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[125] have three men of equal fame as orators with Webster, Calhoun, and Clay ever contended with each other in our national Senate.

The love of travel was with Sumner an inherited passion, which his brothers also shared. The journey to Washington now accomplished in seventeen hours, in a railway carriage furnished like a drawing-room by day and provided with couches at night, is at once an easy and a commonplace experience. It was then made only by stage-coach and steamboat, except a short railway ride from Amboy to Bordentown (thirty-seven miles), and another from the Delaware River to the head of the Elk (sixteen and a half). With the dispatch of these days Sumner would, by the time he then reached Hartford, have been some hours at his journey's end.

At Washington he passed a month, occupying a room in the house of Mrs. Eliza Peyton, at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Four-and-a-half Street. Among her guests were several members of Congress and other persons of distinction; most worthy of note among them was Dr. Francis Lieber, between whom and Sumner a long intimacy now began.1 Mrs. Peyton recalls the tall youth from Boston, sitting with the guests who gathered at the fireside in the large parlor. Dr. John B. Blake, a fellow-boarder, still living in Washington, remembers him as modest and deferential, attracting attention by his remarkable attainments and manly presence, and receiving from the judges unusual civilities. Dr. Blake went so far at the time as to predict for him the highest judicial station, unless he should be diverted by literary tastes.2

The commendation of Judge Story opened to him the best social opportunities. He dined with the judges; made the acquaintance of Henry Wheaton; and ‘dined repeatedly with Horace Binney, and received many marks of friendly attention from him.’3 Richard Peters of Philadelphia, the official reporter of the decisions of the Supreme Court,—whom he had previously

1 They were introduced to each other by a note of Richard Peters, commending Dr. Lieber to Sumner.

2 Dr. Blake's reminiscences of Sumner at the time of this visit were printed in the Washington ‘Weekly Republican,’ March 19, 1874.

3 Sumner had through life a profound respect for Mr. Binney's character. In an address to the Law School of Howard University, Feb. 3, 1871, he spoke of ‘the venerable Horace Binney, as the living head of the profession in our country.’ Mr. Binney died, August, 1875, at the age of ninety-five.

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