American Abolitionists and Antislavery Activists:
Conscience of the Nation

Updated August 19, 2018













l to r: Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips

Whig Party (Anti-Slavery) - Part 5


The Whig Party (anti-slavery), also called conscience whigs faction of the Whig political party some from Massachusetts that was opposed to slavery on moral grounds.  Was opposed to “Cotton Whigs,” who supported the cotton manufacturing industry in the North.  Separated from Whig party in 1848.  Conscience Whigs aided in the creation and founding of the Free Soil Party in 1848.  Charles Francis Adams was the Free Soil candidate for president in 1848. (References)




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Officers, Members and Supporters - Part 5

Sackett, William Augustus, 1811-1895, New York, lawyer, politician.  Elected to U.S. House of Representatives from New York as a member of the Whig Party.  Served in Congress two terms from 1849-1853.  Opposed extension of slavery into the New territories and the fugitive slave laws.  Early member of the Republican Party.  (Appletons’, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 364-365)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

SACKETT, William Augustus,
Congressman, born in Aurelius, Cayuga County, New York, 18 November, 1812. His ancestors came from England in 1632, settled in Massachusetts, and continued to live in New England until 1804, when his father moved to Cayuga County, New York. He received an academic education, studied law in Seneca Falls and Skaneateles, was admitted to the bar in 1834, and soon secured a lucrative practice. Elected to Congress as a Whig, he served from 3 December, 1849, till 3 March, 1853. He took part in the controversy in relation to the admission of California as a free state, and both spoke and voted for admission. He earnestly opposed the Fugitive-Slave Law, and was uncompromisingly in opposition to slavery and the admission of any more slave states. From the committee on claims he made a report on the power of consuls, which had an influence in the final modification of those powers. He moved to Saratoga Springs in 1857, where he still resides. In 1876-'8 he travelled extensively in Europe, Egypt, and the Holy Land, and wrote letters describing his journeys that were published. He has been a Republican since the organization of the party, and has been active as a public speaker.—His son, WILLIAM, was colonel of the 9th New York Cavalry, and was killed while leading a charge under General Sheridan at Trevillian Station, Virginia. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 364-365.


Sage, Russell

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

SAGE, Russell, financier, born in Oneida County, New York, 4 August, 1816. He received a public-school education, and then engaged in mercantile pursuits in Troy, in 1841 he was elected an alderman, and he was re-elected to this office until 1848, also serving for seven years as treasurer of Rensselaer County. He was then elected to Congress as a Whig, and served, with re-election, from 5 December, 1853, till 3 March, 1857. Mr. Sage was the first person to advocate, on the floor of Congress, the purchase of Mount Vernon by the government. Subsequently he settled in New York City and engaged in the business of selling " privileges " in Wall Street. At the same time he became interested in railroads, and secured stocks in western roads, notably the Milwaukee and St. Paul, of which he was president and vice-president for twelve years. By disposing of these investments, as the smaller roads were absorbed by trunk-lines, he became wealthy. In late years he has been closely associated with Jay Gould in the management of the Wabash, St. Louis, and Pacific, the Missouri Pacific, the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas, the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western and the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroads, the American Cable Company, the Western Union Telegraph Company and the Manhattan Consolidated System of Elevated Railroads in New York City, in all of which corporations he is a director. Mr. Sage was for many years closely connected with the affairs of the Union Pacific Railroad, of which he was a director. He has been a director and vice-president in the Importers and Traders' National Bank for the past twenty years, also a director in the Merchants' Trust Company and in the Fifth Avenue Bank of New York City. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, p. 367.


Schenck, Robert Cumming, 1809-1890, diplomat, Union general.  Member of the U.S. House of Representatives.  Three-term Whig Representative to Congress, December 1843-March 1851.  Re-elected December 1863, 1864, 1866, 1868.  Voted for Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery.  Son of James Findlay Schenk, naval officer. (Appletons’, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 417-418; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 2, p. 427; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 19, p. 370; Congressional Globe)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

SCHENCK, Robert Cumming, diplomatist, born in Franklin, Ohio, 4 October, 1809, was graduated at Miami University in 1827, and remained as a resident graduate and tutor for three years longer, then studied law with Thomas Corwin, was admitted to the bar, and established himself in practice at Dayton, Ohio. He was a member of the legislature in 1841-'2, displaying practical knowledge and pungent wit in the debates, and was then elected as a Whig to Congress, and thrice re-elected, serving from 4 December, 1843, till 3 March, 1851. He was a member of important committees, and during his third term was the chairman of that on roads and canals. On 12 March, 1851, he was commissioned as minister to Brazil. In 1852, with John S. Pendleton, who was accredited to the Argentine Republic as chargé d'affaires, he arranged a treaty of friendship and commerce with the government of that country and one for the free navigation of the river La Plata and its great tributaries. They also negotiated treaties with the governments of Uruguay and Paraguay. He left Rio Janeiro on 8 October, 1853, and after his return to Ohio engaged in the railroad business. He offered his services to the government when the Civil War began, and was one of the first brigadier-generals appointed by President Lincoln, his commission bearing the date of 17 May, 1861. He was attached to the military department of Washington, and on 17 June moved forward by railroad with a regiment to dislodge the Confederates at Vienna, but was surprised by a masked battery, and forced to retreat. On meeting re-enforcements, he changed front, and the enemy retired. His brigade formed a part of General Daniel Tyler's division at the first Bull Run battle, and was on the point of crossing the Stone Bridge to make secure the occupation of the plateau, when the arrival of Confederate re-enforcements turned the tide of battle. He next served in West Virginia under General William S. Rosecrans, and was ordered to the Shenandoah Valley with the force that was sent to oppose General Thomas J. Jackson. Pushing forward by a forced march to the relief of General Robert H. Milroy, he had a sharp and brilliant engagement with the enemy at McDowell. At Cross Keys he led the Ohio troops in a charge on the right, and maintained the ground that he won until he was ordered to retire. General John C. Frémont then intrusted him with the command of a division. At the second battle of Bull Run he led the first Division of General Franz Sigel's corps. He was wounded in that action by a musket-ball, which shattered his right arm, incapacitating him for active service till 16 December, 1862, when he took command of the Middle Department and Eighth Corps at Baltimore, having been promoted major-general on 18 September After performing effective services in the Gettysburg Campaign, he resigned his commission on 3 December, 1863, in order to take his place in the House of Representatives, in which he served as chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs. He was re-elected in 1864, and was placed at the head of the same committee, where he procured the establishment of the National Military and Naval Asylum. In 1865 he was president of the board of visitors to the U. S. Military Academy, and was one of the Committee of Congress on the Death of President Lincoln, serving also on the Committee on Retrenchment. In 1866 he attended the Loyalists' Convention at Philadelphia and the Soldiers' Convention at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. He was re-elected to Congress in 1866 and in 1868, when his opponent was Clement L. Vallandigham, serving as chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means and of the Ordnance Committee. On 22 December, 1870, he received the appointment of minister to Great Britain. In 1871 he was one of the “Alabama” commission. He resigned his post in 1876 in consequence of the failure of the Emma Silver Mine Company, in which he had permitted himself to be chosen a director, and resumed the practice of law in Washington, D. C. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 417-418.


Scott, Winfield

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

SCOTT, Winfield, soldier, born in Dinwiddie County, near Petersburg, Virginia, 13 June, 1786; died at West Point, New York, 29 May, 1866. By the death of General Macomb in 1841 Scott became Commander-in-Chief of the Army of the United States. In 1847 he was assigned to the chief command of the army in Mexico.[…] In 1852 he was the candidate of the Whig Party for the presidency, and received the electoral votes of Vermont, Massachusetts, Kentucky, and Tennessee, all the other states voting for the Democratic candidate, General Pierce. […] Age and infirmity prevented him from taking an active part in the Civil War, and on 31 October, 1861, he retired from service, retaining his rank, pay, and allowances. Soon afterward he made a brief visit to Europe, and he passed most of the remainder of his days at West Point, remarking when he arrived there for the last time: "I have come here to die."

“Letter on the Slavery Question” (1843); “Abstract of Infantry Tactics” (Philadelphia, 1861): “Memoirs of Lieutenant-General Scott, written by Himself” (2 vols., New York, 1864). Biographies of him have been published by Edward Deering Mansfield (New '' 1846); Joel Tyler Headley (1852); and Orville James Victor (1861). See also “Campaign of General Scott in the Valley of Mexico,” by Lieut. Raphael Semmes (Cincinnati, 1852).
Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, p. 440-442.


Sergeant, John, 1779-1852, lawyer.  U.S. Congressman from Pennsylvania.  Opposed extension of slavery into the territories.  Stated in Congressional debate of 1819:  “It is to no purpose, to say that the question of slavery is a question of state concern.  It affects the Union, in its interests, its resources, and character, permanently; perhaps forever.  One single State, to gratify the desire of a moment, may do what all the Union cannot undo; may produce an everlasting evil, shame and reproach.  And why?  Because it is a State right…  Sir, you may turn this matter as you will; Missouri, when she becomes a State, grows out of the Constitution; she is formed under the care of Congress, and admitted by Congress; and if she has a right to establish slavery, it is a right derived directly from the Constitution, and conferred upon her through the instrumentality of Congress.”  Further, Sergeant said, “If Missouri be permitted to establish slavery, we shall bring upon ourselves the charges of hypocrisy and insincerity, and upon the Constitution a deep stain, which must impair its lustre, and weaken its title to the public esteem.”  (Appletons’, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 462-463; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 2, p. 588; Dumond, 1961, pp. 103, 105, 107, 213-214, 383n24, 29; 16 Cong., 1 Sess., 1819-1820, II, p. 1201)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

SERGEANT, John, lawyer, born in Philadelphia, 5 December, 1779; died there, 25 November, 1852, was graduated at Princeton in 1795, and, abandoning his intention to become a merchant, studied law, and was admitted to the Philadelphia Bar in 1799. For more than half a century he was known throughout the country as one of the most honorable and learned members of his profession and its acknowledged leader in Philadelphia. He entered public life in 1801, when he was appointed commissioner of bankruptcy by Thomas Jefferson, was a member of the legislature in 1808-'10, and of Congress in 1815-'23, 1827-'9, and 1837-'42. In 1820 he was active in securing the passage of the Missouri Compromise. He was appointed one of the two envoys in 1826 to the Panama Congress, was president of the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention in 1830, and Whig candidate for the vice-presidency on the ticket with Henry Clay in 1832. He declined the mission to England in 1841, and his last public service was that of arbitrator to determine a long-pending controversy. The question at issue concerned the title to Pea Patch Island as derived by the United States from the State of Delaware, and by James Humphrey claiming through Henry Gale from the State of New Jersey. This involved the question of the boundary between the two states, or, in other words, the claim to Delaware River, and the decision in favor of the United States incidentally decided the boundary dispute in favor of Delaware. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 462-463.


