previous next
[558] he conducted while I took part in debate was essentially base. But men are improved by the cause they espouse; and all attest the reserve, moderation, and propriety with which he has recently spoken. But why does he cease to be bully now? Reasons for this may be given which are little creditable. Does he bully only when he knows his opponents do not use the pistol and knife? He is essentially a partisan; therefore in quitting Democracy he must ultimately come into our camp. But he must come there at least before he can rank with Republicans. He has not yet arrived.

It was a constant grief to Sumner that he could not take part in the debate in the Senate; but his physicians forbade the strain and excitement. He was in his seat December 7, when he was welcomed by his Republican colleagues, while the Administration senators, with a few exceptions, kept aloof from him.1 As always, the diplomatic corps were very cordial, particularly Lord Napier, notwithstanding his sympathies with the pro-slavery party.

Sumner found at once that he must remain a passive spectator for some time to come. He was relieved, at his own request, from service on committees. He attended the sessions during the morning hour, but otherwise kept away from the Senate, awaiting a notice of any important vote. His nervous system was so sensitive that he was disturbed by debates; and he left his seat when they began, going out even on the third day when Douglas opened his controversy with the Administration on the Lecompton question, a speech to which he desired much to listen.2 He abstained from general society, though occasionally dining with friends. While in Washington he passed his time mostly at his lodgings, quietly reading, or in the library of Congress, or in the Smithsonian Institution,—places where he looked over engravings and rare books; and he tested his strength in walking. He chafed sorely under the limitations imposed by his disability. To Theodore Parker he wrote, December 19: ‘I am unhappy; and yesterday, after sitting in the Senate, I felt like a man of ninety. When will this end? Otherwise I am very well.’ To Dr. Howe he wrote: “At times I feel almost well, and then after a little writing or a little sitting in the Senate I feel the weight spreading over my brain; but at least for the present I shall do nothing. I make visits, inspect the improvements of the Capitol, read newspapers, and sit quietly in my room, often much alone; but ”

1 Boston Traveller, Feb. 25, 1858.

2 New York Evening Post, Dec. 11, 1857.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
George Sumner (2)
Theodore Parker (1)
Samuel G. Howe (1)
Douglas (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
February 25th, 1858 AD (1)
December 11th, 1857 AD (1)
December 19th (1)
December 7th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: