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fondly treasured by the profession. The preceptor and student met one day, after the latter had attained a high position at the bar. “My dear Mr. Rawle,” said Mr. Brown, “fifteen years ago I gave you my check for $400, in return for
valuable legal instruction; since that time I find I have received for professional services upward of $100,000." "I know," replied the preceptor (himself a most liberal-minded man)," you have been very busy, and it is necessary to be very busy for a young man to make such a sum in so short a time.” “Oh! but,” rejoined Mr. Brown, “you don't know how busy I have been. I have spent all; there is not a dollar left. Yes, I have spent it on principle. There are two kinds of extravagance: that which arises from a love of display, and that which springs from contempt of wealth. Mine is the last. If I could become rich, I should become indolent, and lose in fame what I gained in money. This is not the case, perhaps, with all, but it is with me." The old gentleman laughed heartily at the amusing candor of his former élève. To show the high estimation in which the pupil was held by his revered preceptor, I transcribe the following letter, written by him to Mr. Brown some ten years after his admission. The applause of such a man is worth more than that of a whole theatre of critics :
“MY DEAR SIR,—You borrowed of me some time ago the first volume of Guthrie's Quintilian. Will you allow me to send you the second, with the request that you will receive them both into your library?
“The plain binding will not affect the internal merit of an author who, the first that is known to us, systematically and fully laid down the precepts not only of forensic but of general oratory, and who, were he now living, would be delighted to perceive a full illustration of what he requires to form an accomplished orator in yourself. “With unfeigned respect and esteem, I am, dear sir, “ Your affectionate friend,
W. RAWLE. “March 31, 1828. “To David PAUL BROWN, Esq.”
And it is as an orator that he deserves to be remembered.
As a criminal lawyer he has few equals. His examination of witnesses and his appeals to the jury illustrate his peculiar talents. A voice of rare compass and sweetness; a command of the best phrases; a master of action, his pathos melts and subdues, his invective startles and dismays. Once, on a celebrated trial, he objected to a certain witness being heard because the witness was a convict. Great consternation ensued. The witness was indignant, spoke of his good character, and defied his
But he had met his master. Mr. Brown fixed his searching eye upon him, and then spoke : “I have objected to your evidence, sir. This objection is founded upon a knowledge of your character. Answer me, sir. Were you not convicted and punished in the State of Delaware for a heinous crime?” “No, sir!" This was uttered with an evidently assumed boldness. “Now,” said the lawyer, “if I were to strip up the sleeves of your coat, and point to the letter R branded on your right arm, near the shoulder, and say this was done at New Castle, Delaware, what answer would you make ?" The poor wretch was crushed; his artificial
away before the fire of an intellectual eye. It is scarcely necessary to add that Mr. Brown won his cause. Industrious and persevering, he never was the slave of the black-letter. He always delighted in literature, and was a consummate Shakespearian interpreter. Chief Justice Gibson, of Pennsylvania, a very eminent authority, said, “He does not quote Shakespeare—he speaks Shakespeare.” It was natural that he should affect the drama. His rhetoric, his manner, his voice, were modeled after the best standards, and he firmly believed that the very best case was improved by being set forth gracefully and eloquently.: Hence he alternated, or rather relieved the heavy toil of his profession by reading and writing poetry, by lectures on “Hamlet,” by orations on patriotic subjects, and by a'mass of miscellaneous composition. “How is it possible you can do so much business?" was the question of a friend. “Because," was the
THE AMERICAN FORUM.
practical reply, “I have got so much to do.” “But," was the rejoinder, “how can you indulge in poetry and general literature?” “Because,” he replied—“because it enables me to return to my more rugged pursuits with greater alacrity and renewed strength. The mind takes its direction from habit; if you wish to strengthen it you must direct it for a time into other channels, and thereby refresh and improve it. A mere lawyer is a mere jackass, and has never the power to unload himself; whereas I consider the advocate the thoroughly accomplished advocate—the highest style of a man. He is always ready to learn, and always ready to teach. Hortensius was a lawyer, Cicero an orator. The one is forgotten, the other is immortal.” He wrote “Sertorius, or the Roman Patriot,” a tragedy, in 1830; “The Prophet of St. Paul,” a melodrama; and a farce called “Love and Honor, or the Generous Soldier." The elder Booth took the leading character in the first, which was represented nine times. Mr. Brown was not vain of these productions. He said, quaintly enough, “I must say they derived greater celebrity from their author than their author will derive from them.”
