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we shall never know, and that is whether this particular document was written by the old man, or by one of the boys. The senior member was, we may suppose, a man of strong family affections, since he took his sons into business with him, and taught them the way in which they should go. We should cherish his memory; and I give the first watch of the night to the elder Murashu. As all of our ancestors were perhaps Asiatics in that early day, it may be that some drops of his blood now circulate in the veins of some of our most distinguished jurists, and we have evidence that some of the law of his day has trickled down through generations to our own times.
No doubt this old lawyer attended banquets, for the ancients excelled us in that function. We have read of the Homeric feasts, and of the feast of Belshazzar when a toast was written on the wall that was not printed in the programme. It is probable that at such times the elder Murashu drank to the health of the king, and prophesied that his throne would endure forever.
We do something of the same sort now; but we hardly dare to think of what may happen in the next 7,000 years. It may be that after Macaulay's New Zealander has seated himself on a broken arch of London bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul's, he may take the first flying machine, and, a few hours later, he may seat himself on a shattered tower of the Brooklyn bridge and sketch the ruins of Tammany Hall.
In my time the law has made great progress, though in some branches progress has been slow. It took the Supreme Court of the United States nearly a hundred years to define the jurisdiction of the admiralty courts. But extensive reforms that I need not enumerate have been made suddenly in obedience to a growing public sentiment and an increasing sense of justice as the only solid foundation of jurisprudence.
Some branches of the law have been expanded to an amazing extent. When I was admitted to the bar the law as to corporations was in its infancy; and corporations themselves were as modest as the violet that grows by the wayside. At present they are like the genius that the fisherman in the Arabian Nights released from a casket by the shore of the sea, and which at once increased in size and bulk until its head touched the skies, and its form darkened all the landscape. At one time the question was as to what we should do with the corporations; but now the question is what are the corporations going to do with
and no one seems to be able to answer it. The bar has changed. The metallic pen, after a stubborn resistance, drove out the immemorial goose-quill; and now the stenographer and typewriter have superseded both. Three types of lawyers have wholly disappeared. One of these was the lawyer that made it a point to know nothing but the law. He got to be saturated with the law like an old meerschaum pipe is with nicotine. You might suppose that his heart was only an odd volume of Coke's Institutes, opening and shutting in its pulsations like a bivalve, and that the corpuscles of his blood were discs punched out of an old copy of the Revised Statutes. With all of his labor and supreme self-dedication, he was not a great success; he was narrow and pedantic, inelastic, and wanting in versatility.
The second type was the technical lawyer who scrutinized as with a microscope every writ, bond for costs and pleading to find a "t" that was not crossed, or an "i" that was not dotted. Liberal statutes of amendment cut the ground from under his feet; he was swallowed up, and the land that knew him knows him no more.
The next was the forensic orator, a being not extremely rare in those days; the most interesting character in the profession; one who could light up with wit and humor
the driest subject, and who held the golden keys that unlocked the fountains of laughter and of tears. During the late years we have had at the bar able rhetoricians and splendid debaters; but the old-time forensic orator who made his impassioned and invincible appeal to the heart is as dead as the dodo.
It is said that the poets have gone the same way. is certainly true that to-day the living poets play no important part either in the business or the intellectual entertainment of the world; and the poets that are dead have fallen into a somewhat neglected condition. In my youth people really read the works of the poets; and some pretty tough ones, I must admit, such books as McPherson's Ossian, Pollock's Course of Time, Tupper's Proverbial Philosophy, and other books of that sort. To-day men and women seem to read novels as if their lives depended on it; and the oracles of poetry are dumb. The modern lover may sigh like a furnace; but he could not indite a sonnet to his lady's eyebrow for the soul of him. He sticks to prose and eschews poetry, which, as Mr. Silas Wegg remarked "comes more expensive." Fletcher of Saltoun said, “Permit me to make a nation's ballads, and I do not care who makes its laws." It is a pity that he does not live now, when he would have all of the field to himself, and no competition.
Lately I read an article written by some college professor saying that the decay of oratory was due to the modern habit of reading newspapers. But lawyers are not much given to reading newspapers. And then, how is it about the clergy? Many of them are distinguished for learning and ability ; but where are the Bossuets, the Stillingfleets, the Wesleys and the Whitefields ?
The clergy do not spend much of their time in poring over newspapers, unless I am greatly misinformed. They cannot be accused of reading the yellow journals, which are, I should think, the most sterilizing.
It seems to me that this most unhappy desertion is due to another cause. During the last half century science has made an immense progress; and more than ever before its rigid methods have been brought within popular comprehension. Methods which exclude severely whatever is speculative or doubtful have affected all of the lines of intellectual inquiry, just as the minds of previous generations were tinged by studies of abstract theology, or metaphysics, or successively in many other ways, but only for a time.
It is often said that we live in a practical age, but that is only a part of the truth. We live in a scientific and a mechanical age. Science has analyzed, measured, weighed, located, scheduled, catalogued and ticketed every conceivable thing in the heavens, in the earth and in the waters under the earth with mathematical precision, and has divided the whole universe into squares and sections, marked by stone walls and barbed-wire fences, leaving absolutely no place for roving fancy and imagination. How can the poet or the orator grow eloquent over the serene splendor of the midnight moon when we know that the moon is only the corpse of a dead world, tied by invisible bands to the earth, following us in our travels like a stealthy policeman; that in its wide spaces there is not a bird, or an insect, or a blade of grass; that if mountains should reel and fall they would make no sound, and raise no dust, because there is no air to float either; that in its arid spaces there is not a drop of water, nor even a drop of moonshine whiskey. Evidently, if we are to be accurate, we must count the moon outand a good many other things besides.
Then how is it with mechanics? We are told that when Aristole went to a barber's shop, and was asked by the barber how he wanted his hair cut, he answered, "In silence.” How that great philosopher would have been delighted to see one of our slot machines that attends strictly to business, that “scorns delights, and lives laborious days," that fulfills its functions with uniform politeness, and is silent on principle in all languages, and under every kind of provocation, as when buttons take the place of coins. These ingenious machines typify our age so well that probably they have a brilliant future. At present they are only selling machines; but it cannot be long, apparently, before we shall have buying machines constructed on the same principle; so that all of the commerce of the world shall be carried on silently without human interruption.
The banker of to-day throws his arithmetic into the waste basket, turns his accounts over to a machine, and forces Old Father Time, our most inveterate and our supreme enemy, to lay down his scythe every morning at a prescribed moment, and to open his safe.
Music was once intimately associated with poetry and oratory; but now we have many machines that will automatically reel it out to us by the yard. It is true that there is something grim, ghastly and sacrilegious in these machines, blind as a bat, deaf as a post, sitting in eternal darkness, spitting out music that they cannot hear, falsely pretending to have a human soul; and that they are hardly as attractive as the beaming Lesbia with her lyre, or even the
"Abyssinian maid Playing on a dulcimer.”
Still we must recognize them, and give them the right of domicil.
We sit before a phonograph that records every word that we utter on a tablet that no man can read; but the same machine, or any other of like construction, will read it for us, reproducing every intonation of the voice with absolute fidelity. One of these tablets may bring back to us the voice of a friend long since dead, as if in