Seward, William Henry, 1801-1872, statesman, U.S. Secretary of State under Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, U.S. Senator from New York, abolitionist, member Anti-Slavery Republican Party. 

(Baker, 1884; Dumond, 1961, pp. 292, 302, 355-356; Gienapp, 1987; Holt, 1999; Mitchell, 2007, pp. 9, 10, 54, 119-121, 160, 162, 165-167, 168, 177, 191-192, 198, 247; Pease, 1965, pp. 177-181, 483-485; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 52, 62, 136, 138, 240, 513, 634-636; Sewell, 1976; Van Deusen, 1976; Wilson, 1872, Vol. 2, pp. 164-166; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 470-472; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 8, Pt. 2, p. 615; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 19, p. 676; Hinks, Peter P., & John R. McKivigan, Eds., Encyclopedia of Antislavery and Abolition.  Westport, Connecticut, Greenwood, 2007, Vol. 2, pp. 613-616)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

SEWARD, William Henry, statesman, born in Florida, Orange County, New York, 16 May, 1801; died in Auburn, New York, 10 October, 1872. His father, Dr. Samuel S. Seward, descended from a Welsh emigrant to Connecticut, combined medical practice with a large mercantile business. His mother was of Irish extraction. The son was fond of study, and in 1816 entered Union, after clue preparation at Farmers' Hall Academy, Goshen, New York. He withdrew from college in 1819, taught for six months in the south, and after a year's absence returned, and was graduated in 1820. After reading law with John Anthon in New York City, and John Duer and Ogden Hoffman in Goshen, he was admitted to the bar at Utica in 1822, and in January, 1823, settled in Auburn, New York, as the partner of Elijah Miller, the first judge of Cayuga County, whose daughter, Frances Adeline, he married in the following year. His industry and his acumen and power of logical presentation soon gave him a place among the leaders of the bar. In 1824 he first met Thurlow Weed at Rochester, and a close friendship between them, personal and political, continued through life. In that year also he entered earnestly into the political contest as an advocate of the election of John Quincy Adams, and in October of that year drew up an address of the Republican Convention of Cayuga County, in which he arraigned the “Albany Regency” and denounced the methods of Martin Van Buren's supporters. He delivered an anniversary address at Auburn on 4 July, 1825. He was one of the committee to welcome Lafayette, and in February, 1827, delivered an oration expressive of sympathy for the Greek revolutionists. On 12 August, 1827, he presided at Utica over a great convention of young men of New York in support of the re-election of John Q. Adams. He declined the anti-Masonic nomination for Congress in 1828, but joined that party on the dissolution of the National Republican Party, with which he had previously acted, consequent upon the setting aside of its candidate for Andrew Jackson. In 1830 he was elected as the anti-Masonic candidate for the state senate, in which body he took the lead in the opposition to the dominant party, and labored in behalf of the common schools and of railroad and canal construction. He proposed the collection of documents in the archives of European governments for the “Colonial History of New York,” advocated the election of the mayor of New York by the direct popular vote, and furthered the passage of the bill to abolish imprisonment for debt. At the close of the session he was chosen to draw up an address of the minority of the legislature to the people. On 4 July, 1831, he gave an address to the citizens of Syracuse on the “Prospects of the United States.” On 31 January, 1832, he defended the U.S. Bank in an elaborate speech in the state senate, and at the close of that session again prepared an address of the minority to their constituents. In 1833 he travelled through Europe, writing home letters which were afterward published in the “Albany Evening Journal.” In January, 1834, he denounced the removal of the U. S. bank deposits in a brilliant and exhaustive speech. He drew up a third minority address at the close of this his last session in the legislature. On 16 July, 1834, he delivered a eulogy of Lafayette at Auburn.

The Whig Party, which had originated in the opposition to the Jackson administration and the “Albany Regency,” nominated him for governor on 13 September, 1834, in the convention at Utica. He was defeated by William L. Marcy, and returned to the practice of law in the beginning of 1835. On 3 October of that year he made a speech at Auburn on education and internal improvements. In July, 1836, he quitted Auburn for a time in order to assume an agency at Westfield to settle the differences between the Holland land Company and its tenants. While there he wrote some political essays, and in July, 1837, delivered an address in favor of universal education. He took an active part in the political canvass of 1837, which resulted in a triumph of the Whigs. He was again placed in nomination for governor in 1838, and after a warm canvass, in which he was charged with having oppressed
settlers for the benefit of the land company, and was assailed by anti-slavery men, who had failed to draw from him an expression of abolitionist principles, he was elected by a majority of 10,421. The first Whig governor was hampered in his administration by rivalries and dissension within the party. He secured more humane and liberal provisions for the treatment of the insane, a mitigation of the methods of discipline in the penitentiary, and the improvement of the common schools. His proposition to admit Roman Catholic and foreign-born teachers into the public schools, while it was applauded by the opposite party, drew upon him the reproaches of many of the Protestant clergy and laity, and subjected him to suspicion and abuse. His recommendations to remove disabilities from foreigners and to encourage, rather than restrict, emigration, likewise provoked the hostility of native-born citizens. His proposition to abolish the court of chancery and make the judiciary elective was opposed by the bench and the bar, yet within a few years the reform was effected. At his suggestion, specimens of the natural history of the state were collected, and, when the geological survey was completed, he prepared an elaborate introduction to the report, reviewing the settlement, development, and condition of the state, which appeared in the work under the title of “Notes on New York.” In the conflict between the proprietors and the tenants of Renselaerwyck he advocated the claims of the latter, but firmly suppressed their violent outbreaks. He was re-elected, with a diminished majority, in 1840. A contest over the enlargement of the Erie Canal and the completion of the lateral canals, which the Democrats prophesied would plunge the state into a debt of forty millions, grew sharper during Governor Seward's second term, and near its close the legislature stopped the public works. His projects for building railroads were in like manner opposed by that party.

In January, 1843, Seward retired to private life, resuming the practice of law at Auburn. He continued an active worker for his party during the period of its decline, and was a frequent speaker at political meetings. In 1843 he delivered an address before the Phi Beta Kappa Society at Union College on the “Elements of Empire in America.” He entered largely into the practice of patent law, and in criminal cases his services were in constant demand. Frequently he not only defended accused persons gratuitously, but gave pecuniary assistance to his clients. Among his most masterly forensic efforts were an argument for freedom of the press in a libel suit brought by J. Fenimore Cooper against Horace Greeley in 1845, and the defence of John Van Zandt, in 1847, against a criminal charge of aiding fugitive slaves to escape. At the risk of violence, and with a certainty of opprobrium, he defended the demented Negro Freeman, who had committed a revolting murder, emboldened, many supposed, by Seward's eloquent presentation of the doctrine of moral insanity in another case. In September, 1847, Seward delivered a eulogy on Daniel O'Connell before the Irish citizens of New York, and in 1848 a eulogy on John Quincy Adams before the New York Legislature. He took an active part in the presidential canvass, and in a speech at Cleveland described the conflict between freedom and slavery, saying of the latter: “It must be abolished, and you and I must do it.”

In February, 1849, Seward was elected U. S. Senator. His proposal, while governor, to extend suffrage to the Negroes of New York, and many public utterances, placed him in the position of the foremost opponent of slavery within the Whig Party. President Taylor selected Seward as his most intimate counsellor among the senators, and the latter declined to be placed on any important committee, lest his pronounced views should compromise the administration. In a speech delivered on 11 March, 1850, in favor of the admission of California, he spoke of the exclusion of slavery as determined by “the higher law,” a phrase that was denounced as treasonable by the southern Democrats. On 2 July, 1850, he delivered a great speech on the compromise bill. He supported the French spoliation bill, and in February, 1851, advocated the principles that were afterward embodied in the homestead law. His speeches covered a wide ground, ranging from a practical and statistical analysis of the questions affecting steam navigation, deep-sea exploration, the American fisheries, the duty on rails, and the Texas debt, to flights of passionate eloquence in favor of extending sympathy to the exiled Irish patriots, and moral support to struggles for liberty, like the Hungarian Revolution, which he reviewed in a speech on “Freedom in Europe,” delivered in March, 1852. After the death of Zachary Taylor many Whig Senators and representatives accepted the pro-slavery policy of President Fillmore, but Seward resisted it with all his energy. He approved the nomination of Winfield Scott for the presidency in 1852, but would not sanction the platform, which upheld the compromise of 1850. In 1853 he delivered an address at Columbus, Ohio, on ”The Destiny of America,” and one in New York City on “The True Basis of American Independence.” In 1854 he made an oration on “The Physical, Moral, and Intellectual Development of the American People” before the literary societies of Yale College, which gave him the degree of LL. D. His speeches on the repeal of the Missouri Compromise and on the admission of Kansas made a profound impression. He was re-elected to the Senate in 1855, in spite of the vigorous opposition of both the Native American Party and the Whigs of southern sympathies. In the presidential canvass of 1856 he zealously supported John C. Frémont, the Republican candidate. In 1857 he journeyed through Canada, and made a voyage to Labrador in a fishing-schooner, the “Log” of which was afterward published. In a speech at Rochester, New York, in October, 1858, he alluded to the “irrepressible conflict,” which could only terminate in the United States becoming either entirely a slave-holding nation or entirely a free-labor nation. He travelled in Europe, Egypt, and Palestine in 1859.

