« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
the attempt to elevate and purify the moral habits of their artisans will lead to similar efforts elsewhere, and how reasonable will be the joy and gratitude of the Nation should such examples indeed spread largely--but especially if they could be followed out amidst the great provincial conglomerations of factory labour-in such Babylons of glass and gas as Manchester, Glasgow, and Leeds !* It is, we must repeat, certain that many master-manufacturers, however wisely and benevolently disposed, could not in their own persons do for their people what the Messrs. Wilson have undertaken at Belmont—but one thing they can do—and that no trifle. In the cost of any great establishment of this class, the addition of a chaplain can be no serious item: and indeed we are quite satisfied that the services of such a functionary would always be, as at Belmont, speedily and abundantly overpaid in the increased order, decorum, and honest diligence of the workers.
Art. II.--Life and Letters of Joseph Story, Associate Justice
of the Supreme Court of the United States, and Dane Professor of Law at Harvard University. Edited by his Son, W. W.
Story. 8vo., 2 vols. Boston, 1852. TWO
WO thick and tall closely printed volumes are somewhat too
much for the Life and Letters of Mr. Justice Story. He was not a good letter-writer :-indeed it seems strange that a man so light of heart and so fluent in speech, of feelings so warm and yet so gentle—with so much learning, and seeing so many men and things within his own, perhaps not very extensive, circle should have produced letters so little interesting in matter or manner.
He had no romance in his character, and no adventure in his life—happily, no doubt, for himself. From school to college—from college to a lawyer's office—from the office to the Bar—and thence in succession to the State-Legislature, to Congress, to the Bench, and last, not least, to the Lecture-room-he passed without break, check, or reverse-beloved, admired, latterly venerated—to a peaceful end. One tour to the Falls is recorded -one voyage to England contemplated, sighed for, and aban
* It is understood that Price's Candle Company themselves are about to form in Lancashire a new establishment still more extensive than that at Vauxhall. Whether one of the Wilson family is to be at the head of it we have not heard—but if that should be the case, we are pretty sure the experiment' will be tried over again, in spite of many difficulties unknown to Belmont. We shall wait the result with anxiety - not without hope.
doned : a less locomotive man in such a station has hardly ever come under our notice. Such a life leaves little for narrative; but we have no doubt the story might have contained more details of real interest, if the author had ventured on more inward and personal topics, and the book certainly might have been improved by vigorous excision. More than half the letters—those merely of compliment or on formal occasions; all the dedicatory addresses of his numerous works, to be found of course in them; long extracts from addresses and reports which are printed in his Miscellaneous Writings, and nearly all his poetry should have been omitted ; and we might well have been spared the perpetually recurring accounts of what were the most important cases argued before him in Court in this or that Term ; to lawyers these afford but insufficient information, and to the general reader they are absolutely useless.
But we must not be misunderstood. We do not impute to the author mere clumsy book-making-he has been misled by filial affection by professional and patriotic feelings; but in all three respects he had indeed much to be proud of. His father was an honest and a most amiable man, a very accomplished lawyer, an excellent judge, a remarkably successful teacher of the law, and he ranks very high amongst the jurists of this, perhaps we may say, of any age.
Our readers will not be surprised at our allotting some pages to one whom we thus characterise, and a sketch of the distinguished American's career will give us an opportunity of saying a few words on some questions of present interest to ourselves.
Joseph Story was born in 1779 at Marblehead, in the county of Essex, Massachusetts, a lonely and rather dismal fishing village breasting the Atlantic. He was one of a numerous family, the children of a physician-one who had figured as an Indian in the noted tea-raid at Boston, who served under Washington as an army surgeon, a very decided republican in politics, and who, in the party divisions which succeeded Washington's administration, sided with Jefferson against John Adams. His will contains a clause, which dying, as he did, in somewhat narrow circumstances, his grandson cites with becoming pride :* I request my executrix (his wife) not to distress the poor,
may ove me at my decease—but to receive their debts as they may be able to pay, in ever so small a sum.'
At an early age Joseph was sent to the Marblehead Academywhich had, we presume, nearly a monopoly of the education of the future hopes of this retired hamlet, for girls and boys were educated there together-and remaining there till he was fifteen,
when his powers of observation were of course opening-he noticed that the girls kept even pace with the boys in their common studies, and went beyond them in quickness of perception and delicacy of feeling. If the sexes become unequal intellectually in after life—which we will not assume, as he does somewhat unceremoniously-he attributes it only to this--that the education of females generally ends where with the men it may be said effectively to begin.
Story's studies here, however, closed abruptly; his master, a harsh and passionate man, punished him on one occasion with injustice and with excessive severity. He quitted the Academy at once, and at a moment when he was preparing to fit himself for Harvard in the following year— having mastered the usual preparatory studies in Latin, and that most discouraging book, the Westminster Greek Grammar’—and when he was beginning to study the Gospel of St. John, 'with a view to make an easy transition into Greek. As Story was a clever and industrious lad, he was probably in the first rank among the young academicians of Marblehead-and certainly this proficiency at fifteen does not tell much for the labours of their Orbilius :-we are not surprised that the daughters of the place were able to keep up with the sons.
