which qualify for forensic controversies, or even the aptitude for affairs which is needed in office business.
His professional work was mainly the collection of bills, and these rarely of large amounts.
He appears, as early as 1808, to have desired some official post, with a view to increasing his revenues.
In 1819, he left the bar to become a deputy-sheriff, a transition which then subjected a lawyer to less comment than it would now. He was impressed with his inability to increase his professional income, so as to educate his children, then five in number.
His condition of health, as he stated at the time, advised a less sedentary occupation than he had been following.
To Josiah Quincy
, whom he called his ‘master,’ he wrote an apologetic note, stating his proposed change of life.
, and other members of the bar who knew his worth, volunteered to be his sureties.
The revenues of his office proved to be less than a thousand dollars a year.
In 1823, he declined the office of City Marshal
, tendered him by Mr. Quincy
, then Mayor
In 1825, his affairs took a favorable turn.
On Sept. 6, by appointment of Governor Levi Lincoln
, he became sheriff of Suffolk County
; succeeding Joseph Hall, who had been appointed Judge
This office he continued to hold till April 11, 1839, thirteen days before his death.
His first commission was during pleasure.
Under a later statute, which fixed a term of five years for the office, he was reappointed by Governor Lincoln
, March 14, 1831, and afterwards by Governor Edward Everett
, March 23, 1836.
To relieve them from fancied embarrassment, he at different times volunteered a resignation, which they declined to accept.
The letters and action of Governor Everett
, particularly at the time of the sheriff's last appointment, which met with some opposition, are highly creditable to him. They show how careful the Governor
was, in his consideration of personal questions, not to do injustice to any one.
The office of sheriff, to which is attached the custody of the jail, brought Mr. Sumner
an annual revenue varying from $2,000 to $3,000, and once or twice considerably exceeding the larger sum. With this assured income he had, in 1828, accumulated $17,000; in 1830, $27,000; and at his decease, in 1839, his property was valued at nearly $50,000. The office enabled him to give his son Charles a liberal education.
He always entertained