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[263] member, and having political associations obnoxious to nearly all the senators, he was assigned a place at the foot of two committees,—one on revolutionary claims, and the other on roads and canals.1

Sumner at once fell into pleasant relations with his associates. Cass, with the recollection of their intercourse in Paris in 1838, was as amiable and gracious as his position of a Northern man altogether subservient to Southern dictation permitted. The Southern senators, the most advanced and intense in their devotion to slavery (like mason of Virginia and Foote of Mississippi), did not avoid him, as the Boston Whigs had forewarned, either on account of his antislavery opinions or the manner of his election, but received him civilly, conversed freely with him on public business and general topics, and some of them (as Soule) were very cordial.2 He had from the beginning and always most agreeable personal relations with the diplomatic corps, particularly with the British embassy.3 His ability to speak French was in this respect an advantage which few members of Congress enjoyed. He already knew well Calderon, the Spanish Minister, and Madame Calderon, who was a lady of Scotch parentage, and had lived in Boston.4 Calderon, when leaving the country in August, 1853, wrote him a very cordial note, assuring him that his friendship had been greatly valued and would always be remembered. The welcome at Washington was very agreeable to Sumner, who thought much, and was accused sometimes of thinking too much, of social surroundings as important to happiness and usefulness. Some Abolitionists were suspicious of these attentions, fearing that they boded ill to his constancy. Not so another Abolitionist who knew him better, and who, though often judging others harshly, nearly always looked charitably on his early friend. He wrote, February 2, 1852:—

1Perley’ (B. P. Poore) described in the Boston Journal, April 4, 1874, incidents connected with Sumner's first session.

2 Soule, when in Boston the next summer, mentioned Sumner with great respect and regard. (Henry Wilson's letter to Sumner, June 23, 1852.) He wrote to his brother George, April 12, 1852: ‘In the debate on intervention, Soule made a brilliant speech. He is the most polished speaker and gentleman of the Senate. Though representing extreme Southern sentiments, he is much my friend.’

3 Sir John Crampton (1805-1886). He was British Minister from 1852 to 1856, when President Pierce broke off diplomatic relations with him on account of his violation of the neutrality laws. His connection with the Legation at Washington in a subordinate capacity began in 1845.

4 Ante, vol. II. pp. 153, 256, 260.

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