As It Was, He Entered Law School,
Which, In 1840, He Left To Take Up The Practice Of His Profession.
But Dana Had Not The Tact, The Personal Magnetism, Or The Business
Sagacity To Make A Brilliant Success Before The Bar.
fact that he had become a master of legal theory, an authority upon
international questions, and a counsellor of unimpeachable integrity,
his progress was painfully slow and toilsome.
Involved with his lack
of tact and magnetism there was, too, an admirable quality of sturdy
obstinacy that often worked him injury. Though far from sharing the
radical ideas of the Abolitionists, he was ardent in his anti-slavery
ideas and did not hesitate to espouse the unpopular doctrines of the
Free-Soil party of 1848, or to labor for the freedom of those Boston
negroes, who, under the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, were in danger
of deportation to the South.
His activity in the latter direction resulted in pecuniary loss,
social ostracism and worse; for upon one occasion he was set upon
and nearly killed by a pair of thugs. But Dana was not a man to be
swerved from his purpose by considerations of policy or of personal
safety. He met his problems as they came to him, took the course
which he believed to be right and then stuck to it with indomitable
tenacity. Yet, curiously enough, with none of the characteristics
of the politician, he longed for political preferment. At the hands
of the people this came to him in smallest measure only.
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