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[393] under an Act which was unconstitutional and justly condemned by the moral sense of the communities among whom it was sought to be enforced.1

The provision for Batchelder's widow was moved, July 31, as an amendment to a bill for the relief of the widow of a person who had died of wounds received in the war of 1812; and the amendment was adopted after various objections. Sumner then moved an amendment repealing the Fugitive Slave Act, which was ruled out of order as not germane to the bill. The same day he asked leave to introduce a bill repealing that Act. A prolonged parliamentary contest ensued, in which various points of order were raised and debated, calling him to the floor several times.2 The leave was refused by a vote of ten yeas to thirty-live nays. The vote for the repeal, since he made his motion two years before, had increased from four to ten, while the vote against repeal had decreased from forty-seven to thirty-five. He had now in Rockwell a colleague who voted with him. Seward and Foot, who withheld their votes then, now voted for the repeal. Walker of Wisconsin, who then voted against the repeal, now voted for it; while Fish, who then voted against the repeal, now withheld his vote.3 Fessenden gave his vote for the repeal, while Hamlin remained discreetly silent.

As a member of the committee on pensions, Sumner attended faithfully to matters referred to it, as appeared from the reports he submitted and the bills he pressed to a passage. He took an interest in questions of procedure, and his incidental remarks at different times showed close attention to public business.4

Sumner's course during the session, in connection with his character and position, brought to his support the mass of the clergy of his State. He had already among them many friends and admirers, who recognized in his arguments for peace and freedom the moral elevation of his aims. Such were Woods and Storrs, the seniors of those names, among Trinitarians; and A. P. Peabody, Livermore, Francis, and Clarke, among Unitarians. But now, with rare exceptions, the clergy as a body gave

1 Works, vol. III. pp. 426-432. The leader in the New York Tribune, of July 12, suggested by the decision of Judge Smith, of Wisconsin, was written by Sumner.

2 Works, vol. III. pp. 435-450. In this debate, Clay, when referring to Sumner, was as foul-mouthed as ever, and was stopped by the chair without suggestion from the floor.

3 A few moments before, Mr. Fish voted on an appeal from the decision of the chair.

4 The session ended August 7, and Sumner arrived home on the 13th.

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