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A life of study and seclusion produced its usual effects. His health declined and compelled him for a time to abandon books; but soon recovering, he turned again to the law, and began a course which he pursued without guidance or aid, though at that time he performed the duties of sole clerk in an office in Rochester, New York, where a large amount of common business had to be transacted. In the last years of his clerkship the business of the office, owing to peculiar circumstances, devolved almost entirely upon himself, and he managed it, for the most part, ex gratia, in court, as well as out. He also found employment on his private account in the inferior courts, and before arbitrators and referees. In this way he began the advocacy of causes some time before he was admitted to the bar, which was a great practical advantage.
In 1824, he took out a counsellor's license, having been already admitted an attorney of the Supreme Court in 1821. He now passed immediately into an extensive practice, being employed in the trial of causes both at home and in neighboring counties. In the county courts and at the Oyer and Terminer, he found abundant occupation, as an advocate, before receiving his counsellor's license, and on one occasion before that time, was allowed to try a cause at the Jefferson ctunty circuit, before Judge Piatt. He appeared at the bar of the Supreme Court as soon as he had taken the degree of counsellor. In 1826, he was made district attorney for the county of Monroe, and held that office until his election to Congress in 1827.
In the fall of 1820, Mr. Barnard was put in nomination for Congress, and in 1827 elected by the Republican party, in whose principles he was educated. His district included the present Monroe and Livingston counties. The nomination and election were unsought and unexpected by Mr. Barnard, and his acceptance withdrew him, while yet a young man and lately married, from a lucrative practice in the law. But those were times when an election to the House carried with it weight of dignity and importance; and for a young man an honorable seemed better than a merely lucrative position in the State. He was called the youngest mem
ber of that (the twentieth) Congress, bt he was by no means the least active. Oe the noted "D'Auterive Claim," which, i»volving a point of slavery, was the subj«: of a very exciting debate, he delivered wt maiden speech.
On this occasion the best minds of the House had engaged earnestly in the d* cussion, that had run on through sever*, weeks. Edward Livingston, Randolph Everett, M'Duffie, Barbour, and otbers advocated the claim. Northern on the contrary, through a natural rep nance, opposed the claim. When it a from the Committee of the Whole, the was ordered, by a decided vote, to h engrossed for a third reading, and ta question was about to be taken on passage, when, under the feeling of f< and embarrassment that attends the effort of a modest man, Mr. Barnard the floor against it.
The claim was for the value of a shw whom D'Auterive sent to perform L*b* in throwing up defences in the face I the public enemy in time of war, whe he was disabled by the fire of the enemi Mr. Barnard resisted the claim on n narrow or technical ground, and ceruki not on the ground of any prejudice • feeling of hostility toward the SoMl The question was one of the gravo public import, though presented in til shape of a private claim, and he rest< his opposition on grounds of public aa universal law. "The slave had no count' nor was he bound to defend his masttr country. To the master belonged, b deed, the services, but not the persm < the life of the slave. These the ma»t< had no right to offer to the country, w had the country any right to demand i accept them, to be exposed or sacrilk* in its defence."
The speech was a close argumei without any effort at rhetoric or oraamet It made a strong impression, and had i effect towards defeating the claim, wbk was finally abandoned.
The great measure of the first sessk of the twentieth Congress was the cei brated Tariff or Woollens Bill of 162 Mr. Barnard took part in defence of tl protective principle, and in exposition the insidious efforts then making by sot of its professed friends to defeat ti jasure. The late Silas Wright led in is attempt, and Mr. B.'s principal effort
the debate was aimed mainly at him; r did it fall without effect. After an lerval of several days, he attempted a ply, which gained him no credit. Mr. irnard's speech was caused to be pubh«l in a pamphlet for general circulao, a practice not as common at that riod as it has since become. One of the great debates of the next (•ion arose on a bill for the preservation d repair of the Cumberland Road. It ened the whole question of internal prorements by the General Government. r. Barnard entered into the debate in
elaborate argument on the question of >wer, confining himself chiefly, however, a view of the peculiar grounds on which sted the power over the Cumberland lad. He was strongly in favor of the ercise of this power by the General svernment. This speech indicates the ?ws he was thus early accustomed to ke of the General Government and its institutional powers and duties. They Ok broad and comprehensive, yet guarded d well-de6ned. In the conclusion of is speech, he commented strongly on e spirit of hostility to all exercise of a nencent power by the General Govern:nt, manifested by the party that was ■A about entering into power, after a araeful victory over the wise and blameis administration of John Quincy Adams. Terence was made particularly to Mr. rvenson, (the Speaker,) to Mr. Buchanan d his modern Democracy, and to Mr. mdolph, who had declared in the debate at "the only mistake Virginia ever ade on the subject of the Constitution i* in adopting it!"
