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turned to Boston, and in 1841-46 he pub- against Kansas took two days in its delished an edition with annotations of livery, May 19 and 20, 1856 (see page 460). Vesey's Reports (20 volumes).
Some passages in it greatly incensed the His first participation in active politics members of Congress from South Carolina, was in 1845. On July 4 he delivered an and one of them, PRESTON S. BROOKS (9.v.), oration before the municipal authorities assaulted Senator Sumner while he was of Boston on the True Grandeur of writing at his desk in the Senate chamNations. At that time war with Mexico ber on May 26. Brooks approached Sumwas impending. He denounced the war sys- ner with a gutta-percha. cane and dealt tem as a means for determining inter- him such a blow on the head that he fell national questions, and declared that it insensible upon the floor. From this blow ought to be superseded by peaceful arbi. he never fully recovered. Brooks was re. tration. This oration attracted much attention, led to much controversy, and was widely circulated in America and Europe. This was followed by many public addresses on kindred themes, and his reputation as an orator, suddenly created, made them widely and thoughtfully read. He then first appeared as a public opponent of slavery, and opposed the annexation of Texas because he believed it was intended to ex. tend the boundaries of that labor system in our country. From that day until his death Sumner was an earnest advocate of the emancipation of the slaves. In 1846 he addressed the Whig State convention of Massachusetts on The Anti-slavery Doctrine of the Whig Party, and soon afterwards published a letter of rebuke to Robert C. Winthrop, Representative in Congress from Boston, for voting in favor of war with Mexico. He finally left the Whig party and joined the Free-soilers (see FREESOIL PARTY), supporting Van
CHARLES SUMNER, Buren for President in 1840.
In April, 1851, Mr. Sumner was elected warded for this act by his constituents by a coalition of Democrats and Free. with the present of a gold-headed cane and soilers in the Massachusetts legislature to a re-election to Congress. the United States Senate, to fill the place in the Senate in January, 1862, Senator vacated by Daniel Webster. He took his Sumner argued that the seizure of Mason seat Dec. 1, 1851, and kept it by succes- and Slidell was unjustifiable, a cording to sive re-elections until his death. He was the principles of international law. His recognized as the leader in all anti- voice was heard frequently during the war slavery movements in the Senate, and his in defence of the national policy, and in political action in the matter was guided 1865 he pronounced a eulogy on President by the formula “Freedom is national, Lincoln. In April, 1869, his speech on Slavery is sectional.” He took a very American claims on England caused great active part in the debates on the Kan- excitement and indignation in Great Britsas questions. His speech on The Crime ain, where it was supposed to threaten
war and an attempt to excite popular tion for his life than to gain a living by feeling against that country. In the a not very distinguished or successful pracsame year his opposition to the scheme tice at the bar of Suffolk, and that the for the annexation of Santo Domingo to height of his ambition was to be the comthe United States brought him into col- panion or successor of Story, or Greenlision with President Grant, and led to leaf, as a teacher of law at Cambridge. Sumner's removal from the chairmanship There are traces in the letters of his of the committee on foreign relations in friends of great though vague expectaMarch, 1870. He afterwards separated tions of his future greatness. Mr. Webfrom the Republican party, and supported ster, in giving him a prize for an essay (1872) for the Presidency the nominee of just after he left college, remarked kindly the Liberal Republicans and Democratic that “the public held a pledge of him." party-Horace Greeley. He opposed Gen- But each of these friendly prophets would eral Grant's renomination, and at a con- probably have deemed Sumner's opinions vention of Democrats and Liberal Repub- and methods, at that day of the greatest licans held at Worcester in September, social and political intolerance of unpop1872, he was nominated for governor of ular opinion, an insuperable obstacle to Massachusetts. He was then in England his success. But this oration reveals its in search of health, and declined. He re. author full grown. It was an attack on turned home and to the Senate late in the most gigantic evil of all history, in 1872, and in the course of the session he the presence of a hostile audience, withintroduced an unpopular bill, which drew cut regard to the dissenting opinions of from the Massachusetts legislature in friends, the orator planting himself on the 1873 a vote of censure. It was to remove simplest maxims of right as his premises, from the regimental colors of the army and justifying his argument by citing the and from the army register the names opinions of great authorities in literature, of battles won by, Union troops in the ethics, and jurisprudence. We do not Civil War. The vote of censure was re- think of any change of method, opinion, scinded in 1874, a short time before his style, or manner, which came to Sumner death, in Washington, D. C., March 11, after that day, except, perhaps, a certain 1874. See KANSAS, NEBRASKA, CIVIL heaviness of delivery and loss of magRIGHTS BILL.
