ute one day, in the middle of the class exercises, with an ill-natured teacher, who undertook to put him down for ignorance on some point of geography,—a branch not studied in the school, or made the subject of examination on admission.
Sumner, then about eleven years of age, replied, with spirit, that he could answer any question which the teacher might put to him. The teacher bethought himself a moment, and, going to his table, and looking up what he esteemed a difficulty, asked him where Cumana was. The boy replied instantly, with a full and correct answer; and no further question was asked.
Other pupils at the school do not recall any characteristics, as distinguishing him from his fellows.
He was a thoughtful, studious youth, always fond of reading.
His mother, in later life, often spoke of this trait of his boyhood.
He enjoyed history most of all, reading it not in an easy, careless way, but with earnest attention, sitting on a low seat, and with maps spread out before
e of Captain Alden Partridge, which was first established at Norwich, Vt., and had recently been removed to Middletown, Conn. The school was conducted on a military system, and enrolled cadets from nineteen States.
In 1829 it was discontinued, and the present Wesleyan University was established on its site.
The father's letter to Captain Partridge gives an interesting description of his son:—
Boston, 15 August, 1825.
Sir,—I have read the prospectus which you issued, in 1821, at Norwich, and I have recently read a notice, in the Palladium, that you wish to employ some lads in your institution at Middletown.
I have a son, named Charles Sumner, in his fifteenth year, and large of his age, but not of so firm and solid a constitution as I should wish to have him. He has no immoral practices or propensities known to me; he has acquired a pretty good knowledge of Latin and Greek; understands the fundamental rules of arithmetic, and has a superficial knowledge of the whole.