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‘ [303] of some duration to this country, and presents in his own person a decisive proof that an American gentleman, without official rank or widespread reputation, by mere dint of courtesy, candor, an entire absence of pretension, an appreciating spirit, and a cultivated mind, may be received on a perfect footing of equality in the best English circles, social, political, and intellectual; which, be it observed, are hopelessly inaccessible to the itinerant note-taker, who never gets beyond the outskirts or the show-houses.’

His letters of introduction opened to him his opportunity; but that was all. The greater number of those which he took with him he withheld. A letter of introduction, given with due authority, usually entitles the bearer to an invitation to dine, or to some similar courtesy; but its function is then exhausted. If he cannot contribute his part to the circle to which he has been admitted, his career will be short-lived. This is true of the best society everywhere; and it is most true of English society.

Sumner abstained from seeking introductions, and awaited the advances of others. The persons whom he first met were pleased with him, and their good words soon gave him currency in London society. In many instances he bore no American letters to those with whom he became most intimate. At a dinner or party he met other guests, who, attracted by his manners and character, invited him to visit at their houses. In this way, English society in different directions was opened to him. The Attorney-General, afterwards Lord Campbell, introduced him to Dr. Lushington. Through Joseph Parkes he was brought into relations with Lord Brougham, the Montagus, and Roebuck. Robert Ingham, who conceived a strong affection for him, met him at the Judges' dinner at Liverpool. Sydney Smith commended him to Baron Alderson; the baron introduced him to the Bishop of Durham; and at the bishop's he met Sir David Brewster, who invited him to Melrose.

To Hillard he wrote, Dec. 4, 1838:—

The acquaintance which I have made, various and extensive, has been volunteered to me. It has grown out of casual meetings in society, and has been extended in a spirit of kindness and hospitality which makes my heart overflow as I think of it. I now hardly call to mind a person in England that I cared to see whom I have not met under circumstances the most agreeable and flattering to myself.1

1 Sumner's fancy for collecting autographs was developed at this period. He was supplied with many by Kenyon, Morpeth, Sir David Brewster, Hayward, Talfourd, Brown, Miss Martineau, and the Montagus. These, together with others, some rare and costly, which he purchased late in life, and notes written to himself by distinguished persons, he bequeathed to Harvard College. Kenyon gave him those of Southey, Faraday, Landor, Miss Mitford, Coleridge, Malthus, and Thomas Campbell.

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