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different societies. He wrote biographical sketches of ten of his contemporaries ; six elaborate reviews for the North American; three long and learned memorials to Congress. He delivered many elaborate speeches in the legislature of Massachusetts and the Congress of the United States. He also drew up many other papers of importance, among which are the argument before Harvard College, on the subject of the Fellows of the University; the Reports on Codification, and on the salaries of the Judiciary ; several important Acts of Congress, such as the Crimes Act, the Judiciary Act, the Bankrupt Act, besides many other smaller matters. In quantity, all other authors in the English law, and judges must yield to him the palm. The labors of Coke, Eldon, and Mansfield, among judges, are not to be compared to his in amounta And no jurist in the common law, can be measured with him, in extent and variety of labor."
Judge Story was a constant and assiduous student from a very early period of his life until the time of his decease. His habits were extremely regular and systematic. He never rose earlier than seven, and always retired for the night at or about ten. If, on rising, his breakfast was not ready, “he went at once to his library and occupied the interval, whether it was five minutes or fifty, in writing. When the family assembled he was called, and breakfasted with them. After breakfast he sat in the drawing-room, and spent from a half ;-) three quarters of an hour in reading the newspapers of the day. He then returned to his study, and wrote until the bell sounded for his lecture at the Law School. After lecturing for two, and sometimes three, hours, he returned to his study and worked until two o'clock, when he was called to dinner. To his dinner (which, on his part, was always simple) he gave an hour, and then again betook himself to his study, where, in the winter time he worked as long as the daylight lasted, unless called away by a visitor, or obliged to attend a moot-court. Then he came down and joined the family, and work for the day was over. Tea came in about seven o'clock; and how lively and gay was he then, chatting over the most familiar topics of the day, or entering into deeper currents of conversation with equal ease. All of his law he left up stairs in the library; he was here the domestic man in his home." His evenings were spent socially with his friends and family, or in reading the current literature of the day. Thus his life was passed, and thus it was prolonged. Retaining to the end the undisturbed possession of all his faculties, he died, after a short illness, on the tenth of September, 1845. A full and comprehensive account of his life and services, has been published since his death, from the facile pen of his son, Mr. W. W. Story. His Miscellaneous Works, edited by the same able hand, are now before the public.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE AGE.
Judge Story pronounced the following dis- | itself over the business of many ages, must course at Cambridge, before the Phi Beta Kappa have a tendency to chill that enthusiasm which Society of Harvard University, on the thirty
lends encouragement to every enterprise, and
to obscure those finer forms of thought which first of August, 1826 :
give to literature its lovelier, I may say, its in
expressible graces. The consciousness of diffiGENTLEMEN : 'If I had consulted my own culties of this sort may well be supposed to wishes, I should not have presumed to address press upon every professional mind. They can you on the present occasion. The habits of be overlooked by those only whose youth has professional employment rarely admit of leisure not been tried in the hard school of experifor the indulgence of literary taste. And in a ence, or whose genius gives no credit to imscience, whose mastery demands a whole life of possibilities. laborious diligence, whose details are inexhaust- 'I have not hesitated, however, to yield to ible, and whose intricacies task the most acute your invitation, trusting to that indulgence intellects, it would be matter of surprise, if which has not hitherto been withheld from every hour withdrawn from its concerns did well-meant efforts, and not unwilling to add not somewhat put at hazard the success of its the testimony of my own example, however votary. Nor can it escape observation, how humble, in favor of the claims of this society to much the technical doctrines of a jurisprudence, the services of all its members. • drawn from remote antiquity, and expanding! We live in an extraordinary age. It has been marked by events, which will leave a durable | ledges no finer models than those of antiquity. impression upon the pages of history by their The stream of a century has swept by the works own intrinsic importance. But they will be of Locke and Newton; yet they still stand alone read with far deeper emotions in their effects in unapproached, in unapproachable majesty. upon future ages; in their consequences upon Nor may we pronounce that the present age, the happiness of whole communities; in the by its collective splendor in arts and arms, casts direct or silent changes forced by them into into shade all former epochs. The era of Perithe very structure of society; in the establish-cles witnessed a combination of talents and acment of a new and mighty empire, the empire quirements, of celebrated deeds and celebrated of public opinion; in the operation of what works, which the lapse of twenty-two centuries Lord Bacon has characterized almost as su- has left unobscured. Augustus, surveying his preme power, the power of knowledge, working mighty empire, could scarcely contemplate with its way to universality, and interposing checks more satisfaction the triumph of his arms, than upon government and people by means gentle the triumph of the philosophy and literature of and decisive, which have never before been Rome. France yet delights to dwell on the fully felt, and are even now, perhaps, incapable times of Louis the Fourteenth, as the proudest of being perfectly comprehended.
