affairs are so just and wise that I thank God you are in the influential position you hold in relation to them.’
In January Sumner
moved in the Senate, without the customary reference, the confirmation of Mr. Cameron
, then Secretary of War
, as minister to Russia
, and of E. M. Stanton
as his successor in the Cabinet
; but the Senate referred the nominations.
He supported the former's confirmation in debate against certain charges affecting his official integrity.
was confirmed, with considerable opposition, however, from Republican senators.
, who had been in close relations with Stanton
during the winter of 1860-1861, when he was a member of Buchanan
's Cabinet, cordially welcomed him to his new post.
This was the first session in which Sumner
was able to make his opposition to slavery effective in legislation and national policy, and what follows will show how he used his opportunity.
When he reached Washington
, before the session opened in December, 1861, he was gratified to find that a positive policy against slavery had gained ground with the Administration.
, hitherto the only decided antislavery man in the Cabinet
, was always his cordial ally.
, the retiring Secretary of War
, and Stanton
, who was soon to succeed him, had come to the same conviction.
The President was, however, still cautious.
regretted to find that his message, read to him before it was sent to Congress, was silent on the great theme;1
and he was grieved to hear from the President
's own lips that he had stricken from Cameron
's report its recommendation of the arming of slaves.2
He saw, however, that the President
meant to move against slavery, though slowly, and with special consideration of the border slave States.
He called often on Mr. Lincoln
to press the question, in one or more interviews during each week, and conferred with Chase
as to his state of mind.
The President then and always took kindly to Sumner
's pressure, and never misconceived his earnest and positive manner,—telling the senator early in the session that he was ahead of himself only a month or six weeks.3
They were not so near together as that, and hard work was yet to be done; but the ground had been broken, and from that time