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[154] a course delivered before the Boston Lyceum, at Boylston Hall; in which Mr. Choate gave the first, followed by the brothers Everett, George S. Hillard, and Amasa Walker. Sumner read, Jan. 26, 1835, a lecture on ‘The Law of Master and Servant, including Mariners,’ before the Mercantile Association, at Amory Hall, corner of Washington and West Streets, and repeated the same lecture before the Charitable Mechanics' Association, at Masonic Hall. He read another lecture, Feb. 2, on ‘The Law of Bailments’ before the Mercantile Association, and repeated it a few weeks later before a class in the Law School. The two lectures are a simple statement of the rules of law pertinent to each topic, with familiar illustrations from business life. He received an invitation, in Jan., 1836, which he does not appear to have accepted, to deliver a lecture at Lowell, before the Moral Lyceum. He read, Feb. 28, 1837, a lecture on ‘The Constitution of the United States’ in the Smith Schoolhouse, Belknap Street, before the Adelphic Union Society,—a literary association of colored people. Hillard delivered the introductory lecture, and was followed by Wendell Phillips, Rev. John Pierpont, and Dr. Gamaliel Bradford.

Sumner was at this period an overworked man, doing, besides the business of his law-office, altogether too much literary drudgery. George Gibbs wrote to him from Paris, Sept. 16, 1835, ‘You do not do justice to yourself in some of your undertakings, from the speed with which they are prepared.’ Mr. Appleton wrote from Bangor, Dec. 6, of that year, ‘There is one word of advice to you, my friend; that is, not to labor too hard.’ Sumner himself afterwards thought that he had given too much of his time to writing for magazines. But his health did not fail him. He was rarely ill; and notwithstanding his excessive application he was able to write to a friend, Aug. 25, 1835, when suffering from a headache, that it was his first experience of the kind.

He gave at this time no promise of future distinction as an orator. His few arguments in court were mere statements of the law, with illustrations from history and literature. His style as yet was only that of an essayist. The lectures before lyceums were didactic only, such as any professor might read from his chair. Young men no older than himself had already won favor on the platform. Hillard had spoken at Faneuil Hall, and delivered, in 1835, the customary oration before the city authorities

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