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much independence, to be ready to surrender them at the advice of any one, even though he be a justice of the peace or the parish minister.
The following extract from an article published in the Law Magazine of January, 1831, in review of Lord Brougham's
, speech on Local Courts, does not entirely coincide with our view, but contains so much sound sense that we quote it at some length.
"The notion [of Courts of Conciliation] originated in those tempting exhibitions of philanthropy which country life occasionally presents. A landlord like Fielding's Allworthy, or a clergyman like Goldsmith's curate, residing constantly amongst his tenantry or parishioners, familiar with their habits and constantly ministering to their wants, acquires a sort of patriarchal authority; and his interposition as a conciliator derives an almost irresistible weight, as well from the general confidence in his integrity as from his having the means of punishment and reward in his hands. Such characters appear to have been uppermost in the minds of the French at the first conception of the plan, and a more preposterous one has never been conceived. They might as well have ordered back Astræa by vote, or fixed a day for the Millennium to begin, as one of our rising legislators would fix a day for a fast. A man hired to play at philanthropy is, ipso facto, disqualified for the gratuitous sacrifice ; the unbought grace of it is gone,
• At sight of legal ties, Spreads its light wings, and in a moment flies.' We feel no gratitude to a salaried conciliator, and he, on the other hand, does not feel hurt at the rejection of his offices. ... There is nothing at all surprising in the statement that two thirds of the cases referred to the Denmark conciliators went no further ; the proportion, indeed, is much smaller than we should have anticipated, whilst there is something quite ludicrous in the argument that these two thirds would probably in this country have gone to a needless and dilatory and most expensive trial. The larger part, we firmly believe, would
.' have been settled by our courts of requests ; and the rest by the first attorney, or, at any rate, the first counsel, who should advise upon them. But the whole fallacy may be still more summarily disposed of ; - of those who enter a court of justice, an immense majority have made up their minds to litigation ; of those who go to a conciliator, the greater number as certainly have not."
We have given the reasons which lead us to doubt the adVOL. CII. - NO. 210.
vantage of introducing Courts of Conciliation generally in this country ; yet there is one part of the United States where we think they might be established with success. We mean in those States lately in rebellion, and especially for causes to which the Freedmen are parties. It is with special reference to their probable utility in such cases, and to the important aid which they might afford in the reorganization of society at the South on its new foundation of freedom, that we have thought fit at this time to call attention to their working and methods. The situation of the recently enfranchised slaves presents many of the features which have made these courts successful among the peasantry of Denmark. They are a poor people, an agricultural people; their dealings are confined to their own neighborhood; their quarrels are generally about simple matters; they have just been freed from slavery, and have many of its trammels still hanging about them. Though an irascible, they are a very placable people, and when they do respect one of the lately dominant race, they will submit to his opinion and advice with a readiness which exceeds the docility of any European peasantry. There is great danger that, in their disputes, they will fall easy victims to pettifoggers, and the more need that they should be compelled to hear good advice. Indeed, it would be hard to find a combination of circumstances more favorable to the usefulness of Courts of Conciliation. It would be a difficult task to choose impartial and discreet persons to sit on them, but, though difficult, not impossible, and we would gladly see the experiment tried.
ART. VI. — The Life, Correspondence, and Speeches of HENRY
CLAY. By the Rev. CALVIN Colton, LL. D., Professor of Public Economy, Trinity College. New York: A. S. Barnes & Co. 1857. 6 vols. 8vo.
