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would rather lower the salaries of ten by a strict party vote, the rank and file judges, than increase that of one. The of the democracy following the lead of patriotism of Mr. Story was again ap- Mr. Jefferson, whose visionary and abpealed to, and not in vain. He accord surd, notions on the subject of national ingly reported a bill to enlarge the sala. defence his admirers do not now pretend ries of all the judges, and was the chief to conceal or defend. He also gave his speaker in its support in the debate that animated support to the proposition for ensued, which was characterized by an the repeal of the embargo. He had deunusual degree of excitement, and in fended this measure, in the legislature of which he was not spared by his political Massachusetts, as a temporary expedient, friends. His honorable course, however, preparatory to further acts which should, was again crowned wtth success, and by in some way or other, settle the questions his means, chiefly, the valuable judicial at issue between the two countries; but services of Chief Justice Parsons were he was wholly opposed to it as a scheme secured for the remainder of his life, a of permanent policy, and contemplated benefit not only to the State of Massa- with lively alarm the ruin and misery chusetts, but to the whole Union, so which must of necessity spring from it. large an influence have the judgments Mr. Jefferson was much displeased with of that eminent man had upon the juris this opposition to his favorite scheme, prudence of America.
and he ascribed the repeal of the embargo These events in his life, though their mainly to Mr. Story's influence. The scene and immediate influence were local injury was not forgotten or forgiven, and and not national, deserve to be commem Mr. Story is accordingly complimented orated, as they do so much credit to his in- with the epithet of “pseudo-republican,” dependence of character. The conduct in a letter addressed by Mr. Jefferson to of the party to which he belonged may General Dearborn, contained in the also be honorably contrasted with that of fourth volume of his printed works. Mr. the democratic legislature of Massachu- Story never was a “ republican” in Mr. setts in 1843, which reduced the salaries Jefferson's sense of that word. of all the judges—an act not more in vio In January, 1811, Mr. Story was electlation of the Constitution of Massachu- ed Speaker of the House of Representasetts, than a departure from sound repub- tives of Massachusetts, and he held that lican principles.
office, till his appointment to the bench. While in the legislature, Mr. Story For this place he was extremely well drew up an able report in favor of estab- qualitied by his knowledge of forms, his lishing a separate court of equity juris- quickness of mind, his excellent temper diction, and earnestly enforced the pas- and his courteous manner, and he dissage of a law in accordance with it. But charged its duties in a way which met the jealousy which the legislature of the unqualified approbation of all parties. Massachusetts has always felt on the Though Mr. Story, at the time of his subject of chancery powers, defeated this, appointment to the bench, had become a as it has many similar measures since, conspicuous public man, politics had by
In 1809, Mr. Story was elected a Rep- no means formed the object of most enresentative in Congress to supply the grossing interest to him. His profession vacancy in Essex, south district, occa had been a subject of paramount import. sioned by the death of Mr. Crowninshield. ance, and to this his time and thoughts He served only for the remainder of the had been chiefly devoted. He loved the term for which he was chosen, and de- law, and studied it with the ardor and clined a reëlection, deeming the agita perseverance which a relish for the purtions of political life incompatible with suit alone could inspire. The business that devotion to professional pursuits, which was intrusted to him was always without which high success can never be promptly, ably and conscientiously disobtained. While in Congress he associa charged. He threw himself into the ted his name with two measures, both of cause of his clients with his characteristic which were distasteful to the great lead zeal and energy, was sagacious in the er of the Democratic party. One of these management of causes, self-possessed at was a motion made by himself for a com- critical moments, fluent, persuasive and mittee to consider the expediency of a ingenious in his appeals to the jury, and gradual increase of the navy, which he in his arguments to the court thorough, enforced in an eloquent and elaborate learned and profound. Such a man was speech. This proposition was defeated not left to languish in obscurity, nor