in her annals; and England, with far less pro• Other ages have been marked by brilliant priety, looks back upon the reign of Queen feats in arms. Wars have been waged for the Anne for the best models of her literary excelbest and for the worst of purposes. The am- lence. bitious conqueror has trodden whole nations But, though we may not arrogate to ourselves under his feet, to satisfy the last of power; and the possession of the first genius, or the first era the eagles of his victories have stood on either in human history, let it not be imagined that extreme of the civilized world. The barbarian we do not live in an extraordinary age. It is has broken loose from his northern fastnesses, impossible to look around us without alternate and overwhelmed in his progress temples and emotions of exultation and astonishment. What thrones, the adorers of the true God, and the shall we say of one revolution, which created a worshippers of idols. Heroes and patriots have nation out of thirteen feeble colonies, and foundsuccessfully resisted the invaders of their coun ed the empire of liberty upon the basis of the try, or perished in its defence; and in each perfect equality in rights and representation of way have given immortality to their exploits. all its citizens; which commenced in a struggle Kingdoms have been rent asunder by intestine by enlightened men for principles, and not for broils, or by struggles for freedom. Bigotry | places, and in its progress and conclusion exhas traced out the march of its persecutions in hibited examples of heroism, patriotic sacrifices, footsteps of blood; and superstition employed and disinterested virtue, which have never been its terrors to nerve the arm of the tyrant, or surpassed in the most favored regions? What immolate his victims. There have been ancient shall we say of this nation, which has in fifty leagues for the partition of empires, for the sup- years quadrupled its population, and spread itport of thrones, for the fencing out of human self from the Atlantic to the Rocky mountains, improvement, and for the consolidation of ar- not by the desolations of successful war, but by bitrary power. There have, too, been bright the triumphant march of industry and enterspots on the earth, where the cheering light of prise ? What shall we say of another revoluliberty shone in peace; where learning unlocked tion, which shook Europe to its centre, overits stores in various profusion; where the arts turned principalities and thrones, demolished anfolded themselves in every form of beauty oppressions, whose iron had for ages entered and grandeur; where literature loved to linger into the souls of their subjects, and after variin academic shades, or enjoy the public sun- ous fortunes of victory and defeat, of military shine; where song lent new inspiration to the despotism and popular commotion, ended at temple; where eloquence alternately conse last in the planting of free institutions, free crated the hall of legislation, and astonished the tenures, and representative government in the forum with its appeals.
very soil of absolute monarchy? What shall We may not assert that the present age can we say of another revolution, or rather series lay claim to the production of any one of the of revolutions, which has restored to South mightiest efforts of human genius. Homer and America the independence torn from her three Virgil, and Shakspeare and Milton, were of centuries ago, by the force or by the fraud of ather days, and yet stand unrivalled in song. I those nations whose present visitations beTime has not inscribed upon the sepulchre of speak a Providence, which superintends and the dead any nobler names in eloquence, than measures out, at awful distances, its rewards Demosthenes and Cicero. Who has outdone and its retributions ? She has risen, as it were, the chisel of Phidias, or the pencil of Michael from the depths of the ocean, where she had Angelo, and Raffaelle? Where are the monu been buried for ages. Her shores no longer ments of our day, whose architecture dares to murmur with the hoarse surges of her unnavicontend with the Doric, Ionio or Corinthian of gated waters, or echo the jealous footsteps of Greece, or even with the Composite or Gothic her armed oppressors. Her forests and her of later times? History yet points to the preg- table lands, her mountains and her valleys, nant though brief text of Tacitus, and acknow- gladden with the voices of the free. She welcomes to her ports the whitening sails of com- | press. It has been aided also by the system of merce. She feels that the treasures of her free schools, wherever. it has been established; mines, the broad expanse of her rivers, the by that liberal commerce, which connects by beauty of her lakes, the grandeur of her scene- golden chains the interests of mankind; by that ry, the products of her fertile and inexbaustible spirit of inquiry, which Protestantism awakened soil, are no longer the close domain of a distant throughout Christian Europe ; and above all by sovereign, but the free inheritance of her own those necessities which have compelled even children. She sees that these are to bind her absolute monarchs to appeal to the patriotism to other nations by ties, which outlive all com and common sentiments of their subjects. Little pacts and all dynasties, by ties of mutual sym- more than a century has elapsed since the press pathy, mutual equality, and mutual interest. in England was under the control of a licenser;
But such events sink into nothing, compared and within our own days only has it ceased to with the great moral, political, and literary be a contempt, punishable by imprisonment, to revolutions, by which they have been accom- print the debates of Parliament. We all know panied. Upon some of these topics I may not how it still is on the continent of Europe. It indulge myself even for a moment. They have either speaks in timid under tones, or echoes been discussed here, and in other places, in a back the prescribed formularies of the governmanner which forbids all hope of more com- ment. The moment publicity is given to affairs prehensive illustration. They may, indeed, be of state, they excite everywhere an irresistible still followed out; but whoever dares the diffi interest. If discussion be permitted, it will culties of such a task, will falter with unequal soon be necessary to enlist talents to defend, as footsteps.
