The Southern Literary Messenger, Vol. I., No. 11, July, 1835
SOUTHERN LITERARY MESSENGER:
EVERY DEPARTMENT OF LITERATURE
THE FINE ARTS.
|Au grť de nos desirs bien plus qu'au grť des vents.|
|As we will, and not as the winds will.|
T. W. WHITE, PUBLISHER AND PROPRIETOR.
CONTENTS OF VOLUME I, NUMBER 11
LETTERS ON THE UNITED STATESOF AMERICA: by a young Scotchman
TO MY SISTERS: by Rosicrucius
LINES: by J. M. C. D.
THE DIAMOND CHAIN:by Questus
MY FIRST NIGHT IN AWATCHHOUSE (Chap. I): by Pertinax Placid
TO H. W. M.: by Morna
SONNET: by Alex. Lacey Beard
TO MARY: by E. A. P.
THE VISIONARY—ATALE: by Edgar A. Poe
THE DUEL: by E.
LINES: by Morna
MY NATIVEHOME: by Geo. Watterston
MEMOIR OF THE AMBITIOUSLAWYER (No. I): by Narrator
THE CRAYON MISCELLANY,No. II.
THE CONQUEST OF FLORIDA,by Hernando de Soto: by Theodore Irving
CHANCES AND CHANGES,a domestic story: by the author of "Six Weeks on the Loire."
NORTH AMERICANREVIEW, No. LXXXVIII, July 1835
AMERICAN REPUBLICATION OFFOREIGN QUARTERLIES—The London, Edinburgand Westminster Reviews for April, 1835
MY LIFE:by the author of Tales of Waterloo, &c.
BELFORD REGIS, orSketches of a Country Town: by Miss Mitford
SOUTHERN LITERARY MESSENGER.
PROFESSOR BEVERLEY TUCKER'S VALEDICTORY ADDRESS TO HIS CLASS.
The following correspondence and address have been sent us forpublication, by the members of Professor Tucker's class at William andMary College. We give place to them with pleasure, and commend theadmonitions of the amiable and learned professor to all younggentlemen about to enter upon the practice of the law. The friendlyand paternal spirit of his advice, gives an uncommon interest to thisproduction, and shows that his have indeed been "labors of love."
Much Esteemed Friend:—
I am requested, in the name of your class, to solicit you either tohave your Valedictory Address published, or deliver it to us for thatpurpose. I sincerely hope for your compliance; and although ourexercises for the present session have ended—although we no longerstand in the relation of students and professor—and notwithstandingwe are about to part (some of us) perhaps forever, we must hope thatthe tie which has bound us together for the last eight months,instead of weakening, will continue to "grow with our growth andstrengthen with our strength," and that the day is far distant whenthat union shall break. Go where we may, a fond recollection of yourpast services will be long cherished by us. We know the interest youhave felt, and still feel in our welfare, and I hope your exertionsto promote the interest of those who have been placed under your care,are duly appreciated. You have done your duty, and all that has beenwanting must be charged to us. You have given us a chart by which tosteer our political ship, and should we succeed in stemming thecurrent of opposition, may you live to enjoy our triumph. Permit menow, in conclusion, to tender you our united sentiments of the highestesteem and respect.
My Dear French:—
I have great pleasure in complying with the request of my youngfriends, so far as to hand the lecture to the printer. I am not awareof any merit in it, such as your partiality sees, to justify me inpermitting you to incur the expense of publication. But in thatpartiality and its source, I have more pleasure and more pride than Icould have in any composition. Self-love will not permit me to believethat I possess the friendship of those who have been placed under mycare without having deserved it. Self-love is "much a liar," but isalways believed; and she could hardly tell me a tale more acceptable.To acquit myself faithfully and satisfactorily of the duties of a newand untried station, was the engrossing wish of my heart during thewhole course. When I remember the manner in which my class wentthrough their examination, and reflect on the pleasures of ourintercourse, the marks of confidence which I continually received, andthe affectionate feelings with which we part, I am sure I have notaltogether failed. But I should be unjust to you, if I did not saythat I am sensible how much your assiduity has done to supply thedefects of my instructions.
May God bless and prosper you all, (for I speak to all,) and make yoursuccess in life not only honorable to yourselves and me, but to yourfriends and country. May each of you be a gem added to the brightcrown with which the glory of her sons encircles the gray head of thevenerable and kindly old college. If ever there was a heart in wallsof brick and mortar, it is surely there; and cold is he whose heartdoes not warm to it. In her name, once again I say God bless you.
Neither duty nor inclination will permit me to take leave of you,young gentlemen, without offering a few remarks, of generalapplication to the subject of our late studies.
We part, perhaps to meet no more. Some of you go into the activebusiness of life, some to pursue your researches under other guidance.To both alike, my experience may enable me to suggest thoughts, and tooffer advice, which may be found of some practical value.
