Posted by: Democratic Thinker | August 21, 2013

The Crime Against Kansas—The Apologies

American Debate

Following the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts delivers his opinion on the sponsors and their apologists, and is subsequently severely beaten while on the floor of the Senate.

Senators may affect to put it aside by a sneer; or to reason it away by figures; or to explain it by a theory, such as desperate invention has produced on this floor, that the Assassins and Thugs of Missouri were in reality citizens of Kansas; but all these efforts, so far as made, are only tokens of the weakness of the cause, while to the original Crime they add another offence of false testimony against innocent and suffering men. But the Apologies for the Crime are worse than the efforts at denial.



19th and 20th May, 1856.

Opening RemarksThe Crime—The Apologies—The Remedy


II.EMERGING from all the blackness of this Crime, in which we seem to have been lost, as in a savage wood, and turning our backs upon it, as upon desolation and death, from which, while others have suffered, we have escaped, I come now to THE APOLOGIES which the Crime has found. Sir, well may you start at the suggestion that such a series of wrongs, so clearly proved by various testimony, so openly confessed by the wrong-doers, and so widely recognized throughout the country, should find Apologies. But the partisan spirit, now, as in other days, hesitates at nothing. The great crimes of history have never been without Apologies. The massacre of St. Bartholomew, which you now instinctively condemn, was, at the time, applauded in high quarters, and even commemorated by a Papal medal, which may still be procured at Rome; as the Crime against Kansas, which is hardly less conspicuous in dreadful eminence, has been shielded on this floor by extenuating words, and even by a Presidential message, which, like the Papal medal, can never be forgotten in considering the madness and perversity of men.

Sir, the Crime cannot be denied. The President himself has admitted “illegal and reprehensible” conduct. To such conclusion he was compelled by irresistible evidence; but what he mildly describes I openly arraign. Senators may affect to put it aside by a sneer; or to reason it away by figures; or to explain it by a theory, such as desperate invention has produced on this floor, that the Assassins and Thugs of Missouri were in reality citizens of Kansas; but all these efforts, so far as made, are only tokens of the weakness of the cause, while to the original Crime they add another offence of false testimony against innocent and suffering men. But the Apologies for the Crime are worse than the efforts at denial. In cruelty and heartlessness they identify their authors with the great transgression.

They are four in number, and four-fold in character. The first is the Apology tyrannical; the second, the Apology imbecile; the third, the Apology absurd; and the fourth, the Apology infamous. This is all. Tyranny, imbecility, absurdity, and infamy, all unite to dance, like the weird sisters, about this Crime.

The Apology tyrannical is founded on the mistaken act of Governor Reeder, in authenticating the Usurping Legislature, by which it is asserted that, whatever may have been the actual force or fraud in its election, the people of Kansas are effectually concluded, and the whole proceeding is placed under the formal sanction of law. According to this assumption, complaint is now in vain, and it only remains that Congress should sit and hearken to it, without correcting the wrong, as the ancient tyrant listened and granted no redress to the human moans that issued from the heated brazen bull, which subtle cruelty had devised. This I call the Apology of technicality inspired by tyranny.

The facts on this head are few and plain. Governor Reeder, after allowing only five days for objections to the returns,—a space of time unreasonably brief in that extensive Territory,—declared a majority of the members of the Council and of the House of Representatives “duly elected,” withheld certificates from certain others, because of satisfactory proof that they were not duly elected, and appointed a day for new elections to supply these vacancies. Afterwards, by formal message, he recognized the Legislature as a legal body; and when he vetoed their act of adjournment to the neighborhood of Missouri, he did it simply on the ground of the illegality of such an adjournment under the organic law. Now, to every assumption founded on these facts, there are two satisfactory replies: first, that no certificate of the Governor can do more than authenticate a subsisting legal act, without of itself infusing legality where the essence of legality is not already; and, secondly, that violence or fraud, wherever disclosed, vitiates completely every proceeding. In denying these principles, you place the certificate above the thing certified, and give a perpetual lease to violence and fraud, merely because at an ephemeral moment they were unquestioned. This will not do.

