mr. Sumner was also submitted to the
        meeting. It was to have been a massive and elaborate silver
        vase, two feet in height, and was planned by Messrs.
        Bailey, Kettell, and Chapman. Upon its summit was a figure
        representing Charles Sumner holding his Kansas speech in
        his right hand. On either side were the figures of Justice
        and Freedom, crowning him with a wreath of laurels. A
        winged genius sits at his feet, and is inscribing his name
        on a tablet. Figures representing Victory are upon the arms
        of the vase, heralding the triumph of Freedom. Above the
        inscription to Mr. Sumner, and in the centre, was the coat
        of arms of Massachusetts. On the foot of the vase was the
        coat of arms of the nation, between masks and appropriate
        emblems of Liberty and Slavery.

        “Although all were unwilling to abandon this favorite plan
        of expressing to Mr. Sumner by a substantial token their
        sympathy and their support, yet they were of the opinion
        that his letter left them no choice in the matter, and,
        after discussing many plans for the disposition of the
        funds already raised, the suggestion of Mr. Sumner was
        unanimously adopted by the following resolves.

        “‘_Resolved_, That the Secretary of this meeting be
        instructed to subscribe the amount of funds in his hands to
        aid the cause of _Freedom in Kansas_, in the name of Hon.
        Charles Sumner.

        “‘_Resolved_, That the subscribers be notified by the
        Secretary of the above vote, and have leave to withdraw
        their subscriptions.’

        “The amount already subscribed is one thousand dollars,
        and by the action of the meeting Mr. Sumner’s noble and
        eloquent speech has ‘hardened into deeds,’ for which we
        hope many a poor sufferer in Kansas will long have occasion
        to bless his memory.”

    The resolutions of the meeting were communicated to Mr. Sumner
    by the Chairman in the following letter.

                                         “CAMBRIDGE, June 25, 1856.

        “MY DEAR SIR,--You have already been made acquainted with
        the earnest movement of some of your host of friends in
        this quarter to convey to you a tangible evidence of their
        profound esteem for your character, and their enthusiastic
        admiration of your conduct. The arrival of your generous
        letter stopped their proceedings. At your own request one
        thousand dollars will go to Kansas instead of to you.

        “At the public meeting where this decision was taken, I
        was directed, as being Chairman, to acquaint you with the
        acquiescence of the subscribers to the testimonial in
        your wishes, and to assure you that all your motives in
        this act, and throughout the recent signal and portentous
        events, are by us fully appreciated and honored. I will not
        add to your fatigues, and to the crowd of communications
        which must be pouring in upon you, by a long communication.
        Your name is inseparably and nobly associated with
        the history of Freedom, in America and in the world,
        henceforth. We confide in you for the future. We thank
        you for the past. We supplicate, in your behalf, from
        the Almighty Source of Good a rapid restoration of your
        health and strength, and ever-increasing powers of will, of
        faith, of action, and of speech, in the infinite service of

        “You will believe, my dear Sir, that my personal feelings
        go undivided into these assurances of good-will.

        “I beg you to account me, now as always,

            “Your faithful friend and servant,

                “F. D. HUNTINGTON.


    The following extract from a letter of Mrs. Lydia Maria Child,
    the much-loved and always popular author, shows how this act
    was regarded at the time.

        “Your letter declining the testimonial proffered by your
        native Commonwealth pleased me more than anything you
        ever did. I had previously said, ‘I hope Massachusetts
        will express her gratitude toward him with princely
        magnificence, and I hope _he_ will transfer the gift to
        Kansas: that would be morally grand on _both_ sides.’
        And Mr. Child answered: ‘Depend upon it, he _will_ do
        it. Nothing could be more characteristic of the man.’
        That letter and Mr. Wilson’s answer to the challenge have
        revived my early faith in human nature. It is impossible to
        calculate the salutary influence of such examples.”


[1] Resolutions of the Legislature of South Carolina, December 16,
1835. See also Resolutions of the Legislature of North Carolina,
December 19, 1835; of Georgia, December 22, 1835; of Alabama, January
7, 1836; and of Virginia, February 16, 1836. Massachusetts Senate
Documents, Sess. 1836, No. 56.

[2] “Ahi serva Italia, … bordello!”--_Purgatorio_, Canto VI. 76-78.

