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[605] him as he left the Senate chamber,1 and wrote to him, after the result at Chicago, a letter of sympathy, to which Seward replied in language showing how deeply he felt his disappointment.2 To his own household he confessed ‘his deposition as a leader, in the hour of organization for decisive battle,’ to be a ‘humiliation.’3 A few days after the convention he returned to Washington.4 His loss of the nomination bore an important relation to his whole subsequent career, during which he was found almost always, at critical moments, out of harmony with his party and with the antislavery cause, in the maintenance of which he had hitherto won his best fame.

Sumner appears to have had in mind, even before he became senator, a comprehensive treatment of American slavery, and a thorough exposition of its antagonism to Christianity and civilization, unembarrassed by the discussion of any pending measure. He was prompted to meet the general issue at this time by the bolder attitude of Southern members of Congress during the session,—like Hammond of South Carolina, Hunter and Mason of Virginia, Brown and Jefferson Davis of Mississippi,—who had not hesitated to defend the institution as a normal condition of society, beneficial to both races, even ennobling to the white race, and the just basis of republican government; presenting an attitude altogether changed from that of Southern statesmen at the close of the last and during the first third of the present century, who confined themselves to apologies and regrets. Davis was then the Democratic leader of the Senate, and his resolutions, which he introduced February 2, affirming the sanctity of slave property in the territories, were passed May 24 and 25 by a vote of two to one; his resolution approving the fugitive-slave acts, and denouncing the personal liberty laws of the States, being passed by a vote of thirty-six to six,—all having been previously approved by a caucus of the Democratic senators.5

1 Wilson's ‘Rise and Fall of the Slave Power,’ vol. II. p. 695.

2 C. F. Adams replied to the writer's request for his opinion as to the candidate, stating that he preferred another nomination than that of Seward, who was his first choice, if the latter was found after conference not likely to carry the doubtful Northern States. This letter should be compared with some passages of its author's eulogy on Seward at Albany in April, 1873. See Von Holst, vol. VII. p. 163.

3 Seward's ‘Life,’ vol. II. p. 454.

4 Just after the writer's return from Chicago, he dined at Adams's in company with Seward and Sumner, and at Seward's in company with Sumner. The dinner at Adams's is noted in Seward's ‘Life,’ vol. II. p. 456.

5 Douglas was kept from the Senate by illness on the days of voting. His ally, Pugh, voted with the Democratic senators for all but the territorial resolution.

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