A STATESMAN eminent for
patriotism and integrity is a national instructor. The record of his
life, his services, and his opinions, is, to some extent, an exposition
of the spirit and progress of the people whom he represents; and the
people have the right to claim it, not only as a memorial of the past,
but as an inspiration for the present, and a light for times to come.
Pre-eminently may this be
asserted in regard to the distinguished man whose biography we now
purpose to write.
Holding himself steady to
his noble purposes, he was so prominent an actor in the remarkable
events of the last twenty years, he was so identified with the life of
the republic, that an account of his official career becomes, in some
respects, the key to the history of the country for that period; while
in the development of the principles of freedom which he made, in the
consistent life he led, and in the counsel he imparted, we have our
hopes in the permanency of popular government brightened, and our steps
directed as we rise to national strength and grandeur.
In making a register of
his life, the authors have had access to original sources of
information, and have availed themselves of every aid within their reach
for the verification of their statements as to matters of fact. They
have endeavored to present opinions frankly and fairly, and to render
this biography as complete as the allotted time and space would permit.
If this book, in spite of
any errors, tends to do justice to the character and course of one of
the representative men of the present times, to give dignity to labor,
to inspire working-men with confidence in themselves, and stronger love
for our country, the end for which it is written will be attained.
The Colbaths. —Fannington People In 1812.—Mr. Winthrop Colbath and
Wife. - Introduction of Son to Mrs. Guy's School. - School-Books of
those Days.—Change of Residence.—Visit to Mrs. Eastrnan.—Testament. Hard
Times In the Family. —Young Colbath goes to live with Mr. William
Knights. —His Labors on the Farm. -Kindness of Mrs. Eastman. -Young
Coibath's Love of flooks. — His readlng. — Faithfulness to his
Employer. - His Frugality. - Freedom. - Compensation. - Change of Name.
- Character. - Search for Labor. - Resolves to go to Natick and become a
Journey to Natick. -Visits Bunker Hill and the Office of "The
North American Review." - The Town of Natick. - Shoemaking. - Lets
himself to learn the Trade.—Makes Forty-seven Pairs and a half of Shoes
without Sleep. - Forms a Debating Club. - Improves In Speaking. - Deacon
Coolidge. - Health impaired. - Visits Washington In 1836. - Opposition
to Slavery. — Williams's Slave-Pen. — His Own Account of his Visit. —
Attends Academies In New Hampshire. - School-Teaching. - Studies. -
Attends an Antislavery Convention at Concord. N.H.—Loss of Funds. —
Returns to Natick. - Improvements in the Village.- He begins to
manufacture Shoes. - Character as a Business-Man. - Amount of Business
done.— His Regard to Principle
The Rev. E. D. Moore: his Views, and Regard for Mr. Wilson.—The Rev.
Samuel Hunt: his Influence.—Bible-Class.-- Presentation of a Watch.—
Marriage. - Mrs. Wilson's Character. —Her Influence over her Husband.-
Their house and Home.—Birth of a Son.—Mr. Wilson's Regard for Tern. perance. — Speech. — Candidate for General Court.—Defeated on the
Fifteen-gallon Law. - Enters the Harrison Campaign. - General Enthusiasm
of the People. —He makes his first Political Speech. —Addresses more
than Sixty Audiences. - His Manner. - Elected to General Court. - Story
of the Farmer. - His Industry. - This Views of Slavery. - Advocates
Repeal of Law against Intermarriage of Blacks and Whites. - Defeated as
Candidate for Senate—Elected to that Body the Next Year, and for 1845.
-Contends for the Right of Colored Children to a Seat In the Public
Schools. —Remarks thereon. -Advance in Public Sentiment.—Mr. Wilson's
ills Military Turn of Mind, -Reading. -Views of War. —Views of the
Militia System. —Election as Major, 1543.—Colonel and Brigadier-General,
L846. - Regard for Discipline. - Popularity with Soldiers. - Speech in
the Senate. - Peace and War. - Preparations for more Important Duties. -
His Regard for Temperance. - Speech at Natick, 1845.— A Citizen at Home.
- Appreciated by his Townsmen
Southern Efforts to annex Texas to the United States.— Mr. Wilson's
Amendment to Resolutions against Annexation in the Senate adopted.—Cali
for a Convention. —Opposed by Whigs.—Held in Faneun Hail, Jan.
