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[262]

I wish you would present my most respectful compliments to your father, whose pen has entitled him to so much gratitude; and to your sisters. And believe me, my dear sir, with sincere regard,

Faithfully yours,


To Mrs. Quincy, Cambridge.

Court Street, May 30, 1843.
my dear Mrs. Quincy,—I should be cold indeed, if I received in silence the very, very kind letter which you have been so good as to write me.1 I am touched more than I can express by the assurances so warmly conveyed of your friendly interest in me. I can but say, in all sincerity, I am not worthy of all this.

Mrs. Montagu, like most Europeans, sees our country from afar. She is not aware of the ample means of social and intellectual enjoyment offered in different parts of it. Would that she could visit us and see with her own eyes the refinement, grace, and cultivation which adorn your home! I think that you would become attached to each other. She much misunderstands me, if she supposes I have any such desires as she suggests. In the first place, I never expect to be rich; nor, thus far in my life, have I made much exertion for this yellow possession. If I were so, however, I should prefer to live among my own kindred, near the friends to whom I have grown, and in sight of objects that have become as dear as they are familiar. Believe me, when I say that I have no hankering after England or English people. The draught of cool water from one's native fountain is sweeter than the choicest wines that have been pressed from the purple grapes of a foreign soil.

My pleasantest associations are with Cambridge. It was there that I first caught the voice of friendship and encouragement; and I now remember most gratefully the kindness which I received long ago under your roof It has been my lot to see many sights, and to witness various forms of hospitality since those early days. But my soul returns to Cambridge as the scene of my truest joys, the place where I first tasted the sweets of knowledge, the home of my best friends. If I forget these things, then may my right hand forget its cunning! The true friendship of your letter has opened my heart, and I write as from soul to soul.

Believe me, dear Mrs. Quincy, with affectionate regard,

Very sincerely yours,


1 Sumner had sent to his old friend, Mrs. Quincy, the wife of the President of Harvard University, a letter he had received from Mrs. Basil Montagu, which expressed the hope that, after having acquired a fortune, he would take up his residence in England; intimating that one of his character and attainments would hardly be appreciated in the United States. Ante, Vol. II, p. 160. Mrs. Quincy, in a note to him, reviewed in a pleasant way the literary and personal topics of the letter, dissenting, however, from Mrs. Montagu's implied depreciation of American society, and recalled the long friendship which the President and herself had cherished for him; and to her note the above is Sumner's answer.

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