In 1860, as in 1856, Seward's pre-eminent position in the Republican Party made him the most conspicuous candidate for the presidential nomination. He received 173½ votes in the first ballot at the convention, against 102 given to Abraham Lincoln, who was eventually nominated, and in whose behalf he actively canvassed the western states. Lincoln appointed him Secretary of State, and before leaving the Senate to enter on the
duties of this office he made a speech in which he disappointed some of his party by advising patience and moderation in debate, and harmony of action for the sake of maintaining the Union. He cherished hopes of a peaceful solution of the national troubles, and, while declining in March, 1861, to enter into negotiations with commissioners of the Confederate government, he was in favor of evacuating Fort Sumter as a military necessity and politic measure, while re-enforcing Fort Pickens, and holding every other post then remaining in the hands of the National government. He issued a circular note to the ministers abroad on 9 March, 1861, deprecating foreign intervention, and another on 24 April, defining the position of the United States in regard to the rights of neutrals. Negotiations were carried on with European governments for conventions determining such rights. He protested against the unofficial intercourse between the British Cabinet and agents of the Confederate States, and refused to receive despatches from the British and French governments in which they assumed the attitude of neutrals between belligerent powers. On 21 July he sent a despatch to Charles F. Adams, minister at London, defending the decision of Congress to close the ports of the seceded states. When the Confederate Commissioners were captured on board the British steamer “Trent” he argued that the seizure was in accordance with the British doctrine of the “right of search,” which the United States had resisted by the war of 1812. The release of these prisoners, at the demand of the British government, would now commit both governments to the maintenance of the American doctrine; so they would be “cheerfully given up.” He firmly rejected and opposed the proposal of the French emperor to unite with the English and Russian governments in mediating between the United States and the Confederate government. He made the Seward-Lyons Treaty with Great Britain for the extinction of the African slave-trade. The diplomatic service was thoroughly reorganized by Secretary Seward; and by his lucid despatches and the unceasing presentation of his views and arguments, through able ministers, to the European cabinets, the respect of Europe was retained, and the efforts of the Confederates to secure recognition and support were frustrated. In the summer of 1862, the army having become greatly depleted, and public proclamation of the fact being deemed unwise, he went to the north with letters from the president and Secretary of War, met and conferred with the governors of the loyal states, and arranged for their joint proffer of re-enforcements, to which the president responded by the call for 300,000 more troops. Mr. Seward firmly insisted on the right of American citizens to redress for the depredations of the “Alabama,” and with equal determination asserted the Monroe Doctrine in relation to the French invasion of Mexico, but, by avoiding a provocative attitude, which might have involved his government in foreign war, was able to defer the decision of both questions till a more favorable time. Before the close of the Civil War he intimated to the French government the irritation felt in the United States in regard to its armed intervention in Mexico. Many despatches on this subject were sent during 1865 and 1866, which gradually became more urgent, until the French forces were withdrawn and the Mexican empire fell. He supported President Lincoln's proclamation liberating the slaves in all localities in rebellion, and three years later announced by proclamation the abolition of slavery throughout the Union by constitutional amendment. In the spring of 1865 Mr. Seward was thrown from his carriage, and his arm and jaw were fractured. While he was confined to his couch with these injuries President Lincoln was murdered and on the same evening, 14 April, one of the conspirators gained access to the chamber of the secretary, inflicted severe wounds with a knife in his face and neck, and struck down his son, Frederick W., who came to his rescue. His recovery was slow and his sufferings were severe. He concluded a treaty with Russia for the cession of Alaska in 1867. He negotiated treaties for the purchase of the Danish West India Islands and the Bay of Samana, which failed of approval by the Senate, and made a treaty with Colombia to secure American control of the Isthmus of Panama, which had a similar fate. Secretary Seward sustained the reconstruction policy of President Johnson, and thereby alienated the more powerful section of the Republican Party and subjected himself to bitter censure and ungenerous imputations. He opposed the impeachment of President Johnson in 1868, and supported the election of General Grant in that year. He retired from office at the end of eight years of tenure in March, 1869. After a brief stay in Auburn, he journeyed across the continent to California, Oregon, British Columbia, and Alaska, returning through Mexico as the guest of its government and people. In August, 1870, he set out on a tour of the world, accompanied by several members of his family. He visited the principal countries of Asia, northern Africa, and Europe, being received everywhere with great honor. He studied their political institutions, their social and ethnological characteristics, and their commercial capabilities. Returning home on 9 October, 1871, he devoted himself to the preparation of a narrative of his journey, and after its completion to a history of his life and times, which was not half finished at the time of his death. The degree of LL. D. was given him by Union in 1866. He published, besides occasional addresses and numerous political speeches, a volume on the “Life and Public Services of John Quincy Adams” (Auburn, 1849). An edition of his “Works” was published, which contains many of his earlier essays, speeches, and addresses, with a memoir by George E. Baker, reaching down to 1853 (3 vols., New York, 1853). To this a fourth volume was added in 1862, and a fifth in 1884, containing his later speeches and extracts from his diplomatic correspondence. His official correspondence during the eight years was published by order of Congress. The relation of his “Travels Around the World” was edited and published by his adopted daughter, Olive Risley Seward (New York, 1873). Charles F. Adams published an “Address on the Life, Character, and Services of Seward” (Albany, 1873), which was thought by some to have extolled him at the expense of President Lincoln's fame, and elicited replies from Gideon Welles and others. Mr. Seward's “Autobiography,” which extends to 1834, has been continued to 1846 in a memoir by his son, Frederick W., with selections from his letters (New York, 1877). The vignette portrait represents Governor Seward in early life, and the other illustration is a view of his residence at Auburn. There is a bronze statue of Mr. Seward, by Randolph Rogers, in Madison square, New York. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 470-472.



Sherman, John, 1823-1900, statesman.  Whig U.S. Congressman, 1855.  Republican U.S. Senator.  Brother of General William T. Sherman.  Voted for Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery.  Brother of Union commander, (Appletons’, 1888, pp. 506-508; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 9, Pt. 1, p. 84; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 19, p. 813; Congressional Globe)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

SHERMAN, John, statesman, born in Lancaster, Ohio, 10 May, 1823, after the death of their father in 1829, leaving the large family with but limited means, the boy was cared for by a cousin named John Sherman, residing in Mount Vernon, where he was sent to school. At the age of twelve he returned to Lancaster and entered the academy to prepare himself for college. In two years he was sufficiently advanced to enter the sophomore class, but a desire to be self-supporting led to his becoming junior rodman in the Corps of Engineers engaged on the Muskingum. He was placed in charge of the section of that work in Beverly early in 1838, and so continued until the summer of 1839, when he was removed because he was a Whig. The responsibilities attending the measurements of excavations and embankments, and the levelling for a lock to a canal, proved a better education than could have been procured elsewhere in the same time. He began the study of law in the office of his brother Charles, and in 1844 was admitted to the bar. He formed a partnership with his brother in Mansfield, and continued with him until his entrance into Congress, during which time his ability and industry gained for him both distinction and pecuniary success.

Meanwhile, i
n 1848, he was sent as a delegate to the Whig Convention, held in Philadelphia, that nominated Zachary Taylor for the presidency, and in 1852 he was a delegate to the Baltimore Convention that nominated Winfield Scott. His attitude as a conservative Whig, in the alarm and excitement that followed the attempt to repeal the Missouri Compromise, secured his election to the 34th Congress, and he took his seat on 3 December, 1855. He is a ready and forcible speaker, and his thorough acquaintance with public affairs made him an acknowledged power in the house from the first. He grew rapidly in reputation as a debater on all the great questions agitating the public mind during that eventful period: the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, the Dred-Scott Decision, the imposition of slavery upon Kansas, the Fugitive-Slave Law, the national finances, and other measures involving the very existence of the republic. His appointment by the speaker, Nathaniel P. Banks, as a member of the committee to inquire into and collect evidence in regard to the border-ruffian troubles in Kansas was an important event in his career. Owing to the illness of the chairman, William A. Howard, of Michigan, the duty of preparing the report devolved upon Mr. Sherman. Every statement was verified by the clearest testimony, and has never been controverted by any one. This report, when presented to the house, created a great deal of feeling, and intensified the antagonisms in Congress, being made the basis of the canvass of 1856. He acted with the Republican Party in supporting John C. Frémont for the presidency because that party resisted the extension of slavery, but did not seek its abolition. In the debate on the submarine telegraph he showed his opposition to monopolists by saying: “I cannot agree that our government should be bound by any contract with any private incorporated company for fifty years; and the amendment I desire to offer will reserve the power to Congress to determine the proposed contract after ten years.” All bills making appropriations for public expenditures were closely scrutinized, and the then prevalent system of making contracts in advance of appropriations was denounced by him as illegal. At the close of his second congressional term he was recognized as the foremost man in the house of representatives. He had from deep and unchanged conviction adopted the political faith of the Republican Party, but without any partisan rancor or malignity toward the south.

He was re-elected to the 36th Congress, which began its first session amid the excitement caused by the bold raid of John Brown. In 1859 he was the Republican candidate for the speakership. He had subscribed, with no knowledge of the book, for Hinton R. Helper's “Impending Crisis,” and this fact was brought up against him and estranged from him a few of the southern Whigs, who besought him to declare that he was not hostile to slavery. He refused, and after eight weeks of balloting, in which he came within three votes of election, he yielded to William Pennington, who was chosen. Mr. Sherman was then made chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means. He took a decided stand against in drafting new legislation upon appropriation bills, saying: “The theory of appropriation bills is, that they shall provide money to carry on the government, to execute existing laws, and not to change existing laws or provide new ones.” In 1860 he was again elected to Congress, and, when that body convened in December, the seceding members of both houses were outspoken and defiant. At the beginning of President Buchanan's administration the public indebtedness was less than $20,000,000, but by this time it had been increased to nearly $100,000,000, and in such a crippled condition were its finances that the government had not been able to pay the salaries of members of Congress and many other demands. Mr. Sherman proved equal to the occasion in providing the means for the future support of the government. His first step was to secure the passage of a bill authorizing the issue of what are known as the treasury-notes of 1860.

