Mr. Sumner an Instance of Free State High Culture—The "Brahmin Caste" of New England—The Sumner Ancestry; a Kentish Family—Governor Increase Sumner; His Revolutionary Patriotism—His Stately Presence; "a Governor that can Walk"—Charles Sumner's Father—Mr. Sumner's Education, Legal and Literary Studies—Tendency to Ideal Perfection—Sumner and the Whigs—Abolitionism Social Death—Sumner's Opposition to the Mexican War—His Peace Principles—Sumner opposes Slavery Within the Constitution, as Garrison Outside of it—Anti-Slavery and the Whigs—The Political Abolitionist Platform—Webster asked in vain to Oppose Slavery—Sumner's Rebuke of Winthrop—Joins the Free Soil Party—Succeeds Webster in the Senate—Great Speech against the Fugitive Slave Law—The Constitution a Charter of Liberty—Slavery not in the Constitution—First Speech after the Brooks Assault—Consistency as to Reconstruction.

In the example of Abraham Lincoln we have shown the working man, self-educated, rising to greatness and station, under influences purely American. It is our pride to say that in no other country of the world could a man of the working classes have had a career like that of Lincoln.

We choose now another name made famous by the great struggle for principle and right which has ended in our recent war. As Lincoln is a specimen of the facilities, means of self-education and advance in life which America gives to the working man, so Charles Sumner is a specimen of that finish, breadth, and extent of culture which could be produced by the best blood and the best educational institutions of the oldest among the free States of America.

We may speak properly of the blood of the Sumner family, for they belong to what Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes so happily characterizes as the "Brahmin caste of New England," that "harmless, inoffensive, untitled aristocracy," in whom elevated notions of life, and aptitudes for learning, seem, in his own words, to be "hereditary and congenital." "Families whose names are always on college catalogues; and who break out every generation or two in some learned labor which calls them up after they seem to have died out." A glance at the Cambridge catalogue will show a long line of Sumners, from 1723 down to the graduation of our present Senator.

Like many other American families distinguished for energy and intellectual vigor, the Sumner family can trace back their lineage to the hardy physical stock of the English yeomanry. The race, afterwards emigrating to Oxfordshire, had its first origin in Kent, and it is curious to see how to this day it preserves physical traits of its origin. The Kentish men were tall, strong, long-limbed, and hardy, much relied on for archery and holding generally the front of the battle. The Sumners in America have been marked men in these same physical points; men of commanding stature and fine vital temperament, strong, athletic, and with the steady cheerfulness of good health and good digestion.

One of the early ancestors of this family, who lived in Roxbury, is thus characterized in the Antiquarian Register: "Never was there a man better calculated for the sturdy labors of a yeoman. He was of colossal size and equal strength of muscle, which was kept in tone by regularity and good habits. He shrunk from no labor, however arduous and fatiguing it might seem to others. Instances of the wonderful feats of strength performed by him were related after his death by his contemporaries in his native place and the vicinity."

The son of this man was the venerated Increase Sumner, the cousin of Charles Sumner's father, one of the most distinguished Judges and Governors of Massachusetts. He was indeed one of the nursing fathers of the State of Massachusetts during the critical period when, just emerging from the tutelage of England, she was trying the experiment of a State constitutional government.

Some of the sayings of Increase Sumner are important, as showing of what stock it was that our present Massachusetts Senator came, and what were the family traditions in which he was educated. In a letter just in the beginning of the revolutionary war, he says:

"The man who, regardless of public happiness, is ready to fall in with base measures, and sacrifice conscience, honor and his country, merely for his own advancement, must (if not wretchedly hardened,) feel a torture, the intenseness of which nothing in this world can equal."

