it, was supplied to him through friends,—Sumner in America
,—and yet it must be remembered that he would not, but for a corresponding quality in his own nature, have had just such friends as these.
He was not led by his own convictions to leave his study like Emerson
and take direct part as a contestant in the struggles of the time.
It is a curious fact that Lowell
should have censured Thoreau
for not doing in this respect just the thing which Thoreau
ultimately did and Longfellow
did not. It was, however, essentially a difference of temperament, and it must be remembered that Longfellow
wrote in his diary under date of December 2, 1859, ‘This will be a great day in our history; the date of a new Revolution,—quite as much needed as the old one.
Even now as I write, they are leading old John Brown
to execution in Virginia
, for attempting to rescue slaves!
This is sowing the wind to reap the whirlwind, which will come soon.’
His relations with Whittier
remained always kindly and unbroken.
They dined together at the Atlantic Club
and Saturday Club, and Longfellow
wrote of him in 1857, ‘He grows milder and mellower, as does his poetry.’
He went to Concord
sometimes to dine with Emerson
, ‘and meet his philosophers, Alcott
, and Channing