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bulwark of the Union, subjected to a minute and verbal criticism, which the common law repudiated even in its most rigorous construction of the grants of kings; a criticism, which scarcely belonged to the stinted charter of a petty municipality. Atiempts have been made, honestly if you please, but in the spirit of over curious jealousy, to cripple its general powers, by denying the means, when the end is required; to interpret a form of government, necessarily dealing in general expressions, if it mean to deal with any thing except legal entities and metaphysical notions, like the grant of a free fishery, or an easement, or franchise avainst common right; instead of interpreting it, as a constitution to regulate great national concerns, and to protect and sustain the citizens against


estic ) misrule, as well as foreign aggression. Even its enumerated powers have been strained into a forced and unnatural posture, and tied down upon the uneasy bed of Procrustes. And what, let me ask, with becoming solemnity, what would be the consequence, if these attempts, repudiating the old and settled doctrines of the constitution, should succeed? What but to subject it to the independent and uncontrollable interpretation of twenty-four sovereign states ; to give it in no two states the same power and efficiency; to weaken ils salutary influences, and subdue its spirit; to increase the discords and rivalries of contending states; to surrender its supreme judicial functions into the hands of those, who feel no permanent interest to exercise or support them; in short to drive us back to the old times, and the old practices under the confederation, when the national powers died away in recommendations, and solemn compacts and pledges were forgotten and contemned, if it did not suit the convenience of states to remember or to redeem them? If the union of the states is to be preserved, (and most earnestly must we all hope, that it may be perpetual,) it can only be by sustaining the powers of the National Government in their full vigor, and holding the judicial jurisdiction, as the constitution holds it, coextensive with the legislative authority. If, by an adherence to some false and glossy theories of the day, we yield up its powers, as victims on the altar of public favor, or public necessity, the comstitution will sink into a premature and hopeless decline. It will add another, and probably the last, to the long list of experiments to establish a free government, which have alternately illuminated and darkened the annals of other nations, as renowned in arts and arms, as they were for their advancement in literature and jurisprudence.

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Something more I would say on this subject; but time fails me, and I feel, that I am entering on topics far too grave, and solemn, and delicate, for occasions like the present. May I be permitted, however, to say, that the duty devolved upon the profession in these tiines is of deep responsibility and interest. It depends upon the present age, whether the national constitution shall descend 10 * our children in its masculine majesty, to protect and unite the country; or whether, shorn of its strength, it shall become an idle mockery, and perish before the grave has closed upon the last of its illustrious founders.

In looking to the future prospects of the jurisprudence of our country, it appears to me, that the principal improvements must arise from a more thorough and deep-laid juridical education, a more exact preparatory discipline, and a more inethodical and extensive range of studies.

In the first place, il cannot be disguised, that we are far behind the English Bar in our knowledge of the practice, and of the elementary forms and doctrines of special pleading. I do not speak here of the technical refinements of the old law in special pleading, which the good sense of modern times has suppressed; but of those general principles, which constitute the foundation of actions, and of those forms, by which alone rights and remedies are successfully pursued. There is a looseness and inartificial structure in our declarations and other pleadings, which betray an imperfect knowledge both of principles and forms, an aberration from settled and technical phraseology, and a neglect of appropriate averments, which not only deprive our pleadings of just pretension to elegance and symmetry, but subject them to the coarser imputation of slovenliness. The forrns of pleading are not, as some may rashly suppose, mere trivial forms; they not unfrequently involve the essence of the defence; and the discipline, which is acquired by a minute attention to their structure, is so far from being lost labor, that it, probably more than all other employments, leads the student to that close and systematical logic, by which success in the profession is almost always secured. Of the great lawyers and judges of the English forum one can scarcely be named, who was not distinguished by uncommon depth of learning in this branch of the law; and many have risen to celebrity solely by their attainments in it. We should blush to be accused of perpetual mistakes in grammatical construction, or of a gross and unclassical style of composition. Yet these are venial errors, compared with those, with which the


law is sometimes reproached. Diffuse and tedious as are the modern English pleadings, it cannot be denied, that they exhibit a thorough mastery of the science. We miss, indeed, the close, lucid, and concentrated vigor of the pleadings in the days of Rastall, and Coke, and Plowden, and even of Saunders and Raymond. But our taste is not offended by loose and careless phraseology, nor our understanding distressed by omissions, which betray the genuine “crassa negligentia” of the law, or by surplusage so vicious and irrelevant, that one is at a loss to know at what point the pleadings aim, or whether they aim at any. We ought not to rest satisfied with mediocrity, when excellence is within our reach. The time is arrived, when gentlemen should be scrupulously precise in their drafts of pleadings, and when the records of our courts should not be deformed by proceedings, which could not stand the most rigorous scrutiny of the common law, in form as well as in substance. Exemplifications of our judginents may pass, nay, do already pass, to England; and it ought to be our pride to know, that they will not be disgraced under the inspection of the sober benchers of any

Inn of Court. We should study ancient forms and cases, as we study the old English writers in general literature ; because we may extract from them, not only solid sense, but the best examples of pure and undefiled language. There is a better reason still, and that is, that special pleading contains the quintessence of the law, and no man ever mastered it, who was not by that very means made a profound lawyer.

