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Chapter 22: England again, and the voyage home.—March 17 to May 3, 1840. —Age 29.

Sumner's English friends greeted him warmly, and filled his brief sojourn in London with entertainments. It was pleasant to meet again those dearest to him,—Ingham, Morpeth, and Parkes,—and also to renew his association with Austin, Sydney Smith, Milman, Hayward, Milnes, Inglis, the Grotes, Rogers, and others. He failed to see Lord Brougham, who was at the time absent. On his last day in London, he dined with Hallam.

Among the many expressions of regret at parting with him, and of interest in his welfare, were the following:—

James S. Wortley wrote, April 3, from Liverpool, where he was then attending the Northern Circuit:—

The members of our Circuit all join with me in regretting that they have missed you, and in wishing you every happiness and prosperity upon your return to your own land. I shall always rejoice in hearing good news of your fortunes; and if ever you can return among us, I can assure you of a warm and hearty welcome. You have had better opportunities of seeing all classes of society, and all that is interesting among us, than any other of your countrymen, and I trust that your experience may not disincline you to revisit us.

Mrs. Montagu wrote:—

And now comes the saddest word that can be written,—farewell. We shall long and kindly remember you. You have made an impression on this country, equally honorable to England and to you.We have convinced you that we know how to value truth and dignified simplicity, and you have taught us to think much more highly of your country,—from which we have hitherto seen no such men. We can only desire you not to forget us entirely, but to let us hear that you are happy and well. May God bless and prosper you!

Choosing his homeward voyage by a sailing vessel as less expensive than one by steamer, he left London, Friday, April 3, [141] and sailed the next day from Portsmouth, with Dr. Joseph Cogswell and N. P. Willis as fellow passengers. He left land with a heart full of gratitude for all he had enjoyed her people. Without blindly approving her insti<*> customs, he had seen much in her older society which would yet be realized in our newer and less cultured his youth he loved the country where he had passed s days, and he never after loved her less. Next to t of the African race, no political object was ever so co<*> him as perpetual peace between England and the United <*> There came a time when in the discharge of his duty, as <*> understood it, he set forth in strong language her failure to deal justly with us in our conflict with a pro-slavery Rebellion. He spoke then with the profound conviction that lasting peace between the two nations, and also the wider interests of civilization, required an end of the controversy; and that, as the first step towards a complete settlement, the English people should be brought by an emphatic statement to realize the full justice and import of our case: but his regard for them, and his interest in their welfare were as lively then as in his youth. On his fourth and final visit to Europe, a third of a century after the first, he passed the last night, before sailing on his return, with John Bright, at Rochdale, when he spoke with admiration of England, and of her public men, and with much tenderness of the many friends he counted among her well-known names.

Sumner's social career in England did not make him less an American and a republican. Writing a few years later, he said: ‘I have always enjoyed the refinement of the best society; but I have never sat in the palaces of England, without being pained by the inequality of which the inordinate luxury was a token.’

To Judge Story he wrote from London, March 18, 1839:—

I cannot hesitate to say that the representation should be equalized, that a place of three hundred voters should not send the same representatives with a place of five thousand; and I also think that something should be done (and the abolition of the law of primogeniture strikes me as the simplest and most efficient means) to break the aristocracy, to reduce estates, and to divide them. It is the law of primogeniture that indirectly keeps up the Established Church, the army, and navy; for all these are so many asylums for younger sons. You, who have never been out of America, have no conception of the power of the aristocracy. You will not believe me influenced by any mad, democratic tendencies, when I say that England has trials [142] of no common character to encounter. That she may go through them in peace I fervently hope.

Although while in England his associations and friendships had no limitation of party or sect, he found his affinities on political and social questions among the Austins, Parkes, Grote, Mill, Molesworth, Senior, and others of their school. These were the political freethinkers of their time,—drawing their inspirations from Jeremy Bentham. Their fearlessness in speculations on the problems of society and government harmonized with tne natural tendency of Sumner's mind. While the favorits pupil of Story and Greenleaf, he was yet at no time of their strongly conservative type of thought; and he returned from Europe more than ever a doctrinaire.


To George S. Hillard, Boston.

