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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/275

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SKETCH OF WILLIAM GRAHAM SUMNER.

of their life on the sea-coast and rivers. The Indian, too, likes to associate with the white man, from whom, it must be confessed, he learns many of the vices, and but few of the virtues, of civilization. It is not probable that Chinook will fall into disuse for many years to come. Though it is difficult to determine whether or not the native population of this part of our country is materially decreasing at present, the race will, no doubt, in time become reduced to small proportions, and the raison d'étre of Chinook will gradually cease.

 

SKETCH OF WILLIAM GRAHAM SUMNER.

WILLIAM GRAHAM SUMNER was born at Paterson, N. J., October 30, 1840. He is the son of Thomas Sumner, who came to this country from England in 1836, and married here Sarah Graham, also of English birth. Thomas Sumner was a machinist, who worked at his trade until he was sixty years old, and never had any capital but what he saved out of a mechanic's wages. He was an entirely self-educated man, but always professed great obligations to mechanics' institutes and other associations of the kind of whose opportunities he had made eager use in England. He was a man of the strictest integrity, a total abstainer, of domestic habits, and indefatigable industry. He became enthusiastically interested in total abstinence when a young man in England, the method being that of persuasion and missionary effort. He used to describe his only attempt to make a speech in public, which was on this subject, when he completely failed. He had a great thirst for knowledge, and was thoroughly informed on modern English and American history and on the constitutional law of both countries. He made the education of his children his chief thought, and the only form of public affairs in which he took an active interest was that of schools. His contempt for demagogical arguments and for all the notions of the labor agitators, as well as for the entire gospel of gush, was that of a simple man with sturdy common sense, who had never been trained to entertain any kind of philosophical abstractions. His plan was, if things did not go to suit him, to examine the situation, see what could be done, take a new start, and try again. For instance, inasmuch as the custom in New Jersey was store pay. and he did not like store pay, he moved to New England, where he found that he could get cash. He had decisive influence on the convictions and tastes of the subject of this sketch.

Prof. Sumner grew up at Hartford, Conn., and was educated in the public schools of that city. The High School was then under