On the resignation of Salmon P. Chase, he was elected to his place in the Senate, and took his seat on 4 March, 1861. He was re-elected senator in 1867 and in 1873. During most of his senatorial career he was chairman of the Committee on Finance, and served also on the committees on agriculture, the Pacific Railroad, the Judiciary, and the Patent Office. After the fall of Fort Sumter, under the call of President Lincoln for 75,000 troops he tendered his services to General Robert Patterson, was appointed aide-de-camp without pay, and remained with the Ohio regiments till the meeting of Congress in July. After the close of this extra session he returned to Ohio, and received authority from Governor William Denison to raise a brigade. Largely at his own expense, he recruited two regiments of infantry, a squadron of cavalry, and a battery of artillery, comprising over 2,300 men. This force served during the whole war, and was known as the “Sherman Brigade.” The most valuable services rendered by him to the Union cause were his efforts in the Senate to maintain and strengthen the public credit, and to provide for the support of the armies in the field. On the suspension of specie payments, about the first of January, 1862, the issue of United States notes became a necessity. The question of making them a legal tender was not at first received with favor. Mainly through the efforts of Senator Sherman and Secretary Chase, this feature of the bill authorizing their issue was carried through Congress. They justified the legal-tender clause of the bill on the ground of necessity. In the debates on this question Mr. Sherman said: “I do believe there is a pressing necessity that these demand-notes should be made legal tender, if we want to avoid the evils of a depreciated and dishonored paper currency. I do believe we have the constitutional power to pass such a provision, and that the public safety now demands its exercise.” The records of the debate show that he made the only speech in the Senate-in favor of the National-Bank Bill. Its final passage was secured only by the personal appeals of Secretary Chase to the senators who opposed it. Mr. Sherman's speeches on state and national banks are the most important that he made during the war. He introduced a refunding act in 1867, which was adopted in 1870, but without the resumption clause. In 1874 a committee of nine, of which he was chairman, was appointed by a Republican caucus to secure a concurrence of action. They agreed upon a bill fixing the time for the resumption of specie payment at 1 January, 1879. This bill was reported to the caucus and the Senate with the distinct understanding that there should be no debate on the side of the Republican
s, and that Mr. Sherman should be left to manage it according to his own discretion. The bill was passed, leaving its execution dependent upon the will of the Secretary of the Treasury for the time being.

Mr. Sherman was an active supporter of Rutherford B. Hayes for the presidency in 1876, was a member of the committee that visited Louisiana to witness the counting of the returns of that state. He was appointed Secretary of the Treasury by President Hayes in March, 1877, and immediately set about providing a redemption fund by means of loans. Six months before 1 January, 1879, the date fixed by law for redemption of specie payments, he had accumulated $140,000,000 in gold, and he had the satisfaction of seeing the legal-tender notes gradually approach gold in value until, when the day came, there was practically no demand for gold in exchange for the notes. In 1880 Mr. Sherman was an avowed candidate for the presidential nomination, and his name was presented in the National Convention by James A. Garfield. During the contest between the supporters of General Grant and those of James G. Blaine, which resulted in Mr. Garfield's nomination, Mr. Sherman's vote ranged from 90 to 97. He returned to the Senate in 1881, and on the expiration of his term in 1887 was re-elected to serve until 1893. At present (1888) he is chairman of the committee on foreign relations, and is an active member of the committees on Expenditures of Public Money, Finance, and Rules. In December, 1885, he was chosen President of the Senate Pro Tem, but he declined re-election at the close of his senatorial term in 1887. His name was presented by Joseph B. Foraker in nomination for the presidency at the National Convention held in 1884, but the Ohio delegation was divided between him and James
G. Blaine, so that he received only 30 votes from this state. Again in 1888 his name was presented by Daniel H. Hastings, in behalf of the Pennsylvania delegation at the National Convention, and on the first ballot he received 229 votes and on the second 249, being the leading candidate, and continued so until Benjamin Harrison received the support of those whose names were withdrawn. Mr. Sherman has published “Selected Speeches and Reports on Finance and Taxation, 1859–1878" (New York, 1879). See “John Sherman, What he has said and done: Life and Public Services,” by Reverend Sherlock A. Bronson (Columbus, Ohio, 1880). Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 506-508.


Silliman, Benjamin Douglas

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

SILLIMAN, Benjamin Douglas, lawyer, born in Newport, Rhode Island, 14 September, 1805, was graduated at Yale in 1824, and then studied law with James Kent and his son, William Kent, until 1829, when he was admitted to the bar. He opened an office in New York during that year, and has since been steadily engaged in the practice of his profession in that city, with his residence in Brooklyn. He has often served as a delegate from Kings County to National and state conventions of the Whig and Republican Parties, including the one at Harrisburg in 1839, at which William Henry Harrison was nominated for the presidency. He was elected to the legislature in 1838, and was nominated by the Whigs for Congress in 1843, but failed of election, although he led the ticket of his party at the polls. In 1852 he received, but declined, the Whig nomination for the state senate. During the Civil War he was an earnest, supporter of the government, and in March, 1865, he was appointed by President Lincoln U. S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. He held this office until September, 1866, and during that time argued in behalf of the government important questions that grew out of the Civil War. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 529-530.


Smith, Caleb Blood

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

SMITH, Caleb Blood, Secretary of the Interior, born in Boston, Massachusetts, 16 April, 1808; died in Indianapolis, Indiana, 7 January, 1864. He emigrated with his parents to Ohio in 1814, was educated at Cincinnati and Miami Colleges, studied law in Cincinnati and in Connersville, Indiana, and was admitted to the bar in 1828. He began practice at the latter place, established and edited the "Sentinel" in 1832, served several terms in the Indiana Legislature, and was in Congress in 1843-'9, having been elected as a Whig. During his congressional career he was one of the Mexican claims commissioners. He returned to the practice of law in 1850, residing in Cincinnati and subsequently in Indianapolis. He was influential in securing the nomination of Abraham Lincoln for the presidency at the Chicago Republican Convention in 1860, and was appointed by him Secretary of the Interior in 1861, which post he resigned in December, 1862, to become U. S. Circuit Judge for Indiana. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, p. 558.


Smith, Truman

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

SMITH, Truman, senator, a nephew of Nathaniel and Nathan Smith, born in Woodbury, Connecticut., 27 November, 1791; died in Stamford, Connecticut, 3 May, 1884, was graduated at Yale in 1815, studied law, and was a member of the legislature in 1831–4, of Congress in 1839-'49, and U.S. Senator from Connecticut in 1849-'54, when he suddenly resigned from weariness of public life. He was remarkable for his wide, though silent, influence in national politics, having taken a decisive part in the nomination of General Zachary Taylor for president in 1848. He conducted that presidential campaign as chairman of the Whig National Committee, and was offered a post in President Taylor's cabinet, which he declined. He was, in conjunction with Daniel Webster, the foremost opponent of the “spoils system” in Congress. He strenuously combated the views of Stephen A. Douglas in the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill. After resigning from the Senate, Mr. Smith practised law in New York until he was appointed by President Lincoln in 1862 judge of the court of arbitration, and afterward of the court of claims. He was also legal adviser to the government in many questions arising out of the Civil War. He wrote one book, “An Examination of the Question of Anaesthesia” (Boston, 1859), published as “An Inquiry into the Origin of Modern Anaesthesia” (Hartford, 1867), and published many separate speeches. Mr. Smith was a man of giant frame, and lived to be nearly ninety-three ears old. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, p. 582.


Stevens, Thaddeus, 1792-1868, statesman, lawyer, abolitionist leader.  Anti-slavery leader in U.S. House of Representatives.  As member of Whig Party and leader of the radical Republican Party, urged Lincoln to issue Emancipation Proclamation.  Led fight to pass Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution, abolishing slavery and establishing citizenship, due process and equal protections for African Americans. He is depicted in the 2012 film “Lincoln”. (Appletons’, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 677-678; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 9, Pt. 1, p. 620; American Reformers: An H.W. Wilson Biographical Dictionary, New York, 1985, pp. 764-767; Congressional Globe; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 20, p. 711)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

STEVENS, Thaddeus, statesman, born in Danville, Caledonia County, Vermont, 4 April, 1792; died in Washington, D. C., 11 August, 1868. He was the child of poor parents, and was sickly and lame, but ambitious, and his mother toiled to secure for him an education. He entered Vermont University in 1810, and after it was closed in 1812 on account of the war he went to Dartmouth, and was graduated in 1814. He began the study of law in Peacham, Vermont, continued it while teaching an academy in York, Pennsylvania, was admitted to the bar at Bel Air, Maryland., established himself in 1816 at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and soon gained a high reputation, and was employed in many important suits. He devoted himself exclusively to his profession till the contest between the strict constructionists, who nominated Andrew Jackson for the presidency in 1828, and the national Republicans, who afterward became the Whigs, drew him into politics as an ardent supporter of John Quincy Adams. He was elected to the legislature in 1833 and the two succeeding years. By a brilliant speech in 1835, he defeated a bill to abolish the recently established common-school system of Pennsylvania. In 1836 he was a member of the State Constitutional Convention, and took an active part in its debates, but his anti-slavery principles would not permit him to sign the report recommending an instrument that restricted the franchise to white citizens. He was a member of the legislature again in 1837, and in 1838, when the election dispute between the Democratic and anti-Masonic parties led to the organization of rival legislatures, he was the most prominent member of the Whig and anti-Masonic house. In 1838 he was appointed a canal commissioner. He was returned to the legislature in 1841. He gave a farm to Mrs. Lydia Jane Pierson, who had written poetry in defence of the common schools, and thus aided him in saving them. Having incurred losses in the iron business, he moved in 1842 to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and for several years devoted himself to legal practice, occupying the foremost position at the bar. In 1848 and 1850 he was elected to Congress as a Whig, and ardently opposed the Clay compromise measures of 1850, including the Fugitive-Slave Law. On retiring from Congress, March, 1853, he confined himself to his profession till 1858, when he was returned to Congress as a Republican. From that time till his death he was one of the Republican leaders in that body, the chief advocate of emancipation, and the representative of the radical section of his party. His great oratorical powers and force of character earned for him the title, applied to William Pitt, of the “great commoner.” He urged on President Lincoln the justice and expediency of the emancipation proclamation, took the lead in all measures for arming and for enfranchising the Negro, and initiated and pressed the Fourteenth Amendment to the Federal Constitution. During the war he introduced and carried Acts of Confiscation, and after its close he advocated rigorous measures in reorganizing the southern states on the basis of universal freedom. He was chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means for three sessions. Subsequently, as chairman of the House Committee on Reconstruction, he reported the bill which divided the southern states into five military districts, and placed them under the rule of army officers until they should adopt constitutions that conceded suffrage and equal rights to the blacks. In a speech that he made in Congress on 24 February, 1868, he proposed the impeachment of President Johnson. He was appointed one of the committee of seven to prepare articles of impeachment, and was chairman of the Board of Managers that was appointed on the part of the house to conduct the trial. He was exceedingly positive in his convictions, and attacked his adversaries with bitter denunciations and sarcastic taunts, yet he was genial and witty among his friends, and was noted for his uniform, though at times impulsive, acts of charity. While skeptical in his religious opinions, he resented slighting remarks regarding the Christian faith as an insult to the memory of his devout mother, whom he venerated. The degree of LL. D. was conferred on him by the University of Vermont in 1867. He chose to be buried in a private cemetery, explaining in the epitaph that he prepared for his tomb that the public cemeteries were limited by their charter-rules to the white race, and that he preferred to illustrate in his death the principle that he had advocated through his life of “equality of man before his Creator.” The tomb is in a large lot in Lancaster, which he left as a burial-place for those who cannot afford to pay for their graves. He left a part of his estate to found an orphan asylum in Lancaster, to be open to both white and colored children. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 677-678.


