which, though the former prevailed by a meagre majority, the moral victory remained with his antagonist; the people of the free States were advancing, though with unsteady steps, to a union against slavery,—the Democratic Administration
losing the House of Representatives in the election of 1854, regaining it in that of 1856, and losing it again in that of 1858; Americanism and other issues of temporary and local interest were disappearing, and the Republican party was uniting into one force the liberty-loving voters of the free States, with the probability of success in 1860; the pro-slavery party, with the co-operation of Buchanan
, had been conspiring to strengthen itself by the acquisition of Cuba
; the threats of disunion, once idle words, or words uttered in order to force into submission a timorous North, had come to express a definite and organized purpose;1
and the pro-slavery agitators, having renounced hope of another slave State in the West
and of dominion in the Union
, were now busy with preparations for secession and armed revolt.2
Another and more eventful period was at hand.
The new Capitol
, with its ampler dome, and its extended wings covering the representatives of States and people, prefigured by no mean symbol the country which was to be renovated and glorified by the final conflict between freedom and slavery.
The Senate had greatly changed since Sumner
left it in 1856, mostly in the retirement of Northern members who had voted for the repeal of the Missouri Compromise
; but the change there did not adequately betoken the revolution in popular sentiment.
He was now one of twenty-four Republicans, instead of one of three Free Soilers, as when he first entered the Senate.
On the other side were thirty-seven Democrats and two Americans
, with two vacancies in the representation of Democratic States.
He was assigned to the committee on foreign relations, the place to which he naturally belonged from the first, with Seward
as his only Republican associate; the other members were Mason
, and Crittenden
, with only the last of whom had he any personal relations.
He was welcomed by the Republican
senators; but there was no change for the