well as talents to devise measures. The daily What I propose to myself on the present oc- press first instructed men in their wants, and casion, is of a far more limited and humble soon found, that the eagerness of curiosity outnature. It is to trace out some of the circum- stripped the power of gratifying it.. No man stances of our age, which connect themselves can now doubt the fact, that wherever the press closely with the cause of science and letters ; | is free, it will emancipate the people; wherever to sketch here and there a light and shadow of knowledge circulates unrestrained, it is no longer our days—to look somewhat at our own pros- safe to oppress; wherever public opinion is enpects and attainments and thus to lay before lightened, it nourishes an independent, mascayou something for reflection, for encouragement, line, and healthful spirit. If Faustus were now and for admonition.
living, he might exclaim with all the enthusiasm • One of the most striking characteristics of of Archimedes, and with a far nearer approach our age, and that, indeed, which has worked to the truth, Give me where I may place a deepest in all the changes of its fortunes and free press, and I will shake the world. · pursuits, is the general diffusion of knowledge. One interesting effect, which owes its origin This is emphatically the age of reading. In to this universal love and power of reading, is other times this was the privilege of the few ; felt in the altered condition of authors them in ours, it is the possession of the many. Learn- selves. They no longer depend upon the smiles ing once constituted the accomplishment of of a favored few. The patronage of the great those in the higher orders of society, who had is no longer submissively entreated, or exultingno relish for active employment, and of those ly proclaimed. Their patrons are the public; whose monastic lives and religious profession their readers are the civilized world. They sought to escape from the weariness of their address themselves, not to the present generacommon duties. Its progress may be said to tion alone, but aspire to instruct posterity. No have been gradually downwards from the higher blushing dedications seek an easy passport to to the middle classes of society. It scarcely fame, or flatter the perilous condescension of reached at all, in its joys or its sorrows, in its pride. No illuminated letters flourish on the instructions or its fantasies, the home of the silky page, asking admission to the courtly peasant and artisan, It now radiates in all di- drawing-room. Authors are no longer the rections; and exerts its central force more in humble companions or dependents of the nothe middle, than in any other class of society.bility; but they constitute the chosen ornar The means of education were formerly within ments of society, and are welcomed to the gay the reach of few. It required wealth to accu- circles of fashion and the palaces of princes. mulate knowledge. The possession of a library Theirs is no longer an unthrifty vocation, closely was no ordinary achievement. The learned allied to penury; but an elevated profession, leisure of a fellowship in some university seemed maintaining its thousands in lucrative pursuits. almost indispensable for any successful studies ; | It is not with them as it was in the days of and the patronage of princes and courtiers was Milton, whose immortal “Paradise Lost" drew the narrow avenue to public favor. I speak of five sterling pounds, with a contingent of five a period at little more than the distance of two more, from the reluctant bookseller. centuries; not of particular instances, but of My Lord Coke would hardly find good authe general cast and complexion of life. thority in our day for his provoking commen
The principal cause of this change is to be tary on the memorable statute of the fourth found in the freedom of the press, or rather in | Henry, which declares that “none henceforth this co-operating with the cheapness of the shall use to multiply gold or silver, or use the craft of multiplication," in which he gravely mind, which grapples closer and mightier than enumerates five classes of beggars, ending the all others. They may feel sure, that every just catalogue in his own quaint phraseology with sentiment, every enlightened opinion, every “poetasters," and repeating for the benefit of earnest breathing after excellence will awaken young apprentices of the law, the sad admo- kindred sympathies from the rising to the setnition,
Nor should it be overlooked, what a benefi“Sæpe pater dixit, Studium, quid inutile tentas ?