Sir, I am no apologist for Governor Reeder. There is sad reason to believe that he went to Kansas originally as the tool of the President; but his simple nature, nurtured in the atmosphere of Pennsylvania, revolted at the service required, and he turned from his patron to duty. Grievously did he err in yielding to the Legislature any act of authentication; but he has in some measure answered for this error by determined efforts since to expose the utter illegality of that body, which he now repudiates entirely. It was said of certain Roman Emperors, who did infinite mischief in their beginnings, and infinite good towards their ends, that they should never have been born, or never died; and I would apply the same to the official life of this Kansas Governor. At all events, I dismiss the Apology founded on his acts, as the utterance of tyranny by the voice of law, transcending the declaration of the pedantic judge, in the British Parliament, on the eve of our Revolution, that our fathers, notwithstanding their complaints, were in reality represented in Parliament, inasmuch as their lands, under the original charters, were held “in common socage, as of the manor of Greenwich in Kent,” which, being duly represented, carried with it all the Colonies. Thus in other ages has tyranny assumed the voice of law.

Next comes the Apology imbecile, which is founded on the alleged want of power in the President to arrest this Crime. It is openly asserted that, under the existing laws of the United States, the Chief Magistrate had no authority to interfere in Kansas for this purpose. Such is the broad statement, which, even if correct, furnishes no Apology for any proposed ratification of the Crime, but which is in reality untrue; and this I call the Apology of imbecility.

In other matters, no such ostentatious imbecility appears. Only lately, a vessel of war in the Pacific has chastised the cannibals of the Fejee Islands for alleged outrages on American citizens. But no person of ordinary intelligence will pretend that American citizens in the Pacific have received wrongs from these cannibals comparable in atrocity to those received by American citizens in Kansas. Ah, sir, the interests of Slavery are not touched by any chastisement of the Fejees!

Constantly we are informed of efforts at New York, through the agency of the Government, and sometimes only on the breath of suspicion, to arrest vessels about to sail on foreign voyages in violation of our neutrality laws or treaty stipulations. Now, no man familiar with the cases will presume to suggest that the urgency for these arrests was equal to the urgency for interposition against these successive invasions from Missouri. But the Slave Power is not disturbed by such arrests at New York!

At this moment, the President exults in the vigilance with which he has prevented the enlistment of a few soldiers, to be carried off to Halifax, in violation of our territorial sovereignty, and England is bravely threatened, even to the extent of a rupture of diplomatic relations, for her endeavor, though unsuccessful, and at once abandoned. Surely, no man in his senses will urge that this act was anything but trivial by the side of the Crime against Kansas. But the Slave Power is not concerned in this controversy!

Thus, where the Slave Power is indifferent, the President will see that the laws are faithfully executed; but, in other cases, where the interests of Slavery are at stake, he is controlled absolutely by this tyranny, ready at all times to do, or not to do, precisely as it dictates. Therefore it is that Kansas is left a prey to the Propagandists of Slavery, while the whole Treasury, the Army and Navy of the United States, are lavished to hunt a single slave through the streets of Boston. You have not forgotten the latter instance; but I choose to refresh it in your minds.

As long ago as 1851, the War Department and Navy Department concurred in placing the forces of the United States, near Boston, at the command of the Marshal, if needed, for the enforcement of an act of Congress, which had no support in the public conscience, as I believe it has no support in the constitution; and thus these forces were degraded to the loathsome work of slave-hunters. More than three years afterwards, an occasion arose for their intervention. A fugitive from Virginia, who for some days had trod the streets of Boston as a freeman, was seized as a slave. The whole community was aroused, while Bunker Hill and Faneuil Hall quaked with responsive indignation. Then, sir, the President, anxious that no tittle of Slavery should suffer, was curiously eager in the enforcement of the statute. The despatches between him and his agents in Boston attest his zeal. Here are some of them:

Boston, May 27, 1854.”


“In consequence of an attack upon the Court-house, last night, for the purpose of rescuing a fugitive slave, under arrest, and in which one of my own guards was killed, I have availed myself of the resources of the United States, placed under my control by letter from the War and Navy Department, in 1851, and now have two companies of Troops, from Fort Independence, stationed in the Court-house. Everything is now quiet. The attack was repulsed by my own guard.


United States Marshal, Boston, Mass.

Washington, May 27, 1854.


United States Marshal, Boston, Mass.:

“Your conduct is approved. The law must be executed.


Washington, May 30, 1854.

“TO HON. B. F. HALLET, Boston, Mass.:

“What is the state of the case of Burns?


[Private Secretary of the President.]

Washington, May 31, 1854.


United States Attorney, Boston Mass.

“Incur any expense deemed necessary by the Marshal and yourself, for City Military, or otherwise, to insure the execution of the law.