In allusion to what had passed in deite and to the party tactics and maeuvres which had been employed in the wnt Presidential canvass, Mr. Barnard ■Id the language, at the close of his marks, of severity and grave rebuke. The two years of Mr. B.'s service in jotrress at this period were the last two ■ars of Mr. Adams's administration. He w much to approve and admire in that I ministration, and little to condemn. It as truly republican, and was conducted i the strictest and purest principles of publican policy. Many of his political
associates and a large portion of the party to which he was attached joined the unrighteous crusade against it. He could not follow them.
On his return home in June, at the close of the first session of the twentieth Congress, a meeting of true Republicans was called, which brought together vast numbers of citizens, in the open air, at the court-house in Rochester. The venerable Nathaniel Rochester presided. Mr. Barnard alone addressed the meeting. Resolutions were adopted in favor of the administration of Mr. Adams, and of his re-election, and expressing strong disapprobation of " that class of politicians who would lower the high standard of moral excellence and intellectual attainments hitherto considered indispensable in a Chief Magistrate." The effect of this meeting was marked and decided in that county and district, and was afterward strongly felt in the election for President.
It was in the fall of 1827 that the first attempt was made to form a political party in Western New York, on the basis of the popular excitement growing out of the abduction and probable murder of William Morgan. This movement was begun at Rochester, and some active politicians of the Republican party were the leaders in it. From its first rise Mr. B. set his face strongly against the movement. He could not see in it a ground broad enough for a great party, especially a State and national party, to act upon; and he would not allow himself to be engaged in a contest merely local, which the managers would be sure to use for their private ends.
It is well known how this excitement swept over Western New York, and extended to other parts of the country. All the old party distinctions and principles were for a time broken down. There was but one political party, and that was the Anti-Masonic party. Masons generally stood aloof from it, but could say nothing and do nothing. Some of them joined it. The rest of the community almost en masse, with here and there a singular exception, seemed of one mind and one heart.
The excitement was a storm—a tempest, and required some courage to face it; it was much easier to yield to it. Mr. B. was not a Mason, and had no sympathies with Masonry, and no one held in greater horror the crimes committed in its name ; but he thought crime should be referred to the judicial tribunals, and not to political parties, and he therefore refused to become politically an Anti-Mason.
But a man, at that period, in Western New York, had to be either politically an Anti-Mason, or he could be nothing politically. Nobody but an Anti-Mason could hold any local office, from that of a representative in Congress, to that of constable or postmaster. The spirit of Anti-Masonry reigned everywhere. It raged in the churches, in families, and in neighborhoods, and was everywhere supreme. Of course it was exclusive and intolerant. It not only had supreme local sway, but soon learned to look away from home to the higher offices of the State, and even of the nation, for which it felt itself entitled to furnish candidates.
Before a popular sentiment so engrossing, before so raging a spirit, it was difficult for men having any political hopes to hold out with firmness. Very few did hold out—very few especially of the young men, except those who were Masons. It would be difficult to name a man, not a Mason or a Jacksonian Democrat, then on the stage of action in Western New York, who has since made any figure in politics, who was not an AntiMason. They rose upon, and have risen from, Anti-Masonry.
A little compliance with—a little obedience to—the " blessed spirit," would have given Mr. B. an advantage over most. No man of his age in Western New York was in a better position to make political profit out of Anti-Masonry. He could have taken a lead. It was the Republican party, the "Bucktail" part)', the AntiJackson party, of Western New York, the party to which he belonged, that was principally swallowed up m Anti-Masonry; and when at length the Anti-Masonic organization was given up and there was a return to a broader political platform, the old party appeared in its strength, and remains at this day the invincible Whig party of the old Eighth District. But he could not give political Anti-Masonry his support, and this was an offence not easily forgotten or forgiven. He would not attach himself to any party that had
no principle broad enough for a natietm party to stand upon.
