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[293] the leaders of the bar, was the counsel on the other side. He filed a motion to set aside the verdict; but before the court passed upon it the case was settled by the parties. Sumner made a formidable brief of the law. Mr. Dexter, in filing one which only stated his points, wrote him that ‘his junior would ornament it with authorities.’ Sumner had in December, 1843, argued the equity suit, which Judge Story decided adversely to him.1 The Judge, who was firmly opposed to his view of the case, and ruled against him on the most important points during the trial of the action at law, was vexed at his persistency.

In this prolonged litigation, Sumner showed his power as a lawyer to better advantage than in any legal controversy in which he was ever engaged. It involved labor, research, the massing of testimony, the application of abstruse doctrines of law, and required pertinacity both in contending against the adversary and in endeavoring to persuade the court that he was right; and in all this he showed professional ardor and fidelity.

The printing of the new edition of ‘Vesey’ was not suspended during Sumner's sickness. Mr. Perkins edited the fifth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, and twelfth volumes; and Mr. Charles B. Goodrich the eleventh. It remained for Sumner to supply notes to the sixth and the volumes succeeding the twelfth. Resuming the work in December, he completed it the following May,—when, with a sense of relief from his burden, he wrote: ‘The edition (in twenty volumes) is all printed; and that millstone has fallen from my neck.’

From Professor Greenleaf he received the following note:

Dane Hall, May 5, 1845.
Dear Sumner,—I thank you thrice heartily for your note of Saturday, full of kindness and good things as it is. I congratulate you on the close of your labors on Vesey,—and so successful, too, as they have been,— and look with confidence to a rich return to you of the gratitude of the profession for this valuable contribution to our science. You see I speak somewhat in advance, having examined only the early volumes as yet; but I “know my man,” and risk nothing in judging of the future by the past. I am glad for your own sake also that you have done this work; because, from its permanent character, it gives greater permanency to your professional fame. I shall be very well satisfied to do for Cruise what you have done for Vesey. Accept also my thanks for your kind mention of my book


1 Boston Advertiser, Dec. 23, 1843.

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