Again, in one of his judicial charges, he says:

"America furnishes one of the few instances of countries where the blessings of civil liberty and the rights of mankind have been the primary objects of their political institutions; in which the rich and poor are equally protected; where the rights of conscience are fully enjoyed, and where merit and ability can be the only claim to the favor of the public. May we not then pronounce that man destitute of the true principles of liberty and unworthy the blessing of society, who does not at all times lend his aid to support and maintain a government on the preservation of which depends his own political as well as private happiness?"

Never was a Governor of Massachusetts carried to the chair with more popular enthusiasm than Increase Sumner, to which, doubtless, his stately person and appearance of high physical vigor added greatly. Hancock had been crippled with gout, and Adams had been bent with infirmity, and the populace, ever prone to walk by sight, were cheered by the stately steppings of their new leader. "Thank God, we have got a Governor that can walk, at last," said an old apple woman, as he passed in state at the head of the legislative body, from hearing the election sermon in the Old South.

The father of Charles Sumner was no less distinguished for the personal and mental gifts of the family. He was an able lawyer, and for many years filled the office of high sheriff of Suffolk county, and is still spoken of with enthusiasm by those who remember him, as a magnificent specimen of a man of the noblest type; noble in person, in manners and in mind, and of most immaculate integrity. He was the last high sheriff who retained the antique dress derived from English usage, and the custom well became his lordly person and graceful dignity of manner.

Charles Sumner, therefore, succeeded to physical vigor, to patriotic sentiment and noble ideas as his birthright. His education was pursued in the Boston Latin school and in Phillips Academy, which is still proud of the tradition of his sojourn, and lastly in Harvard College, where he graduated in 1830.

In the same place he pursued his law studies, under Judge Story, and was admitted to the bar in 1834. No young man could rise more rapidly. He soon gained a large practice, and was appointed reporter of the Circuit Court of the United States, in which capacity he published three volumes, known as Sumner's Reports, containing the decisions of Judge Story. He also edited the American Jurist, a quarterly law journal. The first three winters after his admission to the bar he lectured in the Cambridge Law School with such approval that in 1836, he was offered a professorship in the Law School, which he declined.

In 1837 he visited Europe for purposes of travel and general improvement, and remained there for three years, returning in 1840. As the result of this sojourn, he added to his previous classical and legal knowledge an extensive and accurate acquaintance with the leading languages and literature of modern Europe. Possessed of a memory remarkable for its extent and accuracy, all these varied treasures were arranged in his mind where they could be found at a moment's notice. We have heard of his being present once at a dinner, among the Cambridge élite, when Longfellow repeated some French verses, which he said had struck him by their euphony and elegance, but to which he could not at the moment assign the name of the author. Sumner immediately rose from the table, took down a volume of Voltaire, and without a moment's hesitation turned to the passage. He has sometimes been accused of a sort of pedantry in the frequent use of classical and historical illustration in his speeches, but the occurrence of these has been the result of a familiarity which made their use to him the most natural and involuntary thing in the world.

In the outset of Sumner's career it was sometimes said of him that he was a brilliant theorizer, but that he would never be a practical politician. His mind, indeed, belongs to that class whose enthusiasms are more for ideas and principles than for men. He had the capacity of loving the absolute right, abstracted from its practical uses. There was a tendency in his mind to seek ideal perfection and completeness. In study, his standard was that of the most finished scholarship; in politics and the general conduct of life it was that of the severest models of the antique, elevated and refined by Christianity.

He returned to his native city at a time when the intention in good faith to be an ideal patriot and Christian, was in the general estimation of good society, a mark of a want of the practical faculties. The Whig party, in whose ranks, by birth and tradition, he belonged, looked upon him as the son of their right hand; though they shook their heads gently at what seemed to them the very young and innocent zeal with which he began applying the weights and measures of celestial regions to affairs where, it was generally conceded, it would be fatal to use them.

