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the definitions and incidents of Estates, as laid down by Blackstone. The list of books read by him at the school, as noted in his commonplace-books, is remarkable for its wide range, and begins with this memorandum and extract from Coke's First Institute: Law reading commenced Sept., 1831, at Cambridge. Holding this for an undoubted verity, that there is no knowledge, case, or point in law, seeme it of never so little account, but will stand our student in stead at one time or other. 1 Inst. 9. Besides his common-law studies, he read widely in French law. Sumner's memory was not less extraordinary than his industry. Students applied to him for guidance in their investigations, and even lawyers in practice sought, in a few instances at least, his aid in the preparation of briefs. While his friends admired his zeal and enthusiasm, they were not altogether pleased with his excessive application, and advised greater moderation in his studies. There was reason in their caut
. 31, 1832. my dear friend,—I never receive a letter from one of my old college friends without experiencing a most pleasing melancholy. Memory is always at hand, with her throng of recollections and associations, the shadows of past joys,—joys gone as irrevocably as time. Youth and college feelings have given way to manhood and its sterner avocations. The course is fairly commenced in the race of life, and every intellectual and corporal agency is bent to exertion. There are now no Saturdays bringing weekly respites from drudgery, allowing a momentary stop in the path of duty. All is labor. It mattereth not the day or hardly the hour, for duty is urgent all days and all hours. What, then, could bring up more pleasing recollections, and yet tinged with melancholy (because they are never more to be seen, except in memory's mirror) than a letter from one who was present and active in those scenes to which the mind recurs? I sometimes let a whole hour slip by unconsciously, my
ry he mentioned a little fact. A three-cornered note was brought to you, said he, and you said to the gentlemen round you, it is from Miss M.; she cannot be here this evening. Why were you not introduced to me? said I. Oh, I did not dare to be; I only looked at you from afar with awe. I was, in fact, a year younger than himself; but in those simple days the chasm was wide between a raw collegian, as he then was, and a young lady in society. I recall him very distinctly in his seat on Sundays. It was in the old chapel in University Hall, before any alteration had been made. The President's pew was in the gallery, on the right of the pulpit. Perched there, I looked down, first on good Dr. Ware, Sr., in his professor's gown; and, while he discoursed furthermore, I looked beyond and below on the very young Sophomores, and saw Sumner's long proportions in the front seat of the Seniors. It was during his residence as a law-student that he was most frequently at our house. I
scipline. His notes of the moot-court cases heard by the professors, in several of which he was counsel, Cases heard Oct. 22, Nov. 22, and Dec. 13, 1832; and Jan. 14, Feb. 18, June 5, July 5, and Oct. 20, 1833. are preserved. In Feb., 1833, he maintained (Wendell Phillips being of counsel on the other side) the negative of on. I much doubt whether I shall touch either subject. Fifty dollars is an inducement,—great to me; for I just begin seriously to feel the value of money. Last January I was twenty-one. New feelings have been opened to me since I arrived at that age. I feel that I ought to be doing something for myself, and not to live an expen did its argument appear to him, that he has introduced it into a note to his work on the Constitution, in three volumes; which will be published by the middle of January. Story on the Constitution, Vol. I. Appendix. To change the tone, I hope you have not given up the idea of studying law. I believe that you will be happie
February 14th (search for this): chapter 6
, they were not altogether pleased with his excessive application, and advised greater moderation in his studies. There was reason in their caution. It is possible to task the receptive capacity of the mind to the injury of its creative power; and Sumner, perhaps, gathered his knowledge too fast for the best intellectual discipline. His notes of the moot-court cases heard by the professors, in several of which he was counsel, Cases heard Oct. 22, Nov. 22, and Dec. 13, 1832; and Jan. 14, Feb. 18, June 5, July 5, and Oct. 20, 1833. are preserved. In Feb., 1833, he maintained (Wendell Phillips being of counsel on the other side) the negative of the question, whether a Scotch bond, assignable by the law of Scotland, can be sued by the assignee in his own name in our courts. He seems to have been dissatisfied with his argument, and wrote to Browne, stating his hesitation in public speaking, and his difficulty in selecting fit language for his thoughts. Browne replied, saying that
March 6th (search for this): chapter 6
