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written in a simple and eloquent style, highly creditable to the age in which he lived. Indeed, we think his epistolary compositions read better than his orations; which is only proof, if we are correct, that more of the merit of an orator, so far as concerns effect, depends upon his manner, than his matter. The occasion, the crowded assembly,—the sympathy men always have with a speaker,—the intonations of the voice,-the effective pantomimic influence of gesture,all give a power to the speech, when spoken, which is lost to it, when read.
It is not difficult to connect the errors of the life of Cicero, with reflections upon the men and times in which we live. When Montesquieu suggested virtue, as the preserving principle of a republic, he only meant, we imagine, that the public men of a free nation should be virtuous, in order to defend her institutions from destruction. There may be an inherent idea of virtue connected with the constitution of a country; but it would be useless, because without application, if the government were not administered by honest men. And if the great mass of the governed once begin to recognize a distinction between private and political honesty, we may well fear that the elements of disorganization are at work in the body politic; and that they will, sooner or later, produce its final ruin.
Though we have great confidence in the American people, for resisting this evil, so common to all republics, still we cannot congratulate them that they are wholly exempt from its influence. The people of the United States possess a happy constitution,-one corrected by the experience and wisdom of all past ages; but they are not less human beings than were the people of Greece and Rome, who discovered that the cause of the subversion of liberty among them, arose from honoring men with public station, who were unworthy of private confidence. If we pass by them, and review the periods of history most distinguished for political achievements, we are struck with the instances of base venality and corruption, apparent in the conduct of many celebrated statesmen. Look at the magnificent intellect of Bolingbrokehow prostituted to the worst objects ! Survey the masterly policy of Richelieu-how distinguished by persecution and ingratitude! In fine, examine the great political events of all times,--they exhibit a contest of great intellects, not to
secure a permanent good for men, so much as to subserve private interest, and to promote personal aggrandizemenl.
As the vice we have attempted to depict, begins in the indifference of the people, so its correction must take its origin in their action. Let there be no partisanship, which shall cause men to lose sight of private vice and private virtue in the lives and characters of public servants. Then will political differences no more prevent us from doing justice to a good man,—then will a corrupt citizen no more dishonor a station, to which mere attachment to a party has elevated him,--then will the councils of the nation no more be disgraced with corruption and intrigue,—then will Washingtons be our statesmen, and patriotism the controlling motive of public measures. The institutions of the country will be safe, for virtue will not only be the theory, but the practice of those who administer them.
Art. V.-LAW AND LAWYERS. 1. Law and Lawyers, or Sketches and Illustrations of
Legal History and Biography. 2 vols. Carey & Hart:
Philadelphia. 1841. 2. Lives of eminent British Lawyers. By HENRY Ros
coe, Esq. 2 vols. Carey & Hart: Philad. 1843. 3. The Lawyer, his character and rule of holy life. By
EDWARD O'BRIEN. Carey & Hart: Philad. 1843.
Lord KAMEs has somewhere spoken of the “sympathetic emotion of virtue,” which, from a continued intercourse with men of worth,--from histories of generous and disinterested actions, -and from frequent meditations upon the high and chivalrous,-induces in ourselves qualities of the same elevating and noble character. We must learn to be great, and when we have acquainted ourselves with the histories of those who have attained to greatness before us, not a few steps in the progression have been made. It is even so, that we must learn what others have invented, before we undertake to invent,—what others have achieved, before we begin the struggle. What is it that strikes us so forcibly in every
branch of art, science and literature, as the march of discovery and improvement,—the struggles of invention, the principles brought to light, developed, elaborated, by mind after mind, each adding to strengthening and rendering more complete, the labours of its predecessor mind. Who would work,-let him learn what work has been already done. Who would think,—let him turn to metaphysics, and the thought expended there. Who would reason,--where are the books of dialectics? Who would imagine,- let him not be heedless of the world of fiction and romance.
Then come the lives and characters of the thinkers, reasoners and romancers,—those exhaustless fields, in which are to be traced the elements which conduce to greatness,-the strug. gles,—the aspirations,—the triumphs. Nor have mankind exhibited any want of interest in this latter description of knowledge, particularly where they have conceived themselves, by some means or other, by common feelings and aims, by common pursuits, by common aspirations, related to those who have been eminent. What village blacksmith is there, ignorant of the philological Vulcan of New-England? What Pasquin* does not hold up his awl with more becoming grace, when he bethinks him of Bloomfield ? Where is the printer boy ignorant of the fact that Benjamin Franklin actually set type ? Now, this same printer cares no more about ihe learned blacksmith, than he does about the inan in the moon; and the blacksmith cares as little for the literary pretensions of the man of lasts and leather. Each moves in his own orbit, and is content to revolve around it, interesting himself just so far as that orbit extends and not a jot farther; expecting, of course, a portion of the reflected respectability and eminence of those who have revolved before him. Now, all of this is natural enough; for certain it is not a principle working only in one or two classes of society. You find it every where. Go to Mr. Clericus, to be entertained about Jeremy Taylor, Hooker, Burnet, and Fuller. Mr. Causidicus will be amusing with my Lord Coke's quaintness; and Mr. Æsculapius dwell for hours together upon Fothergill
, Sydenham, Arbuthnot, Jenner, Hans Sloane and Astley Cooper,—well ne sutor ultra crepidam!