London, March 18, 1840.
dear Hillard,—Which will reach you first, this scrawl or the writer? This will go by the ‘South American’ which sails from Liverpool the nineteenth. I am booked for the ‘Mediator’ which sails from London the twenty-sixth, from Portsmouth the twenty-ninth: it is at the latter place that I embark. London is more mighty, magnificent, and fascinating than ever. I use strong words, but I have now seen something of the great cities of the world, and to London above all others do these words belong. Nowhere have I seen such signs of wealth, power, and various refinement. It is to me now much more wonderful than when I approached it before. But I must leave all this; and if I do not force myself away, I shall not be able to go. I find opportunities of seeing all that is worth seeing in rank, fashion, law, and literature, if possible more open than before. But I have determined not to take advantage of these. I shall see only a few of my friends. But I am already (after twenty-four hours presence) nailed for to-morrow to see the Duchess of Sutherland in her magnificent palace;1 for the next day to dine with Parkes to meet Charles Austin; the next to breakfast with Sutton Sharpe (his capital breakfasts!) to meet some of my friends of the Chancery bar; then to dine with the Earl of Carlisle;2 and the next day [143] with Bates.3 Morpeth wishes me to see the Lansdownes and Hollands, but I decline.

Yesterday, I fell upon the last ‘North American.’4 It was precious to me, for it reflected four dear friends. There I saw in the lucid page yourself and Cleveland, Longfellow and Felton. Beautifully written and turned was Cleveland's article; well-poised and careful, Felton's criticism. I jumped as I read them. I am proud of all of you, and rejoice that you are my friends. I have seen something of the talent of this world in various lands, but give me my friends and their cultured minds. I have just found Longfellow's ‘Hyperion,’ and shall sit up all night to devour it. I have bought up all the copies of ‘Voices of the Night’ in London, to give to my friends. Have been much disappointed at not finding your brother here. Be on the lookout for me. The ‘Mediator’ sails fast. I am coming. Love to all, and good-by.

As ever, affectionately yours,

C. S.
P. S. Tell the Judge, and Greenleaf, and Fletcher, I am coming. Tell Ticknor I am his debtor for an interesting letter received at Heidelberg.

To Judge Story.

London, March 24, 1840.
dear Judge,—I shall be on our side of the Atlantic soon,—very soon— perhaps as soon as this sheet, perhaps sooner. This will go in the packet of the 25th March; I go in the London packet (the ‘Wellington’) of April 1, leaving Portsmouth, April 4. I first took a berth in the ‘Mediator’ of the 29th March; but Cogswell and Willis and his wife go on the 4th, so for pleasant company's sake I shall go in the same ship. Most of the lawyers are on Circuit. Hayward, however, rejoices more in literature than law; so he is in town. The articles on you in the ‘Law Magazine’ are by Calvert, a very nice, gentlemanly person. He has another in type on your ‘Bailments.’ Charles Austin is as brilliant and clever as ever,—all informed, and master of his own profession: take him all in all, the greatest honor of the English Bar. Old Wilkinson I found over black-letter, supported on either side by a regiment of old books of Entries and ancient Reporters, with a well-thumbed Rolle's ‘Abridgment’ on the table. But I shall see only a few lawyers; some of my ancient friends in literature and fashion I have found. Lady Blessington is as pleasant and time-defying as ever, surrounded till one or two of the morning with her brilliant circle. I rose to leave her at one o'clock. ‘Oh! it is early yet, Mr. Sumner,’ said [144] her Ladyship. Prince Napoleon5 is always there, and of course D'Orsay. The Duchess of Sutherland6 I lunched with a day or two ago. She is wonderfully beautiful; I think even more so than Mrs. Norton. But I will tell you of these things when we meet. Strange contrast awaits me! To quit these iris-colored visions for the stern realities of American life! To throw aside the dreamy morning-gown and slippers, and pull on the boots of hard work! Let it come! I am content. But who will employ me? I have read with great delight your ‘Agency,’ Longfellow's ‘Hyperion,’ and Hillard's ‘Introduction to Spenser,’—three entertaining productions. Love to all your family.

Ever affectionately yours,

To George S. Hillard.

London, March 28, 1840.
dear Hillard,—These are my last words to you from this side. I sail from Portsmouth, 4th April, in the ‘Wellington,’—perhaps shall reach you before this note. London is more bewitching than ever. Have already seen many people,—the Lansdownes; Duke and Duchess of Sutherland (the most beautiful woman in the world); Mrs. Norton; Lady Seymour (both very beautiful); Hayward; Sydney Smith; Senior; Fonblanque; Milnes; Milman; the Grotes; Charles Austin (more brilliant than ever); the Wortleys, &c. But I must stop. I must go now to breakfast with Sydney Smith; to-morrow, with Rogers; next day, with dear Sir Robert Inglis; the next with Milnes. But I must be off. Good-by. I shall soon be with you.

