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Sumner's Suppressed Speech

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The literary executors of Mr. Sumner have consented to the publication of the speech which Senator Suuiner prepared for delivery when ho wa3 removed from the Committeeon Foreign Eelations, and the New Yurk Tribune prints it. The circumstances undor which it ws prepared and suppressed were relatedby the author in the subjoined note, dated ■Washington, June, 1871 : To the Reader : Thia statement was prepared in March,shortly after the debato in the Senate, but was withheld at that time froui unwillingness to take part in the controversy, while able fnends regardf d the question of principie involved as above every personal iasue. YieldinK at last to various preasure, Mr. bumner conoluded to presont it at the recent called session oL the Senate, but the treaty with (ireat Britaiu and the case of the newspaper correspondente were so engrossing as to leave uo time tor anythiug else. The speech begins with the avowal that it is made with great reluctauce and with no view to revive tho heat of recent debates, " bnt in the discharge of n public duty where the claims of patriotism are above even those of self-defense. The Senate and the country have an interest in knowingthe truth of this matter, and so also has the Republican party, which cannot be indifferent to pretensions in its name ; nor will anything but the coinpletest frankuess be proper for the occasion." After alluding to the assaults made on him, especially by Senator Howe, of Wisconsin, he says : " It is alleged that I have no personal relations with the President. Here the answer is easy. 1 have precisely the relations which he has chosen. On reaching Washington in December last, I was assured from various quarters that the White House was angry with me, and soon afterwards the public journah reported the President as saying to a Senator thttt if he were not President he ' would cali me to account.' What he meant I never understood, nor would I attribute to him niqre than he meant; but that he used the language reported Í have no doubt, from informatiou independent of the newspapers. I repeat, that on this point I have no doubt. The same newspapers reported. also that a member of the President's household, enjoying his peculiar confidence, taking great part in the Santo Domingo scheme, had menaced me with personal violence. I could not believe the story except on positive, unequivocal testimony. That the menace was made on the èonditiou of.his not being an army officer I do not doubt. The member of the household, when interrogated by my excellent colleague, (Mr. Wilson), positively denied the menace ; but I ara assured, on author ity above question, that he has since acknowledged it, while the President still retaina him in service and sends him to this chamber. " Dunng this last session I have opposed the presidential policy on an important question ; but always without oue word touching motives, or one suggestion of corruption on his part, although I never doubted that there were actors in the business who could claim no such inimunity. It now appears that Fabens, who came here as plenipotentiary to press the scheme, has concessions to such an amoant that the diplomatist is lost in the speculator. I aiways insisted that the President was no party to any such transaction. I should do injustice to my owu feelings if I did uot here declare my regret that 1 could not agree with the President. I tried to think as he did, but I could not. I listened to the arguments on his side, but in vain. The adverse considerations multiplied with time and reflection. To those who know the motives of my life it is superfl uou8 for me to add, that I sought siinply the good of my country and humanity, including especially the good of the African race, to which our country owes so much. " Already there was anger at the White Eouse when the seheme to buy and annex half an island in the Caribbean Sea was pressed upon the Senate in legislative session, under the guise df appointing a commission, and it became my duty to exposé it. Here I was constrained to show how, at very large expense, the usurper Baez was maintained in power by the navy of the United States, to enable him to sell his country, while at tho same time the independence of the Black Repubhc was menaced, all of which was in violaf ion of international law and of the Constitution of the United States, which reserves to Congress the power " to declare war." What I said was iu open debate, where the record will speak for me. I hand it over to the most careful scrutiny, knowing that President can take no ust exception to it, unless he insista upon imiting proper debate, and boldly denies tho right of a Senator to express himself freely on great acts of wrong. Nor will any Republican Senator admit that the President can impose his own sole will upon the Bepublican party. Our party is in itself a republie with universal suffrage, and until a measure is adopted by the party no Bepublican President can make it a party test. SUMXEK S RELATIONS WITH FISH. " Much as I am pained in making this statement with regard to the President, infinitely more painful to me is what I must present with regard to the Secretary of the State. Here again I remark that I am driven to this explanation. - His strange and unnatural conduct toward me and his prompting of senators who, one after another, have set up my alleged relations with him as ground ot complaint, make it necessary for me to proceed. " We were sworn as senators on the same day, as far back as 1851, and from that distant time were friends, until the Santo Domingo business intervened. - Nothing could exceed our kindly relations in the past. On the evening of the inauguration of General Grant as President, he was at my house with Mr. Motley in friendly communion, and all uniting in aspirations for the new administration. Little did Mr. Motley or myself imagine in that social hour that one of our little cirelo was so soon to turn upon us both. " Shortly afterward Mr. Fish became Secretary of State, and begarj his responsible duties by appealing to me for help. I need not say that I had pleasure in reponding to his cali, and that I did what I could most sincerely and conscientiously to aid him. Of much, frem his arrival down to his alienation on the Santo Domingo business, I possess the written record. For some time he showed a sympathy with the scheme almost as little as my owu. But as the President grew in earnestness the Seuretary yielded, until tardily he became its attorney. Repeatedly he came to my house, pleading for the scheme. Again and again he urged it ; soraetimes at my house and sometimes at his own. I was astonished that he could do so, and expressed my astonishment with the frankuess of old friendship. For apology he anuounced that he was the President's friend, and took office as such. 