xt7stq5r8h0h https://nyx.uky.edu/dips/xt7stq5r8h0h/data/mets.xml Thomson, Edward, Bp., 1810-1870. 1856  books b92-76-27211588 English L. Swormstedt & A. Poe for the Methodist Episcopal Church, : Cincinnati : This digital resource may be freely searched and displayed.  Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically.  Physical rights are retained by the owning repository.  Copyright is retained in accordance with U. S. copyright laws.  For information about permissions to reproduce or publish, contact the Special Collections Research Center. Clark, D. W. (Davis Wasgatt), 1812-1871 Sketches biographical and incidental  / by E. Thomson ... ; ed. by Rev. D.W. Clark, D.D. text Sketches biographical and incidental  / by E. Thomson ... ; ed. by Rev. D.W. Clark, D.D. 1856 2002 true xt7stq5r8h0h section xt7stq5r8h0h 



           SKETCHES,





BIOGRAPHICAL AND INCIDENTAL.




                    BY




     E. THOMSON, D. D., LL. D.




                 SDITED BT



          REV. D. W. CLARK, D. D.










              (tiudinaf x:
       PUBLISHED BY L. SWORMSTEDT  A. POE,
FOR THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH, AT THE WESTERN BOOK CONCERN,
          CORNER OF MAIN AND EIGHTH STREETS.



R. P. THOMPSON, PRINTER.
       1856.


 




























     Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856,

               BY SWORMSTEDT  POE,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District
                          of Ohio.


 









                    3t ef art.t  



T IE writer of the following sketches has never
1set about making a book; he has never thought
of doing so; his life has been one of activity rather
than of contemplation; his mode of reaching those
around him has been by the voice rather than the
pen. And yet he finds himself set down as an
author, by what circumstances it is needless to re-
count. The following sketches were written at dif-
ferent and distant times, during a period of eighteen
years, and were called forth by the partiality of
friends or the promptings of emotion. Some variety
in the style may be expected, and it is apparent
from the table of contents that there is variety in
the subjects; and if, as says the poet, "variety is
the spice of life," this will not be found objectionable
by the great body of readers. With all this variety,
however, there will be found unity of sentiment.
  By some, the writer may be accused of extrava-
gance in estimating the merits of some of the char-
acters that he has essayed to depict; he hopes,
                                           3


 





however, that none will thus accuse him if they had
no personal acquaintance with those characters.
   Many of the productions here offered to the public
have been published in the periodicals of the day,
but the more important of them have not.
   The book goes forth with humble pretensions. If
it shall serve to gratify a laudable curiosity, to be-
guile a tedious hour, to awaken aspirations for a
more noble character, to awaken sympathy for the
poor or the suffering, it will have accomplished its
errand.
   So far as it commemorates the virtues of distin-
guished characters of the west, it may be valued
by the antiquarian. We are rapidly passing out of
sight of the artless manners and stern virtues of
the pioneers. We shall not look upon their like
again.  We have entered upon their labors, and
we should not be ungrateful for their services. Soon
the age that knew them will know them no more,
and whatever is recorded of them must be writ-
ten soon.
  The author has written in a spirit of kindness,
and he trusts that no line will inflict upon any one
a needless pang. He has written with a religious
spirit-a spirit which he delights to cultivate. Should
the critic, or the cynic, or any one else find fault,
he will endeavor to profit by their objections. He
is very far from estimating highly his own prodie-



4



PREFACE.


 


                    PREFACE.                    5

tions; indeed, he is sensible that he has been some-
what presumptuous in consenting that his papers
should assume the book form. His only apology is,
that it is called for by many of his friends, particu-
larly the youth who have at different times and in
various ways stood to him in the endearing relations
of pastor or teacher. This class, be it remembered,
is the one for which we should be most concerned
to provide reading matter; for it is the class most
likely to be led astray by pernicious books. To the
young, then, this volume is especially committed, in
the hope that it may, in some humble degree, both
please and profit them.
  Delaware, July 9, 1856.