[3] Civil Code of the State of Louisiana, Art. 35.

[4] Statutes at Large of South Carolina, Vol. VII. p. 397, Act No. 670,
sec. 1.

[5] Sketch of the Laws relating to Slavery in the several States, pp.
22, 23.

[6] Genesis, ix. 25-27.

[7] Dryden, Absalom and Achitophel, Part I. 301, 302.

[8] Encyclopædia Metropolitana, First Division, Pure Sciences, Vol. I.
p. 32 (ed. 1829, 4to): Preliminary Treatise on Method, Sect. 2, _Dark

[9] By the Rev. Thomas Thompson, Vicar of Reculver, in Kent, and
printed at Canterbury in 1772. Boswell’s defence of the Slave-Trade
was kindred in character. (Life of Johnson, ed. Croker, London, 1848,
Vol. VII. pp. 23, 24, Sept. 23, 1777.) Nothing can be more melancholy
than the effort of Capitein the African, who, surrendering to the Dutch
influences about him, made himself the apologist of Slavery, in a Latin
Dissertation, translated into Dutch, and reprinted four times, entitled
“_Dissertatio politico-theologica de Servitute Libertati Christianæ non
contraria_, quam sub Præside J. Van den Honert publicæ Disquisitioni
subjicit J. E. J. Capitein, Afer, in 4to, Lugduni Batavorum, 1742.” In
our own country, the Rev. John Beck, of Georgia, dared to preach and
print, in 1801, two sermons entitled “The Doctrine of Perpetual Bondage
reconcilable with the Infinite Justice of God, a Truth plainly asserted
in the Jewish and Christian Scripture.” Good men must join in the
thanks expressed to Colonel Humphreys by the philanthropist Grégoire,
for his exposure of this baseness in his Valedictory Discourse before
the Cincinnati of Connecticut. Grégoire, De la Littérature des Nègres,
p. 232.

[10] Epistle to Philemon, 10-19.

[11] See Parliamentary Papers, 1852, Vol. XXXI.; 1852-53, Vol. LXII.;
1854-55, Vol. XXXVI.; 1856, Vol. LVII.; 1857, Vol. XL.; 1862, Vol.
LVII. Also, Davy’s West Indies, pp. 65, 200, 245, 277, 412.

[12] Speech at Opening of Assembly, Oct. 30. 1838; Parliamentary
Papers, Sess. 1839, Vol. XXXV., No. 107, p. 151.

[13] Despatch from Gov. Higginson to Earl Grey, April 5, 1849:
Parliamentary Papers, Sess. 1849, Vol. XXXIV. [No. 1126], p. 219.

[14] Hansard, Parliamentary Debates, 3d Ser. Vol. XLV. col. 4, Feb. 5,

[15] Speech on American Taxation, April 19, 1774: Works (London, 1801),
Vol. II. p. 413.

[16] Of Goodness, and Goodness of Nature.

[17] Exodus, xxxiii. 18,19.

[18] Marston, History of Antonio and Mellida, Act III. Sc. 1.

[19] Hansard, Parliamentary History, XXX. 659, April 11, 1793.

[20] Cowper, Sonnet to Wilberforce.

[21] De Bow’s Statistical View, pp. 94, 95.

[22] “Our Southern islands, for I call them ours.” Speech of Mr.
Butler, of South Carolina, March 20, 1854: Congressional Globe, 33d
Cong. 1st Sess., Vol. XXVIII. p. 690.

[23] Inferno, tr. Brooksbank, Canto III. 37-39.

[24] Case of Passmore Williamson, pp. 3-5, 9-11, 15, 73, 157-163.

[25] Notes on Party Principles: Life of Wilberforce by his Sons, Vol.
II., Appendix, p. 456.

[26] Case of Passmore Williamson. See, _ante_, p. 52.

[27] Hon. Henry J. Gardner.

[28] “Tu vero, si quid in te artis est, ita compone domum meam, ut,
quicquid agam, ab omnibus perspici possit.”--A saying of the tribune
M. Livius Drusus, preserved by Velleius Paterculus, _Historiæ Romanæ_,
Lib. II. c. 14.

[29] Of this Professor Agassiz is a brilliant instance.

[30] Madison’s Debates, July 5, 1787, p. 1024, note.