netism, partly the result of the habit of Sumner the Statesman.—United States leading his important speeches from Senator George F. Hoar, of Massachusetts, printed slips in his later years, and partly has given an analytical review of the the physical result of the assault made public career of Mr. Sumner, dealing in upon him in the Senate chamber. The large measure with the qualities that are courage, the glowing eloquence, the lofty essential in true statesmanship. The fol- confidence, the faith in the ideals to which lowing is the substance of Senator Hoar's he ever remained true, each of these is points and conclusions:
Before he left college Sumner had beThe history of Mr. Sumner's prepara- come a good scholar in Latin and Greek. tion for statesmanship covers the period He failed utterly in mathematics. “He from his birth until, on July 4, 1845, at delighted in Scott's novels, but most of the age of thirty-four, he delivered the all in Shakespeare, from whom he was oration on The True Grandeur of Nations, perpetually quoting in conversation and which is the first of his productions to letters.” He kept a commonplace-book. which he has given a place among his His industry increased after leaving colcollectea works. This oration gave its lege. He rose for study at a quarter-past author a conspicuous position among the five in the morning, keeping up often until public men of the country. He held no midnight. He became familiar with all office until his election to the Senate, six heroic literature. He was an eager stuyears later. It is probable that when dent of the old English poets and proseSumner accepted the invitation of the city writers. The results of the studies of authorities of Boston to deliver the Fourth- this time abound in his speeches. Marsof-July oration, he had no other expecta- ton's lines
“Oh! a fair cause stands firme and will nettles' in the first course of a Roman abide:
banquet.” In the eulogy on Story he Legions of angels fight upon her side "
speaks of "the niceties of real law, with which he quoted in Faneuil Hall, in his its dependencies of descents, remainders, speech of Aug. 22, 1848, are extracted in and executory devises, also the ancient the commonplace-book which he had in hair-splitting technicalities of special college.
pleading-both creatures of an illiterate He took the second Bowdoin prize in his age, gloomy with black-letter and verbal senior year for a dissertation on The subtilties.” He returns again and again Present Character of the Inhabitants of to the contrast between the lawyer or the New England, as resulting from the Civil, judge, “both practising law," and the Literary, and Religious Institutions of jurist. “All ages have abounded in lawthe First Settlers. He invested his prize- yers and judges. There is no church-yard money in books, among which were By- that does not contain their forgotten dust. ron's Poems, the Pilgrim's Progress, Bur. But the jurist is rare. ... The jurist is ton's Anatomy of Melancholy, Hazlitt's higher than the lawyer, as Watt, who inSelect British Poets, and Harvey's vented the steam-engine, is higher than Shakespeare. The last two were kept the journeyman who feeds its fires and through life on his desk or table, ready for pours oil on its irritated machinery-as use. The Shakespeare was found open on Washington is more exalted than the the day of his death, as he had left it, Swiss, who, indifferent to cause, barters for with his mark between the leaves at the money the vigor of his arm and the sharpthird part of Henry VI., pp. 446,447, ness of his spear.” and his pencil had noted the passage: Mr. Sumner reaffirms this contrast with “ Would I were dead! if God's good-will were even greater zeal and force in his opinion SO;
in the great case of the Impeachment of For what is in this world, but grief and Andrew Johnson. If there were to be woe?"
stricken out from the history of constiHe spent the first year after leaving tutional liberty what has been won for her college in study, reading, among other by those lawyers whose training and life things, Tacitus, Juvenal, Persius, Shake- have been that of the advocate, not of the speare, and Milton, Burton's Anatomy, jurist, there would be little of it left to Wakefield's Correspondence with Fox, recount. Moore's Life of Byron, Butler's Reminis. But Sumner became forthwith a zealcences, Hume's Essays, Hallam, Robert- ous student of that branch, or rather of son, and Roscoe, and making a new at that main trunk, of the science of juristempt at the mathematics.
