The Great Speeches and Orations of Daniel Webster: With an Essay on Daniel Webster as a Master of English Style

By Edwin P. Whipple; Daniel Webster | Go to book overview

MR. JUSTICE STORY.1

[AT a meeting of the Suffolk Bar, held in the Circuit Court Room, Boston, on the morning of the 12th of September, the day of the funeral of Mr. Justice Story, Chief Justice Shaw having taken the chair and announced the object of the meeting, Mr. Webster rose and spoke substantially as follows.]

YOUR solemn announcement, Mr. Chief Justice, has confirmed the sad intelligence which had already reached us, through the public channels of information, and deeply afflicted us all.

JOSEPH STORY, one of the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, and for many years the presiding judge of this Circuit, died on Wednesday evening last, at his house in Cambridge, wanting only a few days for the completion of the sixty-sixth year of his age.

This most mournful and lamentable event has called together the whole Bar of Suffolk, and all connected with the courts of law or the profession. It has brought you, Mr. Chief Justice, and your associates of the Bench of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, into the midst of us; and you have done us the honor, out of respect to the occasion, to consent to preside over us, while we deliberate on what is due, as well to our own afflicted and smitten feelings, as to the exalted character and eminent distinction of the deceased judge. The occasion has drawn from his retirement, also, that venerable man, whom we all so much respect and honor, ( Judge Davis,) who was, for thirty years, the associate of the deceased upon the same Bench. It has called hither another judicial personage, now in retirement, ( Judge Putnam,) but long an ornament of that Bench of which you are now the head, and whose marked good fortune it is to have been the professional teacher of Mr. Justice Story, and the director of his early studies. He also is present to whom this blow comes near; I mean, the learned judge ( Judge Sprague) from whose side it has struck away a friend and a highly venerated official associate. The members of the Law School at Cambridge, to which the deceased was so much attached, and who returned that attachment with all the ingenuousness and enthusiasm of educated and ardent youthful minds, are here also, to manifest their sense of their own severe deprivation, as well as their admiration of the bright and shining professional example which they have so loved to contemplate,--an example, let me say to them, and let me say to all, as a solace in the midst of their sorrows, which death hath not touched and which time cannot obscure.

Mr. Chief Justice, one sentiment pervades us all. It is that of the most profound and penetrating grief, mixed, nevertheless, with an assured conviction

____________________
1
The following letter of dedication to the mother of Judge Story accompanied these remarks in the original edition:--

" Boston, September 15, 1845.

"VENERABLE MADAM,--I pray you to allow me to present to you the brief remarks which I made before the Suffolk Bar, on the 12th instant, at a meeting occasioned by the sudden and afflicting death of your distinguished son. I trust, dear Madam, that as you enjoyed through his whole life constant proofs of his profound respect and ardent filial affection, so you may yet live long to enjoy the remembrance of his virtues and his exalted reputation.

"I am, with very great regard,

"Your obedient servant,

" DANIEL WEBSTER.

"TO MADAM STORY."

-532-

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