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style of living was sober but generous, with furniture imported from France; with specimens of art in original work or in copies, which had begun to come from foreign studios with cellars stocked with Madeira of various vintages, the favorite wine of the day, whose age and quality were the topic of much talk at the table. They dined at two o'clock, and took at seven or eight a bountiful supper, to which their friends came without ceremony. Many had country-seats in Brookline, Dorchester, Waltham, Medford, and Nahant, to which they drove in private carriages, sometimes in the one-horse chaise. They were as a class, in private and in business life, men of high integrity, interested in public works, popular and scientific education, social and public libraries, hospitals, charities, and churches. They were honorable merchants, dealt fairly with customers, kept accurate accounts, and their trade-marks were symbols of good work. There is a tradition that William Wirt, who came to B
Edward L. Pierce, Memoir and letters of Charles Sumner: volume 3, Chapter 37: the national election of 1852.—the Massachusetts constitutional convention.—final defeat of the coalition.— 1852-1853. (search)
people, some of them addressing audiences almost every evening; and until quite near the election they were sanguine that it would be approved by the people. They expected also to carry the Legislature, and this result was most likely to secure Wilson's election as governor. Sumner made his first speech at Greenfield, October 25, and from that time till the election spoke every evening, making seventeen speeches. Fitchburg, October 26; Northampton, 27; Westfield, 28; Springfield, 29; Waltham, 31; Lynn, November 1; Taunton, 2; Nantucket, 3; New Bedford, 4; Fall River, 5; Lawrence, 7; South Danvers, 8; Lowell, 9; Worcester, 10; Marshfield, 11; Boston, 12. At Westfield he called at the State Normal School, which he had aided a few years before. Ante, vol. II. p. 327. Hitherto his topics had appealed directly to moral and religious emotions; but now his theme was one which admitted only of sober treatment, and addressed chiefly the critical faculty and common experience. He was
Edward L. Pierce, Memoir and letters of Charles Sumner: volume 3, Chapter 40: outrages in Kansas.—speech on Kansas.—the Brooks assault.—1855-1856. (search)
en that on a former occasion I did something to exhibit the plantation manners which he displays. I will not do any more now. In all this Sumner was no aggressor. He had from first entering the Senate, as a Washington journalist politically unfriendly admitted, observed uniformly, even in the treatment of the slavery question, parliamentary law as well as the requirements of courtesy and good breeding in his personal intercourse. National Intelligencer, Oct. 5, 1854. Banks said at Waltham, Sept. 6, 1856, that Sumner had never spoken a harsh or unfeeling word to his fellow-man in his life. Boston Telegraph, Sept. 6, 1856. It will be recalled how during his first session he bore without retort or notice the epithets applied to him at the time of his speech against the Fugitive Slave Act,—for which he had not given the slightest provocation. It was his fixed purpose when he came to that body to discuss laws, policies, and institutions fully and fearlessly indeed, yet without