hazarded the expense of hiring a special train from Worcester
to run the distance of forty miles in an hour (unusual speed at that time), in order to give his speech to the public the same afternoon in advance of its rivals.1
the leader of the conservative press of Boston
published it the next morning.2
The Whig journals, slow to realize that their party was at an end, parried his argument for a new party; but while disavowing his theory of the official oath, they bore witness to his personal sincerity, as also to the surpassing eloquence and power of the speech, and its prodigious effect on the audience.3
The Republican State committee distributed it widely among the people in a pamphlet edition.
Some of the New York journals placed it in their columns.
read it ‘with delighted admiration.’
thought it a noble one, and its merits as an argument unsurpassed.
Gales, of the ‘National Intelligencer,’ took exception, in an elaborate criticism, to Sumner
's construction of his official oath, and maintained the duty of a member of Congress to abide by the construction announced by the Supreme Court4 Sumner
replied at length, October 22, to the effect that the court did not consider itself bound beyond the judgment in the case pending; that the decision was only a precedent subject to being overruled even by the same court, and should not have an obligatory force on other departments of the government, when they had occasion to interpret the Constitution
in the exercise of a power incidental to other principal duties, which it did not have upon the court itself.5
A brief review of the political situation in Massachusetts
, as affected by the conflict between slavery and freedom in Congress, is necessary to an understanding of Sumner
's political position at this time.
An effectual resistance to the extension of slavery into the territory now open to emigration required a new organization of parties,—the union of Free Soilers and of Whigs and Democrats opposed to the repeal of the Missouri Compromise
Such a fusion, under the name ‘Republican,’ the origin of the national party of that name, came naturally and quickly