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[155] on the Fourth of July, and an address at a commencement of Dartmouth College. Wendell Phillips was already a favorite public speaker; and, in Dec., 1837, made his famous reply to James T. Austin, in Faneuil Hall, on Lovejoy's murder at Alton. Unlike most young lawyers, Sumner took no part in politics. His letters written in 1836 make no reference to the political canvass of that year, which ended in Van Buren's election. Young men of similar education—as Robert C. Winthrop and Hillard—were elected to the Legislature, then much larger than now, soon after they entered on manly life;1 but no one seems to have thought of him in such a connection, and certainly he had no ambition for the place.2

In 1835, he took a share in a speculation,—his only venture of the kind through life. He was duped by the assurances of brokers into investing in the American Land Company, of New York, the officers of which pretended to have made fortunate investments in the West. He hoped to realize a handsome sum; but he lost all he had advanced,—an amount which he could ill afford to spare from his meagre revenues,—and was left in debt. Smarting under the deception to which he was a victim, he wrote to the friend whose investigations had opened his eyes, ‘I have learned a valuable lesson; money and business dissolve all the ties and bonds of friendship.’

In August and September, 1836, he took a vacation, the only one which he is known to have taken during his first three years of practice. He visited Niagara Falls, going by the way of New York City and the Hudson River, and returning by the way of Canada, the White Mountains, and Portland. At New York he called on Chancellor Kent,3 who treated him with much courtesy; met William Johnson, the reporter, whom he found ‘gentlemanly, accomplished, and talented, truly a delightful character;’ and had pleasant interviews with his friend George Gibbs, and his classmate Tower. Impressed with the contrast between the street life of New York and that of Boston, more striking then

1 Winthrop was elected to the Legislature in Nov., 1834. Hillard and John O. Sargent, a classmate of Sumner, were elected to the same body in Nov., 1835; and his classmate, Browne, in Nov., 1837.

2 Samuel Lawrence, who knew him intimately at this time, writes: ‘He was devoted to law and literature, and I do not believe that political life had once been in his thoughts.’

3 In the early part of July the Chancellor had made a visit to Boston, during which Sumner was attentive to him, taking him to Trinity Church on Sunday, to a party at Judge Samuel Putnam's, and to points of interest in the city, and to Cambridge.

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