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and there are natural lawgivers ; as of the slight tenure of corporate rein art Michael Angelo and Raphael, in sponsibility under republican law; and oratory Demosthenes, in philosophy the facility of divorce, the removal of Bacon. The endowments of each, not old landmarks, the incessant subdionly justify, but originate their author- vision and dispersion of estates, indiity; they interpret truth through their cate that devotion to the immediate superior insight and wisdom in their which a French philosopher ascribes respective departments of action and to free institutions, and which affects of thought; but of the vast number legal as well as social phenomena. In who undertake to illustrate, maintain, a tour abroad, he discovers new maor apply the laws which govern states, jesty in the ruins of the Forum, from a small minority are gifted for the task, their association with the ancient Roor aspire to its bigher functions ; hence man law, upon which modern jurispruthe proverbial abuse of the profession, dence is founded; and a curious inits few glorious ornaments, and its herd terest attaches to the picturesque of perverted slaves.
beauty of Amalfi, because the Pandects From this primary condition, it is were there discovered. Westminster impossible for any human being to es revives the tragic memories of the cape : if he goes into the deser, the is state trials, and seems yet to echo the still subject to the laws of nature, and, oriental rhetoric that made the trial however retired he may live, amid his of Hastings a Parliamentary romance. race, the laws of society press upon
At Bologna, amid the old drooping him at some point; if his own opinion towers, under the pensive arcades, is bis law in matters of fancy or poli- in the radiant silence of the picture tics, he must still obey the law of the gallery, comes back the traditionary road; in one country the law of beauty of the fair lecturer, who taught primogeniture; in another that of con the students juridical lore from bescription; in one circle, a law of taste, hind a curtain, that her loveliness in another, of custom, and in á might not bewilder the minds her words third, of privilege, reacts upon his informed; and at Venice every darkfree agency; at his club is sumptuary robed, graceful figure, that glides by law; over his game of whist, Hoyle; in the porticos of San Marco's moonlit his drawing-room, Chesterfield ; now square, revives the noble Portia's l'esprit du corps ; and again, the claims image, and " the same scrubbed boy, of rank; in Maine, the liquor law; in the doctor's clerk." California, Lynch law; in Paris, a gens
One of the characters in a popular d'armes ; at Rome, a permission of resi- novel is made to say that he is never in dence; on an English domain, the game company with a lawyer but he fancies laws; in the fields of Connecticut, a himself in a witness-box. This hit at
und ; everywhere turnpikes, sheriffs' the interrogative propensity of the class sales, marriage certificates, prisons, is by no means an exaggerated view of courts, passports, and policemen, a use to which they are specially inthrust before the eyes of the most clined to put conversation; and, if we peaceable and reserved cosmopolite, compare the ordeal of inquiry to which insignia that assure him that law is we are thus subjected, it will be found everywhere unavoidable. His physi more thorough, and better fitted to test cian discourses to him of the laws of our knowledge, than that of any other health; his military friends, of tactics; social catechism ; so that, perhaps, we the beaux, of etiquette ; the belles, of la gain in discipline what we lose in pamode ; the authors, of tasteful prece tience. It is to be acknowledged, also, dents; the reformer, of social systems; that few men are better stocked with and thus all recognize and yield to ideas, or more fluent in imparting them, some code.
than well-educated lawyers. There is If he have nothing to bequeath, no often a singular zest in their anecdotes, tax to pay, no creditor to sue, or libel a precision in their statement of facts, er to prosecute, he yet must walk the and a dramatic style of narrative, which streets, and thereby realize the influ- render them the pleasantest of comence or neglect of municipal law in the panions. In all clever coteries of which enjoyment of right-of-way,” or the we have any genial record, there usually nausea of some neglected offal; the figures a lawyer, as a wit, a boon comaccidents incident to travel assure him panion, an entertaining dogmatist, or an
intellectual champion. In literature, and corners of human nature that he the claims and demerits of the profes- has forgotten its broader and better sion are emphatically recognized ; and range." it is curious to note the adverse infer Why may not this be a lawyer's ences of philosophers and authors. skull?" "muses Hamlet, in the graveThus, Dr. Johnson says to Boswell: yard; " where be his quiddits now, his “Sir, a lawyer has no business with the quillets, bis cases, his tenures, and his justice or injustice of the cause he un tricks? Humph! this fellow might be dertakes ;" and "everybody knows you in's time a greater buyer of land, with are paid for affecting a warmth for your his statutes, his recognizances, his fines, client.” • Justice,” observes Sydney his double-vouchers, his recoveries; and Smith, " is found, experimentally, to be this, the fine of his fines, and the rebest promoted by the opposite efforts covery of his recoveries, to have his fine of practiced and ingenious men, pre- poll full of dirt! The very conveyances senting to an impartial judge the best of his lands will hardly lie in this box; argument for the establishment and ex and must the inheritor himself have no planation of truth.” “Some are al
more ?" lured to the trade of law,” says Milton, The diversities of the profession in " by litigiousness and fat fees;" one England and America are curious and authoritative writer describes a lawyer suggestive. Already is the obligation as a man whose understanding is on the mutual; for if in the old country there town; another declares no man departs are more profound and elaborate remore from justice; Sancho Panza said
in the new the science has his master would prattle more than received brilliant elucidations, and its three attorneys; and Coleridge thought forms and processes been simplified. that, "upon the whole, the advocate is There, routine is apt to dwarf, and here, placed in a position unfavorable to his variety to dissipate the lawyer's ability; moral being, and, indeed, to his intellect there, he is too often a mere drudge, also, in its higher powers ;' while it was and here, his vocation regarded as the a maxim of Wilkes, that scoundrel and vestibule only of political life. In Englawyer are synonymous terms. Our land, the advocate's knowledge is frepioneer littérateur, Brockden Brown, quently limited to his special departwhose imaginative mind revolted at the ment; and in America, wbile it is less dry formalities of the law, for which he complete and accurate, he is versed in was originally intended, defined it as "a many other subjects, and apt at many tissue of shreds and remnants of a bar vocations. There can be no barous antiquity, patched by the stu striking contrast than that between the pidity of modern workmen into new lives of the English chancellors and the deformity.” “In the study of law,”! American chief justices: in the former, remarks the poet Gray, “the lahor is regal splendor, the vicissitudes of long, and the elements dry and uninter- kingcraft and succession, of religious esting, nor was there ever any one not transition, of courts, war—the people disgusted at the beginning." Foote, the and the nobility-lend a kind of feudal comic writer and actor, feigned surprise splendor, or tragic interest, or deep into a farmer that attorneys were buried, trigue, to the career of the minister of in the country, like other men ; in town, justice; he is surrounded with the inhe declared, it was the custom to place signia of his office; big wigs, scarlet the body in a chamber, with an open robes, ermine mantles, the great seal, window, and it was sure to disappear interviews with royalty, the trappings during the night, leaving a smell of and the awe of power invest his person; brimstone. A portrait-painter assures his career is identified with the national us he is never mistaken in a lawyer's annals ; the lapse of time and historio face; the avocation is betrayed to his associations lend a mysterious interest observant eye by a certain inscrutable to his name; in the background, there expression; and Dickens has given this is the martyrdom of Thomas à Becket, not exaggerated picture of a class in the the speech of the fallen Wolsey, the profession: “Smoke-dried and faded, scaffold of Sir Thomas More, the indwelling among mankind, but not con ductive system and low ambition of sorting with them, aged without expe- Bacon, and the literary fame of Clarrience of genial youth, and so long endon. Yet, in intellectual dignity, our used to make his cramped nest in holes young republic need not shrink from the
comparison. The Virginia stripling, who canery, and the “gift of the gab;" and drilled regulars in a hunting-shirt, is a it is easy to imagine how a mob of such high legal authority in both hemispheres. adroit and ambitious partisans-espe“Where,” says one of Marshall's intel cially when brought together from the ligent eulogists, " in English history, is narrow sphere of village life-may perthe judge whose mind was at once so vert the great ends of legislative action. enlarged and so systematic; who had They make the laws according to their so thoroughly reduced professional sci own interests; and there is no prospect ence to general reason; in whose disci of the reformation demanded in juri. plined intellect technical learning had dicial practice while such a corps form so completely passed into native sense ?” the speaking and voting majority, and And now that Kent's Commentaries act on what has been justly called the have become the indispensable guide one great principle of English lawand reference of the entire profession, " to make business for itself." who remembers, except with pride, that Two names appear on the roll of on his first circuit the court was often English lawyers, which are identified held in a barn, wit the hay-loft for a with the worst characteristics of the bench, a stall for the bar, and the shade race—impious, wild, and brow-beating of a neighboring apple-tree for a jury arrogance—that of Jeffries, whose feroom? The majesty of justice, the rocious persecution of those suspected intellectual superiority of law as a of complicity with Monmouth's rebelpursuit, is herein most evident; dis- lion forms one of the most scandalous robed of all external magnificence, with chapters in the history of British courts; no lofty and venerable halls, imposing and Lord Thurlowe, who, in a more recostume or array of officials, the law fined age, won the alias of Tiger, for yet borrows from the learning, the his rudeness, inflexibility, oaths, and fidelity, and the genius of its votaries, ill manners, his black brows, and audiessential dignity and memorable tri ble growls. In beautiful contrast, shine umphs.
