Charles Sumner.

Charles Sumner; his complete works, with introduction by Hon. George Frisbie Hoar (Volume 3) online

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Online LibraryCharles SumnerCharles Sumner; his complete works, with introduction by Hon. George Frisbie Hoar (Volume 3) → online text (page 1 of 30)
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Statesman Coition Vol. X


Charles Sumner


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Copyright, 1872 and 1873,


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Statesman IStottion.

Limited to One Thousand Copies.
Of which this is


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Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.


Our Foreign Relations : showing Present Perils from
England and Prance, Nature and Condition of
Intervention by Mediation and also by Recognition,
Impossibility of any Recognition of a new Power
with Slavery as a Corner-Stone, and Wrongful
Concession of Ocean Belligerence. Speech before
the Citizens of New York, at the Cooper Institute, Sep-
tember 10, 1863. With Appendix 1

Our Domestic Relations : Power of Congress over the
Rebel States. Article in the Atlantic Monthly, Octo-
ber, 1863 167

Benjamin Franklin and John Slidell at Paris. Article

in the Atlantic Monthly, November, 1863 . . . 221

Victory and Peace through Emancipation. Letter to
Colored Citizens in New York, celebrating the Anni-
versary of the Proclamation, December 18, 1863 . . 259

The Mayflower and the Slave Ship. Letter to the New

England Society at New York, December 21, 1863 . . 260

Commutation for the Draft : Difference between Rich
and Poor. Remarks in the Senate, on an Amendment
moved to the Enrolment Bill, January 8, 12, and June
20, 1864, and February 7, 1865 262

Special Committee on Slavery and Freedmen. Resolu-
tion in the Senate, January 13, 1864 .... 271

Foundation of the Free Public Library in Boston.

Letter to a Committee in Boston, January 20, 1864 . 272


Loyalty in the Senate : The Iron-Clad Oath for Sena-
tors. Speech in the Senate, on a New Rule requiring
the Oath of Loyalty for Senators, January 25, 1864 . 273

The Late Hon. John W. Noell, Representative of Mis-
souri. Remarks in the Senate, on his Death, February
1, 1864 293

Reconstruction again : Guaranties and Safeguards
against Slavery and foe Protection of Freedmen

Resolutions in the Senate, February 8, 1864 .

Prayer of One Hundred Thousand. Speech in the Senate
on presenting a Petition of the "Women's National League
praying Universal Emancipation by Act of Congress
February 9, 1864

Equal Pay of Colored Soldiers. Remarks in the Senate
on Different Propositions, February 10, 29, and June 11




Opening of the Street-Cars to Colored Persons.
Speeches in the Senate, on Various Propositions, Feb-
ruary 10, March 17, June 21, 1864 323

Wrong and Unconstitutionality of Fugitive Slave
Acts. Report in the Senate, of the Committee on
Slavery and Freedmen, February 29, 1864 . . . 338




Speech before the Citizens of New York, at the Cooper In-
stitute, September 10, 1863. With Appendix.

Marcus. Quaero igitur a te, Qninte, sicut illi solent: Quo si civitas ca-
reat, ob earn ipsam causam, quod eo careat, pro nihilo habenda sit, id estne
numerandum in bonis?

Quintus. Ac maximis quidern.

Marcus. Lege autem carens civitas estne ob id ipsum habenda nullo

Quintus. Dici aliter non potest.

Marcus. Necesse est igitur legem haberi in rebus optimis.

Quintus. Prorsus assentior.

Cicero, De Legibus, Lib. II. cap. 5.

I have told,
O Britons ! my brethren ! I have told
Most bitter truth, but without bitterness.
Nor deem my zeal or factious or mistimed;
For never can true courage dwell with them
Who, playing tricks with conscience, dare not look
At their own vices.

Coleridge, Sibylline Leaves : Fears in Solitude.

'T is therefore sober and good men are sad
For England's glory, seeing it wax pale
And sickly.

Cowper, The Task, Book V. 609-511.

The Government condemns in the highest degree the condnct of any of our
citizens who may personally engage in committing hostilities at sea against
any of the nations parties to the present war, and will exert all the means
with which the laws and Constitution have armed them to discover such as

offend herein and bring them to condign punishment The practice of

commissioning, equipping, and manning vessels in our ports to cruise on any
of the belligerent parties is equally and entirely disapproved; and the Govern-
ment will take effectual measures to prevent a repetition of it. — Jefferson,
Letter to Mr. Hammond, May 15, 1793 : Writings, Vol. III. p. 559.

