soil exponents in the Senate. They were the nucleotic forces of
of those fearful issues which were in a short time to change the
land-marks of our country,and baptise the nation with freedom.
Up to this time the right of petition was partially denied if it in¬
volved the subject of human rights, and those in the Senate who
dared to present them were classed among fanatics, agitators,
and the most inimical foes the country had.
But for one to so far forget his calling as to attack the wrongs
of slavery, was to make himself such an unnatural piece of hy¬
brid monstrosity,that no vocabulary could furnish a name with
which to entitle him.
The reputation of Mr Sumner, though small at that time, had
nevertheless, acquired sufficient celebrity to indicate his future
course in the Senate ; therefore, to thwart any mischievous de¬
signs on his part to the special institution whose advocates
were always exceedingly sensitive, the pro-slavery senators re¬
sorted to every conceivable parliamentary strategy to prevent
him getting the floor ; but in due time he obtained it, and from
the duy he delivered his maiden speech to the day of his death
he was the grand master of the Senate Chamber.
In a conversation with Chief-Justice Chase in Washington
city in 1869, he told me when only three of them were in the
Senate (meaning three Abolitionists) they were pointed out and
looked at as wild beasts in a cage, but, said he, "Sumner kept
them all busy."
For three quarters of a century the Congress of the United
States had never had a fearless champion of liberty. True there
had been men there who had assumed timid positions favoring
free speech, colonization, &c, but there had never been a man
there who took bold grounds in favor of a free country.
Mr Sumner came on the stage of political action, just as Web¬
ster, Clay, and Calhoun were passing off. I think he came in the
same day Mr. Clay went out. never to return. This was a trio
of great men who had long been the bulwarks of what was fast
becoming an obsolescent era in the history of our country. For
over a quarter of a century their expositons of the Constitution
of the United State«, ranked equal to a decision from the su¬
preme court of the nation. But the Missouri compromise,admis¬
sion of Texas, and the Wilmot proviso, blended with the doc¬
trine of squatter-sovereigi ty, which were to grow out of the
Kansas-Nebraska struggle, was destined, under an over-ruling
Providence, to embolden the adyocates of liberty, and usher in