against his protest.1
He notified Wilson
of what had occurred, but he called upon no one to defend him, and took no part in the arrangements made by others for his protection.
He particularly chafed at the guarding of his apartment at night by friends who persisted in remaining in it. The time for violence in Congress, however, had passed.
The advanced Southern men of the South Carolina
type, who conceived and executed the previous assault, were now busy with plots for secession and rebellion, and contemplated without passion a speech which, as they hoped, would help to make their cause the cause of all slaveholders whose system, habits, and methods it had assailed.
's speech drew public attention more than any made in Congress or elsewhere during the year.
It was printed entire in the leading newspapers of the great cities East and West, and was issued in several pamphlet editions, one of which had the sanction of the National Republican committee.2
Whether regarded as timely or not, it was accepted as an exhaustive exposition of American slavery altogether unmatched in our history.
The antislavery people, those who had been Abolitionists or Free Soilers, read the speech with profound satisfaction, welcoming, it as the most masterly and comprehensive statement of their cause ever made,3
and approving most of all its moral inspiration and its arraignment of slavery on fundamental grounds of reason, humanity, and religion, which certain Republican leaders were taking pains to avoid; and they counted on it as likely to be a potent force in securing the fruits of Republican success in the election.
In hundreds of letters coming day after day from all parts of the free States, they expressed to the author their satisfaction that he was again in the Senate, with full vigor and unterrified spirit, where he had put the great cause in the foreground by a statement as timely as it was thorough; and with tender devotion, even with religious pathos, they told of their confidence in his character, their interest in his career, their admiration of his courage, their gratitude to God for his