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February 21, 1854, Charles Sumner opposed the bill. He was a month over forty-three, and, in his appearance, dress, and manner of speaking, an unsurpassed orator. He has since passed away, dying at Washington, March 11, 1874, aged sixtythree, in the full possession of his great faculties; but when he spoke in this debate, he was one of the new men, and, though full of his theme, had not that history at his back which is now the rock upon which many proudly lean, and from which millions defend his convictions, and point to such prophecies as these as having been providentially fulfilled :

"Mr. President, I approach this discussion with awe. The mighty question, with untold issues which it involves, oppresses me. Like a portentous cloud, surcharged with irresistible storm and ruin, it seems to fill the whole heavens, making me painfully conscious how unequal I am to the occasion-how unequal, also, is all that I can say to all that I feel.

"I am not blind to the adverse signs. But this I see clearly. Amidst all seeming discouragements, the great omens are with us. Art, literature, poetry, religion-everything which elevates man-all are on our side. The plough, the steam-engine, the railroad, the telegraph, the book, every human improvement, every generous word anywhere, every true pulsation of every heart which is not a mere muscle, and nothing else, gives new encouragement to the warfare with slavery. The discussion will proceed. The devices of party can no longer stave it off. The subterfuges of the politician cannot escape it. The tricks of the office-seeker cannot dodge it. Wherever an election occurs, there this question will arise. Wherever men come together to speak of public affairs, there again it will be. No political Joshua now, with miraculous power, can stop the sun in his course through the heavens. It is even now rejoicing, like a strong man, to run its race, and will yet send its beams into the most distant plantation-ay, and melt the chains of every

"But this movement, or agitation, as it is reproachfully called, is boldly pronounced injurious to the very object desired. Now, without entering into details, which neither time nor the occasion justifies, let me say that this objection belongs to those commonplaces which have been arrayed against every beneficent movement in the world's history—against even knowledge itself—against the abolition of the slave-trade. Perhaps it was not unnatural for the Senator from North Carolina [Mr. Badger] to press it, even as vehemently as he did; but it sounded less natural when it came, in more moderate phrase, from my distinguished friend and colleague [Mr. Everett]. The past furnishes a controlling example by which its true character may be determined. Do not forget, sir, that the efforts of William Wilberforce encountered this precise objection, and that the condition of the kidnapped slave was then vindicated in language not unlike that of the Senator from North Carolina, by no less a person than the Duke of Clarence, of the royal family, in what was called his maiden speech, on May 3, 1792, and preserved in the Parliamentary Debates. "The negroes,' he said, 'were not treated in the manner which had so much agitated the public mind. He had been an attentive observer of their state, and had no doubt that he could bring forward proofs to convince their lordships that their state was far from being miserable. On the contrary, that when the various ranks of society were considered, they were comparatively in a state of humble happiness.' And only the next year, this same royal Prince, in debate in the House of Lords, asserted that the promoters of the abolition of the slave-trade were 'either fanatics or hypocrites,' and in one of these classes he declared that he ranked Wilberforce. Mark now the end. After years of weary effort, the slave-trade was finally abolished; and at last, in 1837, the early vindicator of even this enormity, the maligner of a name hallowed among men, was brought to give his royal assent, as William the Fourth, King of Great Britain, to the immor

tal act of Parliament by which slavery was abolished throughout the British dominions. Sir, time and the universal conscience have vindicated the labors of Wilberforce. The American movement against slavery, sanctioned by the august names of Washington, Franklin, and Jefferson, can calmly await a similar judg


"One word more, and I have done. The great master, Shakespeare, who with all-seeing mortal eye observed mankind, and with immortal pen depicted the manners as they rise, has presented a scene which may be read with advantage by all who would plunge the South into tempestuous quarrel with the North. I refer to the well-known dialogue between Brutus and Cassius. Reading this remarkable passage, it is difficult not to see in Brutus our own North, and in Cassius the South:

'Cassius. Urge me no more, I shall forget myself;

Have mind upon your health; tempt me no further.
'Brutus. . . . Hear me, for I will speak.

Must I give way and room to your rash choler?...