Just at this season, the great Babylon, which now is cast down with execration, sat as a queen at Washington, and gave laws, and bewitched northern politicians with her sorceries. Church and State were entangled in her nets, and followed, half willingly, half unwilling, at her chariot wheels. The first, loudest, most importunate demand of this sorceress was, that the rule "Do unto others as ye would that others should do unto you" should be repealed. There was no objection to its forming a part of the church service, and being admired in general terms, as an ideal fragment of the apostolic age, but the attempt to apply it to the regulation of national affairs was ridiculed as an absurdity, and denounced as a dangerous heresy.

What then was the dismay of Beacon Street, the consternation of State Street, when this young laurelled son of Cambridge, fresh from his foreign tour, with all his career of honor before him, showed symptoms of declining towards the abolitionists. The abolitionists, of all men! Had not Garrison been dragged by a halter round his neck through the streets of Boston? And did not the most respectable citizens cry, Well done? Was it not absolute social and political death to any young man to fall into those ranks?

Had not the Legislature of the sovereign state of Georgia in an official proclamation signed by their governor, set a price on Garrison's head as an incendiary, and had not a Governor of Massachusetts in his message to a Massachusetts Legislature, so far sympathized with his southern brethren as to introduce into his inaugural a severe censure of the abolitionists, and to intimate his belief that in their proceedings they were guilty of an offence punishable by common law? Had not Massachusetts legislatures taken into respectful consideration resolutions from slaveholding legislatures, dictating to them in that high style for which such documents are famous, that they should pass laws making it penal to utter abolitionist sentiments?

All this had been going on during the three years while Sumner was in Europe, and now, when he was coming home to take his place as by right in the political ranks, did it not become him to be very careful how he suffered indiscreet moral enthusiasm to betray him into expressions which might identify him with these despised abolitionists? Was not that socially to forfeit his birthright, to close upon him every parlor and boudoir of Beacon Street, to make State Street his enemy, to shut up from him every office of advancement or profit, and make him for every purpose of the Whig party a useless impracticable instrument?

And so the rising young man was warned to let such things alone; not to strive for the impossible ambrosia of the higher morals, and to content himself like his neighbors, with the tangible cabbage of compromise, as fitted to our mortal state.

He was warned with fatherly unction, by comfortable old Whigs, who to-day are shouting, even louder than he, "Down with Babylon, raze it, raze it to the foundations!"

But in spite of such warnings and cautions, Sumner became an ardent and thoroughgoing anti-slavery man, and did not hesitate to avow himself an abolitionist and to give public utterance to his moral feelings, contrary to the stringent discipline of the Whig party.

On the 4th of July, 1844, Sumner pronounced in Boston, in view of the threatening Mexican war, an oration on "The True Grandeur of Nations."

This discussed the general questions of war from the Christian stand point, and deprecated the threatened one on Christian principles. It might have passed as a harmless peace tract in ordinary times, but just at this period, it was too evidently the raising a standard against Babylon to be considered acceptable doctrine, for had not Babylon issued a decree that Gospel or no Gospel, a war with Mexico must take place, so that she might gain more slave territory? Let the young man look to himself, applying such impossible, impracticable tests to such delicate political questions! The speech, however, was widely circulated, both here and in England, and was said by Cobden to be one of the noblest contributions ever made to the cause of peace.

November 4, 1845, Sumner spoke more decidedly against the Mexican war, in a public meeting at Faneuil Hall, and the next year came out boldly in the Whig convention with an address, on "The Anti-Slavery Duties of the Whig Party."

In this speech, Sumner, as openly as Garrison, declared himself the eternal opponent of slavery, and defined his position and marked out his work within the constitution of the United States, and by the constitution, just as Garrison had marked out his work outside of the constitution, and against it.