Whether your immediate destination is to the bar or the closet, youwill alike find the necessity of continuing your studies. To give themsuch a direction as may be profitable and honorable to you, is my soleremaining duty.
There are many branches of the law which you will still find time toinvestigate at leisure. Many years will probably elapse, before youwill be called to take the sole management of any case involvingvaluable rights or intricate questions. The land law, and theperplexing minutiś of chancery jurisdiction, will be of thisdescription. When engaged in such cases, you will commonly findyourself associated with older and abler counsel, from whom you willthen obtain, at a glance, more insight into these difficult subjectsthan I have been able to afford. Under such guidance, you will haveopportunities to investigate the law, with an eye to its applicationto your case. You will then see the practical value of the principleswith which you have been made acquainted, and may execute your firsttasks in that line, as successfully as if you were already imbued withevery thing but that knowledge which nothing but study and practicecombined can afford.
But though, in regard to matters of this sort, a general acquaintancewith the grand principles of the law is as much as you can be expectedto carry to the bar, there are other duties which you must assume, ina complete state of preparation. Let me particularize a few of these.
You will find it then of the utmost importance, to be thoroughlyacquainted with the science of pleading. I have not concealed from youthat the loose practice of our courts dispenses habitually with manyof its rules, and has done much to confuse them all. But they stillretain all their truth, all their reasonableness, and much of theirauthority. The courtesy of the bar will indeed save you from theconsequences of any mistake you may make in the outset. But thoughthis may screen your errors from the public eye, they will not escapethe animadversion of your brethren. They will be prevented fromforming such an estimate of your acquirements, as will lead them torecommend you to their clients, in the hope of obtaining from youvaluable aid. It is by such recommendations that young men mostfrequently gain opportunities to make an advantageous display oftalent, and an introduction into that sort of business which is, atonce, a source of honor and profit.
It sometimes happens, (though, to the credit of the profession suchoccurrences are rare,) that a young man, on his first appearance atthe bar, encounters adversaries who do not extend to him theforbearance which youth has a right to expect. He is taken at adisadvantage. His want of experience and readiness lays him open to amore practised opponent, who ungenerously strikes a blow by which hisclient is injured, and he himself is brought into disrepute. To himwho is really deficient in capacity or acquirement, such an attack issometimes fatal. To him who, on a fit occasion can retaliate on hisadversary, it is of decisive advantage. Mankind are generally disposedto take sides with the weak and injured party, and to visit with theirindignation any ungenerous abuse of accidental advantages. A young mantherefore, thus assailed, is sure to have with him the sympathy of theprofession and of the public. They look, for a time at least, withinterest to his course. They are impatient to see him redress himself;and, until he has done so, all the rules of comity and forbearancewhich generally regulate the practice, are suspended in his favor.He is free to take advantages of his ungenerous assailant, which,under other circumstances would be denounced as ungentlemanly. Andthey would be so, because they would be in violation of the covenantedrules of the profession. But between him and his adversary there is nosuch covenant. A state of war abrogates all treaties. It follows thatall the maxims of courtesy which forbid any advantage to be taken ofslips in pleading, do not restrain him; and he is free to hold theother up to all the strictness of the law. It is expected he should doso. If he does not, it is concluded that he does not know how. But ifhe has once carefully studied the science and made himself acquaintedwith its principles, he stands on strong ground, and sooner or laterhis triumph is sure. The older and more hackneyed his adversary, thegreater his advantage; for it is true in law, as in morals, that evilpractice vitiates the understanding. The habit of loose pleadingunsettles the knowledge of the rules and principles of pleading, andmany nice technicalities are totally forgotten. There is not, forexample, one old county-court lawyer in a hundred, who remembers that$100 means nothing in pleading, and that a declaration in which thesum should be no otherwise expressed, would be so bad as to make itdoubtful whether even the sovereign panacea of our late Statute ofJeofails would cure it. But though this be doubtful, there is nodoubt that, on demurrer, it would be fatal. A demurrer then, beingfiled and submitted sub silentio, it is probable that such a defectwould escape even the eye of the court. In that case a reversal of thejudgment would be sure, and a triumph would be gained that wouldgratify the profession, and command the admiration of the multitude.
A thousand cases of the same sort might be suggested, where an oldpractitioner, though on his guard, (as he must be against one whom hehas provoked to retaliation,) would, from a mere defect of memory, orthe established influence of vicious practice, fall into blunderswhich would place him at the mercy of an adversary who has hislearning more fresh about him. How many, for example, will rememberwhere to stop the defence, in drawing a plea in abatement, or to thejurisdiction of the court? How many ever think of the necessity ofentitling their pleadings? How many know how to take advantage of thisdefect, even when it occurs to them?
But though you should escape the attack of any illiberal practitioner,yet cases will occur, in which the nature of the controversy willrequire great accuracy in drawing out the pleadings to a precise andwell defined issue. In such cases,