In no way can we do so much at so little cost.
To the enemy such a blow will be a terror; to good men it will be an encouragement; and to foreign nations watching this contest it will be an earnest of something beyond a mere carnival of battle.
The audience approved the address by a resolution adopted by acclamation.1 Sumner
signified his purpose at the time to renew the discussion in the Senate, a pledge which he fulfilled.
‘From this time forward,’ as he wrote some years later, ‘he never missed an opportunity of urging emancipation, whether in addresses before the people and in the Senate, or in direct personal appeal to the President
In the last he was constant, rarely seeing the President
without in some way presenting the all-absorbing question.’2
This address encountered the same line of criticism which followed the one delivered at Worcester
; but the public mind had become more familiar with the topic, and an antislavery policy was now finding more general favor.
's letters at this period was one to John Bright, October:—3
Your letter was so interesting and satisfactory that I could not forbear sending it to Mr. Seward, who has returned it to me with a letter which I enclose.
Perhaps I cannot share fully the sanguine tone with which he writes.
From the beginning he has seen our affairs in this way. I have not. The South will fight like desperadoes, and I see no chance of closing the war without striking at slavery.
I know all the difficulties in the way; but the difficulties from inaction are greater.
I do not suggest a scheme of outright emancipation, but something that may wear and weaken slavery and make its extinction inevitable.
To this at least everything now points; and it would be hastened by any disaster.
Meanwhile the good people of England owe to us their good wishes.
We are fighting the battle of civilization, and their public men and newspapers should recognize and declare the true character of the conflict.
It is not necessary that emancipation should be openly on our flag.
It is enough that we are fighting against men seeking to found a new government with slavery as its corner-stone, claiming outlying territories for slavery, and sure also if successful to open the slave-trade.
And yet this wicked rebellion has found backing in England.
The effect of public declarations in England has been most irritating here.
I have kept my temper, and with the President and Mr. Seward have stated the case always in the interest of that good — will between our two countries which it is my desire to cultivate.