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[296] found no place in his dreams of the ‘All hail, Hereafter!’ In society, rather than apart from men, he saw the best opportunity for individual and social development.

At this period of his life,—just preceding his absorption in public questions,—Sumner felt greatly the need of a home of his own. He had become weary of general society; and when, on account of his sister's illness, he could not be her escort, he withdrew very much from it. In the ‘Five of Clubs,’ he was now the only bachelor. He mourned in Cleveland a friend full of tenderness and sympathy. Loving humanity, he had found inspiration and strength in his intercourse with Channing; and, loving art, he had enjoyed his frequent visits to Allston: but these cherished resorts had been closed by death. He was now thirty-three, and saw most of his contemporaries no longer solitary, but set in families. He felt alone; and was unhappy at the thought of his isolation. To his intimate friends he spoke freely of his desire for a wife's affection. Why he did not then marry,—why men like Irving and Macaulay, gifted with pure and lively affections, never married,—the world does not know; very likely they did not themselves know. No one, it is certain, was ever more fitted than Sumner to give and receive happiness in domestic life; and there were periods in his career when no solace would have been to him so helpful and refreshing as that of a noble woman, who could appreciate a nature so full as his of tenderness and devotion, and take a wifely interest in his public toils.


To Lord Morpeth.

Boston, Jan. 1, 1844.
my dear Morpeth,—Midnight has just sounded. The last sands of the old year have run out. My first act in the new year is to speed to you the benediction of the season. I wanted to thank you by the last packet for the confidence you have shown in sending me the concluding summary in your Journal. I have read it with great interest and admiration, and have longed to share it with some friends who love you, and in whose breasts all its contents would be safe. I think it without question the most comprehensive, discriminating, and candid picture of my country that I have ever seen.

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