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[23] supposing them to be the defendant's.1 The decision imposed on executive officers a serious responsibility, and subjected them to personal peril. The sheriff regarded it as contrary to the precedents and policy of the law, and as depriving the officer of the protection to which he is entitled. So earnest were his convictions, that he did what would now hardly be thought deferential to the court. Besides communicating the decision to the sheriffs of other counties, with strong terms of disapproval, he addressed to Chief Justice Parker and his associates, before the printing of the opinion, an elaborate argument in writing, supported by a review of the English authorities and by reasons of public policy, with the view to obtain a reconsideration of the doctrine as held by the court. He failed to convince the judges; but his conclusion is in accord with the later authorities in other States, where it is held that the true owner, whose property an officer in good faith undertakes to seize, with a process against another, cannot lawfully obstruct or assault the officer, but must resort to a writ of replevin, or other civil remedy.2

Sheriff Sumner performed his duties with scrupulous fidelity and exactness. His fearlessness was remarked on the occasion of the riot in Broad Street, June 11, 1837, between the Irish and an engine company, when under the statute it became his duty to read the riot act. In the latter part of his life the perplexities of his office annoyed him. He was too formal and punctilious, too reserved, and too little pliant to the ways of men to please the general public. His last appointment drew out some opposition, but his sterling worth overcame it.

He participated in the controversy concerning Masonry, which was carried on with greater or less zeal during the decade of 1825-35. He co-operated with the leading opponents of the order in the State,—John Quincy Adams, Pliny Merrick, Benjamin F. Hallett, Henry Gassett, and Amasa Walker. He had been himself initiated, about 1799, when quite a young man, and had become a master-mason in 1802. A year later he was the eulogist of the order, in a poem and an address before the Grand Lodge of the State. In 1806, however, he discontinued his attendance on its meetings. In 1829, he renounced his connection

1 Commonwealth v. Kennard, 8 Pickering's Reports, p. 133.

2 State v. Donner, 8 Vermont Reports, 424; State v. Buchanan, 17 id. 573; State v. Fifield, 18 New Hampshire Reports, 34; Faris v. State, 3 Ohio State Reports, 159.

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