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Senatorial Character A Sermon in West Church, Boston, Sunday, 15th of March, After the Decease of Charles Sumner.   By: (1813-1900)

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Transcriber's Note: The last sentence of the first paragraph on page 9 is likely missing text. A consultation of another source has the same content. On page 15, the word cotemporary, meaning "One who lives at the same time with another; a contemporary", is correct.











" He made him to teach his senators wisdom. " Psalms cv, 21, 22.

The common theory of the pulpit is of a place devoted to expound some old situation, abstract scheme of salvation, or article in a creed. It has a higher end, to give the meaning of the scenes of real life, in which we observe the actors and play ourselves a part. If history be philosophy teaching by example, and of all history biography be the soul, then human character, when rare and conspicuous in its traits or achievements, gives as pattern or warning the chief lesson. Christian edification comes less signally from hair splitting, dogmatic distinction than from contemplating for imitation or admonition the lives of Enoch and Solomon, Paul and Peter, Jesus and John. So I take to day the death of the most eminent civilian of Massachusetts for my theme.

As the King in Egypt chose Joseph to teach his senators wisdom, no man of late years has equalled Charles Sumner as an instructor or influence in the Senate of the United States.

An instinct of nature prompts us to make some account and sum up the significance of any one's career, privately, on the domestic stage, or before the people, if he has challenged attention in a larger sphere.

It may be useful to make some discriminating estimate of Mr. Sumner's contributions to the public good, the legislature of a free State in a great Union being the monarch that for so long a period continued to elect him to his high office.

However opinions may differ of his prudence or ability, the weight of his word or importance of his position none will doubt.

Our messenger of the lightning had no greater task this last week in the world than to wait at his threshold and run with news every hour over the wires of his estate.

His principal peers at his bedside and his colored clients flocking for inquiry at his door showed a feeling of love and sympathy reaching from the highest to the lowest class.

In culture he was a match for nobles, in temper he was a champion of the oppressed and friend to the poor.

I suppose no American name is more widely known and celebrated in all civilized lands.

Great Britain and France will feel the shock of his decease.

That one of our political pillars has fallen will be known at the Court of St. Petersburg and among the counsellors of Berlin.

Italy and Spain, with their Republican struggles and aims, will miss an advocate on this side the sea.

Castelar will mourn the departure of a companion in arms in the peaceful battles of reform, as Cavour might have felt through the cable from him for emancipation an electric touch.

South America, with her strange mixture of barbarism with liberation, will be conscious of owing some honor to the obsequies of a sympathizer with all that is generous in her aspirations.

Hayti will deplore the decease of a supporter of her rights more powerful than any on her own shores.

A flutter of pain and sorrow will pass through that whole flock of islands alighted, as in the great harbor of our land, betwixt the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea... Continue reading book >>

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