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Chapter 27: services for education.—prison discipline.—Correspondence.— January to July, 1845.—age, 34.

Education, both in colleges and common schools, commanded Sumner's earnest attention at this period. While abroad, he felt keenly the imperfection of his own training as compared with that acquired in European universities; and in a letter besought Judge Story, then a member of the corporation of Harvard University, to attempt what he thought a much-needed reform.1 He urged more exacting terms for admission, and a severe examination for degrees, approving President Quincy's efforts in this direction;2 and conferred in person and by letter with Dr. Francis Wayland,3 of Brown University, who devoted many years to studying and testing plans for the improvement of college education.

In the promotion of popular education he took an active interest. He seconded Horace Mann's labors in this cause,4 and supported him in his controversy with the Boston schoolmasters upon points of school discipline. He was one of the group of friends whom Mr. Mann called together for counsel, and in these conferences favored moderation in dealing with opponents.5 He reviewed at length, in the ‘Advertiser,’6 Mr. Mann's report on European systems of education, warmly commending it, with a gentle criticism of an implied depreciation of classical studies which it seemed to contain. With a view of sustaining the cause, he accepted the nomination of a Whig caucus, in Dec. 1844, as one of the two members of the School Committee to which

1 Ante, Vol. II. pp. 98,135.

2 Ante, Vol. II. p. 173.

3 He wrote at length to Dr. Wayland on the subject in September, 1842.

4 Ante, Vol. II. pp. 196, 316. See letter of Mr. Mann to Sumner relative to a bequest for a charity. Mann's ‘Life,’ p. 246.

5 At one of these meetings, held in Sept. 1844, Dr. Howe, Hillard, Edward G. Loring, George B. Emerson, and Dr. Fisher were present. One of them wrote to Sumner, who was then in Berkshire, that his ‘cool judgment and warm sympathy were missed.’

6 March 12 and 21, 1844.

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