cial impulse has been thus communicated to Mæonídas nullas ipse reliquit opes."
education among the female sex. If ChristianiThere are certainly among us those who are ty may be said to have given a permanent elewithin the penalty of this prohibition, if my vation to woman, as an intellectual and moral Lord Coke's account of the matter is to be be being, it is as true that the present age, above lieved, for they are in possession of what he all others, has given play to her kenius, and defines to be " à certain subtil and spiritual sub-taught us to reverence its influence. It was stance extracted out of things," whereby they the fashion of other times to treat the literary transmute many things into gold. I am indeed acquirements of the sex as starched pedantry, afraid that the magician of Abbotsford is accus-or vain pretensions; to stigmatize them as intomed to “use the craft of multiplication;" and consistent with those domestic affections and most of us know to our cost, that he has changed virtues which constitute the charm of society. many strange substances into very gold and very We had abundant homilies read upon their silver. Yet even if he be an old offender in this amiable weaknesses and sentimental delicacy, way, as is shrewdly suspected, there is little upon their timid gentleness and submissive dedanger of his conviction in this liberal age, since, pendence; as if to taste the fruit of knowledge though he gains by every thing he parts with, were a deadly sin, and ignorance were the sole we are never willing to part with any thing we guardian of innocence. Their whole lives were receive from him.
* sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought," The rewards of authorship are now almost as and concealment of intellectual power was sure and regular, as those of any other profes- often resorted to, to escape the dangerous imsion. There are, indeed, instances of wonder-putation of masculine strength. In the higher ful success, and sad failure; of genius pining in walks of life, the satirist was not without color neglect; of labor bringing nothing but sickness for the suggestion, that it was of the heart; of fruitless enterprise, baffled in every adventure; of learning waiting its ap “A youth of folly, an old age of cards;" pointed time to die in patient suffering. But this is the lot of some in all times. Disappoint- and that elsewhere, "most women had no charment crowds fast upon human footsteps in what-acter at all,” beyond that of purity and devoever paths they tread. Eminent good fortune tion to their families. Admirable as are these is a prize rarely given even to the foremost in qualities, it seemed an abuse of the gifts of the race. And after all, he who has read hu- Providence to deny to mothers the power of man life most closely, knows that happiness is instructing their children, to wives the privinot the constant attendant of the highest public lege of sharing the intellectual pursuits of their favor; and that it rather belongs to those who, husbands, to sisters and daughters the delight if they seldom soar, seldom fall.
of ministering knowledge in the fireside circle, • Scarcely is a work of real merit dry from the to youth and beanty the charm of refined sense, English press, before it wings its way to both to age and infirmity the consolation of studies, the Indies and Americas. It is found in the which elevate the soul and gladden the listless most distant climates, and the most sequestered hours of despondency. retreats. It charms the traveller, as he sails These things have in a great measure passed over rivers and oceans. It visits our lakes and away. The prejudices which dishonored the our forests. It kindles the curiosity of the sex, have yielded to the influence of truth. By thick-breathing city, and cheers the log hut of slow but sure advances, education has extended the mountaineer. The Lake of the Woods re- itself through all ranks of female society. There sounds with the minstrelsy of our mother tongue, is no longer any dread, lest the culture of science and the plains of Hindostan are tributary to its should foster that masculine boldness or restpraise. Nay, more, what is the peculiar pride less independence, which alarms by its sallies, of our age, the Bible may now circulate its con- or wounds by its inconsistencies. We have solations and instructions among the poor and seen that here, as everywhere else, knowledge forlorn of every land, in their native dialect. is favorable to human virtue and human happiSuch is the triumph of letters; such is the ness; that the refinement of literature adds triumph of Ohristian benevolence."
