At that time I was about sixteen years of age. In common with all the members of my father's family, I was intensely interested in the election of Mr. Sumner, who was at that time very intimate at my father's house. It was his custom to dine there, I should say, at least as often as once a week. The election had been dragging along all through the winter, and owing to the fugitive-slave excitement it was well known to have reached a climax early in April. I found my way into the gallery of the house of Representatives on the morning of the day before the final election took place, when the first ballot was going on. I remember very well the bustle and excitement of the time, and the crowded condition of the gallery. There was a dispute over the counting of the vote, and a majority and a minority report. When the majority report was declared, giving Mr. Sumner his election, I slipped down from the place and immediately went down to his office in Court Street. I ran upstairs, and found him just coming out of the office, and at once told him of the result and of his election. He took the matter very quietly indeed; and he and I walked up to my father's house together, it being then about our dinner hour,—half past 2 o'clock. The matter of the disputed ballot was discussed, and the opinion seemed to be that, according to the precedents of the session, the blank vote, I think it was, would not be counted. However, the matter was decided otherwise, and that ballot went for nothing.2 The next day the interest was very great, as it was perfectly well known that the vote would be very close. Mr. Sumner again came to
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
1 Mr. Dana (the father) said to Sumner, a few days later, ‘This election is gall and bitterness to some people.’ Sumner replied, ‘That occurred to me; but I at once suppressed all feeling of triumph.’
2 This ballot bore Sumner's name in print, crossed with faint pencil—marks, and underneath was that of ‘John mills’ in pencil. The Free Soilers consented unanimously to have it counted for Mills, who had only one other vote.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.