wrote from Cambridge
, Aug. 11, as follows:1
I thank you very sincerely for your present of a copy of your Fourth of July oration.
I have read it with uncommon interest and care, as you might well suppose, as well on your own account as from the various voices of fame which succeeded the delivery.
It is certainly a very striking production, and will fully sustain your reputation for high talents, various reading, and exact scholarship.
There are a great many passages in it which are wrought out with an exquisite finish and elegance of diction and classical beauty.
I go earnestly and heartily along with many of your sentiments and opinions.
They are such as befit an exalted mind and an enlarged benevolence.
But from the length and breadth of your doctrine as to war I am compelled to dissent.
In my judgment, war is under some (although I agree not under many) circumstances not only justifiable but an indispensable part of public duty.
And if the reasoning which you have adopted be sound, it extends far beyond the limits to which you have now confined it. It is not, however, my intention to discuss the matter at all with you; I am too old to desire, or even to indulge in, controversy.
No one who knows you can doubt the entire sincerity with which you have spoken.
All that I desire to claim is as sincere a conviction that, in the extent to which you seem to press your doctrines, they are not in my judgment defensible.
In many parts of your discourse I have been struck with the strong resemblances which it bears to the manly, moral enthusiasm of Sir James Mackintosh; but I think that he would have differed from you in respect to war, and would have maintained a moderation of views, belonging at once to his philosophy and his life.
I have spoken in all frankness to you, because I know that you will understand your friends too well to wish them to suppress their own opinions; but be assured that no one cherishes with more fond and affectionate pride the continual advancement of your professional and literary fame than myself, and no one has a deeper reverence for your character and virtues.
Believe me, as ever, most truly and affectionately.
The above letter was the parting benediction of one who had cherished an affection for Sumner
like that of a father for his son. It is the one of latest date included in the Judge
's biography, and is the last one of any interest which he wrote.
He was at the time anticipating busy years of authorship and instruction in the Law School; but his life ended after a rapid illness on Sept. 10, at the age of sixty-six.
, who had read Judge Story
's letter, wrote frankly, Nov. 21:—
The views of Judge Story are coincident with mine; and from the length and breadth of your doctrine as to war I am compelled to dissent