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his professional duties with unusual zeal, always regarding his own reputation as at stake, as well as the rights and interests of his client,-and sensibly alive to every thing which might affect either, and that he spoke with great ardour and vehemence, it must be evident that the most rohust constitution would not be sufficient to sustain such intense and unintermitted labour, where every exertion was a contest for victory, and each new success a fresh stimulus to ambition. He, therefore, found it necessary to vary his occupations, and to retire altogether from the bar for a season, in order to refresh his wearied body and mind, with the purpose of again returning to it, with an alacrity invigorated and quickened by this temporary suspension of his professional pursuits. He was thus induced to accept the appointment of Minister Plenipotentiary to the court of Russia, and of special Minister to that of Naples.” p. 142–147.
Mr. Pinkney remained at Naples from July to October. He was not, however, so much delighted either with the climate or the country, as some travellers have professed to be. He says, in a letter to Mr. Monroe,
6. The climate looks well enough, (not better however than our own,) but it relaxes and enfeebles much more than ours. The so much vaunted sky of Italy appears to me (thus far) to be infinitely inferior to that of Maryland. Every thing here has been overrated by travellers, except the bay of Naples, and the number and clamorous importunity of the common beggars, and the meanness of the beggars of a higher order, which it is absolutely impossible to overrate.'”
But we have no room for further comments, without depriving our readers of what we have marked for their perusala portion of the able and eloquent summary of the distinguishing peculiarities of Mr. Pinkney's professional and public character, with which Mr. Wheaton closes the first part of the work,
“To extraordinary natural endowments, Mr. Pinkney added deep and various knowledge in his profession. A long course of study and practice had familiarized his mind with the science of jurisprudence. His intellectual powers were most conspicuous in the investigations connected with that science. He had felt himself originally attracted to it by invincible inclination; it was his principal pursuit in life; and he never entirely lost sight of it in his occasional deviations into other pursuits and employments. The lures of political ambition and the blandishments of polished society, or perhaps a vague desire of universal accomplishment and general applause, might sometimes lempt him to stray for a season from the path which the original bent of his genius had assigned him—but he always returned with fresh ardour and new delight to his appropriate vocation. He was devoted to the law with a true enthusiasni; and his other studies and pursuits, so far as they had a serious object, were valued chiefly as they might minister to this idol of his affections.
“ It was in his profession that he found himself at home; in this consisted his pride and his pleasure; as he said, 'the bar is not the place to acquire or preserve a false or fraudulent reputation for talents,' and on that theatre he felt conscious of possessing those powers which would command success,
“Even when abroad, he pever entirely neglected his legal studies. But at home, and when actively engaged in the practice of his profession, be toiled with almost unparalleled industry. All other pursuits,--the pleasures of society, and even the repose which nature demands, were sacrificed to this engrossing object. His character, in this respect, affords a bright example for the imitation of the younger members of the profession. This entire devotion to his professional pursuits was continued with unremitting perseverance to the end of his career. If the celebrated Denys Talon could say of the still more celebrated D’Aguesseau, on hearing his first speech at the bar,—thal he would willingly END as that 'young man commenced,'*-every youthful aspirant to forensic fame among us might wish to begin his professional exertions with the same love of labour, and the same ardent desire of distinction, which marked the efforts of William Pinkney throughout his life. This intense application and untiring ambition continued to animate his labours to the last moments of his existence; and as he held up a high standard of excellence in this noble career, he pursued it with unabated diligence and zeal, and still continued to exert all his faculties as if his entire reputation was staked on each particular display. He guarded with anxious and jealous solicitude the fame he had thus acquired. The editor well remembers in the last, and one of his most able pleadings in the Supreme Court, remonstrating with him upon the necessity of his refraining from such laborious exertions in the actual state of his health, and with what vehemence he replied—THAT HE DID NOT DESIRE TO LIVE A MOMENT AFTER HAD ACQUIRED AT
WAS LOST, OR EVEN BROUGHT INTO DOUBT OR QUESTION.
