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VERY many people are exercised about the growth of monopolies. Do they ever think of the monopoly of government and legislation by the lawyers? I do not repeat a prejudice, but a fact. Take a seat in the gallery of the Senate or the House in Washington, or in any of the State Legislatures, and you will note that the controlling minds, with very few exceptions, are lawyers. All our Presidents were educated at the bar except Washington, Harrison, Taylor, and Grant. Most persons forget that Andrew Jackson's early life, even beyond his thirtieth year, was given to the law, as United States District Attorney for the Territory of Western North Carolina, and as Judge of the Supreme Court of the new State of Tennessee; that James K. Polk was one of the busiest men on his circuit; that Millard Fillmore (at first a tailor's apprentice), Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and Abraham Lincoln were distinguished lawyers. It is true that Andrew Johnson was in no sense a lawyer, but he had been long in politics and knew how to avail himself of lawyers. The Southern politicians of the generation after Washington, Jefferson, and Monroe, such as Clay, Calhoun, Crittenden, Thomas H. Benton, George Poindexter, Bailie Peyton, Henry A. Wise, Jefferson Davis, Robert Toombs, and W. H. Roane, were famous at the bar before entering public life. Sam Houston, of Texas, was not a lawyer, nor Lewis F. Linn, Colonel Benton's handsome colleague from Missouri, nor William M. Gwin, Senator from California, nor his martyr-colleague, David C. Broderick ; but such exceptions only strengthen the rule that the legal profession is, after all, the sure secret of successful leadership. I have often been struck with the dogmatism of the attorneys who came into Congress after a prosperous career, and the deference paid to them by those of stronger minds and larger experience. They assert their old habits
LAWYERS IN CONGRESS.
while they were advocates or judges. W. Pitt Fessenden, of Maine, Jacob Collamer, of Vermont, Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland, Thaddeus Stevens and John Hickman, of Pennsylvania, were signal illustrations. Their opinions were given with an ex cathedrâ air, and generally submitted to. The privileges of lawyers in Congress have often excited complaint. They can practice in the courts, even in cases upon which they may have voted in Congress. Many do not scruple to attend to business in the Departments and take fees for their services, but the laymen-the merchants, the physicians, and the manufacturerscan not, uncensured, follow their example, while holding a place in the national councils. What was true in this respect in the past is more true at the present, and will be truer of the future. The law is the royal road to eminence in this country, whatever men may say to the contrary; and it is natural that it should be so, as government, property, and personal rights are vitally dependent upon law: thus all Americans ought to include something of legal knowledge in their early education. In England every statesman is reared, if not to the bar, at least to a knowledge of jurisprudence. First take a thorough classical education as a foundation, and build on it a complete insight into the common law and of the laws of nations. Such is the British ideal. Ordinary minds, thoroughly conversant with legal precedents and authorities, wield a large influence in public bodies. Every man of business consults his lawyer more frequently than his physician. The youth who varies his collegiate course by lessons in the law academy, emigrates to the West with rare advantages over those who are not so equipped. Our Delegates, Senators, and Representatives from the new States and Territories are lawyers almost without exception. A profession which clothes its disciples with so many facilities deserves more attention than it has received from scholastic institutions. I do not insist that all our young men should study the law, but where the acquisition of it is so easy and the possession of it so useful, it certainly deserves consideration at the hands of those who direct the instruction of the people. No citizen is any the worse for such an acquisition.