He has written much on other subjects. “The Forum, or Forty Years' full Practice at the Philadelphia Bar," a work published by subscription, in 1856, in two large volumes, is a mine of learning to student and statesman. After a review of the practice of the law before the Revolution, and its history from the Declaration of Independence to the year 1856, we have a series of biographical sketches of distinguished American lawyers, with an entertaining description of their personal appearance, manners, dress, etc. Justices Washington, Tilghman, Breckinridge, and others, now deceased, are passed in review, and then he takes up the living. The celebrated trials which have occurred in our civil and criminal courts in many of which he took part) are described, with anecdotes of the giants of the bench and bar, and a chapter on legal wit. “The Golden
Rules for the Examination of Witnesses," “Capital Hints in Capital Cases,” and “Instructions from a Father to his Son,” are still in demand, and have passed through several editions.
He can not yet be said to have left the arena in which, for fifty-six years, he has been so conspicuous an actor. He lives in honored and vigorous old age, keenly alive to all the great events of an eventful era. Even as I write I have some of his MSS. before me. His thoughts are clearly stated, and his contributions practical and pleasing. He is still averse to party politics, though, as ever, an ardent Republican patriot. His passion for literature is unabated, and if he touches public questions, it is only in a tolerant and judicial spirit. Few men have enjoyed life more thoroughly; few have seen more of our mighty minds; and none survive with a warmer love of country or a larger share of the love of their countrymen. He has passed the Psalmist's age, and bids fair to live to see the hundredth anniversary of that Declaration of Independence of which he has been one of the most gifted of interpreters and champions.
[November 19, 1871.]
JULY 4, 1876, will be a proud and happy day to those who shall live to see it, especially in Philadelphia, where it is to be celebrated under peculiar historical and national auspices, as the hundredth anniversary of our independence. A little more than four years and a half remain to digest plans and to execute them. These will be various and numerous, and
will be visionary and impracticable. The primal conditions to success should be discrimination against pretenders-a cultivated knowledge of and taste for art, and a resolute resistance to ev
THE CENTENARY COMMISSION,
ery thing selfish or corrupt. Happily the men at the head of Fairmount Park, which, with its twenty-eight hundred acres, is to-day the largest of its kind in the world, and in a few years will be the completest and loveliest, are generally citizens of national and local reputation. As they will have much to do with the preliminaries and control of the Centenary, I give their names for the benefit of those who may want some assurance that their efforts and interest in this important movement shall not be wasted : Morton McMichael (president), journalist; General George G. Meade (vice-president), topographical engineer; Samuel W. Cattell, manufacturer; Theodore Cuyler, attorney-at-law; Daniel M. Fox, real-estate agent; Frederick Graeff, civil engineer; Joseph Harrison, Jr., manufacturer; Henry Huhn, coal shipper; Strickland Kneass, surveyor; Henry M. Phillips, attorney-at-law; Eli K. Price, attorney-at-law; Jonathan H. Pugh, locksmith; Gustavus Remak, attorney-at-law; William Sellers, machinist; John Welsh, merchant; James McManes, gentleman. There is hardly one name in this list that is not a guarantee of integrity and responsibility. Several are connoisseurs of art, the owners of fine pictures and statuary, and nearly all men of wealth. They represent different vocations and both parties. Having no other motive but that which concerns the public, and no temptation but to honor themselves and the country, they will be to Philadelphia what the New York Central Park Commission was before Sweeny and Tweed polluted it with their creatures, and removed Colonel Stebbins, its president, and Mr. Green, its incorruptible treasurer. The confidence crystallized around the New York Park Commission, under the administration of these excellent men, was such that at one time it was proposed to place the best portion of the city government in their hands. Two short years avenged the wrong inflicted in their rude removal. The people rose against Tammany, and the historical Committee of Seventy, their agent in the rescue and redemption of their great State and city, had Colonel H.