At the election in the fall of 18'28tk« was no regularly nominated candidate fa Congress except the Anti-Masonic. Tbr nominee was one of the half-dozen peTvja who had the year before put out the fira Anti-Masonic ticket ever presented. Ht was of course elected. A number of tl* most respectable gentlemen in the distrK addressed a letter to Mr. Barnard on tb eve of the election asking him to all-i them and their friends to vote for Via thus giving him a flattering, but of cocn unavailing, proof of their regard. At t» close of his Congressional term he returns to his legal labors, and entered into fi employment as counsel.
While he was absent in Congress, ft trials of some of the Morgan conspirata had been going on, and some convict** had taken place of those who Br took Morgan into their custody. M Barnard was retained as counsel ft the defence of those who remained to I tried.
The public mind had become more u more excited against the perpetrators of tl outrage upon Morgan, and his murder—f< it was fully believed that he had been ma dered. Those who were under indictn:?? innocent or guilty, were in great pa They were convicted already in the pop lar judgment. Special preparations wi made to secure their conviction by t courts. Under a law for that purpose. special attorney-general was created i appointed on behalf of the State for tk* trials. Mr. John C. Spencer accepted t! office. In the end a judge of the Supra Court was especially assigned to presi at the trials, instead of the usual arc judge.
1 rials under these formidable prep-i tions were had in Orleans countv and Niagara county. They were among 1 most laborious and severely contested' ji trials that have ever taken place in t country. The array of counsel was siro on both sides. In all the cases Mr. B nard held the position of leading coca for the defence, in the examination of * nesses and in summing up to the jurv.
In every case, the defence was as" di cult, perhaps, as was ever known in i criminal prosecution. It was necessarr tid up against a popular excitement ich amounted to madness, and from the uence of which neither judges nor srs could free themselves. It had to :-t ability and professional skill of the best order in a prosecution specially minted by the State, and specially rered on convicting. The proofs, too, in ry case, were strong and unequivocal implicate the accused in flagrant acts Dccted with the abduction or imprison)t of the victim, Morgan. The quesi of criminal inlent was the only one on ch a doubt could be raised, and the inent purpose, if there was one, rested facts, the direct proof of which could
be established. There were only the htest circumstances from which such a pose could be inferred. It is easy to that everything depended at last on manner of putting the cases to the jury the part of the defence. Jr. Barnard had satisfied himself, from ivate investigation of the affair, that the sons he was defending were really innot, though associated in acts with others ) were as really guilty, and the resolution h which he defended them against all appearances of guilt so strong as to be 'ailing, was equal to his conviction of a innocence. They were acquitted in rr instance.
uter one of these trials, which had oclied ten days, the special attorney, Mr. sneer, presented to the Supreme Court sse, and an application to set aside the diet. It was elaborately argued on n sides. Mr. Barnard argued it alone the defence. The reported case in the Jf term, 1830, shows the nature and »t variety of questions involved in the J at the circuit and argued at the bar. : last of these cases were defended by
Barnard before a jury in Ontario inty.
Eilmusted by these labors, in the fall 1830 the subject of our memoir sailed
Europe. He visited France, Italy, rtzerland, Belgium and England, and rend home in the summer of 1831. He 8 in Europe a little less than five nths, and was a diligent traveller and server. Paris had just then come out the revolution of July, 1830, the fresh irks of which were everywhere visible. ie oweritn were still singing the Marseil
laise in the streets; Louis Philippe was the Citizen King.
His visit to Italy was one of interest, for it was a time of popular commotion. He witnessed the way in which an Austrian army in Italy could, at that day, crush an ill-appointed revolution.
While in Europe, he found time to embody, in a series of letters, the impressions made upon him by the new scenes, and the interesting events of the period. His attention was particularly directed to the political aspect of things, and to the social condition of the people. These letters were published at the time, originally in a paper at Rochester, and were, to a considerable extent, copied in other papers, and a good deal read. In some quarters their publication, in a collected form, was strongly called for, but it was neglected, and the time passed by.