But the present age, so fruitful in philosophies, will, it is presumed, bring about a change,-nay, a change is greatly
* A celebrated Roman cobbler, upon whose statue and Marsorius', all satire came afterwards to be posted;
10 be desiderated, and we see already the evident marks of its accomplishment. This professional prejudice,—these castes which have, somehow or other, been suffered to form themselves, - will be worked off, and a nobler, because a more liberal spirit, be substituted in their stead. The press is aiming at this. We need no longer despair of becoming acquainted with men who have become great, in any or all the fields of human action. The excuse for confining our knowledge to those of a particular division, by alleging the impossibility of knowing any thing about others, without resorting to learned folios, will no longer avail. Information is coming to the people ; and that which was once locked up in the depositories of lawyers, doctors and divines, is being scattered to the mass. There is D'Israeli, to dwell upon every thing "curious” that ever happened to, was said or done, by the literati in all ages. There are “Lives of American" and "Lives of English Poets,” of “Eminent Commanders,”—“A new spirit of the age,” where Mr. Horne and yourself penetrate the retreats of living worthies. Then, there are "Physic and Physicians," "Sketches of Statesmen," “Law and Lawyers,” “Eminent Lawyers,” “The Lawyer," etc., etc., all in quick succession, where, for a few days reading, one may elevate himself to a comprehensive view of all the great and distinguished, not in one, but in every department of the arts, sciences, philosophies and literature. Commend us to this information, which breaks the professional film from our eyes, enlarges the horizon of our vision, fosters into life and activity our noblest sympathies, and forces upon us the conviction that we are men, and that nothing relating to men is foreign from us. Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto!
For ourselves, we have grown more particularly patriotic of late, and have had a most inordinate propensity to be “aiding and abetting” in this conspiracy against venerable libraries. For the life of us, we could not refrain from taking up the pen in the great work, and our mind's eye has been continually occupied with visions of laurels, bright and glittering, with which the brows of public benefactors have been encircled. We felt that we ought to be doing something, and what better than to throw off a few sheets on the subject before us,-a subject which will not, certainly, be without interest and instruction to a great many, unless rendered so by our own ignorance or dulness. Of course, vanity will
not tolerate such a supposition. We propose, then, to pub. lish such information as we possess, in relation to law and lawyers, as shall not be inconsistent with the nature of the work and the limits necessarily assigned us; contenting ourselves with a narration of facts in the simplest and plainest manner, and eschewing, as much as possible, every thing obscure and technical.
At the head of our catalogue, in the beginning of this article, appears“ Law and Lawyers,”—a work abounding in useful and entertaining matter, which, notwithstanding its bad arrangement, is calculated to repay every one for the time spent in its perusal, by passing him gently from “grave to gay, from lively to severe.” Upon this work we shall draw most largely, and make the acknowledgment in this place once for all.
Mr. Henry Roscoe's work, “Eminent British Lawyers,” is one of more literary merit than the last,-a higher effort of composition, displaying greater abilities and more real learning. If it is destined to be less read, it is because it is too judicious to be popular. It will be very useful to us now.
Mr. Edward O'Brien's “Lawyer," lately published on the cheap system, is a novelty in its way; it purports, on the face of it, to be the “posthumous work of a singularly upright, thoughtful and gifted man.” With a pure heart and a clear head, Mr. O'Brien bas few counterparts, we suspect, in the profession of the law. He has as much modesty as learning, and more true piety than either. We find his learning in his appendix,-his modesty, in his reliance upon authority,,his piety is the bright reflection of every page in his book. Mr. O'Brien will not be appreciated. One objection to all of the books, however, has struck us, if it be an objection,-viz: that they answer so admirable a purpose in enabling young “professionals” to talk learnedly about Sir Matthew, Sir Edward, old Selden and Ferné, without soiling a finger on the musty pages of the “Crown Pleas," "Institutes,” “Mare Clausum," or "Contingent remainders.”
The plan of the following sketch will be: first-some general observations upon the law as a science; secondthe codes that have distinguished it; third—the relation which it sustains to lawyers; fourth—the legal profession; fifth-the bar; sixth-the bench; seventh-the jury; eighth--law learning and subtlety; ninth--law books; tenth -anecdotes of the profession, etc., etc. So that, having pre48
VOL. VI.--No. 12.