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out at the call of our mayor; but every effort to get up any counter ap plause proved a failure.
" I took my pen, however, for another purpose, as you will get from other sources a better account of this day's public proceedings. I wish to say a word about our clerical friends, whom you have vindicated with so much spirit and force in your brief speech before the Senate. They met yesterday morning, almost without notice, to the number of some four or five hundred, for consultation on this subject. I never attended a meeting that evinced a truer spirit or a greater amount of moral power. Little or no effervescence on the surface, but a depth of feeling, a calmness of conviction, and an energy of purpose, from which, I am well satisfied, the whole country will hear in due time.
“I think I am still true to my peace principles, but my heart is stirred to its lowest depths of indignation; and I say frankly to men who applaud what our forefathers did, that we have now even stronger reasons for resistance to the Slave Power than they had to the usurpations of England."
Thomas Sherwin, late head-master of the Boston High School, and once a tutor of Mr. Sumner at Harvard University, wrote as follows.
“You, Sir, in my opinion, command the highest respect from the people, not only of Massachusetts, but of the entire Union. To yourself, Chase, Giddings, Smith, Benton, and a few others, the great majority of our people look for protection against the machinations of politicians who would bring upon our country the contempt of the civilized world, and upon the Government the execration of unborn millions."
These extracts prepare the way for the next scene in the drama.
UNION OF ALL PARTIES NECESSARY AGAINST THE
LETTER TO A MASSACHUSETTS COMMITTEE, MAY 29, 1854.
SENATE CHAMBER, May 29, 1854. ENTLEMEN, -- For the present my post of duty is
here, so that I must forego the pleasure of meeting our friends on Wednesday next. The Massachusetts host, I am glad to learn, will be reinforced on that occasion by brave voices from other States. Mr. Giddings you will be glad to welcome.
Could I meet my fellow-citizens, I should not lose the opportunity of sounding the alarm and exhorting them to action. The Nebraska Bill has passed, but it is a mistake to suppose that the propagandists of Slavery will stop here. Other audacities are at hand. More land from Mexico is sought, on which to extend a nefarious institution. The calamities of war with Spain, incalculably disastrous to the commerce of New York and Boston, are all to be braved in order to appropriate slaveholding Cuba. An intrigue is now pending to secure a foothold in Hayti; and even the distant valley of the Amazon is embraced in these gigantic schemes, by which the despotism of the Slave Power is to be established, while you and I, and all of us from the North, are to bow down before it. For myself, I will not bow down; but, Gentlemen, you will understand that no individual can effectually oppose these schemes.
UNION OF PARTIES AGAINST THE SLAVE POWER,
This can be done only in one way. As all at the South, without distinction of party, unite for Slavery, so all at the North, without distinction of party, forgetting vain differences of Whig and Democrat, must unite for Freedom, and, rising in majority and might, take control of the National Government. For this work the people are now ready; and they can surely accomplish it, if they will. The only impediment, at this moment, is to be found in those blind or selfish politicians who perversely seek a triumph of mere party, instead of a triumph of Freedom. Neither the Whig party nor the Democratic party, through its national organization dependent on slaveholding wings, is competent to the exigency. The slaveholding wings can be kept in concert with the Northern wings only when they give the law to the movement. For a poor triumph of party, the North yields, in advance, all that is dear to it, and, while vainly calling itself national, helps to instal the sectional power of Slavery in the National Government. This must be changed.
With an earnest soul, devoted to the triumph of the righteous cause, and indifferent to the name by which I may be called, I would say to all at this time, Abandon old party ties; forget old party names; let by-gones be by-gones; and for the sake of Liberty, and to secure the general welfare, now unite against the Despotism of Slavery, and in this union let past differences disappear. Believe me, Gentlemen,
Very faithfully yours,
Hon. F W BIRD, JAMES M. STONE, Committee.
THE BOSTON PETITION FOR THE REPEAL OF THE
FUGITIVE SLAVE ACT.
SPEECH IN THE SENATE, ON THE BOSTON PETITON FOR THE REPEAL
OF THE FUGITIVE SLAVE Act, JUNE 26, 1854.
The midnight speech of Mr. Sumner on the Kansas and Nebraska Bill contained language which was soon justified. In pronouncing the bill “the best on which Congress ever acted,” he said that it annulled all past compromises with Slavery, and “thus it puts Freedom and Slavery face to face, and bids them grapple.” And this was the case in Boston, immediately after the passage of the bill, when a fugitive slave was surrendered. The indignation was general, and a petition for the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Act was extensively signed, in the following terms.
“ To the Honorable the Senate and House of Representatives in Congress assembled: The undersigned, men of Massachusetts, ask for the repeal of the Act of Congress of 1850 known as the FUGITIVE SLAVE BILL
There were twenty-nine hundred petitioners, among whom were many who had heretofore sustained this atrocious measure; but they felt at last relieved from this service. In this respect this petition marks an epoch in public sentiment.
Its reception in the Senate marks an epoch there. It was presented on the 22d of June, by 'Mr. Rockwell, the new Senator in Mr. Everett's place, who moved its reference to the Committee on the Judiciary. Other petitions of like character had been treated very unceremoniously. This was debated at length, and finally referred according to the motion of Mr. Rockwell.
On the 26th of June the debate began, in which Mr. Jones, of Tennessee, Mr. Rockwell, of Massachusetts, then again Mr. Jones, and Mr. Brodhead, of Pennsylvania, took part. At this stage Mr. Sumner spoke as follows.
R. PRESIDENT,—I begin by answering the in
terrogatory propounded by the Senator from Tennessee [Mr. JONES]: "Can any one suppose, that, if the Fugitive Slave Act be repealed, this Union can exist ?" To which I reply at once, that, if the Union be in any way dependent on an act — I cannot call it a law revolting in every aspect as that to which he refers, then it ought not to exist. To much else that has fallen from that Senator I do not desire to reply. Matters already handled again and again, in the long-drawn-out debates of this session, he has discussed at length. Like the excited hero of Macedonia, he has renewed past conflicts,
“And thrice he routed all his foes, and thrice he slew the slain."
Of what the Senator said on the relations of Senators, North and South, of a particular party, it is not my province to speak. And yet I do not turn from it without expressing at least some confidence that men from the North, whether Whigs or Democrats, will neither be cajoled by any temptation nor driven by any lash from the support of those principles which are inseparable from the true honor and welfare of the country. At last there will be, I trust, a backbone in the North.
My colleague has already remarked that this petition proceeds from persons many of whom were open supporters of the alleged Compromises of 1850, including even the odious Fugitive Slave Act. I have looked over the long list, and, so far as I can judge, find this to be true. And, in my opinion, the change shown by these men is typical of the change in the community of which they constitute a prominent part. Once the positive