In August, 1831, Mr. Van Buren went to England, having been appointed Minister by Gen. Jackson, during the recess of the Senate. In January following, his nomination, having been submitted to the Senate, was not agreed to by that body. The grounds of this severe judgment of the Senate were found in the party character of his instructions, as Secretary of State, to his predecessor at London, Mr. M'Lane, on the subject of the West India trade. The dealing of this blow roused the passions of the liege men of the Old Hero, and especially of the partisans of his favorite, and destined nominee and successor in the presidency. The act was denounced as an indignity offered to the President, and his official paper at Washington boldly talked of the necessity of dispensing altogether with the Senate as an advising body, and leaving the President to take care of the Executive power alone !" Indignation meetings" were held at several prominent political points— at Philadelphia and New York, and by a Legislative caucus at Albany.
In February, 1832, a citizens' meeting was called at Rochester, and attended mainly by those who had no indignation to express against the Senate for the exercise of an honest judgment in a matter wholly within its constitutional duty and authority. By particular request, and not as a volunteer, Mr. Barnard attended this meeting. By such request he prepared the resolutions which were adopted by the meeting. They were six in number, and the character of the whole may be seen in the two following, the first and last of the series:—
"Resolved, That wo regard it as of the highest importance, that the Senate of the United States ns an independent and co-ordinate branch of the Federal Government, should be preserved and sustained in the perfect integrity of its constitutional powers.
"Resolved, That we hold the interests and the honor of the country as paramount to the interests of any man, or any party, and the Senate deserves the grateful thanks of the country for the salutary and just rebuke, which, by its action on Mr. Van Buren's nomination, it has administered, for what the Senate believed to have been a flagrant attempt to solicit from the favor of a foreign government for a party, what that government had refused to the country."
The only speech made to the meeting was made by Mr. B. It was a speech evidently not intended for popular effect, but was such an one as might have been delivered before the Senate at the next session. It presented a view of the whole question of the West India trade; it defended the constitutional authority of the Senate, and the rights and dignity of that body ; it laid open, with clearness and perfect truth and candor, the main point on which the judgment of the Senate had turned, in regard to Mr. Van Buren's appointment as minister, and it exposed with great severity the conduct of those who were making a Jacobinical war on the Senate in his behalf.
In New York the opposition to the Jackson and the spoils party, was in some danger of having its force divided or weakened in the presidential election of 1832, by the separate organization then maintained by the Anti-Masons. In June that party had met in convention and nominated candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and presidential electors—all, personally, and within the lines of their political principles, entirely agreeable to the body of the Anti-Jackson party in the State.
In July a convention of delegates from the "National Republican party" was held at Utica, over which the late Chief Justice Spencer presided. It was a con
vention full of talent and inspired by t'e noblest principles of high and disinterest patriotism. Mr. Barnard attended lii convention as a delegate, and was one < the Committee appointed to consider u report what action the convention oa*i to take. The result of their dt-hheraoj was embodied in a series of resolctio and an address. It was proposed to « stain from making any new nominaa.1* and to recommend to their friends t adoption and support of the State caa dates and electors already in nominaa By the request and appointment of i committee, Mr. B. addressed the ca vention on the presentation of their rep in explanation and support of their %kri and his speech on that occasion was »ria out and published at the request of I convention.
The main object of the speech was maintain the propriety and neeesshT sacrificing local divisions and* interests the high duty of bringing the win strength of the opposition in New \t to bear against the administratios * spoils party at the approaching ekrti But besides this, it furnished matt'-" the gravest reflection in the sentimenl contained and in the picture, which < drawn in it of the character and eoad of the administration. Its tone b ii cated in such passages as these :—
"Sir, in a country like ours, a cowfitrt outward prosperity, produced by the nnrr melled energies of an enterprising peep:?. existing in spite of incapacity or corrupt*! high places, affords no security or ev-/' that its free institutions are safe. While citizen slumbers on in unconcern, or « only to exchange gratulations with his nti bors on their individual or mutual Skcci?« under the faith and guarantee of wholes laws,theConstitution may besuffering vii-t" and the elements of government hasten '■> dissolution. Neither the workmen t* exterior of the building, nor those who ehal in its chambers, nor those who revel ia halls, will feel the less at ease becaose a ^ enemy is sapping its foundations, or Uj2 silent train for its destruction."
In the course of this performance have this description of the way in *1 General Jackson was brought into r»>i and of the character and proceeding the victors:—