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"All your late efforts have been grand: see the benefit of being insulted. Your last richly merited the claim you made of being thorough. I liked and entirely approved the self-respect with which you put your own opinion side by side with the Virginian's and left it. You claimed not a tittle too much, and he deserved just that sort of treatment.
If, amid such universal congratulation, it be any joy to you to hear my amen, be assured it is most heartily shouted.”
Rev. Joshua Leavitt, the lifelong Abolitionist, wrote from New York :
“ I have just read the full report of your speech with intense satisfaction. It is a glorious work. The report, the echo, the effect in the other fleet, shows that it was such a broadside as they never had before."
John Jay wrote from Bedford, New York, the country home of his grandfather, the Chief Justice :
" I have read your speech of the 28th June with, I think, more thorough satisfaction and delight than any other in my life, not excepting even your first speech on the Fugitive Bill, for which I waited so impatiently, as your tirst great blow in the Senate against American Slavery. Your last is a glorious, a most triumphant effort, and has given you a proud and commanding position before the country, as the long hoped-for Champion of the North, before whose fearless front and avenging arm Southern insolence at length shall quail. How the Free States will receive your words is already clear, if doubt could have been entertained of it, by the tone generally of the public press, and the delight manifested, both in the town and country, by almost all who speak of it. In our quiet neighborhood I find people talking of it enthusiastically whom I never before heard express the slightest feeling on the Slavery question."
Rev. Convers Francis, the eminent professor of Harvard University, wrote: -
" When I came to that answer of yours, 'Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this thing?' I could not but cry out, That is just the thing! Mr. Sumner could not have found in all literature or history elsewhere so fitting words for reply, when he was asked whether he would send back a slave.' And your admirable application of Jefferson's description of the manners produced by Slavery did my very heart good. I have heard but one opinion of these speeches from every side: indeed, there can be but one, - that which expresses unmingled admiration and delight.”
Dr. Joseph Sargent, of Worcester, wrote:
“ You must allow me to thank you for your reply to the assaults of Mr. Pettit and Mr. Clay. It is a personal matter with me, and all of us; for we have felt ourselves insulted, and we are satisfied. I have read all your speeches in the Senate with instruction and gratification; but this has warmed me so that I cannot withhold my thanks, though I trespass on your time. The whole community feels as I do. Men stop their business to ask each other if they have read Mr. Sumner's speech, and even men calling on me to visit their sick families forget their errand till they have put the universal question. We have hitherto admired your forbearance, but your reply is as dignified and noble as your forbearance, while it is strong, rich, and Saxon. We have had nothing like it since the Hülsemann letter. I will say no more, but I could say no less."
Theophilus P. Chandler, Esq., of Boston, wrote:
“I cannot express the pleasure your friends have enjoyed at the result of the late Senatorial conflict. Old Fogies read your speech with satisfaction, although some complain of the Jackson doctrine.”
Count Gurowski wrote from Newport :
“You showed what is the real backbone of a gentleman, considered in the higher moral or philosophical point of view, by far superior to what your assailers conceive or are able to imagine in their vulgar or low conceptions."
Rev. William H. Furness, the distinguished divine and devoted Abolitionist, wrote :
“I congratulate you upon having been blackguarded and denounced. It has redounded to your honor. It has proved a rare success. I think you should thank God for placing you, in his wise Providence, in a position which, utterly hateful as it must be to you (fighting with wild beasts at Ephesus), proves to furnish occasion for the heroic element. I can dimly surmise how much it costs you to stand there; but I doubt not the experience you are having testifies that it will pay the cost, and a great deal more. I may be mistaken, but, from all I have learned of your position in the Senate, things look as if those Southern men, after trying to steal your sting away by all sorts of courtliness and courtesy, and trying in vain, have turned upon you like rabid dogs, with the intent to tear you in pieces. They have not done it, nor will they."
Hiram Barney, Esq., of New York, wrote:
"I congratulate you on that day's work. It was well and nobly done. I have seen something of your assailants, and know something of their habits and manners, and can appreciate your forbearance. It is a shame that
you should be obliged to meet so much that is disgusting to the taste and shocking to the moral sense in the American Senate. But it is a matter of just pride that the friends of Freedom there are gentlemen, and always win upon the field of argument.”
William C. Russell, Esq., of New York, afterwards professor at Cornell University, wrote :
I am delighted beyond measure by your reply to the Southern chivalry. It is grand, gentlemanly, cool, pointed, well aimed, and true metal. I do not wonder that Mr. Butler did not want to play vampire to Massachusetts. The fact is, it is getting to be rather serious work to interfere with the old Commonwealth; and I shall be surprised, if the Southern bull-dogs do not bay in some other quarter."
Hon. Charles P. Huntington, of Northampton, afterwards Judge of the Superior Court of the County of Suffolk, wrote:
" I have been, as usual, exceedingly gratified with the manner, style, and spirit in which you have met your Senatorial responsibilities on this trying Nebraska question. But the reply to the personal attacks and insults of Butler and Mason last week has gratified me more than anything that has fallen from your lips, -- so severe, yet so just, --so cutting, yet so keen and polished, so decided, manly, and bold, — so indicative of backbone, as well as pith and marrow, that your adversaries were fairly hung up and impaled."
Hon. Charles G. Loring, the eminent lawyer, wrote :-
“Your reply to the Southern gentlemen, who seem to think that a Northern man must be craven, elicited general and great admiration. I heartily enjoyed it, and think that Mr. Mason must have had at least one experience in his life of the comfort of being squeezed through the little end of the horn. You will doubtless be treated with some consideration by these worthies hereafter. In what school of blackguardism was Clay of Alabama graduated ? He certainly is a magnificent specimen of Southern chivalry. You would have great reason to thank him for placing you in Coventry, at a distance beyond hailing from him and his compeers."
