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[90] Dwight ‘garbled’ the documents from which he made extracts, particularly in citing Roscoe and Lafayette.1 He directed his severest criticisms against the report for 1843, describing it as ‘sealed and botched with error and uncandid statement,’ and quoted, without adopting, the still stronger animadversions of foreign writers.

Provoked by what he thought to be Mr. Eliot's overbearing manner and personal reflections on Dr. Howe and himself, Sumner made in his second speech several personal references to Eliot, using terms hardly proper for a young man to apply to his seniors, except under provocation.2 ‘I will borrow,’ he said as he began, ‘from the honorable treasurer, with his permission, something of his frankness without his temper,’—a thrust which, an eye-witness says, ‘made Mr. Eliot start as if he had been shot’ Later on in the speech Sumner spoke of him as ‘the Achilles of the debate,’ ‘impiger, iracundus, inexorabilis, acer,’—saying also that he had ‘in the course of a short speech contrived to announce himself as treasurer of the Boston Prison Discipline Society, next as treasurer of Harvard College, and not content with this, told us that he has been a member of the city government and a senator of the Commonwealth.’ Sumner, who never seemed to realize how sharp his blade was, was surprised afterwards, when told that he had said anything at which his opponents took offence.3 These personalities rankled during the lifetime of the actors. Eliot's social position was of the best, as he was closely connected by marriage with George Ticknor, Edmund Dwight, Benjamin Guild, and Dr. Andrews Norton, and by blood with the Curtis family. The influence of these families ramified in the society of Boston; and this debate, in connection with Sumner's political divergence from its traditions and interests, helped to bring him into general social disfavor.

Sumner was supported by Dr. Howe, who spoke at great length on two evenings, making a minute comparison of the two prison

1 Dwight had cited the opinions of Lafayette in 1825 and 1826, which were adverse to the Pennsylvania system as then existing; but after the system was essentially changed, in 1829, he continued even in 1843 to cite them, giving no dates, as if they were intended for the modified system. Quite likely this was a blunder rather than an intentional misrepresentation. See Stevenson's remarks, June 18. BostonAtlas,’ June 21.

2 Some of Sumner's friends thought his personal references in this debate ‘needlessly cutting.’ E. P. Whipple in Harper's Magazine, May, 1879, p. 276.

3 Edward Austin, in an interview with the writer.

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