To Dr. Lieber
, March 22:—
Hillard's lectures on Milton are a triumph, greater than was ever before enjoyed in Boston.1 The large Tremont Temple is crammed with an audience of fashion and intelligence, charmed by his exquisite delivery and his clear and consecutive history of Milton's life and genius.
Last evening he lifted his audience to a state of rapt attention and admiration as he sketched Milton's condition at the time of the composition of “Paradise lost.” . . . Kent is most acceptable to pupils and to all the professors.
Prescott's “Peru” is printed; he is joyous, and even talks of a mission to London.
He challenges me to join him. I might if I were independent in condition; but I must drudge, drudge, drudge.
I see nothing of Nathan der Weise.2 Politics have parted us; much displeasure has been directed against me. I could have wished it otherwise, but cannot regret anything I have done.
To Rev. James W. Thompson
, April 1:—
The science of comparative philology, of which we find the first full exposition, I suppose, in Adelung,3 reveals relations and affinities between languages which have not before been supposed.
Leibnitz thought he might invent a universal language.
When we consider what the Arabic numerals and music accomplish, it does not seem extravagant to anticipate some great triumph hereafter, not unlike that which filled the visions of the all-conquering Brunswicker.
It is no answer to this suggestion that we cannot now comprehend the possibility of such an invention.
In the progress of intelligence the curtain will be lifted, behind which are whole worlds of mystery.
But there are practical questions which our age can comprehend: one of these is universal peace.
The last age could not comprehend it; the time had not come.
I hope that the American clergy, and particularly those in whose preaching I am most interested, will never lose an opportunity to commend it.
In the summer of 1847 Sumner
delivered an oration at Amherst College, and later at Brown University, on ‘Fame and Glory.’4
In tone and sentiment it followed fitly his Fourth of July oration.
It assails the common judgment of mankind which awards the highest fame to success in war, questions the love of applause as a motive of conduct except as directed by sentiments of justice and benevolence, and holds up before ingenuous youth as exemplars of true glory such benefactors of mankind as Milton
, Vincent de Paul
, and Clarkson