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dom; and whosoever serves this cause, wheresoever he may be, in whatever land, is entitled, according to his works, to the gratitude of every true American bosom, of every true lover of mankind.
The resolution before us commends itself by simplicity and completeness. In this respect it seems preferable to that of the Senator from Illinois [Mr. SHIELDS] ; nor is it obnoxious to objections urged against that of the Senator from Mississippi [Mr. FOOTE]; and I do not see that it can give any just umbrage, in our diplomatic relations, even to the sensitive representative of the House of Austria. Though we have the high authority of the President, in his Message, for styling our guest “ Governor," – a title which seems to imply the de facto independence of Hungary, when it is known that our Government declined to acknowledge it, — the resolution avoids this difficulty, and speaks of him without title of any kind, — simply as a private citizen. As such, it offers him welcome to the capital and to the country
The Comity of Nations I respect. To the behests of the Law of Nations I profoundly bow. In our domestic affairs all acts are brought to the Constitution, as to a touchstone; so in our foreign affairs all acts are brought to the touchstone of the Law of Nations,—that supreme law, the world's collected will, which overarches the Grand Commonwealth of Christian States. What that forbids I forbear to do. But no text of this voluminous code, no commentary, no gloss, can be found, which forbids us to welcome any exile of Freedom.
Looking at this resolution in its various lights, as a carrying out of the act of the last Congress, as justly due to the exalted character of our guest, and as proper
in form and consistent with the Law of Nations, it seems impossible to avoid the conclusion in its favor. On its merits it would naturally be adopted. And here I might stop.
An appeal is made against the resolution on grounds which seem to me extraneous and irrelevant. There is an attempt to involve it with the critical question of intervention by our country in European affairs; and recent speeches in England and New York are adduced to show that such intervention is sought by our guest. It is sufficient to say, in reply to this suggestion, introduced by the Senator from Georgia [Mr. BERRIEN] with a skill which all might envy, and adopted by the Senator from New Jersey [Mr. MILLER], that no such intervention is promised or implied by the resolution. It does not appear on the face of the resolution; it is not in any way suggested by the resolution, directly or indirectly. It can be found only in the imagination, the anxieties, or the fears of Senators. It is a mere ghost, and not a reality. As such we may dismiss it. But I feel strongly on this point, and desire to go further. Here, again, I shall be brief ; for the occasion allows me to give conclusions only, and not details.
While thus warmly, with my heart in my hand, joining in this tribute, I wish to be understood as in no respect encouraging any idea of belligerent intervention in European affairs. Such a system would have in it no element of just self-defence, and would open vials of perplexities and ills which I trust our country will never be called to affront. I inculcate no frigid isolation. God forbid that we should ever close our ears to the cry of distress, or cease to swell with indignation at the steps of tyranny! In the wisdom of Washington we find
perpetual counsel. Like Washington, in his eloquent words to the Minister of the French Directory, I would offer sympathy and God-speed to all, in every land, who struggle for Human Rights; but, sternly as Washington on another occasion, against every pressure, against all popular appeals, against all solicitations, against all blandishments, I would uphold with steady hand the peaceful neutrality of the country. Could I now approach our mighty guest, I would say to him, with the respectful frankness of a friend : “Be content with the outgushing sympathy which you now inspire everywhere throughout this wide-spread land, and may it strengthen your soul ! Trust in God, in the inspiration of your cause, and in the Great Future, pregnant with freedom for all mankind. But respect our ideas, as we respect yours. Do not seek to reverse our traditional, established policy of peace. Do not, under the too plausible sophism of upholding non-intervention, provoke American intervention on distant European soil. Leave us to tread where Washington points the way.”
And yet, with these convictions, Mr. President, which I now most sincerely express, I trust the Senator from Georgia [Mr. BERRIEN] will pardon me when I say I cannot join in his proposed amendment,--and for this specific reason. To an act of courtesy and welcome it attaches a condition, which, however just as an independent proposition, is most ungracious in such connection. It is out of place, and everything out of place is to a certain extent offensive. If adopted, it would impair, if not destroy, the value of our act. A generous hospitality will not make terms or conditions with a guest; and such hospitality I trust Congress will tender to Louis Kossuth.
OUR COUNTRY ON THE SIDE OF FREEDOM,
WITHOUT BELLIGERENT INTERVENTION.
LETTER TO A PHILADELPHIA COMMITTEE, DECEMBER 23, 1851.
WHEN this letter was written, Kossuth was engaged in the effort to enlist our country in active measures for the liberation of Hungary.
WASHINGTON, December 23, 1851. EAR SIR, — It is not in my power to unite with
the citizens of Philadelphia in their banquet to Governor Kossuth. But though not present in person, my heart will be with them in every word of honor to that illustrious man, in every assurance of sympathy for his great cause, and in every practical effort to place our country openly on the side of Freedom.
Among citizens all violence is forbidden by the Municipal Law, which is enforced by no private arm, but by the sheriff, in the name of the Government, and under the sanctions of the magistrate. So, among the Nations, all violence, and especially all belligerent intervention, should be forbidden by International Law; and I trust the day is not far distant when this prohibition will be maintained by the Federation of Christian States, with an executive power too mighty for any contumacious resistance. I have the honor to be, Gentlemen,
Your faithful servant,
TO THE COMMITTEE.
CLEMENCY TO POLITICAL OFFENDERS.
LETTER TO AN IRISH FESTIVAL AT WASHINGTON, JANUARY 22, 1852.
At the festival the following toast was given :
“Hon. Charles Sumner: In the Cradle of Liberty the cause of the exile will ever find a friend.”
The following letter was then read.
WASHINGTON, January 22, 1852. YENTLEMEN, - It is not in my power to unite in
your festal meeting this evening. But be assured I shall rejoice in every word of affection and honor for Ireland, and of sympathy with all her children, especially those patriots who have striven and suffered for the common good.
In answer to your express request, I beg leave to inclose a sentiment, which I trust may find a response at once from our own Government and from that of Great Britain. I have the honor to be, Gentlemen,
Your faithful servant,
CHARLES SUMNER. JOHN T. TOWERS, Esq., Chairman, &c.
Clemency: A grace which it can never be otherwise than honorable to ask and honorable to grant.
“'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The thronèd monarch better than his crown."