Stone, William Leete, 1792-1844, New York, author, newspaper editor, American Colonization Society (ACS), Executive Committee, 1839-1840.  Officer in the New York City auxiliary of the ACS.  Advocated the abolition of slavery by Congress.  Published anti-slavery articles in his newspapers.  Drafted petition for emancipation of slaves at the Anti-Slavery Convention in Baltimore in 1825.  (Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, p. 703; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 9, Pt. 2, p. 90; Staudenraus, P. J. The African Colonization Movement, 1816-1865. New York: Columbia University Press, 1961, pp. 73, 135)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

STONE, William Leete, author, born in New Paltz, New York, 20 April, 1792; died in Saratoga Springs, New York, 15 August, 1844. His father, William, was a soldier of the Revolution and afterward a Presbyterian clergyman, who was a descendant of Governor William Leete. The son moved to Sodus, New York, in 1808, where he assisted his father in the care of a farm. The country was at that time a wilderness, and the adventures of young Stone during his early pioneer life formed material that he afterward wrought into border tales. At the age of seventeen he became a printer in the office of the Cooperstown “Federalist,” and in 1813 he was editor of the Herkimer “American,” with Thurlow Weed as his journeyman. Subsequently he edited the “Northern Whig” at Hudson, New York, and in 1817 the Albany “Daily Advertiser.” In 1818 he succeeded Theodore Dwight in the editorship of the Hartford “Mirror.” While at Hartford, Jonathan M. Wainwright (afterward bishop), Samuel G. Goodrich (Peter Parley), Isaac Toucey, and himself alternated in editing a literary magazine called “The Knights of the Round Table.” He also edited while at Hudson “The Lounger,” a literary periodical which was noted for its pleasantry and wit. In 1821 he succeeded Zachariah Lewis in the editorship of the New York “Commercial Advertiser,” becoming at the same time one of its proprietors, which place he held until his death. Brown University gave him the degree of A. M. in 1825. Mr. Stone always advocated in its columns the abolition of slavery by congressional action, and at the great anti-slavery Convention at Baltimore in 1825 he originated and drew up the plan for slave emancipation which was recommended at that time to Congress for adoption.  Appletons’ Cyclopædia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, p. 703.


Stranahan, James Samuel Thomas

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

STRANAHAN, James Samuel Thomas, capitalist. born in Peterboro, New York, 25 April, 1808. He received his education in the common schools of his neighborhood, where he afterward taught, and then studied civil engineering. In 1827 he visited the region of the upper lakes for the purpose of opening trade with the Indians; but, finding this undesirable, he engaged in the wool trade. He became associated in 1832 with Gerrit Smith in developing the manufacturing interests of Oneida County. The town of Florence was the result, and in 1838 he was sent as a Whig to represent that district in the legislature. In 1840 he moved to Newark, New Jersey, and became interested in the construction of railroads, accepting stock in payment for his work. He settled in Brooklyn in 1844, which has since been his home. In 1854 he was sent as a Whig to Congress, and served from 3 December, 1855, until 3 March, 1857. Mr. Stranahan was a member of the first Metropolitan police commission in 1858, and delegate to the Republican National Conventions in 1860 and 1864, serving as a presidential elector in the latter year. During the Civil War he was an active supporter of the National government and president of the War-Fund Committee. This organization founded the Brooklyn "Union," in order that the government might have an organ devoted to its support. In 1860 he was appointed president of the Park Commission, and he held that office for more than twenty years. During his administration, Prospect Park was created, and the system of boulevards, including the Ocean and Eastern Parkways, is due to his suggestions. He has long been one of the managers and is now (1888) president of the Union Ferry Company, and the Great Atlantic Docks, which are the largest works of the kind in the United States, were built under his direction. Mr. Stranahan is not only the president of the Dock Company, but also the largest stockholder and general manager of affairs. He was also associated with the building of the East River Bridge from the beginning of that work, and was president of the board of directors in 1884. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 716-717.


Stuart, John Todd

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

STUART, John Todd, lawyer, born near Lexington, Kentucky, 10 November, 1807; died in Springfield, Illinois, 28 November, 1885. His ancestry was Scotch-Irish; his father, Robert Stuart, was a Presbyterian clergyman, and his maternal grandfather was Levi Todd, one of the survivors of the disastrous Indian battle at the Blue Licks in 1782. He was graduated at Centre College, Kentucky, in 1826, was admitted to the bar, and moved to Springfield, Illinois, at the age of twenty-one. He took at once a high place in his profession, and held it actively for nearly sixty years, to the day of his death. He was a Whig until the formation of the Republican Party, served in the legislature from 1832 till 1836, and was defeated in a congressional contest in the latter year, being then the recognized leader of his party. He renewed the contest in 1838, with Stephen A. Douglas as his opponent, and was successful after a campaign that excited national attention. After two terms in Congress he declined a re-election. Mr. Stuart was a member of the state senate from 1848 till 1852, and was distinguished for the part he took in settling the charter of the Illinois Central Railroad, from the provisions of which the state derives an annual revenue that amounted in 1887 to $396,315.07, the total revenue of the state in the same year being $3,185,607.56. He remained out of public life until 1862, when he was again elected to Congress, but now as a Democrat, serving one term. The last special public service of Mr. Stuart was as a commissioner in the erection of the new state-house. He was also chairman of the executive committee of the National Lincoln Monument Association. He served as a major in the Black Hawk War in 1832, and this title was always used in addressing him. In this campaign he met Abraham Lincoln, and thus began a life-long intimacy. They were fellow-members of the legislature in 1834. He induced Mr. Lincoln to study law, lent him the necessary books, and took him as a partner as soon as he was admitted to practice. This partnership lasted until April, 1841; in 1843 Mr. Stuart associated with himself in legal business Benjamin S. Edwards, and in 1860 his son-in-law, Christopher C. Brown, and their firm was at Mr. Stuart's death the oldest in the state. In personal character Mr. Stuart was a model of kindness, fidelity, purity, and nobility, and in his busy career as a lawyer and legislator he found time for the exercise in many directions of a wise public spirit, which made him for more than half a century one of the most notable citizens of the community in which he lived. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, p. 731.


Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874, Boston, Massachusetts, statesman, lawyer, writer, editor, educator, reformer, peace advocate, anti-slavery political leader.  U.S. Senatorial candidate on the Free Soil ticket.  Entered the Senate in December 1851.  He was the earliest and most important anti-slavery voice in the Senate.  He opposed the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854.  Sumner was an organizer and co-founder of the Republican Party.  He was severely beaten on the Senate floor by pro-slavery Senator Preston S. Brooks.  It took him three and a half years to recover.  Strong supporter of Lincoln and the Union. He was among the first to support emancipation of slaves.  As a U.S. Senator, voted for Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery.

(Blue, 1994, 2005; Mabee, 1970, pp. 74, 103, 173, 178, 248, 354, 261, 299, 329, 337, 356, 368, 393n17; Mitchell, 2007, pp. 60, 62, 67-68, 89, 174, 238, 243; Potter, 1976; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 54, 59, 201-203, 298, 657-660; Sewell, 1988; Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 744-750; Dictionary of American Biography, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1936, Vol. 9, Pt. 2, p. 214; American Reformers: An H.W. Wilson Biographical Dictionary, New York, 1985, pp. 783-785; American National Biography, Oxford University Press, New York, 2002, Vol. 21, p. 137; Congressional Globe; Donald, David. Charles Sumner and the Coming of the Civil War. New York: Knopf, 1960.)

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

SUMNER, Charles, statesman, born in Boston, Massachusetts, 6 January, 1811; died in Washington, D. C., 11 March, 1874. The family is English, and William Sumner, from whom Charles was descended in the seventh generation, came to America about 1635 with his wife and three sons, and settled in Dorchester, Massachusetts. The Sumner’s were generally farmers. Job, grandfather of Charles, entered Harvard in 1774, but in the next year he joined the Revolutionary Army, and served with distinction during the war. He was not graduated, but he received in 1785 an honorary degree from the college. He died in 1789, aged thirty-three. Charles Pinckney Sumner (born 1776, died 1839), father of Charles, was graduated at Harvard in 1796. He was a lawyer and was sheriff of Suffolk County from 1825 until a few days before his death. In 1810 he married Relief Jacob, of Hanover, New Hampshire, and they had nine children, of whom Charles and Matilda were the eldest and twins. Matilda died in 1832. Sheriff Sumner was an upright, grave, formal man, of the old Puritan type, fond of literature and public life. His anti-slavery convictions were very strong, and he foretold a violent end to slavery in this country. In his family he was austere, and, as his income was small, strict economy was indispensable. Charles was a quiet boy, early matured, and soon showed the bent of his mind by the purchase for a few cents of a Latin grammar and '”Liber Primus” from a comrade at school. In his eleventh year he was placed at the Latin-school where Wendell Phillips, Robert C. Winthrop, James Freeman Clarke, and other boys, afterward distinguished men, were pupils. Sumner excelled in the classics, in general information, and in writing essays, but he was not especially distinguished. Just as he left the Latin-school for college he heard President John Quincy Adams speak in Faneuil hall, and at about the same time he heard Daniel Webster's eulogy upon Adams and Jefferson. It was in a New England essentially unchanged from the older, but refined and softened, that Sumner grew up. At the age of fifteen he was reserved and thoughtful, caring little for sports, slender, tall, and awkward. His thirst for knowledge of every kind, with singular ability and rapidity in acquiring it, was already remarkable. He had made a compend of English history in eighty-six pages of a copybook, and had read Gibbon's history.