 
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                 3 L a it   U It 5 .





             flingvapbitaI ftctbtz.
                                                 PA(UE
OTWAY CURR                               Y-       11
HUGH LATIMER AND HIS TIMES.                         42
RL'SSEL BIGELOW ............... -- - ----- -e - - .- - ..........   74
BIGELOW AS A PREACHER.87
BIGELOW'S EARLY LIFE            .104
RECOLLECTIONS OF Dn. DRAKE.109
JOHN BEMO, THE SEMINOLE.133
DRi. HOUGHTON.-- -------       -   --- ----133
JAMES 'INTIRE.145
MRS. MARTHA M'CABE.165
THOMTAS DUNN. --- -- --.- -- -- -- ---- ----176
REV. THO3AS COOPER.191


              lintikrtntal pound;tttbts.

WESTERN CHARACTER.211
WESLEY AND METHODISM.241
THE BIX CHRISTIAN.L254
SUPPORTING THE CONSTITUTION        .              261
A SKETCH OF OTHER DAYS.266
MILLERISM .275
PHRENOLOGY--   .-..................... -- 281
ANIMAL MWAGNETISM ............ - - -e ........ -..--299
MISS MARTINEAU AND MESMERISM..07
WITCHCRAFT. -316
REVENGE.3......-- -- ....... z .- -FF  -27
A MOTHER'S LOVE.                                  337
A SISTER'S LOVE. - -                              341
THE CHRISTIAN.345
LIFE ON THE OHIO. -                                349
SELF-EXAMINATION .358
TREATMENT OF YOUTH.                              -.361
MEDICINE AND PHYSICIANS .36 .367
THE HORRORS. -                                    371
DRUNKENNESS AND INSANITY          . . 376
THE DEFORMED MANIAC. .          .- -384


 
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h ttcks.



N io A r a P4 I, r a I


 
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      BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.




                 etban Buttes

OTWAY CURRY was born March 26, 1804, on a farm
    which has since given place to the village of Green-
field, Highland county, Ohio. His father-Col. James
Curry-was a man of great bravery and patriotism. In
his youth he was, with some Virginia troops, in a bloody
engagement near the mouth of the Kanawha, on which
occasion he was severely wounded. During the greater
part of the Revolutionary war, he was an officer of the Vir-
ginia Continental Line; he was at the battles of German-
town and Monmouth, and was taken prisoner when the
American army, under General Lincoln, surrendered to
the British at Charleston, S. C. For fourteen months
subsequently, he was on parole two miles distant from
that city.
  He must have been one of the earliest pioneers of
Ohio. In 1811 he removed from Highland county, and
settled on Darby creek, near the village of Pleasant
Valley, in the county of Union, where he held many im-
portant civil offices, the duties of which he faithfully dis-
charged. He devoted himself chiefly to agriculture, and
he was doubtless a man of strong common sense, indus,
trious habits, and honorable character. He died in 1834.
The poet's mother was a lady of much intelligence,
tender sensibilities, and every social and domestic virtue.
                                         I1


 



12    BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.



   Otway was a child of the wilderness-a situation not
 unsuitable to awaken imagination, to cultivate taste, and
 to call forth the love of nature and the spirit of poesy.
   The approach of the bear, the rattle of the snake, the
 whoop of the savage, were among the sources of his early
 fears. To observe the swallow build her nest in the barn,
 and to watch the deer bounding through the bushes,
 were among his early amusements; to mark when the
 dog-wood blossoms, and when the north winds blow, to
 observe how nature mingles storm with sunshine, and
 draws the rainbow on the cloud, were among his first
 lessons in philosophy.
   He probably learned his alphabet in the old family
Bible, as he leaned against the jamb of the cabin fire-
place.
  There was then no school law in Ohio; the school-
house was built by common consent, usually in the center
of the clearings, and on an eminence, reminding one of
Beattie's lines,
        "Ah who can tell how hard it is to climb
        The steep where fame's proud temple shines afar !"
It was constructed of unhewn logs, floored with punch-
eons, and roofed with clapboards; having at one end a
fireplace capable of receiving a twelve-foot back-log, and
at the other a door, with a latch and string; it was com-
pleted by sawing out a log at each side, inserting in the
opening a light frame, and stretching over this frame
some foolscap paper well oiled; this served for the trans-
mission of light, which fell with mellowed beams upor a
sloping board, on which the copy-books of advanced
scholars were to be placed. In the center of the room
were benches without backs, made of slabs, by inserting
upright sticks at their extremities.
  The season for instruction was called a quarter, and
usually extended from November to March; though


 


OTWAY CURRY.



