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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

William Henry Seward

  • [An American statesman; born in Orange County, N.Y., May 16, 1801; governor of the State, 1838–42; United-States senator, 1849–61; secretary of state, 1861–69; wounded by one of the conspirators in the assassination of President Lincoln; died Oct. 10, 1872.]
  • A higher law.

  • In a speech in the Senate, March 11, 1850, in favor of the admission of California into the Union, Mr. Seward said, “The Constitution devotes the national domain to union, to justice, to defence, to welfare, and to liberty. But there is a higher law than the Constitution, which regulates our authority over the domain, and devotes it to the same noble purposes.”
  • In a speech at Rochester, N.Y., Oct. 25, 1858, he declared that the antagonism between freedom and slavery “is an irrepressible struggle between opposing and enduring forces.” These expressions became party watchwords, which now, like some originating on the other side, have but an historic interest. Thus Gov. Manning of South Carolina, in a speech at Columbia in that State, in 1858, asserted that “Cotton is King;” and Senator Hammond, of the same State, alluded in the Senate to the mechanics and artisans of the North as “the mud-sills of society.” Senator Sumner devoted one of his great oratorical efforts in the same body to “the Twin Relics of Barbarism, Slavery and Polygamy.”