One spot remains which oceans cannot wash out. The slavery of the Af-
rican race, which the North Americans had inherited from the ancient mon-
archy, was adopted and fondly cherished by the new Republic The

logic of the Constitution declared that all men were free: the pride and
avarice of the slave-owners, disowning the image of the Creator and the
brotherhood of nature, degraded men of a dark color, and even all the
descendants of their sons and daughters, to a level with oxen and horses.
But as oxen and horses never combine, and have no sense of wronged in-
dependence, oxen and horses are better treated than the men and women

of African blood But neither the philosophical dogma of the authors

of the Constitution, nor the strict pedantry of law, can stifle the cry of out-
raged humanity, nor still the current of human sympathy, nor arrest forever
the decrees of Eternal Justice. — Lord John Russell, Life and Times of
Charles James Fox, Vol. I. pp. 364, 365.

To this condition the Constitution of this Confederacy reduces the whole
African race; and while declaring these to be its principles, the founders
claim the privilege of being admitted into the society of the nations of the
earth, — principles worthy only of being conceived and promulgated by the
inmates of the infernal regions, and a fit constitution for a confederacy in Pan-
demonium. Now, as soon as the nature of this Constitution is truly explained
and understood, is it possible that the nations of the earth can admit such a Con-
federacy into their society? Can any nation calling itself civilized associate,
with any sense of self-respect, with a nation avoioing and practising such prin-
ciples? Will not every civilized nation, when the nature of this Confederacy
is understood, come to the side of the United States, and refuse all association
with them, as, in truth, they are, hostes humani generis ? For the African is
as much entitled to be protected in the rights of humanity as any other por-
tion of the human race. As to Great Britain, her course is, in the nature of
thinqs, already fixed and immutable. She must sooner or later join the United
States in this war, or be disgraced throughout all future time ; for the principle
of that civilization which this Confederacy repudiates was by her — to her
great glory, and with unparalleled sacrifices — introduced into the code of
Civilization, and she will prove herself recreant, if she fails to maintain it. —
Josiah Quincy, Address before the Union Club of Boston, February 27, 1863.


If British merchants look with eagerness to the event of the struggle in
South America, no doubt they do so with the hope of deriving advantage
from that event. But on what is such hope founded ? On the diffusion of
beggary, on the maintenance of ignorance, on the confirmation of slavery, on
the establishment of tyranny in America? No; these are the expectations
of Ferdinand. The British merchant builds his hopes of trade and profit on
the progress of civilization and good government, on the successful assertion
of Freedom, — of Freedom, that parent of talent, that parent of heroism, that
parent of every virtue. The fate of South America can only be accessory to
commerce as it becomes accessory to the dignity and the happiness of the
race of man. — Sir James Mackintosh, Speech in Parliament, on the For-
eign Enlistment Bill, June 10, 1819.

When a power comparable only to Thugs, buccaneers, and cannibals tries
to thrust its hideous head among nations, and claims the protection and priv-
ileges of International Law, — a power which rose against the freest rule on
earth for the avowed motive of propagating the worst form of Slavery ever
known, having no legitimate complaint, or, if it had, certainly trying no
constitutional means of redress, but plunging at once into arms, and that
when the arsenals had been emptied and the fortresses seized by the treason
of office-holders, — I hold it to be an offence against law, order, and public
morality for a statesman whose words carry weight to speak at all of such a
power without declaring abhorrence of it. — Professor Francis W. New-
man, Letter to Mr. Gladstone, December 1, 1862.

I blame men who are eager to admit into the Family of Nations a state
which offers itself to us, based upon a principle, I will undertake to say,
more odious and more blasphemous than was ever heretofore dreamed of in
Christian or Pagan, in civilized or in savage times. The leaders of this re-
volt propose this monstrous thing: that over a territory forty times as large

as England the blight and curse of Slavery shall be forever perpetuated

John Bright, Speech at Birmingham, December 18, 1862.

