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[154] in the case of ene of so high character. Sumner's friends who were not in the political current were troubled at the misconceptions of his motives, and were anxious to withdraw him from the controversy. In the spring of 1848, the wife of one of them, who cherished for him a sister's affection, begged him to suspend public censure of Winthrop's course. From respect to this appeal, or from his own thought, he forbore from that time any discussion of the subject.

In 1847 Sumner was in correspondence, as already seen, with Thomas Corwin,--an orator who in the Senate and before the people combined humor, pathos, a rare dramatic faculty, and logical force. His speech in February, 1847, against the Mexican War was of extraordinary power, surpassing as an invective against a great wrong — a war wicked at its beginning and in its progress — any ever heard in Congress except Sumner's against slavery.1 The antislavery Whigs at once turned to him as a candidate for the Presidency. Sumner, in private letters and newspaper articles, advised his nomination.2 Corwin desired a copy of Sumner's oration on “Fame and glory ;” and writing to him said: “I almost abhor that last word; it has kept so much bad company in its time that I fear it will always bring with it error and contamination.” Corwin, however, was unstable by nature; of generous impulses, but without firmness of character,--unable “to keep the heights his soul was competent to gain.” In the summer he fell under adverse influence,--that of Schenck, as Giddings thought. His last letter to Sumner was October 25, in which he discountenanced an independent movement, whatever action the national Whig convention might take, and in which, as well as in an address to his constituents, he showed signs of wavering, and put the “no territory from Mexico” issue as a substitute for the Wilmot Proviso, and even put aside the latter as “a dangerous question.” 3 A brilliant light went out. He was as a senator a sympathetic spectator of the surrender of the North in 1850, accepted during that period a place in Fillmore's reactionary Cabinet, and ten years later was the foremost compromiser with an incipient rebellion. A brief mission to Mexico closed his public life; and resuming the practice of

1 Giddings wrote Sumner that Root noticed that the speech “made Mr. Webster look pale.”

2 Letters to “True Democrat,” Cleveland, O., Aug. 15 and Dec. 25, 1847. Henry Wilson, in the Boston “Whig,” Aug. 18, 1847, advised Corwin's nomination.

3 At Carthage, Ohio, September, 1847. BostonWhig,” October 7.

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