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Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 25. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), chapter 1.35 (search)
five years later he was re-elected. His colleague was Mr. Slidell; who afterward figured so prominently in the Trent affair. It was during this time that he was tendered a position on the bench of the Supreme Court of the United States, by President Franklin Pierce, an offer which was declined, he preferring to devote his time to private practice—for be it understood that Mr. Benjamin, of Louisiana, stood second to no lawyer in the land. In the Senate he was among the foremost, and Charles Sumner, whom he often opposed in debate, declared that Mr. Benjamin was the most eloquent speaker to whom he ever listened. The stormy days of ‘61 came on, and he, with the other Southern Senators, withdrew from that body. His farewell address occupied two days in its delivery, and was admitted by all to be the most eloquent and forcible effort on either side. It was in the main a demonstration of the legality of States' rights. A genius. When the provisional government was formed at M