« PreviousContinue »
ferred. Though it seems to us, that in a money-making community, lawyers should by all means be the more popular, for the difference between a doctor and a lawyer is simply this : send for a doctor to bleed
you, he will take out several ounces, and charge you five dollars; send for a lawyer, he will bleed you freely, and charge you nothing for it. Indeed it is believed by some wise men, who have been impartial observers of passing events in this country, for many years back, that there is a secret understanding between the merchants, banks, and doctors; a combination for money-making purposes. Mr. Biddle, in an unguarded moment, when writing to congress, developed the whole plot, by using the words ' contraction' and ' expansion,' and saying that contraction and expansion were the causes of the trouble in the money market; in other words, that there was a griping, consequent upon the extreme flatulency. The disease in the body politic is nothing less than the cholera in another shape, following, through sympathy, the cholera in the body physical. It will be remembered that the doctors introduced their cholera in '32, and the merchants and banks theirs in '34. , The symptoms in both cases were precisely the same; contraction, expansion, and looking blue in the face. We do not wish to press this matter farther at present, as we believe that it will receive the especial attention of a committee of investigation, to be appointed by congress; and to them we leave it, with entire confidence as to the result.
The lawyers, of all classes in the community, very decidedly suffer the most. A clergyman may pick up a little here and there, from some good Christian, who feels disposed to make an investment for the benefit of his soul hereafter; a merchant may speculate to any extent; buy stock ‘on time,' to the amount of hundreds of thousands; but the lawyer must have constantly before his mind's eye the unpoetical idea of cash. There are no fluctuations in the bread market, which enable him to buy on time,' eat the bread, and “pay the difference. It is the most interesting feature in the operation of the man who speculates largely, that he eats the bread and pays the difference — in parlance of brokers and merchants.
Mercantile men are never troubled by duns : they have a very polite 'notice' sent to them by the bank, prettily printed upon a nice piece of white paper, like an invitation to dinner, that a hundred thousand dollars are due to such a bank; mark that the bank never asks them for money, but says, very respectfully, that the amount is due, and gives them three days of grace; that is to say, gives them time to think how much more they want. If a lawyer owes money, some greasy-faced fellow walks in, no matter who's there, whether you are making love, or singing ‘Oft in the Stilly Night,' with his hat in his hand, and a smirk upon his hideous countenance, muttering broken sentences : ‘Just stepped in — that little account' — and so
As soon as he hears the reply — no money' — the sweet summer-like smile vanishes, and bis ponderous jaws' open wide enough for you to see the ruins of Pompeii mirrored anew in the melancholy reminiscences of his departed — teeth. If a merchant meets a man in the street, to whom he owes money, he treats the goose of a creditor with contempt, and walks about every where, without fear of moles, tation. Not so with the lawyer. His mind is too familiar with the
sad details of legal practice; he constantly sees the ghost of a capias staring him in the face; his hats are worn out by bowing to his creditors, and he has always a cold in his head from the exposure. The merchant goes home to his dinner with peace of mind, and eats it comfortably; is disturbed by no one; takes his glass of wine, and thinks how pleasant it is to live upon the interest of his debts; or if he happens to get tipsy, which is but seldom, resolves to pay his creditors. The lawyer hurries home, and if for once he has a good dinner, in the ecstacy of the moment, gobbles it down, becomes sick, and has an attack of dyspepsia: calls in a doctor, who by forcible entry turns the disease out of his stomach, and puts an apothecary's shop in its place; all except the ‘sign,' which in most cases would be as beneficial as the contents of the shop.
The difference between the situation of the merchant and that of the lawyer, is no where more obvious, or more painful to the latter, than in affairs of the heart. There is nothing on earth for which a mother who has daughters to marry, has such an entire contempt, as lawyers. Young ladies have no objection to the pretty things that may be whispered in the ear, even by the lawyer, when mamma is not near; yet if the moon is invoked, it is of her 'silvery' beams that they most love to hear; if the sun, of his 'golden' rays. But they soon learn that poetry is not bread-and-butter; that “a sonnet to Lucinda's eye' must be postponed for 'instalments;' that there is genuine sentiment in figuring as the heroine of a marriage settlement. And thus the difference runs through all the walks and vocations of life, until the poor lawyer is finally left to his own esteem for himself, and to his own fancies, for his happiness in this world. His esteem for himself is unfortunately in most cases not as great as it should be ; for lawyers are proverbially retiring and modest; they are seldom if ever even heard to speak, unless they are pressed and paid to do so. We adopt a course which we recommend to all our brothers in the profession. We imagine that we possess all the wealth which we behold; we say to ourselves : ‘Well! though all these fine houses are ours, we will not sell them; do n't want money, and will not trouble the tenants for the rent; it was kind in Mr. Girard to leave us that immense estate, and we will not squander it foolishly. There is Mr.John Jacob Astor; what may he be doing in Philadelphia ? Came to borrow more money of us; we will lend it, and say nothing about the little sum he owes us now. Meet some fellow who has a few millions ; push him next to the gutter, and cut him, though not in a way to hurt his feelings. See a beautiful carriage, drawn by a pair of dashing horses, it is ours, and we must tell the coachman not to drive so fast, lest we should be upset; if carriage is upset, it is not ours; other people will employ such careless drivers. And so we move through life happily; nay, who can be wealthier ? Contentment is the greatest fortune man can possess, and in his own mind and heart is the gold which buys the purest and the most enduring happiness. The pains and anxieties, the trials and struggles, of mercantile life, the dark shades of the picture, are not seen by him who envies the outward exhibition of estate. Our complaints, whether of merchants or of others, will be found on examination to be, in most cases, the results either of uncharitable and forced conclusions from circumstances improperly stated, or of the sentiments of envy and jealousy, nourished in our hearts, until the susceptibility of pleasure or happiness is so blunted, that it can scarcely exist, while there is another in the world who is apparently more advantageously situated than ourselves.
L. L. D.
I Linger at the twilight hour,
And gaze upon the gorgeous sky,
Thou guardian of my destiny !
May meet, to counsel or to love,
Eternally our fates are wove!
Gazing with fond and earnest eye,
Springs forth celestial harmony;
It lingers with my earth-born cares,
And sunshine on its bosom bears.
No angel form my path doth cheer,
No speaking eye responds to mine;
No kindred thoughts my thoughts divine;
Thou seek'st in vain a counterpart,
Back on thy chilled and breaking heart.
As when the first bland breath of spring,
Plays round the brow of manhood's prime,
The memories of by-past time;
My inmost soul its beauty thrills;
With rapture strange my bosom fills.
They flit like birds athwart my mind,
Their swift-winged course I may not stay;
And evermore they seem to say:
And I have lived and loved before ;
On some far distant, glorious shore !
Farewell, twin-spirit of my soul !
I will not think the thought is vain,
In some bright world we meet again.
And guard these mortal frames from ill,
Of love and faith unfaltering still !
CONDENSED FROM THE DIARY OF AN EMINENT PHYSICIAN, KEPT AT THE TIME.
It was announced, briefly, in the last number of this Magazine, that there would be presented, in the present volume, a series of papers, from the private journal of a distinguished professional gentleman of New York, long since deceased, kept during the years 1794-5-6-7, embracing the more prominent topics and occurrences of that eventful period, with numerous collateral disquisitions and reflections, of a valuable or entertaining character. We proceed to
a open the series in question, by transcribing, in a condensed form, some of the minute and copious notes made by the author
the memorable fever of 1795, which marked so distinct an era in the history of epidemics. Describing only what he saw, the writer demands • absolute and entire credit for his facts. He commences with a sketch of the locale of the disorder, which is in some respects curious, as a picture of the city, at that remote period, as well as useful in tracing the predisposing circumstances to the disorder.
Though the fever continued to extend itself, to the last, yet it never became general over the city; and for a long time it was mostly confined to a particular district. As the season advanced, the peculiarities of this district may be supposed to have become common to a larger portion of the city; and their extension to the whole only prevented by the setting in of winter. To the district alluded to, the East River, from Long-Island ferry to Mr. Rutgers’, forms the easter boundary; the northern reaches from thence to Division-street; thence, westerly, down Division-street, Chatham-street, the extremity of Pearl into William-street, to Frankfort-street, down this last, to Gold-street, through that to Beekman-street, along which the line proceeds to Pearl-street as far as the market, down which it should be continued to the river. The space included in these bounds, is all over which the fever, according to the best of my remembrance, exerted any power, till after it had reached its height ; when it extended down Water-street a little below Wall-street, and proved very mortal. It is true that there were a few persons affected, in various other parts of the town; but, during the greater part of the prevalence of the fever, it was principally active in the north-eastern and middle parts of this district comprehended as above. Thus it will be perceived, that the part of the city where the fever was most active, for the longest period, forms, as it were, a basin, having its side nearest the water a little inclined ; and within this basin, there are several smaller cavities.
* The extreme irregularity in the disposition of the streets, the narrowness of the greater number of them, are great obstacles to a free ventillation of this city. This misfortune, common to every part of it, falls with peculiar heaviness on that district which has just been spoken of. The comparatively high and neighboring lands of Morrisania and Long-Island, receive almost solely the benefit of breezes from the north-east and east. The sound, which divides them from the city, being too narrow to add much force and freshness to a breeze nearly spent on their heights. North, the island rises into little hills, from which the wind passes on to the high parts of the city; rarely visiting the low and intervening space; unless it may be the topmost rooms of the houses : and as the houses are generally low, the effects of a wind from this quarter must be inconsiderable. North-westerly, there is somewhat more of an opening; but even this is small. West, south-west, and south, the other parts of the town, which are higher, and thickly settled, break the force of gales from these points. So that, thus situated, this quarter of the city, though it were perfectly well laid out, would have but little chance for a free ventillation. Much of the ground, in the northern part of this district, is swampy; and abounds with little pools and puddles of stagnant water.
This was especially true last summer and autumn; there being great rains, and no adequate means for conducting off the water. Indeed, so flat are some of the paved streets, in this quarter, that the rains did not run down the gutters, but continued in little puddles, and were evaporated from the places whereon they fell. In the new streets, which are unpaved, and without any gutters, numerous imperfect ditches assisted the disposition of the water to stagnate. These places would often be muddy, when the southern part of the town was dry; and the steams from them very offensive, when the dry streets, toward the North River, were perfectly sweet.'
A more minute description succeeds, of the exposed and filthy condition of the streets and docks, in the district alluded to; many of the former having been lined with low, decaying buildings, of wood, and full of semi-putrid vegetable and animal matters. Our journalist