But the President was not content with such forces as were then on hand in the neighborhood. Other posts also were put under requisition. Two companies of National troops, stationed at New York, were kept under arms, ready at any moment to proceed to Boston; and the Adjutant General of the Army was directed to repair to the scene, there to superintend the execution of the statute. All this was done for the sake of Slavery; but during long months of menace suspended over the Free Soil of Kansas, breaking forth in successive invasions, the President has folded his hands in complete listlessness, or, if he has moved at all, it has been only to encourage the robber propagandists.

And now the intelligence of the country is insulted by the Apology, that the President had no power to interfere. Why, sir, to make this confession is to confess our Government to be a practical failure—which I will never do, except, indeed, as it is administered now. No, sir; the imbecility of the Chief Magistrate shall not be charged upon our American Institutions. Where there is a will, there is a way; and in his case, had the will existed, there would have been a way, easy and triumphant, to guard against the Crime we now deplore. His powers were in every respect ample; and this I will prove by the statute-book. By the act of Congress of 28th February, 1795, it is enacted, “that whenever the laws of the United States shall be opposed, or the execution thereof obstructed, in any State, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in the marshals,” the President “may call forth the militia.” By the supplementary act of 3d March, 1807, in all cases where he is authorized to call forth the militia “for the purpose of causing the laws to be duly executed,” the President is further empowered, in any State or Territory, “to employ for the same purposes such part of the land or naval force of the United States as shall be judged necessary.” There is the letter of the law; and you will please to mark the power conferred. In no case where the laws of the United States are opposed, or their execution obstructed, is the President constrained to wait for the requisition of a Governor, or even the petition of a citizen. Just so soon as he learns the fact, no matter by what channel, he is invested by law with full power to counteract it. True it is, that when the laws of a State are obstructed, he can interfere only on the application of the Legislature of such State, or of the Executive, when the Legislature cannot be convened; but when the Federal laws are obstructed, no such preliminary application is necessary. It is his high duty, under his oath of office, to see that they are executed, and, if need be, by the Federal forces.

And, sir, this is the precise exigency that has arisen in Kansas,—precisely this, nor more, nor less. The act of Congress, constituting the very organic law of the Territory, which, in peculiar phrase, as if to avoid ambiguity, declares, as “its true intent and meaning,” that the people thereof “shall be left perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way,” has been from the beginning opposed and obstructed in its execution. If the President had power to employ the Federal forces in Boston, when he supposed the Fugitive Slave Bill was obstructed, and merely in anticipation of such obstruction, it is absurd to say that he had not power in Kansas, when, in the face of the whole country, the very organic law of the Territory was trampled under foot by successive invasions, and the freedom of the people there overthrown. To assert ignorance of this obstruction—premeditated, long-continued, and stretching through months—attributes to him not merely imbecility, but idiocy. And thus do I dispose of this Apology.

Next comes the Apology absurd, which is, indeed, in the nature of a pretext. It is alleged that a small printed pamphlet, containing the “Constitution and Ritual of the Grand Encampment and Regiments of the Kansas Legion,” was taken from the person of one George F. Warren, who attempted to avoid detection by chewing it. The oaths and grandiose titles of the pretended Legion have all been set forth, and this poor mummery of a secret society, which existed only on paper, has been gravely introduced on this floor, in order to extenuate the Crime against Kansas. It has been paraded in more than one speech, and even stuffed into the report of the committee.

A part of the obligations assumed by the members of this Legion shows why it has been thus pursued, and also attests its innocence. It is as follows:

“I will never knowingly propose a person for membership in this order who is not in favor of making Kansas a free State, and whom I feel satisfied will exert his entire influence to bring about this result. I will support, maintain, and abide by, any honorable movement made by the organization to secure this great end, which will not conflict with the laws of the country and the constitution of the United States.”

Kansas is to be made a free State, by an honorable movement, which will not conflict with the laws and the constitution. That is the object of the organization, declared in the very words of the initiatory obligation. Where is the wrong in this? What is there here which can cast reproach, or even suspicion, upon the people of Kansas? Grant that the Legion was constituted, can you extract from it any Apology for the original Crime, or for its present ratification? Secret societies, with their extravagant oaths, are justly offensive; but who can find, in this mistaken machinery, any excuse for the denial of all rights to the people of Kansas? All this I say on the supposition that the society was a reality—which it was not. Existing in the fantastic brains of a few persons only, it never had any practical life. It was never organized. The whole tale, with the mode of obtaining the copy of the constitution, is at once a cock-and-bull story and a mare’s nest; trivial as the former, absurd as the latter; and to be dismissed, with the Apology founded upon it, to the derision which triviality and absurdity justly receive.