Ever affectionately yours,

To George W. Greene, Rome.

London, March 30, 1840.
dear Greene,—This is my last salute to you from this side of the Atlantic. Since I wrote you from Berlin I have enjoyed myself much, [145] seen more of Germany, and, what is more to the purpose, learned more of the language. Shortly after writing, I left the capital of Prussia; then to Leipsic, Weimar, Gotha, Frankfort, Heidelberg. In this last place I fixed myself for five weeks. I knew the best people there; and I studied, read, and talked German. Indeed, I found myself able, when it was time to leave, to understand all that was said, and to carry on a conversation tolerably well. I love German; but not as Italian,—my dear Italian! After Goethe's ‘Werther's Leiden,’ I took up the ‘Letters’ of Ortis,—which I had read as I was leaving Italy, while we were clambering the snow-capped Alps. I think Foscolo's is the best,—though to the German is the palm of originality, if the ‘Heloise’ of Rousseau does not bear it away. Lessing's ‘Nathan der Weise’ is considered a masterpiece; but to compare it with my Alfieri! What I have read of Schiller I like very much. I have his works as my compagnon de voyageto America; and hope, before I touch New York, to read him entire. This morning I breakfasted with Rogers,—‘old Rogers,’ as he is called. It was delightful to listen to his wisdom-dropping voice; but I started when he said Manzoni's ‘Promessi Sposi’ is worth ten of Scott's novels. ‘Say thirty!’ said I. ‘Well, thirty,’ said the wise old man; ‘I only said ten for fear of shocking you.’ And this is the judgment of one of the ancient friends of Sir Walter Scott. Ah! I remember well the pleasure I had from that book. I read a copy belonging to you, on the road from Rome to Florence, and I cried sincerely over many of the scenes. At Heidelberg I passed a sad day, after I read of the loss of the ‘Lexington.’ I have read Longfellow's ‘Hyperion,’ and am in love with it. I only wish that there were more of it. The character of Jean Paul is wunderschon. I hope to induce somebody to review it here. But in this immensity of London everybody seems engaged,—every moment of the present and future occupied; so that I fear I may not succeed. Sir Charles Vaughan speaks of your kindness in the warmest terms, and of Crawford also: he has spoken to several of his countrymen of Crawford. I hope some good may come of it. Maxcy, our Minister at Brussels, requested a line of introduction to you. He goes to Italy, probably next summer, with his family. I have also given him a line to Crawford. Item: I shall also give an introduction for you to my English friend, Mr. Joseph Parkes,—a solicitor by profession, but most extensively acquainted with literary and political circles,— one of the ancient editors of the ‘Retrospective Review,’ and the best-informed person in old English literature I know; a lover of art, a friend of America, and an amiable man. He will visit Rome in the course of the summer with his wife, who is a granddaughter of Priestley. You have doubtless already seen my friend Kenyon; and I feel sure you must have been pleased with him. I am anxious—I say, freely, on your own account, as well as on his—that you should become acquainted with Parkes. I think his conversation will be interesting to you. Take him to the Capitol, St. Peter's, &c. He will be in Rome in September or October, I think,—will pass two or three weeks. Would that I could be with you! Do not fail to take him to Crawford. I sail from Portsmouth the 4th of April, with Cogswell, Willis, and wife, and sister-in-law, as fellow-passengers. When this [146] reaches you, I shall be tossing on the ocean. What talks I shall have with friends at home! and Rome and Italy will not be forgotten. I well remember those three months in that Matron-City,—take them all in all, and though shadowed as they were with grief and vexation, the happiest of my life. My brother, I suppose, will pass the summer in Italy. I have already commended him to your care and kindness. I trust you will find him worthy of all,—as I believe he is. Do not fail to write me in my exile,—far away as Ceuta to the ancient banished man. Tell me every thing about art, antiquity, literature, and Crawford. You will hear from me next from Boston,—but not till I hear from you. Farewell! Remember me affectionately to Mrs. Greene, and to Crawford; and believe me ever sincerely yours,

To Lord Morpeth.

