by Hon. William Jay, who introduced the speaker in the following words:
Ladies and Gentlemen: I have been requested, on the part of the Society, to perform the pleasing but unnecessary office of introducing to you the honored and well-known advocate of Justice, Humanity and Freedom, Charles Sumner. It is not for his learning and eloquence that I commend him to your respectful attention; for learning, eloquence, and even theology itself, have been prostituted in the service of an institution well described by John Wesley as the sum of all villanies. I introduce him to you as a Northern Senator on whom nature has conferred the unusual gift of a backbone—a man who, standing erect on the floor of Congress, amid creeping things from the North, with Christian fidelity denounces the stupendous wickedness of the Fugitive Law and Nebraska perfidy, and in the name of Liberty, Humanity and Religion, demands the repeal of those most atrocious enactments. May the words he is about to utter be impressed on your consciences, and influence your conduct!
History abounds in vicissitudes. From weakness and humility, men ascend to power and place. From defeat and disparagement, enterprises are lifted to triumph and acceptance. The martyr of to-day is gratefully enshrined on the morrow. The stone that the builders rejected is made the head of the corner. Thus it always has been, and ever will be. Only twenty years ago,—in 1835,—the friends of the slave in our country were weak and humble, while their great Enterprise, just then showing itself, was trampled down and despised. The small companies, gathered together in the name of Freedom, were interrupted and often dispersed by riotous mobs. At Boston, a feeble association of women, called the Female Anti-Slavery Society, convened in a small room of an upper story in an obscure building, was insulted and then driven out of doors by a frantic crowd, politely termed at the time an assemblage of ‘gentlemen of property and standing,’ which, after various deeds 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.