It only remains, under this head, that I should speak of the Apology infamous; founded on false testimony against the Emigrant Aid Company, and assumptions of duty more false than the testimony. Defying Truth and mocking Decency, this Apology excels all others in futility and audacity, while, from its utter hollowness, it proves the utter impotence of the conspirators to defend their Crime. Falsehood, always infamous, in this case arouses peculiar scorn. An association of sincere benevolence, faithful to the constitution and laws, whose only fortifications are hotels, school-houses, and churches; whose only weapons are saw-mills, tools, and books; whose mission is peace and good-will, has been falsely assailed on this floor, and an errand of blameless virtue has been made the pretext for an unpardonable Crime. Nay, more—the innocent are sacrificed, and the guilty set at liberty. They who seek to do the mission of the Saviour are scourged and crucified, while the murderer, Barabbas, with the sympathy of the chief priests, goes at large.

Were I to take counsel of my own feelings, I should dismiss this whole Apology to the ineffable contempt which it deserves; but it has been made to play such a part in this conspiracy, that I feel it a duty to expose it completely.

Sir, from the earliest times, men have recognized the advantages of organization, as an effective agency in promoting works of peace or war. Especially at this moment, there is no interest, public or private, high or low, of charity or trade, of luxury or convenience, which does not seek its aid. Men organize to rear churches and to sell thread; to build schools and to sail ships; to construct roads and to manufacture toys; to spin cotton and to print books; to weave cloths and to quicken harvests; to provide food and to distribute light; to influence Public Opinion and to secure votes; to guard infancy in its weakness, old age in its decrepitude, and womanhood in its wretchedness; and now, in all large towns, when death has come, they are buried by organized societies, and, emigrants to another world, they lie down in pleasant places, adorned by organized skill. To complain that this prevailing principle has been applied to living emigration, is to complain of Providence and the irresistible tendencies implanted in man.

But this application of the principle is no recent invention, brought forth for an existing emergency. It has the best stamp of antiquity. It showed itself in the brightest days of Greece, where colonists moved in organized bands. It became a part of the mature policy of Rome, where bodies of men were constituted expressly for this purpose, triumviri ad colonos deducendos.—(Livy, xxxvii., § 46.) Naturally it has been accepted in modern times by every civilized State. With the sanction of Spain, an association of Genoese merchants first introduced slaves to this continent. With the sanction of France, the Society of Jesuits stretched their labors over Canada and the Great Lakes to the Mississippi. It was under the auspices of Emigrant Aid Companies that our country was originally settled, by the Pilgrim Fathers of Plymouth, by the adventurers of Virginia, and by the philanthropic Oglethorpe, whose “benevolence of soul,” commemorated by Pope, sought to plant a Free State in Georgia. At this day, such associations, of a humbler character, are found in Europe, with offices in the great capitals, through whose activity emigrants are directed here.

For a long time, emigration to the West, from the Northern and Middle States, but particularly from New England, has been of marked significance. In quest of better homes, annually it has pressed to the unsettled lands, in numbers to be counted by tens of thousands; but this has been done heretofore with little knowledge, and without guide or counsel. Finally, when, by the establishment of a Government in Kansas, the tempting fields of that central region were opened to the competition of peaceful colonization, and especially when it was declared that the question of Freedom or Slavery there was to be determined by the votes of actual settlers, then at once was organization enlisted as an effective agency in quickening and conducting the emigration impelled thither, and, more than all, in providing homes for it on arrival there.

The Company was first constituted under an act of the Legislature of Massachusetts, 4th of May, 1854, some weeks prior to the passage of the Nebraska Bill. The original act of incorporation was subsequently abandoned, and a new charter received in February, 1855, in which the objects of the Society are thus declared:

“For the purposes of directing emigration Westward, and aiding in providing accommodations for the emigrants after arriving at their places oj destination.”

At any other moment, an association for these purposes would have taken its place, by general consent, among the philanthropic experiments of the age; but crime is always suspicious, and shakes, like a sick man, merely at the pointing of a finger. The conspirators against freedom in Kansas now shook with tremor, real or affected. Their wicked plot was about to fail. To help themselves, they denounced the Emigrant Aid Company; and their denunciations, after finding an echo in the President, have been repeated, with much particularity, on this floor, in the formal report of your committee.

