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[395] Closing her letter, November 14, she wrote:—

May the blessing of God go with you, and keep a pure and noble spirit unsullied!

Sumner's first appearance before his constituents after his return from Washington was at the Republican State convention held at Worcester, September 7.1 Its managers were very urgent that he should take part in it, confident that his presence would insure a large and enthusiastic attendance, and save from failure a movement which from untoward circumstances did not at the time give promise of success. John A. Andrew, chairman of the committee in charge, wrote to him, July 22, most earnestly, setting forth the strength of his position, which would be of advantage at a critical moment:

Your recent battles in the Senate have shut the mouth of personal opposition, wrung applause from the unwilling, excited a State's pride and gratitude such as rarely it is the fortune of any one to win.

A month later he wrote:—

The whole Free Soil party, proud of your recent achievements, and grateful for the many exhibitions of your devotedness to our principles at all times of hazard and necessity, and the people of all parties, who feel you to have been the most conspicuously representative man to whom Massachusetts has intrusted her interests in Congress since the death of John Quincy Adams, are alike anxious to greet you.2

There was as expected an immense audience at Worcester, drawn there by the prodigious interest in Sumner, growing out of his recent conflicts in the Senate. Never did a public man receive a heartier and more enthusiastic welcome. The convention was already in session when he appeared. The vast audience rose at once, and the hall resounded with cheers while he was passing to his seat on the platform. At the call of the multitude he came forward amid shouts and cheers, in which all joined.3 Never had he been so near the heart of Massachusetts as then. His speech, occupying an hour and a half, was interrupted every few moments, and in some parts (at the end of each sentence) by loud and prolonged applause coming from the whole audience. It was for the most part free from the

1 An account of the circumstances out of which the convention grew is given later.

2 Works, vol. III. pp. 452-453.

3 Commonwealth, September 8; Traveller, September 8; Liberator, September 15.

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