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C. Edwards Lester, Life and public services of Charles Sumner: Born Jan. 6, 1811. Died March 11, 1874., Section first: Parentage and education. (search)
livers law lectures. Edits Dunlap's Treatise Many a grander tribute to the noble life of Charles Sumner will hereafter be paid by the pen; but this one, however unworthy, cannot be withheld while ts of Patriotism and Liberty, its aspirations shall be to claim kindred with thy spirit. Charles Sumner was born in Boston, January 6, 1811. He was fortunate in his ancestry, for they were the bers had been distinguished for their learning, valor, and public services. Among them, increase Sumner had distinguished himself as one of the greatest judges and governors of the State. When he wasif, from such sources, strong characters should not grow up. It was under such auspices that Charles Sumner's boyhood began, and the ripened fruit of all this auspicious planting showed itself throughion, but was prevented by illness from bringing it out. The editorship of it was committed to Mr. Sumner, who received from the author on his death-bed, the most unqualified and grateful praise for t
C. Edwards Lester, Life and public services of Charles Sumner: Born Jan. 6, 1811. Died March 11, 1874., Section second: European Travels and studies. (search)
tener to the debates of Parliament. It was the same in Paris, where, a perfect French scholar, he was in constant attendance in the Chamber of Deputies, frequently visiting the lecture-rooms of the Sorbonne, and the College of France, all of whose Professors acceded to his slightest wish to aid him with the fruits of their learning and experience. General Cass, then our minister to France, was engaged in the investigation of our claim to the Northeastern Boundary, and at his request, Mr. Sumner wrote that celebrated Treatise on the subject, which excited such great admiration in this country. He went through Germany, with the same objects in view; and being master of that language also, he accumulated vast stores of learning by conversations with the great scientists and statesmen of that nation. He afterwards extended his journey to Italy, where again his ripe scholarship, in that most beautiful of all modern tongues, multiplied his facilities for acquisition, and enhanced g
Section third: professional life. Lectures at the law School Edits Vesey's Reports continues legal studies and practice until 1846 In 1840 Mr. Sumner returned from what would have been to most men only a long holiday of pleasure, but which to him had been a University life and a holiday, all blended in one; and, after a few hearty hand-shakings, he dashed again with all his fervor into the study of the science of law, and its engrossing practice. Again he became Lecturer at the rs and jurists, besides apt, fresh, and learned annotations. It would be difficult to find another instance, in any country, of so mature and splendid a reputation won at so early an age, for he had not reached his thirty-fifth year. But Charles Sumner's life-career had not yet commenced. Shining as was the structure he had already reared, none knew the depths of the foundations he had been laying. This ornate edifice of a dazzling reputation was soon to give way for a structure of more c
C. Edwards Lester, Life and public services of Charles Sumner: Born Jan. 6, 1811. Died March 11, 1874., Section Fourth: orations and political speeches. (search)
y Adams appeal to Webster war with Mexico Mr. Sumner to represent himself Sumner's rebuke of Wintle had to be fought in Massachusetts, where Mr. Sumner was the acknowledged leader of the Liberal hf the Federal Constitution. Omnipresent, as Mr. Sumner then declared the great issue to be, wherevein the struggle between Slavery and Freedom, Mr. Sumner, who was always thorough and practical in thd race—such was the defender they found in Charles Sumner, and such the argument he delivered beforeely this is not Equality before the law. Mr. Sumner showed that the inconvenience arising from t. Winthrop66 Scattering25 Blank2 And Charles Sumner was declared elected. In the same issuas he will find when he gets to Washington. Mr. Sumner will find, on reaching the Capital, that Maser of the Union was without a parallel. But Mr. Sumner preserved through it all the most admirable of the Rebellion. Xix. In the Senate, Mr. Sumner was to appear in the list as a Free-Soiler. [53 more...]
