old man eloquent.”
Says one of our leading historical writers:
As a parliamentary debater he had few, if any, superiors.
In knowledge and dexterity there was no one in the House that could be compared with him. He was literally a walking cyclopedia.
He was terrible in invective, matchless at repartee, and insensible to fear.
A single-handed fight against all the slaveholders in the House was something upon which he was always ready to enter.
Speaking of his effectiveness in congressional encounters another Congressman
He is, I believe, the most extraordinary man living.
I have with my own eyes seen the slaveholders literally quake and tremble through every nerve and joint, when he arraigned before them their political and moral sins.
His power of speech has exceeded any conception I have heretofore had of the force of words or logic.
At last his enemies in Congress decided that they would endure his attacks no longer.
They took counsel together and agreed upon a plan of operations looking to his expulsion from that body.
As one of his biographers, also a distinguished Congressman
, expressed it: “It was the preconcerted and deliberate purpose of the slave-masters to make an example of the ringleader of political Abolitionism.
They meant to humiliate and crush him, and this they did not doubt their power to do.”
submitted a petition, without giving it his personal endorsement, asking for a dissolution of the Union
That furnished the pretext his