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They are precisely where Chatham, who knew mankind, would bave predicted. They are in authority, and enjoy the blind confidence of disciples, who, when their masters shall have blundered on ninety and nine times more, will most faithfully adhere to them in their hundredth blunder.
Returning from this digression, I take leave to observe that our state will support a population of four inillions. Already it exceeds nine hundred thousand white inhabitants, although twenty years ago it was but little more than three hundred thousand. When, therefore, the salubrity of our climate, the fertility of our soil, the convenient situations for manufacturing establishments, and our advantageous position for trade, are considered, there is reason to believe the period not distant when we shall count four million inhabitants : and, certainly, our wealth, if we are blest by a good government, must keep pace with our population. New York, connected with her eastern brethren and New Jersey, bad, in 1810, more than two million and a half of white inhabitants; wherefore we may reasonably conclude, that in half a century they will contain eight millions; for in 1790 their number was short of one million and a half, and in 1800 was near two; having increased about one third in each term of ten years, but more than three fourths in the whole term of twenty years, viz. from 1,476,631 to 2,597,634. Though not distinguished as a manufacturing people, yet, judging by those fruits which the inventive genius of our fellow citizens has produced, we may reasonably fostet, even in that respect, exulting expectations. Numerous on land, we are not strangers at sea. Our country abounds in iron, and the use of it is not unknown to her children.
If, then, monarchy and aristocracy establish themselves in other portions of America ; if the
variously-coloured population of states in which domestic slavery prevails, should be condemned to civil and political slavery; if they should be subjected to haughty caciques, let us hope that here we may be led by the council of our sachems. Let it not, however, be supposed, that a breach of the federal compact is intended : for, setting aside all attachinent to national union, so essential to public tranquillity, if a separation of the states were contemplated, the Delaware would not be chosen as their boundary. But when the great extent of our country; when the violence of rash men; when the dangerous inequality of civil condition ; when the contempt which some express for others, alarm those whose lives have been devoted to liberty, it is natural to look about and inquire, if there be no asylum to which freedom may fly when driven from her present abode. In such moments of anxious solicitude, it is no small consolation to believe, that here, whatever may be her fate elsewhere-here, gentlemen, her temple will stand on a foundation immovable. Here we have, at this moment, more free citizens than the whole union could boast of in 1775. And here, I fondly hope here, I firmly believe, the spirit of 1775 still glows in the bosoms of the brave.
It is among the circumstances which ought not to be overlooked, in this general view of our history, that the practice of law has been strictly modelled on that which prevails in what we formerly called our mother country; that land of good nature and good sense from which we learned the most useful lessons of our lives: our liberty, our laws, and our religion. Wits may scoff at the pedantry of special pleading, the barbarous phraseology of lawyers, and stern severity of judges, who, trampling on the flowers of eloquence, check babbling, and confine the bar within the bounds of strict logic; but those who think, will perceive, that inasınuch as things are expressed by words, precise expression can only be effected by words of established signification; and since the rule of conduct cannot be applied until the fact be established, it is a pre-requisite that such precise assertion be made by the one party, and such precise negation by the other, as distinctly to state the facts to be ascertained. The judges of fact can then accilrately determine on its existence; and, that done, the judges of law can apply the rule. Every case, so adjudged, will serve as a rule for cases which may
afterward arise; and thus the general principles of natural justice, the maxims of ancient
usage, and the positive injunctions or inhibitions of legislative providence, are extended to the infinite variety of human actions and relations; so that liberty and property are secured. Nor is it, as many have hastily supposed, an evil, that law is expensive to suitors : for, as far as the suitor himself is concerned, by deterring him from litigation, it strengthens, if his cause be good, the sentiment of benevolence, and enforces, if bad, the duty of justice. By lessening the number of suits, it diminishes the causes of discord. Trifling injuries, which, if unnoticed, would soon be forgotten, may, by a vindictive spirit, be made the subject of controversy, and separate families for more than one generation. Moreover, this great expense of law is a great public economy: for when cheap lawyers, multiplying trivial causes, crowd tribunals with a host of jurors, parties, witnesses, and their needful attendants, many fields lie uncultivated, many workshops are neglected, and habits of idleness and dissipation are acquired, to the manifest injury and impoverishment of the republic.
It is a suggestion of fancy: oram I warranted in supposing that rigid practice of law may give some
what of precision to general modes of thinking; that it may even render conversation less diffusive, and therefore more instructive; that the accuracy of forensic argument may communicate vigour to parliamentary debate; that the deep sense and grave deportment of the bench and bar may have imparted to our character more of solidity than it would otherwise have possessed? This city was long the head quarters of a British army; and familiar intercourse with officers, many of whom were men of family and fashion, while it gave, perhaps, a little of that lustre and polish which distinguish the higher ranks of society, could not but dispose young people to levity and mirth, more than is suited to the condition of those who must earn their living by their industry. Man is an imitative animal. Not only his deportment, his language, and his manners, but even his morals depend, in a great degree, on his companions. Let us suppose two individuals, of twin resemblance as to intellectual disposition and power, one of them frequently attending on courts of strict practice, the other on those where lengthened declamation wears out tedious days on questions of trifling iinport: would not the latter slide into a loose mode both of thinking and speaking ; might he not conceive that to talk long is to talk well; might he not attend too much to the melody of periods, too little to the precision of thought; might he not, at length, be exposed, from indulging the habit of loose thinking, to the danger of loose acting? It requires accuracy of investigation and clearness of perception to distinguish right from wrong, when, in doubtful circumstances, self interest is concerned. A man, therefore, may easily be induced to do wrong, in compliance with what he feels to be his interest, when he thinks it may be right; especially, when he thinks that those who are to judge may be prevailed on to
decide in his favour. Is there not, on the other hand, reason to suppose, that he whose course of life has led him to scenes of sharp inquiry; who has listened to arguments of precise logic; who has participated in decisions of legal strictness; is there not reason to believe, that this man will use a diction more concise, possess a judgment more acute, and observe a more correct line of conduct !
These probable, or, at least, possible effects of forensic accuracy, may be increased, or diminished, or destroyed, by the ever-varying circumstances of our civil and social condition. Nay, their very existence may be questioned, or attributed to other causes. Talents and habits of observation must be exercised to make the due investigation. But there is one important consequence which cannot easily be overlooked or assigned to any other cause : I allude to the value of property in this state ; and merely mention it, because detailed observations would be tedious-perhaps invidious. Permit me, however, to notice the more prominent reasons why it must produce that effect, in the political associations of mankind. It is evident, at the first blush, that a purchaser of land will give more for a good than for a doubtful title; and it is equally evident that titles must be less secure where scope is given to declamation, than where strict practice and close logic are required. If we look a little nearer, we shall perceive a more extensive consequence. The creditor who is certain of getting speedily what is due to him, provided the debtor possess sufficient property, will be more liberal of credit than where the recovery of debts is tedious and uncertain. But credit is equivalent to money, and, like money, not only enhances the price of property, but, obviating the want of money, becomes, to the nation in which it prevails, a substitute for that intrinsic value, part