Chapter 16: events at home.—Letters of friends.—December, 1837, to March, 1839.—Age 26-28.

Sixteen months passed between Sumner's parting with his friends in Boston and his leaving England for the Continent; and a reference to matters of public and personal interest occurring at home may be fitly included in this narrative.

At a meeting held in Faneuil Hall, on the day he sailed, Dr. Channing, Hillard, and George Bond denounced the murder of Lovejoy, the anti-slavery editor; and Wendell Phillips began his career as an orator by his reply to James T. Austin, a defender of the deed. Pennsylvania Hall, then recently erected by the abolitionists in Philadelphia, was burned by a pro-slavery mob. Dr. Channing was replying to Henry Clay's defence of slavery.1 The Graves-Cilley duel, between a Southern and a Northern member of Congress, was fought. The North-eastern boundary dispute was waxing warm, and there was much wild talk, particularly in the State of Maine, of ‘war with England.’ A graver difficulty had arisen at another point on our frontier. The burning of the ‘Caroline’ on the American shore by the British authorities—her offence being that she had been freshly used for hostile purposes by Canadian insurgents— inflamed public feeling against Great Britain, and raised vexed questions concerning the inviolability of national territory, and the jurisdiction of courts over acts assumed by a foreign government. The restriction or prohibition of the sale of ardent spirits —a controversy which forty years of agitation have not settled —was for the first time disturbing politicians. Richard Fletcher

1 Letter to Jonathan Phillips, 1839. Channing's Works, Vol. V. pp. 7-106.

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