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[301] has killed its friends! I hope it may act to discourage further expenditure and experiment in such things. I would not vote a dollar for any engine of war. One war-steamer costs more than all the endowments of Harvard College.1 The fable of Aesop continues to do harm; the wild boar sharpened his tusks that he might be prepared for fight; and so nations keep standing armies and Paixhan-guns—sharpen their tusks—that they may be prepared for war. Far better to be always prepared for peace.

The death of Upshur may make way for Webster, though he had already sold his furniture and let his house for three years to the new British Minister, Mr. Pakenham. Mr. Choate had intended to resign, hoping for Webster. as his successor; but it was found, on canvassing the Whigs of the legislature, that they would not send Webster. I think they made a great mistake, for the country needs his services. We are ruled by feeble and bad men. There is a schism, you know doubtless, in the ranks of ‘Locofocoism’ in Boston. Bancroft adheres to Van Buren; all the rest,—Greene, ‘Post,’ & Co.,— contra: but whom they will support I know not. The chances of Clay have brightened; and I hope, for the honor of the land, that he may be chosen, and that we may be ruled again wisely, magnanimously, without selfishness and vulgarity. Wise2 has made a parting address to his constituents, for which I pardon his past sins, manifold. It is a pathetic appeal in the cause of free schools.

I see by the papers that I have been elected a corresponding member of the New York Historical Society. I believe I wrote you that I had been made a member of the Antiquarian Society,3 and one of the three on the Publishing Committee. In both cases it was a surprise to me. Hillard was recently chosen to the Massachusetts Historical Society, most unexpectedly. In a year or two they will publish another volume, when your admirable paper—the most interesting ever published—will appear.

Ever thine,


To Rev. Robert C. Waterston.

Hancock Street, Saturday Evening [1844].
my dear Waterston,—I have delayed in acknowledging your kindness in sending me your ‘Thursday Lecture’4 and address on ‘Pauperism,’5 because I wished to enjoy them before returning you my thanks. I have seized some moments of leisure this evening, and have learned how much I am indebted to you. The ‘Thursday Lecture’ is a curious contribution to our early history, written with the antiquarian glow of Dr. Pierce.


1 This comparison Sumner afterwards elaborated in his oration on the ‘True Grandeur of Nations.’ Works, Vol. I. pp. 80-82.

2 Henry A. Wise, afterwards Governor of Virginia.

3 American Antiquarian Society, established at Worcester, Mass.

4 Mr. Waterston gave in this discourse, delivered Dec. 14, 1843, a history of the ‘Thursday Lecture.’

5 Delivered Feb. 4, 1844.

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