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The welcome which Massachusetts extended to her Senator on his return, was an imposing demonstration of honor and love. Boston was decorated as she had never been for the gayest festival. Thousands had flocked from every district of the State, and every city in New England; and the occasion was marked by every token of respect, and made touching by every proof of sympathy and affection. With great difficulty, and in a feeble voice, he thus returned his thanks from the platform which had [298] been erected in front of the Capitol, and up whose steps he was assisted by the most venerable men of Boston:—
It is a pleasure to be once more among the scenes of home; to look upon familiar objects,—the State House, the Common, and well-known Streets. It is more pleasant still to behold the countenances of friends. And all this pleasure, sir, is enhanced by the welcome which you now give me, in behalf of the Commonwealth which for five years I have served, honestly, earnestly, and constantly, in an important field of duty, to which I was introduced by an unsought suffrage.

Sir, I thank you for this welcome; I thank, also, the distinguished gentlemen who have honored this occasion by their presence. I thank, too, these swelling multitudes who contribute to me the strength and succor of their presence; and my soul overflows especially to the young men of Boston, out of whose hearts, as from an exuberant fountain, this broad-spreading hospitality took its rise.

My earnest desire, often expressed, has been, that I might be allowed to return home quietly, without show or demonstration of any kind. And this longing was enforced by my physical condition, which, though vastly improved at this time, and advancing surely towards complete health, is still exposed to the peril of relapse, or at least to the arrest of those kindly processes of Nature essential to the restoration of a shattered system. But the spontaneous kindness of this reception makes me forget my weakness, makes me forget my desire for repose.

I thank you, sir, for the suggestion of seclusion, and the security which that suggestion promises to afford.

Something more, sir, I would say, but I am admonished that voice and strength will not permit. With your permission, therefore, I will hand the reporters what I should be glad to say, that it may be printed.

[The remainder of the speech is printed from Mr. Sumner's manuscript.]

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