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the sole charge of the institution; the latter urging that, with his attainments in the classics, he would have ample leisure to pursue his reading; but he was unwilling to separate himself from Boston and Cambridge, and declined the offer. In January, he taught for three weeks at Brookline, filling a temporary vacancy in the school of Mr. L. V. Hubbard (where his classmate McBurney was an usher), which was kept in a stone building modelled after the Greek style, and is still standing on Boylast saw you in Holworthy, 4. You and I, I believe, had some sympathies with one another on departure; we both of us looked upon Cambridge with rather warmer feelings than most, and dreaded to sunder ourselves from so many kindly associations. One month hath not a whit altered me; my mind is still full of those feelings of affection which bound me to the place and the friends I there enjoyed. I find it hard to untie the spell that knits me so strongly to college life. I never had a more mela
January 1st (search for this): chapter 5
n Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge,—D. Webster, President, John Pickering, V. P.,—offered a premium in books to the author (a minor) of the best dissertation on any thing relating to commerce, trade, and manufactures, to be handed up Jan. 1. It popped into your friend's head, about a week before Jan. 1, that he might spend a day or two in throwing together some ideas on commerce, and the time would not be lost, whether he was successful or not. I wrote about thirty pages, and handeJan. 1, that he might spend a day or two in throwing together some ideas on commerce, and the time would not be lost, whether he was successful or not. I wrote about thirty pages, and handed it up, Bowdoin-like, anonymously. After several months, a committee of twelve unanimously awarded the premium to me, or rather to my signature,—my name not being known till the night the premium was presented; when the envelope inclosing it was opened (after Judge Shaw had finished the evening lecture) by Mr. Webster himself, in presence of the society, and found to contain my name. I had to step out and receive some compliments from the godlike man, and the information that the society awar<
March 6th (search for this): chapter 5
Sumner thought Browne's style Byronic, and invited a criticism of his own. Browne, while appreciating Sumner's as one which every man not a critic and many who are would be delighted with, and as flowing smoothly, rapidly, clearly, and full of bright images, objected to it as too ornate and embellished, too exuberant, and too full of figures and figurative language; and, while correct and not violating the proprieties of nature, as wanting generally in simplicity and directness. He wrote, March 6, Either send me a Lempriere, or be less lavish of your classical allusions; for so thickly was your epistle, especially the first page, bedizened with gems, that my mineralogy was all at fault. I could neither measure nor sort them. Three weeks later, he wrote, Your last letter was full of bone and muscle and figures,—of the last an excess, though invariably bold and strong, remarkably and unusually so. I am right glad to see this improvement in your style. It was a desideratum; almost t
April 1st (search for this): chapter 5
her, while not attended with any unpleasant occurrence, did not give him a taste for the occupation. In the latter part of December he composed an essay on commerce, the subject of a prize, limited to minors, which had been offered by the Boston Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge,—a society formed after the example of the famous English association. Its president at that time was Daniel Webster, and its vice-president, John Pickering. The society gave public notice that, on April 1, the envelope corresponding to the manuscript which had been approved as the best would be opened at the Athenaeum Hall. On the evening appointed, at the close of a lecture by Chief-Justice Shaw, Mr. Webster opened the envelope in presence of the audience, and announced Charles Sumner as the name enclosed. He requested Sumner to come forward; and, taking him by the hand, called him his young friend, adding the remark that the public held a pledge of him, and other kindly words. Little th
April 5th (search for this): chapter 5
with his success. Tower wrote, June 5, I rejoice with you, Sumner, in your late success. I wish I could take you by the hand, and assure you by look and sensibly how glad I am for the new honor you have won. It is a good thing; and, I hope, only one of many laurels which are to garland your life. I hope so,—I know so; and not I alone. One of our friends has predicted high places for Sumner. Therefore, on! on! Follow your spirit. Browne wrote, in reference to the prize, to Stearns, April 5: I had a letter from friend Charles on Saturday. He has stepped to the pinnacle of fame. Our friend outstrips all imagination. He will leave us all behind him; and, for my single self, I care not how far he may leave me. He is a good man; and, so far as a mortal may speak with confidence, my joy at his success would be unalloyed with envy. He has been working hard to lay a foundation for the future. I doubt whether one of his classmates has filled up the time since Commencement w
