Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

PUBLISHED BY GEO. S. BLANCHARD, 39 WEST FOURTH STREET.

1856.

Copies sent by mail, on receipt of six cents in postage stamps. Five Dollars per 100.

Prof. H.L. Wilgus

F-3y

SPEECH OF HON. CHARLES SUMNER.

Mr. PRESIDENT :

Against this Territory, thus fortunate in posiYou are now called to redress a great trans- tion and population, a Crime has been committed, gression. Seldom in the history of nations bas which is without example in the records of the such a question been presented. Tariffs, army Past. Not in plundered provinces or in the bills, navy bills, land bills, are important, and cruelties of selfish gorernors will you find its justly occupy your care; but these all belong to parallel ; and yet there is an ancient instance, the course of ordinary legislation. As means which may show at least the path of justice. In and instruments only, tbey are necessarily sub- the terrible impeachment by which the great ordinate to the conservation of Government itself. Roman Orator has blasted through all time the Grant them or deny them, in greater or less name of Verres, amidst, charges of robhery and degree, and you will inflict no shock. The ma- sacrilege, the enormity which most aroused the chinery of Govetament will continue to move. indignant voice of his accuser, and which still The State will not cease to exist. Far otherwise stands forth with strongest distinctness, arresting is it with the eminent question now before you, the sympathetic indignation of all who read the involving, as it does, Liberty in a broad Terri- story, is, that away in Sicily he had scourged a tory, and also involving the peace of the whole citizen of Rome--that the cry“I am a Roman country with our good name in history forever- citizen! had been interposed in vain against the more.

Tash of the tyrant governor, Other charges were, Take down your map, sir, and you will find that he had carried away productions of art, and that the Territory of Kansas, more than any other that he had violated the sacred shrines. It was region, occupies the middle spot of North Amer. | in the presence of the Roman Senate that this Ica, equally distant from the Atlantic on the east, arraignment proceeded; in a temple of the Foand the Pacific co the west; from the frozen rum ; amidst crowdswaters of Hudson's Bay on the north, and the tepid ever before drawn together--thronging the por-Gulf Stream on the south, constituting the precise ticos and colonnades, even clinging to the house territorial centre of the whole vast Continent. To tops and neighboring slopes ---and under the such advantages of situation, on the very high- anxious gaze of witnesses summoned from the way between two oceads, are added a soil of un- scene of crime. But an udience grander far surpassed richness, and a fascinating, undula- of higher dignity--of more various people and of ting benuty of surface, with a health-giving wider intelligence--the countless multitude of climate, calculated to nurture & powerful and succeeding generations, in every land, where elogenerous people, worthy to be a central pivot of quence has been studied orwhere the Roman name American Institutions. A few sbort months only has been recoguised-bas listened to the accusahave passed since this spacious mediterranean tion, and throbbed with condemnation of the crimcountry was open only to the savage, who ran inal. Sir, speaking in an age of light and in aland wild in its woods and prairies; and now it has of constitutional liberty, where the safeguards of already drawn to its bosom a population of free- elections are justly placed among the highesti mea larger than Athens crowded within her his- triumphs of civilization, I fearlessly assert that toric gates, when her sons, under Miltiades, won the wrongs of much-abused Sicily, thus memoraLiberty for mankind on the field of Marathon; ble in history, were small by the side of the more than Sparta contained when she ruled wrongs of Kansiis, where the very shrines of popa Greece, and sent forth her devoted children, ular institutions, more sacred than any heathen quickened by a mother's benediction, to return altar, have been desecrated; where the ballotwith their shields or on them; more than Rome box, more precious than any work, in ivory or gathered on her seven hills, when, under her marble, from the cunning land of art, has been kings, she commenced that sovereign sway, plundered ; and whore the cry“I am an Ameriwhich afterwards embraced the whole earth; can citizen" has been interposed in vain against more than London held, when, on the fields of outrage of every kind, even upon life itself. Are Crecy and Agincourt, the English banner was you against sacrilege ?: I present it for your excarried victoriously over the chivalrous hosts of ecration. Are you against robbery? I hold it France.

up to your scora. Are you for the protection of

American citizens? I show you how their dear- crowds in every vocation of life--the politician est rigorts have been cloven down, while a Tyran- with his local importance, the lawyer with his nical Usurpation has sought to install itselt on subtle tongue, and even the authority of the their very necks !