27.—Address to the People.—The True Reformer. —Meeting at Waltham.—Mr.
Wilson's Views. — Convention at Concord, 1845.—Mr. Hunt.—Meeting at
Cambridge, Oct. 21.—Address of Mr. Wllson. — Persistent Efforts—Carries
Petitions to Washington. -Refuses to take 'Wine with Mr. Adams. - State
Representative in 1846.— Introduces Resolution on Slavery. - Eloquent
Speech thereon. —Mr. Garrison's View of it.—Regard for the Constitution
Regard of the People—Delegate to the National Convention.—Withdraws from
that Body.—Origin of the Free-soil Party.—" Boston Republican." —Editor
of—Its Principles and Influence. —Chairman of Free-soil State
Committee.—Member of the house, 1850.—Mr. Webster's 7th-of-March
Speech—The Coalition.—Election of Mr. Sumner to the United-States
Senate, 1851.—Mr. Sumner's Letter.—Mr. Wilson made Chairman of the
Senate that Year—Address on taking the Chalr.—A Contrast.—" The
Liberator."— Harvard University.—Thanks of the Senate, and Closing
Address. —Delegate to Pittsburg. — Candidate for Congress,
1852.—Chairman of the Senate, 1S5'2.—Ills Course in the Senate.— Welcome
to Kossuth.—Sympathy between them.— His Punctuality. —Gold Watch
A Friend of his Pastor,— hard Study.—Temperance.—Books and Authors. —The
Source of Civil Liberty. —No "Back-Blows."—Cheerful Spirit.— Home. -
Gift to his Minister. - Revision of the State Constitution. - Elected by
Natick and Berlin. - Punctuality. - His Course. - how he looked at a
Legal Question. - Chairman pro tern. - Speech in Favor of Colored
Troops. —On the Death of Mr. Gourgas of Concord.—On the Course of
Harvard College in Respect to Prof. Bowen. - Address to his
Constituents.- Reason for Defeat of the Amendments. - Cost and
Influence of the Convention
Candidate for Governor. - Defeated. - Not disheartened. - Visit to
Washington. — His Grand Idea. — Ready to surrender Party for
Principle.—Convention at Worcester, 1854. - Again nominated for
Governor, and defeated. - State goes into the American Organization. -
His Views. - Southern Domination. - Antislavery Sentiment increasing.
Sumner. - If 'Wilson nominated United-States Senator. - His Firmness. -
His Election. - United. States Senate-Chamber. - His Fitness for the
Place. - His Personal Appearance.—His First Speech. —Letter from Mr.
Ashmun.—Extract from Mr. Parker's Sermon, and Letter from the Same
Defection of the American Party. - Southern Influence. Resolution.
Interesting Letter. - .Address in New York. - Antislavery Cause in
Peril. - Brattieborough, Vt.—Delegate to American National Council,
June, 1855. —Stand for Freedom—Protest—Defiant Speech. — Letter from
Amasa Walker. - Remarks of" The Tribune." - Activity in forming a New
Party. —Speech at Springfield. - Twenty-one-Years Amendment. -Opposes
It. - Friendly to Foreigners. - Letter to Francis Gillette. - Catholic
Troubles in Kansas. - Slave and Free Labor Antagonistic. - Reply to Mr.
Toucey. - Mr. Douglas. - Assault on Mr. Sumner.— Aided by Mr. Wilson.
—Scene In the Senate-Chamber. — Challenge of P.8. Brooks. — Reply. — How
received. — Letter of Mr. Harte.—Reply to Mr. Butler of South Carolina.
- Letter from 'Whittier. -Labors in the Senate.-Views on Slavery.—Speech
July 9.—Musket-Bail.—Speech against sending Military Supplies to
subjugate Freemen in Kansas
Philadelphia Convention, 1856.—Platform.—The Campaign.—Sons of New
Hampshire. —South for the Dissolution of the Union.—Kansas and Nebraska —Speech on the Republican Party.—Opening of the Grand-Trunk
Railroad. — Speech at Montreal. — Activity in the United-States Senate.—
Measures proposed. - Speech on the Leeompton Constitution. - Letter from
the Hen. George T. Bigelow; also from the Hon. G. R. Russell
Character of his Reply to Mr. Hammond.—"Cotton is King."—Southern
Institutions. — A Contrast. — Social Condition of the North and South. —
Mud-sills.—Free Labor of the North. —Conclusion of his Argument.— Reply
to Mr. Uwlu's Challenge.— The Affair amicably adjusted
Re-elected by a Large Majority. -Reasons for it. —ills Industry.
