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We cannot, however, bring even this brief list of citations to a close without some tributes, which Mr. G. W. [553] Smalley, the accomplished London correspondent of The New York Tribune, sent from the English journals, which during the Alabama discussions spoke of the leader of the American Senate with so much bitterness:

‘It is an honor to The Times, however,’ Mr. Smalley remarks, that it lifts itself high enough to say:

Yet when we look back upon the 30 years during which Mr. Charles Sumner was among the foremost in the United States, we must admit that his career was such as to deserve the highest admiration and gratitude of his fellow-citizens; and those who are disposed to judge his faults with severity must remember how much there was to provoke to intemperance of judgment the man who was pursued with such animosity that he barely escaped with life from a cowardly assault in the Senate Chamber at Washington.

The Daily News, which, during the arbitration, was one of Mr. Sumner's most hostile critics, lays aside its animosities in order to do him justice. The article is obviously by one who knew him, and thus speaks of his appearance and character:

During his recent visit to England, his friends noticed that he was growing somewhat bowed and heavy, and showing rather prematurely the weight of years. But until this very late period he had the advantage of as striking a presence as any public man in our day has ever displayed. Physically, there was, perhaps, no statesman of our time so remarkable, except Prince von Bismarck; and without odious comparisons it may be observed that Mr. Sumner had a very handsome face, as well as a form of almost gigantic proportions, and a bearing expressive of singular energy and strength of will. His character and career as a politician were well in harmony with his appearance. Whatever he willed he strongly willed. All the flexibilities and docilities, all the quickness that suits itself with ease to new conditions, all the dexterity which extracts the utmost advantage out of unavoidable compromises, all the artistic self-control with which clever statesmen have sometimes contrived to give to defeat itself the appearance of a qualified victory—all this was wanting to Mr. Sumner. He had clear principles, a strong will, and a vigorous intellect, which went straight at obstacles, and either crushed over them at once, or drew back and tried to crush over them again.

He was an accomplished scholar, a good linguist, a master of European literature, and almost a devotee of art. During his latest visit to Europe, a year or two back, he found no pleasure so great as that of ransacking the old bookshops and bookstalls of Paris for quaint and curious editions to add to his collection. He was a great talker upon [554] art and literature, as well as upon politics; and talked, as he did everything, with tremendous energy and with an individual self-confidence which his enemies, and some even of his friends, set down as egotism. Many slyly satirical or humorous stories were told in America àropos of Mr. Sumner's faith in his own eloquence—stories which would have affected Mr. Sumner little even if he had heard them, for he was one of the very few Americans who have no perception of the meaning of a jest. He was a strong, serious man, often in the wrong, often unfair in his judgment, but never consciously yielding to prejudice; always inflexibly faithful to his principles as he saw them, and gifted with power of thought and speech and work enough to make him a distinct and a memorable figure in the history of his country's political growth.

The Globe, the evening Conservative daily, contains a tribute to Mr. Sumner, indeed, quite remarkable, and the more gratifying from an opponent of Liberalism. The Globe says:

From 1850, when he was elected to the seat in the Senate vacated by Webster, who had entered the Fillmore Cabinet, the name of Sumner has been as famous in Europe as in the United States. In his own country the influence he exerted was always great, and his ten years Chairmanship of the Committee on Foreign Relations made him a power abroad. His argument in the famous Mason and Slidell case, to the effect that the seizure on a British ship was unjustifiable according to the law of nations, gave temporary offence to his countrymen, but on the whole Sumner was one of the most popular American statesmen of this generation. The secret of his success was due to the ability he possessed of catching ‘the opinion of to-morrow’ on any question in which public opinion was excited. Once having found this—and his statesmanlike mind seldom missed in the search—he maintained his position with admirable tenacity till ‘the opinion of to-morrow’ became that of to-day. When necessity required he declined to act as the mouthpiece of public opinion, assured that the time would soon come when, without changing his own attitude, he would be its correct exponent.

The Echo, a very widely circulated Liberal paper, thinks some future biographer may explain why Mr. Sumner lost his hold of power and influence, and this will be his conclusion:

He may and probably will regard Charles Sumner as too pure and upright-minded a man for the highest political success. He was impulsive, too, and this is apt to detract from the influence of a statesman as a leader. No American of equal importance admired England more and yet none was popularly regarded as more her enemy. His famous speech putting forth the first mention of the Indirect Claims, made Englishmen too ready to forget his great services to humanity in regard to the Abolition of Slavery. Perhaps Mr. Sumner was a man of too self-conscious, too refined a mind, for success; one who was ever careful [555] in self-examination, and too careless of the thoughts of others for the largest popularity.