ines, excluding only that of spirituous liquors, and was binding only during the signer's connection with the college. The meeting for organization was held in a room in University Hall, which was used for commons. The first meeting was held March 6, and the officers were chosen March 14. Mercantile Journal, March 16, 1833. Sumner was chosen President; Abiel A. Livermore, of the Divinity School, Vice-President; and Samuel Osgood, of the Divinity School, Secretary. Among the members of the my dear friend,—I am grateful to you for the regard you have expressed for my sister. She is now beyond the show of my affection and regard. I will then transfer them, for her sake, to those who speak and think well of her. Matilda died on March 6. You were the last of my friends who saw her. If I remember, when you were last at my father's, you sat for a while in her chamber. She gradually became weaker and weaker, sinking by degrees, imperceptible except in their aggregate; always co
March 14th (search for this): chapter 6
ety was formed in the college, which included members of the professional schools, as well as undergraduates. It was a period of special interest in this reform. The pledge of this society admitted the use of wines, excluding only that of spirituous liquors, and was binding only during the signer's connection with the college. The meeting for organization was held in a room in University Hall, which was used for commons. The first meeting was held March 6, and the officers were chosen March 14. Mercantile Journal, March 16, 1833. Sumner was chosen President; Abiel A. Livermore, of the Divinity School, Vice-President; and Samuel Osgood, of the Divinity School, Secretary. Among the members of the Executive Committee were Barzillai Frost, of the Divinity School, and Richard H. Dana, Jr., of the Sophomore Class. Public meetings were held in the City Hall, or one of the churches; at one of which Rev. John G. Palfrey delivered an impressive address, still well remembered for its effe
March 15th (search for this): chapter 6
nt's Commentaries at a later period, post,p.120. When you write, tell me all the law you have read. I wish to compare reckonings with you occasionally, as we are voyaging on the same sea. This is written in the vexation of a cough, By your true friend, Chas. Sumner. To Charlemagne Tower. Cambridge, Friday Morning, May 11, 1832. my dear friend,—The moment I saw the black seal of your letter my mind anticipated the sorrowful intelligence it bore. Tower's father had died, March 15, at St. Augustine. Permit me to join with you in grief. I offer you my sincere sympathies. The loss of a father I can only imagine: may God put far distant the day when that affliction shall come over me! You have been a faithful son; and, I know, a joy to his eyes. I reverence the spirit with which you have sacrificed all your professional and literary predilections. You did that for your father's sake; and the thought that you did it on his account must be to you a spring of satisfac
April 18th (search for this): chapter 6
ded to the fascination of her brilliant talents. Wherever she played, her acting was greatly admired; and by no class so much as by students. After fulfilling engagements in New York and other cities, she made her first appearance in Boston in April, 1833. Sumner was an enthusiast in his devotion, walking again and again to the city during her engagement at the Tremont Theatre, witnessing her acting with intense admiration, and delighting to talk of her with his friends. Browne wrote, April 18, You speak rapturously of the girl. Judge Story's enthusiasm for Miss Kemble quite equalled Sumner's. He was charmed with her acting, and addressed some verses to her:— Go! lovely woman, go! Enjoy thy fame! A second Kemble, with a deathless name. Life and Letters, Vol. II. pp. 114-117. He did not know her personally at this time, but greatly enjoyed her society some years afterwards, during a visit to Berkshire County. Sumner visited, while a student in the Law School, but few fam
19, 1831, You were cut out for a lawyer. . . . I cannot altogether applaud your resolution to include so much in your system of study for the coming year. Law, classics, history, and literature is certainly too wide a range for any common mind to spread over at one time. Better follow Captain Bobadil's example; take them man by man, and kill them all up by computation. Hopkinson, Jan. 6, 1832, calls him the indefatigable, ever-delving student, and amorous votary of antiquity; and refers, May 12, to the study and diligence for which the world gives you credit. Browne wrote from Cambridge to Stearns, May 6, 1832:— We, in Cambridge here, are studying law at a trot, or rather I should say, reciting it. Some study hard,—among them your good friend Charles, hater of mathematics; but as to your other friend [himself], he studies the books but little. Sumner will be a vast reservoir of law, if he lives to be at the bar; which, if you take the bodings of a harsh, constant cough an
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