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[270]

None of Sumner's political friends so much regretted his declaration of the doctrine of neutrality as the one with whom he had maintained the longest association. Dr. Howe was by natural sympathies a revolutionist. From his early exploits in Greece to his mission to St. Domingo late in life, he took a deep interest in the overthrow of governments, and had no respect for laws or traditions which stood in the way of his free lance. He was grieved that Sumner did not end his speech with the tribute to Kossuth, and leave unsaid his affirmation of our duty to keep aloof from foreign complications. He spurned the doctrine of neutrality as selfish and unworthy of the country; and he repudiated the law of nations when set up against a movement for liberty in any part of the world, denying that, if it existed at all, it had any popular basis or Christian origin. He repeated what he had often said to Sumner, that his peace principles, while right enough in the abstract, were not adapted to existing conditions, as there was yet much to be done for the human race which only ‘the instincts of combativeness and destructiveness’ could do. He closed his letter, full of tenderness and deep regret, with these words: ‘This is the speech of Lawyer Sumner, Senator Sumner,—not of generous, chivalrous, high-souled Charles Sumner, who went with me into the Broad Street riot, and who, if need had been, would have defended the women and children in the houses by pitching their ruffian assailants down the stairs.’1 From the first Sumner showed in the Senate his independence of friendly pressure and popular currents, and his adherence to fixed principles.

Kossuth arrived in December in Washington, where he was received by Congress and entertained at a banquet given by citizens in his honor,—the notable event of which was Webster's memorable speech. Sumner, though regretting that Kossuth had been ill-advised in his expectations and imprudent in his appeals, particularly in his speeches made just after landing, sympathized deeply with him as the representative of the liberal cause in Europe, and called on him several times. From the capital the Hungarian patriot proceeded to the South and West, and thence to New England, receiving in his progress honors such as had been accorded to no foreigner except Lafayette; and in July, 1852, he returned to Europe. The spell of his marvellous eloquence has remained to this day; but it wrought

1 Ante, vol. i. p. 162.

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