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Section second: European Travels and studies.

He sailed for England, with letters of introduction from Judge story and many distinguished Americans, to the most eminent jurists and public men of Europe. Judge story, in particular, had requested Lord Brougham. then Lord Chancellor, to afford him the means of witnessing most advantageously, the proceedings of the Courts of Westminster Hall, and observe the workings of the British Constitution in every department of the Government. It is not surprising that with his high attainments, and with such letters, he was warmly received by the great men of England, and everywhere treated as a companion, and a guest. He was invited to a seat on the bench in every court he entered. There was not a book, [7] manuscript, or authority in a public or private library of England, that was not at his command; everybody was ready to assist him in his more recondite researches; and for a whole Session he was an attentive listener to the debates of Parliament.

It was the same in Paris, where, a perfect French scholar, he was in constant attendance in the Chamber of Deputies, frequently visiting the lecture-rooms of the Sorbonne, and the College of France, all of whose Professors acceded to his slightest wish to aid him with the fruits of their learning and experience.

General Cass, then our minister to France, was engaged in the investigation of our claim to the Northeastern Boundary, and at his request, Mr. Sumner wrote that celebrated Treatise on the subject, which excited such great admiration in this country.

He went through Germany, with the same objects in view; and being master of that language also, he accumulated vast stores of learning by conversations with the great scientists and statesmen of that nation. He afterwards extended his journey to Italy, where again his ripe scholarship, in that most beautiful of all modern tongues, multiplied his facilities for acquisition, and enhanced greatly the charms of his visit.

But his objects were not limited to the acquisition of mere learning. Endowed by nature with a delicate sense of the beautiful, and having an intense relish for society, he often said that it was impossible for him to give to ordinary persons anything like an adequate idea of the exquisite pleasure he experienced in studying Art in the best galleries of Europe, and enjoying the society of its most learned and gifted men and women. These few years he always looked back upon as the most useful [8] and delightful of his life. He once said to me that the memory of those days often broke upon his mind like fresh fountains amidst the sterility of years.

During this period, he commenced to gather whatever objects of art and beauty suited his refined, artistic taste; and it grew into the beautiful collection he finally made, which was a source of so much pleasure to himself and his friends, and imparted a nameless charm to his library-home. He had a special passion for engravings, of which his was doubtless the finest private collection in this country.

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