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Frank Preston Stearns, Cambridge Sketches 1 1 Browse Search
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Frank Preston Stearns, Cambridge Sketches, Sumner. (search)
Sumner, was a man of an essentially veracious nature. He was high sheriff of Suffolk County, Massachusetts, and when there was a criminal to be executed he always performed the office himself. Once when some one inquired why he did not delegate such a disagreeable task to one of his deputies, he is said to have replied, Simply because it is disagreeable. It was this elevated sense of moral responsibility which formed the keynote of his son's character. Charles Sumner's mother was Miss Relief Jacobs, a name in which we distinguish at once a mixture of the Hebrew and the Puritan. She belonged in fact to a Christianized Jewish family, but how long since her ancestors became Christianized remains in doubt. Yet it is easy to recognize the Hebrew element in Sumner's nature; the inflexibility of purpose, the absolute self-devotion, and even the prophetic forecast. Sumner was an old Hebrew prophet in the guise of an American statesman. True to his mother's name, he was at once a Puri