prudence which is somewhat inexactly He then, rather reluctantly, chose the called by many writers the “law of natlaw as his pursuit in life. No trace can ure." be found in his biography of any incli- To this pursuit, if Sumner had needed nation towards the practice of the legal any stimulant, he would have found it in profession, or of much respect or capacity the friendship and instruction of Judge for the logic of the common law. We do Story. If Sumner had gone to Cambridge not remember that he anywhere speaks in 1845 to succeed his beloved teacher and with enthusiasm of great advocates, un- friend, he would have been a great writer less, like Erskine, they have rendered some in this department of legal science. He service to liberty, or maintained and es- would have completed the task which tablished some great principle against hos- Mackintosh left unfinished. tile governments or courts. In his eulo- A most important part of Sumner's gies on Pickering and Story, delivered in education was his visit to Europe. He 1846, his distaste towards the function of went as a student, not as a lounger. He the lawyer, or even of the ordinary judge, did not allow the attractions of archiis strongly manifest. He says that to tecture, galleries, or society to prevent Pickering “ litigation was a sorry feast, his accomplishment of his chief objects, and a well-filled doeket of cases not unlike the study of language and of juristhe curious and now untasted dish of prudence. He acquired the three languages, French, German, and Italian, templation of the highest models of exwell enough to read and converse in them cellence; and of the loftiest and simplest easily, and to understand the lectures maxims of virtue; delighting especially in which he attended. His knowledge of the study of that science which applies language, jurisprudence, foreign politics, the rules of the moral law to the conduct foreign statesmen, social life, gained in of men; fearless of opposition; of comthis visit, all were of infinite value to his manding presence; with the faculty of later career.
rapid and thorough investigation; with Sumner arrived at home May 3, 1840. vast stores of learning always at his comThe time of mere preparation had ended- mand; of a magnetic eloquence which the time of devotion to life's duties begun. inspired and captivated large masses of The next five years were spent in diligent men as he moulded the lessons of history, study, in writing for the magazines, in the ornaments of literature, the comconducting an extensive correspondence, mandments of law, human and divine, into and in the practice of his profession. He his burning and impassioned argument; threw himself with characteristic earnest- yet without political ambition; disliking ness into the defence of the conduct of the contentions of his profession, and Mackenzie in the case of the Somers dreaming fondly of the life of a student mutiny. He had some practice at the bar, and teacher in the shades of a university and conducted successfully a few impor- as the highest bliss which an indulgent tant causes. He took little interest in Heaven could bestow. politics, and seems to have been much Sumner has been sometimes likened to disgusted with the great popular excite- Edmund Burke. There is a slight resemments of the Presidential campaign of blance between some of the prints of 1840.
Burke and some likenesses of Sumner. If any man remain incredulous as to Sumner had been a student of Burke, and the character of Sumner's after-life, let had caught something of the style of his him see what, beyond all question or per- statelier passages. They were both men adventure, he was at thirty-four. Growing of great intellectual independence, and up in a great city, school, and college paid little deference to the opinions of life, ten years at the bar, three years their associates, so far as related to their spent in the most brilliant society in Eu- action upon political questions. But here rope, will disclose foibles, and vices, and the resemblance ends. Sumner had none meannesses, and selfish ambitions, if they of Burke's subtlety of intellect. He had exist. If they do not show themselves at neither the taste nor the capacity for thirty-four, they are not likely to spring philosophical analysis. Burke loved to up afterwards.
