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[115] held agreeable personal relations with him.1 It happened here as at other times, that he soon found himself with a prominence in the debate which he had not anticipated. Others, knowing well his vigor and earnestness, were glad to put on him the burden of the controversy; and when he was fairly in it, they left it chiefly to him.

Sumner's first public expression on the subject was a communication to the ‘Whig,’ July 22, signed ‘Boston.’ It was plain-spoken, but temperate in spirit. On broad moral grounds it denied the right of a representative to affix his name to a legislative falsehood. What applied particularly to Winthrop was written in no bitter mood, but in a tone of deep regret. He said:—

As a Whig, who never failed to vote for Mr. Winthrop whenever I had an opportunity, and always cherished for him a personal regard, justly due to his accomplishments and his many virtues, I must confess peculiar sorrow in observing his course. I cannot doubt the integrity of his character; but I fear that some thoughts, little worthy of a Christian statesman, have intruded upon his mind. I fear that he was unwilling to be found alone in the company of truth; or that he would not follow truth in the company of those few men who bore the stain of antislavery; or that the recollection of the unpopularity of those who opposed the late war with England frightened him from his propriety.

Sumner contributed, shortly after, an article to the ‘Courier,’2 in reply to the ‘Advertiser's’ defence of Winthrop. After an argument showing that the bill, being practically a declaration of war, and containing a national falsehood, should have been opposed by the entire Massachusetts delegation, he reiterated his expressions of respect for Winthrop's character and attainments, and of the pain which he felt in being obliged to condemn his public action. In a note to Winthrop,3 he announced himself the author of the two articles. Winthrop replied,4 stating that he had already connected Sumner with them, and complaining that they misrepresented his whole conduct, and appeared to be intentionally offensive to him personally. He said: ‘I cannot ’

1 Sumner, in a letter to Winthrop, Dec. 22, 1845. approved strongly the latter's resolutions offered in Congress in favor of arbitration instead of war. His letter to Winthrop, Jan. 9, 1846, contended the latter's speech in favor of a peaceful settlement of the Oregon question, while taking exception to one of its declarations, that the country would be united in the event of a war, whatever might be previous differences of opinion. He maintained, on the other hand, that the people ought not to sustain the government in an unjust war. See ante. vol. II. pp. 256-259.

2 July 31,—‘Mr. Winthrop's Vote on the War Bill.’

3 August 5.

4 August 7.

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