Sumner took the ground that the constitution of the United States was not a covenant with death, or an agreement with hell, but an instrument designed to secure liberty and equal rights, and that the present sanction and encouragement it was giving to slavery was owing to a perversion of its original design. He maintained that the constitution nowhere recognises slavery as an institution, that the slave is nowhere spoken of in it as a chattel but as a person, and that those provisions in the constitution which confer certain privileges on slaveholders were supposed to be temporary compromises with what the founders of the constitution imagined would prove only a temporary institution—soon to pass entirely away from the country. He asserts in this speech:

"There is in the constitution no compromise on the subject of slavery of a character not to be reached legally and constitutionally, which is the only way in which I propose to reach it. Wherever power and jurisdiction are secured to Congress, they may unquestionably be exercised in conformity with the constitution. And even in matters beyond existing powers and jurisdiction there is a constitutional mode of action. The constitution contains an article pointing out how at any time amendments may be made thereto. This is an important article, giving to the constitution a progressive character, and allowing it to be moulded to suit new exigences and new conditions of feeling. The wise framers of this instrument did not treat the country as a Chinese foot, never to grow after its infancy, but anticipated the changes incident to its growth."

Accordingly, Sumner proposed to the Whig party, as a rallying watch-word, the

Repeal of slavery under the constitution and laws of the Federal Government.

Of this course he said: "The time has passed when this can be opposed on constitutional grounds. It will not be questioned by any competent authority, that Congress may by express legislation abolish slavery, 1st, in the District of Columbia; 2d, in the Territories, if there should be any; 3d, that it may abolish the slave-trade on the high seas between the states; 4th, that it may refuse to admit any new state with a constitution sanctioning slavery. Nor can it be doubted that the people of the free States may in the manner pointed out by the constitution, proceed to its amendment."

Here we have, in a few words, the platform of the Political Abolitionists, every step of which has actually been accomplished.

But at that time it was altogether too exalted doctrine to be received by the Whig party, and Sumner tried his eloquence upon them in vain. In vain he called upon Daniel Webster to carry out this glorious programme in his place in the Senate.

"Assume," he says, "these unperformed duties. The aged shall bear witness of you; the young shall kindle with rapture as they repeat the name of Webster; and the large company of the ransomed shall teach their children and their children's children to the latest generation, to call you blessed; while all shall award you another title, not to be forgotten in earth or heaven—Defender of Humanity."

But Webster had other aspirations. He wanted to be president of the United States, to be that he must please the South, and so instead of Defender of Humanity he turned to be a defender of kidnapping and of the fugitive slave law.

In 1846, Sumner, in a public letter, rebuked Robert C. Winthrop, then a Massachusetts representative, for voting for the Mexican war. In this letter he characterizes the Mexican war as an unjust attack on a sister republic, having its origin in a system of measures to extend slavery; as being dishonorable and cowardly, as being the attack of a rich and powerful country on a weak and defenceless neighbor; and having thus characterized it, he adds:

"Such, sir, is the act of Congress to which, by your affirmative vote, the people of Boston have been made parties. Through you they have been made to declare an unjust and cowardly war, with falsehood, in the cause of slavery. Through you they have been made partakers in the blockade of Vera Cruz, in the seizure of California, in the capture of Santa Fe, and in the bloodshed of Monterey. It were idle to suppose that the poor soldier or officer alone is stained by this guilt—it reaches back and incarnadines the halls of Congress; nay, more, through you it reddens the hands of your constituents in Boston.

* * * * *

"Let me ask you, sir, to remember in your public course the rules of right which you obey in your private capacity. The principles of morals are the same for nations as for individuals. Pardon me if I suggest that you do not appear to have acted invariably in accordance with this truth.

* * * * *

"It has been said in apology by your defenders that the majority of the Whig party joined with you. * * * In the question of right and wrong it can be of little importance that a few fallible men, constituting what is called a majority, were all of one mind. But these majorities do not make us withhold our condemnation from the partakers in those acts. Aloft on the throne of God, and not below in the footsteps of the trampling multitude of men, are to be found the sacred rules of right which no majorities can displace or overturn. And the question returns, Was it right to vote for an unjust and cowardly war, with falsehood, for slavery?"