The falsehood of the whole accusation will appear in illustrative specimens.

A charter is set out, section by section, which, though originally granted, was subsequently abandoned, and is not in reality the charter of the Company, but is materially unlike it.

The Company is represented as “a powerful corporation, with a capital of five millions;” when, by its actual charter, it is not allowed to hold property above one million, and in point of fact its capital has not exceeded one hundred thousand dollars.

Then, again, it is suggested, if not alleged, that this enormous capital, which I have already said does not exist, is invested in “cannon and rifles, in powder and lead, and implements of war,”—all of which, whether alleged or suggested, is absolutely false. The officers of the Company authorize me to give to this whole pretension a point-blank denial.

All these allegations are of small importance, and I mention them only because they show the character of the report, and also something of the quicksand on which the senator from Illinois has chosen to plant himself. But these are all capped by the unblushing assertion that the proceedings of the Company were “in perversion of the plain provisions of an act of Congress;” and also another unblushing assertion, as “certain and undeniable,” that the Company was formed to promote certain objects, “regardless of the rights and wishes of the people, as guaranteed by the constitution of the United States, and secured by their organic law;” when it is certain and undeniable that the Company has done nothing in perversion of any act of Congress, while, to the extent of its power, it has sought to protect the rights and wishes of the actual people in the Territory.

Sir, this Company has violated in no respect the constitution or laws of the land; not in the severest letter or the slightest spirit. But every other imputation is equally baseless. It is not true, as the senator from Illinois has alleged, in order in some way to compromise the Company, that it was informed before the public of the date fixed for the election of the Legislature. This statement is pronounced by the Secretary, in a letter now before me, “an unqualified falsehood, not having even the shadow of a shade of truth for its basis.” It is not true that men have been hired by the Company to go to Kansas; for every emigrant, who has gone under its direction, has himself provided the means for his journey. Of course, sir, it is not true, as has been complained by the senator from South Carolina, with that proclivity to error which marks all his utterances, that men have been sent by the Company “with one uniform gun, Sharpe’s rifle;” for it has supplied no arms of any kind to anybody. It is not true that the Company has encouraged any fanatical aggression upon the people of Missouri; for it has counselled order, peace, forbearance. It is not true that the Company has chosen its emigrants on account of their political opinions; for it has asked no questions with regard to the opinions of any whom it aids, and at this moment stands ready to forward those from the South as well as the North, while, in the Territory, all, from whatever quarter, are admitted to an equal enjoyment of its tempting advantages. It is not true that the Company has sent persons merely to control elections, and not to remain in the Territory; for its whole action, and all its anticipation of pecuniary profits, are founded on the hope to stock the country with permanent settlers, by whose labor the capital of the Company shall be made to yield its increase, and by whose fixed interest in the soil the welfare of all shall be promoted.

Sir, it has not the honor of being an Abolition society, or of numbering among its officers Abolitionists. Its President is a retired citizen, of ample means and charitable life, who has taken no part in the conflicts on Slavery, and has never allowed his sympathies to be felt by Abolitionists. One of its Vice-Presidents is a gentleman from Virginia, with family and friends there, who has always opposed the Abolitionists. Its generous Treasurer, who is now justly absorbed by the objects of the Company, has always been understood as ranging with his extensive connections, by blood and marriage, on the side of that quietism which submits to all the tyranny of the Slave Power. Its Directors are more conspicuous for wealth and science than for any activity against Slavery. Among these is an eminent lawyer of Massachusetts, Mr. Chapman,—personally known, doubtless, to some who hear me,—who has distinguished himself by an austere conservatism, too natural to the atmosphere of courts, which does not flinch even from the support of the Fugitive Slave Bill. In a recent address at a public meeting in Springfield, this gentleman thus speaks for himself and his associates:

“I have been a Director of the Society from the first, and have kept myself well informed in regard to its proceedings. I am not aware that any one in this community ever suspected me of being an Abolitionist; but I have been accused of being Pro-Slavery; and I believe many good people think I am quite too conservative on that subject. I take this occasion to say that all the plans and proceedings of the Society have met my approbation; and I assert that it has never done a single act with which any political party, or the people of any section of the country, can justly find fault. The name of its President, Mr. Brown, of Providence, and of its Treasurer, Mr. Lawrence, of Boston, are a sufficient guaranty, in the estimation of intelligent men, against its being engaged in any fanatical enterprise. Its stockholders are composed of men of all political parties, except Abolitionists. I am not aware that it has received the patronage of that class of our fellow-citizens, and I am informed that some of them disapprove of its proceedings.”

