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right and privilege given to him by law, in strict conformity with the immemorial and uniform practice of all courts on like occasions, an honorable manager has permitted his imagination to take fire at it as a most unprecedented insult, and from this small spark he broke out into that magnificent conflagration at which this honorable court, as well as ourselves, were so much amazed; declaring, with all the vehemence of voice and look and action, that if he had been in Lawless' place, and such an overture had been made to him, he 'would have dragged the tyrant from his throne, as Virginius did, and finished him on the spot.' And another honorable manager, who has since spoken, adverting to the same scene and apparently desirous of supporting his colleague in the sentiment, but despairing of rising to his attitude of indignation, exclaimed that if he had been in Lawless' place-he would'nt have been so submissive-attempting to supply by the significance of his look the inadequacy of his language to match his emotions. Mr. President, on what times have we fallen? The time has been that the virtuous and enlightened portions of society considered it as among their most solemn and imperious duties, to inculcate a reverence for the laws and for the tribunals that administered them. In a republic pre-eminently, where we have no sovereign but the laws, and the peace, the order, and happiness of society depend on a prompt and cheerful submission to them, this deference has been considered as a religious duty. But the times, it seems, are changed; and our distinguished men expect applause by teaching from high places, violence, tumult, disorder in our courts of justice, and even the assassination of judges, for no other offence than the performance of their common duties. I will not press the topic, for there is far more of pain than of pleasure in the prospect it offers of coming events. If ruffian force is to be invited into our halls of justice, what is to protect our halls of legislation? Why are we to suppose that the persons of those who make the laws will be held more sacred than those who administer them? And is our government to become one of violence on the one hand, and terror on the other? Are anarchy and uproar to take the place of peace and order; and are the leading men of the nation to advise and to exhort to this baleful change? Sir, there may be occasions that may call for a Brutus: but is the

misconduct of a petty, provincial judge,' as the gentlemen have been pleased to call Judge Peck, such an occasion? Is the Bench to be made to crouch, with abject fear, before the Bar; and are judges to be dragged from their seats and slaughtered whenever they may cross the wishes of a ferocious advocate? Is this the conception which gentlemen have formed of the decorum and dignity of a court of justice? We trust, sir, that better views will be inculcated by the decision in this case; that Mr. Lawless, and all other men in his predicament, will be taught that we are here in a state of peace, and not of revolution; that burning of houses and insulting judges is not our fashion; that this is a land of order, as well as of liberty; and that, among us, men are respected according to the respect which they themselves show to the institutions of our country."

"Mr. President, I have now, under the pressure of ill-health, and deep affliction of spirit, discharged the painful duty which rested upon me. I have spoken professionally, and trust that I may not be so misunderstood as to be supposed capable of finding enjoyment in the wounds I may have inflicted. They are as painful to me as to others. But our duties, sir, whether pleasant or painful, must be done; and I should be unworthy of a place at your bar, if I could permit any ill-timed delicacy to interfere with their firm and faithful discharge.

"The question before you, sir, is not that of Judge Peck alone. It is the question of the independence of the American judiciary. It is in his person that that independence is sought to be violated. Is this Court prepared to suspend the sword by a hair over the heads of our judges, and constrain them to the performance of their duties amidst fear and trembling from the terrors of an impeachment? Or will you not rather, by your decision, maintain them in that firm, enlightened, and honest discharge of their duties, which has heretofore so pre-eminently distinguished them? Can you sacrifice such a man as Judge Peck to such a man as Lawless? Can you, by such a precedent, strike a panic throughout the American bench, and fill the bosoms of all the reflecting, the wise and good, with dismay and despair? Sir, there is not a considerate man who has not long regarded a pure, firm,

enlightened judiciary as the great sheet-anchor of our national constitution. Snap the cable that binds us to that, and farewell to our Union and the yet dawning glories of our Republic. I commit the subject to you, sir, without any apprehension of so dreadful a catastrophe from a tribunal like this."




THE "deep affliction of spirit," mentioned in the concluding sentence of the speech on Peck's trial, refers to an event which seems to have made a more permanent impression on the character of Mr. Wirt than any other incident of his life. The trial of the impeachment had scarcely begun, when he received from his family in Baltimore the melancholy tidings of the death of his youngest daughter, Agnes, then in her sixteenth year. This event was wholly unexpected, and came upon him with a poignancy of anguish which altogether disabled him from proceeding with the cause. The Senate considerately adjourned the trial for a week. When it was resumed the defence was chiefly conducted by Mr. Meredith. A month nearly elapsed before Mr. Wirt made his speech in the cause, and then,—as we have seen,—“ under the pressure of ill-health and deep affliction of spirit." The excitement of debate and that eager, emulous character of mind which no personal misfortune nor bitter grief could subdue, bore him through the trial placidly, at least, and often, as we may gather from some playful sallies in his speech, cheerfully, when the contention of the forum blotted out all other memories. I have abundant proof before me that, in the intervals of the trial, the images of his sorrow rose thick upon his sight, and set loose the frequent current of his tears. "My sweet angel visits me, by faith, many times in the course of the day and night. I want only my blessed Saviour's assurance of pardon and acceptance to be at peace. I wish to find no rest short of rest in him."—" Dearest heart, let us

both look up to that Heaven where our angel is, and from which she is still permitted to observe us with interest:-up to that Heaven where our Saviour dwells, and from which he is shewing us the attractive face of our blessed and happy child, and bidding us prepare to come to her, since she can no more visibly come to "I have no taste now for worldly business. I go to it reluctantly. I would keep company only with my Saviour and his holy book. I dread the world-the strife and contention and emulation of the bar-yet I will do my duty-this is part of my religion."


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These and many such breathings came from him in the mid-days of the trial-some of them written from his seat in the Senate chamber.

The daughter whom he thus weeps, was, from earliest childhood, an object of extraordinary attraction to all who were familiar with Mr. Wirt's household. She possessed a remarkable intelligence and aptitude of mind, which was developed in a devotion to study very unusual to her years and sex. It was not less expressed in her face, which sparkled with physical and intellectual beauty. Her manners won all hearts by their gentleness and grace. The cast of her mind was thoughtful and most devoutly religious. These qualities had so planted her in the affections of her family, that she seemed to lead and instruct that little domestic circle, of which she was almost the youngest member. It is to her influence we may trace some of the strongest religious impressions of her father, whilst she lived; and still, in greater distinctness, the devout contrition and fervid piety which, after her death, became so engrossing and conspicuous in his character during the remainder of his life. Many beautiful letters addressed by him to this child, for several years, attest the estimate he made of her understanding, and his reverence for the purity of her character. From the topics discussed in them, and the grave tenor of their style in many which have fallen under my inspection, the reader of them would never suppose the correspondent to be a little girl scarcely emancipated from the nursery. But the precocity of her mind seems fully to have warranted the tone of these letters. She was her father's constant companion in his study: arranged and endorsed his papers for him; collected his books of authority when he was studying his cases,-made notes for him; and, by a

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