The Pall Mall Gazette is silent; for which, all thanks. So is The Saturday Review for this week. It is pleasant to find in The Examiner the following paragraph:

The obituary of the week includes the name of Charles Sumner, an American for whom Englishmen have always felt the greatest respect and sympathy. His voice was most powerfully raised against the institution of Slavery in the Southern States long before the issue of civil war came to solve the otherwise unsolvable question. On all other matters where individual liberty was at stake, Mr. Charles Sumner was ever found among the boldest and most uncompromising champions of the oppressed; and he was not without that meed of persecution which is the invariable fate of men of his heroic character. * * * He annoyed some of his friends by supporting the claims for ‘indirect damages’ in the Alabama case; but we have reason to believe that the conduct of our Government in the proceedings which led up to the arbitration, went far to bring Mr. Sumner back to his former appreciation of England and Englishmen.

All the more pleasant, because the controlling influence in The Examiner is now in the hands of one of the men I have referred to as faithful friends to us during the Rebellion, and then losing patience and waxing wroth during the arbitration business.

Among all the articles I have seen in English papers there is none comparable for careful study of Mr. Sumner's character and acts, and wise estimate of them, to that in The Anglo-American Times; a journal, I should add, edited by Englishmen, and written by Englishmen, and which other Englishmen would do well to study for its teaching and example. It says:

Perhaps of all Americans, Charles Sumner stood foremost in the esteem of his countrymen. He was eloquent, he was cultured, pure in character, lofty in aspiration, patriotic and unselfish in his aims. Few men have been so tried by the perversity of human nature, yet he never lost faith in it. In all the broad Union there was no more ardent lover of freedom, nor any man with a stronger faith in the institutions of the Republic he loved so well and worked for so long and faithfully. Indeed, he may be called a martyr to his devotion to human rights; for his death is traceable to the assault Mr. Brooks made upon him in the Senate Chamber. He was a tall, handsome, strongly built man; but the injuries he then received laid him on a bed of sickness for years, causing him intense suffering, ultimately sending him to his grave at an age when a period of usefulness might still be looked for. But Charles Sumner was too earnest to witness unmoved the Administration sinking into corruption; and he worked so assiduously to stem the current that [556] he helped towards the accomplishment of the assassin's design, till his medical adviser almost forced him, in the midst of the last Presidential campaign, to run across to Europe, effectually to shut from his sight papers, books, and business. * * *

We now know, as do all who study American politics, that Senator Sumner was in the right; an admission truth compels us to make, although, at the time, we shared that feeling. It is because we now more fully comprehend the magnitude of the contest and the difficulties of the position in the struggle of the statesman against the ‘politicians,’ that we are able to appreciate the force of what the Senator then said; and we may add, that we deplore the loss of the great leader in the cause of reform. The Senator has passed away at the climax, leaving the conduct of the war to other, though, we fear, less efficient hands, but not till the great utility of his life had been impaired through his failing health. He leaves, however, a record, not only as an example to the young, but to inspire those bent on carrying on the war against the political system which has bred such corruption, to a successful issue; a reputation unblemished in an atmosphere of intrigue; pure, where political purity is rare; ever surrounded by strong temptations, wielding, as he did, a power greater than has perhaps yet been wielded on the continent of North America.

With that I close, rejoicing that, in the country which Mr. Sumner loved and the opinion of which he valued so highly, at least one tribute not unworthy of him has appeared. I should add that in the leading provincial journals, the articles I have seen are, on the whole, more just than those of London.

But it was not from England that justice to the departed statesman was expected to come. By the enlightened and unprejudiced journalists of the continent of Europe—to which strangeness of language gives the impartiality of time—Charles Sumner met that judgment at once, which in England is shown the Americans only by the next generation.

Perhaps in no quarter has Senator Sumner's character as a man and a statesman, been more candidly drawn, than it was in the Boston Journal on the day of his funeral:

The time has not come for doing full justice to the great career and the great character so faintly outlined in the preceding sketch. Mr. [557] Sumner was essentially different from the most distinguished American statesmen who had gone before him. He was primarily a scholar, constrained by prophetic moral impulses into the field of politics. In encyclopediac knowledge none of our statesmen are to be compared with him, unless it may have been John Quincy Adams. In philosophical tendencies he somewhat resembled Jefferson, while he revealed an earnestness, breadth and fervor in his humane sympathies which were as much superior to Jefferson's as his eloquence was greater. He was not a great debater, on account, partly, of the scholastic character of his mind, and because he had a peculiar conception of the sphere of a Senator. He once said: ‘A seat here in the Senate is a lofty pulpit with a mighty sounding-board, and the whole wide-spread people is the congregation.’ Whenever he arose, therefore, to speak, it was not merely to discuss the legislative question in hand and to address the little circle of Senators around him; he was to expound in their fullness the large relations and suggestions of the topic for the benefit of the press and the whole American nation. His speeches were treatises winged with oratory. There is nothing like them in the records of our national eloquence. They are wanting in the massive simplicity, the conciseness and severe taste of Webster's speeches; their profusion of historic allusions and quotations would seem artificial, but for its being the natural expression of the author's mind, and it is doubtful if the peculiarity will give pleasure to another generation of readers. But the force of reasoning, the broad energy of purpose, sweeping along like the Mississippi—like that, too, showing its power in its crevasses as well as in its legitimate channel—and the soul of moral heroism which illumines every sentence, will never want for admirers; what is better, will never cease to disseminate good influences and to bear good fruit among mankind.

