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ENTERED according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.
CONTENTS OF VOL. II.
Speech on the Repeal of the Embargo,
The Army and Navy; an extract, .
Extract from the Speech on Retrenchment,
JOHN MARSHALL, the most illustrious of America's Judges, was the eldest son of Colonel Thomas Marshall, and Mary Keith, his wife. He was born on the twenty-fourth day of September, 1755, in Germantown, Fauquier County, Virginia. His youthful days were passed on the family estate, where he acquired the rudiments of an education, under the instruction of his father. At the age of fourteen he commenced his classical studies with a Mr. Campbell, with whom he remained a year, after which he returned to his home, and continued his studies with a Scotch gentleman, who had been inducted as pastor of the parish, and resided in his father's family. Here he made rapid progress, but on the expiration of a year, his instructor left him to his own unassisted resources; and his subsequent knowledge of the classics was attained without any other aid than his grammar and dictionary. In the literature of his native tongue he continued to receive the assistance of his father, who directed his studies, and contributed to cherish his love of knowledge. “It is to this circumstance,” says his friend and associate, “that we are mainly to attribute that decided attachment to the writers of the golden age of English literature, which at all times he avowed, and vindicated with a glowing confidence in its importance, and its superior excellence.” This parental care and attention was neither lost nor forgotten. It was a theme on which Mr. Marshall, in his mature years, delighted to expatiate. “My father,” he would say, "was a far abler man than any of his sons. To him I owe the solid foundation of all my own success in life.”
Mr. Marshall was entering upon his eighteenth year, when the difficulties between the American colonies and Great Britain began to assume a threatening aspect. In those affairs he manifested a deep interest. Relinquishing his literary labors, he devoted himself with spirit and energy to the acquisition of military knowledge, and to the diligent study of the politics of the day. In the summer of 1775, he was chosen a lieutenant in a company of minute-men, and in September of that year marched against Lord Dunmore, to obstruct that officer's progress through the lower counties of Virginia. Hearing of their approach, Lord Dunmore took a very judicious position on the north side of Elizabeth river, at the great bridge, where it was necessary for the provincials to cross in order to reach Norfolk, at which place he had established himself in some force. Here he erected a small fort on a piece of firm ground, surrounded by a marsh, which was only accessible on either side by a long causeway. The American troops took post within cannon shot of the enemy, in a small village at the south end of the causeway, across which, just at its termination, they constructed a breastwork, but being without artillery, were unable to make any attempt upon the fort. In this position both parties continued for & . few days, when Lord Dunmore, participating probably in that contempt for the Americans,
which had been so freely expressed in the House of Commons, ordered Captain Fordyce, the commanding officer at the great bridge, though inferior in numbers, to storm the works of the provincials. Between daybreak and sunrise, this officer, at the head of about sixty grenadiers of the fourteenth regiment, who led the column of the enemy, advanced on the causeway, with fixed bayonets against the breastwork. The alarm was immediately given, and as is the praotice with raw troops, the bravest of the Americans rushed to the works, where, unmindful of order, they kept up a tremendous fire on the front of the British column. Captain Fordyce, though received so warmly in front, and taken in flank, by a small body of men who were collected by Colonel Stevens, of the minute battalion, and posted on an eminence something more than one hundred yards to the left, marched up under this terrible fire with great intrepidity, until he fell dead within a few steps of the breastwork. The column immediately broke, but the British troops being covered in their retreat by the artillery of the fort, were not pursued. In this ill-judged attack, every grenadier is said to have been killed or wounded, while the Americans did not lose a single man. The next night the fort was evacuated. The provincial troops proceeded to Norfolk, and Lord Dunmore found it necessary to take refuge on board his vessels.*
In July, 1776, Mr. Marshall was appointed first lieutenant in the eleventh regiment of the continental troops, and in the following winter, he marched to the middle States, and joined the army of Washington. In the spring of 1777, he was promoted to the rank of captain, and remained in that character, in active service, until the close of the year 1779. He was present at the battles of Germantown, Brandywine, and Monmouth, and was one of that heroic band of patriots who suffered the severities of the memorable winter at Valley Forge. During this period he often acted as deputy judge advocate, a position which gave him an extensive aoquaintance and weighty influence with the officers of the army, by whom he was greatly beloved and respected. “It was during his performance of the duties of judge advocate,” says Judge Story, “that he, for the first time I believe, became personally acquainted with General Washington, and I am sure, with colonel, afterwards. General Hamilton; for both of whom, it needs scarcely to be said, he always entertained the deepest respect, and whose unreserved friendship, at a subsequent period of his life, he familiarly enjoyed."
Late in the year 1779, Mr. Marshall returned to Virginia, and commenced a course of study in William and Mary College, attending the law lectures of Chancellor Wythe, and the lectures on natural philosophy of President (afterwards Bishop) Madison. In 1780 he received a license to practise law; and soon after returned to the army, where he continued actively engaged until after Arnold's invasion of Virginia. He now resigned his commission and returned to the prosecution of his professional studies; and on the reopening of the courts of law, after the surrender at Yorktown, commenced practice, in which he soon obtained a high and honorable distinction. In 1782 he was a member of the Virginia legislature, and during the same year occupied a seat in the State executive council. In January, 1783, he married Miss Ambler, of Richmond, to which place he removed shortly after, and established his permanent residence.
The duties of his profession, already very arduous, and rapidly increasing, impelled him to resign his position in the State council. But he did not long remain out of public life, being almost immediately elected to the Legislature to represent his native county. Here he continued two years, when he was again returned to the same body from the county of Richmond. It was in this position that he was disciplined to the “thorough mastery of the true principles of free government.” “My immediate entrance into the State legislature,” said he, in a letter written in the latter years of his life, "opened to my view the causes which had been chiefly instrumental in augmenting these sufferings (meaning of the army]; and the general tendency of state politics convinced me that no safe and permanent remedy could be found, but in a more efficient and better organized general government.”
In the great contest which arose, after the conclusion of the war, between the advocates of an efficient general government and the supporters of the State sovereignties, Virginia took a
* Life of George Washington, by John Marshall, vol. 2, page 371.