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[342] officers in front; and at his right, in the front rows of seats, in full uniform, were the superior officers of the State militia, and the officers of the United States army and navy who had come from the forts in the harbor or the naval station at Charlestown. In previous years there had been no equal military display during the commemorative exercises. The national army and navy service, it was thought, had been neglected before in the festivities of the day, and their presence on this occasion had been specially sought. Altogether the military guests numbered at least one hundred. In the audience, which was one of general intelligence, were many of superior education and position. The whole spectacle was one fitted to inspire a speaker whose heart was full of a great theme.

Mr. Chandler writes: ‘It was a remarkable occasion. The audience was large; expectation was high: there was an apprehension of something remarkable, which was fully justified by the event. Sumner's appearance, style, and manner were very fine indeed. I remember him as if it were but yesterday.’ After the prayer, the reading of the Declaration of Independence, and music from the choir, the mayor introduced the orator. Sumner's presence, as he came forward, drew undivided attention. The prominent citizens in the audience had met him in society or in the routine of his profession, and others had noted him on the street; but probably the greater number of his hearers now saw him for the first time. He was then the impersonation of manly beauty and power: of commanding stature, his figure no longer slender as in student days, but well developed; his features finely cut, his dark hair hanging in masses over his left brow, his face lighting with the smile which always won him friends at first sight. He wore a dress-coat with gilt buttons,—a fancy of lawyers at that period,—and white waistcoat and trousers. His gestures were unstudied and followed no rules; the most frequent one was the swinging of the arm above the head. His voice was clear and strong, resounding through the hall, but at times falling in cadences mellow and pathetic. Seldom has there been seen on the platform a more attractive presence than his, as now, at the age of thirty-four, he stood for the first time before the people assembled to hear him. His oration was fully in his memory, and he spoke for two hours without referring to notes except for statistics.

First invoking in grave periods the memory of the Fathers,

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Charles Sumner (2)
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