This moral heroism, indeed, constitutes the crowning distinction of Charles Sumner, and gives him his title to immortal fame. It shone about his whole working life as a public servant. Throughout his checkered career no enemy—and none had bitterer than he—was ever found bold enough to connect his name with any jobbery or interested scheme. His integrity was more than Roman, it was Christian. So, too, this heroism was seen in its triumphing over the adverse influences of his training and in its transformation of his own character. He was not democratic in his personal sympathies, while the associations of his early life were limiting if not aristocratic in their tendencies; and no one from thence could have predicted that here was to be the [558] champion of equality, the apostle of deliverance to the poor and despised of another race. But the principle that was in him took him up with the devotion of a Luther and the zeal of a Loyola. All men became alike in his eyes—alike entitled to justice, to the protection and the immunities of the law. In pursuit of this object he feared nothing on earth and he spared nothing that stood in his way. And though his unswerving fidelity brought him to death's door, he lived–as few of the world's heroes have—to see his complete triumph, and to feel in his heart, we have no doubt, the sweet consciousness that mankind would never willingly let his memory die.

But amongst all the floral offerings which ‘deck his sylvan grave,’ one at least shall be laid there by the gentle hand of woman:—and whose fingers could better weave the chaplet than Grace Greenwood's?

With the memory of my great friend (can it be that he is already only a memory?) come certain further off, pale and uncertain presences—the friends who were about him when I knew him first—Hawthorne, with his noble, sensitive face, his deep-set, furtive, melancholy eyes; Starr King, radiant with genius and princely in his perfect humanity; that beautiful wife of his poet-friend, she whose sweet, sad voice was prophetic of her martyr-like fate; that scholarly brother, so like him in person, in voice, in love of books and art; and that illustrious scientist, beloved and revered alike upon two hemispheres, that sweet, strong, childlike and grand human soul we knew as Louis Agassiz. These and many more choice spirits whose lives have mingled with or touched on his, come before me, and I am inexpressibly comforted by the thought of the goodly company he has been called to rejoin. * * *

Whenever I have had a friend from abroad to whom I would show special courtesy, I have taken him or her to that beautiful house by the Arlington, and have always been sure of a welcome. Whatever his engagements or his ailments, if able to see his friends at all, he received them with a cordial grasp of the hand, and that rare, sweet smile, which was like a burst of pure Spring sunshine on a sombre day. I was in that house on the morning of that sad Wednesday, lingering and waiting, with other friends, refusing to believe that there was ‘no hope.’ I saw there men I had heard called, and half believed to be, hardened and heartless politicians, weeping like women, and, despite the judgment of his enemies and detractors, I was doubly convinced that the man had a ‘genius to be loved.’ [559]

Last evening I passed by that house so soon to be despoiled of its precious books and art-treasures. It was apparently unchanged—lighted up as cheerfully as before he went away; even the graceful transparencies in those pleasant study-windows remained as they were. The hall-door was open, and the gas-light shone full on the tall, old-fashioned clock, which had ticked off for him so many hours of faithful toil—of weary wakefulness, of cruel pain, till that last moment of mental agony, when his great, pure, honest heart broke.

How plainly that old clock repeats to the souls who loved the master of the house:

Never here, forever there,
Where all parting, pain and care,
And death and time shall disappear:
Forever there, but never here!
The horologe of eternity
Sayeth this incessantly,
Forever—never—never, forever!

The face of Mr. Sumner in death bore more than the usual resemblance to Edmund Burke. With his gray hair resting like a glory on the pillow, he looked very noble, but so tired! We felt amid our grieving that all was well. God had given His beloved sleep.

Most of the floral offerings laid on the great Senator's coffin were from his colored friends. They lavished upon him the most rare and costly flowers. On his desk stood a bouquet of roses and azalias, white as the ‘white soul’ Emerson so honored.

Saddest of all sights was his empty chair, draped in mourning, and yet an august presence seemed to hover about it. If, indeed, he were there able to see, and hear, and understand; if he looked around on the scene of many struggles and conflicts, on his enemies and on his friends, what poor things must have seemed to him all human strifes and animosities; how precious human love and loyalty; how great and sorrowful a thing life; how beautiful and blessed death!

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