S. C. Phillips
regarded it as ‘a contribution of inestimable value to our noble cause,’ and ‘statesmanlike in all its features.’
, who had heard it, bore, after reading it, his second testimony to its convincing power.
wrote, the day after it was delivered, to Mrs. Mann
, that it ‘would tell on the country, and be a speech for a book and for history.’
, of the New York Evening Post, who, though a faithful friend of Sumner
, looked at antislavery speeches, and indeed all speeches, with a critical, almost cynical eye, wrote:—
I have just finished reading your speech, to which I have devoted the best part of the day. Unless I greatly err, it is the heaviest blow which has yet been levelled against the Fugitive Slave bill from the tribune.
Others may have done more to make its enactors and champions infamous, but no one has done as much to prore the law itself infamous.
The speech has this great and rare merit, that it is not in the ordinary and vulgar acceptation of the term an inflammatory speech.
No slaveholder or slavecatcher has any cause for losing his temper in reading it, though if he have any sensibility or brains he would be likely to lose a potion of his self-respect.
Men of scholarly habits and trained intellects enjoyed the finished style, dignified tone, and moral enthusiasm of the speech.
Dr. I. Ray
, yielding to the force of his argument against the power of Congress to legislate for the rendition of fugitive slaves, though holding previously a different opinion, wrote:—
The lofty tone which pervades your speech, peculiarly appropriate to the subject, quickened the motion of my blood a little, and—I mention it as a matter of fact, not compliment—frequently reminded me of Burke's American speeches.
I doubt not it will make its mark on public sentiment.
George B. Emerson
thought it ‘an admirable speech,—one of the noblest that have ever been made in Congress.’
Professor Charles Beck
commended ‘its mild and manly tone,’ superior to speeches conspicuous for violent language, and entitling it to a permanent place in the future discussion of the slavery question in all its aspects.
J. E. Worcester
, author of the Dictionary, wrote with ‘admiration of its ability and excellent spirit.’
William C. Bryant
said ‘it was the only thing which preserved the character of the Senate.’
, of Cincinnati
, a conservative jurist, thought it not only the ablest of Sumner
's efforts, but the ablest exposition of that side of the question he had met with, believing this to be also the opinion