March 30, 1840.
my dear Morpeth,—Above is a specimen, such as it is, of trans-Atlantic Greek, on Chantrey's woodcocks.7 The verses were written and transmitted to me by a friend of mine, to whom I had sent an account of the Holkham achievement. I still keep your Wellesley's poems; I have seen them on the tables of Hallam and Rogers.

I leave London early Friday morn, and on Saturday descend upon the sea. Before I go, I shall resign into your hands your book; and I hope to say ‘Good-by’ to your family.

This morning I breakfasted with dear Sir Robert Inglis. I love his sincerity and goodness, though I dislike his politics.

Ever sincerely yours,

P. S. I had the pleasure of hearing your speech on Lord Stanley's motion.8 Stevenson, who sat by my side, like myself, was much gratified with it.

To George S. Hillard.

Portsmouth, April 4, 1840.
dear Hillard,—This will go by the ‘Great Western,’ which sails the fifteenth of this month,9 and perhaps may reach you even before I have that pleasure. I saw more of London than I expected, and enjoyed it much. My last dinner was on Thursday with Hallam; where were Milman, Babbage, Hayward, Francis Horner, &c. I have parted with many friends, and have received the most affectionate good wishes. Lady Carlisle and my dear, noble friend, Ingham, shed tears in parting with me. We shall meet soon. [147]

The wind is fair; and we now wait only for Willis's appearance. Cogswell is by my side at this moment.

Ever affectionately yours,

The ‘Wellington’ arrived at New York, Sunday, May 3. Sumner, on landing, met his brother Albert, then living in the city. That day or the next he dined with his classmate, John O. Sargent, who remembers that ‘he was full of his trip, and conversed very pleasantly about it. His appearance had been very materially improved under the hands of a London tailor. He had lost, too, some of the leanness and lankness of face and figure which he carried through his school and college days, and was beginning to fill out, and to assume more of the portly air of his later days.’

On his arrival in Boston, Hillard happened to meet him as he was walking from the railway station, wearing a light-colored mackintosh, looking rather English in costume, and carrying in his hand some Exchequer tallies.10 He went to the family house in Hancock Street, where a letter from his sister Mary, which awaited him in New York, bade him welcome; and where his home was to be during his mother's life.

1 Stafford House, St. James's.

2 George, sixth Earl of Carlisle, 1773 1848. Lady Carlisle, daughter of the fifth Duke of Devonshire, died in 1858. The Earl was succeeded on his death by his eldest son,—Sumner's friend, Lord Morpeth. Sumner met Lady Carlisle at Castle Howard, in Oct. 1857.

3 Joshua Bates, American banker, 1788-1864. Mr. Bates invited Sumner to attend, Feb. 12, 1839, his daughter's marriage to Sylvain Van de Weyer, the Belgian statesman.

4 North American, Jan., 1840, Vol. L. Felton's article on Longfellow's ‘Hyperion,’ pp. 145-161. Cleveland's article on Hillard's edition of ‘Spenser's Poetical Works,’ pp. 174-206.

5 Louis Napoleon was ‘one of the most constant and intimate guests at Gore House, both before and after his imprisonment at Ham.’—‘Life, Letters, and Correspondence of the Countess of Blessington,’ by R. R. Madden, Chap. XI. Sumner referring in a letter of July 4, 1848, to the impression made on him by Louis Napoleon as they met at Lady Blessington's, wrote: ‘He seemed to me an ordinary character.’

6 The Duchess of Sutherland, daughter of the sixth Earl of Carlisle, and sister of Sumner's friend. Lord Morpeth, who became the seventh Earl of Carlisle, was married to George Granville, the second Duke of Sutherland, and died in 1868. She became Mistress of the Robes to the Queen. More than any one in the English nobility she gave the influence of her character and position against American slavery. Sumner received many courtesies from the Duchess on his visit to England in 1857, and was invited by her to be her guest at Stafford House. Her daughter, the Duchess of Argyll, was to the end of Sumner's life one of his most faithful friends and correspondents. Sumner met with a welcome from the Argylls, in 1857.

7 Felton's verses, ante, Vol. I. p. 378.

8 March 26, on registration of voters in Ireland.

9 She arrived at New York, May 3,—the same day with the ‘Wellington.’

10 These relics were kept at the Harvard Law School, for some time. They each consisted of a piece of wood scored with notches of different sizes, split into two parts,—‘tally’ and ‘counterfoil.’ They were abolished in the reigns of George III. and William IV. ‘Best on Evidence,’ Part III. Chap. I. § 215. note.

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