The acts of the Company have been such as might be expected from auspices thus severely careful at all points. The secret through which, with small means, it has been able to accomplish so much, is, that, as an inducement to emigration, it has gone forward and planted capital in advance of population. According to the old immethodical system, this rule is reversed, and population has been left to grope blindly, without the advantage of fixed centres, with mills, schools, and churches,—all calculated to soften the hardships of pioneer life,—such as have been established beforehand in Kansas. Here, sir, is the secret of the Emigrant Aid Company. By this single principle, which is now practically applied for the first time in history, and which has the simplicity of genius, a business association at a distance, without a large capital, has become a beneficent instrument of civilization, exercising the functions of various societies, and in itself being a Missionary Society, a Bible Society, a Tract Society, an Education Society, and a Society for the Diffusion of the Mechanic Arts. I would not claim too much for this Company; but I doubt if, at this moment, there is any society which is so completely philanthropic; and since its leading idea, like the light of a candle, from which other candles are lighted without number, maybe applied indefinitely, it promises to be an important aid to Human Progress. The lesson it teaches cannot be forgotten; and hereafter, wherever unsettled lands exist, intelligent capital will lead the way, anticipating the wants of the pioneer,—nay, doing the very work of the original pioneer,—while, amidst well-arranged harmonies, a new community will arise, to become, by its example, a more eloquent preacher than any solitary missionary. In subordination to this essential idea is Its humbler machinery for the aid of emigrants on their way, by combining parties, so that friends and neighbors might journey together; by purchasing tickets at wholesale, and furnishing them to individuals at the actual cost; by providing for each party a conductor familiar with the road, and, through these simple means, promoting the economy, safety, and comfort, of the expedition. The number of emigrants it has directly aided, even thus slightly, in their journey, has been infinitely exaggerated. From the beginning of its operations down to the close of the last autumn, all its detachments from Massachusetts contained only thirteen hundred and twelve persons.

Such is the simple tale of the Emigrant Aid Company. Sir, not even suspicion can justly touch it. But it must be made a scapegoat. This is the decree which has gone forth. I was hardly surprised at this outrage, when it proceeded from the President, for, like Macbeth, he is stepped so far in, that returning were as tedious as go on; but I did not expect it from the senator from Missouri {Mr. Geyer], whom I had learned to respect for the general moderation of his views, and the name he has won in an honorable profession. Listening to him, I was saddened by the spectacle of the extent to which Slavery will sway a candid mind to do injustice. Had any other interest been in question, that senator would have scorned to join in impeachment of such an association. His instincts as a lawyer, as a man of honor, and as a senator, would have forbidden; but the Slave Power, in enforcing its behests, allows no hesitation, and the senator surrendered.

In this vindication, I content myself with a statement of facts, rather than an argument. It might be urged that Missouri had organized a propagandist emigration long before any from Massachusetts; and you might be reminded of the wolf in the fable, which complained of the lamb for disturbing the waters, when in fact the alleged offender was lower down on the stream. It might be urged, also, that South Carolina has lately entered upon a similar system, while one of her chieftains, in rallying recruits, has unconsciously attested to the cause in which he was engaged, by exclaiming, in the words of Satan, addressed to his wicked force,

“Awake! arise! or be forever fallen!”

Mr. EVANS. I should be glad to have the gentleman state where he got that information. I know something about South Carolina, and I never heard of any such thing, and I do not think it exists.

Mr. SUMNER. I beg the Senator’s pardon; it was in a speech or letter of one of the gentlemen enlisted in obtaining emigrants in South Carolina. But the occasion needs no such defences. I put them aside. Not on the example of Missouri, or the example of South Carolina, but on inherent rights, which no man, whether senator or President, can justly assail, do I plant this impregnable justification. It will not do, in specious phrases, to allege the right of every State to be free in its domestic policy from foreign interference, and then to assume such wrongful interference by this Company. By the law and constitution we stand or fall; and that law and constitution we have in no respect offended.

