previous next

Dr. Howe was then substituted as the candidate, and a meeting was held in Tremont Temple, November 5, to support the nomination. Andrew was made chairman, and Sumner and Adams spoke. Sumner began with a tribute to Dr. Howe's character, and then, disclaiming any sentiment except of kindness towards Winthrop as a citizen and an honorable gentleman, touched upon the issues of the slavery question on which he had failed to meet the exigencies of the times, and commented upon his vote for the Mexican war bill. The noteworthy feature of the speech was a review of the opinions and action of eminent English patriots—Chatham, Burke, Fox, Camden, the Duke of Grafton, Barre, and others who resolutely opposed the war of our Revolution, refusing to vote supplies for its prosecution, or even a tribute of praise to the officers and troops engaged in it; and it concluded with a demand for the instant withdrawal of our forces from Mexico. Sumner was the first to apply the historical parallel to the discussion. Giddings availed himself of it in a speech in Congress, and quoted the declarations which Sumner had cited.1

The Whig newspapers, in view of Sumner's open letter to Winthrop and his expected candidacy in opposition, fell upon him with sharp personalities.2 These—although he could not reasonably have expected different treatment—made him sorely uncomfortable, as he confessed to Howe. The latter, who was absent in New York near the end of the contest, wrote him tenderly and paternally, appreciative of the sacrifices of friendship and general esteem which he was making, but regretting that he did not treat with indifference and contempt the revilings he had to bear; saying also,—

It has never been my lot to know a man so perfectly loyal to truth, right, and humanity as you have been. Your efforts and sacrifices cannot be lost; for if no other good comes out of them, this will come,—that your example will kindle and keep alive high purpose in the souls of hundreds, of whom I am one. You are my junior by many years; but to you I owe many of the public aspirations which I feel for progress upwards and onwards, in my spiritual nature.

Sumner was not combative by nature, as many or even most reformers are; and, unlike Wendell Phillips, he took no delight in a proud isolation. Phillips treated social aversion with

1 Dec. 15, 1846. ‘Speeches in Congress,’ pp. 286-288.

2 Boston Atlas, October 28 and 30.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Mexico (Mexico, Mexico) (1)
Grafton, W. Va. (West Virginia, United States) (1)
Camden, Ark. (Arkansas, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
December 15th, 1846 AD (1)
November 5th (1)
October 30th (1)
October 28th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: