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Edward L. Pierce, Memoir and letters of Charles Sumner: volume 1 15 1 Browse Search
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Edward L. Pierce, Memoir and letters of Charles Sumner: volume 1, Chapter 2: Parentage and Family.—the father. (search)
He developed in his youth the spirit of adventure; and, at the age of twenty-one, sailed as the supercargo of a ship for Russia, where he received many civilities from the Czar Nicholas and his court. From this time until 1852, he travelled, without the interval of any visit to his country, in the East and in Europe; studying languages, politics, and institutions, observing with rare diligence contemporary events, and profiting by a large acquaintance with scholars and public men. He made Paris his home, and knew French affairs well,—better, probably, than most Frenchmen. He was commended both by Tocqueville and Alexander von Humboldt for his intelligence and researches. During his residence abroad, he contributed to foreign reviews, and also to American periodicals and newspapers. His themes concerned history, philanthropy, and the existing state of nations, including affairs in the East. After his return to this country, he was, for some years, an acceptable lecturer before
Edward L. Pierce, Memoir and letters of Charles Sumner: volume 1, Chapter 8: early professional life.—September, 1834, to December, 1837.—Age, 23-26. (search)
ceum. He read, Feb. 28, 1837, a lecture on The Constitution of the United States in the Smith Schoolhouse, Belknap Street, before the Adelphic Union Society,—a literary association of colored people. Hillard delivered the introductory lecture, and was followed by Wendell Phillips, Rev. John Pierpont, and Dr. Gamaliel Bradford. Sumner was at this period an overworked man, doing, besides the business of his law-office, altogether too much literary drudgery. George Gibbs wrote to him from Paris, Sept. 16, 1835, You do not do justice to yourself in some of your undertakings, from the speed with which they are prepared. Mr. Appleton wrote from Bangor, Dec. 6, of that year, There is one word of advice to you, my friend; that is, not to labor too hard. Sumner himself afterwards thought that he had given too much of his time to writing for magazines. But his health did not fail him. He was rarely ill; and notwithstanding his excessive application he was able to write to a friend, Aug
Edward L. Pierce, Memoir and letters of Charles Sumner: volume 1, Chapter 11: Paris.—its schools.—January and February, 1838.—Age, 27. (search)
ay a letter from Hillard,—my first token from Boston since I left. It is to me like the leaf of olive in the mouth of the dove. In the midst of the satiety which Paris affords, I hunger for news of home. Feb. 1 (Thursday). Took the eldest son of Madame, with whom I board, —lad of fifteen years,—as my companion in my walks, for the peers. Here is the collection of paintings by the modern artists of France. Classical scenes seem to be more taken than Scriptural now-a-days; and Helen and Paris are instead of the Virgin and the Infant. The painting seems to be of an extremely sensuous character; the forms of women and men are displayed with great freedomo call upon me, if he saw fit. I talked with him perhaps three-quarters of an hour. Is this a specimen of the new-born zeal for knowledge in the humbler orders of Paris? After this passed through the Jardin des Plantes, an immense establishment devoted to botany, mineralogy, zoology, and comparative anatomy. My visit was short<
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)
for I felt a little awe at the presence in which I found myself. She is rather stout, with a free, open, pleasant countenance and ready smile. Presently some marquis or other titled man was announced, and she said, C'est terrible, and rose and passed to the salon, where she received him. Her countenance had the roundness which belonged to Napoleon's, but none of his marble-like gravity. In the evening went to a dinner. Diner Encyclopedique de l'union des Nations. The President was Jullien de Paris, who was born in 1775, and died in 1848. He was a Jacobin during the Revolution. In 1818 he founded the Revue Encyclopedique. We hardly found ourselves at table before eight o'clock. The American minister, the Greek ambassador, and a large company of a hundred or more were there. After the dinner, what was my astonishment to hear my name introduced into some remarks of the President, with terms of praise, which, though disguised in a foreign language, sounded most strange and und
Edward L. Pierce, Memoir and letters of Charles Sumner: volume 1, Chapter 14: first weeks in London.—June and July, 1838.—Age, 27. (search)
especial object to reclaim sundry letters which the Barings have had the folly to despatch to St. Petersburg after you. . . . Last night I entered London, having passed just five months in Paris; and, when I found myself here, I seemed at home again. Paris is great, vast, magnificent; but London is powerful, mighty, tremendous. The one has the manifestations of taste and art all about it; the other those of wealth and business. Public buildings here seem baby-houses compared with what Paris affords. Go to Paris, you will see art in its most various forms; you will see taste in the dress of everybody, in the arrangement of the shop-windows, and particularly in the glories of the opera. I have been to Drury Lane to-night. I went late; and yet I could not stay through the evening, so dull and tasteless did it seem. The last night I was in Paris I attended the French Opera, and the wonders of that scenic display are yet thrilling my mind. But I have not come abroad to see thea
Edward L. Pierce, Memoir and letters of Charles Sumner: volume 1, Chapter 15: the Circuits.—Visits in England and Scotland.—August to October, 1838.—age, 27. (search)
ion. The style of English country life I must talk of on my return: I cannot give you any thing like a complete picture of it. I am struck by the elegance which I find in such a quiet retreat. Yesterday my host invited some company, fourteen gentlemen, to meet me and another friend staying with him, who all passed the night in the house. You sit down to dinner usually between seven and eight o'clock; and one would sooner commit the unpardonable sin than appear in boots: these will do for Paris, but not for England. The meeting of the British Association is passing off very well. I have visited all the sections, and received particular attentions; I do not, however, think the benefits from it to be exactly of the nature usually attributed. I doubt if any important suggestions are here made, or new lights struck out. It affords a stage on which men like Babbage, Lardner, Whewell, &c. may fret their hour,—and I have verily seen some fretting from all,—and it helps to excite the