previous next
[55] he undertook, and guarded well the interests confided to him. He was regularly at his office by 9 o'clock in the morning, left it at 2 in the afternoon for dinner, and was back again at 4 to remain an hour or two. It was a short walk of five minutes from No. 4 Court Street, through Pemberton Square and Ashburton Place, to 20 Hancock Street. He continued to serve as commissioner of the United States Circuit Court. Once he was counsel in some insurance cases before Judge Williams, a referee. He had charge of several patent causes,—one already referred to concerning friction matches, on which he was still employed in the summer of 1851;1 one concerning a rotary-power stocking loom; and another concerning a contrivance for grinding the knives or blades of a straw-cutting machine. This last patent cause was on trial for a week, and ended in a disagreement of the jury. B. F. Hallett was associated with Sumner as plaintiff's counsel, and Henry B. Stanton and Horace E. Smith were for the defence. According to Mr. Stanton, Sumner ‘shone in the hard fight.’ Tills is his only known case before a jury at this period. His last appearance in court was when he argued in the Supreme Court of the State in behalf of a trustee's answer in a trustee process.2 He appeared for his friend, F. W. Bird, before a legislative committee in relation to the route of the Norfolk County Railroad. He had a fair share of office business; and among clients to whom he rendered such service were C. F. Adams and A. McPhail. His briefs in the patent cases, still preserved, show careful preparation both as to the law and the facts, and a capacity to deal with this difficult and subtle branch of the law beyond what could be expected of one who was so strongly drawn to comprehensive discussions relating to human society. His briefs in the insurance cases show the same completeness of preparation. He annotated new editions of Story's Works on Equity Pleading, Equity Jurisprudence, and Partnership.

Sumner's professional earnings, which are thought to have been not more than one or two thousand dollars a year, his compensation for editing Story's Works, and his fees for lectures before lyceums were, although he lived without charge at his mother's, only sufficient to pay his personal expenses, which were on a moderate scale,—covering the rent of his law office,

1 Ante, vol. II. p. 292.

2 Rice v. Brown, 9 Cushing Reports, vol. IX. p. 308.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Norfolk (Virginia, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1851 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: