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the tailor, from its commencement as a trade, distinct from other occupations, through all the vagaries of fashion, the windings of his scissors, the niceties of his needle, the allayings of his goose, and the swellings of his buckram, from the rude construction and excruciating tortures of a primitive new coat, and the tiresome constraint of the first pair of pantaloons, up to the elegant 'fits' of his workmanship; the wardrobe of a Brummel, and the science that enchanted a Pelham. Equally interesting, would be the dissection of the lawyer; to view him as the pedant of parchment, the inditer of forms, the memory-bag of unmeaning terms, and useless circumlocutions, with wig like a wool-basket, as if to impose upon the vulgar some imaginary terrors as to the size of his head, and extent of his knowledge-box; thus awing into silence, by external grandeur of appearance; yes, to trace him almost down to our own times, thus cumbered with false hair, and fictitious suits, a ravenous consumer of ink, and destroyer of paper, until he should emerge into the character of our own day, and unite the gentleman with the philanthropist, and scholar, the literary and scientific patron of the age; an honor to his country, and the framer and supporter of its laws. But we lack time for this pleasingly laborious task, and the reader may not care to examine the literary budget of such labors; let us therefore calculate the amount of men, as they are clergymen, lawyers, doctors, school-masters, mechanics, idlers, and busybodies.
Clergymen surely we may speak of them. The day has gone by, when the clergy and the inquisition were an equal terror. They themselves rejoice, that at last they have come to be viewed as other men, with like infirmities, wants, and passions, and let us remember, privileges too. But many centuries must elapse, before this class of men can entirely recover, in the estimation of a certain portion of mankind, that confidence which we feel sure is their due, at least in our country, and in England. Power is dear to the human heart; so dear, and it has been so invariably abused, that the highest praise we give our own WASHINGTON, is the self-control he practised in favor of republican principles; for it has been said that he might have been dictator. Ignorance and Superstition walk hand and hand; and it by no means is to be viewed as a strange result, that the mysteries which belong to the subject of religion, should have been made subservient to base purposes, and political designs. Such being the acknowledged fact, it being matter of history, many notions with regard to clergymen have become the common property of very common men. By this, we may be able to see the justice of the enactment of the legislatures of several states, that clergymen shall have no part in public government, not even the influence of a vote; which law, if I rightly apprehend it, is not so much for the safety of the state, as for the disarming of the prejudices of the multitude, who now can find no political ground upon which to establish their objections against the institutions of the churches. No one would be patiently listened to, who should commence a tirade against any one of the mechanic arts. The uses of the trades are too obvious, to offer any excuse for such comment; but sneerings at the clergy are too common, as a class of men who get their living from the community,
without paying an adequate quid pro quo. Many view their contribution to the support of the ministry, as a heavy tax, and by the smallness of the amount they give, and the grudging manner of giving it, evidently proclaim their feelings. We pass by the real grounds of this profession, and view it as one of convenience and policy. And in this respect, as a matter of safety, public order, intellectual pleasure, we cannot see how it can be dispensed with. The great mass of our population is actually educated by the clergy. They get their language from the sermons they hear, and indeed nearly all the book-knowledge they possess. A bad grammarian, in a clergyman, will barbarize a whole people. A close thinker, and proper writer, will render a people polished in their diction, and pure in their idioms. It is impossible to estimate their influence; as impossible as it is for us to conceive of vast convulsions in nature, caused by the simple drops of water long continuing to fall in one place.
Are the men who exert such influences useless? Shall we deny to them the privileges we grant to other men? Are all his faults to be observed, set in a note-book, and conned by heart, to cast into his teeth?' Is the person who ministers to us in times of affliction, who buries our dead, and says the consecrated rite over the new-born child, whose time is divided between the sick, the desponding, and the ignorant; who subjects himself to insult, in the discharge of his duty, who carries words of peace and happines to the remotest corners of the earth, and yet only subsists upon the public, shall we talk slightingly of such a profession? Nay, we blush at the idea. Still, who does not know that the clergy of our land, while debarred the privilege of trade, barely live, some almost starve. I have heard the idea suggested, that the clergyman of a village should be furnished by his parishioners with a fine large house, a good stock of cows, and have all those conveniences about him to enable him to entertain strangers. He should be placed in such a situation, that the needy might be pointed to his door; in short, he should be the charitable organ of the village, and in order to be so, be placed as far above want as he should be above meanness. A clergyman cannot do his duty, who is dependent upon the whims and caprices of his flock. A a poor and needy person cannot, without the possession of the highest philosophy, and the strongest exercise of principle, be an independent thinker, or a dignified actor. Poverty weighs down the spirits, and makes the mind truckling and base. There is one exception to this rule, and that is the poverty of a small annuity, by which, though it be little, a man is rendered perfectly independent of the patronage of those around him. Public sentiment should act upon men, and strongly; but let opinion be free as the wind; let it be left to find its own level. Let us have an honest criterion of character, of measures, or we cease to be a people of opinion, and become the mere hucksters of petty contrivances.
