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world as though his barber had stuck a monstrous powder-puff on either side, between his collar and his skin; and so they marched along, unmindful of the storm, while the big drum, vigorously pounded by a pair of stalwart arms, gave forth a dumpish sound, and the shrill notes of the trumpet struggled through the snow-encumbered air."
Many of the public processions in this country are, however, admirably conducted; and some of the volunteer companies, under arms, would be thought highly of, even by military men, for their appropriate dress, excellent equipments, and steady order of march.
The Courts of Law held in the City Hall.-Chancery, Common Pleas, Superior and Supreme Courts.-Qualifications of Barristers and Attorneys.-Nomination or Appointment of Judges.-Style of Pleading and Judgment, Official Costume.-Scale of Remuneration for the Bar and the Bench.-Character of the Medical Profession in the City.-Clergy and Ministers of Religion in New-York.-Churches, Interior Arrangements, Comfort.-Service, Singing, Absence of Pulpits and Clerks.-General Character for Learning and Piety of the Clergy.-Benevolent Efforts of the Voluntary System.-Extensive Field of Missionary Labour in Foreign Lands.
THE Courts of Law in New-York are held in the City Hall. They consist of a Court of Chancery, a Court of Common Pleas, a Superior Court, and a Supreme Court, each of which has its special judges, and peculiar forms of proceeding. The Court of Chancery, like that of England, from which it derives its name, is a court of equity, presided over by a chancellor as judge, who is guided in his decisions partly by precedents, partly by statutes, and partly by the reason or justice of the case. He is not a political officer, as in England, having here no other functions to discharge than those belonging to his office as judge. is not assisted by a jury; the proceedings, as in England, are rather written than verbal; and depositions and interrogatories take the place of viva voce examinations. As might be expected of a system so closely resembling that of the parent country, the same tree produces the same fruits; and the characteristics of a chancery-suit here are precisely the same as they are with us: endless delay, boundless expense, and harassing uncertainty. The Court of Common Pleas resembles our court of the same name in England; and the common-law authorities and common-law precedents are followed as in it, modified, of course, by the
statute law of the state; while the forms of proceeding are nearly the same, varied only in a slight degree by local cir cumstances. The Superior Court is analogous to that of our court of King's Bench, taking cognizance of similar cases, and having similar powers. The Supreme Court is the court of appeal from all other tribunals of the city, as well as from the county and circuit courts, in which cases are tried; and the last resort, beyond the Supreme Court, is that which is called the Court of Errors, composed of three judges of the Supreme Court, a judge from each of the other three courts of the city, and the Senate of the State, corresponding nearly to the court of appeal before whom writs of error are tried in England, namely, the House of Lords.
The judges in each of the inferior courts are appointed by the Legislature of the state for terms of five years, and are usually reappointed if the same political party rules in the Legislature; though, in times of high party excitement, they are changed, if changes in the state of parties occur either in the Senate, the House of Assembly, or the governor, which three bodies constitute the Legislature of the state. The Congress of the United States, or the General Government of the whole Union, have nothing whatever to do with their appointment or removal, the independence of the State Government never being interfered with in this respect. The chancellor and the judges of the Supreme Court, including one chief justice and two associate judges, are also appointed by the Legislature of the state for life, or till the age of sixty, which is fixed by law as the period of their superannuation. The elective principle is, therefore, not acted upon in the choice of the judges in the State of New-York, and they are considered here to be as independent of the people as they are of the government, and enjoy quite as large a share of popular estimation for impartiality and integrity as our judges at home.
The number of persons belonging to the legal profession in New-York alone exceeds 700, of whom about 50 only are judges, in all the courts together. The remainder are barristers and attorneys, which are here not separate professions as in England, but united in the same individuals. The qualification for admission is a seven years' apprenticeship, or articled servitude, under a licensed legal practitioner; or, if four years' classical study in any college or university in the United States can be certified, the term is then abridged to four years; but, at the end of either or both of
these terms, a rigid examination must be successfully sustained by the candidate before his license to practise will be granted by the court. When thus qualified, he may act as attorney for preparing cases to be tried in either of the courts, or he may officiate as pleader or counsel. It is not usual, however, for persons to undertake the latter duty until they have acquired some standing as attorneys; and some, indeed, continue to practise as attorneys only, without entering on the duties of counsel at all. Others, again, commencing as attorneys, go on for a few years as such, when they unite with it the business of pleaders, and then end in practising only as barristers, leaving the duties of the attorneys to be practised by those of less standing or inferior eminence to themselves.
In the proceedings before the courts, no wigs or gowns are worn by any of the parties officially engaged; and although, at first sight, this seems to an English observer as a defect, yet a very few attendances on the courts, and a slight degree of interest in the proceedings, causes this impression to wear off, when one becomes as readily accustomed to it as to the loose, disorderly, and undignified appearance of the House of Commons in England, where members sit in every variety of coloured clothes, boots, spurs, and whips, with their hats on, in lounging attitudes, and an appearance of the utmost indifference to what is going on; a feature which is usually revolting to the stranger from the country who visits the House of Commons for the first time, but to which he gets as speedily reconciled as he would do to the unwigged and ungowned judges and barristers here.