'Cassius. O ye gods! ye gods! Must I endure all this?
'Brutus. All this? ay, more. Fret till your proud heart break;

Go, show your slaves how choleric you are,

And make your bondmen tremble. Must I budge?
Must I observe you? Must I stand and crouch

Under your testy humor?...

'Cassius. Do not presume too much upon my love;

I may do that I shall be sorry for.

'Brutus. You have done that you should be sorry for. There is no terror, Cassius, in your threats;

For I am armed so strong in honesty

That they pass by me as the idle wind,

Which I respect not. . . .

'Cassius. A friend should bear his friend's infirmities:

But Brutus makes mine greater than they are.

'Brutus. I do not, till you practise them on me.
'Cassius. You love me not.

I do not like your faults.'

[Julius Cæsar, act iv., scene iii.]

"And the colloquy proceeding, each finally comes to understand the other, appreciates his character and attitude; and the impetuous, gallant Cassius exclaims, 'Give me your hand;' to which Brutus replies, ' And my heart, too.' Afterwards, with heart and hand united, on the field of Philippi they together upheld the liberties of Rome.

"The North and the South, sir, as I fondly trust, amidst all differences of opinion, will always have a hand and heart for each other; and, believing in the sure prevalence of almighty truth, I confidently look forward to the good time when both will unite, according to the sentiments of the fathers and the true spirit of the Constitution, in declaring freedom, and not slavery, national; while slavery, and not freedom, shall be sectional. Then will be achieved that Union, contemplated at the beginning, against which the storms of faction and the assaults of foreign powers will beat in vain, as upon the Rock of Ages; and Freedom, seeking a firm foothold, will at last have where to stand and move the world!"

Sumner in 1854 and Sumner in 1872 deserve to be studied in the light of this extract. The great Red Sea of the war rolls between these less than twenty years. In the Congress of 1854 he pleaded for peace between the sections. In the Congress of 1872 he pleaded for reconciliation. The quotation from "Julius Cæsar" is something more than an illustration: it is a warning.

It was after this protracted discussion of his bill, which had previously passed the House, that Senator Douglas rose, at II 30 on the evening of March 3, 1854, to close the debate, to answer his adversaries, and to demand a final vote. I was present and heard it entire. He spoke till dawn on the 4th; and after he had finished, and the great crowd which had hung entranced upon his accents retired down the great steps leading from the Rotunda to the eastern porch or portico of the Capitol, the guns of the Navy Yard proclaimed the triumph of the principle of popular sovereignty. Few saw the future that

sombre March morning. The South did not know that in supporting the bill they had forever lost their hold upon slavery in the Territories. The North, that portion of it represented by Mr. Sumner and Mr. Seward, did not dream that in opposing it they had opposed what was to make all our future Territories the citadels of liberty. There was much acrimony on both sides, and the invective of Judge Douglas was as strong as the invective of his opponents. Four short years proved that he had not vainly made his solemn pledge to sustain fair play in the Territories. The attempt to deprive the people of Kansas of the rights secured to them under his bill of 1854 roused him to the boldest resistance. In maintaining it, he was reelected to the Senate over Abraham Lincoln in 1858. In maintaining it, he lost the prize of the Presidency in 1860, and gave it to the Republicans by refusing to support Breckinridge. And in 1861 he died the victim of his heroic efforts to warn the South from the catastrophe that punished their resistance to the will of the majority.

More than twenty-six years ago, in the columns of the Washton Union (March 6, 1854), I wrote as follows of the memorable speech of Senator Douglas, which closed the great debate on the Kansas-Nebraska bill: "But it is vain to attempt a description of the really great effort of the Illinois Senator. The readiness of his replies, the correctness of his authorities, the extent of his information, the clearness of his views, the new points presented, have elevated it among the finest of forensic triumphs. It may well be ranked with those proud and memorable achievements of intellect which have given to the American Senate the just renown of being the ablest deliberative body in the world. 'Sir,' said he to the President of the Senate, 'the North and South have common and indissoluble interests. There are tariff men North and South; there are distribution men North and South; there are free-trade men North and South. Slavery is the only link that divides us. Let us

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