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[341] earnestly against any war between the two kindred nations, England and the United States.1

He delayed the preparation of his oration; and Felton, who took as much interest in his success as if the occasion were to be his own, urged him more than once to set himself diligently to it. ‘Do not,’ he wrote, ‘let one day pass without laying at least one course in the immortal edifice.’ And again: ‘And now don't fail to begin the great discourse. You are to have a numerous and distinguished audience, and it will not do to postpone it.’ Sumner wrote the oration mainly in June, although probably keeping the subject in view most of the time after his acceptance. But his mind was full of matter, and by habit he rarely completed a popular address until the day of its delivery.

The Fourth of July, 1845, was a day of sunshine and clear air. Sunrise was announced, as was the custom, by the firing of cannon. In the early morning the children of the Warren-Street Chapel, eight hundred in number, bearing bouquets, wreaths, and evergreens, took their usual march around the Common to a pavilion on the Public Garden, then but a waste instead of the beautiful parterre which it now is. The Common was filled with a throng of people, largely visitors from the country, with booths, soldiers on parade, and thousands of boys enjoying their sports.2 The American colors waved over the public buildings. The United States ship Ohio lay in the harbor decked in flags from top-mast to water's edge. Joyous patriotism shone in the faces of the inhabitants.

About ten and a half in the forenoon, the city authorities, under the escort of the Washington Light Guard, walked in procession, led by the Mayor and orator of the day, from the City Hall to Tremont Temple.3 The latter was quickly filled with an audience of two thousand people. On the platform behind the orator was a choir of one hundred girls, selected from the public schools, clad in white, who were to sing the national anthems. Below it, at his left, sat the Washington Light Guard, with their

1 Ante, Vol. II. pp. 71, 81, 82, 87, 141, 177, 179, 187.

2 The writer of this Memoir, a youth of sixteen from the country, was one of these. He went twice to the Temple, and heard parts of the oration, some of the earlier and some of the later passages. He had not even heard the orator's name before that day. Their friendship began four years later, while the writer was a college student. Twenty years ago Sumner gave him the manuscript of the oration, which is still in his possession.

3 This building, converted some years before from a theatre into a place of public worship, was burned in 1852. Another of a similar plan and of the same name now occupies its site.

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