judge on the bench; and a familiar use of men But the wickedness which I now begin to ex-l in places high and low, so that none, from the pose is immeasurably aggravated by the motive President to the lowest border postmaster, should wbich prompted it. Not in any common lust for decline to be its tool; all these things and more power did this uncommon tragedy have its ori- were needed ; and they were found in the Slave gin. It is the rape of a virgin Territory, com- Power of our Republic. There, sir, stands the pelling it to the hateful embrace of Slavery; criminal--all unmasked before you-heartless, and it may be clearly traced to a depraved long-1 grasping, and tyrannical-with an audacity being for a new slave State, the bideous offspring yond that of Verres, a subtlety beyond that of of such a crime, in the hope of adding to the Machiavel, a meanness beyond that of Bacon, power of Slavery in the National Government. and an ability beyond tbat of Hastings. Justice Yes, sir, when the whole world, alike Christian to Kansas can be secured only by the prostraand Turk, is rising up to condemn this wrong, tion of this influence; for this is the Power beand to make it a bissing to the pations, here in hind-greater than any President--which sueoar Republic, force-aye, sir, FORCE-has been cors and sustains the Crime. Nay, the proceedings openly employed in compelling Kansas to this I now arraign derive their fearful corsequence pollution, and all for the sake of political power. only from this connection, There is the simple fact, which you will vainly In now opening this great matter, I am not inattempt to deny, but which in itself presents an sensible to the austere demands of the occasion; essential wickedness that makes other public but the dependence of the crime against Kansas crimes seem like public virtues.

upon the Slave Power is so peculiar and importBut this enormity, vast beyond comparison, ant, that I trust to be pardoned while I impress swells to dimensions of wickedness which the it by an illustration, which to some may seem imagination toils in vain to grasp, when it is un- trivial. It is related in Northern inythology, that derstood, that for this purpose are hazarded the the god of Force, visiting an enchanted region, horrors of intestine feud, not only in this distant was challenged by his royal entertainer to what Territory, but everywhere throughout the counc seemed a humble feat of strength--merely, sirs try. Already the muster bas begun. The strife to lift a cat from the ground. The god smiled is no longer local, batnational. Even now, wbile at the challenge, and, calmly placing bis hand I speak, portents hang on all the arches of the under the belly of the animal, with superhuman horizon, threatening to darken the broad land, strength, strove, while the back of the feline which already yawns with the mutterings of monster arched for upwards, eren beyond reach, civil war. The fury of the propagandists of Sla- and one paw actually forsook the earth, until at very, and the calm determination of their oppo- last the disconfited divinity desisted; but be nents, are now diffused from the distant Territo- was little surprised at his defeat, when he learnry over wide-spread communities, and the whole ed that this créature, which seemed to be a cating country, in all its extent-marshalling hostile and nothing more, was not merely a cat, but that divisions, and foreshadowing a strife, which, un- it belonged to and was a part of the great Tepe less happily averted by the triumph of Freedom, restrial Serpent, which, in its innumerable folds, will become war --- fratricidal, parricidal war --- encircled the whole globe. Even so the creature, prith an accumulated wickedness beyond the whose paws are now fastened upon Kansas, whiato pickedness of any war in human annals; justly ever it raay seem to be, coustitutes in reality a proroking the avenging judgment of Providence part of the Slave Power, which, with loathsome and the avenging pen of history, and constituting folds, is now coiled about the whole land. Thus a strie, in the language of the ancient writer, do I expose the extent of the present contesto more than forcign, more than social, more than where we encounter not inerely local resistance, civil; but something compounded of all these but also the unconquered sustaining arm bebind. strifes, and in itself more than war; sed potius But out of the rastness of the Crive attempted, commune quoddam ex omnibus, et plus quam bellum. with all its woe and shame, I derive a well

Such is the Crime which you are to judge. founded assurance of a commensurate vastness But the criminal also must be dragged into day, of effort against it, by the aroused masses of the that you may see and measure the power by country, determined not only to vindicate Right which all this wrong is sustained. From no against Wrong, but to redeem the Republic from common source could it proceed. In its perpe- the thraldom of that Oligarchy, which prompis, tration, was needed a spirit of vaulting ambition directs, and concentrates, the distant wrong. wbieb would hesitate at nothing; a bardihood Such is the Crime, and such the criminal, which of purpose which was ineeasible to the judgment it is my duty in this debate to expose, and, by of mankind; a madness for Slavery wbich should the blessing of God, this duty sball be done comdisregard the Constitution, the laws, and all the pletely to the end. But this will not be enough. great examples of our history; also a conscious. The Apologies, which, with strange bardihood, ness of power such as comes from the babits have been offered for the Crime, must be torn of power; a combination of energies found only away, so that it shall stand forth, without a sinin a hundred armas directed by a hundred eyes; gle rag, or fig-leaf, to cover its vileness. And, a control of Public Opinion, through renal pens finally, the True Remedy must be shown. The and a prostituted press; an ability to subsidize / subiest is complex in iis relations, as it is traps.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »