CHARLES SUMNER - Boldly outlined on the pages of our history stands out the rugged figure of Charles Sumner
statesman, lawyer and writer. A man of unimpeachable integrity, indomitable will and with the power of tireless
toil, he was a fit leader in troublous times First in rank as an anti slavery leader in the halls of congress,
he has stamped his image npon the annals of his time. As an orator he took froni rank and,! in wealth of illustration,
rhetoric and lofty tone his eloqnence equals anything to be found in history.
Charles Sumner was born in Boston, Massachusetts, January 6, 1811, and was the son of Charles P. and Relief J.
Sumner. The family had long been prominent in that state. Charles was educated at the Boston Public Latin School;
entered Harvard College in 1826, and graduated therefrom in 1830. In 1831 he joined the Harvard Law School, then
under charge of Judge Story, and gave himself up to the study of law with enthusiasm. His leisure was devoted to
contributing to the American Jurist. Admitted to the bar in 1834 he was appointed reporter to the circuit court
by Judge Story. He published several works about this time, and from 1835 to 1937 and again in 1843 was lecturer
in the law school. He had planned a lawyer's life, but in 1845 he gave his attention to politics, speaking and
working. against the admission of Texas to the Union and subsequentiy against the Mexican war. In 1848 he was defeated
for congress on the Free Soil ticket. His stand on the antislavery question at that time alienated both friends
and clients, hut he never swerved from his convictions. In 1851 he was elected to the United States senate and
took his seat therein December 1 of that year. From this time his life became the history of the anti-slavery cause
in congress. In August, 1852, he began his attacks on slavery by a masterly argument for the repeal of the fngitive
slave law, On May 22, 1856, Preston Brooks, nephew of Senator Butler, of South Carolina, made an attack upon Mr.
Sumner, at his desk in the senate, striking him over the head with a heavy cane. The attack was quite serious in
its effects and kept Mr. Sumner absent from his seat in the senate for about four years. In 1857, 1863 and 1869
he was re-elected to the office of senator, passing some twenty-three years in that position, always advocating
the rights of freedom and equity. He died March 11, 1874.
A Biographical Record
Of Schuyler County, New York
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
New York and Chicago 1903.
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