THE political history of Massachusetts from 1850 until 1888 cannot be written or understood without a knowledge of the remarkable career of Adin Thayer. When I was first nominated for Congress, he was my earnest opponent. That was due, so far as I know, to no dislike to me, but only to his strong friendship for Mr. Bird. After my election, he became my stanch friend. Our friendship continued without interruption to his death. The name of Adin Thayer is dear to my memory and to my heart.
I have often said that there were four men who honored me with their friendship, whose counsel I liked to get under any difficult public responsibility, and that when these four men approved or agreed with anything I myself said or did, I did not care what the rest of mankind thought. It would have been better to say that, although I did care very much what the rest of mankind thought, I knew that when these men were on my side, the wisdom and conscience of Massachusetts would be there also.
One of them was John G. Whittier. He added to the great genius which made him a famous poet the quality of being one of the wisest and most discreet political advisers and leaders who ever dwelt in the Commonwealth.
Another was my own brother, Judge Hoar, of whom I will not now undertake to speak. He was the last friend of mine who always performed the act of friendship to which Adin Thayer was never unequal, that of telling me my faults and mistakes with much more thoroughness and plainness of speech than he ever used in praising any of my virtues.
The third was Samuel May, who died in an honored old age at Leicester, his sunset hour cheered by the memories