These extracts will give a tolerable certainty that the old Whig party of Massachusetts, which was thoroughly dead in the trespasses and sins of pro-slavery compromise, found Charles Sumner, with all his learning, and vigor and talent, a rather uncomfortable member, and that he soon found that the Whig party was no place for him.

In 1848 he left them to unite in forming the Free Soil party, in which the platform of principles he had already announced, was to form the distinctive basis.

And now came the great battle of the Fugitive Slave Law. The sorceress slavery meditated a grand coup d' etat that should found a Southern slave empire, and shake off the troublesome North, and to that intent her agents concocted a statute so insulting to Northern honor, so needlessly offensive in its provisions, so derisive of what were understood to be its religious convictions and humane sentiments, that it was thought verily, "The North never will submit to this, and we shall make here the breaking point." Then arose Daniel Webster, that lost Archangel of New England—he who had won her confidence by his knowledge of and reverence for all that was most sacred in her, and moved over to the side of evil! It was as if a great constellation had changed sides in the heavens, drawing after it a third part of the stars. The North, perplexed, silenced, troubled, yielded for a moment. For a brief space all seemed to go down before that mighty influence, and all listened, as if spell bound, to the serpent voice with which he scoffed at the idea that there was a law of God higher than any law or constitution of the United States.

But that moment of degradation was the last. Back came the healthy blood, the re-awakened pulse of moral feeling in New England, and there were found voices on all sides to speak for the right, and hearts to respond, and on this tide of re-awakened moral feeling, Sumner was carried into the United States Senate, to take the seat vacated by Webster. The right was not yet victorious, but the battle had turned so far that its champion had a place to stand on in the midst of the fray.

And what a battle was that! What an ordeal! What a gauntlet to run was that of the man in Washington who in those days set himself against the will of the great sorceress! Plied with temptation on the right hand and on the left, studied, mapped out like a fortress to be attacked and taken, was every Northern man who entered the arena. Could he be bought, bribed, cajoled, flattered, terrified? Which, or all? So planned the conspirators in their secret conclaves.

The gigantic Giddings—he who brought to the strife nerves toughened by backwoods toil, and frontier fights with Indians—once said of this warfare: "I've seen hard fighting with clubs and bullets; I've seen men falling all around me; but I tell you it takes more courage to stand up in one's seat in Congress and say the right thing, than to walk up to the cannon's mouth. There's no such courage as that of the anti-slavery men there."

Now, Sumner's superb vitality, that hardy yeoman blood which his ancestors brought from England, stood him in excellent stead. His strong and active brain was based on a body muscular, vigorous, and healthy, incapable of nervous tremor, bearing him with a steady aplomb through much that would be confusing and weakening to men of less physical force. Sumner had not the character of a ready debater; not a light-armed skirmisher was he; he resembled rather one of the mailed warriors of ancient tourney. When he had deliberately put on his armor, all polished and finished down to buckle and shoe-latchet, and engraved with what-not of classic, or Venetian, or Genoese device; when he put down his visor, steadied his lance, took sure aim, and went man and horse against his antagonist, all went down before him, as went down all before the lance of Cœur-de-Lion.

Such a charge into the enemy was his first great speech, "Freedom National, Slavery Sectional," which he directed against the Fugitive Slave Law. It was a perfect land-slide of history and argument; an avalanche under which the opposing party were logically buried, and it has been a magazine from which catapults have been taken to beat down their fortresses ever since.

If Daniel Webster merited the title of the great expounder of the constitution, Sumner at this crisis merited that of the great defender of the constitution. In this speech we see clearly the principle on which Charles Sumner, while holding the same conscientious ground with Mr. Garrison in regard to the wickedness of slavery, could yet see his way clear to take the oath to support and defend the constitution of the United States.

It was because he believed ex animo, that that constitution was an agreement made TO PROMOTE AND DEFEND LIBERTY, and though including in itself certain defective compromises, which never ought to have been there, had yet within itself the constitutional power of revoking even those compromises, and coming over entirely on to the ground of liberty.

The fugitive slave law, as it was called, he opposed on the ground that it was unconstitutional, that it was contrary to the spirit and intention of the constitution, and to the well known spirit and intention of the men who made that constitution. In this part, Mr. Sumner, going back to the history of the debates at the formation of the constitution, gave a masterly resumé of the subject, showed that the leading men of those days were all strong anti-slavery men, that they all looked forward to the gradual dying out of slavery as certain, and that with great care they avoided in the constitution any legal recognition of such an unlawful, unnatural relation. That the word slave did not exist in the document, and that when the slaves of the South were spoken of in relation to apportioning the suffrage, they were spoken of as "persons," and not as chattels; that even the very clause of the constitution which has been perverted into a foundation for the fugitive slave law, had been purposely so framed that it did not really describe the position of slaves under southern law, but only that of such laborers as were by law denominated and recognized as persons. By slave law the slaves were not regarded as "persons held to service and labor," but as chattels personal, and it was only apprentices and free persons to whom the terms could literally be made to apply.

He showed by abundant quotations from the debates of the times that this use of language was not accidental, but expressly designed to avoid corrupting the constitution of the United States with any recognition of the principle that man could hold man as property. He admitted that the makers of it knew and admitted that under it slaveholders could recover their slaves, but considering slaveholding as a temporary thing, they had arranged so that the language of their great national document should remain intact and uncorrupt. From this masterly speech we extract the concluding summary:

"At the risk of repetition, but for the sake of clearness, review now this argument, and gather it together. Considering that slavery is of such an offensive character that it can find sanction only in positive law and that it has no such 'positive' sanction in the constitution; that the constitution, according to its Preamble, was ordained to 'establish justice,' and 'secure the blessings of liberty;' that in the convention which framed it, and also elsewhere at the time, it was declared not to 'sanction slavery;' that according to the Declaration of Independence, and the address of the Continental Congress, the nation was dedicated to 'liberty' and the 'rights of human nature;' that according to the principles of common law, the constitution must be interpreted openly, actively, and perpetually for Freedom; that according to the decision of the Supreme Court, it acts upon slaves, not as property, but as persons; that, at the first organization of the national government, under Washington, slavery had no national favor, existed nowhere on the national territory, beneath the national flag, but was openly condemned by the nation, the church, the colleges and literature of the time; and finally, that according to an amendment of the constitution, the national government can only exercise powers delegated to it, among which there is none to support slavery; considering these things, sir, it is impossible to avoid the single conclusion that slavery is in no respect a national institution, and that the constitution nowhere upholds property in man.

"But there is one other special provision of the constitution, which I have reserved to this stage, not so much from its superior importance, but because it may fitly stand by itself. This alone, if practically applied, would carry freedom to all within its influence. It is an amendment proposed by the first Congress, as follows: 'No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.' Under this ægis the liberty of every person within the national jurisdiction is unequivocally placed. I say every person. Of this there can be no question. The word 'person,' in the constitution, embraces every human being within its sphere, whether Caucasian, Indian, or African, from the President to the slave."

The moral influence of these doctrines on the political abolitionists was very great. Garrison's sharp, clear preaching of the Bible doctrine of sin and repentance, had awakened a great deal of moral feeling in the land, and it became a real case of conscience to a great many, how they could in any way take the oath to support a constitution which they thought supported slavery. On this subject, in all pure and noble minds, there began to be great searchings of heart, but the clearness, the fulness, the triumphant power with which Sumner and others brought out the true intention of the constitution, and the spirit of its makers, gave a feeling of clean and healthy vigor through the whole party. Even the Garrisonians could perceive at any rate, that here was a ground where honest Christians might plant their feet, and get a place in the government to fight on, until by the constitutional power of amendment they might some day cast out wholly the usurping devil of slavery, which had lived and thriven so much beyond the expectations of our fathers.

