previous next
[266] ocean, Foote of Mississippi, at the instance of Webster the Secretary of State, offered in the Senate a resolution for the purpose; but as special objections were made to its form, it was withdrawn by the mover, and the debate proceeded on one offered by Seward, which in the name and behalf of the people of the United States gave him ‘a cordial welcome to the capital and to the country.’ This also was opposed on the ground that Kossuth had done nothing to deserve an extraordinary reception, and, further, that the proceeding was a departure from our traditional policy of non-intervention in European affairs. It was urged that he had openly declared his purpose to seek the intervention of this country in resisting the intervention of Russia in the contest between Austria and Hungary; and had in his speeches signified his purpose, if repelled by the government, to appeal from the government to the people. While the resolution was supported without respect to party or sectional divisions, its only earnest opponents were three Southern senators,—Underwood, Berrien and Badger. Among its zealous advocates were Cass and Shields from the West; but the most finished speeches in its behalf were those of Seward and Sumner, the former closing the debate with one of singular eloquence and power.

There was a prevailing curiosity to hear the new senator from Massachusetts; and when he rose late in the afternoon of December 9, all eyes were turned eagerly to him; but an adjournment being moved, he gave way. There was unusual attention and silence the next day as he took the floor. The Senate was full, both the gallery and the seats of members. The speech was a brief one, and carefully prepared.1 he began with a tribute to Kossuth and his cause, and advocated his reception by Congress, as merited by his career and naturally following the invitation under which he had come. But with his views of peace among the nations and his studies in international law, Sumner was not content to rest here; and while objecting to Berrien's amendment affirming non-interference with the domestic concerns of other nations to be the settled policy of our government as extraneous and irrelevant, he took occasion to express himself against any belligerent intervention in European affairs, or any departure from the policy of peaceful neutrality inherited from Washington. In the same passage he implied a criticism of Kossuth's contention that our policy of noninterference,

1 Works, vol. III. pp. 3-9.

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)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
New York Sumner (2)
William H. Seward (2)
Kossuth (2)
Berrien (2)
Daniel Webster (1)
Shields (1)
H. S. Foote (1)
Lewis Cass (1)
Badger (1)
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 9th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: