Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Sumner, Charles
SUMNER, CHARLES, an American statesman; born in Boston, Mass., Jan. 6, 1811; was educated at Harvard University. In 1834 he was called to the bar, and shortly afterward became reporter of the United States Circuit Court. In 1836 he published three volumes of Judge Story's decisions, subsequently known as “Sumner's Reports,” and edited a periodical called the “American Jurist.” He visited Europe in 1837, and returned to Boston in 1840, where he resumed his legal practice. Between 1844 and 1846 he edited and published “Vesey's Reports” in 20 volumes. In 1851 he was elected to the Senate of the United States and distinguished himself by his strong antipathy to slavery. In May, 1856, after delivering a speech vigorously attacking the slaveholders, he was violently assaulted by Preston S. Brooks, member from South Carolina. His injuries compelled him to absent himself from public duties for nearly four years. He was a supporter of Lincoln and Hamlin, and in 1861 he became chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. He was an enemy to the policy of President Johnson and opposed the home and foreign policy of President Grant. After the latter's re-election in 1872 Sumner seldom appeared in debate. He died in Washington, D. C, March 11, 1874.