In September, 1826, he began his studies at Harvard. In the classics and history and forensics, and in belles-lettres, he was among the best scholars. But he failed entirely in mathematics. His memory was extraordinary and his reading extensive. Without dissipation of any kind and without sensitiveness to humor, generous in his judgment of his comrades, devoted to his books, and going little into society, he was a general favorite, although his college life gave no especial promise of a distinguished career. In his junior year he made his first journey from home, in a pedestrian tour with some classmates to Lake Champlain, returning by the Hudson River and the city of New York. In 1830 he was graduated, and devoted himself for a year to a wide range of reading and study in the Latin classics and in general literature. He resolutely grappled with mathematics to repair the defect in his education in that branch of study, wrote a prize essay on commerce, and listened carefully to the Boston orators, Webster, Everett, Choate, and Channing. No day, no hour, no opportunity, was lost by him in the pursuit of knowledge. His first interest in public questions was awakened by the anti-Masonic movement, which he held to be a “great and good cause,” two adjectives that were always associated in his estimate of causes and of men. Mindful of Dr. Johnson's maxim, he diligently maintained his friendships by correspondence and intercourse. On 1 September, 1831, he entered Harvard Law-School, of which Judge Joseph Story was the chief professor. Story had been a friend of Sumner's father, and his friendly regard for the son soon ripened into an affection and confidence that never ceased. Sumner was now six feet and two inches in height, but weighing only 120 pounds, and not personally attractive. He was never ill, and was an untiring walker; his voice was strong and clear, his smile quick and sincere, his laugh loud, and his intellectual industry and his memory were extraordinary. He began the study of law with the utmost enthusiasm, giving himself a wide range, keeping careful notes of the moot-court cases, writing for the “American Jurist,” and preparing a catalogue of the library of the Law-school. He joined the temperance society of the professional schools and the college. His acquirements were already large, but he was free from vanity. His mental habit was so serious that, while his talk was interesting, he was totally disconcerted by a jest or gay repartee. He had apparently no ambition except to learn as much as he could, and his life then, as always, was pure in word and deed.

The agitation of the question of slavery had already begun. “The Liberator” was established by Mr. Garrison in Boston on 1 January, 1831. The “nullification movement” in South Carolina occurred while Sumner was at the Law-school. He praised President Jackson's proclamation, and
saw civil war impending; but he wrote to a friend in 1832: “Politics I begin to loathe; they are for a day, but the law is for all time.” He entered the law-office of Benjamin Rand, in Boston, in January, 1834, wrote copiously for the “Jurist,” and went to Washington for the first time in April. The favor of Judge Story opened to Sumner the pleasantest houses at the capital, and his professional and general accomplishments secured an ever-widening welcome. But Washington only deepened his love for the law and his aversion to politics. In September, 1834, he was admitted to the bar. During the month that he passed in Washington, Sumner described his first impression of the unfortunate race to whose welfare his life was to be devoted: “For the first time I saw slaves [on the journey through Maryland], and my worst preconception of their appearance and ignorance did not fall as low as their actual stupidity. They appear to be nothing more than moving masses of flesh, unendowed with anything of intelligence above the brutes. I have now an idea of the blight upon that part of our country in which they live.” Anticipating hearing Calhoun, he says: “He will be the last man I shall ever hear speak in Washington.” In 1835 he was appointed by Judge Story a commissioner of the circuit court of the United States and reporter of Story's judicial opinions, and he began to teach in the Law-school during the judge's absence. This service he continued in 1836-'7, and he aided in preparing a digest of the decisions of the Supreme Court of Maine. He wrote upon literary and legal topics, he lectured and edited and pleaded, and he was much overworked in making a bare livelihood. In 1835 his interest in the slavery question deepened. The first newspaper for which he subscribed was “The Liberator,” and he writes to Dr. Francis Lieber, then professor in the college at Columbia, South Carolina: “What think you of it? [slavery] Should it longer exist? Is not emancipation practicable? We are becoming Abolitionists, at the north, fast.” The next year, 1836, his “blood boils” at an indignity offered by a slave master to the Boston counsel of a fugitive slave. Sumner now saw much of Channing, by whose wisdom and devotion to freedom he was deeply influenced. His articles in the “Jurist” had opened correspondence with many eminent European publicists. His friends at home were chiefly among scholars, and already Longfellow was one of his intimate companions. In the summer of 1836 he made a journey to Canada, and in December, 1837, he sailed for France.

He carried letters from distinguished Americans to distinguished Europeans, and his extraordinary diligence in study and his marvellous memory had equipped him for turning every opportunity to the best account. During his absence he kept a careful diary and wrote long letters, many of which are printed in the memoir by Edward L. Pierce, and there is no more graphic and interesting picture than they present of the social and professional life at that time of the countries he visited. Sumner remained in Paris for five months, and carefully improved every hour. He attended 150 university lectures by the most renowned professors. He walked the hospitals with the great surgeons. He frequented the courts and theatres and operas and libraries and museums. He was a guest in the most famous salons, and he saw and noted everything, not as a loiterer, but as a student. On 31 May, 1838, he arrived in England, where he remained for ten months. No American had ever been so universally received and liked, and Carlyle characteristically described him as “Popularity Sumner.” He saw and studied England in every aspect, and in April, 1839, went to Italy and devoted himself to the study of its language, history, and literature, with which, however, he was already familiar. In Rome, where he remained for some months, he met the sculptor Thomas Crawford, whom he warmly befriended. Early in October, 1839, he left Italy for Germany, in the middle of March, 1840, he was again in England, and in May, 1840, he returned to America.

He showed as yet no sign of political ambition. The “hard-cider campaign” of 1840, the contest between Harrison and Van Buren, began immediately after his return. He voted for Harrison, but without especial interest in the measures of the Whig Party. In announcing to a brother, then in Europe, the result of the election, he wrote: “I take very little interest in politics.” The murder of Lovejoy in November, 1837, and the meeting in Faneuil Hall, where Wendell Phillips made his memorable speech, and the local disturbances that attended the progress of the anti-slavery agitation throughout the northern states, had plainly revealed the political situation. But Sumner's letters during the year after his return from Europe do not show that the question of slavery had especially impressed him, while his friends were in the most socially delightful circles of conservative Boston. But in 1841 the assertion by Great Britain, of a right to stop any suspected slaver to ascertain her right to carry the American flag, produced great excitement. Sumner at once showed his concern for freedom and his interest in great questions of law by maintaining in two elaborate articles, published in a Boston newspaper early in 1842, the right and the justice of such an inquiry. Kent, Story, Choate, and Theodore Sedgwick approved his position. This was his first appearance in the anti-slavery controversy. In 1842 Daniel Webster, as Secretary of State, wrote his letter upon the case of the “Creole,” contending that the slaves who had risen against the ship's officers should not be liberated by the British authorities at Nassau. Sumner strongly condemned the letter, and took active part in the discussion. He contended that the slaves were manumitted by the common law upon passing beyond the domain of the local law of slavery; and if this were not so, the piracy charged was an offence under the local statute and not under the law of nations, and no government could be summoned to surrender offenders against the municipal law of other governments. In April, 1842, he writes: “The question of slavery is getting to be the absorbing one among us, and growing out of this is that other of the Union.” He adjured Longfellow to write verses that should move the whole land against the iniquity. But his social relations were still undisturbed, and his unbounded admiration of Webster showed his generous mind. “With the moral devotion of Channing,” he said of Webster, “he would be a prophet.”

In July, 1843, Sumner published in the “North American Review” an article defending Commodore Alexander Slidell Mackenzie for his action in the case of the “Somers” mutiny, when a son of John C. Spencer, Secretary of War, was executed. He published also a paper upon the political relations of slavery, justifying the moral agitation of the question. In this year he contributed largely to the “Law Reporter,” and taught for the last time in the Law-school. In the election of 1844 Sumner took no part. He had no special sympathy with Whig views of the tariff and the bank, and already slavery seemed to him to be the chief public question. He was a Whig, as he said in 1848, because it seemed to him the party of humanity, and John Quincy Adams was the statesman whom he most admired. He was overwhelmed with professional work, which brought on a serious illness. But his activity was unabated, and he was elected a member of various learned societies. His letters during 1844 show his profound interest in the slavery question. He speaks of the “atrocious immorality of John Tyler in seeking to absorb Texas,” and “the disgusting vindication of slavery” by Calhoun, which he regrets that he is too busy to answer. In 1845 he was deeply interested in the question of popular education, and was one of the intimate advisers of Horace Mann. Prison-discipline was another question that commanded his warmest interest, and his first public speech was made upon this subject at a meeting of the Prison-discipline Society, in May, 1845. This was followed, on 4 July, by the annual oration before the civil authorities of Boston, upon “The True Grandeur of Nations.” The oration was a plea for peace and a vehement denunciation of war, delivered, in commemoration of an armed revolutionary contest, to an audience largely military and in military array. This discourse was the prototype of all Sumner's speeches. It was an elaborate treatise, full of learning and precedent and historical illustration, of forcible argument and powerful moral appeal. The effect was immediate and striking. There were great indignation and warm protest on the one hand, and upon the other sincere congratulation and high compliment. Sumner's view of the absolute wrong and iniquity of war under all circumstances was somewhat modified subsequently; but the great purpose of a peaceful solution of international disputes he never relinquished. The oration revealed to the country an orator hitherto unknown even to himself and his friends. It showed a moral conviction, intrepidity, and independence, and a relentless vigor of statement, which were worthy of the best traditions of New England. Just four months later, on 4 November, 1845, Sumner made in Faneuil hall his first anti-slavery speech, at a meeting of which Charles Francis Adams was chairman, to protest against the admission of Texas. This first speech had all the characteristics of the last important speech he ever made. It was brief, but sternly bold, uncompromising, aggressive, and placed Sumner at once in the van of the political anti-slavery movement. He was not an Abolitionist in the Garrisonian sense. He held that slavery
was sectional, not national; that the constitution was meant to be a bond of national liberty as well as union, and nowhere countenanced the theory that there could be property in men; that it was to be judicially interpreted always in the interest of freedom; and that, by rigorous legal restriction and the moral force of public opinion, slavery would be forced to disappear. This was subsequently the ground held by the Republican Party. Sumner added to his reputation by an elaborate oration at Cambridge, in August, 1846, upon “The Scholar, the Jurist, the Artist, the Philanthropist,” of which the illustrations were his personal friends, then recently dead, John Pickering, Judge Story, Washington Allston, and Dr. Channing. The reference to Channing gave him the opportunity, which he improved, to urge the duty of anti-slavery action. It was the first time that the burning question of the hour had been discussed in the scholastic seclusion of the university.

