I doubt if the place will be offered to me. I have so many idiosyncrasies of opinion that I shall be distrusted. I am too much of a reformer in law to be trusted in a post of such commanding influence as this has now become. But beyond all this, I have my doubts whether I should accept it even if it were offered to me. I feel that I can only act as I could wish in a private station. In office my opinions will be restrained, and I shall be no longer a free man.He cordially welcomed to the place, which remained vacant for nearly a year, Judge William Kent, ‘a sterling character,’ as Sumner described him, son of the chancellor, and always maintained with him a most friendly intercourse and correspondence. When Judge Kent resigned after only a year's service, he expressed to Sumner, in a letter, the desire that he should have the professorship, and at the same time the regret that he had not kept aloof from politics and reforms.1 The fame of Sumner's Fourth of July oration was followed by various invitations to address literary bodies as well as Peace and Antislavery meetings. At this period the New England lyceum was in full vigor. It provided a course of lectures, usually
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1 Judge William Kent died Jan. 4, 1861. He was extremely conservative, and instinctively averse to popular agitations of any kind. He was a candidate on the Bell-Everett electoral ticket, in 1860. He was very refined and scholarly, and thoroughly sincere and high-minded. Notwithstanding their differences of opinion, he and Sumner were in most cordial personal sympathy.
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