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character of his pursuits while in Russia, as well as an estimate of his talents and attainments can be well understood from the subjoined extract of a letter from a gentleman who was much in his society while in St. Petersburgh :-"I arrived in St. Petersburgh in the month of June, 1817. I carried a letter of introduction to Mr. Pinkney from our friend, Mr. Justice Story. Mr. P. received me at once with the greatest kindness and hospitality. He told me almost the first time I saw him, that he should not make a single dinner for me, or receive me with ceremony; but if I would consider myself a member of his family, and take a seat at his table constantly, when not otherwise engaged, he should be gratified. As I soon found he was in earnest, I accepted his offer almost to its full extent. I passed about two months in the city, lodging at the same hotel with him, and domesticated with his family. I saw him every day, and at almost every meal; and the recollections I have of the pleasure enjoyed in his society, are amongst those I shall longest retain.

"Of his past life, he did not speak much. I inferred, however, that he had always been a hard student, and considered himself a laborious and thorough scholar in those branches of human knowledge to which he had more particularly devoted himself. I remember that he once said to me, that he considered the late Mr. Chief Justice Parsons and himself the only men in America who had thoroughly studied and understood Coke Littleton. He appeared to estimate the legal acquirements of our professional men as of little extent, generally speaking, and to think he gave himself but little credit in thinking that he had learned more law than any other man in the country.

"He kept himself very much in private, living so, (as he said,) from motives of economy. He was in lodgings at the Hotel de l'Europe, and saw no company ceremoniously—that is, he gave no dinners, &c. He had made it known to the diplomatic circle there when he first arrived, that he should live in that style, and therefore could not reciprocate their civilities. They, however, visited him a good deal, and he accepted their invitations frequently. I understood from various quarters, and inferred from what I saw, that he stood very particularly well with the Emperor, his family, and principal ministers. His personal habits were very peculiar. His neatness, and attention to the fashionable costume of the day, were carried to an extreme, which exposed him while at home, to the charge of foppery and affectation. But it should be remembered how large a portion of his life he had spent abroad, and in the highest circles of European society. Though he undoubtedly piqued himself upon being a finished and elegant gentleman, yet his manners and habits of dress were, as it always seemed to me, acquired in Europe; and so far from being remarkable there, they were in exact accordance with the common and established usages of men of his rank and station. All who have been at any of the European courts know that their statesmen and ministers consider it a necessary part of their character to pay great attention to the elegancies and refinements of life,—and after a day passed in the laborious discharge of their duties, will spend their evenings in society, and contribute quite their share of pleasant trifling. It is their maniere d'etre.

"During the summer that I passed with Mr. Pinkney, his personal habits were very regular. He breakfasted late, and heartily. Then he retired to his study, and we saw him no more until dinner at six o'clock. The evening he passed with his family, or in visiting. He took very little exercise, eat and drank freely, and I thought suffered occasionally from the usual effects of a plethoric habit, with much indulgence as to food, and no attention to exercise. Undoubtedly his extreme attention to personal cleanliness contributed much to preserve his health. His family saw little company at home or abroad; he appeared to be extremely fond of them, and satisfied with passing his evenings in their society.

"As to his intellectual character, and his talents and attainments as a lawyer, a statesman, and an orator, I shall say nothing. I do not pretend to measure the extent of his mind, or to add any thing to the general voice which has placed him at the head of the great men of our country. As to his attainments and his tastes in minor matters-besides a competent share of classical learning, he had a general acquaintance with modern literature: but I do not believe that he was fond of light English literature; though he seemed to make it a point of keeping along with the age, and, therefore, read all the popular poems, reviews, and novels, and talked

VOL. II.-7

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about them very well. But his great forte, as to his literary accomplishments, was his thorough and exact acquaintance with the English language-with its best models of diction—with its significations, its grammar, and its pronunciation. Upon this he prided himself exceedingly, and well he might; for you know the singular art and skill with which he displayed his mastery over his own language-his power of using it with astonishing force, elegance and accuracy, in the simplest conversation upon common topics, in his legal arguments which were to instruct and influence the finest minds in the country, and in the debates of the Senate which were to affect permanently and vitally the destinies of the nation."

