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[215]

In the winter or spring of 1870, one of Grant's Cabinet said to him: ‘General, you can get St. Domingo and Sumner's support if you will give him something for Ashley’; but Grant refused bluntly and almost sternly. The Cabinet officer may have been right or wrong; but I believe now that no concessions could long have retained Sumner as a friend. He wanted too much; to control absolutely; and the more that was yielded the more he claimed. Lincoln had the same trouble with him as Grant, but was more adroit. He avoided open ruptures by seeming to concede, by playing upon Sumner's vanity, by making him believe that he suggested measures which the Administration had already determined on.

Fish finally became assured that the St. Domingo treaty could not pass the Senate; a private count was taken, and it was ascertained that the requisite two-thirds could not be obtained in its favor, though more than a majority would vote for it. When this was certain Fish became anxious to settle the question definitely, and begged Sumner, who as Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs could control the situation, to bring up the treaty and reject it, so as to have done with the matter; but Sumner was determined to make the Government withdraw the treaty, a peculiar humiliation to which Grant refused to submit.

Late in the spring of 1870, Fish went to Sumner's house. It was night, and the Secretary was returning from a dinner; he was ushered into Sumner's library and found him in tears. The domestic relations of the Senator, the world knows, were very unhappy, and he was depressed and probably contemplating them. He was not rich, and confessed that the state of his affairs also troubled him. Fish remembered their old time friendship and sought to console him. He said: ‘Reject this treaty, Sumner, and let the Senate adjourn; then go abroad for the summer; get away from your cares and think of something else.’ Sumner was at this time

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