We are already culpable for a part of this bloody war; for, better informed
or less indifferent, less selfish or more adroit, above all, more wise, more
sincerely the friends of what is right, we could, from London and Paris, have
thrown into the midst of the combatants this declaration, which would have
rendered the conflict ephemeral: "Never will either England or France,
Christian nations, liberal nations, recognize the existence of a people seek-
ing to found Liberty and Independence on Slavery! " The misfortune of the
times, in obscuring our judgment, in dulling our passion for the beautiful
ideas of Freedom, has, then, already made us participants, in some respect,
in the rebellion of the people of the South, and, in order to mask what was
gross and low in our voluntary error, we set up vague reasons of commer-
cial policy and general policy at which our fathers would have blushed

The truth is, that the revolt of the South is the most impudent and most
odious insult that has ever been offered to the ideas of modern Civilization. —
Journal, des Economistes, Avril, 1864, Tom. XLII. p. 88.

The following speech 1 was delivered at the invitation of the New
York Young Men's Kepublican Union, at Cooper Institute, on the 10th
of September, 1863. The announcement that Mr. Sumner had consented
to address the citizens of New York on a subject so momentous attracted
an audience numbering not less than three thousand persons, among
whom were most of the acknowledged representatives of the intelligence,
wealth, and influence of the metropolis. Long before the hour ap-
pointed for the delivery of the speech, the entrance-doors were besieged
by an impatient and anxious crowd, who, as soon as the gates were
opened, filled the seats, aisles, lobbies, and platform of the vast hall,
leaving at least an equal number to return home, unable to gain an en-
trance to the building.

Of the following named gentlemen, who were invited to occupy seats
upon the platform, a majority were present, while in the auditorium
were hundreds of equally prominent citizens, who preferred to retain
seats near the ladies whom they had escorted to the meeting.

Francis Lieber, LL.D., George Bancroft, Major-General Dix, Horace
Greeley, George Griswold, John E. Williams, W. W. DeForest, Corne-
lius Vanderbilt, Abram Wakeman, Rev. Dr. Tyng, Cyrus W. Field,
Alexander T. Stewart, Horace Webster, LL.D., Joseph Lawrence, John
A. Stevens, Pelatiah Perit, James A. Hamilton, H. B. Claflin, T. L.
Thornell, Colonel William Borden, William Goodell, Rev. Dr. Thomp-
son, Rev. Dr. Gillette, William Cullen Bryant, Major-General Fremont,
A. A. Low, John Jay, Henry Grinnell, James Gallatin, Cephas Brainerd,
William B. Astor, William H. Aspinwall, Oliver Johnson, W. M. Evarts,
William Curtis Noyes, Rev. Dr. Hitchcock, Shepherd Knapp, William
H. Webb, James W. Gerard, Anson Livingston, Frank W. Ballard,
Isaac H. Bailey, George B. Lincoln, General Harvey Brown, Rev. Dr.
Shedd, Rev. Dr. Durbin, Peter Cooper, Major-General Doubleday,
Charles H. Marshall, Marshall 0. Roberts, Judge Bradford, Charles
H. Russell, E. Delafield Smith, Hamilton Fish, Robert B. Minturn,
Rev. Dr. Cheever, F. B. Cutting, Charles King, LL.D., Rev. Dr. Fer-
ris, Ex-Governor King, George Folsom, Samuel B. Ruggles, S. B. Chit-
tenden, Charles T. Rodgers, Mark Hoyt, Lewis Tappan, Rev. Dr. Storrs,
Rev. Dr. Adams, Rev. Dr. Vinton, Daniel Drew, Francis Hall, George

1 This Introduction is copied from the pamphlet edition published in New York by
the Young Men's Republican Union.


William Curtis, Judge Edmonds, Rev. Dr. Asa D. Smith, Truman
Smith, William A. Hall, Prosper M. Wetmore, B. F. Manierre,
George P. Putnam, E. C. Johnson, Rev. Dr. Osgood, Elliott C. Cow-
din, Rev. T. Ralston Smith, J. S. Schultz, M. Armstrong, Jr., D. A.
Hawkins, Edgar Ketchum, Joseph Hoxie, Rev. Dr. Bellows, General
S. C. Pomeroy, James MeKaye, George F. Butmau, David Dudley

David Dudley Field, Esq., who had been selected by the Committee
as Chairman of the meeting, introduced Mr. Sumner to the audience in
the following words.

" Ladies and Gentlemen, — At no former period in the history of the
country has the condition of its foreign relations been so important and so
critical as it is at this moment. In what agony of mortal struggle this nation
has passed the last two years we all know. A rebellion of unparalleled ex-
tent, of indescribable enormity, without any justifiable cause, without even
a decent pretext, stimulated by the bad passions which a barbarous insti-
tution had originated, and encouraged by expected and promised aid from
false man among ourselves, has filled the land with desolation and mourn-
ing. During this struggle it has been our misfortune to encounter the evil
disposition of the two nations of Western Europe with which we are most
closely associated by ties of blood, common history, and mutual commerce.
Perhaps I ought to have said the evil disposition of the governments, rather
than of the nations ; for in France the people have no voice, and we know
only the imperial will and policy, while in England the masses have no
powers, the House of Commons being elected by a fraction of the people,
and the aristocratic classes being against us from dislike to the freedom of
our institutions, and the mercantile classes from the most sordid motives
of private gain. To what extent this evil disposition has been carried, what
causes have stimulated it, in what acts it has manifested itself, and what
consequences may be expected to follow from it in future, will be explained
by the distinguished orator who is to address you this evening. His posi-
tion as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations has given
him an acquaintance with the subject equal, if not superior, to that of any
other person in the country. He needs no introduction from me. His name
is an introduction and a passport in any free community between the Atlan-
tic and the Pacific seas; therefore, without saying more, I will give way for
Charles Sumner, of Massachusetts."

Amid the most marked demonstrations of satisfaction, expressed fre-
quently by long-continued applause and hearty cheers, Mr. Sumner
proceeded in the delivery of his discourse. The meeting adjourned
about an hour before midnight.

Three New York newspapers and two in Boston printed the entire
speech on the day following its delivery.


FELLOW-CITIZENS, — From the beginning of the
war in which we are now engaged, the public in-
terest has alternated anxiously between the current of
events at home and the more distant current abroad.
Foreign Eelations have been hardly less absorbing than
Domestic Eelations. At times the latter seem to wait
upon the former, and a packet from Europe is like a
messenger from the seat of war. Rumors of foreign
intervention are constant, now in the form of media-
tion, and then in the form of recognition ; and more than
once the country has been summoned to confront the
menace of England, and of France, too, in open combi-
nation with Rebel Slavemongers battling in the name of
Slavery to build an infamous power on the destruction
of this Republic.

It is well for us to turn aside from battle and siege
at home, from the blazing lines of Vicksburg, Gettys-
burg, and Charleston, to glance for a moment at the
perils from abroad : of course I mean from England and
France ; for these are the only foreign powers thus far
moved to intermeddle on the side of Slavery. The sub-
ject to which I invite attention may want the attraction
of waving standards or victorious marches ; but, more
than any conflict of arms, it concerns the civilization of
the age. If foreign powers can justly interfere against


human freedom, this Republic will not be the only suf-

There is always a natural order in unfolding a sub-
ject, and I shall try to pursue it on this occasion, under
the following heads.

First. The perils to our country from foreign powers,
especially foreshadowed in the unexpected and persist-
ent conduct of England and France since the outbreak
of the war.

Secondly. The nature of foreign intervention by me-
diation, with the principles applicable thereto, illustrated
by historic instances, showing especially how England,
by conspicuous, wide-spread, and most determined inter-
vention to promote the extinction of African Slavery, is
irrevocably committed against any act or policy that can
encourage this criminal pretension.

Thirdly. The nature of foreign intervention by recog-
nition, with the principles applicable thereto, illustrated
by historic instances, showing that by the practice of
nations, and especially by the declared sentiments of
British statesmen, there can be no foreign recognition
of an insurgent power, where the contest for independence
is still pending.

Fourthly. The moral impossibility of foreign recog-
nition, even if the pretended power be de facto inde-
pendent, where it is composed of Rebel Slavemongers
seeking to found a new power with Slavery for its
declared " corner-stone." Pardon the truthful plainness
of the terms I employ. I am to speak not merely of
Slaveholders, but of people to whom Slavery is a pas-
sion and a business, therefore Slavemongers, — now in
rebellion for the sake of Slavery, therefore Rebel Slave-


Fifthly. The absurdity and wrong of conceding ocean
belligerence to a pretended power, which, in the first
place, is without a Prize Court, so that it cannot be an
ocean belligerent in fact,— and, in the second place, even
if ocean belligerent in fact, is of such an odious charac-
ter that its recognition is a moral impossibility.

