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“ Hank.” But assuming that he is really the black sheep or speckled wolf which two rival journals have painted him for the fiftieth time, still we cannot believe that he is blacker, or more speckled at heart, than Mr. Oliver Charlick. And this is the sort of man which a reform mayor, reform aldermen, and reform councilmen put in the place of Judge Bosworth !—a gentleman who would be considered by competent judges in any country in the world as eminently qualified, by intelligence, talent and integrity, not only for that he held but for a much higher position.
Yet the reformation of which we have heard, and still hear, so much may prove to be genuine. Certainly none would rejoice at such a consummation more than we. And if Mr. Henry Smith has become a new man, why may not Mr. Oliver Charlick? Then if the interviewers have taught our venerable Mayor three or four useful things in statesmanship, why may they not teach him a dozen such? But we protest, in passing, against their making our worthy chief magistrate a laughing stock at home and abroad as a sort of reformed Mrs. Grundy. Their performances and their results are far too suggestive of pouring small beer, or lager, into an empty pitcher through one orifice and pumping it out through another. In such an operation what goes in small beer or lager must come out small beer or lager, as the case may be, except that scarcely any pitcher is so well drained of its former contents but that it must retain more or less sediment. This sediment may so tinge the small beer or lager that it may be palmed off on the vulgar as hock or burgundy. But the same tinge causes the stomach which is at all fastidious--nay, any stomach not sadly depraved by the cheapest and sloppiest kind of food—to revolt against the liquid so poured in and pumped out more than it would have done had the thing acquired no tinge in its passage through the two orifices. But let us hope for the sake of public decorum, and for the credit of the great city of New York, that enough has been said for the present. At all events, we can do no more at present than to ask the following question. Should our model comptroller exhibit any more of those eccentricities
characteristic of minds of large calibre like his, is there not reason to hope that the writ which has proved so salutary in the case of the great Train may prove equally so in the case of the great Green ?
ART. VII.-1. Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick
Henry. By WILLIAM WIRT. New York.
2. The Virginia Convention of 1776. A Discourse delivered
at William and Mary College, 1855. By Hugh BLAIR GRIGSBY. Also Letters of Mr. Grigsby and of William Wirtt Henry. 1872.
3. The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the adop
tion of the Federal Constitution. By JONATHAN ELLIOT. 5 vols. Washington.
4. American Biography. 1st vol. By ALEXANDER EVERETT.
Life of Patrick Henry.
REVOLUTIONARY times bring forward great men. not point to such a period without finding a cluster of them. The marked men of all times are usually. connected with some such events, and the magnitude of the events keep their renown before the world. It takes a memorable period to try and develop men and heroes. Cromwell, Napoleon, Frederick, and Washington, were not less moulded in such times than were John De Witt, Mirabeau, Castellor, and our own Adams, Jefferson, and Henry. What but such times could have handed down the names of Demosthenes and Cicero, as well as the sturdy Brutus and Cato. Indeed, it requires an exigency to try the virtues and the weaknesses of mankind; and for this reason, all heroes, and many statesmen, are made by war. It requires an extraordinary genius to engrave his name in the records of nations, so as to endure, when wholly disconnected with the convulsions of the state, unless he be distinguished for science or letters alone. Bacon, Aristotle, and Plato, were not made great by convulsions any more than was Shakespeare, Racine, or Corneille. These are the intellectual lights of humanity, and they will come forth in all periods to guide and cheer mankind. They are the fixed stars, and no darkness can long obscure their resplendent light. So true statesmanship may exist in all times, but the convulsions of state give lasting fame, though consigned, like Danton and Robespierre, to a damning renown. But the American Revolution had but one Arnold, while it produced many noble characters and heroes. Indeed, every state of the old thirteen had her patriots, who made every sacrifice for their country in this great war, and Virginia, as one of the three, if not the foremost, of the great states of that time, presented a galaxy of names of the first character, which is still seen by all eyes, and whose names are pronounced by all tongues. Of these distinguished men of this period, in the civil line, Patrick Henry and Richard Henry Lee were the foremost, though they were, in the beginning, overshadowed by several men who had long held great sway in that state, but who were lost by the convulsion, in which Henry and Lee soon took the lead. Connected with this time, we propose to recall the career of Patrick Henry, and distinguish his peculiarities, not only as an orator, but as one of the great leaders of the American Revolution.