Press, which he frequently posted to his friends. He is supposed to have contributed articles to this newspaper, and even to have had charge of it for a short time, during the editor's absence. He was an admirer of eminent Anti-masons, like Richard Rush and William Wirt, the latter of whom he hoped to see elected President at the next election, of 1832. He pressed the great and good cause of Anti-masonry, as he called it, on his favorite classmates, Browne, Hopkinson, Hopkinson wrote, May 10, Leave off reading newspapers, and forget politics till you are thirty; by so doing you may redeem the pledge which Webster says the public hold of you. Tower, Stearns, and Frost; but, while they were not partisans of the Order, they did not sympathize with his ardent support of its political opponents. When he portrayed in his letters the dangers which the Order threatened to liberty and the administration of justice, they quite coolly reproved what they regarded as an intense and exagge
f him, and other kindly words. Little thought the great orator that he was greeting one who was to succeed him in the Senate, with a longer term and, as time may show, a more enduring fame than his own. The prize was given in Lieber's Encyclopaedia Americana, valued at thirty dollars. The books were afterwards sent to Sumner, with a note signed by Mr. Webster, certifying that they were awarded as a premium for the essay. His classmates were greatly pleased with his success. Tower wrote, June 5, I rejoice with you, Sumner, in your late success. I wish I could take you by the hand, and assure you by look and sensibly how glad I am for the new honor you have won. It is a good thing; and, I hope, only one of many laurels which are to garland your life. I hope so,—I know so; and not I alone. One of our friends has predicted high places for Sumner. Therefore, on! on! Follow your spirit. Browne wrote, in reference to the prize, to Stearns, April 5: I had a letter from frien
July 12th (search for this): chapter 5
study, the dignity and even solemnity of that trial, conducted by the ablest counsel to be found, must have decided him to study law. Soon after leaving college, Sumner became warmly interested in the Anti-masonic movement, then at its height. Browne wrote to Stearns, May 23, 1831. Sumner feels unutterably on the subject, and he is pricked on by the wrongs done his father by Masons. His resentment is worthy of all commendation. I wish it had exploded in a different way. And again, July 12: He holds to it [Anti-masonry] as to the ark of the nation's safety. I saw him in Boston last month, very well in body, low in spirits. He resented the annoyances and unfriendly criticisms to which his father had been subjected on account of his participation in this controversy. He was a diligent reader of the newspapers and pamphlets on the subject, with which the period abounded, particularly of Mr. Hallett's Free Press, which he frequently posted to his friends. He is supposed to hav
July 26th (search for this): chapter 5
culate highly on puny geniuses. Speaking of your prize lately obtained, he writes: Charles looms in the world. We glory in his present success. May we not assuredly hope that it is but the beginning of the end? This I send because the circumstances are a warranty of his sincerity. Had he said as much of me, I should have respected myself the more for it. Among other expressions of interest in his career which belong to this transition period of life are the following: Browne wrote, July 26, Do you go to Cambridge next year? You have put your hand to the plow, you have even broken ground, and now look back. There is no going back, and you have duty and all hope to draw you forward. And, a few weeks later, he wrote: Did you ever read Dean Swift's life? If you have not,—but you have: you have read every thing. Have you brought your Law-School resolution to a focus, and made preparation for next year in any way? Stearns wrote, Aug. 3, What are your plans for the coming year
August 3rd (search for this): chapter 5
of life are the following: Browne wrote, July 26, Do you go to Cambridge next year? You have put your hand to the plow, you have even broken ground, and now look back. There is no going back, and you have duty and all hope to draw you forward. And, a few weeks later, he wrote: Did you ever read Dean Swift's life? If you have not,—but you have: you have read every thing. Have you brought your Law-School resolution to a focus, and made preparation for next year in any way? Stearns wrote, Aug. 3, What are your plans for the coming year? I hope you mean to grapple with the law. That is the profession you are made for, and the sooner you prepare for it the better. After a considerable period of perplexity and indecision, Sumner chose the law. He made the choice without enthusiasm; but, when once made, he formed a plan of severe and comprehensive study, which he pursued with patience and enthusiasm. The question of a profession being determined, he was vexed with no hesitation as
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