But this profession is peculiarly valuable, on another account. Upon the principle of labor-saving machinery, a community employs a competent person to perform the offices of religion, and to furnish religious instruction. This person is educated for the very purpose. He possesses means of information which it has cost lives to accu
mulate; he is familiar with all those points upon which we need light; proofs of the authenticity of the Scriptures, and collateral information, that renders the subject one of the most interesting in the world. He is a ready-armed champion, to fight for us in the lists of polemic warfare. He is the protector of our opinions in matters not so obvious to many. His whole life is engaged to prepare for heaven. He is an alarm-watch, that wakes us from the slumbers of conscience. He macadamizes the path of life, and smooths the pillow of death. He is the first person that speaks of us seriously, and acknowledges our importance in the scale of being, and the last person that speaks over us in death. None are too mean to address him, none too high to be found of him. He is the poor man's friend, the orphan's father. He clothes the beggar with bright garments, till he weeps for joy. And what are the inducements to their profession? They are of the highest kind, so high as to be above the comprehension of most men. He shuts himself out from wealth, from what the world calls pleasure; he closes the door of political advancement. He barters his time, his health often, and his country, for what fame? He rarely obtains it, he seldom hopes for it, or wishes for it, beyond the reputation of doing his duty. For what, then, does he make all these sacrifices ?
But we break away from this part of our subject, to look at the more stirring profession of the law. We must remark of this profession, that it draws its main support from the deformities of society; from immorality, dishonesty, and crime; from faults, at least; and this fact, too, is not derogatory to the profession, neither do we mean it to be. Law is derived from God. Man cannot exist, in a social state, without it. The very constitution of society is founded upon the principle of giving up certain natural rights, things not mala in se,' that we may enjoy certain privileges, and live under certain protections. The love of liberty, and the desire of following the dictates of passion, without regard to the interests of others, are the chief causes of most of the wrongs committed in society. wrongs are committed, popular vengeance or individual malice might take too summary vengeance. Hence courts have been instituted, to try the degree of wrong, and to inflict the proper penalty. That the wrong-doer may have every advantage to show his innocence, to seek protection, to avoid oppression, to mitigate his crime, learned men are assigned to fill this place, and, also, in behalf of the supremacy of the law; and thus as long as men are bad, and live in the social state, lawyers must be esteemed a necessary part of the organization of society. A most useful class of men, indeed, as things now are, though it is matter of deep regret, that some plainer, shorter course cannot be contrived; one better understood by the people at large. Most of the cases in court occur from the quarrels or imaginary rights of an ignorant class of men men of violent passions, strong prejudices, and great 'pluck.' The plaintiff and defendant know little of the reasons of the greater part of the proceedings in their own business, unless they happen to be litigants of long standing, as may be here and there found; men who are truly blessed in the heated air of courts, and who are only at peace in the
contentions of the crowd; men who love to see the human countenance distorted with passion, and stained with crime; unless such can be found, none can be said to appreciate the beauty of pleadings, the jerk of a rejoinder, the wit of rebutter, or the knock-down argumentativeness of the sur-rebutter. These, unhappily, are but Greek to the heroes of the battles fought under their golden flags; and if victory crowns the combat, (for there are conflicts that may be fought over and over again, and at intervals of years, without being decisive,) the vanquished stares in stupid wonder at his defeat; while the victor scarce believes his own good fortune. This is but a sorry view of litigation, but we see not how it can be charged to the profession, who are by no means accountable for the usages and musty processes which have been handed down, enveloped in all the mysterious majesty of antiquity.
We say nothing more of the importance of the profession of law, than that it will be necessary as long as the strong endeavor to oppress the weak; as long as men strive to worry and devour each other; but as long as the cause of injured innocence is to be pleaded, this profession will furnish bright examples of disinterested exertions, chivalrous eloquence, and fearless disclosure of truth, whatever be the consequence.
But we come now to the important influence of lawyers, in matters separated from the technicalities of their art. It is the privilege of the bar to hold a high station in society, and to come under customary respect, as men endowed with learning and eloquence. Cicero was a lawyer. Cæsar was a lawyer, as well as general. The great names of England belong to this profession, and in our own country, great men have been trained at the bar. We are by education prepared to think favorably of a man's intellect, when we hear that he belongs to this profession, and with reason; for there is enough in a course of legal study, to make a great mind. The history of law, the reasons of decisions, the feudal system, embrace the history of the world, politically and morally. The right study of law embraces all other learning, and distinguished judges have even made themselves familiar with the mechanical arts, to assist them in deciding cases involving them. Parsons, of reported memory, is said to have set a shipbuilder right in some nice examination regarding his business, in a trial; and such instances have not been rare. We look to the bar for leaders in important matters. They are the patrons of literature, the forwarders of great movements in political economy, and the advocates of most of our public concerns. However good and sound may be the views of other men, the practice of the lawyer in courts, his familiarity with the forms of business, and the details of affairs, qualify him to speak publicly, when bodies of men are to be addressed; and here is a noble field for the enlargement of his influence, and the generality of his fame. Another advantage is, that its pursuits are entirely of an intellectual nature. There is enough constantly to practice his ingenuity, to keep fresh his information, and to enlarge it. The lawyer is not a solitary student, bending his mind for learning's sake; he lives in the very bustle and strife of mankind. He is acquainted with all the conspicuous men of his time; his rank admits him to the highest society when abroad; he is equally spurred on by
interest and pleasure. He never flags, and says it is all stale, flat, and unprofitable, for he meets encouragement at every step, in the sug gestions of fame, money, and competition. The effect in society of this profession may be most salutary, its merits most conspicuous. Brougham has not thought penny magazines beneath his notice; much more has he given his influence to the higher order of literary societies. He finds time, amid the arduous duties of many stations, to act his part well in great and little concerns; acknowledging the principle, I presume, that they who do not attend well to their smaller duties, will probably neglect their larger ones. We have been speaking of law pursued as a science, and unless so pursued, of course none of the effects we have mentioned, will follow.
Of the medical profession, I hardly dare speak. It offers much room for real and justifiable reproach, at the same time that it numbers in its ranks some of the brightest names of the age, past and present. But it is yet a question whether the profession itself is not to blame for not long ago freeing the public from the incursions of imposters in science, by adopting a more easily-understood phraseology. The very constitution of the human mind makes it a ready prey to impositions, in cases where health and life are concerned. A drowning man will catch at a straw. Else who pays for the long and weary recountings of wonderful cures in our newspapers, the patent nostrums, the life-giving cordials, the redeeming cosmetics, the preservers of beauty, the renewers of youth, the cure-alls (more properly denominated the kill-alls,) who pays for all this trash? We answer, the very persons who think themselves too poor to call a regular physician; who think health is bought by the ounce, and the more medicine, the more health; who sometimes get ahead of the doctor, with a vengeance, as in the case of a poor family, who, calling a physician, happened to discover after his departure, that he had left some medicine; after contemplating the charm for some time, in astonishment, and wondering what it could be, they concluded to divide the stuff, and each to take a dose. It was done with greedy satisfaction, but it turned out to be sticking salve, and nearly cost them their lives. This is fact, and not fiction, and proves our assertion, that effort should be made to disabuse the public mind of any idea of charms and love-powders. It belongs to the profession of medicine itself, to do away with these ridiculous notions. Some have pretended to raise the dead; and we see the astonishing credulity of the public mind, in the fact, that even a regular physician jumps into an extensive practice by one unexpected cure; a cure which, after all, was effected by removing all medicines out of the reach of the patient, and giving nature fair play. Let us not be understood as speaking slightingly of the healing art; it is as necessary, in our day of unnatural habits, as the prop which supports the overladen tree; but we are taking the liberty to object to the unnecessary obscurity that is thrown around the subject, by terms and phrases. In a matter so near to the interest of every one, people should know things by their right names, that they may have the privilege of taking a little care of themselves. I am objecting to mystery, which makes the poor and ignorant an easy prey to quacks and pretenders. People generally have now few tests by which to try a physician, because the whole art is clothed in a language they can