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[498] which, after reciting with accuracy the circumstances of the assault, tendered to Sumner sympathy in the personal outrage; but as his grievance and wounds were not of private concern only, they recognized and resented ‘every blow which fell upon his head’ as ‘an insult and injury to our honor and dignity as a people, and a vital attack upon the Constitution of the Union.’ The series of resolutions thus ended, with a universal response of approval from the vast audience: ‘We discover no trace or trait either in the meditation, the preparation, or the execution of this outrage by Preston S. Brooks, which should qualify the condemnation with which we now pronounce it brutal, murderous, and cowardly.’ Among similar demonstrations were meetings in Brooklyn, Philadelphia, New Haven, Providence, Rochester, Buffalo, Canandaigua, and Chicago. In some of these, eminent divines, like Francis Wayland, Leonard Bacon, and F. H. Hedge, bore a part.

In Massachusetts the public indignation rose to its highest point.1 The sensation among the people was more intense than has attended any event in our history preceding the Civil War. Public meetings were held in the cities and towns, three of which it is sufficient to mention in this connection as representative of the great number. One was held in Faneuil Hall, Boston, where the governor of the State, at the head of a line of distinguished speakers, was followed by Peleg W. Chandler, George S. Hillard, and S. H. Walley.2 Chandler, who had known Sumner

1 Both the excitement and the regard for Sumner felt and expressed for him by people hitherto differing from him are well stated in the Springfield Republican, May 24.

2 Two managers of the Boston meeting, Prince Hawes and Jacob A. Dresser, waited on Mr. Winthrop and Mr. Everett, inviting them to address the meeting; but both excused themselves. The former was just going to Nahant with his family; and while desirous to do what he could to relieve Mr. Sumner's suffering, did not think highly of such meetings. Many regretted that Mr. Winthrop did not accept, hoping that his participation in the meeting would bring him into line with public sentiment, and open to him a new career in public life. Mr. Everett, while speaking with kindness and sympathy for Mr. Sumner, declined. Choate also declined; but going to Washington shortly after, he is said to have called on Sumner. (New York Times. May 28.) Everett's declining was the occasion of comment at the time. (New York Tribune, June 4; Boston Advertiser, May 29.) It led the Senate of Connecticut, on motion of O. S. Ferry, afterwards United States senator, to reconsider the resolution inviting Mr. Everett to deliver before the Legislature his oration on Washington; but later, after what he had said at Taunton, Mass., the resolution was taken up again and passed. On May 30, in that city, in a preface to his oration he treated the assault as a grave public calamity. The passage is given in Sumner's Works, vol. IV. p. 323. Two years later further explanations appeared in his published letter (‘National Intelligencer.’ May 14, 1858; Boston Advertiser, ‘Atlas and Bee,’ May 18), in which he said that he declined to attend because he had retired to private life and deprecated additional excitement; but that later, at Taunton, he made remarks ‘to impart a more chastened and sober temper to the fiery indignation which pervaded the community.’ See also New York Evening Post, May 5, 1858, commenting on Mr. Yeadon's defence of him. Mr. Everett also in the same letter explained his signature, at the time of the assault, to a paper approving Sumner's course, which he had neglected to read, being under the influence of an anodyne, indicating that he did not approve Sumner's ‘manner of treating the subject.’ he also made a similar explanation of his signature in a friendly letter to Sumner. The paper he signed unwittingly is given in Sumner's Works, vol. IV. p. 344. Sumner was always hearty in public tributes to Everett (Works, vol. i. p. 245; vol. IX. pp. 200, 219). As to Mr. Winthrop's declining to attend the meeting in Boston, see C. T. Congdon's ‘Reminiscences of a Journalist,’ p. 89.

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