previous next


Shortly after the delivery of his last speech, Mr. Sumner presented a petition of citizens of Massachusetts of African descent, praying the Senate to suspend the labors of the Select Committee which had been appointed to investigate the late invasion and seizure of property at Harper's Ferry, and that all persons now in custody under the proceedings of such committee, be discharged. [342] This was referred to the Select Committee, June 5th. On the 15th of the month, Mr. Mason reported from that Committee, a resolution, ‘that the paper purporting to be a petition from citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts of African descent, presented to the Senate by Charles Sumner, a Senator of Massachusetts, be returned by the Secretary to the Senator who presented it.’ Supposing that this resolution would be called up, Mr. Sumner prepared some notes of a speech he intended to deliver on the subject, in which the following paragraph occurred:
There is a saying of antiquity, which has the confirming voice of all intervening time, that “ Whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad.” And now, sir, while humbled for my country that such a proposition should be introduced into the Senate, I accept it as an omen of that madness which precedes the fall of its authors.

But the resolution never was called up, and no other resolution of such tyrannical hardihood and shameless insult, was ever renewed in that Senate house, for the great struggle was at hand, in which Abraham Lincoln was to be triumphantly elected President of the United States.

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.
Charles Sumner (6)
James M. Mason (2)
Abraham Lincoln (2)
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.
June 5th (2)
15th (2)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: