Charles Sumner.

Charles Sumner; his complete works, with introduction by Hon. George Frisbie Hoar (Volume 11) online

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0tatcsiman CDition

Vol. Ill

Charles Sumner


SEitj) Introtiuctton







Copyright, 1900,




Statesman lEtfition.

Limited to One Thousand Copies.
Of which this is

No. '^^(U

NortoooU IPress :
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.



Be True to tiie Declaration of Independence. Letter
to a Public Meeting in Ohio, on the Anniversary of the
Ordinance of Freedom, July 6, 1849 .... 1

Where Liberty is, there is my Party. Speech on calling
the Free-Soil State Convention to Order, at "Worcester,
September 12, 1849 4

The Free-Soil Party Explained and Vindicated. Ad-
dress to the People of Massachusetts, reported to and
adopted by the Free-Soil State Convention at Worcester,
September 12, 1849 6

Washington an Abolitionist. Letter to the Boston Daily

Atlas, September 27, 1849 46

Equality before the Law : Unconstitutionality op
Separate Colored Schools in Massachusetts. Argu-
ment before the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, in the
Case of Sarah C. Roberts v. The City of Boston, Decem-
ber 4, 1849 51

Character and History of the Law School of Har-
vard University. Report of the Committee of Over-
seers, February 7, 1850 101

Stipulated Arbitration, or a Congress of Nations,
WITH Disarmament. Address to the People of the
United States, February 22, 1850 117

OuK Immediate Antislavery Duties. Speech at a Free-
Soil Meeting at Faneuil Hall, November 6, 1850 . . 122




Acceptance of the Office of Senator of the United

States. Letter to the Legislature of Massachusetts,
May 14, 1851 149

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitu-
tion OF THE United States our Two Title-Deeds.
Letter to the Mayor of Boston, for July 4, 1851 . . 165

Position of the American Lawyer. Letter to the Secre-
tary of the Story Association, July 15, 1851 . . . 166

Sympathy with the Rights of Man Everywhere. Let-
ter to a meeting at Faneuil Hall, October 27, 1851 . . 168

Welcome to Kossuth. Speech in the Senate, December

10, 1851 171

Our Country on the Side of Freedom, without Bellig-
erent Intervention. Letter to a Philadelphia Com-
mittee, December 23, 1851

Clemency to Political Offenders. Letter to an Irisb
Festival at Washington, January 22, 1852

Justice to the Land States, and Policy of Roads
Speeches in the Senate, on the Iowa Railroad Bill, Jan.
uary 27, February 17, and March 16, 1852

J. Fenimore Cooper, the Novelist. Letter to the Rev,
Rufus W. Griswold, February 22, 1852 .



Cheap Ocean Postage. Speech in the Senate, on a Resolu-
tion in Relation to Cheap Ocean Postage, March 8, 1852 216

Pardoning Power of the President. Opinion submitted
to the President, May 14, 1852, on the Application for
the Pardon of Drayton and Sayres, incarcerated at
Washington for helping the Escape of Slaves . . . 219

Presentation of a Memorial against the Fugitive Slave

Bill. Remarks in the Senate, May 26, 1852 . . . 234

The National Flag the Emblem of Union for Free-
dom. Letter to the Boston Committee for the Celebra-
tion of the 4th of July, 1852 238



Union against the Sectionalism of Slavery. Letter to

a Tree-Soil Convention at Worcester, July 6, 1852 . . 240

"Strike, but Hear:" Attempt to discuss the Fugitive
Slave Bill. Remarks in the Senate, on taking up the
Resolution instructing the Committee on the Judiciary
to report a Bill for Immediate Repeal of the Fugitive
Slave Act, July 27 and 28, 1852 243

Tribute to Robert Rantoul, Jr. Speech in the Senate,

on the Death of Hon. Robert Rantoul, Jr., August 9, 1852 246

Authorship of the Ordinance of Freedom in the North-
west Territory. Letter to Hon. Edward Coles, August
23, 1852 253

Freedom National, Slavery Sectional. Speech in the
Senate, on a Motion to repeal the Fugitive Slave Act,
August 26, 1852 257


Xetter to a Public Meeting in Ohio, on the Anniversart
OF THE Ordinance of Freedom, July 6, 1849.


Letter to a Public Meettog in Ohio, on the Anntversakt or
THE Ordinance of Freedom, July 6, 1849,

Boston, July 6, 1849.