Another source of improvement is in the more general study of the doctrines of courts of equity. I do not here address myself to those, who expect to practise in such courts, for to them it is almost unnecessary to say, that the study is indispensable. But I address the remark to those, who are conversant only with courts of common law. The principles of equity jurisprudence are of a very enlarged and elevated nature. They are essentially rational, and moulded into a degree of moral perfection, which the law has rarely aspired to. The arguments in courts of this sort abound with new views and elementary discussions. They present strong and brilliant contrasts to some of the perplexed notions of the old common law; and not unfrequently confirm and illustrate doctrines strictly legal, by unfolding new analogies, and expounding the nature and limits of principles, in a manner full of instruction and interest. It is a great mistake to confine our juridical researches to the narrow path, in which we mean to tread. There is no great mind, but feels itself cramped and fettered by such a course; and no moderate mind, but becomes thereby ground up into the most dusty professional pedantry. The great branches of jurisprudence mutually illustrate and support each other. The principles of one may often be employed with the most captivating felicity in aid of another; and in proportion as the common law becomes familiar with the lights of equity, its own code will become more useful and more enlightened. In our country, the study of equity jurisprudence has not, until within a few years, attracted general attention ; and in New England, from causes, which have been already alluded to, it has fallen into more neglect than our advances in other branches of the law would justify or excuse.

Connected with this, and, as a mine abounding with the most precious materials, to adorn the edifice of our jurisprudence, is the study of the foreign maritime law, and, above all, of the civil law. Where shall we find more full and masterly discussions of maritime doctrines, coming home to our own bosoms and business, than in the celebrated Commentaries of Valin? Where shall we find so complete and practical a treatise on insurance as in the mature labors of Emérigon? Where shall we find the law of contracts so extensively, so philosophically, and so persuasively expounded, as in the pure, moral, and classical treatises of Pothier? Where shall we find the general doctrines of commercial law so briefly, yet beautifully, laid down, as in the modern commercial code of France ? Where shall we find such ample general principles to guide us in new and difficult cases, as in that venerable deposite of the learning and labors of the jurists of the ancient world, the Institutes and Pandects of Justinian? The whole continental jurisprudence rests upon this broad foundation of Roman wisdom; and the English common law, churlish and harsh as was its feudal education, has condescended silently to borrow many of its best principles from this enlightened code.* The law of contracts and personalty, of trusts, and legacies, and charities, in England, has been formed into life by the soft solicitudes and devotion of her own neglected professors of the civil law.

There is no country on earth, which has more to gain than ours by the thorough study of foreign jurisprudence. We can have no difficulty in adopting, in new cases, such principles of the maritime and civil law, as are adapted to our own wants, and commend themselves by their intrinsic convenience and equity. Let us not vainly imagine, that we have unlocked and exhausted all the stores of juridical wisdom and policy. Our jurisprudence is young and flexible ; but it has withal a masculine character, which may be refined and exalted by the study of the best models of antiquity. And the structure of our state and national governments, while it easily adınits of the incorporation of foreign maritime principles, at the same time makes it safe, useful, and commendable.

* See 12 Mod. 482, by Lord Holt.

There is yet another study, which may well engage the attention of American lawyers, and be, in the language of Lord Coke, both honorable and profitable to them. I mean the study of the law of nations. This is at all times the duty, and ought to be the pride of all, who aspire to be statesmen; and, as many of our lawyers become legislators, it seems to be the study, to which, of all others, they should most seriously devote themselves. Independently of these considerations, there is nothing, that can give so high a finish, or so brilliant an ornament, or so extensive an instruction, as this pursuit, to a professional education. Whiat, indeed, can tend more io exalt and purify the mind, than speculations upon the origin and extent of moral obligations ; upon the great truths and dictates of natural law; upon the immutable principles, that regulate right and wrong in social and private life; and upon the just applications of these to the intercourse, and duties, and contentions of independent nations ? What can be of more transcendent dig. nity, or better fitted to employ the highest faculties of genius, than the development of those important truths, which teach the duties of magistrates and people; the rights of peace and war; the limits of lawful hostility; the mutual duties of belligerent and neutral powers; and which aim at the introduction into national affairs of that benign spirit of Christian virtue, which tempers the exercise even of acknowledged rights with mercy, humanity, and delicacy? If the science of jurisprudence be, as it has been eloquently described to be, “the pride of the human intellect,” and “the collected reason of ages, combining the principles of original justice with the infinite variety of human concerns," where can we find more striking proofs of its true excellence, than in the study of those maxims, which address themselves to the best interests and the most profound reflections of nations, and call upon them, as the instruments of Providence, to administer to each other's wants, to check inordinate ambition, to support the weak, and to fence in human infirmity, so that it can scarcely transcend the bounds of

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