proceeded to Roxbury
, and thence to the Boston
line, where they were met by a cavalcade of citizens numbering seven hundred, and were awaited by a vast concourse of people.
At Northampton Street, just north of the southern boundary of the city, Sumner
's carriage was driven alongside of one containing A. H. Rice
the mayor, and Josiah Quincy
as one who had ‘come, a cheerful and victorious sufferer, out of the great conflicts of humanity with oppression, of ideas with ignorance, of scholarship and refinement with barbarian vulgarity, of intellectual power with desperate and brutal violence, of conscience with selfish expediency, of right with wrong.’1
The aged Quincy
, first citizen of the Commonwealth
, then bade him welcome as the champion of freedom and the representative of Massachusetts
in the Senate,—‘unshaken, unreduced, unterrified, . . . who had touched as with the spear of Ithuriel the evil spirit of our Union, . . . compelling it to unveil to the free States its malign design to make this land of the free a land of slaves.’
The old man, as he ended, thanked Heaven for prolonging his life to this day, that he might witness the dawnings of liberty.
While he was speaking, Sumner
, who was standing, leaned slightly forward, inclining his head and showing much emotion.2
He replied from his carriage in a subdued voice, deeply affected by the scene.
Only those near by could hear him, and the audience missed the full, powerful, and sonorous voice with which they were familiar.
To them he appeared haggard and careworn, with languid eye and pale cheek, and his changed appearance brought tears to many eves.
One passage of his brief reply was as follows:—
You have made allusion to the suffering which I have undergone.
This is not small, but it has been incurred in the performance of duty; and how little is it, sir, compared with the suffering of fellow-citizens in Kansas!
How small is it compared with that tale of woe which is perpetually coming to us from the house of bondage!
With you I hail the omens of final triumph.
I ask no prophet to confirm this assurance.
The future is not less secure than the past.
and Professor Huntington
then passed into the carriage drawn by six gray horses in which were the mayor and