GENTLEMEN, — I wish I could join the freemen
of the Reserve in celebrating the anniversary of
the great Ordinance of Freedom ; but engagements de-
tain me at home.

The occasion, the place of meeting, the assembly, will
all speak with animating voices. May God speed the
work !

Let us all strive, with united power, to extend the
beneficent Ordinance over the territories of our country.
So doing, we must take from its original authors some-
thing of their devotion to its great conservative truth.

The National Government has been for a long time
controlled by Slavery. It must be emancipated imme-
diately. Ours be the duty, worthy of freemen, to place
the Government under the auspices of Freedom, that it
may be true to the Declaration of Independence and to
the spirit of the Fathers !

In this work, welcome to honest, earnest men, of all
'parties and all places ! Welcome to the efforts of Ben-
ton in Missouri, and of Clay in Kentucky ! Above aU,
welcome to the united regenerated Democracy of the


Korth, which spurns the mockery of a Republic, with
professions of Freedom on the lips, while the chains of
Slavery clank in the Capitol !

Faithfully yours,

Chakles Sumnes.

Messrs. John C. Vatjghan, j Committee.
Thomas Bkown, i


Speech os calling the Free-Soil State Convention to Order,
AT Worcester, September 12, 1849.

The Annual State Convention of the Free-Soil Party, called at the
time the Free Democracy, met at Worcester, September 12, 1849. It
became the duty of Mr. Sumner, as Chairman of the State Central Com-
mittee, to call the Convention to order. In doing this he made the
following remarks.

Fellow-Citizens of the Convention: —

IN behalf of the State Central Committee of the Free
Democracy of Massachusetts, it is my duty to call
this body to order.

I do not know that it is my privilege, at this stage
of your proceedings, to add one other word to the words
of form I have already pronounced ; but I cannot look
at this large and generous assembly without uttering
from my heart one salutation of welcome and encour-
agement. From widely scattered homes you have come
to bear testimony once more in that great cause contain-
ing country with all its truest welfare and honor, and
also the highest aspirations of our souls. Others may
prefer the old combinations of party, stitched together
by devices of expediency only. You have chosen the
better part, in coming to this alliance of principle.

In the labors before you there will be, I doubt not,
that concord which becomes earnest men, devoted to


a good work. We all have but one object in view, —
the success of our cause. Turning neither to the right
nor to the left, moving ever onward, we adopt into our
ranks all who adopt our principles. These we offer
freely to all who will come and take them. These
we can communicate to others without losing them
ourselves. These are gifts which, without parting
with, we can yet bestow, as from th"e burning candle
other candles may be lighted without diminishing the
original flame.

It was the sentiment of Benjamin Frankliu, that
apostle of Freedom, uttered during the trials of the
Kevolution, " Wliere Liberty is, there is my country."
I doubt not that each of you will be ready to respond,
in similar strain, "Where Liberty is, there is my par-


It now remains, Gentlemen of the Convention, that I
shovdd caU upon you to proceed with the business of
the day.


Address to the People of Massachusetts, reported to and


September 12, 1849.

The State Convention of the Free-Soil party at Worcester, 12th
September, was organized with the following ofiBcers : Hon. William
Jackson, of Newton, President ; Bradford Sumner, of Boston, Daniel E.
Potter, of Salem, C. L. Knapp, of Lowell, J. T. Buckingham, of Cam-
bridge, John Milton Earle, of Worcester, D. S. Jones, of Greenfield,
Edward F. Ensign, of Sheffield, Benjamin V. French, of Braintree,
Gershom B. Weston, of Duxbury, and Job Coleman, of Nantucket,
Vice-Presidents ; William F. Channing, of Boston, Samuel Fowler, of
Westfield, Noah Kimball, of Grafton, A. A. Leach, of Taunton, Secre-

On motion of Mr. Sumner, a committee of one from each county was
appointed to report an Address and Resolutions, consisting of Charles
Sumner, of Boston, John A. Bolles, of Wobum, J. G. Whittier, of Ames-
bury, John M. Earle, of Worcester, Melvin Copeland, of Chester, Erastus
Hopkins, of Northampton, D. W. Alvord, of Greenfield, F. M. Lowrey,
of Lee, F. W. Bird, of Walpole, Jesse Perkins, of Bridgewater, Joseph
Brownell, of New Bedford, Nathaniel Hinckley, of Barnstable, and E.
W. Gardner, of Nantucket.

