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[455] to bear witness to the truth of his assertions. When he took his seat no senator questioned his statement. It was made by one who knew the integrity of his own mind, who always said what he meant, who spoke openly and not in whispers, and who never smote men with hints and insinuations. This public denial drew no disclaimer from the President of the language attributed to him.

There was doubtless free talk at the senator's house as well as at the Executive Mansion and at Mr. Fish's; and the President's military secretaries, with assistance from the state department, were diligent in carrying to him all they heard, and some things which they did not hear. But the official tenure would be fragile indeed if such tales told by such men were, without personal confronting or the scrutiny of cross-examination, to determine the position of statesmen, and their opportunity to serve their country. A truly great man has no ears for them. After Chase had left Lincoln's Cabinet, in 1864, reports were carried to the President of what the late secretary had said of him; but he turned away from the tale-bearers, saying he could not as President take such things into account; and spite of all he heard, he made Chase chief-justice.

The measure on which Sumner had put his foot was not to rise again, but in the contest it had brought on he was to be worsted. The Northern masses as well as their leaders took then, as they take now, but a languid interest in the fate of populations, African or Asiatic, which cannot be counted in the political forces of the country. Patriotic people, who dreaded any distracting issue which might restore the South and the Democratic party to power, held back from coming to his support. There was then as always a widespread sentiment, partisan rather than patriotic, which rebuked dissent within the party when carried to a point likely to break its column at an election. It was a period of low ambitions,—lower than before or since, —when public men, especially senators, were compacted into a body submissive to the Executive will, while their followers were fed from their hands by the booty of patronage. Sumner, idealist as he was, did not comprehend at the outset what powers he had challenged.

When the session began, a plan for the reconstruction of the Senate committee on foreign relations was presented in the Republican caucus. It was proposed, with a view of obtaining

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