tendered his resignation to Governor Everett
, who declined to accept it.
To George T. Davis
, of Greenfield
, then editor of the ‘Franklin Mercury,’ he wrote a note of thanks for an article in that paper, Aug. 9, 1836, which had ‘served as a breakwater to turn aside the strong tide of reproach, which, for a few days, had been setting against him;’ in which he said,—
‘It seems to me as if there were some persons in Boston who would have been gratified to see those women (after being liberated from one unlawful detention) seized in the court-house, in the presence of the judge, and confined till proof could be sent for to Baltimore, and from thence be sent to Boston, to make them slaves.
I hope the walls of a Massachusetts courthouse will never be the witnesses of such a spectacle.
What would the late Judge Sedgwick have said, if a human being had been seized in his presence, in the court-house, while he was on the bench, for the purpose of having him sentenced and certified as a slave?
Though dead, he yet lives and speaks in the opinion he gave in the case of Greenwood v. Curtis, 6 Mass.
Rep. 362– 378 n.’
It is interesting to note, in Sheriff Sumner
's correspondence, how nearly alike were the questions of 1833 and those of 1861, between the government and slavery.
His relative, Edwin V. Sumner
, a lieutenant of the regular army in 1833, and a major-general of volunteers in the Civil War
, wrote to him from Fort Niagara
, Jan. 11, 1833,—
What think you of the nullifiers?
Our affairs begin to assume a very gloomy appearance in that quarter.
If South Carolina stood alone, there would be less cause of apprehension; but is there not every reason to fear that it will result in a controversy between North and South?
We are ready at this post to move instantly; but we hope and trust that the difficulty will be quietly and happily adjusted without an interruption.
The sheriff replied, under date of Feb. 3, regretting that he could not call his country ‘a nation,’ enforcing the need of a government of greater strength and uniformity of pressure and of less regard for State lines, and expressing his fear that, ‘in an emergency, its authority will be aided but little by the militia south of the Potomac
; and that Virginia
, North and South Carolina
, and Alabama
will sooner or later unite and bid defiance to the North
He added: ‘In the course of this year, 1833, I trust we are to see whether we are a nation or a confederacy.’
He had before this, Jan. 20, 1830, written to Mr. Webster
, acknowledging the receipt of a copy of his speech