The close of the war removes the period preceding it to a great distance from us, so that we can judge its public men as though we were the “posterity" to whom they sometimes appealed. James Buchanan still haunts the neighborhood of Lancaster, a living man, giving and receiving dinners, paying his taxes, and taking his accustomed exercise; but as an historical figure he is as complete as Bolingbroke or Walpole. It is not merely that his work is done, nor that the results of his work are apparent; but the thing upon which he wrought, by their relation to which he and his contemporaries are to be estimated, has perished. The statesmen of his day, we can all now plainly see, inherited from the founders of the Republic a problem impossible of solution, with which some of them wrestled manfully, others meanly, some wisely, others foolishly. If the workmen have not all passed away, the work is at once finished and destroyed, like the Russian ice-palace, laboriously built, then melted in the sun. We can now have the requisite sympathy with those late doctors of the body politic, who came to the consultation pledged not to attempt to remore the thorn from its flesh, and trained to regard it as the spear-head in the side of Epaminondas, - extract it, and the patient dies. In the writhings of the sufferer the barb has fallen out, and lo! he lives and is getting well. We can now forgire most of those blind healers, and even admire such of them as were honest and not cowards; for, in truth, it was an impossibility with which they had to grapple, and it was not one of their creating
of our public men of the sixty years preceding the war, Henry Clay was certainly the most shining figure. Was there ever a public man, not at the head of a state, so beloved as he? Who ever heard such cheers, so hearty, distinct, and ringing, as those which his magic name evoked ? Men shed tears at his defeat, and women went to bed sick from pure sympathy
with his disappointment. He could not travel during the last thirty years of his life, but only make progresses. When he left his home the public seized him and bore him along over the land, the committee of one State passing him on to the committee of another, and the hurrahs of one town dying away as those of the next caught his ear. The country seemed to place all its resources at his disposal; all commodities sought his acceptance. Passing through Newark once, he thoughtlessly ordered a carriage of a certain pattern : the same evening the carriage was at the door of his hotel in New York, the gift of a few Newark friends. It was so everywhere and with everything. His house became at last a museum of curious gifts. There was the counterpane made for him by a lady ninety-three years of age, and Washington's camp-goblet given
him by a lady of eighty ; there were pistols, rifles, and fowlingpieces enough to defend a citadel; and, among a bundle of walking-sticks, was one cut for him from a tree that shaded Cicero's grave. There were gorgeous prayer-books, and Bibles of exceeding magnitude and splendor, and silver-ware in great profusion. On one occasion there arrived at Ashland the substantial present of twenty-three barrels of salt. In his old age, when his fine estate, through the misfortunes of his sons, was burdened with mortgages to the amount of thirty thousand dollars, and other large debts weighed heavily upon his soul, and he feared to be compelled to sell the home of fifty years and seek a strange abode, a few old friends secretly raised the needful sum, secretly paid the mortgages and discharged the debts, and then caused the aged orator to be informed of what had been done, but not of the names of the donors. “Could my life insure the success of Henry Clay, I would freely lay it down this day,” exclaimed an old Rhode Island sea-captain on the morning of the Presidential election of 1814. Who has forgotten the passion of disappointment, the amazement and de spair, at the result of that day's fatal work? Fatal we thought it then, little dreaming that, while it precipitated evil, it brought nearer the day of deliverance.
Our readers do not need to be reminded that popularity the most intense is not a proof of merit. The two most mischievous men this country has ever produced were extremely
popular, - one in a State, the other in every State, - and both for long periods of time. There are certain men and women and children who are natural heart-winners, and their gift of winning hearts seems something apart from their general character. We have known this sweet power over the affections of others to be possessed by very worthy and by very barren natures. There are good men who repel, and bad men who attract. We cannot, therefore, assent to the opinion held by many, that popularity is an evidence of shallowness or ill-desert. As there are pictures expressly designed to be looked at from a distance by great numbers of people at once, — the scenery of
, a theatre, for example, - so there are men who appear formed by Nature to stand forth before multitudes, captivating every eye, and gathering in great harvests of love with little effort. If, upon looking closely at these pictures and these men, we find them less admirable than they seemed at a distance, it is but fair to remember that they were not meant to be looked at closely, and that “ scenery " has as much right to exist as a Dutch painting which bears the test of the microscope.
It must be confessed, however, that Henry Clay, who was for twenty-eight years a candidate for the Presidency, cultivated his popularity. Without ever being a hypocrite, he was habitually an actor; but the part which he enacted was Henry Clay exaggerated. He was naturally a most courteous man; but the consciousness of his position made him more elaborately and universally courteous than any man ever was from mere good-nature. A man on the stage must overdo his part, in order not to seem to underdo it. There was a time when almost every visitor to the city of Washington desired, above all things, to be presented to three men there, Clay, Webster, and Calhoun, whom to have seen was a distinction. When the country member brought forward his agitated constituent on the floor of the Senate-chamber, and introduced him to Daniel Webster, the Expounder was likely enough to thrust a hand at him without so much as turning his head or discontinuing his occupation, and the stranger shrunk away painfully conscious of his insignificance. Calhoun, on the contrary, besides receiving him with civility, would converse with him, if opportunity favored, and treat him to a disquisition on the nature of gov