previous next

Chapter 39: the debate on Toucey's bill.—vindication of the antislavery enterprise.—first visit to the West.—defence of foreign-born citizens.—1854-1855.

The second session of the Thirty-third Congress, which began in December, 1854, and ended in March, 1855, was, excepting a single day, undisturbed by excitement. There was a disposition on both sides to avoid a renewal of the discussion on slavery, which had absorbed the preceding session, and to attend rather to the ordinary public business. Sumner offered at different times resolutions on several subjects,—as the exemption of sailors from an enforced contribution of hospital money,1 the amendment of the laws concerning the fisheries, and mediation in the Eastern war between Great Britain, France, and Turkey on the one side, and Russia on the other. He spoke against the exclusion of Massachusetts soldiers, whom the governor refused in the War of 1812 to place in the service of the United States, from the provisions of the bounty-land bill for the benefit of soldiers serving against Great Britain. He made a brief speech upon a bill introduced by himself to secure to seamen in case of wreck the wages already earned, although the vessel might not have earned freight.2 The speech illustrated the hardships involved in the application of a technical rule of maritime law.

An indictment against Theodore Parker was pending in the United States Circuit Court, Boston, in the winter of 1854– 1855, in which he was charged with resisting the process for the rendition of Anthony Burns, the alleged act of resistance being a speech he had delivered in Faneuil Hall. It was expected that the trial would take place before Judge B. R. Curtis.

1 He renewed this proposition Feb. 2, 1860.

2 Works, vol. III. pp. 520-526. He renewed this effort at later sessions,—Jan. 17, 1860; and again April 15, 1872, when he presented the resolutions of the Legislature of Massachusetts in favor of the bill.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Toucey (1)
Charles Sumner (1)
Theodore Parker (1)
Benjamin R. Curtis (1)
Anthony Burns (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: