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To Charles Sumner.

WASHINGTON, May 6, 1850.

MY DEAR SUMNER: I am glad that it was an " unaccustomed pressure of business" which has deprived me of the pleasure of hearing from you for some time past, and no Calamity of any sort. I wish you to have enough of that business which brings the " vile dust" to make you independent of its call, hereafter, and to enable you to devote your powers to more congenial avocation.
I have just been looking over the life of Pascal prefixed to his immortal "Pensees." What a mind! and what humility! Angelic in both. Do you believe that at the age of twelve or fourteen he invented geometry for himself—framed definitions and pursued demonstrations until he was found engaged upon the propositions which form the 32nd of the first book of Euclid? It almost transcends my capacity of belief. It made me think of young Safford a now at Cambridge under the care of Professor Peirce. He too like Pascal is, I hear, injuring his health by too great assiduity. This should be prevented. Truman Henry Safford, 1836-1902(?), for many years Professor of Mathematics at Williams College and an eminent astronomer.
But what am I about? Running on about Pascal and Safford when my whole purpose in writing was to beg you, if a pamphlet edition of my speech is to be issued in Boston, to have the proof corrected by the Globe Edition which I sent you and of which I send you another by this mail. There is one very awkward mistake in the table of Decennial Periods, Slave Representation, &c of "47.680," for 70,680, and there (are) some others not quite so egregious.
With many thanks to you for your kind foster care of my offspring, I remain, as ever, most cordially your friend,


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Annual Report of the American Historical Association; Volume II; Washington, Government Printing Office; 1903

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