Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

• Mingled with whom, of their disgrace the proof,
Are the vile angels, who did not rebel,
Nor kept their faith to God, but stood aloof.'

Come forth, then, from the old organizations ; let us range together. Come forth, all who have stood aloof from parties ; here is an opportunity for action. You who place principles above men ! come forward. All who feel in any way the wrong of Slavery, take your stand! Join us, ye lovers of Truth, of Justice, of Humanity! And let me call especially upon the young. You are the natural guardians of Liberty. In your firm resolves and generous souls she will find her surest protection. The young man who is not willing to serve in her cause—to suffer, if need be, for her-gives little promise of those qualities which secure an

honorable age.

FELLOW-CITIZENS :-We found now a new party. Its corner-stone is Freedom. Its broad, allsustaining arches are Truth, Justice, and Humanity. Like the ancient Roman Capitol, at once a Temple and a Citadel, it shall be the fit shrine for the genius of American Institutions."

12*

CHAPTER XI.

The late Session of Congress-Mr. Sumner delivers his great Speech

on Kansas-the assault in the Senate chamber—Mr. Sumner's statement respecting it-indignation meetings-remarks.

ner.

The Congressional Session of 1855–6 has been the most important, as well as the most painful and calamitous in the public career of Mr. Sum

Ah ! the heart sickens as we draw near to contemplate that murderous act by which this illustrious Senator of a sovereign State was inhumanly stricken down in the Senate chamber, while discharging faithfully his public duties.

The absorbing question of the late session of Congress, as the intelligent reader well knows, was that touching the affairs in Kansas, particularly the outrages committed in that territory. On the 19th of March, 1856, Mr. Douglas introduced " A Bill to authorize the people of the Territory of Kansas to form a Constitution and State Government, and to provide for their admission into the Union, when they have the requisite population.” Shortly after, Mr. Seward moved, by way of substitute, another Bill, providing for immediate action, and entitled “A Bill for the admission of the State of Kansas into the Union." This gave rise to a warm and protracted debate, in the course of which, on the 19th and 20th of May, Mr. Sumner made his immortal Speech :THE CRIME AGAINST KANSAS—THE APOLOGIES FOR THE CRIME—THE TRUE REMEDY.

— It would only be expressing the opinion of able and impartial judges, to pronounce this speech one of the grandest efforts of modern oratory—one of the most commanding, irresistible, and powerful speeches ever made in the Senate of the United States. It will always rank with the imperishable efforts of Webster against Hayne, and those of Burke against Hastings. It is a speech of surpassing eloquence and power, full of beautiful, forcible, and glowing passages—a continued stream of fervid oratory, keen in sarcasm, severe in invective, irresistible in logic, and overpowering in argumentation. One of the most admirable passages in this speech is that on the defence of Massachusetts—a passage which exhibits the loftiest strains of genuine, soul-stirring eloquence:

“ God be praised ! Massachusetts, honored Commonwealth, that gives me the privilege to plead for Kansas on this floor, knows her rights, and will maintain them firmly to the end. This is not the first time in history, that her public acts

[ocr errors]

have been arraigned, and that her public men have been exposed to contumely. Thus was it when, in the olden time, she began the great battle whose fruits you all enjoy. But never yet has she occupied a position so lofty as at this hour. By the intelligence of her population, by the resources of her industry-by her commerce, cleaving every wave-by her manufactures, various as human skill—by her institutions of education, various as human knowledge—by her institutions of benevolence, various as human suffering--by the pages of her scholars and historians—by the voices of her poets and orators, she is now exerting an influence more subtile and commanding than ever before-shooting her far-darting rays wherever ignorance, wretchedness, or wrong prevail, and flashing light even upon those who travel far to persecute her. Such is Massachusetts, and I am proud to believe that you may as well attempt, with puny arm, to topple down the earth-rooted, heaven-kissing granite which crowns the historic sod of Bunker Hill, as to change her fixed resolves for Freedom everywhere, and especially now for freedom in Kansas.* I exult, too, that in this

I battle, which surpasses far in moral grandeur the

*

* This is one of the grandest expressions that can be found in the annals of ancient or modern patriotic eloquence, and is an illustrious example of the very highest order of declamation.

whole war of the Revolution, she is able to preserve her just eminence. To the first she contributed a larger number of troops than any other State in the Union, and larger than all the Slave States together; and now to the second, which is not of contending armies, but of contending opinions, on whose issue hangs trembling the advancing civilization of the country, she contributes, through the manifold and endless intellectual activity of her children, more of that divine spark by which opinions are quickened into life, than is contributed by any other State, or by all the Slave States together, while her annual productive industry excels in value three times the whole vaunted cotton crop of the whole South.

Sir, to men on earth it belongs only to deserve success; not to secure it; and I know not how soon the efforts of Massachusetts will wear the crown of triumph. But it cannot be that she acts wrong for herself or children, when in this cause she thus encounters reproach. No; by the generous souls who were exposed at Lexington ; by those who stood arrayed at Bunker Hill; by the many from her bosom who, on all the fields of the first great struggle, lent their vigorous arms to the cause of all; by the children she has borne, whose names alone are national trophies, is Massachusetts now vowed irrevocably to this work. What be.

« AnteriorContinuar »