To cloak the overthrow of all law in Kansas, an assumption is now set up, which utterly denies one of the plainest rights of the people everywhere. Sir, I beg senators to understand that this is a Government of laws; and that, under these laws, the people have an incontestable right to settle any portion of our broad territory, and, if they choose, to propagate any opinions there not openly forbidden by the laws. If this were not so, pray, sir, by what title is the senator from Illinois, who is an emigrant from Vermont, propagating his disastrous opinions in another State? Surely he has no monopoly of this right. Others may do what he is doing; nor can the right be in any way restrained. It is as broad as the people; and it matters not whether they go in numbers small or great, with assistance or without assistance, under the auspices of societies or not under such auspices. If this were not so, then, by what title are so many foreigners annually naturalized, under Democratic auspices, in order to secure their votes for misnamed Democratic principles? And if capital as well as combination cannot be employed, by what title do venerable associations exist, of ampler means and longer duration than any Emigrant Aid Company, around which cluster the regard and confidence of the country?—the Tract Society, a powerful corporation, which scatters its publications freely in every corner of the land; the Bible Society, an incorporated body, with large resources, which seeks to carry the Book of Life alike into Territories and States; the Missionary Society, also an incorporated body, with large resources, which sends its agents everywhere, at home and in foreign lands,—By what title do all these exist? Nay, sir, by what title loes an Insurance Company in New York send its agent to open an office in New Orleans, and by what title does Massachusetts capital contribute to the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad in Missouri, and also to the copper mines of Michigan? The senator inveighs against the Native American party; but his own principle is narrower than any attributed to them. They object to the influence of emigrants from abroad; he objects to the influence of American citizens at home when exerted in States or Territories where they were not born! The whole assumption is too audacious for respectful argument. But, since a great right has been denied, the children of the Free States, over whose cradles has shone the North Star, owe it to themselves, to their ancestors, and to Freedom itself, that this right should now be asserted to the fullest extent. By the blessing of God, and under the continued protection of the laws, they will go to Kansas, there to plant their homes, in the hope of elevating this Territory soon into the sisterhood of Free States; and to such end they will not hesitate, in the employment of all legitimate means, whether by companies of men or contributions of money, to swell a virtuous emigration, and they will justly scout any attempt to question this unquestionable right. Sir, if they failed to do this, they would be fit only for slaves themselves.

God be praised! Massachusetts, honored Commonwealth that gives me the privilege to plead for Kansas on this floor, knows her rights, and will maintain them firmly to the end. This is not the first time in history that her public acts have been arraigned, and that her public men have been exposed to contumely. Thus was it when, in the olden time, she began the great battle whose fruits you all enjoy. But never yet has she occupied a position so lofty as at this hour. By the intelligence of her population—by the resources of her industry—by her commerce, cleaving every wave—by her manufactures, various as human skill—by her institutions of education, various as human knowledge—by her institutions of benevolence, various as human suffering—by the pages of her scholars and historians—by the voices of her poets and orators, she is now exerting an influence more subtle and commanding than ever before—shooting her far-darting rays wherever ignorance, wretchedness, or wrong, prevail, and flashing light even upon those who travel far to persecute her. Such is Massachusetts; and I am proud to believe that you may as well attempt, with puny arm, to topple down the earth-rooted, heaven-kissing granite which crowns the historic sod of Bunker Hill, as to change her fixed resolves for Freedom everywhere, and especially now for Freedom in Kansas. I exult, too, that in this battle, which surpasses far, in moral grandeur, the whole war of the Revolution, she is able to preserve her just eminence. To the first she contributed a larger number of troops than any other State in the Union, and larger than all the Slave States together; and now to the second, which is not of contending armies, but of contending opinions, on whose issue hangs trembling the advancing civilization of the country, she contributes, through the manifold and endless intellectual activity of her children, more of that divine spark by which opinions are quickened into life, than is contributed by any other State, or by all the Slave States together; while her annual productive industry excels in value three times the whole vaunted cotton crop of the whole South.

Sir, to men on earth it belongs only to deserve success—not to secure it; and I know not how soon the efforts of Massachusetts will wear the crown of triumph. But it cannot be that she acts wrong for herself or children, when in this cause she thus encounters reproach. No; by the generous souls who were exposed at Lexington; by those who stood arrayed at Bunker Hill; by the many from her bosom who, on all the fields of the first great struggle, lent their vigorous arms to the cause of all; by the children she has borne, whose names alone are national trophies, is Massachusetts now vowed irrevocably to this work. What belongs to the faithful servant she will do in all things, and Providence shall determine the result.

And here ends what I have to say of the four Apologies for the Crime against Kansas.

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