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I.

When the assault was made on Mr. Sumner, he was not only in perfect health, but in the enjoyment of a degree of physical strength and corresponding intellectual vigor, that few men ever possess. It was the testimony of the surgeons and by-standers who saw his body entirely undressed for an examination, to trace the extent of his injury, that they had never seen a human form more perfectly developed, for beauty, symmetry, and power. It was the belief of the many eminent surgeons and distinguished men on both sides of the Atlantic, who, during the next three or four years, treated his case professionally, that the only hope for his ultimate recovery lay in the exceptional and almost unparalleled vigor and vitality of his physical system. [297]

After the assault, from which he supposed he would recover in a few days, it soon became evident that the pressure upon the brain, connected with weakness in the spinal column, would render any early recovery an impossibility. He became the guest of Francis P. Blair, at Silver Spring—within an easy carriage ride of Washington. In the fore part of July, he found himself well enough to go on to Philadelphia, where he received the kindest attention from the family of Mr. James T. Furness. At their invitation, he went with them to Cape May. Afterwards, under advice of Dr. R. N. Jackson, he was removed to Cresson, among the highlands of Pennsylvania. But no signs of immediate restoration appeared, and in the beginning of October he once more reached his home in Boston. This return he had postponed, at the earnest persuasion of his medical adviser, who foresaw that his entry to Boston would be attended with the greatest excitement, for the feeling which inflamed the people of Massachusetts, of indignation on the one side, and of the tenderest affection on the other, could not be repressed.

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