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[334] the convention for revising our Constitution closed its labors. I was a member for the borough of Marshfield, and have been much occupied in various ways during the session. This is our first day of rest, and I fly to you and Rome.

Of all the members of the convention, during our three months work, Richard Dana has gained most in character and fame. He has shown talents which I had long been familiar with, but which have taken many by surprise. He speaks with great ease and clearness, and always with good sense and logic. As a debater he is remarkable; I have enjoyed his success greatly. On slavery, you know, he is decided and constant with us; but on other things he is strongly and sincerely conservative.

You may be curious, dear William, to know how I regard my senatorial life. Very much as I anticipated. My earnest counsels to all would be to avoid public life, unless impelled by some overmastering conviction or sentiment which could best find utterance in this way. Surely, but for this I would not continue in it another day. To what the world calls its honors I am indifferent; its cares and responsibilities are weighty and absorbing. I no longer feel at ease with a book; if I take one to read, my attention is disturbed by some important question which will tramp through my mind. How often I think with envy of you at Rome, enjoying letters and art! No such days for me! At Washington I have found much social kindness beyond anything I have known of late in Boston. With most of the Southern men may relations have been pleasant, while with Soule I have been on terms of intimate friendship. Here in Boston Hunkerism is very bitter; Webster's friends are implacable. The “Courier,” which is their paper, has attacked Dana and myself; and others like to show their spite also. the Webster dementia has not yet passed away.

I have seen something of our new President,1 and have found him an agreeable gentleman, affable in manners, and prompt in apprehension. The orders to our diplomats to abandon their foreign liveries were issued at my earnest instigation; I trust you approve them. On this subject, as on others, both the President and Mr. Marcy listened to me with attention. I mention these things for your eye, as I know you will take an interest in anything which illustrates my position. I do not think General Pierce a great man, but I do not undertake to prophesy with regard to his Administration. His Secretary of State, Mr. Marcy, is a person of wisdom and experience, ignorant of foreign affairs but he knows his ignorance, and in this self-knowledge is his strength. I doubt not he will master most of the questions. Caleb Cushing is a dangerous character, who believes in war. He thinks that the country needs the occupation of a war, and I fear he will try to secure it for us. Guthrie, the Secretary of the Treasury, is a tall, large-limbed, strong-minded Kentuckian. . . . The papers occasionally announce Crawford's progress in his great work, and I always read everything of the kind with interest. Give him my regards; also his wife. Where are you now? I imagine you on the Alban heights, in some spacious apartments, enjoying fresh breezes,

1 Pierce. Seward, March 30, 1853, after calling with Sumner on the President, wrote: ‘I will barely say now that Sumner is by no means sure that there is not a deep depth under the graceful exterior.’ Seward's ‘Life,’ vol. i. p. 202.

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