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Edward L. Pierce, Memoir and letters of Charles Sumner: volume 1 34 0 Browse Search
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Edward L. Pierce, Memoir and letters of Charles Sumner: volume 1, Chapter 3: birth and early Education.—1811-26. (search)
ater life, often spoke of this trait of his boyhood. He enjoyed history most of all, reading it not in an easy, careless way, but with earnest attention, sitting on a low seat, and with maps spread out before him. When fourteen years of age, he wrote a compendium of English history, from Caesar's conquest to 1801, which filled a manuscript-book of eighty-six pages. The penmanship is elaborate in the early part, but less careful towards the end. The events are succinctly narrated, in good English, and dates are given, with the year and often with the month and day. With a boy's humor he begins with this title: A Chronological Compendium of English History, by Charles Sumner. Copyright secured. Boston, 1825. This abstract, probably begun at his father's suggestion, was a discipline in composition and study, which prepared the way for larger acquisitions. In 1826, when fifteen years old, he read Gibbon's History, copying at the same time the extracts which pleased him. Some of the
Edward L. Pierce, Memoir and letters of Charles Sumner: volume 1, Chapter 9: going to Europe.—December, 1837.—Age, 26. (search)
to be measured by any reciprocity of obligation and performance. My heart throbs for you, and my mind thinks of your labors. What I can do to aid, encourage, and cheer you, I yearn to do. This you feel persuaded of, I know; and that is enough. I shall remember you at every step of my journey, and in your dear fatherland shall especially call you to my mind. Oh, that I spoke your tongue! My mortification and humiliation is great to think of my ignorance. In my own language—dear native English!—I am sometimes told that I excel; and how I shall be humbled by my inability to place myself en rapport with the minds which 1 shall meet! I shall write you in German from Germany. There, on the spot, with the mighty genius of your language hovering over me, I will master it. To that my nights and days must be devoted. The spirits of Goethe and Richter and Luther will cry in my ears, trumpet-tongued. I would give Golconda or Potosi or all Mexico, if I had them, for your German tongue.
Edward L. Pierce, Memoir and letters of Charles Sumner: volume 1, Chapter 10: the voyage and Arrival.—December, 1837, to January, 1838— age, 26-27. (search)
ox to me. I dropped into it a few sons, and regarded the whole scene as thoroughly and beautifully characteristic of France. She was listened to with pleasure and respect. Dec. 30 (Saturday). A day at Rouen, the ancient capital of Normandy; and my eyes and mind have been constantly on the stretch with interest and observation. Shortly after breakfast, in company with a fellow-traveller, I took a commissionnaire, or guide, to conduct me to the interesting objects in the place. He spoke English, and, as a resident of the town, had a superficial acquaintance with it; and therefore was in a degree useful, though afterwards I learned from examining the guide-book (which I should have read at first) that many of his stories were vulgar errors. We first visited the cathedral, where we spent about three hours: as many weeks devoted to it would leave its immense fund of interest for the intelligent traveller unexhausted. The cathedral Sumner visited Rouen and its cathedral some year
Edward L. Pierce, Memoir and letters of Charles Sumner: volume 1, Chapter 11: Paris.—its schools.—January and February, 1838.—Age, 27. (search)
. Then ensued a series of contretemps. He did not speak a word of English; and my French was no more fit for use than a rusty gun-barrel, orourse of the dinner I talked with the elder sister, by my side, in English,—sometimes both speaking English, and sometimes I speaking French English, and sometimes I speaking French and she speaking English. In the course of the dinner, however, I was appealed to by the deputy with regard to the Constitution of the UniteEnglish. In the course of the dinner, however, I was appealed to by the deputy with regard to the Constitution of the United States and those of the different States; the qualifications of electors, the terms of office, &c.; the present state of parties, slavery, supplying you with some new luxury. I sat next to the lady of Milord English, and found her good-natured rather than sensible or informed; a on Sundays, and that he could not afford to hire an instructor in English. He accordingly proposed to render me assistance in acquiring French, if I would return the same assistance to him with regard to English. The whole rencontre was so odd that I at first feared some decepti
Edward L. Pierce, Memoir and letters of Charles Sumner: volume 1, Chapter 12: Paris.—Society and the courts.—March to May, 1838.—Age, 27. (search)
emphasis and a loud voice; his sentences, nevertheless, were quite measured. He does not speak English. He did not appear amiable; and, though he spent upwards of an hour with me, his countenance aed the United States and written a book about the country; and yet he does not venture to speak English, or did not to-day. His wife received me cordially. The salon was—perhaps I may say, in Yankeprominent but expressive eye. I conversed with him considerably, partly in French and partly in English. From what I hear said of him, from what I have read of his writings, and from having seen himeived me almost like an old friend, with great ardor and simplicity of manner, at once speaking English, and not allowing me to speak French. He is a stout person, of about fifty-five, perhaps sixtyhim; he told me that it was translated under his eyes, but not by him, for that he cannot write English. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire was translated by Mrs. Austin. He inquired after Dr
Edward L. Pierce, Memoir and letters of Charles Sumner: volume 1, Chapter 14: first weeks in London.—June and July, 1838.—Age, 27. (search)
n at home; I start as I catch English sounds in the streets; and for the moment believe that I am in New York or more loved Boston when I see the signs over shop-doors staring me in the face. The style of building is American; or rather ours is English. Everywhere I see brick. I do not remember a house in Paris of that material. If I enter a house, I find the furniture like ours; and then, over and above all, is the common language, which, like the broad and casing air, seems to be perpetuaington, saying that his ashes still reposed at Mt. Vernon. Landor at once broke upon me, with something like fierceness: Why will you, Mr. Sumner, who speak with such force and correctness, employ a word which, in the present connection, is not English? Washington's body was never burnt; there are no ashes,—say, rather, remains. I tell this story, compliment and all, just as it occurred, that you may better understand this eccentric man. I think we were all jaded and stupid, for the conversa