June 24, 1848. Dined in town. Saw Sumner surrounded by his captains, Adams, Allen, and Phillips They are in great fervor touching their Anti-Taylor-and-Cass meeting in Worcester. Sept. 3. Sumner full of zeal for the Barnburners. But he shrinks a little from the career just opening before him. After dinner we called on Palfrey. Sept. 17. Sumner passed the afternoon with us. After tea I walked halfway into town with him. He looks somewhat worn. Nothing but politics now. Oh, where are those genial days when literature was the theme of our conversation . Oct. 22. Sumner stands now, as he himself feels, at just the most critical point of his life. Shall he plunge irrevocably into politics or not? That is the question; and it is already answered. He inevitably will do so, and after many defeats will be very distinguished as a leader. Let me cast his horoscope: Member of Congress, perhaps; minister to England, certainly. From politics as a career he still shrinks back. When he has once burned his ships there will be no retreat. He already holds in his hands the lighted torch. Oct. 26. Sumner made a Free Soil speech [in Cambridge]. Ah me! in such an assembly! It was like one of Beethoven's symphonies played
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1 The writer is not to be understood as saying that Sumner produced conviction with more minds than some other speakers,—notably Charles Allen, S. C. Phillips, and R. H. Dana, Jr. Other speakers who rendered conspicuous service in the campaign were Samuel and E. R. Hoar. father and son. Charles Allen, of Worcester, by his personal influence and force of character and his favorable situation in a community removed from the influence of Boston capital, perhaps brought more votes to the party than any one of the leaders See, for sketches of the Free Soil leaders, Boston ‘Republican,’ Oct. 31, 1849.
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