Believe me, my dear Buckingham, with the attachment of an ancient schoolmate, Very sincerely yours,
To his brother George.Boston, Sept. 4, 1842.my dear George,—. . . Lieber is now in Boston, and in my office. Without any suggestion from me, he said that you would be adapted for a diplomatic career, if you were of any other country; but that no American could have any assurance of being continued in a career which he had com-menced,—of all which I am most devoutly convinced; so much so that, situated as I am now, without fortune, I would not accept the highest post in diplomacy. I would rather enjoy a competency, of which I am sure from year to year, than accept a post from which I might be discharged at some new turn of the wheel, and be left without any thing to depend on. Who would willingly embrace the anxious life of Mr. Wheaton, living in perpetual fear of losing his place?1 While writing of this, I ought to add that Mr. Webster's views on this subject are different. The last time I saw him, I had a conversation with him on this very topic. I said that no competent person was encouraged to enter our diplomatic service, because there was no avenir. He replied that there would be an avenir to those who were worthy of it. But how can he say this? How long will Mr. Webster be in power, and will his successor sustain his nominations,—especially as some of them, as Mr. Webster confessed, were of notoriously incompetent persons? I am most strongly of the opinion that no young man who looks for peace, happiness, and the means of usefulness will enter the diplomatic service of the United States,—certainly unless he has a fortune which will render him independent. I am also convinced that it would be very difficult, if not impossible, for a young man to obtain any foreign appointment, unless he or his friends had rendered essential political services to the powers that be. My friend Howe, whose various claims to public and private regard you recognize,—who was seven years in Greece; who was by the side of Lafayette during the three days, and who has led a life of singular chivalry and philanthropy; in many respects, one of the most remarkable men of the age,—speaking French, German, Italian, and Greek,—in a moment of restlessness allowed himself to apply for the place of Secretary of Legation at Madrid a year ago. His application was urged by the warmest letters,—from Prescott, who had been invited by Webster to designate some fit person for this place; Ticknor, who is, perhaps, Webster's warmest personal friend; Choate, who has Webster's place in the Senate; and Abbott Lawrence: but no notice was taken of the application; and Howe has regretted very much that he brought himself to make it.2
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Chapter 16 : events at home.—Letters of friends.— December , 1837 , to March , 1839 .—Age 26 - 28 .
Chapter 17 : London again.—characters of judges.—Oxford.—Cambridge— November and December , 1838 .—Age, 27 .
Chapter 18 : Stratford-on-avon.—Warwick.—London.—Characters of judges and lawyers.—authors.—society.— January , 1839 , to March , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 19 : Paris again.— March to April , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 20 : Italy .— May to September , 1839 .—Age, 28 .
Chapter 21 : Germany .— October , 1839 , to March , 1840 .—Age, 28 - 29 .
Chapter 22 : England again, and the voyage home.— March 17 to May 3 , 1840 . —Age 29 .
Chapter 23 : return to his profession.— 1840 - 41 .—Age, 29 - 30 .
Chapter 24 : Slavery and the law of nations.— 1842 .—Age, 31 .
Chapter 25 : service for Crawford .—The Somers Mutiny.—The nation's duty as to slavery.— 1843 .—Age, 32 .
Chapter 27 : services for education.—prison discipline.—Correspondence.— January to July , 1845 .—age, 34 .
Chapter 28 : the city Oration,— the true grandeur of nations. —an argument against war.— July 4 , 1845 .—Age 34 .
2 In 1868, Sumner desired the appointment of Dr. Howe as Minister to Greece; but the place was given to a gentleman who, it was claimed, should be reimbursed by an appointment for an unfortunate contract with the Government for the transportation of freedmen to Île à Vache.
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