conspicuous examples,—who, though not enjoying favor with the national party, were nevertheless faithfully sustained by Whig constituencies.
On foreign affairs, as well as upon this domestic question, Sumner
placed more confidence in the Whigs
Their statesmen were pacific in policy, disposed to settle disputes by arbitration, and not striving to gain favor with our emigrant population by stimulating hostility to England
The strength of the Whig party lay in the older Free States and among the intelligent classes; and from the circumstance that these elements entered largely into its composition, the cause of education and enterprises of philanthropy found strenuous support among its voters and leading men. The Democratic party loudly professed its devotion to the creed of freedom and equality inherited from Jefferson
; and it is entitled to some credit for resisting the tendencies of the Whigs
to favor capital and privilege: but controlled as it was by the slaveholders, and yielding always to their schemes, it had nothing but its highsounding declarations to attract a young man of liberal and progressive ideas.
Among its partisans Sumner
counted personal friends, like George Bancroft
and Theodore Sedgwick
, with whose culture and generous thought he was in full sympathy; but they seemed like exotics in a party which was stifling free speech in Congress and in the country, and conspiring, by the annexation of Texas
, for the extension of Slavery to the Rio Grande
stands more than any one public man as the historical representative of the Whig party; more even than Webster
, who was his superior in intellectual power.
At this time Sumner
regarded Mr. Clay
as a statesman whose purposes were patriotic, and whose views of the national future were large and ennobling.
His enthusiasm for Mr. Webster
as an orator and as the author of diplomatic despatches which marked, as he said, ‘a new era in State papers,’ and his confidence in that statesman as the constant supporter of international peace are familiar to the reader; and these sentiments were strengthened by an agreeable personal intercourse which continued till several years later, when the slavery question drew a sharp line of division between them.
Even at this period, however, when in such general accord with him, Sumner
stated with emphasis Mr. Webster
's limitations, protesting against the doctrines of his ‘Creole