oration as a lecture the next winter in various places.1
When published, in 1849, it was commended by E. P. Whipple
, Rev. R. C. Waterston
, Rev. John Weiss
, and H. D. Gilpin
's Fourth of July oration, his three college addresses, and his lecture on White Slavery in the Barbary States
belong to the period of the Mexican War
, including in that period its immediate causes and results.
The reader, who a generation or more later would come into full sympathy with the orator and realize his power over his audiences, must keep in view the conditions of that period,—American slavery with a bolder front than ever, and a war for its extension in prospect or progress, or fresh retrospect.
With slavery abolished, with our latest war a struggle for national unity and freedom, with the spirit and energy of the people directed in channels of peace and beneficence, his most effective passages, separated from the context of contemporary events, might now seem commonplace and without purpose, the display of an unreal sentiment.
But for that period, with its great causes, there was no voice so potent as Sumner
's in inspiring and guiding the hopes and aims of American youth.
The hold which he then acquired on young men was far beyond that of any orator of the time; it opened the way to his political career, and it remained through life one of the chief sources of his strength.2
had thus far appeared almost wholly before audiences in New England
, he had become well known by his printed addresses in the Middle
and Western States, among antislavery people, and also among the Friends and others who were partisans of the Peace movement.3
published an article, in March, 1848, upon Henry