[31] Ibid., July 6, p. 1040.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Madison’s Debates, July 6, 1787, p. 1042.

[34] Ibid., p. 1043.

[35] Ibid., July 14, pp. 1096-1098.

[36] Madison’s Debates, August 8, 1787, pp. 1266, 1267.

[37] Madison’s Debates, July 6, 1787, p. 1044.

[38] Madison’s Debates, June 13, 1787, pp. 855, 856.

[39] Ibid., August 13, p. 1307.

[40] Ibid., July 6, p. 1041.

[41] Ibid., p. 1043.

[42] Elliot’s Debates, June 14, 1788, Vol. II. p. 283, ed. 1828.

[43] Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. IX. p. 509. May’s Law of
Parliament, p. 407, ed. 1851.

[44] May’s Law of Parliament, pp. 415, 418.

[45] Ibid., p. 425.

[46] Hon. George P. Marsh.

[47] Webster’s Works, Vol. VI. pp. 406, 409.

[48] Wheaton, Elements of International Law (ed. Lawrence, 1863), note,
pp. 334, 335, Part II. Ch. 4.

[49] Exec. Doc., 34th Cong. 1st Sess., 1855-56, No. 1, p. 9.

[50] Ibid., p. 30.

[51] Commentaries on the Constitution, § 1838.

[52] Foster et al. _v._ Neilson, 2 Peters, 314

[53] Ware _v._ Hylton et al., 3 Dallas, 284.

[54] Ibid., 261.

[55] 1 United States Statutes at Large, 578.

[56] Annals of Congress, 5th Cong., 1797-1799, col. 2120.

[57] Ibid., col. 2123.

[58] Ibid., col. 2126.

[59] Executive Documents, 29th Cong. 1st Sess., No. 2, p. 11.

[60] 9 United States Statutes at Large, pp. 109, 110.

[61] Executive Documents, 33d Cong. 1st Sess., 1853-54, No. 108, pp.
40, 42.

[62] United States Statutes at Large, Vol. XI. p. 720. Wheaton,
Elements of International Law (ed. Lawrence, 1863), note, p. 335, Part
II. Ch. 4.

[63] This illustration, deemed necessary to expose the hateful violence
to a beautiful region for the sake of Slavery, was denounced by Mr.
Cass, in the Senate, while Mr. Sumner was absent, as “an unpatriotic
metaphor”, and the critical Senator added: “I believe that hundreds of
thousands of copies of that production which contains this passage, and
many others equally objectionable, were sent through the country during
the last Presidential election.”--Congressional Globe, 34th Cong. 3d
Sess., p. 90, December 11, 1856.

[64] Florus, Epitome Rerum Romanarum, Lib. IV. cap. 2, § 4. Five
years later the fury of the propagandists broke forth in the war here

[65] Congressional Globe, 34th Cong. 1st Sess., Appendix, p. 107,
February 28, 1856.

[66] Hildreth, History of the United States, Vol. VI. p. 713.

[67] Referring to this provision of the Missouri Bill, Mr. Niles
italicizes “_forever_,” thus showing his construction of the
word.--Niles’s Weekly Register, March 11, 1820.

[68] This letter, which the _Columbian Centinel_, of Boston, April 1,
1820, properly styles “tell-tale,” was addressed to the Editor of the
Charleston _City Gazette_, under date of March 2, 1820.

[69] Act to organize the Territories of Nebraska and Kansas, Sec. 14:
Statutes at Large, Vol. X. p. 283.

[70] Senator of Missouri at Washington from 1843 to 1855, and for
several sessions President _pro tempore_ of the Senate.

[71] Message relative to Affairs in the Territory of Kansas, January
24, 1856: Executive Documents, 34th Cong. 1st Sess., No. 28, p. 4.

[72] Hon. S. C. Pomeroy, afterwards for many years Senator of Kansas at

[73] Hon. Wilson Shannon.

[74] Burke, Speech in the Impeachment of Warren Hastings, February 16,
1788: Works (London, 1822), Vol. XIII. p. 202.

[75] Horatio Greenough, the earliest of our sculptors, and also
excellent with his pen.

[76] Cicero, Oratio in Catilinam I. 12.

[77] This review Mr. Sumner was disabled from making, as will appear in
the sequel.

