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[110] was Robert C. Winthrop, of Boston, whose vote is intimately connected with Sumner's political activity at this time.

Mr. Winthrop had been from his youth the pride of his native city. No citizen of Boston in all its annals has combined so many points for attracting the support of its ruling classes. He belonged, it may be said, to its most historic family,—one celebrated in colonial times; and hereditary excellence has always counted in Massachusetts in a public man's favor. He came very early to public life, being Speaker of the State House of Representatives when less than thirty, and elected to Congress when only thirty. He was courtly and formal in manner, but his deportment towards all who came into personal or political relations with him was distinguished by good breeding and civility. His presence commanded attention in any company and with any audience; and his person and mien befitted one whose ancestors, as well as himself, had been exempted from a struggle with adverse fortune. In private life he was decorous in habits, reverent, punctilious in the discharge of social offices, exempt from impulses or inspirations which carry men outside and beyond the currents of life about them. He passed from his studies to public station; and was naturally more sensitive to criticism than if he had undergone the discipline and friction of a profession. If not quite so complete in his equipment as a few of the foremost of American statesmen, he was nevertheless a diligent student of public questions, and enjoyed a rare gift for debate. His style was finished, direct, and spirited.1 As an orator for festive and anniversary occasions he ranks next to Everett, while in forensic power he was altogether Everett's superior. With his early start and his rare accomplishments, there was no high place in the national government to which he might not have aspired, none which he might not have filled with credit to himself and to the country. He belonged also to a generation and a community to which he was eminently adapted. Society as then existing in Boston was conservative, delighted in refined manners and liberal culture, shrank from moral reforms and from any agitation which was likely to bring the masses to the front; and it was besides the faithful ally of the capital of the city, which was heavily invested in manufacturing enterprises. It found in Mr. Winthrop a public man who fully

1 James S. Pike describes vividly in the Boston Courier, Feb. 25, 1850. Winthrop's style and manner, which made him the peer in debate of any member of the House.

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