Andrew Ritchie, Esq., of Boston, wrote :---
You have punished them in a most exemplary manner, without descending to their vulgar level. You have exposed their ignorance of our Revolutionary history, vindicated the character of your own State, and brought forward, to their utter confusion, their own General Jackson, to justify your remark that you would not voluntarily do anything to promote the execution of what you deemed an unconstitutional law. In a word, you have taught these orators how much more effective is a caustic civility of reply than coarse, intemperate reviling."
Hon. S. E. Sewall, the constant Abolitionist, of Boston, wrote:
“It is hardly necessary for me to tell you, what you probably see in the newspapers, that you have become one of the most popular men in Massachusetts. Even the Whigs are beginning to find out that you have maintained the character of the State far better than their own Senator. HI
suppose the idea of expelling you from the Senate, which was reported in the papers some weeks ago, could never have been seriously entertained. But the mere suggestion of such an outrage roused many men who had never been your political friends; for everybody felt that to attempt such an act would be an indignity to the State not to be tolerated.
“I find that I have left to the end of my letter, what I meant to have said in the beginning, that all your friends are delighted with your course in Congress under the very trying circumstances of the present session. We all agree that you have fought a good fight.”
William I. Bowditch, Esq., of Boston, communicated the following incident:
"One gentleman whom I saw this forenoon said that he involuntarily gave three cheers, when he had finished reading your speech; and an 'old Hunker' said to me smilingly, 'I really don't know but that I shall myself come out at last a Sumner man.""
Dr. James W. Stone, an indefatigable member of the Free-Soil party, wrote:
“ But I should not only fail to express my own feelings, but also the universal satisfaction here evinced, did I long delay to tell you, even if I have time to do nothing more, how great the enthusiasm is in your behalf, for your noble reply to the unworthy assaults from Pettit, whose name is more significant of his mental than of his physical calibre, from Butler the faithless, and from Clay the slave-hunter, et id omne genus. I doubt whether even you can repress the enthusiasm which so earnestly demands a public reception for you on your return home.”
Hon. Benjamin F. Butler, afterwards General, and Representative in Congress, wrote :
“My interest in the subject of the speeches procured me the reports while they were being delivered. At that time I was at Concord, in court, seeing people of all parties; and I can assure you, from observation, that your course in the Senate is sanctioned by the approving sentiment of Massachusetts.”
Robert Carter, Esq., the journalist and writer, wrote from Cambridge:
“A month ago I thought your popularity had reached a wonderfully high pitch, that you had at a leap overcome prejudices and misconceptions that seemed likely to be surmounted only by the gradual toil of years. But the last week has wrought even greater wonders. Multitudes, formerly your enemies and revilers, are not merely willing to tolerate you, not merely willing to be satisfied with you, but have become actually proud of you, as their representative, and the champion of Massachusetts and the North. I hear on all sides nothing but commendations and exultations."
John C. Dodge, Esq., of Boston, wrote: “I rejoice that Massachusetts has found a defender who will, without fear or favor, tell the whole truth, when she is assailed. And I assure you that such is the voice of nearly our whole community. Whigs, Democrats, and Free-Soilers unite in the expression of approbation and pleasure.”
Hon. Albert G. Browne, of Salem, wrote :
“Let me say seriously, frankly, your reputation as a fearless, brave, and true man is firmly established, - confidence also in your discretion and good judgment, as shown in this last debate and in the management of this whole affair. There is a settled conviction that you know how to withstand the entreaties or coolness of friends, when your thoughts are not their thoughts,
- that you have shown great moral and physical courage, united with admirable ability, in meeting and discomfiting the foes of Freedom, when, in your opinion, the right time had come.”
Professor Edward T. Channing, of Harvard University, whose memory is dear to a large circle of pupils, wrote to a friend :
" Sumner has done nobly. He is erect and a man of authority among the slave holders, dealers, and hunters. He has made an historical era for the North; for at least one among us has dared to confront the insolent. He makes cowards of them, or rather shows what cowards they are at the South. So will it ever be, when the Truth is bold; though it is rare for a young or old hero in politics to produce effect so rapidly. Still, and notwithstanding, and nevertheless, our Whigs would send Apollyon to the Senate as soon as Sumner, if his term should expire when they are uppermost.”
T. C. Connolly, Esq., under date of August 21, reported from Washington the opinion of Mr. Gales, the very able editor of the National Intelligencer.
“I rejoice in the assurance universally felt here, that your position in the Senate will be far more pleasant in the future than it has been in the past. I enjoyed the pleasure of a conversation with Mr. Gales on this subject a few days since. He introduced your name, and remarked that the absence of sympathy in your views could not influence his fair judgment of your worth. He was an attentive reader of the debates of the Senate, and he had seen that every step you had taken was a step upward, and that they who had affected to contemn were at length driven into a tacit acknowledgment of their very great error. He spoke in particular of the reproofs you had found it necessary to administer to Senators around you, and said, that, while they were exceedingly severe and effective, they were equally just, and unaccompanied by a single word that could be regarded as incompatible with the place and presence in which you stood."
Men particularly interested in the Peace Cause united in the prevailing sentiment.
Of these, Hon. Amasa Walker, afterwards a Representative in Congress from Massachusetts, wrote: