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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)
g its dark shadow over soil then free, and claiming its inhuman jurisdiction over every Northern hearth-stone. It unblushingly boasted that it would one day call the slave-roll on Bunker Hill—And why should the menace seem so unmeaning? Had not Boston seen William Lloyd Garrison, the chief apostle of freedom, dragged through her streets with a halter about his neck, within sight of that column of Liberty, with scarce a protest from her opulent and polite citizens? Had not the Governor and Legourt. The stream cannot rise higher than the fountainhead, and if there be nothing in these elevated sources from which this power can draw its sanction, it must be considered a nullity. He shows still further that the times had changed—that Boston people were not living any longer in an age when they could practise these indignities with impunity. It is clear that the sentiments of the colored people have now changed. The present case, and the deep interest which they manifest in it, t
the whole nation bound hand and foot. It dictated every law passed by Congress, and inspired every measure adopted in the Cabinet. It controlled the Press of a free, and exulted in the sanction of the Pulpit of a Christian, nation. It was extending its dark shadow over soil then free, and claiming its inhuman jurisdiction over every Northern hearth-stone. It unblushingly boasted that it would one day call the slave-roll on Bunker Hill—And why should the menace seem so unmeaning? Had not Boston seen William Lloyd Garrison, the chief apostle of freedom, dragged through her streets with a halter about his neck, within sight of that column of Liberty, with scarce a protest from her opulent and polite citizens? Had not the Governor and Legislature of Georgia set a price upon the head of that prophet of the coming dispensation of freedom; and should not the Northern Athens obey the behest of her cotton king? African Slavery had become as sacred in the precincts of Faneuil Hall, as i
ts, to make any discrimination on account of color or race, among children in the Public Schools. It has been already seen that this power is inconsistent with the Constitution and Laws of Massachusetts, and with the adjudications of the Supreme Court. The stream cannot rise higher than the fountainhead, and if there be nothing in these elevated sources from which this power can draw its sanction, it must be considered a nullity. He shows still further that the times had changed—that Boston people were not living any longer in an age when they could practise these indignities with impunity. It is clear that the sentiments of the colored people have now changed. The present case, and the deep interest which they manifest in it, thronging the court to hang on this discussion, attest the change. With increasing knowledge, they have learned to know their rights, and to feel the degradation to which they have been doomed. Their present effort is the token of a manly character
tution, were bent all the patriot energies of the land. And here Boston took the lead. Her records at this time are full of proud memorialcommon jail for protection against an infuriated populace. Nor was Boston alone. Even villages, in remote rural solitude, belched forth in sin the effort. On these grounds the Senator from Tennessee charges Boston with fanaticism. 1 express no opinion on the conduct of individualcism which finally triumphed on Bunker Hill. The Senator says that Boston is filled with traitors. That charge is not new. Boston, of old, wThe country was aroused against the execution of this Act. And here Boston took the lead. The opposition spread and deepened, and one of it shed upon the plains of Lexington and Concord, in an issue made by Boston, to whom was an appeal made, and from whom was it answered? The any of her sons. I know the response which she made to the appeal of Boston for union against the Stamp Act—the Fugitive Slave Act of that day—
s and devices, it fills every region of light with its majestic presence. The Stamp Act was discussed and understood. Its violation of constitutional rights was exposed. By resolutions of Legislatures and of town meetings, by speeches and writings, by public assemblies and processions, the country was rallied in peaceful phalanx against the execution of the Act. To this great object, within the bounds of law and the constitution, were bent all the patriot energies of the land. And here Boston took the lead. Her records at this time are full of proud memorials. In formal instructions to her representatives, adopted unanimously, having been read several times, in Town Meeting at Faneuil Hall, the following rule of conduct was prescribed: We, therefore, think it our indispensable duty, in Justice to ourselves and Posterity, as it is our undoubted Privilege, in the most open and unreserved, but decent and respectful Terms, to declare our greatest Dissatisfaction with this La
