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[611] King, all, or nearly all, would have preferred that the speech should not have been made at that time.1 Chestnut of South Carolina followed Sumner with an outbreak of coarseness and brutality, which began with a sneer at his sufferings, and ended with a disclaimer of any intended violence to him, which would only make him still more an idol at the North.2 Sumner's only rejoinder was that he should print Chestnut's speech as another illustration of his argument. ‘I hope he will do it,’ said Hammond. Other senators were silent, and the Senate adjourned. The Kansas bill was laid aside the next day after brief speeches on the boundaries of the proposed State, and one by Wigfall on the general question, without reply or allusion to the speech of the day before. Sumner's was the last speech on American slavery made in Congress.3 It was fitting that he should close the debate.

During the speech, which lasted four hours, Sumner's voice lost nothing in power, and he was not conscious of weariness at the end. The Senate adjourning a few moments after he closed, he walked to his lodgings along Pennsylvania Avenue, a full mile, with friends, who insisted on accompanying him,—Wilson and Burlingame walking, one on each side, and E. L. Pierce following a step behind.4 There was talk of violence in barrooms and similar resorts in Washington, but the only overt act was the intrusion of a Southern man four days after into Sumner's lodgings, who was offensive in speech and manner, and signified his purpose to come again. Sumner's friends,— among them Wilson, Burlingame, Sherman, and A. B. Johnson, --took precautions, though not at Sumner's instance, and even

1 Few of them followed a custom among senators to subscribe for copies of the speech to be franked to their constituents. Seward, without expressly objecting to the speech, called it ‘elaborate, unsparing, and denunciatory.’ (Seward's ‘Life,’ vol. II. p. 457.) His last adjective was misplaced.

2 Von Holst (vol. VII. p. 203) says: ‘No sooner was the speech ended than Chestnut gave an astounding illustration of the demoniacal power of the barbarism just alluded to. His reply occupied scarcely two minutes; but so enormous an amount of brutality and venomous vulgarity was condensed into the few sentences he uttered that the annals of Congress, rich as they are in such material, has nothing to match them.’

3 Two or three speeches of the ‘campaign’ style in the House, made within a week, do not seem to call for a qualification of this general statement. The character of slavery as an institution also came up incidentally in debates concerning emancipation during the Civil War.

4 Wilson was armed, as the writer observed at his room in the morning, and probably Burlingame was armed. Francis P. Blair, Sr., invited Sumner to be his guest at Silver Springs, but Sumner declined, wishing to be near the Capitol. At a reception the same evening at Mr. Blair's the speech was the principal topic of conversation.

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