In September, 1846, at the Whig State Convention held in Faneuil Hall, Sumner spoke upon the “Anti-Slavery Duties of the Whig Party,” concluding with an impassioned appeal to Mr. Webster to lead the Whigs as an anti-slavery party. He sent the speech to Mr. Webster, who, in replying coolly, politely regretted that they differed in regard to political duty. In October, Sumner wrote a public letter to Robert C. Winthrop, representative in Congress from Boston, censuring him severely for his vote in support of the Mexican War. He wrote as a Whig constituent of Mr. Winthrop's, and during his absence from Boston he was nominated for Congress, against Mr. Winthrop, by a meeting of Whigs, including Charles Francis Adams and John A. Andrew. But he immediately and peremptorily declined, and he warmly supported Dr. Samuel G. Howe, who was nominated in his place. During this period, when “Conscience Whigs” were separating from “Cotton Whigs,” Sumner was untiring in his public activity. He spoke often, and he argued before the supreme court of the state the invalidity of enlistments for the Mexican War, and delivered a lecture upon “White Slavery in the Barbary States,” which was elaborated into a pamphlet, and was a valuable historical study of the subject. In June, 1847, a speech upon prison-discipline showed his interest in the question to be unabated. On 29 September, 1847, he spoke for the last time as a Whig, in the State Convention at Springfield, in support of a resolution that Massachusetts Whigs would support only an anti-slavery man for the presidency. The resolution was lost, and upon the Whig nomination of General Zachary Taylor, 1 June, 1848, a convention of anti-slavery men of both parties was called at Worcester on 28 June, at which Sumner, Charles Francis Adams, Samuel Hoar (who presided), and his son, E. Rockwood Hoar, with many other well-known Whigs, withdrew from the Whig Party and organized the Free-soil Party. “If two evils are presented to me,” said Sumner in his speech, alluding to Cass and Taylor, “I will take neither.” Sumner was chairman of the Free-Soil State Committee, which conducted the campaign in Massachusetts for Van Buren and Adams, nominated at the Buffalo Convention. In October, 1848, he was nominated for Congress in the Boston District, receiving 2,336 votes against 1,460 for the Democratic candidate. But Mr. Winthrop received 7,726, and was elected. In May, 1849, he renewed his plea for peace in an exhaustive address before the American peace Society on “The War System of the Commonwealth of Nations,” and on 5 November, 1850, his speech, after the passage of the Fugitive-Slave Law, was like a war-cry for the Free-Soil Party, and was said to have made him senator. In the election of members of the legislature the Free-Soilers and Democrats united, and at a caucus of members of the Free-Soil Party Sumner was unanimously selected as their candidate for U. S. Senator. He was more acceptable to the Democrats because he had never been an extreme Whig, and the Democratic caucus, with almost equal unanimity, made him its candidate. The legislature then chose George S. Boutwell governor, Henry W. Cushman lieutenant-governor, and Robert Rantoul, Jr., senator for the short term. These were all Democrats. The House of Representatives voted, on 14 January, 1851, for senator, casting 381 votes, with 191 necessary to a choice. Sumner received 186, Robert C. Winthrop 167, scattering 28, blanks 3. On 22 January, of 38 votes in the Senate, Sumner received 23, Winthrop 14, and H. W. Bishop 1, and Sumner was chosen by the Senate. The contest in the house continued for three months. Sumner was entreated to modify some expressions in his last speech; but he refused, saying that he did not desire the office, and on 22 February he asked Henry Wilson, President of the Senate, and the Free-Soil members, to abandon him whenever they could elect another candidate. On 24 April, Sumner was elected senator by 193 votes, precisely the necessary number of the votes cast.

When he took his seat in the Senate he was as distinctively the uncompromising representative of freedom and the north as Calhoun had been of slavery and the south. But it was not until 26 August, 1852, just after the Democratic and Whig national Conventions had acquiesced in the compromises of 1850, that Sumner delivered his first important speech, “Freedom National, Slavery Sectional.” It treated the relations of the national government to slavery, and the true nature of the constitutional provision in regard to fugitives. The speech made a profound impression. The general view was accepted at once by the anti-slavery party as sound. The argument seemed to the anti-slavery sentiment to be unanswerable. Seward and Chase both described it as “great,” and it was evident that another warrior thoroughly equipped was now to be encountered by the slave power. On 23 January, 1854, Stephen A. Douglas introduced the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, by which the Missouri Compromise was repealed, and on 21 February, 1854, Sumner opposed it in a speech characteristically comprehensive and exhaustive, reviewing the history of the restriction of slavery. On the eve of the passage of the bill he made a solemn and impressive protest, and his reply to assailants, 28 June, 1854, stung his opponents to madness. He was now the most unsparing, the most feared, and the most hated opponent of slavery in Congress. On 17 March, 1856, Mr. Douglas introduced a bill for the admission of Kansas as a state. On 19 and 20 May, Sumner delivered a speech on the “Crime against Kansas,” which again aroused the country, and in which he spoke, in reference to the slave and free-soil factions in Kansas, of “the fury of the propagandists and the calm determination of their opponents,” who through the whole country were “marshalling hostile divisions, and foreshadowing a conflict which, unless happily averted by freedom, will become war—fratricidal, parricidal war.” It provoked the bitterest rejoinders in the Senate, to which Sumner replied contemptuously. In his speech he had sharply censured Senator Butler, of South Carolina, and Senator Douglas, and two days after the delivery of the speech, as Sumner was sitting after the adjournment writing at his desk alone in the Senate-chamber, Preston Smith Brooks, a relative of Butler's and a representative from South Carolina, entered the chamber, and, after speaking a few words
to Sumner, struck him violently upon the head with a bludgeon, and while Sumner was trying in vain to extricate himself from the desk and seize his assailant, the blows continued until he sank bloody and senseless to the floor. This event startled the country as a presage of civil war. The excitement was universal and profound. The House of Representatives refused to give the two-third vote necessary to expel Brooks, but he resigned and appealed to his constituents, and was unanimously re-elected. Sumner was long incapacitated for public service. On 3 November, 1856, he returned to Boston to vote, and was received with acclamation by the people and with the highest honor by the state and city authorities. On 13 January, 1857, he was re-elected senator, receiving all but ten votes, and on 7 March, 1857, he sailed for Europe, where he submitted to the severest medical treatment. With characteristic energy and industry, in the intervals of suffering, he devoted himself to a thorough study of the art and history of engraving.

For nearly four years he was absent from his seat in the Senate, which he resumed on 5 December, 1859, at the opening of the session. He was still feeble, and took no part in debate until the middle of March, and on 4 June, 1860, on the question of admitting Kansas as a free state, he delivered a speech upon “The Barbarism of Slavery,” which showed his powers untouched and his ardor unquenched.
Mr. Lincoln had been nominated for the presidency, and Sumner's speech was the last comprehensive word in the parliamentary debate of freedom and slavery. The controversy could now be settled only by arms. This conviction was undoubtedly the explanation of the angry silence with which the speech was heard in the Senate by the friends of slavery. During the winter of secession that followed the election Sumner devoted himself to the prevention of any form of compromise, believing that it would be only a base and fatal surrender of constitutional principles. He made no speeches during the session. By the withdrawal of southern senators the Senate was left with a Republican majority, and in the reconstruction of committees on 8 March, 1861, Sumner was made chairman of the committee on foreign affairs. For this place he was peculiarly fitted. His knowledge of international law, of the history of other states, and of their current politics, was comprehensive and exact, and during the intense excitement arising from the seizure of the “Trent” he rendered the country a signal service in placing the surrender of Slidell and Mason upon the true ground. (See MASON, JAMES MURRAY.) While there was universal acquiescence in the decision of the government to surrender the commissioners, there was not universal satisfaction and pride until on 9 January, 1862, Sumner, in one of his ablest speeches, showed incontestably that our own principles, constantly maintained by us, required the surrender. One of the chief dangers throughout the Civil War was the possible action of foreign powers, and especially of England, where iron-clad rams were being built for the Confederacy, and on 10 September, 1863, Sumner delivered in New York a speech upon “Our Foreign Relations,” which left nothing unsaid. Happily, on 8 September, Lord Russell had informed the American minister, Charles Francis Adams, that the rams would not be permitted to leave English ports.

Throughout the war, both in Congress and upon the platform, Sumner was very urgent for emancipation, and when the war ended he was equally anxious to secure entire equality of rights for the new citizens. But while firm upon this point, and favoring the temporary exclusion of recent Confederates from political power, he opposed the proposition to change the jury law for the trial of Jefferson Davis, and disclaimed every feeling of vengeance. He was strong in his opposition to President Andrew Johnson and his policy. But the great measure of the Johnson administration, the acquisition of Alaska by treaty, was supported by Sumner in a speech on 9 April, 1867, which is an exhaustive history of Russian America. He voted affirmatively upon all the articles of impeachment of President Johnson, which in a long opinion he declared to be one of the last great battles with slavery.

Early in the administration of President Grant, 10 April, 1869, Sumner opposed the Johnson-Clarendon Treaty with England, as affording no means of adequate settlement of our British claims. In this speech he asserted the claim for indirect or consequential damages, which afterward was proposed as part of the American case at the Geneva arbitration, but was discarded. In his message of 5 December, 1870, President Grant, regretting the failure of the treaty to acquire Santo Domingo, strongly urged its acquisition. Sumner strenuously opposed the project on the ground that it was not the wish of the “black republic,” and that Baez, with whom, as president of the Dominican Republic, the
negotiation had been irregularly conducted, was an adventurer, held in his place by an unconstitutional use of the navy of the United States. Sumner's opposition led to a personal rupture with the president and the Secretary of State, and to alienation from the Republican senators, in consequence of which, on 10 March, 1871, he was removed, by the Republican majority of the Senate, from the chairmanship of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. He was assigned the chairmanship of the Committee on Privileges and Elections; but, upon his own motion, his name was stricken out. On 24 March he introduced resolutions, which he advocated in a powerful speech, severely arraigning the president for his course in regard to Santo Domingo. In December, 1871, he refused again to serve as chairman of the Committee on Privileges and Elections. Early in 1872 he introduced a supplementary civil-rights bill, which, since January, 1870, he had vainly sought to bring before the Senate. It was intended to secure complete equality for colored citizens in every relation that law could effect; but it was thought to be unwise and impracticable by other Republican senators, and as drawn by Sumner it was not supported by them. He introduced, 12 February, 1872, resolutions of inquiry, aimed at the administration, into the sale of arms to France during the German War. An acrimonious debate arose, during which Sumner's course was sharply criticised by some of his party colleagues, and he and Senators Trumbull, Schurz, and Fenton were known as anti-Grant Republicans.