forth the law reformers of England, The most celebrated English lawyers whose benign eloquence and unwearied have their American prototypes ; thus, labor mitigated the sanguinary rigors Marshall has been compared to Lord of the criminal code, and pressed the Mansfield, Pinkney to Erskine, and common-law into the service of huWirt to Sheridan; imperfect as are manity. Romilly and Erskine have such analogies, they yet indicate, with gained a renown more enduring than truth, a similarity of endowment, or that of learned and gifted advocates; style of advocacy. The diverse influ their professional glory is heightened ence of the respective institutions of and mellowed by the sacred cause it the two countries is, however, none the illustrates. less apparent because of an occasional The trial by jury and habeas corpus resemblance in the genius of eminent are the grand privileges of England barristers. The genuine British lawyer and our own country; the integrity of is recognized by the technical cast of the former has been invaded among us, his expression and habit of mind, to a by the abuse incident to making judgedegree seldom obvious in this country. ships elective, and by the lawless spirit Indeed, no small portion of the gradu of the western communities; while the ates of our colleges who select the law conviction of such eminent criminals as as a pursuit, do so without any strong Earl Ferrers, Dr. Dodd, and Fauntlebias for the profession, but with a view roy, prove how it has been, and is, reto the facilities it affords for entrance spected by the public sentiment of into public life. Some of these aspirants England. thus become useful servants of the state, “ The great expense of the simplest a few, statesmen, but the majority mere law-suit," writes an English lawyer, in politicians, and from the predominance a popular magazine, " and the droll of the latter class originate half the er laws which force all English subjects rors of American legislation ; for, how into a court of equity for their sole reever much profound legal training may dress, in an immense number of cases, fit a man of ability for the higher func- lead, at this present day, to a very entions of representative government, a tertaining class of practical jokes. I superficial knowledge and practice of mean that ludicrous class, in which the law renders him only an adept in chi joke consists of a man's taking and
keeping possession of money or other lawyers were ornaments of society, and property to which he even pretends to the intellectual benefactors of the counhave no shadow of right, but which he try. In that study were disciplined the seizes because he knows that the whole chivalrous minds of Hamilton, Adams, will be swallowed up if the rightful Morris, and other statesmen of the Revoowner should seek to assert his claim." lution. A trial, which afforded the least The instances which are cited, are scope for their remarkable powers, was rather fitted to excite a sense of hu attended by the intelligent citizens with miliation than of fun, at the cruel injus- very much the same kind of interest as tice of a legal system which expressly filled the Athenian theatre—a mental organizes and protects robbery. banquet was confidently expected and
The legal treatises produced in Eng- deeply enjoyed. To have a great legal land in modern times, are wonderful reputation, then, implied all that is nomonuments of erudition, research, and ble in intellect, graceful in manner, and analytical power. The intelligent law courteous in spirit—it bespoke the yer who examines Spence's two volumes scholar, the gentleman, and the wit, as on equity, does not wonder his brain gave well as the advocate. When Emmet way when thus far advanced on his gi came hither with the prestige of inheritgantic task. It is this patient study, this ed patriotism and talents, as well as the complete learning, which distinguishes claims of an exile, he found men at the the English lawyer;. in point of elo bar whose forensic eloquence rivaled quence, he is confessedly inferior to his the fame of Curran and Grattan. Irish and American brethren, as they are The equality of free institutions was to him in profundity ; in the careful and never more aptly illustrated than by a persistent application of common sense scene which occurred in a court-house to the hoarded legal acquisitions of cen we used to frequent, in boyhood, in turies, the great minds of the English order to hear the impassioned rhetorio bar stand unrivaled.
of a gifted criminal lawyer. A trial of In this country, the lawyers of peculiar interest was to come on; the each state have a characteristic repu room was crowded with spectators and tation ; the bar of Boston, as a whole, officials; the judge, a venerable specimen is more English, that of the south of the stern and dignified magistrate, more Irish, in its general merits. Mar- took his seat; the sheriff announced the shall was an exception to the elo- opening of the court, and the clerk callquent fame of American lawyers born ed over the names of those summoned to and bred south of the Potomac; his su act as jurors. We were startled to hear, periority was logical; “ aim exclusively among those of grocers, draymen, and at strength," was his maxim; and close, mechanics, the well-known name of an compact, simple, but irresistible logic" aristocratic millionaire. It was thrice rehis great distinction. Wheaton's labors peated and no answer given. “ Has that in behalf of international, and Hamil- juror been duly summoned,” inquired the ton's in that of constitutional law, have judge. “Yes, your honor," was the relaid the civilized world, as well as their ply. " Let two constables instantly bring native country, under high and lasting him before us," said the magistrate. obligations.