In the course of the proceedings, speeches were made by Anson Bur-
lingame, Esq., Hon. Charles F. Adams, Hon. Charles Allen, Hon. Ed-
ward L. Keyes, and James A. Briggs, Esq., of Ohio. From the com-
mittee of which he was chairman Mr. Sumner reported an Address to
the People of Massachusetts, explaining and vindicating the Free-Soil
movement, with a series of Resolutions, all of which were unanimously
adopted by the Convention. Of this Address, which became the author-
ized declaration of the party, the Daily Republican remarked : " The
Address, prepared by that gifted scholar and writer, Charles Sumner, is
an elaborate, complete, and unanswerable vindication of the principles
embodied in the Resolutions. Clear, logical, and triumphant in argu-


ment, it glows with the warm and genial spirit of love for humanity
which distinguishes all the productions of its author."

Among the Resolutions was the following, which seems the prelude
to the debates of twenty years later.

" Resolved, That we adopt, as the only safe and stable basis of our State,
as well as our National policy, the great principles of Equal Eights for
All, guarantied and secured by Equal Laws."


FELLOW-CITIZENS, — Another year has gone
round, and you are once more called to hear tes-
timony at the poUs to those truths which you deem
vital in the government of the country. By votes you
are to declare not merely predilections for men, but
devotion to principles. Men are erring and mortal;
principles are steadfast and immortaL

If the occasion is calculated less than a Presidential
contest to arouse ardors of opposition, it is also less cal-
culated to stimulate animosities. With less passion, the
people are more under the influence of reason. Truth
may be heard over the prejudices of party. Candor,
kindly feeling, and conscientious thought may take the
place of embittered, unreasoning antagonism, or of timid,
unprincipled compliance. If the controversy is without
heat, there may be no viper to come forth and fasten
upon the hand.

Though of less apparent consequence in immediate
results, the election now approaching is nevertheless of
great importance. We do not choose a President of the
United States, or Members of Congress, but a Governor,
Lieutenant-Governor, and other State ofi&cers. Still,
the same question which entered into the election of
National officers arises now. The Great Issue which
has already convulsed the whole country presents itself


anew in a local sphere. Omnipresent wherever any
political election occurs, it will never cease to challenge
attention, until at least two things are accomplished :
first, the divorce of the National Government from all
support or sanction of Slavery, — and, secondly, the con-
version of this Government, within its constitutional
limits, to the cause of Freedom, so that it shall become
Freedom's open, active, and perpetual ally.

Impressed by the magnitude of these interests, devot-
ed to the triumph of the righteous cause, sohcitous for
the national welfare, animated by the example of the
fathers, and desirous of breathing their spirit into our
Government, the Free Democracy of Massachusetts, in
Convention assembled at Worcester, now address their
fellow-citizens throughout the Commonwealth. Imper-
fectly, according to the necessity of the occasion, ear-
nestly, according to the fulness of their convictions,
hopefully, according to the confidence of their aspira-
tions, they proceed to unfold the reasons of their appeal.
They now ask your attention. They trust to secure
your votes.

Our Party a -permanent National Party. — "We make
our appeal as a National party, established to promote
principles of paramount importance to the country. In
assuming our place as a distinct party, we simply give
form and direction, in harmony with the usage and the
genius of popular governments, to a movement which
stirs the whole country, and does not find an adequate
and constant organ in either of the other existing par-
ties. In France, under the royalty of Louis Philippe,
the faithful friends of the yet unborn Eepublic formed
a band together, and by pubHcations, speeches, and votes


sought to influence the public mind. Few at first in
numbers, they became strong by imited political ac-
tion. In England, the most brilliant popular triumph
in her history, the repeal of the monopoly of the Corn
Laws, was finally carried by means of a newly formed,
'but wide-spread, political organization, which combined
men of all the old parties, Whigs, Tories, and Eadicals,
and recognized opposition to the Corn Laws as a special
test. In the spirit of these examples, the friends of
Freedom have come together, in well-compacted ranks,
to uphold their cherished principles, and by combined
efforts, according to the course of parties, to urge them
upon the Government, and upon the country.

