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PROCEEDINGS OF THE BAR OF THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR THE DISTRIC
OF MAINE, ON THE DECEASE OF JUDGE STORY.
At a meeting of the Bar of the Circuit Court, on the 1st of October, 1845, Hon. STEPHEN LONGFELLOW, the President of the Bar, in the chair, the following Resolutions, which had been drawn under previous appointment by CHARLES S. Daveis, Esq., were presented and adopted.
Resolved, That the members of the Bar of the Circuit Court of the United States in Maine, do not meet for the first time since the lamented decease of the Honorable JOSEPH STORY, late presiding Judge, without deep emotions of sorrow and sympathy.
That although they were not sure that they should ever see him again upon the Circuit, and experience the continued benefit of his eminent judicial talents, and invaluable labors upon this bench, they hoped that the sphere which had been so long enlivened by his active presence, would be still animated by his living spirit; and from the vigor and vitality of his constitutional temperament, the vividness of his intellect, and his undiminished interest in the cultivation of his favorite science, they had looked forward to an extended period, in which the public and the profession should enjoy the prolonged light of his powerful and comprehensive mind, and the genial influence of his instructions and example, among the emanations that should most gracefully adorn, in its grateful coming on, the mellow evening of his life.
Resolved, That while in common with the rest of their professional brethren, and the great community of the wise and good, throughout the country, they share the sense of this immeasurable and universal loss, so much deplored by the lovers of justice, virtue, and order, every where in our land, they cannot but feel, in the most lively manner, the portion
which falls to their own lot; nor cease to recall the gratification inspired, and the cheering and instructive impulses imparted, by his spring and autumnal visits to this part of the Circuit during the space of near a quarter of a century. And that the brief moment which has elapsed since his lamented decease, has not abated their earnest desire to offer and record their imperfect expression of admiration for his departed worth, and cherished attachment to his memory.
Resolved, That in coming together from distant parts of this District, on the morning of the Fall term which forms the commencement of the Eastern Circuit, so suddenly ensuing upon this striking termination of his unexpired judicial labors, while they do not feel that they can add anything of weight to the first spontaneous tributes that have already been so worthily paid by older Bars, and especially that which was pronounced with so much force and feeling upon the immediate announcement of the mournful event, by the assembly of the Bar of the metropolis of New England, to his consummate character as a Judge, an author, a teacher, a citizen, and a friend, it may not be unbefitting that they should embrace the occasion thus presented, and thus bringing home to them the abrupt and affecting close of their late relation, to declare their consciousness of the distinguished privilege they have enjoyed in its having subsisted so long and with so much cordiality and satisfaction, and with so much advantage, as they persuade themselves, to the advancement and dignity of the profession, and the illustration of the doctrines of the legal science, in the high administration of justice in all its appropriate departments upon sea and land; and that they should indulge their own sincere feeling, in summing up in such expression as may be in their power, the high sense they entertain of his singular excellence and endowments as a jurist, a magistrate, and a man.
As no one was more generous in his own awards to the merits of others, or poured more faithful tributes to those whom he has lamented, it is meet that his memory should not want the meed which it has so richly earned, and that full measure of acknowledgment and appreciation, of which, however amply accorded by contemporary testimony, the delicate propriety of professional relations may have suppressed the unrestrained utterance during his official life. To him, no longer living, we only pay due honors.
Resolved, That while many of us remember the lively satisfaction with which the extension of his Circuit to this District was hailed, and recall the occasion of his cordial greeting upon the erection of our eastern section of the ancient Commonwealth into an independent State, and some still recollect the period of his original elevation to the Bench, we may all rejoice that the day has more than fulfilled the auspicious dawn, and has created such a clear and steady light, so broad, illuming, and vivifying, wherever it has spread, and upon whatever subjects it has shone, that although the living orb may be withdrawn, no night can follow.
