previous next
[435] threatened against the Free State men in Kansas, and Sumner himself who had espoused their cause, the penalties of treason and rebellion. He said:—

If he [Sumner] means that he is prepared to go to the country to justify treason and rebellion, let him go; and I trust he will meet the fate which the law assigns to such conduct. . . We are ready to meet the issue, and there will be no dodging. We intend to meet it boldly; to require submission to the laws and to the constituted authorities; to reduce to subjection those who resist them, and to punish rebellion and treason. I am glad that a defiant spirit is exhibited here; we accept the issue.

Two days later, in a controversy with his new Republican colleague Trumbull, he revelled in personalities, and became so offensive that a Southern senator (Crittenden) called him to order. In this personal debate, during which the was several times on the floor, he uniformly referred to the Republicans as ‘black Republicans,’ sometimes varying the epithet with those of ‘miserable Abolitionists and Know Nothings.’ Now, as heretofore, he attributed ‘baseness’ and ‘base purposes’ to Sumner and his other opponents. Trumbull met him with spirit, saying, as he finished, ‘I shall never permit him [Douglas] here or elsewhere to make an assault on me personally without meeting it with the best power that God has given me, feeble though it be.’ Douglas turned aside from his antagonist to assail Sumner, accusing him of disingenuousness in obtaining two years before a delay of the debate on the Nebraska bill, in order to circulate a ‘libel’1 on him (Douglas),—meaning the protest of the Free Soil members which Chase had written. Sumner met with a flat denial his statements as to going to Douglas's seat2 to procure the favor of postponement, and as to the motives imputed to himself for asking for delay in open debate, as well as to the character of the protest itself. Douglas broke forth as follows:—

Whether the address alluded to is a libel or not in the senator's judgment depends on his opinion of what a libel is. It attributed to me the base purpose of introducing the measure for personal aggrandizement, and not from a sense of duty. It seems that the senator from Massachusetts does not consider it derogatory to the character of a gentleman to be governed by unworthy motives, by base purposes, by unpatriotic objects. He does not deem this

1 Ante, p. 350.

2 Several years later Douglas repeated in conversation this charge, which, after Sumner's denial, he did not insist upon in the Senate. ‘Douglas on Constitutional and Party Questions,’ by J. M. Cutts, p. 95.

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)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Massachusetts (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
Kansas (Kansas, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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.
E. V. Sumner (5)
Douglas (5)
Trumbull (2)
J. M. Cutts (1)
Crittenden (1)
Salmon P. Chase (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: