given, and happily her voice reached him in the Senate Chamber before he left it forever. Even those who opposed him now hasten to revise their opinions and float in the great current of sympathy. The American people admire smart people, but this event has shown that Charles Sumner is loved. So it was shown that the people loved Abraham Lincoln and John A. Andrew, and they were men of the same type of honesty, sincerity, and conscience. He was unpopular from first to last. He loved peace with all his heart, but was always in war. He loved approbation, but never bought it. He loved the good — will of men, but was obliged to relinquish it. He loved sunshine, but had to live in storms. His fidelity to principle cost him dearly. Abraham Lincoln and Sumner were always friends. Difference of opinion never estranged them. Many disliked Sumner because he always kept himself on that upper level of principle. The air was not suited for them to breathe. He would not come down to the more comfortable platform of party expediency. When a man dies whose virtues have created hostility there often comes a singular reaction. It was the case with Lincoln when the nation was weeping ‘in the passion of an angry grief,’ and so it is with Charles Sumner. Death removing him from our outward eye enables us to see him inwardly and truly. Thus we have looked at a mountain and only seen the creeping mists and clouds which concealed it. So when the west wind moved the air the vapors suddenly were dispersed and the pure snowy summits came out in sharp outline against the blue sky. Death does the office of that cold wind. After the earthquake and fire and whirlwind of passionate and godless strife have passed, death comes and the Lord speaks in that still small voice. When any important subject came up, Sumner, being a statesman and not a mere politician, always studied it in the light of history and political science, without reference to party interests. He sought to declare the truth. The country is in peril to-day because there are so few statesmen in public life. He believed in men and his life was devoted to the service of his fellow-men, high and low, rich and poor, white and black. In him man was sacred. During all the long contest with slavery his voice was heard like a trumpet appealing for the rights of man. He stood conspicuous in the nation's eye, a young Apollo ‘In silent majesty of stern disdain,’ and dreadful was the clangor of his silver bow as he shot his arrows thick and fast into the sophisms used by the slave-holders and their allies. When they could not reply by argument
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.