could his unpopular politics cover with reavement, amply testify. To the close a cloud his shining merits. The saga- of his life, the reading of the best of the cious merchants and farmers of Essex English poets formed the favorite relaxafound that their most important interests tion of his leisure hours, and he ever remight safely be intrusted to his zealous tained the liveliest sense of their peculiar and able hands, and soon after his ad- beauties. mission business began to flow in upon In November, 1811, the place of assohim in a copious stream. In a very few ciate justice of the Supreme Judicial Court years he was retained in causes of the of the United States, became vacant by first magnitude, and measured his powers the death of Judge Cushing of Scituate. with such antagonists as no lawyer, liv. The post was iendered to Mr. John ing or dead, could venture to disdain; as Quincy Adams, then in Russia, and by Mr. Dane, Judge Prescott, Judge Putnam, him declined; whereupon Mr. Story was Judge Jackson, and Mr. Mason of New- appointed to the place. Thus, at the Hampshire. At the time of his elevation early age of thirty-two years, he was into the bench, his professional income was vested with a judicial function of the not less than five thousand dollars a-year; highest dignity and importance, called a very large sum, considering the place upon to decide causes of great magnitude and the period. Notwithstanding his and interest, and to administer all the laborious and extensive practice, he bad branches of the common law-in addition not forgotten to pay a part of that debt to admiralty and equity law, both of which every lawyer owes to his profes- which in England are under the charge sion. In 1805, he published a Selection of separate tribunals—besides constituof Pleadings in civil actions, with valua. tional law, a department almost indigeble annotations of his own, a work care nous to the soil of our country, and taking fully and accurately compiled, and after precedence of all other in interest, granthe lapse of forty years still resorted to deur and extent of influence. We are as a safe and trusty guide. In 1809 he not aware that the annals of the common edited Chitty's treatise on Bills of Ex law afford any parallel instance of an adchange and Promissory Notes, with a vancement to so high a tribunal at so large body of original notes, wbich was early an age. well received by the legal profession. The professional reputation of Mr. In the following year, he also prepared Story entitled him fairly, as among the for the press an edition of Abbott's ex- lawyers of his own party, to this high cellent work on Shipping, with copious honor, notwithstanding his youth ; but it notes and references to American Statutes is not to be disguised that the appointand decisions. Of this work, he also ment occasioned some uneasiness and published an enlarged and improved edi- alarm, throughout the first circuit, espetion after his elevation to the bench. cially among the graver and elder mem
During the early period of his life, his bers of the Federal party. It was quite walks were not wholly confined to the unprecedented to see so young a man in a thorny paths of jurisprudence. He had seat so long and so indissolubly associathat fine organization and lively sense of ted with the rev end brow and silver beauty which mark the poetical tempera- locks of age. He was remembered, too, ment, which would not have failed to as the able and fearless advocate of po. give him the same eminence in literature litical opinions, often warmly embraced as he attained in law, had the former by the young and the ardent, but not in been his ultimate choice. While in col- favor, as a general rule, with the men lege he wrote verse with ease and spirit, who held the property of New England, and was frequently called upon to exer- who, of course, were the most interested cise his poetical talents. A year or two in the pure and impartial administration after leaving college he published a po- of justice. The commencement of his etical work, of some considerable extent, judicial career was therefore carefully called the “ Power of Solitude,” showing and anxiously watched by those whose a good deal of skill in versification, and rights and property were most likely to a genuine warmth of poetic feeling. His be influenced by his official judgment. sterner studies and avocations soon called But whatever of apprehension or uneasihim away from the haunts of the muses ness there may have been in the minds though he never lost his facility of versi- of any portion of the community, was fication, as some exquisite verses, written dissipated by the first observation of his late in life upon a painful domestic be- conduct upon the bench. It was seen
that in assuming the sacred functions of discusses the influence which property the judge, he had entirely laid aside the has, and should have, upon government, prepossessions of the political advocate. and his wise and judicious remarks comÎn the suitors who came before him, he mend themselves by their own excellence, knew no other distinctions than those not less than by his weight of character.
the essential equity of their The persuasive eloquence and beautiful claims. No recollections of former con tone of feeling of the concluding para, flicts warped his sound judgment, or graphs have given them a general and darkened his clear perception. No judge deserved popularity, and secured them a ever kept the ermine of justice more un- place in what may be called the circulating spotted from the polluting stains of poli. Îiterature of the conntry. tics.
In his judicial labors he has reared an The remainder of his life and more imperishable monument to his memory. than one half of its whole duration, was His duties, taking the whole extent of passed in the tranquil discharge of his his judicial career, were more various judicial duties, to which, at a later period, and more arduous than those of any of were added his engagements as a teacher his contemporaries. His circuit labors of law and his self-imposed labors as an extended over the States of Massachuauthor. There was only one considera. setts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and ble occasion on which the even flow of Maine. In each of these States he held, his life was interrupted by a summons by law, two terms in the year, and though to appear before the public in any other they may be lawfully holden by the capacity than those which have been district judge alone, yet he was never enumerated. In 1820, after the separa- absent except when prevented by illness. tion of Maine from Massachuseits, a The peculiar character of the people of convention was called to revise the con New England, their enterprise and thrift, stitution of the latter State. Great wis- their saving and accumulating habits, dom was shown in the choice of the their restless activity and indomitable delegates who comprised a body illustri- energy, were also elements which added ous for talent, learning, dignity and ex to the amount of his judicial labors. Soon perience. In these qualities, it is not too after his elevation to the bench, the coals much to say, that this body was not of strife between England and America surpassed by any assemblage of men who were fanned by the angry passions of ever met together in America. Upon it the two countries into the blaze of open fell the last rays from the mind of the The people of New England had elder Adams and the early splendor of a large share of the evils and sufferings Mr. Webster's unsurpassed genius. To of war and of its unchristian and inhuthis Convention he was chosen a dele man gains. They were extensively engate from the town of Salem. He took gaged in navigation, and sustained heavy a deep interest in its proceedings and an losses by capture. The British domin. important part in its debates. He defend- ions were near at hand, and a part of the ed the independence of the judiciary in soil of New England was occupied by the an elaborate argument against a proposed enemy. The struggle between the natamendment authorizing the Legislature to ural impulses of man, and the unnatural diminish, as well as to increase, the salaries state of war, produced a system of of the judges, during their continuance in trading under licenses from the enemy, office. This measure had been once car and of collusive captures. A large ried in the Convention by a large major- portion of the prizes taken from the Engity; but the friends of the judiciary, lish were brought into New England impressed with a deep sense of the evil ports, having been captured by New Engconsequences of such a measure, exerted land privateers. From these things themselves so ably and zealously, that arose a great variety of questions affecting when the question was taken upon its the principles and application of the prize final passage it was rejected by the wis- law, all difficult and some new.
The dom of the assembly. To this result, his manner in which he administered this powerful argument, which unfortunately novel and intricate branch of law reflects was not reported, materially contributed. the highest credit upon his learning and The reported debates of the Convention ability, and won the cordial praise of forcontain a beautiful specimen of his delib- eign and at that time hostile tribunals. erative eloquence in a speech on the basis The commercial character of New Engof the Senatorial representation. In this he land and the great amount of its capital
employed in navigation, gave rise also to which, at the turning of a crank, shall a variety of perplexing questions in ad- convert a live sheep into felt hats, a skin miralty law, involving the rights of ship- of morocco and four quarters of mutton. owners, ship-masters and seamen, and the In consequence of the inventiveness of claims of salvors, which were to be adju- the people of New England, a very large dicated by a system of law then compar- proportion of the patent causes of the atively in its infancy, ill-defined and whole country were tried before the triimperfectly understood. This was al- bunal of the first circuit.
The patent ways with Mr. Justice Story a favorite law, at the commencement of his judicial branch of his jurisdiction. Early in his career, was in a most imperfect state, and judicial career, he investigated the origin, perplexed with the contradictory decisions and expounded the leading principles, of of English judges, struggling between admiralty law, in his celebrated judgment their sense of justice and the fair princiin De Lovio vs. Boit, 2 Gallison, 398, in ples of interpretation on the one hand, which, his reasoning has never been an- and the influence of the common law docswered, though his conclusions have often trines of monopoly on the other. The been assailed. In a variety of subsequent constructive and creative power of Mr. judgments, these principles were applied Justice Story's mind was largely employwith singular sagacity, clearness and con ed in the gradual building up of that adsistency, and with inexhaustible affluence mirable fabric of patent law by which the of learning, to the numerous and intri- rights of inventors and patentees are now cate cases which came before him. Thus secured and defined, and which is becommainly by his labors and those of his ing more and more important with the illustrious contemporary, Lord Stowell, in rapid growth of the country, and especEngland, has been formed a department, ially with the extension of its manufacof law, alike beautiful from the symmetry turing interests. of its structure and the harmony of its The enlightened principles of equity juproportions, and useful from the facility risprudence were always congenial to his with which its principles may be applied mind, and he was soon called upon to apto the actual exigencies of life. We be- ply and expound them judicially. With lieve that no unprejudiced lawyer ever how much of learning and ability this was passed from the barbarous jargon, the done, is well known to the legal profession. frivolous distinctions, the scholastic sub. There were but few topics discussed in his tlety, the solemn nonsense and the impu- masterly treatises on this subject, subsedent fictions which disfigure such con- quently published, which he was not callsiderable portions of the common law, ed upon to examine and explain in a juinto the natural and rational course of dicial capacity. His judgments in equiproceedings in a court of admiralty, with- table cases are of especial value to the out experiencing a relief similar to that student and the practitioner for their depth felt by the early navigators when they of learning, their variety of illustration, had passed the dark and stormy bourne of and their comprehensive treatment of the Cape Horn and reached into the smooth points under discussion. He always enseas and gentle gales of the Pacific. couraged the study of equity jurispru
