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ANDREW J. DOWNING, THE LANDSCAPE GARDENER,
SPEECH IN THE SENATE, IN FAVOR OF AN ALLOWANCE TO THE WIDOW
OF THE LATE ANDREW J. DOWNING, AUGUST 26, 1852.
THE Civil and Diplomatic Appropriation Bill being under consideration, Mr. Pearce, of Maryland, under instructions from the Committee on Finance, moved the following amendment:
“For the payment of the arrears of salary due to the late Rural Architect, A. J. Downing, deceased, from the 1st of May, 1852, to the date of his death, and a further allowance to his widow, equal to the salary for one year, $ 2,500: Provided, that the said sum shall be in full of all claim for the services of the said deceased, and for all models, specifications, and drawings, designed for the benefit of the United States, which are not in its possession."
In the course of the debate which ensued, Mr. Sumner spoke as follows.
R. PRESIDENT, — The laborer is worthy of his
hire; and I believe at this moment there is no question of charity to the widow of the late Mr. Downing. The simple proposition is, to make compensation for services rendered to the United States by this eminent artist as superintendent of the public grounds in Washington. And since the plans he has left behind and the impulse he has given to improvements here by his remarkable genius will continue to benefit us, though he has been removed, it is thought reasonable to continue his salary to the close of the unexpired year from which it commenced. These plans alone have been valued at five thousand dollars, and we are to have the advantage of them. In pursuance of these, his successor will be able to proceed in arranging the public grounds, and in embellishing the national capital, without further expenditure for others. Thus, as I said at the outset, it is not a question of charity, but of compensation ; and on this ground I doubt not the estate of the departed artist deserves the small pittance it is proposed to pay. For myself, I should be much happier to vote a larger appropriation, believing, that, over and above the services actually rendered in the discharge of his duties, these plans are amply worth it, and that we shall all feel better by such recognition of our debt.
Few men in the public service have vindicated a title to regard above Mr. Downing. At the age of thirtyseven he has passed away, “dead ere his prime,” — like Lycidas, also, “floating upon his watery bier," 1—- leaving behind a reputation above that of any other citizen in the beautiful department of Art to which he was devoted. His labors and his example cannot be forgotten. I know of no man among us, in any sphere of life, so young as he was at his death, who has been able to perform services of such true, simple, and lasting beneficence. By wide and active superintendence of rural improvements, by labors of the pen, and by the various exercise of his genius, he has contributed essentially to the sum of human happiness. And now, Sir, by practical services here in Washington, rendered at the call of his country, he has earned, it seems to me, this small appropriation, not as a charity to his desolate widow, but as a remuneration for labor done. I hope the amendment will be agreed to.
1 Mr. Downing was accidentally drowned in the Hudson River.
THE PARTY OF FREEDOM : ITS NECESSITY AND
SPEECH AT THE STATE CONVENTION OF THE FREE-SOIL PARTY OF
MASSACHUSETTS, HELD AT LOWELL, SEPTEMBER 15, 1852.
The annual State Convention of the Free-Soil Party of Massachusetts met at Lowell September 15, 1852. It was organized with the following officers : Hon. Stephen C. Phillips, of Salem, President, Rodney French, of New Bedford, George B. Atwood, of Taunton, William Jackson, of Newton, George F. Williams, of Boston, Charles Beck, of Cambridge, John B. Alley, of Lynn, Benjamin F. Thompson, of Winchester, John Nesmith, of Lowell, John Edgell, of Gardner, Francis Bates, of Springfield, Calvin Marden, of Pittsfield, Vice-Presidents, George M. Brooks, of Concord, Edmund Anthony, of New Bedford, William S. Robinson, of Lowell, Andrew J. Aiken, of Adams, Benjamin F. White, of Weymouth, Secretaries.
Eloquent speeches were made by the President, Hon. S. C. Phillips, Hon. Henry Wilson, Hon. John W. Graves, Hon. E. L. Keyes, Hon. Rodney French, Dr. Caleb Swan, Richard H. Dana, Jr., Esq., Hon. Horace Mann, Hon. Amasa Walker, Hon. Anson Burlingame, and Seth Webb, Jr., Esq. The resolutions adopted by the Convention were reported by Hon. C. F. Adams. Hon. Horace Mann was nominated as candidate for Governor, and Hon. Amasa Walker as candidate for Lieutenant-Governor.
Early in the proceedings Mr. Sumner was introduced to the audience by the President. This incident is copied from the report in the papers, as is also the speech which he made, with the interruptions.
“The President remarked, that there was one gentleman present whom the Convention would all delight to hear: he alluded to our distinguished Senator in Congress, Hon. Charles Sumner.
“ The name of Mr. Sumner was received with three times three' rousing cheers, and the waving of hats, canes, handkerchiefs, &c.; which demonstrations of regard were renewed as he made his appearance on the platform.”
Among those on the platform was Captain Drayton, called “The Hero of the Pearl,” recently liberated from prison through the exertions of Mr. Sumner (ante, p. 49), who took his seat “amid the hearty cheers of the whole assembly.”
MR. PRESIDENT, AND FELLOW-CITIZENS OF MASSA
SHOULD be dull' indeed, -dull as a weed,
After an absence of many months, I have now come home to breathe anew this invigorating Northern air [applause], to tread again the free soil of our native Massachusetts [cheers], and to enjoy the sympathy of friends and fellow-citizens. [Renewed applause.] But, while glad in your greetings, thus bounteously lavished, I cannot accept them for myself. I do not deserve them. They belong to the cause [applause] which we all have at heart, and which binds us together. [Cheers.]
Fellow-citizens, I have not come here to make a speech. The occasion requires no such effort. Weary with other labors, and desiring rest, I have little now to say, — and that little will be too much, if about myself. If, at Washington, during a long session of Congress,
my first experience of public life, -- I have been able to do anything which meets your acceptance, I am happy. [Cheers.] I have done nothing but my duty. [“ Hear! hear!”] Passing from this, and taking advantage of the kind attention with which you honor me, let me add one word in vindication of our position as a national party.
We are on the eve of two important elections, of National officers, and the other of State officers. A President and Vice-President of the United States and members of Congress are to be chosen; also, Governor
and Lieutenant-Governor of the Commonwealth, and members of the Legislature. And at these elections we are to cast our votes so as most to advance the cause of Freedom under the National Constitution. [Cheers.] This is our peculiar object, —- though associated with it are other aims, kindred in their humane and liberal character.
Against Freedom both the old parties are banded. Opposed to each other in the contest for power, they concur in opposing every effort for the establishment of Freedom under the National Constitution. [Applause.] Divided as parties, they are one as supporters of Slavery. On this question we can have no sympathy with either, but must necessarily be against both. [“ Hear! hear!”] They sustain Slavery in the District of Columbia : we are against it. They sustain the coastwise Slave-Trade under the National Flag : we abhor it. [Cheers.] They sustain the policy of silence on Slavery in the Territories : we urge the voice of positive prohibition. They sustain that paragon of legislative monsters, – unconstitutional, unchristian, and infamous, — the Fugitive Slave Bill [sensation ]: we insist on its repeal. [Great applause.] They concede to the Slave Power new life and protection : we cannot be content except with its total destruction. [Enthusiasm.] Such, fellow-citizens, is the difference between us.
And now, if here in Massachusetts there be any who, on grounds of policy or conscience, feel impelled to support Slavery, let them go and sink in the embrace of the old parties. [Applause.] There they belong. On the other hand, all sincerely opposed to Slavery, who desire to act against Slavery, who seek to bear their testimony for Freedom, who long to carry into public