Sumner was urged to attend the Liberal or anti-Grant Republican
Convention, to be held at Cincinnati, 1 May, which nominated Horace Greeley for the presidency, and the chairmanship, and authority to write the platform were offered to him as inducements. But he declined, and in the Senate, 31 May, declaring himself a Republican of the straitest sect, he denounced Grantism as not Republicanism in a speech implying that he could not support Grant as the presidential candidate of the party. The Republican Convention, 5 June, unanimously renominated Grant, and the Democratic Convention, 9 June, adopted the Cincinnati platform and candidates. In reply to a request for advice from the colored citizens of Washington, 29 July, Sumner, in a long letter, advised the support of Greeley, on the general ground that principles must be preferred to party. In a sharp letter to Speaker Blaine, 5 August, he set forth the reasons of the course he had taken.

But the strain of the situation was too severe. His physicians ordered him to seek recreation in Europe, and he sailed early in September, leaving the manuscript of a speech he had proposed to deliver in Faneuil Hall at a meeting of Liberal Republicans. He opposed the election of Grant upon the ground that he was unfaithful to the constitution and to Republican principles, and otherwise unfitted for the presidency; and he supported Greeley as an original and unswerving Republican, nominated by Republicans, whose adoption as a candidate by the Democratic Party proved the honest acquiescence of that party in the great results of the Civil War. He returned from Europe in time for the opening of the session, 2 December, 1872. The Republican majority omitted him
altogether in the arrangement of the committees, leaving him to be placed by the Democratic minority. But Sumner declined to serve upon any committee, and did not attend the Republican caucus. On the first day of the session he introduced a bill forbidding the names of battles with fellow-citizens to be continued in the army register or placed on the regimental colors of the United States. From this time he took no party part and made no political speech, pleading only for equality of civil rights for colored citizens. At the next session, 1 December, 1873, he was placed on several committees, not as chairman, but as one of the minority, and he did not refuse to serve, but attended no meetings. During this session the cordial relations between Sumner and the Republicans were almost wholly restored, and in Massachusetts the Republican feeling for him was very friendly. Again, promptly but vainly, 2 December, 1873, he asked consideration of the civil-rights bill. On 27 January, 1874, he made for the bill a last brief appeal, and on 11 March, 1874, after a short illness, he died. The bill that was his last effort to serve the race to whose welfare his public life had been devoted was reported, 14 April, 1874, substantially as originally drawn, and passed the Senate, 22 May. But it failed in the house, and the civil-rights bill, approved 1 March, 1875, was a law of less scope than his, and has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Sumner's death was universally lamented. One of the warmest and most striking eulogies was that of Lucius Q. C. Lamar, then a representative in Congress from Mississippi, who had been a sincere disciple of Calhoun and a Confederate officer, but who recognized in Sumner a kindred earnestness and fidelity. The later differences with his party were forgotten when Sumner died, and only his great service to the country in the most perilous hour, and his uncompromising devotion to the enslaved race, were proudly and enthusiastically remembered. Among American statesmen his life especially illustrates the truth he early expressed, that politics is but the application of moral principles to public affairs. Throughout his public career he was the distinctive representative of the moral conviction and political purpose of New England. His ample learning and various accomplishments were rivalled among American public men only by those of John Quincy Adams, and during all the fury of political passion in which he lived there was never a whisper or suspicion of his political honesty or his personal integrity. He was fortunate in the peculiar adaptation of his qualities to his time. His profound conviction, supreme conscientiousness, indomitable will, affluent resources, and inability to compromise, his legal training, serious temper, and untiring energy, were indispensable in the final stages of the slavery controversy, and he had them all in the highest degree. “There is no other side,” he said to a friend with fervor, and Cromwell's Ironsides did not ride into the fight more absolutely persuaded that they were doing the will of God than Charles Sumner. For ordinary political contests he had no taste, and at another time and under other circumstances he would probably have been an all-accomplished scholar or learned judge, unknown in political life. Of few men could it be said more truly than of him that he never lost a day. He knew most of the famous men and women of his time, and he was familiar with the contemporaneous political, literary, and artistic movement in every country. In public life he was often accounted a man of one idea; but his speeches upon the “Trent” case, the Russian treaty, and our foreign relations showed the fulness of his knowledge and the variety of his interest. He was dogmatic, often irritable with resolute opposition to his views, and of generous self-esteem, but he was of such child-like simplicity and kindliness that the poisonous sting of vanity and malice was wanting. During the difference between Sumner and his fellow-Republicans in the Senate, one of them said that he had no enemy but himself, and Sumner refused to speak to him for the rest of the session. But the next autumn his friend stepped into an omnibus in New York in which Sumner was sitting, and, entirely forgetting the breach, greeted him with the old warmth. Sumner responded as warmly, and at once the old intimacy was completely restored. From envy or any form of ill-nature he was wholly free. No man was more constant and unsparing in the warfare with slavery and in the demand of equality for the colored race; but no soldier ever fought with less personal animosity. He was absolutely fearless. During the heat of the controversy in Congress his life was undoubtedly in danger, and he was urged to carry a pistol for his defence. He laughed, and said that he had never fired a pistol in his life, and, in case of extremity, before he could possibly get it out of his pocket he would be shot. But the danger was so real that, unknown to himself, he was for a long time under the constant protection of armed friends in Washington. The savage assault of Brooks undoubtedly shortened Sumner's life, but to a friend who asked him how he felt toward his assailant, he answered: “As to a brick that should fall upon my head from a chimney. He was the unconscious agent of a malign power.” Personally, in his later years, Sumner was of commanding presence, very tall, and of a stalwart frame. His voice was full, deep, and resonant, his elocution declamatory, stately, and earnest. His later speeches in the Senate he read from printed slips, but his speech upon Alaska, which occupied three hours in the delivery, was spoken from notes written upon a single sheet of paper, and it was subsequently written out. Few of the bills drawn by him became laws, but he influenced profoundly legislation upon subjects in which he was most interested. He was four times successively elected to the Senate, and when he died he was the senior senator of the United States in consecutive service. In October, 1866, when he was fifty-five years old, Sumner married Mrs. Alice Mason Hooper, of Boston, daughter-in-law of his friend, Samuel Hooper, representative in Congress. The union was very brief, and in September, 1867, Mr. and Mrs. Sumner, for reasons that were never divulged, were separated, and they were ultimately divorced. Of the “Memoir and Letters of Charles Sumner,” written by his friend and literary executor, Edward L. Pierce, two volumes, covering the period to 1845, have been published (Boston, 1877). His complete works in fifteen volumes are also published (Boston, 1870-'83). The notes by himself and his executors supply a chronology of his public career. There are several portraits of Sumner. A crayon drawing by Eastman Johnson (1846) hung in Longfellow's study, and is engraved in Pierce's memoir. A large daguerreotype (1853) is also engraved in the memoir. A crayon by William W. Story (1854) for Lord Morpeth is now at Castle Howard, Yorkshire. An oil portrait by Moses Wight (1856) is in the Boston public library, another by Morrison (1856) in the library of Harvard College. A portrait by Edgar Parker was painted several years before his death. There is a photograph in the “Memorial History of Boston”; a photograph (1869) engraved in his works; another (1871) engraved in the city memorial volume of Sumner; a full-length portrait by Henry Ulke (1873) for the Haytian government—copy presented to the state of Massachusetts by James Wormely (1884), now in the State library; a photograph (1873), the last likeness ever taken, engraved in the state memorial volume; Thomas Crawford's bust (1839) in the Boston art museum; Martin Milmore's bust (1874) in the state-house, a copy of which is in the Metropolitan art museum, New York; a bronze statue by Thomas Ball (1878) in the Public garden, Boston; and a statuette in plaster by Miss Whitney (1877), an admirable likeness. The illustration on page 747 represents Mr. Sumner's tomb in Mt. Auburn cemetery, near Boston. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. V, pp. 744-750.


Swank, James Moore

Biography from Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography:

SWANK, James Moore, statistician,  born in Loyalhanna, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, 12 July, 1832. He was educated at Elderidge Academy and at the preparatory department of Jefferson College. Pennsylvania In 1852, he published a weekly Whig newspaper at Johnstown. Pennsylvania, where, in 1853, he established the "Tribune," with which he was connected until 1870. He was superintendent of public schools in Cambria County, Pennsylvania, in 1861, and in 1871-'2 was chief clerk of the department of agriculture in Washington. Since 1873 he has been secretary of the American iron and steel association, and in 1885 he was appointed its general manager, which office he now (1888) holds. He is the editor of its weekly "Bulletin." compiles its annual statistical reports, is the author of its tariff tracts, and has edited nearly all its statistical and miscellaneous publications. In 1880, he was appointed agent of the U. S. Census, to collect the iron and steel statistics, his report appearing in 1881. He has published a " History of the Department of Agriculture" (Washington, 1871); "Centennial Report of the American Iron and Steel Association on the American Iron Trade" (Philadelphia, 1876); "Historical Account of Iron-Making and Coal-Mining in Pennsylvania" (1878): and "History of the Manufacture of Iron in all Ages" (1884).  Appletons’ Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1888, Vol. VI, p. 4.


 




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References

(Blue, 2005, pp. 9, 52, 52n33, 53, 196, 198, 204; Drake, 1950, p. 137; Mitchell, 2007, pp. 20, 22, 32-34, 37, 40-41, 43, 47-49, 54, 61, 67, 72, 136; Rodriguez, 2007, pp. 513-514; Wilson, 1872, pp. 123-128; Braver, Kinney J. Cotton versus Conscience: Massachusetts Whig Politics and Southwestern Expansion, 1843-1848. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 1967; Formisano, Ronald P. The Transformation of Political Culture: Massachusetts Parties 1790’s-1840’s. New York: Oxford University Press, 1983; O’Connor, Thomas. Lords of the Loom: The Cotton Whigs and the Coming of the Civil War. New York: Scribner’s, 1968)