Patrick Henry was born the 29th of May, 1736, at Studley, Hanover county, Virginia. His family removed to Mount Brillian, in the same county, where he was brought up and educated. His father was a native of Aberdeen, in Scotland. He was a cousin of David Henry, the successor of Edward Cave in the publication of the “ Gentleman's Magazine,” and was a nephew, in the maternal line, of Dr. William Robertson, the great historian of Scotland. Mrs. Henry, the grandmother of Patrick Henry, was Jane Robertson, sister to Dr. Robertson, and to the grandmother of Lord Brougham, to whom he said he owed his talents and success. One of the
sisters of Patrick Henry was the grandmother of William C. Preston, and of Gen. John S. Preston, of South Carolina, and another sister was grandmother of Gen. Joseph E. Johnson. The father of Patrick Henry was liberally educated, and after Patrick had reached the age of ten he was under his instruction for the next five years, during which period he was well grounded in the classics, and read, as he told John Adams, Livy and Virgil in the original, and made some progress in mathematics. He had also a knowledge of Greek beyond what Wirt represents, and left among his books a well worn Greek testament, with Latin notes. His library was small and well selected, and what he read was thoroughly digested. The speeches of Mr. Henry show that he knew history, though they do not prove that he had made very extensive studies in history. Yet the debates upon the constitu
ion leave no doubt that he could promptly grapple with all the diverse questions of history and government when opposed by such lights as James Madison, Edmund Randolph, and John Marshall. It is believed that Mr. Wirt erred in disparaging Mr. Henry's attainments, and exaggerating his indolence. Mr. Pollard, who has called in question the fame of Henry as a great orator, says that upon one occasion he shut himself up for three days to study an important canse, without even seeing his family. Does this show that Henry had such aversion to study as we have been led to suppose ? or is there anything in his life to show that he could have been an indolent man? Certainly, his hunting, and fishing, and his social habits, all show that he was no sluggard, though he was too easy and good-natured with his customers to make a successful merchant, even in a country village. Indeed, it became the fashion of his cotemporaries to set up Henry's genius at the expense of his habits and attainments; and Jefferson has related some incidents and characteristics that doubtless he was told, but which had really no foundation in truth. In claiming for Henry a fair and good training in the classics at the age of fifteen, we but assert what has been handed down to this day in the family of Patrick Henry.
Indeed, his six weeks study and admission to the bar, where there were learning and accomplishments, proves the genius and skill of Henry.* He combated the examiners and sustained himself with so much tact and ingenuity that it is apparent that he strongly grasped leading principles and won the friendship and admiration of the examiners, who saw that his law knowledge was very superficial. Upon his promising to improve and pursue his studies, his license was signed, making young Henry an attorney at law. He had married at eighteen, and the cares of a family without fortune were resting upon him. It certainly was not a very brilliant opening, at the age of four-and-twenty; but he struggled on for three years, and after the brilliant argument of the "Parsons' Cause," retainers poured in upon him, and his family no longer wanted for bread. Mr. Henry soon commanded a very considerable business, and laid the foundation of a large estate, which was required by an increasing family. At his death he left a good estate, which had come from the practice of his profession and well judged investments. His success was such that when Mr. Nicholas, who was one of the leaders of the Virginia bar, gave up practice, he turned it all over to Mr. Henry, thus showing that he was a successful lawyer as well as a brilliant advocate.
This much is said to meet the charge that Henry had no habits of business or of study. His eminent success and extensive practice prove the contrary. The idle, indolent lawyer may do upon occasion great things at the bar, but such a man cannot keep a large business as Henry did. So Mr. Jefferson, who saw little of Henry at the bar, was misled as to the habits and even attainments of Patrick Henry, who was the greatest
* Mr. Randolph affected to dissent from one of Henry's answers, and called upon him for his reasons. After a considerable discussion Randolph said to him, " You defend your opinions well, but now to the law and the testimony," and opening the authority, said to him, “behold the face of natural reason! You have never seen these books, nor this principle of the law, yet you are right and I am wrong, and from the lesson you have given me I will never trust to appearances again." He then said, “If your industry be only half equal to your genius, I augur that you will do well and become an ornament and an honor to your profession."