dwell upon a subject, to consider it in all We have here a man of a nature its relations, discover the most occult revehement and self - confident, tempered semblances in things seemingly most unslightly with respect for elders; of strong like, and to develop differences in things family affections; taking great delight in apparently the most similar. Sumner friendship; so attracting and so being at. planted himself on the most general statetracted by the best and greatest men ments of right, on the simplest maxims that, in that large circle of intimacies of morals and duty-the opening senwhich his correspondence discloses, em- tences of the Declaration of Independence, bracing a list of famous names unap- the Sermon on the Mount, the Golden proached by any other biography of Rule, the Beatitudes, the two sublime modern times, there cannot be found the commandments on which hang all the law name of a bad or mean and scarcely that and the prophets. of an obscure man; of an innocence and Sumner liked to find a literary precedent purity absolutely without a stain; of a for his method of dealing with a subject. singular sincerity and directness of speech Many of his best passages are, if not and conduct; of marvellous industry; of imitations of, at least suggested by, some almost miraculous memory; without hu- famous passage in the works of some mor; without a personal enemy; never other orator or writer. The opening of having had a quarrel; loving the con- his oration on The True Grandeur of
Nations is a paraphrase of part of the question to deal with, he desired to colfuneral discourse in the Menesenus of lect everything that had been said or writPlato. The White Slavery in the Barbary ten upon it. He did nothing, if he could States is suggested by Dr. Franklin's help it, without a literary authority. His parody on the speech of Mr. Jackson, of industry never abated or relaxed until he Georgia, written March 23, 1790, only was struck by death. During the period twenty-four days before the author's while he held the important station of death. The unsavory comparison of chairman of the committee on foreign Senator Douglas to a “noisome, squat, relations, he investigated each of the imand nameless animal,” wrung from Sum- portant subjects which came before him ner by a savageness of personal attack as if it were a science of itself. An almost unparalleled, even in those days attack on him called from the secret recwhen slavery turned the Senate chamber ords of the Senate the dates of the referinto a bear-garden, is borrowed from a ence and reporting of nine treaties, which shaft which Burke launched at Lord were the last that were referred to this North. The eulogy on Fessenden is, per- committee while he was its chairman. haps, the best specimen of his original When we remember that these are the ingenius, as it is one which his friends de- stances which his able and zealous light to contemplate as evidence of the antagonist has selected to show his nobility of his nature. Even here, he neglect—when we remember the imporhas to recall the reconciliation between tance of the subjects-when we remember Adam and Eve, in the Paradise Lost. his relation to all the other great ques
Sumner's methods were very simple. tions before the country, and the numerous They have been pointed out a thousand calls upon his time that his correspondtimes. He applied to every political ques- ence and the visits of his countrymen, for tion the plainest maxim of justice. He purposes of business or friendship, must was sure that the people would see it, have occasioned, we are amazed at the and, when they did see it, it would proof of diligence which this evidence speedily prevail. He had the power to gives. We believe no other committee make them listen to him, and to make could show such a record. them see it as he did. He attacked the Mr. Sumner was pained by the vote of adversary in his stronghold. He would the legislature of Massachusetts disapyield nothing by way of compromise. In proving his resolution providing that the other words, conscientiousness, faith in names of the battles won over our fellowthe people, power to move their moral citizens in the war of the rebellion should nature, courage which attacked the be removed from the regimental colors of strongest enemy, and an absolute refusal the regular army and from the army to compromise one jot or tittle of what register. He was deeply touched and he deemed right, though it were to save gratified by the rescinding of this vote, the universe from threatened destruction the information of which reached him -these were his open secrets.
just before his death. Mr. Schurz repreNothing is more wonderful or absolute sents him as mourning and brooding over than his faith in the early overthrow of this sorrow: “Oh, those were evil days, slavery. He declares in his first speech, that winter; days sad and dark, when he just after the annexation of Texas, and sat there in his lonesome chamber, unable as the war with Mexico is just breaking to leave it, the world moving round him, out, that “the fetters are soon to fall and in it so much that was hostile, and from the limbs of the slave.” These con- he prostrated with the tormenting disease, fident expressions abound in his speeches. which had returned with fresh violence, To his triumphant anticipation every vic- unable to defend himself, and with this tory, every crime, every outrage of sla- bitter arrow in his heart!” We are convery was but an added ground of hope, as firmed by a careful and extensive inquiry helping to open the eyes of the American among those who were most intimate with people to the power of whose awakened Mr. Sumner, and who saw him most freconscience he implicitly trusted.
quently during the last two years of his When Mr. Sumner had any important life, in our own confident belief that this