More than a year ago I sat among the spectators at the commencement of the Howard University in the city of Washington, while Professor John M. Langston presided over the exercises of a class of colored young men, just completing their legal studies. Some of them had only a year before been unable to read and write, and one bright, black fellow was especially patronized by the Professor, because six months before he did not know his alphabet. Nearly all had been slaves. There were oral and written arguments. The manner in which they spoke or read their productions displayed extraordinary talent. I thought I could detect in their flowing cadences and graceful gestures close copies of the old Southern statesmen, who in past years lorded it over both parties. There was scarcely an error of grammar or pronunciation. The logic and the appreciation of the subjects treated, which included landlord and tenant, titles to real estate, divorce, borrowing and lending, promissory notes, etc., proved not only careful study, but intense determination to succeed. Among the candidates was a woman who read a clear and compact treatise on a difficult legal problem, in the enunciation and preparation of which she exhibited the precision of an expert and the condensation of a thinker. I doubt whether the older and more extensive Law School connected with Columbia College, where the offspring of the other, and what is called the superior race, are educated, could show, all things considered, an equal number of graduates as well grounded and as completely armed for the battle of the future. There are colored lawyers in most of our courts, even in the highest judiciary. They are the pioneers of an interesting and exciting destiny. With them, unlike their more fortunate white brethren, the bitterest struggle begins when they receive their sheepskins.' They go forth to war against a tempest of bigotry
CLAY AND BUCHANAN.
and prejudice. They will have to fight their way into society, and to contend with jealousy and hate in the jury-box and in the court-room, but they will win, as surely as ambition, genius, and courage are gifts, not of race or condition, but of God alone.
[September 10, 1871.]
HENRY CLAY never fully forgave James Buchanan for the part he played in 1824-25 in the celebrated bargain and sale by which it was charged that Clay gave the vote of Kentucky to John Quincy Adams for President instead of General Jackson, in consideration of his subsequent appointment by Adams to the Department of State. Buchanan was then a Representative in Congress from the old Lancaster, Chester, and Delaware district in Pennsylvania. Chosen originally as a Federalist, he became a Democrat under the influence of Jackson's popularity, while Clay, originally a Democrat, became a violent Whig antagonist of Jackson and his party. In 1824-25 Buchanan was in his thirty-fifth year, and.Clay in his forty-eighth. The accusation that Clay had supported Adams for a place in his Cabinet, long insisted upon by his adversaries, aroused the bitterest passions, and was haughtily and indignantly repelled by himself. He was made to believe that the story was started by the young member from Lancaster, but this was always denied by the latter, and he wrote several letters effectually disproving it, but they were not satisfactory to the imperious Kentuckian. It will be remembered that John Randolph, of Virginia, was one of Clay's fiercest assailants, and he carried his enmity so far that it led to a duel between them, which terminated without bloodshed.
Some ten years later Clay and Buchanan were both in the United States Senate together, and the latter was one of the leaders of the Democracy. Clay did not conceal his dislike of the Pennsylvanian, and sought every occasion to show it. One memorable day he rose and made a studied attack upon the Democrats, and especially upon General Jackson. Mr. Buchanan was put forward to answer him, which he did with his best ability. When he took his seat Mr. Clay rose with wellfeigned surprise, and sarcastically remarked that "he had made no allusion to the Senator from Pennsylvania. He was referring to the leaders, not to the subordinates of the Democracy." Upon which Buchanan took the floor and said that the Senator from Kentucky was certainly in error, because he had pointedly and repeatedly looked at him while he was speaking. Clay quickly and sneeringly retorted by alluding to Buchanan's slight obliquity of vision. “I beg to say, Mr. President,” he remarked, “that the mistake was the Senator's, not mine. Unlike him, sir, I do not look one way and row another.” It was a cruel thrust; and when a gentleman reproached Clay for his harshness, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “Oh, d-n him! he deserved it. He writes letters !!" On another occasion Buchanan defended himself against the charge of hostility to the second war with England by showing that he had formed a troop of Lancaster horse, and rode to Baltimore to resist the invader. “Yes, Mr. President," was Clay's prompt rejoinder, “I remember that event, and I remember also that by the time the Senator got into Maryland the enemy had fled. Doubtless they heard of the approach of the distinguished gentleman, and retired before the prestige of his courage.”
But time, if it does not make all things even, mollifies the passions of men. Mr. Buchanan was too much a man of the world—too accomplished a courtier-not to soften the asperity of as proud a spirit as Clay. They frequently met in society in after years, especially at the dinner-table. If they did not be