One can imagine the vexation of the The popular estimate of a profession rich gentleman of leisure, when dawis dependent on circumstances; and this, dling, in a flowered robe de chambre, like every other human pursuit, takes its over his sumptuous breakfast, to be disrange and tone from the character of its turbed by those rude minions of the votary, and the existent relation it holds law; however, there was no alternative, to public sentimentnot so much from and he was obliged to dispatch his meal whatit technically demands, but from the and accompany the distasteful escort. spirit in which it is followed, comes the He entered the court, where a deep sidignity and the shame of the law. The lence prevailed, with a supercilious erudite generalizations of Savigny be smile and complacent air of well-bred long to the most difficult and enlarged annoyance. “ How dare you keep the sphere of thought, while the cunning court waiting, sir ?" was the indignant tergiversations of the legal adventurer salutation of the judge, who, peridentify him with sharpers and roguery. haps, when last in the gentleman's comIn the first cycle of our republic, when pany, had sipped a glass of delectable a liberal education was rare, the best old Madeira to his health. “I intend
ed to pay my fine and not serve,” racy descriptions of the process of stammered the millionaire. * And do western colonization abound in reyou suppose, sir, that wealth exonerates markable anecdotes of the unlicensed you from the duties of a citizen, and is administration of justice. After the any apology for your gross incivility in pioneer comes the ranger, a kind of thus detaining the court for over an border police, then the regulator, and hour? No excuse will be accepted; finally the justice of the peace. In either take your seat in the jury-box or more primitive communities, when a stand committed.” Through the silent flagrant wrong is committed, a public crowd, the luxurious man of fortune meeting is called, perhaps, under an oakthreaded his way, and sat down between clump or in a green hollow, the oldest a currier and wood-merchant, with settler is invited to the chair, which is whom he had to listen to the law and the probably the trunk of a fallen tree; the evidence for a fortnight.
offense is discussed; the offender idenThe author of the Lives of the English tified; volunteers scour the woods; he Chancellors refers to the usual explana- is arraigned, and, if found guilty, hung, tion of the origin of the term "wool banished, or reprimanded, as the case sack," as intended in compliment to the may be, with a dispatch which is not staple product of the realm; and adds less remarkable than the fair hearing he his own belief that, in the rude simpli is allowed, and the cool decision with city of early times, a sack of wool was which he is condemned. frequently used as a sofa.” In the There is a peculiar kind of impucolonial era of our history, when cere dence exhibited by the lawyer-it is mony and etiquette ruled the public hall sometimes called " badgering a witas well as the private drawing-room, ness”—and consists essentially of a American judges wore the robe and wig mean abuse of that power which is lestill used in the old country. These in gally vested in judge and advocate, signia of authority inspired an awe, be whereby they can, at pleasure, insult fore the era of legal reform and of phi and torment each other, and all exlosophical jurisprudence, which com posed to their queries, with impunity. ported with the tyrannous exercise of It is easy to imagine, the relish with juridical power, when it was little more which unprofessional victims behold the than the medium of despotism, and when mutual exercise of this legal tyranny. the calm reproach of Stafford was a literal A venerable justice, in one of our cities, truth : “ It is better to be without laws was remarkable for the frequent reproofs altogether, than to persuade ourselves he administered to young practitioners that we have laws by which to regulate in his court, and the formal harangues our conduct, and to find that they con with which he wore out the patience of sist only in the enmity and arbitrary those so unfortunate as to give testimony will of our accusers.”
in his presence. On one occasion, it hapThe conveyancer, writer to the signet, pened that he was summoned as a witattorney, barrister, and other divisions ness, in a case to be defended by one of of the legal profession, indicate how, in the juvenile members of the bar, whom this, as in other vocations, the division he had often called to order, with needof labor operates in England; while, on less severity. This hopeful limb of the this side of the water, the contrary prin law was gifted with more than a comciple not only assigns to the lawyer a mon share of the cool assurance so redegree of knowledge and aptitude in quisite in the profession, and determineach branch of his calling, but lays him ed to improve the opportunity, to make under contribution in every political and his learned friend" of the bench feel social exigency, as an interpreter or ad the sting he had so often inflicted. Acvocate of public sentiment; hence his cordingly,when his honor took the stand, remarkable versatility and comparative the counsel gravely inquired his name, ly superficial attainments. In the history occupation, place of residence, and sunof English law, the early struggles and dry other facts of his personal historyprofound acquirements of her disciples though all were as familiar to himself form the salient points, while in that of and every one present as the old church, America, they are to be found rather in or main-street of their native town. the primitive resources of justice and The queries were put in a voice and the various career of her ministers. with a manner so exactly imitated from With regard to the former, our many that of the judge himself as to convulse