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[45]

To Edward L. Pierce, Dorchester, December 19:—

I thank you much for your kind words of sympathy. They make me forget many of the hard things which it is my lot to encounter. I have read with interest your article on “the Independence of the Judiciary,” 1 embodying as it does views in which I was educated, and which I cherished for years. If I hesitate to subscribe to them now, it is because ever open to conviction, and always ready to welcome truth, I have been so much impressed by the recent experience of New York, where the judges are chosen by the people. If the system adopted there should continue to work well, we shall be obliged to renounce the opinions founded on the experience of the other system. The character of Sir Thomas More is of surpassing interest, and I shall be glad to see it treated by your pen.2 I hope you will give me an opportunity of becoming acquainted with you personally.3

To George Sumner, December 25:—

Our community is still agitated to the extreme by the Webster4 tragedy, though I think it is now subsiding into the conviction of his guilt. He sent for me a few days ago, and I went into his cell. I had never before visited him in my life. He seemed worn in body and crushed in spirit. He called himself the “victim of circumstances.”

Sumner, though not connected with Theodore Parker's religious society or attending his preaching regularly, admired his character, and counted him among his most valued friends. Their personal relations began in the autumn of 1845. They had correspondence during this period on the questions of war and slavery, and each sought from the other assistance in procuring books and authorities on the topics of their addresses. It is perhaps worthy of note that it was in Felton's house that Sumner and Parker first met; and when Sumner and Felton parted, in 1850, one point of difference was that Felton, in a note to Sumner, had expressed ‘his profound disgust with the bad taste, worse temper, and atrocious disregard of truth manifested by Theodore Parker in his libel upon Mr. Webster,’— a reference to Parker's speech on Mr. Webster in Faneuil Hall, March 25, 1850.

Sumner's interest in Crawford was unabated. He sought commissions for him in Boston, commended his works in news

1 Democratic Review, July, 1848.

2 Article in Democratic Review, March and April, 1850.

3 The interview which followed a few days later at No. 4 Court Street between Sumner and the young man of twenty years, to whom the letter was addressed, was the beginning of their acquaintance.

4 Professor John W. Webster.

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