The style of speaking among the counsel, in their addresses to the judge and jury, is less technical and pedantic than in England, and less oratorical in manner. Shrewdness, sagacity, wit, and tact are the chief characteristics of the addresses from the bar; and plain deductions from established premises, or clear and intelligible expositions of the law and the facts of the case, are characteristic of the charges and judgments from the bench.
The scale of remuneration to all classes of the legal profession is liberal, without being absurdly extravagant or profuse. The younger members, who have any practice at all as attorneys, readily make an income of 3000 dollars, or from £600 to £700 a year, rising from this minimum to as much as 10,000 dollars, or about £2000 sterling a year. The smallest fee of a barrister of any standing, and in almost any cause, is 100 dollars, or about £20. The greatest fee to the most dis
tinguished barrister in any regular cause tried in the city courts is 5000 dollars, or about £1000. But when a special cause of importance arises, requiring great skill and considerable application, especially if such cause has to be tried at a distance from the residence of the barrister, and he be a person of the first eminence, it is said (and one of the profession was my informant) that as large a sum as 25,000 dollars, or £5000, has been paid; but this was admitted to be a very rare and unusual occurrence. The judges have fixed salaries, varying from 1600 dollars for the youngest to 3000 dollars for the oldest, including the chancellor and the chief justice of the Supreme Court respectively.
In private society, the legal gentlemen are among the most intelligent and agreeable of companions. Like the lawyers in England, however, they do not appear to mingle so much in general society as to congregate and herd together with the members of their own profession, and especially to delight in the society of clubs. I had the pleasure to attend two or three of their meetings of this description, held alternately at the houses of the members in rotation, and the cordiality, intelligence, courtesy, cheerfulness, and kindness which seemed to prevail made them some of the most agreeable evenings I had ever passed, not merely in America, but in any part of the world.
The medical body is also a very large and very interesting portion of the society of New-York. They have colleges of instruction, halls of dissection, dispensaries, lectures, and all the machinery and apparatus of medical instruction, in great abundance and perfection. The number of medical practitioners in the city is about 600. The conditions to be fulfilled by a young candidate for the profession are the following: He must serve three years at least as an assistant to some licensed medical practitioner of the state, and attend at least two courses of medical lectures under some recognised professor. For this he will have to pay from 300 to 500 dollars for the three years, according to the rank and standing of the individual under whom he studies. He is then obliged to undergo an examination before competent examiners, appointed by the College or Faculty of Medicine, and is rarely deemed sufficiently accomplished to pass at the first time. Some are successful at the second examination, after an interval of a year, and the additional skill and practice obtained by them in that period. Many more are remanded, and pass at a third, and some only at a fourth examination, these being annual only.
On passing, the license of the college to practise as a sur geon is granted; or, if required, and the qualifications are deemed sufficient, the diploma of a physician is added, and by far the greater number receive both. Hence the business of surgeon and physician is united in the same person, as in the general practitioner in London, and all are called doctor. It is the custom for each to have a surgery and dispensary attached to his residence, usually in the area or ground-floor; and while the name alone is seen on the brass plate of the door of the private residence entering from the street, the name, and prefix of "Doctor," with the word "office," is seen painted in yellow or white letters, on a black japanned tin plate, over the window or door of the surgery in the area below.
There are here, as in England, all degrees of excellence and estimation among the members of the medical profession. It is thought to be sufficiently successful if young men begin to realize enough to support themselves in the fourth or fifth year of their practice. All the time up to this is one of expenditure beyond receipt. From this point, however, with ordinary ability and industry, and regular conduct, their progress is almost certain, till they obtain the middle rank, where incomes of from 5000 to 10,000 dollars, from £1000 to £2000 sterling, are frequently realized. In the highest branches of the profession, when great reputation is obtained, from 20,000 to 25,000 dollars, or £4000 to £5000 a year, is sometimes made. In general, they are men of good education, and have the reputation of skill and attention in their professional duties. They are also, as a class, a more moral and religious body of men than persons of the same profession in the old countries of Europe; though their dress, manners, and appearance are less polished and refined than one is accustomed to observe in medical men at home.
The clergy and ministers of religion form a very important and influential body in New-York. There are not less than 300 members of this body, of different denominations: the order of their number being, Presbyterian, 74; Episcopalian, 56; Baptist, 40; Methodist, 38; Reformed Dutch, 34; Roman Catholic, 25; Friends or Quakers, 6; Lutheran, 6; Universalist, 5; Unitarian, 4; Independent, 4; Moravian, 4; Jews, 3; besides several supernumeraries. For the services of these several denominations there are about 150 places of worship, in nearly the same ratio or proportion. The Presbyterian ministers do not use gowns and bands, as