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[271] no change in our policy or opinions. His cause was a lost one, even before he left us; and his American supporters saw that no foreign aid could save it. By the time Sumner returned home, at the end of the session, the Hungarian question had ceased to be a prominent one in the public mind.

Kossuth's reception led to the introduction in the Senate of resolutions on the question of intervention. Several set speeches were made upon them,—among which were those of Cass, Seward, and Soule. Sumner thought at one time of engaging in the debate, but his attention to other matters of more practical interest prevented.1 He wrote to John Bigelow, Dec. 13, 1851:—

Kossuth errs, all err, who ask any intervention by government. Individuals may do as they please,—stepping to the verge of the law of nations, —but the government cannot act. Depend upon it, you will run against a post if you push that idea. Enthusiast for freedom, I am for everything practical; but that is not practical.

To George Sumner, Jan. 5, 1852:—

Kossuth produces a great impression by personal presence and speech, but confesses that his mission has failed. It has failed under bad counsels, from his asking too much. . . . When the time cones that we can strike a blow for any good cause I shall be ready; but meanwhile our true policy is sympathy with the liberal movement everywhere, and this declared without mincing or reserve. . . . I have seen Kossuth several times. He said to me that the next movement would decide the fate of Europe and Hungary for one hundred years. I told him at once that he was mistaken; that Europe was not destined, except for a transient time, to be Cossack. . . . There is a wretched opposition to him here proceeding from slavery. In truth, slavery is the source of all our baseness, from gigantic national issues down to the vile manners and profuse expectorations of this place.

To E. L. Pierce, January 21:—

I have one moment for you, and only this. My speech was an honest utterance of my convictions on two important points. I pleaded at the same time for Kossuth and for what I know to be the true policy of our country. I told him in a long private interview the day before he left Washington, that if he had made at Castle Garden the speech he made at the Congressional banquet, he would have united the people of this country for him and his cause; but that he had disturbed the peace-loving and conservative by his demands. My desire was to welcome him warmly and sympathetically, but at the same time to hold fast to the pacific policy of our country.

1 It was well that our government refrained from interposing in the struggle between Austria and Hungary, and making a precedent which might have been turned against us in our Civil War. Sumner reported in the Senate, Feb. 28, 1863, resolutions against foreign intervention in the Rebellion. Works, vol. VII. pp. 307-312.

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