—Patronage. -Advocates Central Route for the Pacific Railroad. -Extract
from his Speech. - A Radical Southern Party. - A Personal Interview. -
ills Course. -Temperance Meeting. -Printers' Banquet.-Paul Morphy. -
Fourth of July at Lawrence. - His Address. - Ills Course in respect to
the Raid of John Brown.— Meeting at Natick.—Reply to Mr. Iverson.—Vote
of Thanks by the General Court. -Speech on the Slave-Trade
Mr. Lincoln nominated.—Mr. Wilson's Energy In his Support—Speech at
Myrick's.—East Boston.—Free and Slave Labor—Letter. of Mr. Packard.
—Secession of the Southern States.—Mr. Wilson Fearless.— Speech In the
Senate. -Labors in the Military Committee with Mr. Davis. - He foresees
a tremendous Contest. —His Position. — Great Speech on Mr. Critten.
den's Compromise. - Letters from Mr. Whittier, Mrs. L. M. Child, Gerrit
Smith, Amasa Walker. - Vote of Thanks
The Beginning of Hostilities. - His Advice to the President. —Activity. - Labors as Chairman of Military Committee. — Bills introduced by him.—
Letter from Gen. Scott. - The Soldier's Friend. - Battle of Bull Run,
July 21.—He raises nearly Twenty-three hundred Men. - Made Colonel of
the Twenty-second Regiment.—Goes with it to Washington—Character of this
Regiment.— Aide-de-camp to Gen. McClellan. —Letter of Gen. Williams. -
Receives no Compensation for Service.- Unfounded Charge of Mr.
Russell.-Mr. Wilson's Letter.- His Record. - Rebellion strengthens.-
Character of the Republican Leaders. - Measures introduced and carried
through Congress by Mr. Wilson.—Letter of Mr. Cavneron.—Emancipation in
the District of Columbia.—An Early Aspiration realized. —Letters from
Lewis Tappan and John Jay
The Conflicting Powers. - The Army and Congress. - Position of Mr.
Wilson. —Bill for Sutlers.—Signal Service.—Pay to Officers—Medical
Department. —Volunteers. - Seniority of Commanders. -Storekeepers.
- District of Columbia—Medals—Pay in Advance.—Abolition in District of
Columbia. - The Confederates. - Militia Bill.- President's Proclamation.- Rosecrans. - Bureau of Emancipation. -Enrolment Bill.-Remarks.- Colored
Youth.-Wounded Soldiers. -Corps of Engineers. -Letter of Dr. Silas
Reed.—Fall of Vicksburg.—Conference with the Cabinet.—Battle of
Gettysburg. —Gen. Grant.—Address before the Antislavery Society.— Thanks
to the Army. — Bounties. — Ambulances. —Colored Soldiers Free.
-Thirteenth Amendment. - Speech. - Appropriation Bill. - Wives and
Children of Colored Soldiers Free.—Fourth of July at Washington. — Gen.
Grant.— "New-Bedford Mercury. - A Letter
Mr. Wilson returned to the United States Senate. - Notice of Election by
"The Boston Journal." - Freedmen's Bureau. - Military Appointments. -
Visit to Fort Sumter—Death of Mr. Lincoln.—Mr. Wilson's View of him.—
Speech at Washington July 4.— Mayor Wallach. - Advice to the Colored
People. - The Course of the Executive. - Silver Wedding. - Description
of. - Articles presented. - Respect of his Townsmen. - Record of Anti.
slavery Measures ln Congress. — Character of the Work.—Opinion of "'the
Atlantic Monthly."—Summary of the Work—Slaves used for Military Purposes
made Free. -Fugitives. -District of Columbia.—" Black - Witnesses. -
Schools. - Railroads. - Territories Free. - Emancipation. —Captives of
War.—Rebel Claimants of Slaves. —Hayti and Liberia.— Slaves in Military
Service. - Fugitive-slave Acts. - Slave-Trade. - Courts, Testimony in. -
Reconstruction. - United-States Mail. - Wives and Children of Slaves.