I. Mr. Sumner's political life was now to begin, and he chose for its opening the occasion of the National Anniversary of 1844, which was to be observed in Boston with unusual interest. A brief glance at the state of public affairs at the time, will faintly show what significance there was in the choice of the orator, and what important results were to follow his startling utterances. American slavery was then in the zenith of its fearful and unthreatened reign. It held the whole natist drifting, body and soul, into the embraces of the slave-power, which was demanding fresh aggressions upon the territory of Mexico, with a view to wrest from her some of her fairest possessions, to be devoted to the demon of human servitude. Mr. Sumner early foresaw that this would end in a collision with our sister republic, and which, under the dictation of the slave oligarchy, would be attended with outrages and injustice. The Whigs had been greatly weakened by the death of Harrison, and
Ii. In this oration, Mr. Sumner uttered the memorable declaration which went through the world:—In our age, there can be no peace that is not honorable; there can be no war that is not dishonora turned into the most active hostilities. But a careful reading of that oration, which marked Mr. Sumner's first appearance before the country as a public man, will satisfy any student of his Speecherophet have marked out with greater clearness, than the historian could afterwards, the course Mr. Sumner would take in whatever crisis might arise, involving the fortunes of freedom, or of peace, in . Without a single exception, no man in our history has had to pass through such ordeals as Charles Sumner. Whenever a new crisis rose in the country, he was found marching way ahead of the friends only indicating them now in brief, that the reader may bear in mind these strong attributes of Mr. Sumner's character, to enable him more fully to comprehend how arduous was his warfare, how immovable
III. Although Mr. Sumner had not yet taken any prominent part in the anti-slavery movement, of which Boston was the chief centre, yet, as early as 1838 he had become a member of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, and had fully made known his hostility to slavery. But he differed widely with Mr. Garrison, who cast off all allegiance to the Constitution of the United States, on the ground that it sanctioned slavery; while Mr. Sumner was determined to fight the battle inside of the ConsMr. Sumner was determined to fight the battle inside of the Constitution; declaring, in the most unqualified terms, that this sacred instrument was hostile to slavery in all respects —that it was established in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, which he regarded as the charter of perpetual liberty to the nation. He insisted that while the Constitution did recognize the existence of involuntary servitude, and conceded temporarily certain privileges to slaveholders, yet, that the founders of the Instrument had no belief in the perpetuity of slave
he annexation of Texas. In the opening of that speech, to every sentence of which the future was to impart strange significance, he paid a graceful tribute to the chairman, Hon. John G. Palfrey,—then Secretary of the Commonwealth,—for an act which won for him universal respect, and admiration, viz., the manumission of a body of slaves that had descended to him by inheritance, and whom he had conducted far away from slavery, into these more cheerful precincts of freedom. By this act, said Mr. Sumner, he has done as a citizen, what Massachusetts is now called upon to do as a State—divest herself of all responsibility for any occasion of slave property. In approaching his subject, he spoke of occasions in the progress of affairs when the attention of all, though ordinarily opposed to each other, is arrested; and even the lukewarm, the listless, the indifferent, unite heartily in a common object. Such is the case in great calamities, when the efforts of all are needed to avert a fata<
V. So far as Mr. Sumner had been a party man, he had been counted among the Whigs, for he had more hopes, he said, that they would be the party of freedom. He had been elected to a Whig State Convention, which assembled at Faneuil Hall on the 2ation; the Whigs were not prepared to go so far. Neither Mr. Webster nor Mr. Everett sympathized with the sentiments of Mr. Sumner, nor did they approve of the policy of any such course as he recommended. Both of those eminent men were still lookingthat of any other living statesman. Nor could it be expected that these illustrious citizens, who were much older than Mr. Sumner, and who had won their enviable reputation in the calmer days of the republic, could enter very warmly into such radica is always roused into alarm or hostility, when the young reformer enters the field. In the beginning of his speech, Mr. Sumner did not conceal his regret that the Convention had not been summoned to sit in the country, believing that the opinions
ling of its citizens. But the Declaration made by Congress, and the vote of Mr. Winthrop, excited the deepest indignation of some of the best men in Boston. Mr. Sumner feeling himself aggrieved and humiliated in behalf of his native town, but more especially in behalf of the cause of peace and humanity, of which he had now bec this continent, he addressed to Mr. Winthrop a letter which is worthy of the most careful attention of all those who desire to have a complete comprehension of Mr. Sumner's political principles, and the depth and earnestness of his convictions as a man, and a citizen. We cannot in this instance, nor in any other, find space for preserve the chain of his argument, allowing him, in all cases, to speak for himself. We shall hope in this manner, to furnish the reader everything essential for tracing the progress of Mr. Sumner's views on the important interests that, during his mature life, came up for action, and in whose disposal he acted a prominent part.
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