But two months remained before it was requisite for him to pass his preliminary examination, with a view to commencing residence in the ensuing term at Harvard. By great labour and such assistance as the common town schoolmaster could afford him, he believed he had prepared himself, and was taken by his uncle to Cambridge accordingly. Here, however, to his great disappointment he was informed by the President that in addition to what he had prepared he must be examined in all the studies which the freshmen class had been pursuing during the last six months. Considering his slender stock of knowledge at this time, it certainly argues not only great ability, but even more of that undaunted resolution and industry with that just selfconfidence, which are essential to success in the Law, to attempt and accomplish in six weeks what he reports of himself in the following passage
'My task was now before me. I have a distinct recollection of the main parts. Sallust was to be read through; the Odes of Horace ; two books of Livy; three books, I think, of Xenophon's Anabasis-and two books of Homer's Iliad ; besides English grammar and rhetoric, and, I think, logic and some other studies. I sat down boldly to the task, reciting every morning five lessons which I mastered during the preceding evening, and five or six more in the course of the day. It was intense labour ; but I found no great difficulty, except in Homer.
The dialects puzzled me exceedingly, and my treacherous memory failed in preserving them accurately, so that I was often obliged to go over the same ground. For my first lesson in Homer I got five lines well ; for my second, ten ; for my third, fifteen ; and then the mystery dissolved apace. In the course of the first three weeks I had gone through all the requisite studies. I could look back on my past labours with the silent consciousness of victory. There is nothing to a young mind unaccustomed to the exercise of its powers so gratifying as this. . . . . At the end of the vacation I was again offered for examination, and without difficulty obtained my matriculation.'-vol. i.
There is a little vagueness in this statement of what was to be done ; and the examination at the close was probably not very severe. Some allowance, too, may not uncharitably be made for the medium through which the successful lawyer in after life would look back on this earliest triumph of the powers to which he had afterwards owed so much. Yet, with every allowance made, this was just such an effort in youth as would warrant bright anticipations of his manhood. In passing, we may remark that our preparatory teachers would do well to imitate Story's example as to Homer in every transition with their pupils to a new book. We remember well in our own case precisely the same rule was adopted, and in regard to the same book. The lesson was extremely short, but for the first 200 or 300 lines every word, literally and without exception, was parsed, and the mystery did dissolve apace.
He joined his class in January, 1795. An English youth from a public school starting in the far more brilliant and large worlds of Oxford or Cambridge could scarcely be so excited as Story, coming from his secluded fishing village and its academy, was upon being launched at Harvard. The impressions of Marblehead, scenery as well as society, were severe and sombre; and they had nourished, in a somewhat sentimental nature, gloom and retiredness. The tone of his religious education concurred to produce this effect. His uncle was a rigid Calvinist, and imported his theology into his ordinary talk and feelings. The new world in which the nephew now moved was surrounded by a lighter and a more genial atmosphere. His nature put forth its inborn buoyancy and elasticity; he delighted in the studies of the place in the competition with his class-fellows-in the intimacy of a few friends, among whom was one of European fame in the sequel, Channing; and in the shaking of his mind his religious opinions underwent a change—he renounced Calvinism, and embraced unhappily the creed, if so it may be called, of the Unitarians, to which through all his life he adhered.
At nineteen he quitted college and, returning to Marblehead, entered the office' of Mr. Samuel Sewell, then a distinguished practitioner of the Essex bar, and a member of Congress. It is called an office, for the barristers of the United States, except in the Supreme Court at Washington, may be, and commonly are, admitted and act as attorneys also-a union of characters happily, as we think, unknown as yet in England, which, though it may frequently give to the barrister a more practical and intimate knowledge of the details of procedure, tends to lower the tone, and with conscientious minds even to fetter the freedom in the discharge of their duties. It is not good for the advocate to be immediately in contact with the hopes and fears, the strong unreasonable likings and hates of his clients—to be admitted to all their secrets; still less to have to search for witnesses, to humour their waywardness, to guard them against tampering; and to go through all that preliminary contention in a cause, which must bring the mind heated and embittered to what ought to be the
open, measured, free, and yet courteous contention of the trial.
The course for a legal student was then very disheartening, very difficult, good only for the youth who to more than common ability united strength of body, ardent hope, undaunted courage and perseverance. Nearly half the year Mr. Sewell was absent in Congress—he was on his circuit during another portion; he had no clerk, or elder pupil, to assist the new comer, and Story was left alone to work his own way as best he might. These were common difficulties, and no doubt many a youth sank under them-either gave up the pursuit in despair, or contented himself with a superficial knowledge. To the few, however, this rough mode has its advantages—what we acquire for ourselves, through many struggles, we make our own completely; by the strenuous effort and deliberate labour we gain power, our muscles are developed; we can, when we please, at any time make a great exertion, and we acquire a well-grounded self-possession.
So it was with Story, yet the trial was hard :' I shall never forget the time,' he says, 'when having read through Blackstone's Commentaries, Mr. Sewell, on his departure for Washington, directed me next to read Coke on Littleton. It was a very large folio, with Hargrave's and Butler's notes, which I was required to read also. Soon after his departure I took it up, and after trying it day after day with very little success, I sat myself down and wept bitterly. My tears dropped on the book and stained its pages. It was but a momentary irresolution—I went on and on-and began at last to see daylight, aye, and to feel that I could comprehend and reason upon the text and the comments. When I had completed the reading of this most formidable work, I felt that I breathed a purer air, and that I had acquired a new power. The critical period was passed—I no