« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
dered proper by change of opinion or character following always the manner therein prescribed.'
"Nor can we dishonor the memories of the revered authors of the Constitution, by supposing that they set their hands to it, believing that slavery was to be perpetual-that the republic, which, reared by them to its giant stature, had snatched from heaven the sacred fire of freedom, was to be bound, like another Prometheus, in the adamantine chains of fate, while slavery, like another vulture, preyed upon its vitals. Let Franklin speak for them. He was President of the earliest 'Abolition Society' in the United States, and in 1790, only two years after the adoption of the Constitution, addressed a petition to Congress, calling upon them to step to the very verge of the power vested in them for discouraging every species of traffic in our fellowmen.' Let Jefferson speak for them. His desire for the abolition of slavery was often expressed with philanthropic warmth and emphasis. Let Washington speak for them. 'It is among my first wishes,' he said, in a letter to John Fenton Mercer, to see some plan adopted by which slavery in this country may be abolished by law.' And in his will, penned with his own hand, in the last year of his life, he bore his testimony again, by providing for the emancipation of all
his slaves. It is thus that Washington speaks, not only by words, but by actions louder than words, 'Give freedom to your slaves.' The father of his country requires, as a token of the filial piety which all profess, that his example should be followed. I am not insensible to the many glories of his character; but I cannot contemplate this act, without a fresh gush of admiration and gratitude. The martial scene depicted on that votive canvas may fade from the memories of men; but this act of justice and benevolence shall never perish:
'Et magis, magisque viri nunc gloria claret.""
On the 17th of February, 1847, Mr. Sumner delivered a brilliant lecture before the Boston Mercantile Library Association, entitled White Slavery in the Barbary States, in which he depicts, in glowing colors, the horrors of that revolting custom of stealing and reducing white men to wretched and hopeless bondage, which so long prevailed in that unhappy country. This lecture is an extremely interesting one, and is full of startling facts and shocking details of cruelty. It is the production of a ripe scholar and a noble philanthropist, and should be studied by every free citizen who values the blessings of liberty.
Pronounces an Oration before the Literary Societies of Amherst College-extracts-delivers an oration before the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Union College-splendid passages from this addressmakes a speech before the Whig State Convention of Massachusetts, at Springfield-forcible passages quoted from this addressremarks.
On the 11th of August, 1847, Mr. Sumner pronounced a beautiful oration before the Literary Societies of Amherst College, on Fame and Glory, in which we have unanswerable arguments on the superior honors of peace. This subject was congenial to Mr. Sumner, and was ably and eloquently handled by him. In setting forth the common ideas of fame and glory, which have long prevailed among several nations, he says:
"It appears from the early literature of Spain, where chivalry found a favorite haunt, that brutality, assassination, and murder were often accounted glorious, and that adventure in robbery and promptitude in vengeance were favorite feats of heroism. The Life of the Valiant Cespedez, a Spanish knight of high renown, by Lope de Vega, reveals a succession of exploits, which were the
performances of a brawny porter and a bully. All the passions of a rude nature were gratified at will. Sanguinary revenge and inhuman harshness were his honorable pursuit. With a furious blow of his clenched fist, in the very palace of the Emperor at Augsburg, he knocked out the teeth of a heretic,-an achievement which was hailed with honor and congratulation by the Duke of Alva, and by his master, Charles the Fifth. Thus did a Spanish gentleman acquire Fame in the sixteenth century !*
"Such have been some of the objects of praise in other places and times. Such has been the glory achieved. Men have always extolled those characters and acts, which, according to their knowledge or ignorance, they were best able to appreciate. Nor does this rule fail in its application to our day. The ends of pursuit vary still, in different parts of the globe and among different persons; and Fame is awarded, in some places or by some persons, to conduct which elsewhere or by others is regarded as barbarous. The North American savage commemorates the chief who is able to hang at the door of his wigwam a heavy string of scalps, the spoils of war. The New Zealander Honors the sturdy champion who slays and then eats his enemies. The cannibal of the
* Sismondi's Literature of the South of Europe, vol. iv. pp. 5-19.
Feejee Islands-only recently explored by an expedition from our shores-is praised for his adroitness in lying; for the dozen men he has killed with his own hand; for his triumphant capture, in battle, of a piece of tapa-cloth attached to a staff, not unlike one of our flags; and when he is dead, his club is placed in his hand, and extended across the breast, to indicate in the next world that the deceased was a chief and a warrior.* This is barbarous glory! But among the nations professing Christianity, in our day, there is a powerful public opinion which yields honor to conduct from which we turn with disgust, as we discern it among the savages of our forest, or the eannibals of the Pacific. The triumphs of animal strength and of brutish violence are hailed as worthy sources of renown. With a perverse insensibility to the relative value of different services, the chances and incidents of war are exalted above all the pursuits of peace. Victors, from a field moistened with a murdered brother's blood, are greeted with the grateful salutations that are justly due to those only who have triumphantly fulfilled the commandments on which hang all the law and the prophets.
* * *
"The same mortification and regret with which
* Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition, vol. iii. pp. 76, 80, 98.