Resolved, That we regard his advancement to the highest seat of our American judicature, in conjunction with his eminent associates upon the supreme tribunal of the nation, and his able coadjutors upon the Circuit, as marking an epoch from which we may date an era in the annals of our jurisprudence, of which our time shall, happily, not see the end ; one, as we may properly feel, on the part of the American bar, of which his vast and various learning, the affluence of his juridical attainments, the universality and splendor of his accomplishments, the munificent gifts which he has laid upon the altar of the law, the attractive graces with which he has attired its service with those elaborate and abundant expositions, of which he was the author, to us its breathing oracles,- have been among the most authentic and important elements.
And when we call to mind his zeal in the cause of its science, his unwearied and exhausting labors in deepening and clearing the sources, conducting the streams and enlarging the limits of legal knowledge, the mature developments, and disciplined energies which he has brought to it, of his intellect -- and summon up that signal capacity of grasping the most abtruse, complicated, and difficult subjects — that quickness of conception, almost amounting to intuition, outstripping the process of logical deduction, and anticipating the results of profound and laborious reflection -- that vigor of comprehension from which nothing escaped — that fervent and intense analysis, of which nothing could elude the keenness or resist the force — that eminent sagacity and judgment to which his other faculties were subservient, and all other operations and resources only ministering - the copiousness and clearness of living eloquence with which he has illustrated, explained and enforced the strictest and purest doctrines of law and equity,
- the charms he has given to the study, and the captivations with which he has invested the pursuit- the elevation he has imparted to the practice - the scale of legal attainment, and standard of professional excellence, which he has done so much to raise and to improve -- the exalted tone of morality which he has infused, and the enthusiasm which he has inspired, especially in the breasts of younger votaries, and the undecaying glow which he has lighted up again in the bosom of those who have longest cultivated the profession, at once kindled and fed by the treasures of legal lore which he has lavished upon it -- and when we add again the kindred fields of philosophy and literature which he has delighted to explore, and from which he has won so many appropriate wreaths — and more than all, when we bring up to our thoughts that true, enlarged and essential humanity which was the life-spring of his nature, and gave such energy to his indignant denunciations of all the darker violations of its natural dictates, that genuine love of liberty which he cherished with religious devotion, and the intrepid firmness with which at the same time he upheld the most rigid sanctions of private law, and the most grave and sacred injunctions of public justice - we deem all these to have given a splendor to his name and time, and to have thrown a glory around them, which, while it has illuminated our own hemisphere, has cast its effulgence with no measured radiance, or mere reflected lustre, abroad — and have made him by all confession among ourselves, and the consenting suffrage of enlightened foreigners, one of the greatest masters of the Legal Science in the world, and the most illustrious genius of the jurisprudence of the age.
Resolved, That while we thus partake in no common share the sensibility with which society in all its circles surveys its loss, in him who sleeps beneath the tranquil shades of Mount Auburn, now consecrated anew by receiving his remains; and while we mourn with those who mourn it most, and forget not the goodness of his heart, the gentleness and united ardor of his nature, the genuineness and instinctiveness of his sympathies, and pass not over what has been termed, with more than classic purity, the daily beauty of his life, and all those blended graces in his character, which were among its most expressive lineaments; and while we may be allowed to call to mind especially the cordial charm which he threw over his constant intercourse with his professional brethren, like that which pervaded his whole familiar converse ; we may well rejoice, and with devout gratitude, above all, we do rejoice, that his great powers were bestowed upon some of the best and weightiest interests of the social state, the most grave and important objects to which the highest active, moral, and intellectual powers can be applied, the most vital concerns to the well-being and condition of mankind, in the established reign of justice, equity, and order.
We rejoice that it was eminently his fortune to carry out so near to its natural close, a career rarely equalled in the judicial life of a single individual, rewarded by so many results, and crowned with such celebrity. The sun knoweth his going down. And although painful and unexpected, we may not feel it to be otherwise than a final, harmonious felicity, in keeping with his single lot, that he should have breathed his last before he retired from the bench: Felix non vitæ tantum claritate, sed etiam opportunitate mortis.
We rejoice, too, that faculties which could have never been imparted in vain, and seldom granted with more prodigality, should have been thus exerted for some of the noblest earthly purposes to which they could have been appointed - that he should have exercised so large and beneficent an agency in the most useful affairs of society, and varied interests of mankind — that trusts of the most important and comprehensive character, such as are implied by Providence in the talents given, and their highest