From this review, touching upon the present and the
past, leaning upon history and upon law, enlightened
always by principles which are an unerring guide, our
conclusion will be easy.


The perils to our country, foreshadowed in the action
of foreign powers since the outbreak of the war, first
invite attention.

There is something in the tendencies of nations which
must not be neglected. Like individuals, nations influ-
ence each other ; like the heavenly bodies, they are dis-
turbed by each other in their appointed orbits. Apparent
even in peace, this becomes more so in the convulsions
of war, whether from the withdrawal of customary forces
or from their increased momentum. It is the nature of
war to enlarge as it continues. Beginning between two
nations, it gradually widens its circle, ingulfing other
nations in its fiery maelstrom. Such is human history.
Nor is it different, if the war be for independence. For-
eign powers may for a while keep out of the conflict ;
but examples of history show how difficult this has

There was liberty-loving Holland, which, under that
illustrious character, William of Orange, predecessor and


exemplar of our Washington, rose against the dominion
of Spain, upheld by the bigotry of Philip the Second,
and the barbarity of his representative, Alva ; but the
conflict, though at first limited to the two parties, was
not slow to engage Queen Elizabeth, who lent to this
war of independence the name of her favorite Leicester
and the undying heroism of Sidney, while Spain re-
torted by the Armada. The United Provinces of Hol-
land, in their struggle for independence, were the proto-
type of the United States of America, which I need not
remind you drew into their contest the arms of France,
Spain, and Holland. In the rising of the Spanish colo-
nies there was less interposition of other nations, doubt-
less from the distant and outlying position they occu-
pied, although not beyond the ambitious reach of the
Holy Alliance, whose purposes were so far thwarted by
Mr. Canning, backed by the declaration of President
Monroe, known as the Monroe doctrine, that the Brit-
ish statesman felt authorized to boast that he had called
a new world into existence to redress the balance of the
old. Then came the struggle of Greece, which, after
painful years darkened by massacre, but relieved by ex-
alted self-sacrifice, shining with names, like Byron and
Bozzaris, that cannot die, challenged the powerful inter-
position of England, France, and Russia. The independ-
ence of Greece was hardly acknowledged, when Bel-
gium, renouncing the rule of the Netherlands, claimed
hers also, and here again the great powers of Europe
were drawn into the contest. Then came the effort of
Hungary, inspired by Kossuth, which, when about to
prevail, aroused the armies of Russia. There was also
the contemporaneous effort of the Roman Republic,
under Mazzini, which, almost successful, evoked the


bayonets of France. We have only recently witnessed
the resurrection of Italy, inspired by Garibaldi, and di-
rected by Cavour; but it was not accomplished, until
Louis Napoleon, with well-trained legions, bore the im-
perial eagles into battle.

Such are famous instances, being so many warnings.
Ponder them, and you will see the tendency, the temp-
tation, the irresistible fascination, or the commanding
exigency under which foreign nations have been led
to participate in conflicts for independence. I do not
dwell on the character of these interventions, although
mostly in the interest of Human Freedom. It is only
as examples to put us on our guard that I adduce them.
The footprints all lead one way.

Even our war is not without its warning. If thus far
in its progress other nations have failed to intervene,
they have not succeeded in keeping entirely aloof. The
foreign trumpet has not sounded yet, but more than
once the cry has come that we should soon hear it,
while incidents too often occur, exhibiting abnormal
watchfulness of our affairs and uncontrollable passion
or purpose to intermeddle in them, with signs of un-
friendly feeling. This is applicable especially, if not
exclusively, to England and France.

And at the outset, as I am about to speak frankly, I
quote the words of an eminent English statesman and
orator, who felt it his duty to criticize Spain. From his
place in the House of Commons, whence his words flew
over Europe, Mr. Canning, Minister of Foreign Affairs,
said : —

" If, in what I have now further to say, I should bear

Online LibraryCharles SumnerCharles Sumner; his complete works, with introduction by Hon. George Frisbie Hoar (Volume 3) → online text (page 1 of 30)