In 1820, after his return from Europe, having been elected by the Legislature of Maryland to the Senate of the United States, he took his seat in that body. On the fifteenth of February, of that year, he delivered his masterly speech on the Missouri Bill. In all the important measures that originated during his senatorial career, he took a prominent part; and at the same time, continued his professional labors with the severest application. It is said that his last illness was occasioned by an excessive effort in the preparation and delivery of an argument within a few days immediately preceding the attack.

In the spring of 1822, he was prostrated by a severe indisposition. He mentioned to a friend that he had sat up very late in the night on which he was taken ill, to read the Pirates, which was then just published, and made many remarks respecting it, drawing comparisons between the two heroines, and criticising the narrative and style with his usual confident and decided tone, and in a way which showed that his imagination had been a good deal excited by the perusal. From this period till his death, he was a considerable part of the time in a state of delirium. But in his lucid intervals, his mind reverted to his favorite studies and pursuits, on which, whenever the temporary suspension of his bodily sufferings enabled him, he conversed with great freedom and animation. He seems, however, to have anticipated that his illness must have a fatal termination, and to have awaited the event with patient fortitude. After a course of the most acute suffering, he breathed his last on the night of the twenty-fifth of February.*


If I were about to address this high tribunal with a view to establish a reputation as an advocate, I should feel no ordinary degree of resentment against the gentleman whom I am

* In the preparation of this sketch, the editor has availed himself of the valuable work of Mr. Wheaton, published in


+ At the session of the United States Supreme Court in 1815, was brought to a hearing the celebrated case of the Nereide, the claim in which had been rejected in the district court of New York, and the goods condemned upon the ground that they were captured on board of an armed enemy's vessel which had resisted the exercise of the right of search. This cause had excited uncommon interest on account of the very great importance and novelty of the questions of public law involved in it, as well as the reputa

tion of the advocates by whom it was discussed.

The claimant, Mr. Pinto, was a native and resident mer

chant of Buenos Ayres, which had declared its independence of the parent country, although it had not yet been acknowledged as a sovereign State by the government of

this country. Being in London, in 1818, he had chartered the British armed vessel in question, to carry his goods, and other the property of his father and sister, to Buenos Ayres, and took passage on board the vessel which sailed under British convoy, and having been separated from the convoy.

compelled to follow ;t if indeed it were possible to feel resentment against one who never fails to plant a strong and durable friendship in the hearts of all who know him. He has dealt with this great cause in a way so masterly, and has presented it before you with such a provoking fulness of illustration, that his unlucky colleague can scarcely set his foot upon a single spot of it without trespassing on some one of those arguments which, with an admirable profusion, I had almost said prodigality of learning, he has spread over the whole subject. Time, however, which changes all things, and man more than any thing, no longer permits me to speak upon the impulse of ambition. It has left me only that of duty; better, perhaps, than the feverish impulse which it has supplanted; sufficient, as I hope, to urge me upon this and every other occasion to maintain the cause of truth by such exertions as may become a servant of the law in a forum like this. I shall

ing squadron, was captured off the island of Madeira, after a short action, by the United States privateer Governor Tompkins.-Wheaton's Life of Pinkney.

+ Mr. Dallas.

be content, therefore, to travel after my learned solemn treaty, binding upon the claimant and friend over a part of the track which he has upon you. In a word, I throw into that scale at once smoothed and illuminated, happy, rather the rights of belligerent America, and, as emthan displeased, that he has facilitated and justi- bodied with them, the rights of these captors, fied me in the celerity with which I mean to tra- by whose efforts and at whose cost the naval verse it; more happy still if I shall be able as I exertions of the government have been secondpass along, to relieve the fatigue of your hon-ed, until our once despised and drooping flag ors, the benevolent companions of my journey, has been made to wave in triumph where by imparting something of freshness and novelty neither France nor Spain could venture to show to the prospect around us. To this course, I am a prow. You may call these rights by what also reconciled by a pretty confident opinion, name you please. You may call them iron the result of general study as well as of particu- rights: I care not; it is enough for me that they lar meditation, that the discussion in which we are rights. It is more than enough for me that are engaged has no claim to that air of intricacy they come before you encircled and adorned by which it has assumed; that, on the contrary, it the laurels which we have torn from the brow turns upon a few very plain and familiar prin- of the naval genius of England: that they come ciples, which, if kept steadily in view, will before you recommended, and endeared, and guide us in safety through the worse than consecrated by a thousand recollections which Cretan labyrinth of topics and authorities that it would be baseness and folly not to cherish, seem to embarrass it, to such a conclusion as it and that they are mingled in fancy and in fact, may be fit for this court to sanction by its with all the elements of our future greatness. judgment.

I shall in the outset dismiss from the cause whatever has been rather insinuated with a prudent delicacy, than openly and directly pressed by my able opponents, with reference to the personal situation of the claimant, and of those with whom he is united in blood and interest. I am willing to admit that a Christian judicature may dare to feel for a desolate foreigner who stands before it, not for life or death indeed, but for the fortunes of himself and his house. I am ready to concede, that when a friendly and a friendless stranger sues for the restoration of his all to human justice, she may sometimes wish to lay aside a portion of her sternness, to take him by the hand, and exchanging her character for that of mercy, to raise him up from an abyss of doubt and fear to a pinnacle of hope and joy. In such circumstances, a temperate and guarded sympathy may not unfrequently be virtue. But this is the last place upon earth in which it can be necessary to state, that, if it be yielded to as a motive of decision, it ceases to be virtue, and becomes something infinitely worse than weakness. What may be the real value of Mr. Pinto's claim to our sympathy, it is impossible for us to be certain that we know; but thus much we are sure we know, that whatever may be its value in fact, in the balance of the law it is lighter than a feather shaken from a linnet's wing, lighter than the down that floats upon the breeze of summer. I throw into the opposite scale the ponderous claim of war; a claim of high concernment, not to us only, but to the world; a claim connected with the maritime strength of this maritime State, with public honor and individual enterprise, with all those passions and motives which can be made subservient to national success and glory in the hour of national trial and danger. I throw into the same scale the venerable code of universal law, before which it is the duty of this court, high as it is in dignity, and great as are its titles to reverence, to bow down with submission. I throw into the same scale a

Mr. Pinkney contended that the property ought to be considered as good prize of war on the following grounds:

First. That the treaty of 1795, between the United States and Spain, contained a positive stipulation, adopting the maxim of what has sometimes been called the law of nations, that, "free ships make free goods;" and that although it did not expressly mention the converse proposition, that "enemy ships should make enemy goods," yet it did not negative that proposition: and as the two maxims had always been associated together in the practice of nations, the one was to be considered as implying the other.

Second. That by the Spanish prize code, neutral property, found on board enemies' vessels, was liable to capture and condemnation, and that this being the law of Spain, applied by her when belligerent to us and all other nations when neutral by the principle of reciprocity, the same rule was to be applied to the property of her subjects, which Mr. Pinto was to be taken to be, the Government of the United States not having at that time acknowledged the independence of the Spanish American colonies.

Third. That the claim of Mr. Pinto ought to be rejected on account of his unneutral conduct in hiring, and putting his goods on board of an armed enemy's vessel, which sailed under convoy, and actually resisted search. After discussing the two first of the abovementioned grounds of argument, Mr. Pinkney proceeded:

I come now to the third and last question, | upon which, if I should be found to speak with more confidence than may be thought to become me, I stand upon this apology, that I have never been able to persuade myself that it was any question at all. I have consulted upon it the reputed oracles of universal law, with a wish disrespectful to their high vocation, that they would mislead me into doubt. But-pia sunt, nullumque nefas oracula suadent. I have listened to the council for the claimant, with a hope produced by his reputation for abilities and learning, that his argument would shake from me the sturdy conviction which held me in its grasp, and would substitute for it that mild and convenient scepticism that cites without oppressing the mind, and summons an advocate to the best exertion of his faculties, without taking from him the prospect of success, and the assurance that his cause deserves it. I have listened, I say, and am as great an infidel as ever.

