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[214] these reassured my spirits. In going abroad at my present age, and situated as I am, I feel that I take a bold, almost a rash, step. One should not easily believe that he can throw off his clients and then whistle them back, ‘as a huntsman does his pack.’ But I go for purposes of education, and to gratify longings which prey upon my mind and time. Certainly, I never could be content to mingle in the business of my profession, with that devotion which is necessary to the highest success, until I had visited Europe. The course which my studies have taken has also made it highly desirable that I should have the advantage derived from a knowledge of the European languages, particularly French and German, and also a moderate acquaintance with the laws and institutions of the Old World, more at least than I can easily gain at home. In my pursuits lately I have felt the want of this knowledge, both of the languages, particularly German, and of the Continental jurisprudence. I believe, then, that, by leaving my profession now, I make a present sacrifice for a future gain; that I shall return with increased abilities for doing good, and acting well my part in life. The temptations of Europe I have been warned against, and am fully aware of. I can only pray that I may be able to pass through them in safety, and add my firmest efforts to guard my footsteps. May I return with an undiminished love for my friends and country, with a heart and mind untainted by the immoralities of the Old World, manners untouched by its affectations, and a willingness to resume my labors with an unabated determination to devote myself faithfully to the duties of an American!

Such were the thoughts which passed through my mind during the last night before sailing, while I was tracing the hasty lines which were to go to some of my friends. The letters were written; and late at night, or rather near morning, I went to bed.

The ‘Albany’ left the wharf about noon, Dec. 8, and, while she was being towed by a steamer down the harbor, Sumner wrote letters to Judge Story, Hillard, and his brother George. A fresh breeze then took the vessel gayly along, and the spires of the city soon faded from view. He remained on deck, enjoying the splendid sight of ‘the ship bending to the wind,’ and keeping his eyes on the receding shore, ‘hill after hill and point after point,’ till all, except the Jersey headlands, ‘that met the most searching gaze was the blue line which marked the meeting of the waters and the land.’ Retiring then to his berth, he ‘thought of friends, and all that he had left behind, with confidence in their continued regard.’ ‘You cannot imagine,’ he wrote to Hillard, ‘the intensity with which my mind, during these moments, reverted to the old scenes and faces with which it was familiar.’

The wind kept fair and strong, and the voyage, for one made in a sailing vessel and during the winter, was exceptionally rapid and agreeable.

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