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[262] and John Quincy Adams.1 Public men in Washington were then under less restraint than now in their habits. They could not forego tobacco even during the sessions, and whiskey and brandy were sold in the restaurants of the Capitol,— a practice which assisted vulgarity at all times, but particularly in exciting debates and in sessions prolonged into the late hours, and which will account for some of the indecent and unparliamentary language used in replies to antislavery speeches. To avoid overdrawing the picture, it should be said that here and there in the Senate were men of blameless lives and unfailing courtesy, such as Foot of Vermont and Mangum of North Carolina. In character, presence, and style of debate Chase and Seward were the peers of any who have ever held seats in that body. Four men had recently passed from it who would have given dignity and renown to any parliamentary assembly. Benton, the least distinguished of the four, after thirty years of service, had been thrown out by the intense pro-slavery party of Missouri, made up of Whigs and Democrats, as a punishment for his resistance to the Compromise policy.2 Calhoun had died a senator during the preceding Congress. Webster had passed from the body to Fillmore's Cabinet. Clay was still a senator, but was enfeebled by age and by disease, which had been aggravated by his severe labors in support of the Compromise of 1850. He was in the Senate for the last time on the day that Sumner took his seat; it was observed how sadly clanged he was from the last session as he came with tottering steps into the chamber. He spoke twice on a point of procedure,3 and at the adjournment on that day left the Capitol to return no more to it. It was significant that the very day when the representative of Compromise passed forever from the Senate, it was entered by an equally determined champion of freedom, who would admit no concession wherever its sacred interests were at stake.

Such was the body which Sumner with his high idea of the dignity which became a senator now entered. Being a new

1 R. H. Dana, Jr.'s, diary in manuscript gives an account of a conversation with Palfrey and Sumner in September, 1852, in which the inexactness of Southern members in their extracts from Latin authors was one of the topics.

2 He was chosen at the next election a member of the house from the St. Louis district, which was less affected than the rest of the State with pro-slavery sentiments.

3 Sumner referred in the Senate. July 22, 1868, to Clay's participation in this debate, describing his manner, and telling where he stood as he spoke.

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