All the old organizations contribute to our number,
and good citizens come to us who have not heretofore
mingled in the contests of party. Here are men from
the ancient Democracy, believing that any democracy
must be a name only, no better than sounding brass or
a tinkling cymbal, which does not recognize on every
occasion the supremacy of Human Rights, and is not
ready to do and to suffer in their behalf. Here also are
men who have come out of the Whig party, weary of its
many professions and its little performance, and espe-
cially revolting at its recent sinister course with regard
to Freedom, believing that in any devotion to Human
Eights they cannot err. Here also, in solid legion, is
the well-tried band of the Liberty Party, to whom be-
longs the praise of first placing Freedom under the
guardianship of a special political organization, whose
exclusive test was opposition to Slavery.

Associating and harmonizing from opposite quarters
to promote a common cause, we learn to forget former
differences, and to appreciate the motives of each other,


— also how trivial are the matters on which we disagree,
compared with the Great Issue on which we all agree.
Old prejudices vanish. Even the rancors of political
antagouism are changed and dissolved, as in a potent
alembic, while the natural irresistible affinities of Free-
dom prevail In our union we cease to wear the badge
of either of the old organizations. We have become a
party distinct, independent, permanent, under the name
of the Free Democracy, thus in our very designation
expressing devotion to Human Eights, and especially
to Human Freedom.

Professing honestly the same sentiments, wherever
we exist, in all parts of the country. East and West,
North and South, we are tridy a National party. We
are not compelled to assume one face at the South and
another at the North, — to blow hot in one place, and
blow cold in another, — to speak loudly of Freedom
in one region, and vindicate Slavery in another — in
short, to present a combination where the two extreme
wings profess opinions, on the Great Issue before the
country, diametrically opposed to each other. We are
the same everywhere. And the reason is, because our
party, unlike the other parties, is bound together in sup-
port of fixed and weU-defined principles. It is not a
combination fired by partisan zeal, and kept together,
as with mechanical force, by considerations of political
expediency only, — but a sincere, conscientious, inflexi-
ble union for the sake of Freedom.

Old Issues obsolete. — Taking position as an inde-
pendent party, we are cheered not only by the grand-
eur of our cause, but by favorable omens in the existing
condition of parties. Devotion to Freedom impels us ;


Providence itself seems to open the path for our trium-
phant efforts. Old questions which have divided the
minds of men have lost their importance. One by one
they have disappeared from the political field, leaving
it free to a question more transcendent far. The Bank,
the Sub-Treasury, the Public Lands, are all obsolete is-
sues. Even the Tariff is not a question where opposite
political parties take opposite sides. The opinions of
Mr. Clay and Mr. Polk, as expressed in 1844, when
they were rival candidates for the Presidency, are so
nearly identical, that it is difficult to distinguish be-
tween them.


" Let the amount which is requi- " I am in favor of a tariflF for rev-
site for an economical administra- enue, such a one as will yield a
tion of the government, when we sufficient amount to the treasury
are not engaged in war, be raised to defray the expenses of the gov-
exclusively on foreign imports ; ernment, economically adminis-
and in adjusting a tariflF for that tered. In adjusting the details of
purpose, let such discriminations be a revenue tariflF, I have heretofore
made as will foster and encourage sanctioned such moderate discrimi-
our own domestic industry. All nating duties as would produce the
parties ought to be satisfied with a amount of revenue needed, and at
tariflF for revenue and dlscrimina- the same time aflFord reasonable in-
tions for protection." — Speech at cidental protection to our home in-
Rdeigh, April 13, in the National dustry. I am opposed to a tariflF for
Intelligencer of June 29, 1844. protection merely, and not for rev-
enue." — Letter to John K. Kane,
June 19, 1844.

Friends and enemies of the Tariff are to be found,
more or less, in both the old organizations. From
opposite quarters we are admonished that it is not a
proper question for the strife of party. Mr. Webster,
from the Whigs, and Mr. Robert J. Walker, from the
Democrats, both plead for its withdrawal from the list


of political issues, that the industry of the country may
not be entangled in constantly recurring contests. And
why have they thus far pleaded in vain ? It is feared
no better reason can be given than that certaiu political
leaders wish to use the Tariff as a battle-horse by which
to rally their followers in desperate warfare for office.
The debt entailed by the Mexican War comes to aid the
admonitions of wisdom, and to disappoint the plots of
partisans, by imposing upon the country the necessity
for such large taxation as to make the protection thus
incidentally afforded satisfactory to judicious minds.