lustre to the devotion of piety; that true learnWith such a demand for books, with such ing, like true taste, is modest and unostentafacilities of intercourse, it is no wonder that tious; that grace of manners receives a higher reading should cease to be a mere luxury, and polish from the discipline of the schools; that should be classed among the necessaries of life. cultivated genjus sheds & cheering light over doAuthors may now, with a steady confidence, mestic duties, and its very sparkles, like those of boast, that they possess & hold on the human | the diamond, attest at once its power and its pu
rity. There is not a rank of female society, how-, right of kings, and the absolute allegiance of ever high, which does not now pay homage to subjects, constituted nearly the whole theory literature, or that would not blush even at the of government from the fall of the Roman Resuspicion of that ignorance, which a half centu- public to the seventeenth century; that Chris ry ago was neither uncommon nor discreditable. tianity itself was overlaid and almost buried There is not a parent, whose pride may not for many centuries, by the dreamy comments glow at the thought, that his daughter's happi- of monks, the superstitions of fanatics, and the ness is in a great measure within her own com- traditions of the church? that it was an exemand, whether she keeps the cool sequestered crable sin throughout Christendom to read and vale of life, or visits the busy walks of fashion. circulate the Holy Scriptures in the vulgar
A new path is thus open for female exertion, tongue ? Nay, that it is still a crime in some to alleviate the pressure of misfortune, without nations, of which the Inquisition would take any supposed sacrifice of dignity or 'modesty. no very indulgent notice, even if the Head of Man no longer aspires to an exclusive dominion the Catholic Church should not feel that Bible in authorship. He has rivals or allies in almost societies deserve his denunciation Even the every department of knowledge; and they are great reformers of the Protestant Church left to be found among those whose elegance of their work but half done, or rather came to it manners and blamelessness of life command his with notions far too limited for its successful respect, as much as their talents excite his ad- accomplishment. They combated errors and miration. Who is there that does not contem- abuses, and laid the broad foundations of a plate with enthusiasm the precious fragments more rational faith. But they were themselves of Elizabeth Smith, the venerable learning of insensible to the just rights and obligations of Elizabeth Carter, the elevated piety of Hannah religious inquiry. They thought all error inMore, the persuasive sense of Mrs. Barbauld, tolerable ; but they forgot in their zeal, that the elegant memoirs of her accomplished niece, | the question, what was truth, was open to all the bewitching fictions of Madame D'Arblay, for discussion. They assumed to themselves the vivid, picturesque, and terrific imagery of the very infallibility, which they rebuked in the Mrs. Radcliffe, the glowing poetry of Mrs. Romish Church; and as unrelentingly perseHemans, the matchless wit, the inexhaustible cuted heresies of opinion, as those who had sat conversations, the fine character painting, the for ages in the judgment-seat of St. Peter. practical instructions of Miss Edgeworth, the They allowed, indeed, that all men had a right great known, standing in her own department to inquire; but they thought that all must, if by the side of the great unknown?
honest, come to the same conclusion with themAnother circumstance, illustrative of the selves; that the full extent of Christian liberty character of our age, is the bold and fearless was the liberty of adopting those opinions spirit of its speculations. Nothing is more which they promulgated as true. The uncommon in the history of mankind, than a ser- restrained right of private judgment, the glorivile adoption of received opinions, and a timidous privilege of a free conscience, as now estabacquiescence in whatever is established. It lished in this favored land, was farther from matters not whether a doctrine or institution their thoughts even than Popery itself, I owes its existence to accident or design, to would not be unjust to these great men. The wisdom, or ignorance, or folly; there is a natural fault was less theirs than that of the age in tendency to give it an undue value in propor- which they lived. They partook only of that tion to its antiquity. What is obscure in its spirit of infirmity which religion itself may not origin warms and gratifies the imagination. wholly extinguish in its sincere, but over zealWhat in its progress has insinuated itself into ous votaries. It is their glory to have laid the the general habits and manners of a nation, be- deep, and, I trust, the imperishable foundations comes imbedded in the solid mass of society. of Protestantism. May it be ours to finish the It is only at distant intervals, from an aggrega- work, as they would have done it, if they had tion of causes, that some stirring revolution been permitted to enjoy the blessed light of breaks up the old foundations, or some mighty these latter times. But let not Protestants genius storms and overthrows the entrench-boast of their justice or their charity, while ments of error. Who would believe, if history they continue to deny an equality of rights to did not record the fact that the metaphysics of the Catholics. Aristotle, or rather the misuse of his meta- The progress of the spirit of free inquiry physics, held the human mind in bondage for cannot escape the observation of the most satwo thousand years ? that Galileo was impris- perficial examiner of history. The press, by oned for proclaiming the true theory of the slow but firm steps, first felt its way, and solar system ? that the magnificent discoveries began its attacks upon the outworks of reof Sir Isaac Newton encountered strong oppo- ceived opinions. One error after another sisition from philosophers that Locke's Essay lently crumbled into the dust, until success on the Human Understanding, found its way seemed to justify the boldest experiments. with infinite difficulty into the studies of the Opinions in science, in physic, in philosophy, in English Universities that Lord Bacon's method morals, in religion, in literature, have been of induction never reached its splendid triumphs subjected to the severest scrutiny; and many, until our day ? that the doctrine of the divine which had grown hoary under the authority