Sumner's mind is particularly remarkable for a nice sense of moral honor. He had truly that which Burke calls "that chastity of honor which felt a stain like a wound," and he felt keenly the disgrace and shame of such an enactment as the fugitive slave law. He never spoke of it as a law. He was careful to call it only an enactment, an attempt at law, which being contrary to the constitution of the country, never could have the binding force of a law.

Next in the political world came the defeat, disgrace, fall and broken hearted death of Webster, who, having bid for the Presidency, at the price of all his former convictions, and in the face of his former most solemnly expressed opinions, was treated by the haughty Southern oligarchy with contemptuous neglect. "The South never pay their slaves," said a northern farmer when he heard that Webster had lost the nomination. Webster felt with keen pangs, that for that slippery ungrateful South, he had lost the true and noble heart of the North. In the grave with Webster died the old Whig party.

But still, though this and that man died, and parties changed, the unflinching Southern power pushed on its charge. Webster being done with, it took up Douglas as its next tool, and by him brought on the repeal of the Missouri compromise and the Kansas and Nebraska battle. The war raged fiercer and hotter and in the fray, Sumner's voice was often heard crying the war cry of liberty.

And now the war raged deadlier, as came on the struggle for the repeal of the Missouri compromise, when the strokes of Sumner's battle axe, long and heavy, were heard above the din, and always with crushing execution. The speech on "The Crime against Kansas," wrought the furnace of wrath to a white heat. What was to be done with this man? Call him out and fight him? He was known to be on principle a non-resistant. Answer him? Indeed! who ever heard of such a proceeding? How could they? Had he not spoken the truth? What shall we do then? Plantation manners suggested an answer. "Come behind him at an unguarded moment, take him at a disadvantage, three to one, knock him down and kill him."

So said—and but for his strong frame, wonderful in its recuperative power, and but for the unseen protection of a higher power,—it would have been so done.

Everybody knows the brutal history of that coarse and cowardly assault, and how the poor bully who accomplished it was fêted and caressed by Southern men and women in high places, who hastened by presents of canes, and snuff boxes, and plate, to show forth how well he had expressed the Southern idea of chivalry.

Three or four years spent abroad, under medical treatment, were necessary to enable even Sumner's vigorous vitality to recover from an assault so deadly; but at last he came back to take his seat in the Senate.

The poor cowardly bully who had assailed him, was dead—gone to a higher judgment seat; Butler was dead—and other accomplices of the foul deed were gone also. Under all these circumstances there is something thrilling in the idea of Sumner rising in the very seat where he had been stricken down, and pronouncing that searching speech to which his very presence there gave such force, "The Barbarism of Slavery."

If he had wished revenge he might have had it, in the fact that he had the solemn right, as one raised from the dead, to stand there and give in his awful testimony. How solemn and dignified, in view of all these circumstances, seem the introductory words of his speech:

"Mr. President, undertaking now, after a silence of more than four years, to address the Senate on this important subject, I should suppress the emotions natural to such an occasion, if I did not declare on the threshold my gratitude to that Supreme Being, through whose benign care I am enabled, after much suffering and many changes, once again to resume my duties here, and to speak for the cause which is so near my heart, to the honored commonwealth whose representative I am, and also to my immediate associates in this body, with whom I enjoy the fellowship which is found in thinking alike concerning the Republic. I owe thanks which I seize this moment to express for the indulgence shown me throughout the protracted seclusion enjoined by medical skill; and I trust that it will not be thought unbecoming in me to put on record here, as an apology for leaving my seat so long vacant, without making way, by resignation for a successor, that I acted under the illusion of an invalid, whose hopes for restoration to his natural health constantly triumphed over his disappointments.