'But,' saidl'you should resign rather than do this thing.' This I could not refrain from rernarking on discovery from dispatches in the State Department that the usurper Baez was maintained in power by our navy. This plain act of wrong required instant redréss; but the Secretary astonished me agaiii by hia insensibility to my appeal for justice. He maintained the President, as the President maintained Baez. I confess that I was troubled. " At last, some time in June, 1870, a few weeks before the Santo Domingo treaty was finally rejected by the Senate, the Secretary carne to my house about nine o'olook in the eyening and remained UU aftor the clock struck midnight, the whole protracted visit being occupied in earnest and reiterated appeal that I should cease my opposition to the presidential soheme ; and here he urged that the election whioh mad Gen. Grant President had been carried by him and not by the Eepublican party, so that his desires were entitled to special attention. In his pressure on me he complained that I had opposed other projects of the President. In reply to my inquiry he named the repeal of the tenure-of-otfiee act and the numination of Mr. Jones as minister to Brussels, both of which the President had much at heart, and he concluded with the Santo Domingo troaty. I assured the Secretary firmiy and simply that seeing the latter as 1 did, with all its surroundings, my duty was plain, anS that I must coutinue to oppose it so long as it appeared to me wrong. He was not satisfled, and renewed his pressure in various forms, returning to the point again and again with persevering assiduity that would not be arrested, when at last finding ine inflexible, he changed his appeal, saying: ' Why not go to Londou Í 1 otïer you the English mission. It is yours.' Of his authority froni the President I know nothing. I speak only of what he said. My astonishment was heightened by indignation at this too palpable attempt to take me from my post of duty ; but I suppressed the feeling which rosé to the lip?, and reflectiug that he was an old friend and in my own house, answered gently : ' We have a minister there who cannot be bettered.' Thus already did the mission to London begin to pivot on Santo Domingo." ME. MOTLEY'S REMOVAL. The day after the rejection of the Santo Domingo treaty, Mr. Motley was removed. " The Secretary in conversation and in correspondencc with me undertook to explain the removal, insisting for a long time that he was ' the friend of Mr. Motley ' ; but hc always mada the matter worse, while the heats oï Santo Domingo entered into the discussion. " At last, in January, 1871, a formal paper justifying the removal and signed by tho Secretary was laid before the Senate." In this the Secretary alluded to Mr. Motley 's " adoptiou of a rumor" that his (Motley's) friendship for Sumner was the cause of his removal; says that Motley's nomination was due to Sümner's ' influence and urgoncy," and continúes: " Mr. Motley must know, or if he does not know it he stands alone in his ignorance of the fact, that many senators opposed the Santo Domingo treaty openly generously and with as much efficiency as did the distinguished senator to whorn he referí,, and have nevertheless continued to enjoy the undiminishedconjidenceand the friendship oí the President, than whora no man living is more tolerant of houest oud manly differences of opinión, is more single or sincere in his desire for the public welfare is more disinterested or regardlessof what concerns himself, is more frank and confiding in his own dealings, is more sensitive to a betrayal of confidence, or wovld look mth more corn and contempt upon one who uses the words and asmrances of friendship to cover a secret and determined purpose of hostüity." (Senate Executive Document No. 11, pp. 30, 37, XLIst Congress, Third Session.) Against the imputations thus cast upon him, Mr. Sumner protested with mucU teeling, saying: Whatever one signs he makes his own, and the Secretary when he signed this document, udopted a libel upou his friend, and when he communicated it to the Senate he published the libel. Nothing like it can be shown in the history of our government. It stand alone. The Secretary is alone. Like Jean Paul in Germán literature, his just title will be ' the only one.' For years I have known Secretaries of the State, and often differed from theni, but never before did I receive from one anything but kindness. Never before did a Secretary oí the State sign a document libelin an associate in public service, and publish it to the world. Never before did a Secretary of the State so entirely set at defiance e very sentiment of friendship. Mr. Sumner then decided that hecould no longfir, withself-respect, continue personal relations with the Secretary, but that this should in no way interfere with their official duties. He points out inconsistencies in the Secretary's letter ' "Thus we have the positive allegation that the death of Lord Clarendon, June 27,1870, 'determined the time for invitsng Mr. Motley to raake place for a suo cessor,' when, in point of fact, some time before his lordship's illness, even, the Secretary had invited me to go to London as Mr. Motley's He declarea that he never urged Mr. Motley's appointment, inerely havingmentioued him with Marsh, Morris, Baucroft and Howe as ministers whom, he thought, should be retained. In showing the early advice he gave Mr. Fish he says : " At once on his arrival to assume his new duties he asked my counsel about appointing Mr. Bancroft Davis Assistant Secretary of State, and I advised the appointment, without sufficient knowledge I am inclined to believe now." In closinohe says : l'Tardily and most reluetantly I niake this record, believing it more a duty to the Senate than to myself, but a plain duty to bo performed in all simplicity without reserve. Ha ving nothing to conceal, and willing always to be judged by the truth, I court the lullest inquiry, and shrink from no conclusión founded on an accurate knowledge of the case. If this narration enables any one to see in clearer light the injustice done to Mr. Motley, then have I performed a further duty too longpostponed; nor will it be doubted by any honest nature that since the a sault of the Secretary he was entitled to that vindication which is foundina statement of facts within my own knowledge."


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