Washington, D.C: Buell & Blanchard, 1852.
31 pp. 1 vols. 8vo. Removed. Dumond, p. 107. Item #217854
This is the great abolitionist’s first major speech (a Boston edition appeared in the same year) in the Senate, attacking the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. ”Sumner entered the Senate on Dec. 1, 1851. By that time, the compromise measures of 1850 had been adopted. Only five days before the end of the session did Sumner get his chance to attack: “For more than three hours he presented a tremendous arraignment of the Fugitive-slave Law. The galleries filled. For an hour Webster himself was an attentive listener, this being his last visit to the Senate chamber. Near Webster, while Sumner was speaking, sat Horace Mann, who wrote in his journal: ‘the 26th of August, 1852 [date of this speech] redeemed the 7th of March, 1850 [date of the Fugitive Slave Law]’… Southern Senators heaped angry derision upon Sumner’s amendment…and but four votes were given in its favor. Nevertheless, Chase declared that in American history Sumner’s speech would mark the day when the advocates of the restriciton of slavery ‘no longer content to stand on the defensive in the contest with slavery, boldly attacked the very citadel of its power’…” (DAB).