"When last I entered into this debate it became my duty to expose the crime against Kansas, and to insist upon the immediate admission of that Territory as a State of this Union, with a constitution forbidding slavery. Time has passed, but the question remains. Resuming the discussion precisely where I left it, I am happy to avow that rule of moderation which, it is said, may venture even to fix the boundaries of wisdom itself. I have no personal griefs to utter; only a barbarous egotism could intrude these into this chamber. I have no personal wrongs to avenge; only a barbarous nature could attempt to wield that vengeance which belongs to the Lord. The years that have intervened, and the tombs that have been opened since I spoke, have their voices too, which I cannot fail to hear. Besides, what am I—what is any man among the living or among the dead, compared with the Question before us? It is this alone which I shall discuss, and I open the argument with that easy victory which is found in charity."

Though Sumner was thus moderate in allusion to himself or others, it was still the constant suggestion to the minds of all, of the perfect reason he, of all men, had, to know the truth of what he spoke, that gave a vehement force to his words. That was a speech unanswerable, unanswered. The South had tried the argument of force, and it had failed! There he was again!—their accuser at the bar of the civilized world!

In the present administration, as Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, Sumner has with his usual learning and power defended American honor against the causeless defamations and sneers of those who should have known better. None of our public men, perhaps, is more favorably known in the Old World. His talents and accomplishments, as well as his heroic stand for principle, have given him the familiar entrée to all that is best worth knowing in England; and it is for that reason more admirable that he should, with such wealth of learning and elegance of diction, have remonstrated with that great nation on her injustice to us. His pamphlet on "Our Foreign Relations" carries a weight of metal in it that is overpowering; it is as thoroughly exhaustive of the subject as any of his greatest speeches,—grave, grand, and severely true. It is the strong blood of England herself speaking back to the parent land as sorrowfully as Hamlet to his mother.

In the recent debates on Reconstruction, Sumner has remained true to that "chastity of honor" in relation to the United States Constitution, which has been characteristic of him, in opposing that short sighted republican policy which proposed to secure the political privileges of the blacks by introducing the constitutional amendment, providing that any state disfranchising negroes should be deprived of a corresponding portion of its representation in Congress.

Sumner indignantly repelled the suggestion of introducing any such amendments into the constitution, as working dishonor to that instrument by admitting into it, in any form, or under whatsoever pretext, the doctrine of the political inequality of races of men. In this we recognize a faultless consistency of principle.

Sumner was cheered in the choice which he made in the darkest hour, by that elastic hope in the success of the right, which is the best inheritance of a strong, and healthy physical and moral organization. During the time of the Fugitive Slave Law battle, while the conflict of his election was yet uncertain, he was speaking incidentally to a friend of the tremendous influences which the then regnant genius of Daniel Webster could bring to crush any young man who opposed him. He spoke with feeling of what had to be sacrificed by a Boston young man who set himself to oppose such influences. The friend, in reply, expressed some admiration of his courage and self-sacrificing. He stopped, as he was walking up and down the room, and said, with simplicity, "Courage! No, it doesn't require so very much courage, because I know that in a few years we shall have all this thing down under our feet. We shall set our heel upon it," and he emphasized the sentence by bringing his heel heavily down upon the carpet.

"Do you really think so?"

"I know so; of course we shall."

Those words, spoken in the darkest hour of the anti-slavery conflict, have often seemed like a prophecy, in view of all the fast rushing events of the years that followed. Now they are verified. Where is the man who counselled the North to conquer their prejudices? Where is the man who raised a laugh in popular assemblies at the expense of those who believed the law of God to be higher than the law of men? There is a most striking lesson to young men in these histories.

The grave of the brilliant and accomplished Douglas lay far back on the road by which Lincoln rose to fame and honor, and the grave of Webster on that of Charles Sumner, and on both of those graves might be inscribed "Lo, this is the man that made not God his trust." Both scoffed at God's law, and proclaimed the doctrine of expediency as above right, and both died broken down and disappointed; while living and honored at this day, in this land and all lands, are the names of those, who in its darkest and weakest hour, espoused the cause of Liberty and Justice.

S. P. Chase

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