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gems of the finest quality, but he has won his literary claim by virtue of his labor as a biographer.
The “Life of Washington” was John Marshall's only contribution to what we term professional literary work; it is his one book, his one credential to the world of letters. Were that work the sum of his intellectual ability it would still entitle him to the ranks of biographers and preserve his name in encyclopedias of literary men and women; but Marshall's fame covers the far wider field of constitutional research and exposition, where he stands without a rival. As one of the great authorities of judicial exposition in England, as well as in the United States and in the world of international law, his name is imperishable. John Marshall occupies a niche almost unique in the vast and imposing literature of the law.
His opinions, extending over the formative period of our national history, comprise a branch of literature such as very few lawyers leave behind them, and that those great legal discourses might be set before coming generations, they were published in 1839, under the scholarly and affectionate supervision of Joseph Story. The title of the book was “The Writings of John Marshall, late Chief Justice of the United States, upon the Federal Constitution.” Herein are contained those immortal maxims of our national existence, those clear sentences expressive of that supreme organism from which nationality derived its succor and strength, let us hope, for life eternal. Let us, then, call that his lasting contribution to his country's literature, for there he shone like the Sirius of the heavens, outshining all others with that serene and illuminating genius which shall endure as long as the birthright of the American people stands for union and nationality.
In his review of " John Marshall, the Practitioner,” Mr. John S. H. Frink said in part:
After young Marshall had concluded his Revolutionary service with an artificial equipment very meagre, but with a natural one unsurpassed, he commenced the practice of his profession in his native county.
Litigation was large. The courts were crowded with suits. During the war of the Revolution “ silent inter arma leges;” and not only were legal rights suspended, which were revived at its termination, but new ones arising from the changed condition of affairs engaged the attention of the lawyer of those days. In such an era John Marshall embarked upon the practice of his profession among his old friends, neighbors and brother soldiers.
His mind was clouded by no sophistries, and he did not conceal his processes by redundant or rhetorical words. Despising the arts of vulgar advocates he enforced the subject as he saw it himself. Indeed he stripped his case of all these disguises, and held it up before the court in the clear light of justice. “Justice without wisdom
. is impossible.” Having the wisdom to detect the justice of his case, he certainly had the wisdom to present it in its most convincing shape.
These were the characteristics of Mr. Marshall in his early practice, and they abided with him, developed and perfected, so long as he continued at the bar and during his illustrious career upon the bench.
Mr. Webster has said that the power of clear statement is the great power at the bar. That Mr. Marshall had in the most remarkable degree. He was little prone to exaggeration and rejected all the tricks of speech, but presented his case "plainly, concisely, accurately." He
spoke to the judgment, not to the passions or prejudices, of his auditors.
Any analysis of the powers of an eminent lawyer as a thinker and talker would be very inadequate without some description of his manner of speech and personal appear
Mr. Marshall derived but little aid from these sources. Ilis speech at the commencement of his discourse was slow and balting, his voice unmelodious and dry, and his personal bearing awkward. It seemed as if his mind was struggling with its topic, and his ideas were too many to find ready utterance. His hearers never for a
. moment doubted that he thoroughly understood the matter in hand and was master of it. He soon became so engrossed in his subject that he overcame these external disadvantages, until, to quote, “finally his voice became full and clear and rapid, his manner bold,
and he poured forth an unbroken stream of eloquence in a current deep, majestic, smooth and strong."
John Marshall's fame rests largely upon his opinions in the department of constitutional law. He seemed to read the Constitution by intuition, yet his preparation for this great work was laid strong and deep, while practising at the bar in Richmond, not necessarily in the courts of his State, but in her legislative assemblies and the Constitutional Convention.
COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS.
In Massachusetts the following members of the bar were selected by the National Committee of the American Bar Association to act as a general committee of arrangements for the celebration of Marshall Day: Marquis F. Dickinson, chairman; James Barr Ames, Patrick A. Collins, Lewis S. Dabney, Henry S. Dewey, Frederick P. Fish, John C. Gray, Charles S. Hamlin, Alfred Hemenway, Robert M. Morse, and Moorfield Storey.'
It was found that plans had already been made at Harvard University for the delivery of an address before the Harvard Law School on the character and services of Chief Justice Marshall, by Professor James Bradley Thayer of that school. The committee availed itself of the opportunity thus presented to make that address a part of the general programme of the day. This programme included appropriate ceremonies in the Supreme Judicial Court at Boston in the morning, the address of Professor Thayer in Sanders Theatre at Cambridge in the afternoon, and a dinner at the new Algonquin Club in Boston, under the auspices of the Bar Association of the City of Boston, in the evening. The following gentlemen, officers of the Boston Bar Association, were appointed by that body to have charge of the arrangements for the dinner: Charles P. Greenough, vice-president; William F. Wharton, secretary; William S. Hall, treasurer; Charles B. Southard, representing the executive committee.
i The relation here given of the proceedings in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in commemoration of John Marshall is, by permission of the editor, generously accorded, taken from a volume (pages xvii,120) carefully edited, beautifully printed and embellished, bearing the following title: "John Marshall: The Tribute of Massachusetts, being the addresses delivered at Boston and Cambridge, February 4, 1901, in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of his elevation to the bench as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Edited by Marquis F. Dickinson, Esq., of the Boston Bar.” Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1901.
The volume is illustrated by portraits of John Marshall, 1831 (photogravure from the original portrait by Henry Inman), John Marshall, 1808 (from a crayon by Saint-Mémin), Hosea Morrill Knowlton, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry Pickering Walcott, James Bradley Thayer, John Chipman Gray, Henry St. George Tucker, Richard Olney.
Inasmuch as the appointment of John Marshall of Virginia was made by President John Adams of Massachusetts, it was thought by the committee to be appropriate that the union of the two States in so auspicious an event should be recognized at the proposed celebration by inviting some distinguished member of the bar of Virginia to be the special guest of the day. Accordingly, Professor Henry St. George Tucker, Dean of the Law School of Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia, was invited, and honored the occasion by his presence.
The exercises in the Supreme Judicial Court were brief but deeply impressive. The court room proved entirely inadequate for the accommodation of those seeking admittance. Hundreds turned reluctantly away from its doors. The bar was thronged by many of its best known members, together with a few distinguished citizens not of the legal profession, especially invited to be present. The justices of the Superior and Municipal Courts, led by their respective Chief Justices, Mason and Parmenter,