THE STANDING HE
es The fragments of his works which are collected in this volume will enable the reader to form some judgment both of its characteristic excellencies and defects. But after all, the great fame of his eloquence must rest mainly in tradition, as no perfect memorials of his most interesting speeches at the Bar or in the Senate have been preserved; besides that so inuch of the reputation of an orator depends upon those glowing thoughts and expressions which are struck out in the excitement and warmth of debate, and which the speaker himself is afterwards unable to recover. Most of the poetry of eloquence is of this evanescent charac
The heautiful imagery which is produced in this manner, from the excitement of a rich and powerful mind, withers and perishes as soon as it springs into existence; and the attempt to replace it by rhetorical ornament, subsequently prepared in the cold abstraction of the closet, is seldom successful. Hence some portions of Mr. Pinkney's speeches, which were begun to be written out by himself with the intention of publishing them, will be found, perhaps, to be somewhat too much elaborated, and to bear the marks of studied ornament and excessive polish : but the editor is enabled to assert from his own recollection, that whilst they have certainly
* M. D'AGUESSEAU avait fait le premièr essai de ses talens dans le charge d'Avocat ou chàtelet, où il entra à l'âge de vingt-un ans: et quoiqu'il ne l'eut exercée que quelques mois, son pere ne doubta pas qu'il ne fût pas capable de remplir une troisieme charge d'Avocat Général au Parliament, qui venait d'être créée. Il y parut d'abord avec tant d'éclat, que le célebre DENIS TALON, alors Président å Mortier, dit qu'il voudrait finir comme ce jeune commençait. Abregé de la Vie de M. le Chancillier «l'Aguesseau.
lost in freshness and vigour by this process, in no instance have these more striking passages been improved in splendour of diction, and variety and richness of ornament. Indeed, he often poured forth too great a profusion of rhetorical imagery in extemporaneous composition. His style was frequently too highly wrought and embellished, and his elocution too vehement and declamatory for the ordinary purposes of forensic discussion. But whoever has listened to him, even upon a dry and complicated question of mere technical law, where there seemed to be nothing on which the mind delighted to fasten, must recollect what a charın he diffused over the most arid and intricate discussions by the clearness and purity of his language, and the calm flow of his graceful elocution. His favourite mode of reasoning was from the analogies of the law; and whilst he delighted his auditory by his powers of amplification and illustration, he instructed them by tracing up the technical rules and positive institutions of jurisprudence to their original principles and historical source. He followed the precept given (I think) by Pliny, and sowed his arguments broad-cast, amplifying them by every variety of illustration of which the subject admitted, and deducing from them a connected series of propositions and corollaries, gaining in beautiful gradations on the minds, and linked together by an adamantine chain of reasoning." p. 176-179.
After speaking of the great extent, solidity, and accuracy, of Mr. Pinkney's legal attainments, and his habit of studying diligently the ancient writers of the common law, the biographer proceeds
• Different estimates have been made of the extent and variety of his merely literary accomplishments. He was not what was commonly called a learned man; but he excelled in those branches of human knowledge which he had cultivated as auxiliary to his principal pursuit. Among his other accomplishments, (as has been before noticed,) he was a thorough master of the English language-its grainmar and idiom,-its terms and significations,—its prosody, and in short, its whole structure and vocabulary. It has also been before intimated that speaking with reference to any high literary standard, his early education was defective. He had doubtless acquired in early life some knowledge of classical literature, but not sufficient to satisfy his own ideas of what was necessary to support the character of an accomplished scholar. He used to relate to his young friends an anecdote, which explains one of the motives that induced him, at a mature age, and after he had risen to eminence, to review and extend his classical studies; and at the same time illustrates one of the most remarkable traits of his character-that resolution and firmness of
purpose with which he devoted himself to the acquisition of any branch of knowledge he deemed it desirable to possess. During his residence in England, some question of classical literature was discussed at table in a social party where he was present, and the guests, in turn, gave their opinions upon it: Mr. Pinkney being silent for some time, an appeal was at length made to him for his opinion, when he had the mortification of being compelled to acknowledge that he was unacquainted with the subject. In consequence of this incident, he was induced to resume his classical studies, and actually put himself under the care of a master for the purpose of reviewing and extending his acquaintance with ancient litera. ture." p. 183, 184.
