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[292] consciousness of absolute rectitude and with a soul that never fears, I have been indifferent to such reports; but they come upon me now to a degres that gives me pain. Believe me, I know my rights and duties here, and shall vindicate the one and perform the other. Thus fir in Massachusetts I have not spoken often, but my words have been timely and effective. I trust not to lose this character here. All the Democratic leaders and most of the Whigs desired a hearing for me. Cass, Atchison, Soule, Bright, Norris, and many others told me so before I tried. my remarks were conceived so as to give them an opportunity of granting me the privilege. But after the call of ayes and noes, and the springing of the rattle from those new Union members, they did not dare to vote for me. It is difficult for people at a distance to understand the scene. Many in ignorance think I did not take the right course, or that I did not maintain my position in the proper way. Here on the spot, familiar with the requirements of the occasion, I am now satisfied that under the circumstances I acted for the best. Had I introduced a bill, I could not have spoken except by unanimous consent. Any single person could have stopped me. My first purpose was to try this; but I finally preferred to throw myself upon the majority, and to compel them to the ignoble position before the country of suppressing debate. This has been done, and they are exposed.

I could not have made my speech on the motion to take up, though Mr. Keyes1 says otherwise. Mr. Mason says I shall not speak this session,— that he will prevent me. I have told him that I will speak, and he cannot prevent me My purpose is to move an amendment to the civil appropriation, when it gets to the Senate, that no sum shall be applied to the execution of the Fugitive Slave bill, which is hereby repealed, and on this amendment to take the floor as a right. Of course there will be an outcry; it will be called factiousness, and the bill itself may be endangered; but I shall proceed. Do not let this be known publicly. There are several subjects which I had intended to discuss here, but which time will not allow at this session. But no effort shall be spared to obtain a hearing on slavery. Have faith!

The session was to end August 31. The civil and diplomatic appropriation bill, of which Hunter of Virginia had charge, was on his motion taken up on the 19th. It was not, however, till Thursday, the 26th, that any provision came up to which Sumner's amendment could be attached; and though only five days of the session remained, the several appropriation bills had not been acted upon. Sumner was watching meanwhile for his chance, when, on the 26th, Hunter, on behalf of the committee reporting the bill, moved an amendment for paying ‘the extraordinary expense’ incurred by ministerial officers in executing the laws. This was intended, though no particular law was mentioned, at least in part if not wholly, to cover

1 Editor of the Roxbury Gazette.

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