Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

I feel the gales, that round me blow,
A momentary bliss bestow,
As waving wide their gladsome wing,
My weary soul they seem to soothe,
And redolent of joy and youth,
To breathe a second spring.

“But, to drop metaphor, I still continue to relish poetry and fiction with a warm and vigorous love, not, indeed, in the daily outpourings of modern poets, but in the works of the great classics of our language, of Milton, and Shakspeare, and Dryden, and Pope, and Thomson, and Gray, and Goldsmith, and others of that true school of immortal verse. Of the more modern poets my principal favorites are Cowper and Crabbe, the former for his singular beauty and simplicity of thought and language, and severe truth of morals, the latter for his almost supernatural illustrations of the human character in all its nicest shades and most secret workings."

CHAPTER XI.

PROFESSORIAL AND JUDICIAL LIFE.

IT

FORMATION OF A SOCIETY OF THE ALUMNI OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY

-ORATION BY MY FATHER — EXTRACT — BANKRUPT ACT COMES INTO OPÉRATION JUDGMENT ON “ EX PARTE FOSTER LETTERS FROM MR. JUSTICE COLERIDGE AND LORD CAMPBELLILL HEALTH - LETTER ON THE CASES OF LA JEUNE EUGÉNIE AND PRIGG v. THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Right OF INSTRUCTION PUBLICATION OF COMMENTARIES ON BILLS OF ExCHANGE — PREFACE - OPINIONS OF FOREIGN JOURNALS — LETTERS FROM MR. JUSTICE PATTESON AND MR. JUSTICE COLERIDGE — DEDICATION - PROJECTS A Visit to ENGLAND — CORRESPONDENCE RELATING TO IT WITH MR. EVERETT – LETTER RELATING TO LADY HEWLEY'S CHARITY — Death of Hon. MR. LEGARÉ TRIBUTE TO HIM BY MY FATHER — LETTER RELATING TO IT.

A SUBJECT which greatly interested my father at this time, was a scheme for the formation of a society embracing all the Alumni of Harvard University, which should have an annual meeting on commencement week. Hitherto the societies of the University had been more or less exclusive in their character, and my

father's generous nature had often been pained to see well-grounded claims to fellowship rejected from motives of personal pique or dislike. In establishing an association, to which the sole qualification of membership should be graduation from the University, or study within its walls, he hoped to create an academic brotherhood, uninfluenced by personal rivalries and jealousies, which returning annually to the scenes of student life, should there renew the friendships of the past, revivify the memories of visionary hopes and fancies, and join in festal feelings, each with his yearly lessening company, that disbanded on the threshold of manhood. At my father's instance, and principally through his personal efforts, such a society of the alumni was formed. In compliance with his wishes, Hon. John Quincy Adams was made its President, and he himself accepted the place of Vice-President. Upon the declination of Mr. Adams to prepare the opening discourse, my father, though greatly pressed by his various duties, consented to perform this office; and accordingly on the twenty-third of August, 1842, he delivered the first oration before the society. It is conservative in its spirit, and is devoted to a consideration of the literary tendencies and demands of the age. A paragraph, near the beginning, shows his views of the objects of this association.

[ocr errors][merged small]

We meet,

6 We are assembled here, for the first time, on an occasion equally worthy of commemoration, and full of responsible duties. We meet to celebrate the first anniversary of the society of all the Alumni of Harvard. We meet without any distinction of sect or party, of rank or profession, in church or in state, in literature or in science. as a band of brothers, educated in the bosom of the same indulgent parent, and drinking from the same fountain, which has from the beginning poured forth its pure and sparkling streams of knowledge to give life and glory to our land. Our fellowship is designed to be — as it should be — of the most liberal and comprehensive character, conceived in the spirit of catholic benevolence, asking no creed but the love of letters, seeking no end but the encouragement of learning, and imposing no conditions which may lead to jealousy or ambitious strife. In short, we meet for peace and for union; to devote one day in the year to academical intercourse and the amenities of scholars. We would shake off from our feet the dust, gathered, not only in the by-ways and highways of life, but in the fervid race for public distinction. We would lay aside for the hour, the garlands and the palms, and the emblems of victory. Viridesque Coronce et Palme pretium victoribus."

The following letter, among other things, alludes to this discourse as being in press, and is interesting as showing his modest estimate of his own powers, and his cheerfulness of nature.

TO HON. EZEKIEL BACON.

Cambridge, September 12th, 1842. MY DEAR SIR :

My discourse before the Alumni Society will be published in a few days, and I shall take pleasure in sending you a copy. I think that you will find most, if not all my views are conservative, and coincident with yours. Indeed, I thought it unbecoming my age and position, to descend to flattery of our country, and determined to speak out the truth, at least as I thought it.

You have kindly alluded to my success in life, and I can assure you, from the bottom of my heart, what deep gratitude I feel to a good Providence for so many blessings truly unexpected by me, and which so many men whom I love and honor have not been so fortunate as to obtain. I am conscious that much has been the result of accident, (in our human sense of the word) of lucky chances, and unexpected and unsought advantages, far, very far, beyond what I feel to be my deserts; and far, very far, from any thing that I ever imagined or hoped to obtain. I have indeed had my sorrows, but they have been more than counterbalanced by my varied blessings. All I pray for is, that it may teach me the best blessing of life, to learn sympathy for the distresses of others, and to lend my encouragement, however feeble, to aid the young, the enterprising, and the good. Yours, most truly and affectionately,

Joseph STORY.

During this year, the Bankrupt Act of 1841 came into operation, and threw a great additional labor on the Circuit Court. The system of bankruptcy was entirely new; the questions arising under it were not well understood; and the act required illustration and definition by judicial opinions. To its exposition my father devoted himself with great zeal, and wrote out a large number of elaborate judgments. Among these, may be mentioned the exhaustive judgment in “Ex parte Foster,” (2 Story, R.) on the meaning of the clause in the Bankrupt Act saving all liens, in which he went into a very full investigation of the nature of equitable, common law, and maritime liens, and decided, that an attachment on mesne process did not constitute a lien in the strict sense of that term. This labor was wholly additional to the ordinary business of the Court, and as the docket was crowded with cases under the bankrupt law, his utmost energy was required to dispose of them.

The following complimentary letters from Mr. Justice Coleridge and Lord Campbell, are selected from those received during this year, relating to my father's Commentaries :

« ForrigeFortsæt »