wrote, May 24: ‘A brave and noble speech you made, never to die out of the memories of men.’
And again, May 28: ‘I have just been reading again your speech; it is the greatest voice, on the greatest subject, that has been uttered since we became a nation.
No matter for insults,—we feel them with you; no matter for wounds,—we also bleed in them!
You have torn the mask off the faces of traitors, and at last the spirit of the North
, after reading and re-reading the speech, pronounced it ‘a grand and terrible philippic worthy of the great occasion; the severe and awful truth which the sharp agony of the national crisis demanded,’ itself ‘enough for immortality.’
Cassius M. Clay
thought the speech ‘far the best one of the session, . . . standing right alongside with Webster
's reply to Hayne
,’ and destined to confer upon the author ‘immortality as a parliamentary debater.’
E. Rockwood Hoar
thought that if death had been the sequel, ‘no man could have desired a nobler epitaph than the speech,’ and assured Sumner
of ‘support in everything that head can devise or hand can execute,’ praying that he might ‘live to say again in many a form and on many a fit occasion the stinging home-truths to which no reply could be found but this.’
Edwin P. Whipple
‘sympathized with its sentiments, and gloried in its genius,’ calling it ‘an event’ in itself, made all the greater by what followed, the only answer its opponents were capable of making to it. Dr. Francis Wayland
thanked him for the speech, expressing the hope that he would deliver many such.
Lydia Maria Child
thought it ‘magnificent,’ meeting ‘the requirements of the time with so much intellectual strength and moral heroism,’ finding nothing in it ‘which offended either her taste or her judgement.’
found it ‘grand and beautiful in thought,’ and not less so in form.
wrote: ‘Thanks for your glorious speech, that will now thrill the American
heart to an extent never known before.’
Rev. R. S. Storrs, Jr.
, of Brooklyn, N. Y.
, sent thanks for the speech, ‘unanswerable except by the bludgeon,—a magnificent exhibition not only of mental force and culture, but of Christian and patriotic feeling, of regard for righteousness, and supreme devotion to liberty and to truth. . . . Great powers, great themes, and a magnificent opportunity are rarely combined in the experience of one man; but still more rarely does that eminent and Christian spirit unite with them which enables a man to consecrate the powers, ennoble ’