His duties as presiding Judge of the dence among the members of the legal New England Circuit also required him profession, and saw with pleasure its to administer, and indeed almost to growing importance and the more frecreate, another important branch of law. quent recourse which was had to it, in A phrenological peculiarity of the Yan- the settlement of litigated questions. He kee skull is the great size of the organ delighted in its generons and liberal prin. of constructiveness. They are a tool- ciples, in the flexibility of the instruments making, machine-contriving and labor- which it used to accomplish the ends of saving race. A Yankee without mechan- justice, and in its superiority to narrow ical ingenuity is as rare a bird as a thrift- iechnicalities. less Scotchman or a canny Irishman. He also devoted himself to the study So curious and magical are the machines of constitutional law with the assiduity which we have witnessed—the growth which its paramount importance required. of that soil—that we should hardly he To this department his attention had not surprised to hear of an inventive genius been particularly called while at the bar, emerging from an obscure New England and some curiosity, not to say anxiety, village, and carrying up to Boston a mod- was felt as to how far he would sustain el of that long-sought and visionary mill, the constitutional views of the illustrious
Chief Justice, which, as is well known, questions of commercial law. From a were not approved by the great body of study of his reported judgments, alone, the democratic party. That he cordially it would be impossible to inser that he embraced them, and enforced them with had any preference for one kind of law the earnestness and power of genuine over another. A luminous and profound conviction, is now matter of history; and discussion upon a point of insurance law this departure from the creed of the party will be followed by one equally luminous with whom he had been associated while and profound upon some technical quesat the bar, is most honorable to his candor tion of real law, and this latter by a and independence, and may we not further learned examination of some knotty rule add that it furnishes a strong argument in in special pleading. We certainly know favor of the soundness of the principles of of no instance of any judge who attained constitutional interpretation of the Mar so high an eminence in so many departshall school ? His constitutional judg: ments of the law; who was entitled to ments were always most elaborately and be ranked with Lord Stowell as an excarefully prepared, and are worthy of as- pounder of admiralty and prize law, with siduous study, not only from their intrin- Sir William Grant and Lord Cottenham sic excellence, but as showing so different as an equity lawyer, and with Lord Denan intellectual structure from that of the man and Baron Parke as a coinmon law Chief Justice. To watch the processes judge. In regard to the law of patents, by which two differing minds arrive at we know of no one to compare him with. the same results is always interesting. Herein he stands alone, with no rival It will be time well employed on the part near the throne. of the student to read, with this view, His judgments, as presiding judge of the judgments of these two eminent men the first circuit, are contained in two volin the Dartmouth College case, 4 Whea umes of Gallison's Reports, five of Maton, 458, each so masterly and yet so son's, three of Sumner's, and two of unlike the other. His power as a consti- Story's; and all the judgments in these tutional lawyer may be felt with peculiar volumes were delivered by him. Besides force in those cases in which he differed these, he contributed rather more than his from the majority of his brethren upon natural proportion to the reports of the the bench, as in the case of the Warren Supreme Court, contained in Cranch, bridge, 11 Peters, 420. Without presum- Wheaton, Peters and Howard. These ing to give an opinion as to the soundness volumes, taken together, form no inconof the principles laid down by the major. siderable law library, and he who would ity of the court, no one can help admitting thoroughly master their contents would the infinite superiority of the dissenting make himself an excellent lawyer. Of judgment of Mr. Justice Story in learn- his judgments, taken as a whole, it is ing, grasp of principle and vigorous rea- certainly not too much to say that they soning
have no superior in the English language; Besides the various departments of and were the writer to express his own jurisprudence which we have enume- individual opinion, it would be couched rated, there remains the great body of the in even stronger terms of commendation common law, which in all its branches than these. he was required to administer and inter He was equally conspicuous for his pret. Every region and province of the excellence as a nisi prius judge. His common law was to him familiar ground. quickness of mind was absolutely magi. He was not, like many judges, strong in cal. He comprehended a legal point hesome of its departments and weak in fore the statement had been fairly made others; but he had mastered all its vari by the counsel, and he was as correct in ous learning, and was everywhere at the conclusions to which he came as he home. The various modifications of was rapid in reaching them. His vast commercial law, including the law of stores of learning were always at cominsurance, contracts, bills of exchange mand, and he had never occasion to hesiand promissory notes, agency, partnership tate a moment in the decision of the points and bailments, were the branches most which arose in the course of a trial. His congenial to his taste; but his judgments manner courteous, assuring and upon questions of real law, criminal law bland, especially to the young, the timid and special pleading, were distinguished and the sensitive. There was always a by the same fullness of learning and un genial atmosphere in his court. No one tiring patience in research as those upon who came before him had to fear any of