LETTERS ILLUSTRATING THE EARLY PERIOD OF THE AMERICAN
FROM JOHN ADAMS.
Philadelphia, April 12, 1776. We begin to make some little figure here in the naval way. Captain Barry was fitted out here a few days ago in a 16 gun brig, and put to sea by the Roebuck man of war in the Delaware river, and after he got without the Capes, fell in with tender belonging to the Liverpool man of war, and took her, after an engagement of two glasses ; she had eight carriage guns, and a number of swivels.
I long to hear what fortifications are preparing for Boston harbour. I cannot bear the thought of their ever getting into Boston again, and would freely contribute my share towards any expense, and would willingly go and work myself upon the fortifications, if necessary.
Where will the cloud burst next? Are they gone to Halifax? Will they divide their force-and can they do it with safety? Will they attempt Quebec, or visit New-York, or Philadelphia, or Virginia, or one of the Carolinas, or linger out the summer in Halifax, like Lord LR-n, fighting mock battles and acting Grub-street plays ? I should dread this more than their whole force applied to any part of the continent. I really think this would be the best game they can play with such a hand as they have; for, upon my word, I am almost elated to boast, that we have high, low, and Jack in our hands, and we must be bad gamesters indeed if we lose the game.
You and the rest of my friends are so busy, I presume, in purifying Boston of small-pox, and another infection, which is more malignant, [I mean toryism,] and I hope in fortifying the harbour, that I have reconciled myself to that state of igno. rance, in which I still remain, of all the particulars discovered in Boston. Vom JT.
I am very desirous of knowing, if I could, what quantities of saltpetre come in, and what progress is made in the manufacture of it, and of cannon and muskets, and especially the powder mills. Have you persons who understand the art of making powder ?
FROM J. ADAMS.
Philadelphia, May 16, 1776. We have spent a number of days in considering the state of Boston and the Massachusetts, and after all, I don't know whether you will think we have done enough. The five battalions now there are ordered to be recruited to their full complement, and three additional battalions are ordered to be raised. You have raised one that may be put upon continental pay, as one of the three; the other two must be raised as you can.
I am fearful that, drained as New-England is, you will meet with difficulty to raise more men. Yet I should hope that stimulated by so urgent a motive as that of defending Boston and its harbour, two more battalions might be raised, in what proportions they are to be raised in Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut, and New-Hampshire, is not determined.
Whether this point will be determined here or not I cannot say. The story of such formidable numbers of foreign mercenaries, I conjecture to be chiefly puff
, but yet there may be some truth in it. If you should be invaded, the militia will do their duty. If an impression should be made, and the enemy make a lodgment with you, congress will maintain a standing army, if it can be raised, to oppose them ; but the continental expenses are so enormous, as to raise the most alarming apprehensions in the minds of all; and gentlemen are very reluctant to raising forces when there is not an actual enemy to oppose. A major general and a brigadier general are ordered to take the command in Boston.
Can nothing be done to drive the men of war from Nantasket roads? A few row-galleys have attacked two formidable ships, and driven them down to the mouth of the river, where the galleys cannot live. Would not a few of these, with some fire-ships and fire-rafts, be very wholesome to clear the harbour of those vermin? I never shall be happy until I hear they are driven out to sea.
Yesterday the Gordian knot was cut asunder. Congress passed a resolve in these words, as nearly as I can recollect them.
" Whereas his Britannic Majesty, in conjunction with his