gave public notice that, on April 1, the envelope corresponding to the manuscript which had been approved as the best would be opened at the Athenaeum Hall
On the evening appointed, at the close of a lecture by Chief-Justice Shaw
, Mr. Webster
opened the envelope in presence of the audience, and announced ‘Charles Sumner
’ as the name enclosed.
He requested Sumner
to come forward; and, taking him by the hand, called him his ‘young friend,’ adding the remark that the public held a pledge of him, and other kindly words.
Little thought the great orator that he was greeting one who was to succeed him in the Senate, with a longer term and, as time may show, a more enduring fame than his own. The prize was given in Lieber
's ‘Encyclopaedia Americana
,’ valued at thirty dollars. The books were afterwards sent to Sumner
, with a note signed by Mr. Webster
, certifying that they were awarded as a premium for the essay.
His classmates were greatly pleased with his success.
wrote, June 5, ‘I rejoice with you, Sumner
, in your late success.
I wish I could take you by the hand, and assure you by look and sensibly how glad I am for the new honor you have won. It is a good thing; and, I hope, only one of many laurels which are to garland your life.
so,—I know so; and not I alone.
One of our friends has predicted high places for Sumner
on! Follow your spirit.’
wrote, in reference to the prize, to Stearns
, April 5:
I had a letter from friend Charles on Saturday.
He has stepped to the pinnacle of fame.
Our friend outstrips all imagination.
He will leave us all behind him; and, for my single self, I care not how far he may leave me. He is a good man; and, so far as a mortal may speak with confidence, my joy at his success would be unalloyed with envy.
He has been working hard to lay a foundation for the future.
I doubt whether one of his classmates has filled up the time since Commencement with more, and more thorough labor; and to keep him constant he has a pervading ambition,—not an intermittent, fitful gust of an affair, blowing a hurricane at one time, then subsiding to a calm, but a strong, steady breeze, which will bear him well on in the track of honor.
neglected no opportunity to listen to the best public speakers.
In September, he heard Josiah Quincy
's address in the Old South Church, in commemoration of the close of the second century from the first settlement of Boston