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[246] thundering out their triumph; meanwhile the hero of the strife is sitting quietly here, more saddened than exalted. Palfrey dined with us. I went to my Don Quixote at college, leaving the two Free Soilers sitting over their nuts and wine.1

27. Sumner brought a pocket-full of letters of congratulation and good advice which he has received since his election.2

Sumner wrote to Theodore Parker,3 April 19, 1851:—

May you live a thousand years, always preaching the truth of Fast Day!4 That sermon is a noble effort. It stirred me to the bottom of my heart; at times softening me almost to tears, and then again filling me with rage. I wish it could be read everywhere throughout the land. . . . I have had no confidence from the beginning, as I believe you know, in our courts. I was persuaded that with solemn form they would sanction the great enormity, therefore I am not disappointed. my appeal is to the people, and my hope is to create in Massachusetts such a public opinion as will render the law a dead-letter. It is in vain to expect its repeal by Congress till the slave-power is overthrown. It is, however, with a rare dementia that this power has staked itself on a position which is so offensive, and which cannot for any length of time be tenable. In enacting that law it has given to the free States a sphere of discussion which they would otherwise have missed. No other form of the slavery question, not even the Wilmot Proviso, would have afforded equal advantages.

Sumner wrote to his brother George, April 29:—

I send you papers which will show the close of the long contest here in Massachusetts. The New York “Tribute” of Friday, April 25, candidly states the position I have occupied. Never was any contest in our country of

1 Sumner's first use of a senator's frank was upon documents to promote Palfrey's re-election to Congress. With his large correspondence, he valued the privilege, and parted with it reluctantly when it was finally discontinued in 1870. He wrote a public letter urging Palfrey's election (‘Commonwealth,’ May 22, 1851), but it did not avail.

2 The writer may be permitted to state how he received the news. He was one of the half-dozen Free Soil students of the Law School out of one hundred or more attending it, and the rest of the one hundred were nearly all bitter against the Free Soil party. On the 23d of April he had heard that Sumner was elected, and was greatly disappointed an hour later to learn that the report was untrue. When hearing the second report of his election the next day, he distrusted it, and hastened to Boston. He was rejoiced to find this one true, and then sought Sumner in vain. On the evening of the day but one after, he found a scrap of paper in the keyhole of his room, No 1 Divinity Hall, which proved to be from Sumner, with ‘Sorry not to see my valued friend’ written on it. He sought Sumner at Palfrey's, near by, and found him there. The two walked, after leaving Palfrey's, along the railway track then existing, across the Common, to Longfellow's. The writer said to Sumner on the way, ‘This is too good; I fear you will die before taking your seat.’ he replied, ‘Perhaps that will be the best thing for me.’ The writer expressed the hope that his first speech in the Senate would be on foreign affairs. The two entered Craigie House,—the writer's first meeting with the poet and his wife; and leaving shortly, he walked, thoughtful, and never so happy before, to his lodgings. With much joy and hope the youth of Massachusetts greeted the election of the new senator.

3 Printed in Weiss's ‘Life of Theodore Parker,’ vol. II. p. 107.

4 On the rendition of Sims, a fugitive slave.

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