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[133] divine, was closely connected with leading families, and associated with the wealth and culture of the city. His kindly nature and Christian profession should have inclined him to listen with open ears to the cry of a pursued negro who had testified his longing for freedom by enterprise and endurance which in a better age would have drawn to him universal sympathy. Professor Norton had taken an early interest in Sumner, giving him a benediction as he left for Europe, and felt a genuine regret when he saw a young man of his high promise diverging, as he thought, from a career of usefulness and propriety. He wrote thus, September 29:—

I thank you much for your kindness in sending me your oration before the P. B. K., and heartily congratulate you on its success. I have been so occupied since its publication that I have not been able to read it through; but last evening I heard passages of it read aloud with great pleasure.

There is another subject on which, though you have invited my attention to it, I have doubted about expressing my opinion; but possibly it May be of some service to you to understand the feelings of one who is so little of a party man and so friendly to yourself; and this hope makes me willing, at any risk, to take the chance that what I say may lead you to reflect on the position in which you are standing.

You are giving yourself up to politics as the principal occupation of your time and feelings. It is a dangerous trade; one in which a poor man,—a man dependent on his own exertions for his support, with whatever good resolutions he may set out,—must find it difficult to preserve his moral principles uninjured and his honor unsullied. With your talents, your goodness of temper, and right principles, your character is yet in some respects particularly unfitted for political life. You have begun by offending many individuals who are among the most respectable and estimable, and who are and ought to be among the most influential, in the community. You have publicly and explicitly connected yourself with a party—the Abolitionists—which I believe has caused the greatest mischief to the country, and by the intemperance of its language, the folly of its measures, and by rejecting all practicable good in aiming at what is impracticable, has done all which it was in its power to do in impeding the attainment of the object professedly desired by it. I have a sincere respect for the feelings of many Abolitionists, particularly females, and others who may be expected to be governed by their feelings; but it is intolerable assumption in the party to present itself before the world as having a monopoly of all the humanity, sympathy for suffering, and sense of justice which exist among us, especially when so much of its philanthropy is of such a rabid and ferocious character, reminding us of the philanthropy of the days of Robespierre.

I cannot help thinking that in your speech before the Whig convention you were more influenced by the opinions and feelings of those who look on the great evil of American slavery from a distance than by a consideration of what is practicable or possible, or what it is wise to propose, in the existing

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