and left all the threadbare themes of his predecessors undisturbed in their glorious repose.’
The ‘Advertiser’ described it as ‘an able and ingenious discourse,’ such ‘as was anticipated from the eminent acquirements of the orator;’ but ‘not received with universal approbation, and meeting at the dinner with some severity of criticism.’
The ‘Journal’ said: ‘It was a bold, independent, and original production, evincing talent and thought; but some of the positions and principles which he advocated were contrary to the views of many of the audience, and created quite a sensation which will not very soon subside.’
A correspondent of the Salem Register said: ‘It was listened to with undiminished interest from beginning to end, and pronounced by all to be a masterly production.’
The ‘Christian Register,’ a Unitarian weekly, spoke of it as being, by common report, ‘a bold, eloquent, and masterly performance,--going unreservedly against all war whatever.’
The ‘Liberator,’—Mr. Garrison
's paper,—alone among the journals, gave at once a complete approval, saying: ‘It was distinguished for its chastened eloquence and the spirit of peace and good — will to mankind.
It has excited an immense sensation in the military, political, and religious circles, and drawn down upon the orator the denunciations of those whose praise, and not their censure, is to be feared.
He has done a good deed; and it will give him true renown.’
Before the oration was published, it drew out strong expressions of approval from some who had heard it, or knew its character from report.
Professor Francis Bowen
, the editor of the ‘North American Review,’ who had heard the oration, wrote the same afternoon a note, in which, referring to some differences of opinion which had occurred between them,1
and regretting only that Sumner
had not more distinctly disclaimed ‘non-resistance principles,’ he gave generous praise.
You have fully proved that Peace, at any rate, hath her orators, more eloquent than those of war. Thank you, both for the substance and the manner of your discourse,—for sound and Christian doctrines, uttered in more inspiring tones than were ever shouted on the battlefield, and for the firmness and gallantry with which you proclaimed them amid all the pomp and paraphernalia (wrong word, that!) of the men-at-arms, just beneath you. Two or three of those bronzed old epauletted sea-dogs eyed you very grimly,