was little of genuine inspiration in American poetry prior to the period which gave to it Bryant
, and Lowell
Leaving college, young Sumner
accepted the place of an assistant in the Billerica Academy
, of which his former teacher, Mr. Pemberton
, had become the principal.
While here he received a playful letter from his classmate, Leonard Woods, then at Cambridge
, who had been enlivening his theological studies, which he had pursued at Princeton
, with the reading of ‘Don Quixote
,’ and other novels; Shakspeare
, Ossian, Pope
, and the ‘Spectator;’ and admiring ‘Belfield
’ in ‘Cecilia
,’ and ‘the character of Sancho, Esq.
’ Remaining at Billerica
but a short time, he obtained, through the influence of Rev. Dr. Freeman
and Colonel Samuel Swan
, of Dorchester
, a place as assistant in the private school of Rev. Henry Ware
, on a salary of £ 150, with special reference to the instruction of two lads, one of whom was John Codman
, afterwards the pastor of the second church in Dorchester
An intimate friendship had grown up in college between Sumner
and Joseph Story, of Marblehead
, who was two years his junior in the course.
A correspondence ensued.
Their letters are playful, and hopeful of the future.
's letters refer to books and poems he had read, as ‘Hogarth Moralized,’ Roberts
' ‘Epistle to a Young Gentleman on leaving Eton School,’ Masson
's ‘Elegy to a Young Nobleman leaving the University
's ‘Eloisa to Abelard,’ Goldsmith
's ‘Edwin and Angelina,’ Shenstone
's ‘Pastoral Ballad,’ and some pieces in Enfield
did not persevere as a teacher.
In 1797-98 he passed nearly a year in the West Indies
He then began the study of law with Judge George R. Minot
, an historical writer and effective public speaker.
As early as 1799 he accepted an invitation from Josiah Quincy
to a desk in his law-office; and was, while the relation continued, accustomed to have charge of the office, and to sleep in Mr. Quincy
's house on Pearl Street during his absences from the State
was soon absorbed in politics, as a leader of the Federal party, and severed his active connection with the profession; but he remained the friend of his pupil, notwithstanding their differences in politics, which made sharp divisions in society in those days.
, in company with Richard Sullivan