force, with full knowledge that she has capacity to resist the commissioned vessels, and, if they lie in her way, to attack and subdue the defenceless merchant ships of the other belligerent, and with the further knowledge that her commander, over whom in this respect he has no control, has inclination and authority, and is bound by duty so to resist, and is inclined and authorized so to attack and subdue. I shall discuss it as the case of a neutral, who advisedly puts in motion, and connects his commerce and himself with a force thus qualified and conducted; who voluntarily identifies his commerce and himself with a hostile spirit, and authority, and duty, thus known to and unconex-trollable by him; who steadily adheres to this anomalous fellowship, this unhallowed league between neutrality and war, until in an evil hour it falls before the superior force of an American cruiser, when, for the first time, he insists upon dissolving the connection, and demands to be regarded as an unsophisticated neutral, whom it would be barbarous to censure, and monstrous to visit with penalty. The gentlemen tell us that a neutral may do all this! I hold that he may not, and if he may, that he is a "chartered libertine," that he is legibus solutus, and may do any thing.

The boundaries which separate war from neutrality, are sometimes more faint and obscure than could be desired: but there never were any boundaries between them, or they must all have perished, if neutrality can, as this new and most licentious creed declares, surround itself upon the ocean with as much of hostile equipment as it can afford to purchase, if it can set forth upon the great cominon of the world, under the tutelary auspices, and armed with the power of one belligerent, bidding defiance to and entering the lists of battle with the other, and, at the same moment, assume the aspect and robe of peace, and challenge all the immunities which belong only to submission.

My learned friends must bear with me, if I say that there is in this idea such an appearance of revolting incongruity, that it is difficult to restrain the understanding from rejecting it without inquiry, by a sort of intellectual instinct. It is, I admit, of a romantic and marvellous cast, and may, on that account, find favor with those who delight in paradox; but I am utterly at a loss to conjecture how a well-regulated and disciplined judgment, for which the gentlemen on the other side are eminently distinguished, can receive it otherwise than as the mere figment of the brain of some ingenious artificer of wonders. The idea is formed by a union of the most repulsive ingredients. It co-exists by an unexampled reconciliation of mortal antipathies. It exhibits such a rare discordia rerum, such a stupendous society of jarring elements, or, to use an expression of Tacitus, of res insociabiles, that it throws into the shade the wildest fictions of poetry. I entreat your honors to endeavor a personification of this

My learned colleague, in his discourse upon this branch of the subject, relied, in some degree, upon circumstances, supposed by him to be in evidence, but by our opponents believed to be merely assumed. I will not rely upon any circumstances but such as are admitted by us all. I take the broad and general ground, which does not require the aid of such special considerations as might be borrowed from the contested facts.

The facts, which are not contested, are these: the claimant, Manuel Pinto, intending to make a large shipment of British merchandise from London, where he then was, to Buenos Ayres, the place of his ordinary residence, for himself and other Spaniards, and moreover to take on freight, and with a view to a commission on the sales, and a share in the profits, in South America, other merchandise belong ing to British subjects, chartered at a fixed price, in the summer of 1813, the British ship the Nereide, for those purposes. The Nereide was armed, either at the time of the charter or afterwards, with ten guns: and her armament was authorized by the British government, and recognized by the usual document. The merchandise being all laden, the ship sailed upon her voyage under British convoy, as the owner had, in the charter party, stipulated she should do, with the claimant, Pinto, and several passengers introduced, as I think, by him, on board, and with sixteen or seventeen hands. She parted convoy soon afterwards, and was met by the Governor Tompkins privateer, by which she was conquered, seized, and brought in as prize, after a resistance of several minutes, in the course of which the Nereide fired about twenty guns. Some of the passengers operated in this resistance, but Pinto did not, nor, as far as is known, did he encourage it.

I shall consider the case, then, as simply that of a neutral, who attempts to carry on his trade from a belligerent port, not only under belligerent convoy, but in a belligerent vessel of