—Bureau of Freedmen.—Amendment of the Constitution. - The Negro a
Citizen.— Colored People indebted to the Labors of Mr. Wilson
Course of the President. —Reconstruction Difficult. —Mr. Wilson's View.—
No Desire to degrade the South. -Bill to maintain the Rights of the
Freed. men. -Supports Mr. Trumbull's Bill to enlarge the Freedmen's
Bureau. - What he means by Equadity.—Honorable Sentiments. —Joint
Resolution for disbanding Military Organizations. - Speech on the
Resolution of Mr. Stevens against the Admission of Southern
Representation. -The Nature of the Struggle.—Condition of
Freedmen.—Mistake of the President.— Gen. Grant.—Legislative Labors.—Speech
In Boston. —Natick.—Defence. Son of the President. —Massachusetts. -
Congress a Co-ordinate Branch of the Government. —Tour through the West.
- Speech at Chicago. - Elective Franchise in the District of Columbia.
—Corporal Punishment.— Buying and selling Votes.—Address on
Religion—Testimony of Statesmen to Christianity.-An Admonition. -Death
of his Son. -Monument. -Address at Quincy.-Good Advice. - His Work on
Military Legislation In Congress. - Its Character
Peonage.—Whipping.—Colored Persons In the Militia.—Bill to facilitate
Restoration. - Speech thereon. - Feelings toward the Rebels. -
Temperance In Congress. - lion. Richard Yates. - Reception at Tremont
Temple. - Remarks of W. B. Spooner. - Mr. 'Wilson's Address. - Mr. Yates
Is. - Liquors banished from the Capitol. —Enforcement of the Law. —Visit
to the South. —At Richmond, Va.—Petersburg.—Animosity of Goldsborough,
N.C.Reception at Wilmington. - Mr. Robinson. - At Charleston May 2. -
New Orleans.—Gen. Longstreet's Opinion—Declines going to Europe.— Bill
vacating Offices. - Appointing Civilians incorporated in Mr. Trumbun's
Bill. —Remarks on its Passage. —President of Convention at Worcester. -
Speech.—Gen. Sheridan.—Hopeful View of the Republic.—Speech at
Marlborough. - Effects of Intemperance. - Who are Weak? - Strong
Appeal—Speech at Bangor.—Gen. Grant -Speech In Faneull Hall.—Friend of
Working-Men. - Reconstruction Measures. - Style and Subject-Matter. —A
Mrs. Wilson's Death and Character. - Mrs. Ames's Opinion. —Visit to
Europe. —American Missionary Society. —Rise and Fall of the Slave-Power Extract.
- Nomination as Vice-President. - Letter of Acceptance. - Address at
Boston. - Regard for the Memory of Mrs. Wilson. - Visit to North
Carolina and Virginia. - Regret for One Expression. - American Party and
Credit Mobilier. —Mr. Sumner's Course regretted. —Election as
Vice-President. - His Poverty
Mr. Wilson presiding over the Senate. - His Industry. - Declension of
his Health. - His Retirement from Labor. - Visit to New Hampshire. -
Letter to "The Springfield Republican." - The Bounty Bill. - Death of
Charles Sumner. - Health Improving.— The Second Volume of "The Rise and
Fall of the Slave-Power in America." - his Back Pay as Senator. - his
Opinion of President Grant. - His Tour to the South-west. - Summer at
Saratoga. - The Republican Convention at Worcester. —His Last Sickness
and Death. - The Autopsy
The National Grief at the Death of Mr. Wilson. - President Grant's
Order. - honors paid to the Remains at Washington. - Dr. Rankin's
Address. - The Baltimore Fifth Regiment. —Honors at Philadelphia; New
York.— Announcement of Coy. Gaston. - Remarks of Mr. Stebbins; of Judge
Clark. — Reception of the News at Natick. — Meeting In Faneuil Hall.—
Address of Gen. Banks. —The Remains in Doric Hail. -Memorial Services In
the House of Representatives.—Dr. Manning's Eulogy..— Services at
Natick. —Address of the Revs. E. Dowse and F. N. Peloubet. -The Burial
at Doll Park Cemetery.—Mr. Wilson's Will. —His Character.