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[5] serene, with never a sinister thought to affect the balance between suitors, personified justice in the Supreme Court of the State,—a tribunal which then held and still holds the respect of jurists wherever the common law is administered.1 The representative newspaper was the ‘Daily Advertiser,’ long directed by a public-spirited citizen, Nathan Hale, assisted by his son, the junior of that name; but as one turns its files, he can see at a glance how repugnant to its management were all novelties in the shape of moral and political reforms.2

There was but one society at that period to which admission was sought, and every one in it knew every one else who was in it. It was close and hard, consolidated, with a uniform stamp on all, and opinion running in grooves,3—in politics, Whig; in faith, Unitarian and Episcopalian. Its members were closely connected by intermarriage; and a personal difficulty with one was quickly taken up by the related families,—so that through connections by kin or friendship nearly all the society was likely to take a part.4 Sumner was for a time, at an earlier period, shut out from one house on Beacon Street merely for complimenting, in a lawyer's office, the editor of a magazine who had reviewed a domestic controversy already before the public in judicial proceedings. The head of the family, learning the circumstance from a relative who, unobserved, was within hearing, shortly after returned a subscription paper which Sumner had sent to him, with the reply that no papers would be received from one who had approved an attack on his family.5 The intervention of Prescott was necessary to restore good relations, broken in consequence of an offhand and overheard remark. The prison-discipline controversy of 1845-1847, treated

1 Neither the chief-justice nor Peleg Sprague, another highly esteemed judge, showed to advantage in cases where the rights of alleged fugitive slaves were concerned,—the former wanting in courage, and the latter exhibiting a partisan zeal in supporting the Fugitive Slave Act. Adams's ‘Biography’ of Dana, vol. i. pp. 186, 196.

2 The names of journals existing at present in Boston indicate no identity in management or views with those of former days, as there have been several transfers, with no attempt to preserve continuity in politics or otherwise.

3 E. P. Whipple described the social leaders of Boston at this time, in a conversation with the Author, as ‘fixed and limited in their ideas.’

4 For instance, the Ticknor, Eliot, Dwight, Guild, and Norton families were connected by marriage; and Mr. Eliot was a near kinsman of the Curtis family. Similar ties by blood and marriage united the Sears, Mason, Warren, Parker, and Amory families, and also the Shaw, Sturgis, Parkman, and Perkins families. Another group was the Sturgis, Perkins, Cabot, Forbes, Cary, Gardiner, and Cushing families. The different groups were often connected by kin or close friendship.

5 Ante, vol. II. pp. 254, 255.

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