Section Twelfth: his character and fame.
In tracing Mr. Sumner
's course in the Senate, I intentionally avoided any account of his rupture with the President
, and the alienation from him of the great body of the Republican party.
I took this course partly from a repugnance I have had all my life to entering into the contests and bickerings of partisans; and partly from reluctance to appear in any attitude of hostility to a President, a Secretary of State
, and the leaders of the great political organization which had saved the nation from overthrow, and by so many noble and beneficent acts, commanded the confidence of the country, and the respect of mankind.
I did not deem it worthy of a patriotic man, to allow any disappointment, or even personal injury, however deep, to deter him from supporting a party that was doing so well; while it should always be beneath the true dignity of a historian, to cast over the mind of his reader any of the shadows of party conflicts to disturb the judgment with which the occurrence of important events should be contemplated.
At the same time, I should feel that I was acting utterly unworthy of the responsibility I assumed in writing this book, if I should close it without an unqualified expression of the disapproval which all honorable minds must entertain of that act of insult, folly and cowardice by which the greatest man in the American Senate, was displaced from the Chairmanship of the Committee
on Foreign Affairs.
The petty annoyances and revenges with which