s of violence and vileness, next directed itself upon William Lloyd Garrison,—known as the determined editor of the Liberator, and the originator of the Anti-Slavery 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 infuriated populace. Nor was Boston alone. Even villages, in remote rural solitude, belched forth in similar outrage; while the 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 next urged through the forms of law. By solemn legislative acts, the Slave States called on the Free States promptly and effectually to suppress all associations within the
ise, amazed, temperate and furious, Loyal and neutral, in a moment. No man. It is true that the Slave Act was with difficulty executed, and that one of its servants perished in the effort. On these grounds the Senator from Tennessee charges Boston with fanaticism. 1 express no opinion on the conduct of individuals; but I do say, that the fanaticism, which the Senator condemns, is not new in Boston. It is the same which opposed the execution of the Stamp Act, and finally secured its repeal. it is the same which opposed the Tea Tax. It is the fanaticism which finally triumphed on Bunker Hill. The Senator says that Boston is filled with traitors. That charge is not new. Boston, of old, was the home of Hancock and Adams. Her traitors now are those who are truly animated by the spirit of the American Revolution. In condemning them, in condemning Massachusetts, in condemning these remonstrants, you simply give a proper conclusion to the utterance on this floor, that the Declarat
ed as having made application for a military force to assist them in the execution of their duty. The elaborate answer of Massachusetts—the work of Samuel Adams, and one of the corner-stones of our history—was pronounced the ravings of a parcel of wild enthusiasts, even as recent proceedings in Boston, resulting in the memorial before you, have been characterized on this floor. Was I not right in adducing this parallel? The country was aroused against the execution of this Act. And here Boston took the lead. The opposition spread and deepened, and one of its natural tendencies was to outbreak and violence. On one occasion in Boston, it showed itself in the lawlessness of a mob, of a most formidable character, even as is now charged. Liberty, in her struggles, is too often driven to force. But the town, at a public meeting in Faneuil Hall, called without delay, on the motion of the opponents of the Stamp Act, with James Otis as Chairman, condemned the outrage. Eager in host
n those contributions of arms and treasure by which independence was secured. Here are his exact words, as I find them in the Globe, revised by himself: Sir, when blood was shed upon the plains of Lexington and Concord, in an issue made by Boston, to whom was an appeal made, and from whom was it answered? The answer is found in the acts of slaveholding States—animis opibusque parati. Yes, sir, the independence of America, to maintain republican liberty, was won by the arms and treasure, iscretion that State has intrusted its interests here, will not allow me to be still. God forbid that I should do injustice to South Carolina. I know well the gallantry of many of her sons. I know the response which she made to the appeal of Boston for union against the Stamp Act—the Fugitive Slave Act of that day—by the pen of Christopher Gadsden. And I remember with sorrow that this patriot was obliged to confess, at the time, her weakness in having such a number of slaves, though it is <
C. Edwards Lester, Life and public services of Charles Sumner: Born Jan. 6, 1811. Died March 11, 1874., Section Eleventh: his death, and public honors to his memory. (search)
character his Portrait by the Boston Journal chaplet Woven by Grace Greenwood the silent House and vacant chair I. Probably one of the most careful and accurate accounts of Mr. Sumner's illness and death that appeared at the time, or that will be likely to be given hereafter, was printed in that very able journal, the Boston Daily Globe. The writer was a personal friend of the great statesman, and an eye-witness of the scenes he describes. His account was written and transmitted to Boston the evening of the sad day, and appearing later, also, in weekly edition, any inadvertencies would be corrected. The Hon. Charles Sumner died at ten minutes before three o'clock, this afternoon, March 11. Those present in the chamber when the Senator expired were his physicians, Senator Schurz, Judge Hoar, Mr. Hooper, Mr. Johnson and Mr. Downing. The sudden illness of Senator Sumner, which terminated fatally, to-day, was known only to his physician and a few of his most intimate frie
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