motley notion, and to forgive me for presuming | to intimate, that if, after you have achieved it, you pronounce the notion to be correct, you will have gone a great way to prepare us, by the authority of your opinion, to receive as credible history, the worst parts of the mythology of the Pagan world. The Centaur and the Proteus of antiquity will be fabulous no longer. The prosopopoeia, to which I invite you, is scarcely, indeed, within the power of fancy, even in her most riotous and capricious mood, when she is best able and most disposed to force incompatibilities into fleeting and shadowy combination; but if you can accomplish it, will give you something like the kid and the lion, the lamb and the tiger portentously incorporated, with ferocity and meekness co-existent in the result, and equal as motives of action. It ⚫ will give you a modern Amazon, more strangely constituted than those with whom ancient fable peopled the borders of the Thermodon-her voice compounded of the tremendous shout of the Minerva of Homer, and the gentle accents of a shepherdess of Arcadia-with all the faculties and inclinations of turbulent and masculine war, and all the retiring modesty of virgin peace. We shall have in one personage the pharetrata Camilla of the Æneid, and the Peneran maid of the Metamorphosis. We shall have neutrality, soft and gentle and defenceless in herself, yet clad in the panoply of her warlike neighbors; with the frown of defiance upon her brow, and the smile of conciliation upon her lip; with the spear of Achilles in one hand, and a lying protestation of innocence and helplessness unfolded in the other. Nay, if I may be allowed so bold a figure, in a mere legal discussion, we shall have the branch of olive entwined around the bolt of Jove, and neutrality in the act of hurling the latter under the deceitful cover of the former!




I must take the liberty to assert, that if this be law, it is not that sort of law which Hooker speaks of, when, with the splendid magnificence of eastern metaphor, he says, that "her seat is the bosom of God, and her voice the harmony of the world." Such a chimera can never be fashioned into a judicial rule fit to be tolerated or calculated to endure. You may, I know, erect it into a rule: and when you do, I shall, in common with others, do my best to respect it; but, until you do so, I am free to say, that in my humble judgment, it must rise upon the ruins of many a principle of peculiar sanctity and venerable antiquity, which "the wing of time has not yet brushed away," and which it will be your wisdom to preserve and perpetu


If I should be accused of having thus far spoken only or principally in metaphors, I trust I am too honest not to plead guilty, and certainly I am not ashamed to do so: for, though my metaphors, hastily conceived and hazarded, will scarcely bear the test of a severe and vigorous criticism, and although I confess that under

your indulgence, I have been betrayed into the use of them, by the composition of this mixed and (for a court of judicature,) uncommon audience. I trust that they will be pardoned upon the ground that they serve to mark out and illustrate my general views, and to introduce my more particular argument.


I will begin by taking a rapid glance at the effect which this imagined license to neutrals, to charter the armed commercial vessels of a belligerent, may produce upon the safety of the unarmed trade of the opposite belligerent; and I deceive myself greatly, if this will not of itself, dispose us to reject the supposition of such a license.

It will not be denied, that, if one neutral may hire such a vessel from a belligerent, every neutral may do so. The privilege does not exist at all, or it is universal. The consequence is that the seas may be covered with the armed ships of one of the parties to the war by the direct procurement and at the sole expense of those who profess to be no parties to it. What becomes, then, of the defenceless trade of the other party to the war? Is it not exposed by this neutral interference to augmented peril, and encountered by a new repulsion? Are not the evils of its predicament inflamed by it? Is not a more ample hostility, a more fearful array of force provided for its oppression? Can it now pass at all where before it passed with difficulty and hazard? Can it now pass without danger where before it was in perfect safety?

Suppose one of the contending powers to be greatly superior in maritime means to the other; what better expedient could be devised to make that superiority decisive and fatal, than to authorize neutrals to foster it into activity by subsidies under the name of freight, to draw it out upon the ocean, with a ripe capacity for mischief, to spread it far and wide over its surface, and to send it across every path which the commerce of the weaker belligerent might otherwise hope to traverse? Call you that neutrality which thus conceals beneath its appropriate vestment the giant limbs of war, and converts the charter party of the compting-house into a commission of marque and reprisals; which makes of neutral trade a laboratory of belligerent annoyance; which, with a perverse and pernicious industry, warms a torpid serpent into life, and places it beneath the footsteps of a friend with a more appalling lustre on its crest and added venom in its sting; which for its selfish purposes feeds the fire of international discord, which it should rather labor to extinguish, and in a contest between the feeble and the strong enhances those inequalities that give encouragement to ambition and triumph to injustice?

I shall scarcely be told that this is an imaginary evil. I shall not, in this court, hear it said, as I think it has elsewhere been said,* that the merchant vessel of a belligerent, (of Eng

*At the hearing of the cause in the court below.

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