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[281] letter, and lamenting that he lacked the moral elevation and nobler spirit of Channing.

But, among public men, John Quincy Adams most enlisted his enthusiasm. Disapproving the ex-President's disregard at times of parliamentary restrictions, and dissenting strongly from his eccentric justification of England in her conduct towards China relative to the importation of opium, Sumner felt a profound admiration for his glorious defence of liberty as the representative of Massachusetts in Congress.1 In this veteran statesman were united thorough training, wide knowledge, dauntless courage, a long and distinguished public service abroad and at home, crowned, as his father's before him, by an election to the highest office in the Republic; and now, as it were, a second career more illustrious than the first, in which on the floor of Congress, single-handed, he held at bay and drove back again and again, discomfited, the chiefs of the slaveholding interest, with the whole country intently watching a combat which all felt involved the great question of our history. With such a character, such accomplishments, such services, and such a cause, he would have stood a grand figure in any forum of the world. Aged colleagues still surviving recall him as he threw, one after another, the pro-slavery champions who came out to meet him; and they renew their youthful enthusiasm as they repeat the ofttold story. More from their lips than from any page of history yet written, this generation can understand how strong must have been the hold which John Quincy Adams had upon young men, and upon all who, against organized capital, society, the traditions of party, and fear of change, even of revolution, made opposition to the extension and perpetuity of Slavery their highest duty to country and mankind.

In 1843-44 Sumner was engaged, on behalf of his State, in collecting the local proofs in the long-standing boundary controversy between Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and for that purpose visited the disputed territory. This service was rendered at the request of Mr. Webster and Mr. Choate, the counsel of Massachusetts, who certified, when the question of his compensation was pending, that ‘he conducted the matter most satisfactorily, and obtained much useful information.’ Massachusetts prevailed in the suit in March, 1846. Sumner was paid five hundred dollars

1 A note of Mr. Adams to Sumner, April 29, 1845, refers to a personal interview in Boston, which he hoped soon to have with him.

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