was recognized, in view of the approval it received in the South
, as the outcome of a conspiracy to suppress free speech and free debate in the national Capitol
, and as the beginning of civil war. The general sentiment found immediate expression.
The newspapers of national reputation—those which were conservative and moderate as well as those which were advanced in antislavery opinions—were alike emphatic in denouncing the assault as in itself brutal, ruffianly, and cowardly, and in its large significance the first blow of a conspiracy for the suppression of free debate by violence, and the setting up of a revolutionary tribunal to overawe Congress.1
The expulsion of the offender was universally demanded.
the Legislature of Massachusetts, then in session, promptly declared the assault to be one ‘which no provocation could justify, brutal and cowardly in itself, a gross breach of parliamentary privilege, a ruthless attack upon the liberty of speech, an outrage of the decencies of civilized life, and an indignity to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
,’— approving at the same time the senator's ‘manliness and courage in his earnest and fearless declaration of free principles, and his defence of human rights and free territory.’
The legislatures of Rhode Island
both in session, at once responded to the action of Massachusetts
in resolutions which were presented to Congress.
The Legislature of Vermont
, when it next met, denounced the assault, and gave an unqualified approval to the sentiments and doctrines of Sumner
the governor of New York communicated to him the sympathies of the people of that State.
The public indignation found expression in meetings of citizens through the free States, as well in small communities as in great cities.
An immense concourse of citizens assembled in the Broadway Tabernacle
, in the city of New York
Among the officers and speakers were eminent lawyers, merchants, clergymen,—Daniel Lord
, Charles King
, W. C. Bryant
, and Henry Ward Beecher
W. M. Evarts
moved the resolutions