[78] Statutes of the Territory of Kansas, passed at the First Session
of the Legislative Assembly, 1855, and the Act of Congress organizing
said Territory, and other Acts of Congress having immediate relation
thereto, Shawnee M. L. School, 1855, Chap. 151, pp. 715-717. Mr.
Sumner’s copy of this curious volume, which once belonged to Mr.
Seward, is lettered on the back, “Laws of Kansas; Territorial
Legislature, _alias_ The Ruffians’ Legislature.”

[79] This story is told of Sir James Marriott, the Admiralty Judge.
(Basil Montagu’s Essays: _Barrister_.) Something similar may be traced
to Lord Mansfield, not usually pedantic or technical, in the Debate
on the Right of Parliament to tax America, Feb. 10, 1766. (Hansard,
Parliamentary History, XVI. 176.)

[80] Mr. Crampton, the British Minister at Washington, was dismissed.
Lawrence’s Wheaton (ed. 1863), p. 438, note. See also Executive
Documents, 34th Cong. 1st Sess., No. 107.

[81] Statutes at Large, Vol. I. p. 424.

[82] Ibid., Vol. II. p. 443.

[83] Mr. Douglas’s Report on the Affairs of Kansas: Senate Reports,
34th Cong. 1st Sess., No. 34, p. 29.


    “_Emigravit_ is the inscription on the tombstone where he lies.”

This is the verse of Longfellow on the artist Albert Dürer, buried at

[85] Livy, XXXVII. 46. See, also, Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman
Antiquities, art. COLONIA.

[86] Massachusetts Special Laws, Vol. X. p. 282.

[87] Hon. John Carter Brown, of Providence, R. I.

[88] Hon. John M. S. Williams, of Cambridge, afterwards an earnest
member of the Republican party, and for some time Chairman of its
Republican State Committee, in Massachusetts.

[89] Hon. A. A. Lawrence, of Boston.

[90] Hon. Reuben A. Chapman, of Springfield, afterward Chief Justice of
the Supreme Court of Massachusetts.

[91] Mr. Evans, of South Carolina, here interrupted Mr. Sumner to say
that he did not know of any such address. Mr. Sumner replied, that “it
was in a speech or letter of one of the gentlemen enlisted in obtaining
emigrants in South Carolina.”--Congressional Globe, 34th Cong. 1st
Sess., Appendix, p. 538.

[92] Mr. Douglas was born in Vermont.

[93] Mr. Butler, of South Carolina, in his two days’ speech reviewing
and denouncing Mr. Sumner, while the latter was suffering at home, said
of this passage: “The best part of his late speech is a periphrasis
of Demosthenes, almost a servile imitation of the apostrophe of
Demosthenes. I never saw such a remarkable resemblance.… I do not say
it is a plagiarism; but it is a remarkable imitation, as far as one man
incapable of comprehending the true spirit of Demosthenes could imitate
him.”--Speech in the Senate, June 12th and 13th, 1856: Congressional
Globe, 34th Cong. 1st Sess., Appendix, p. 634.

[94] At this point, Mr. Sumner, having spoken three hours, yielded for
a motion to adjourn. On the next day, May 20th, he concluded.

[95] Hansard, Parliamentary History, XVIII. 33, 34.

[96] Speech in the Senate, March 6, 1856: Congressional Globe, 34th
Cong. 1st Sess., p. 587.

[97] For an abstract of this bill, see Congressional Globe, 34th Cong.
1st Sess., p. 693, March 20, 1856. Printed by the Senate at the time,
but, as it was never passed, will not be found in the Statutes.

[98] Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book I, 545-547.

[99] Journal of Congress, Vol. IX. p. 153.

[100] This was the ratio at the cession of Florida. At the cession of
Louisiana it was 33,000.

[101] Memorial of the People of the Territory of Florida for Admission
into the Union: Executive Documents, 27th Cong. 2d Sess., Vol. IV. No.
206, p. 3.

[102] Message relative to Affairs in the Territory of Kansas, Jan. 24,
1856: Executive Documents, 34th Cong. 1st Sess., Vol. VII. No. 28, p. 6.

[103] Congressional Globe, 24th Cong. 1st Sess., p. 140, Jan. 26, 1836.

[104] Ibid., Appendix, p. 307, April 1, 1836.

[105] Congressional Globe, 24th Cong. 1st Sess., Appendix, p. 331,
April 1, 1836.

[106] Ibid., p. 308.

[107] Senate Journal, 24th Cong. 1st Sess., p. 262, April 1, 1836.

[108] Ibid., pp. 437, 439. Act of July 2, 1836: Statutes at Large, Vol.
V. p. 113.

[109] Reports of Committees, 24th Cong. 1st Sess., Vol. II. No. 380, p.

[110] Act of June 15th, 1836: Statutes at Large, Vol. V. p. 50.

[111] Senate Documents, 24th Cong. 2d Sess., Vol. I. No. 36, p. 2.

[112] Senate Journal, 24th Cong. 2d Sess., p. 72. Act of 26th January,
1837: Statutes at Large, Vol. V. p. 144.

[113] Senate Documents, 24th Cong. 2d Sess., Vol. I. No. 36, p. 5.

[114] Congressional Globe, 24th Cong. 2d Sess., pp. 60, 61.

[115] Debates in Congress, Vol. XIII. Part I. col. 233, 24th Cong. 2d
Sess. This debate is not reported in the Congressional Globe.

[116] Ibid., col. 209.

[117] Ibid., col. 208.

[118] Ibid., col. 300.

[119] Ibid.

[120] Debates in Congress, Vol. XIII. Part I. col. 215, 24th Cong. 2d

[121] Dépêche Circulaire, Laybach, 12 Mai, 1821: Martens, Nouveau
Recueil de Traités, Tom. V. p. 644.

[122] Speech of Mr. Corbin, June 7, 1788: Elliot’s Debates, Vol. II. p.

[123] 1 Virginia Cases, 70, 71, Kamper _v._ Hawkins.

[124] The Federalist, No. 40.

[125] Debates in Congress, Vol. XIII. Part I. col. 313, 24th Cong. 2d

[126] An examination of the _Globe_ shows, that, besides a regular
speech, the Senator intervened, often irregularly and impatiently, no
less than thirty-five times.

[127] Hon. James H. Lane, afterwards Senator of Kansas at Washington.

[128] Speech on Memorial of the Legislature of Kansas, April 7, 1856:
Congressional Globe, 34th Cong. 1st Sess., p. 826.

[129] Art. I. § 6.

[130] The close of the Rebellion witnessed the fulfilment of this

[131] Lowell, The Present Crisis.

[132] This was the case of Mrs. Douglas, which at the time caused

[133] Æneid, tr. Dryden, VI. 853 [1177].

[134] “_Il gran rifiuto._” Dante, Inferno, III. 60.

[135] Deuteronomy, xxvii. 17.

[136] Ibid., xxviii. 16-19.

[137] Ezekiel, xiv. 8.

[138] American Archives, 4th Series, Vol. I. col. 446.

[139] _Ante_, Vol. III. p. 368.

[140] _Ante_, Vol. III. pp. 368-423.

[141] The second day of the delivery.

[142] The short-hand reporter of the Senate.

[143] House Journal, 34th Cong. 1st Sess., pp. 1199-1221, July 14, 15,

[144] Congressional Globe, 34th Cong. 1st Sess., Appendix, pp. 831-833,
July 14, 1856.

[145] Congressional Globe, 34th Cong. 1st Sess., pp. 1304-1306, May 27,

[146] Congressional Globe, 34th Cong. 1st Sess., Appendix, p. 626, June
12, 1856.

[147] New York Independent, February 5, 1857. See also New York Herald,
January 31, and February 2, 1857; New York Times, January 30, 1857. The
effect of this on the House is described by correspondents at the time.

[148] January 29, 1857, p. 502, 34th Cong. 3d Sess.

[149] _Ante_, Vol. III. pp. 368-423.

[150] Congressional Globe, 34th Cong. 1st Sess., Appendix, p. 629, June
12, 1856.

[151] Ibid., p. 626.

[152] Congressional Globe, 34th Cong. 1st Sess., Appendix, p. 625, June
12, 1856.

[153] Congressional Globe, 34th Cong. 1st Sess., Appendix, p. 633, June
13, 1856.

[154] Congressional Globe, 34th Cong. 3d Sess., Appendix, p. 356,
February 26, 1857.

[155] Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, Vol. LV. pp. 417-421,
December 25, 1856.

[156] This letter was addressed to Hon. H. Wilson.

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