Monday, January 7, 2019

Samuel Gridley Howe to Senator Charles Sumner, April 8, 1852

Boston, April 8th, 1852.

Dearest Sumner: — I am very grateful for your frequent though brief notes. I know how much your present position increases the value of those grains of the hour-glass which even in days of leisure you were wont to count as grains of gold.

I should now be on my way to join you, but for the illness of my Flossy. It is nothing serious, I trust, but I could have no comfort away from her. The health of my children is seldom interrupted; they are vigorous, beautiful, bright and happy; but all this makes me less (instead of better) able to bear an interruption.

I have a vacation at the Blind [Institution] and though the Idiots call for some of my time and thought, I shall leave them as soon as my child's health is restored.

I note what you say about your course respecting the compromise, etc. It is perfectly manifest that if you did not feel called upon by a high sense of duty to speak, your silence respecting slavery, and your action upon other matters, are fortunate and felicitous, for you will speak with all the more power and effect when the proper time comes.

As for the Hunkers, they would have made a much worse outcry against you for having spoken, had your speech been that of an angel, than for your having been silent. I say to all here (what is needless however), that your friends may count upon your tact as to “time when,” as you can count upon your friends (?). . . .

We have nothing of interest here.

Kossuth is coming and this will stir up a little excitement.

I have written to offer my whole house and servants to him for as long as he will stay and even if it be two months.

Let us not criticize such a man too closely, dear Sumner. His mission is a high and noble one, and if he asks much, asking boldly, even pretentiously, let us pardon and admire. If God would but vouchsafe to the earth a hundred Kossuths, would it not go forward with a rush?

Ever thine,
S. G. Howe.

SOURCE: Laura E. Richards, Editor, Letters and Journals of Samuel Gridley Howe, Volume 2, p. 368-9

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