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[287]

Sumner's college chum, John W. Browne, identified with the radical section of the antislavery movement, who was still following his classmate's course ‘with a friend's eye and heart,’ wrote June 18:—

Don't let the unjust and ill-considered words said here about your tardiness to speak on this subject press you to speak one moment earlier than your nature and instincts are ready to the utmost to do their own spontaneous work, and upon their own occasion. Take your time, by the force of your own nature, in your own methods; you will have all your strength in effort, and not otherwise. Don't let hasty requirements of those who are eager for your speech move you to utterance one moment prematurely, as your season takes its own procession. Don't speak upon the pressure of any opinion. William Bowditch authorizes me to say that this is his view of the matter also.

R. h. Dana, Jr., as late as August 9, wrote:—

We have perfect faith in your course. We believe that if you had been permitted to speak,1 a better day for the speech could not have been selected than the time you took. If you had spoken, all would have said so. It was just at the right interval between the settlement of the policy of the old parties and the opening of our own. A speech before the conventions of the old parties would have been reckoning without your host. There are some men who think that nothing is doing unless there is a gun firing or a bell ringing. There are superficial persons in whom is no depth of root; they are easily offended. The work we have to do is a long one; there is no pending question. Patience and judgment and preparation are as—necessary as zeal, and more rare.

N. P. Banks, Jr., who was on the floor of the Senate, August 9, when Sumner delivered his eulogy on Rantoul, said to him personally:—

If the people of Massachusetts who now distrust you could have heard your voice in the Senate, and witnessed the attention you received, they would leave everything to you, knowing that your course would be for the best.

There were, however, many among the antislavery masses with less patience and philosophy, and less knowledge of him and his line of action, than the wiser ones whose opinions have been cited; and after seven months waiting, with the added annoyance of the taunts of Whig politicians, their mutterings of dissatisfaction became so distinct that leading Free Soilers felt the necessity of frankly reporting them to him.

1 A reference to the Senate's refusal to hear him, July 28.

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