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[267] rightly applied to a new state of things, imposed the duty of resisting intervention when attempted by one European nation against the independence and freedom of another. Several senators—Cass, Foote, Dawson, and Shields—congratulated their new associate on his speech; and Mason shortly after, pulling his chair near to Sumner's, drew him into a talk on national politics. C. F. Adams, who was present, wrote in his diary that the speech was ‘admirably delivered and very impressive,’ and approved its position on intervention as ‘clear and just.’

The speech was well received by the public. The New York Tribune1 was generous in its praise, treating it as the most successful first speech made in that body for a long time. A political opponent from Massachusetts, heretofore unsparing in criticisms, who was present, commended it for style and matter, and writing of the favor with which it was received, said that the senator had ‘achieved a triumph.’2 The resolution passed both Houses by a large majority.

Sumner's speech was, in its personal aspects, a good beginning. It showed to those who had little personal knowledge of him, that, however strenuous me might be in urging his views on slavery, he was something more than a popular agitator, and was competent to treat in a large way, and with calmness and prudence, the various public questions. It was observed that there was a moderation and gravity in his style which gave promise of good sense and fair dealing. His insistence on a traditional principle of the government, in the midst of popular demonstrations pushing strongly against it, proved him capable of a sobriety and forbearance which, to many who knew him only as a reformer, was a surprise. The speech was satisfactory to the mass of his political supporters in Massachusetts. They were pleased that he had acquitted himself so well in his new position; and they concurred in his generous praise of Kossuth, without having any definite opinion as to how far it was wise to yield to the appeal for aid, and being quite content to leave the decision of that question to their senator. From them came numerous congratulations. Those among them who were students of public questions, like Adams,

1 December 11.

2 William Schouler in the BostonAtlas,’ December 13. Webster was in the Senate the day before, but probably not present on this day.

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