Hie Great Issice. — And now, instead of these super-
seded questions, connected for the most part only with
the material interests of the country, and, though not
imimportant in their time, all having the odor of the
dollar, you are called to consider a cause connected with
all that is divine in Eeligion, pure in Morals, and truly
practical in Politics. Unlike the other questions, it is
not temporary or local in character. It belongs to aU
times and to all coimtries. It is part of the great
movement under whose strong pulsations all Christen-
dom now shakes from side to side. It is a cause which,
though long kept in check throughout our country, as
also in Europe, now confronts the people and their
rulers, demanding to be heard. It can no longer be
avoided or silenced. To every man ia the land it now
says, with clear, penetrating voice, " Are you for Free-
dom, or are you for Slavery ? " And every man in the
land must answer this question, when he votes.

The devices of party can no longer stave it off. The
subterfuges of the politician cannot escape it. The
tricks of the office-seeker cannot dodge it. Wherever


an election occurs, there this question will arise. Wher-
ever men assemble to speak of public affairs, there
again it will be. In the city and in the village, in the
field and in the workshop, everywhere will this ques-
tion be sounded in the ears : " Are you for Freedom, or
are you for Slavery ? "

The Anti-Slavery Sentiments of the Founders of the
EepuUic. — A plain recital of facts will show the ur-
gency of this question. At the period of the Declara-
tion of Independence there were upwards of half a mil-
lion colored persons held as slaves in the United States.
These unhappy people were originally stolen from Afri-
ca, or were the children of those stolen, and, though dis-
tributed through the whole country, were to be found
mostly in the Southern States. But the spirit of Free-
dom was then abroad in the land. The fathers of the
Eepublic, leaders in the War of Independence, were
struck with the impious inconsistency of an appeal for
their own liberties, while holding fellow-men in bond-
age. Out of ample illustrations, I select one wliich
specially reveals this conviction, and possesses a local
interest in this community. It is a deed of manumis-
sion, made after our struggles had begun, and preserved
in the Probate Eecords of the County of SufPoIk.^ Here
it is.

" Know all men by these presents, that I, Jonathan Jack-
son, of Newburyport, in the County of Essex, gentleman, in
consideration of the impropriety I feel, and have long felt, in I
holding any person in constant bondage, more especially at a
time when my country is so warmly contending for the liberty

1 Printed, since this Address, in the History of Newton, by Francis Jack-
son, (Boston, 1854,) p. .336.


every man ought to enjoy, and having sometime since prom-
ised my negro man, Pomp, that I would give him his freedom,
and in further consideration of five shillings paid me by said
Pomp, I do hereby liberate, manumit, and set him free ; and
I do hereby remise and release unto said Pomp all demands
of whatever nature I have against Pomp. In witness where-
of I have hereunto set my hand and seal, this 1 9th of June,


"Jonathan Jackson. [Seal.]

" Witness, Mart Cob urn,

"William Notes."

The same conviction animated the hearts of the peo-
ple, whether at the North or South. In a town-meeting
at Danbury, Connecticut, held on the 12th of December,
1774, the following declaration was made.

" It is with singular pleasure we note the second article
of the Association, in which it is agreed to import no more
negro slaves, — as we cannot but think it a palpable absurd-
ity so loudly to complain of attempts to enslave us, while we
are actually enslaving others.^^ ^

The South responded in similar strain. At a meet-
ing in Darien, Georgia, January 12th, 1775, the follow-
ing important resolution speaks, in tones worthy of
freemen, the sentiments of the time.

" We, therefore, the Eepresentatives of the extensive Dis-
trict of Darien, in the Colony of Georgia, being now assem-
bled in Congress, by the authority and free choice of the inhab-
itants of the said District, now freed from their fetters, do

Resolve, .... To show the world that we are not influ-
enced by any contracted or interested motives, but a gen-
eral philanthropy for all mankind, of whatever climate, lan-
guage, or complexion, we hereby declare our disapprobation

1 American Archives, 4th Series, Vol. I. col. 1038.


and abhoTrrence of the rmnahiral practice of Slavery in Amer-
ica, (however the uncultivated state of our country, or other
specious arguments, may plead for it,) a practice founded in
injustice and cruelty, and highly dangerovis to our liberties,

Online LibraryCharles SumnerCharles Sumner; his complete works, with introduction by Hon. George Frisbie Hoar (Volume 11) → online text (page 1 of 27)