short, it was long enough to enable the pupil to receive
all the knowledge that the teacher could spare.
  The subjects taught were reading, writing, spelling,
and arithmetic, as far as the rule of three. Grammar
was ranked among the natural sciences, and geography
among the classics.
  At the appointed time the children proceed to the
school-house, guided by the blazes of the trees. Here they
come, young and old, male and female, each having text-
books unlike those of all others.  Anticipating amuse-
ment as well as instruction, one brings a violin, another a
dog, a third a jews-harp, etc. They venture to suggest,
at the outset, to the teacher, that in order to have a good
school, it is necessary to have short recitations, long in-
termissions, and good entertainment.
  Organization is out of the question; each scholar must
recite in turn out of his own book, and bring up his slate
as his sums are worked. Order is almost as impracticable
as organization.
  Happily there were other means of instruction and
mental development; the debating club, the neighbor-
hood meeting, the singing school, etc., but, above all, the
home. Doubtless our young poet heard his father relate
the tale of the Revolution, the wrongs of the colonists,
their determined rebellion, their bloody battles, and their
final triumphs; he also heard him describe the characters
of the leading statesmen and warriors of that period, the
organization of the state and national governments, the
causes, and actors, and consequences of the war of 1812.
These details would make others necessary; and we can
imagine how Otway would ascend through the history of
the United States to that of Great Britain, and from that
of Great Britain to that of the middle ages, and so on,
up to the great nations of antiquity. We can see how
history would make geography and politics needful, and



is


 



14    BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.



how these would lead an inquiring mind by nearer or re-
moter routes to all the branches of education.
  Moreover, the pious mother had her pleasant legends
and fairy tales, with which she kept down the rising sigh,
and kept up the leaden eyelids of the little ones as she
sat plying her spinning-wheel, and waiting for the return
of her husband from the mill when the driving snow-
storm delayed him far into the hours of night. She
seems, indeed, to have been no ordinary woman; she was
accustomed to relate over and over, at her fireside, the
whole story of Paradise Lost, as well as of many other
classic poems, so that young Otway was familiar with their
scenes and characters long before he could read. She
would often beguile the weary hours of summer nights,
as she sat in the cabin door with her young ones, watch-
ing for the return of the older from the perilous chase,
by naming the constellations as they came up to the hori-
zon, and explaining the ordinances of heaven.
  The school education of Otway was impeded by the
events of the war of 1812. When it broke out the
father was summoned to Chillicothe, as a member of the
Legislature; the eldest brother went out with the army;
the rest of the family remained upon the farm under the
superintendence of the prudent and patriotic mother.
Alone in the wilderness, surrounded by hostile savages,
they were never molested, though often alarmed. On
one occasion their horses showed every indication of
fear; their dogs barked furiously, now rushing into the
cornfield, and then retreating with bristling hair, as if
driven. The family, concluding that Indians were near,
prepared to fight as well as pray. The old lady, in mar.
shaling her forces, stationed young Otway at the bars,
and placing a loaded gun upon a rest, charged him to
take aim and fire as soon as he saw an Indian. Fortu-
nately, there was no attack made upon the domestic fort.


 


OTWAY CURRY.



  As the young poet grew up he began to read the books
of his father's library, which, though very small, was
probably very choice, consisting of the writings of Mil-
ton, Locke, and many other great minds. Before he at-
tained majority he had an opportunity of attending a
school of improved character. There lived in the neigh-
borhood of Pleasant Valley a Mr. C., who, though a
farmer, had a good English education. He drafted
deeds, wills, and articles of agreement, gave counsel, and
settled controversies, and during the winter taught a
select school in his own house. Of this opportunity Mr.
Curry availed himself, and thus received instruction in
grammar and geography. He, soon after, in company
with a brother, made a trip to Cincinnati, traveling on
foot through the woods. Whether he had any other
object than improvement, I am not advised, but he soon
returned with his appetite for travel unabated. But how
shall it be gratified To accumulate money by agricultu-
ral pursuits, at that time, was impossible; the clearings
were small, the mode of farming laborious; merchandise
was very high, and produce very low; while coffee was
twenty-five cents a pound, tea a dollar and fifty, coarse
muslin twenty-five cents a yard, indigo fifty cents an
ounce, and camphor worth its weight in silver; butter
and maple sugar were six cents a pound, corn fifteen
cents a bushel, and wheat twenty-five cents. Ginseng
and beeswax were the only articles that would bear trans-
portation to the east.
  Young Curry therefore determined to learn a trade.
This could be done without much expense, and would en-
able him to travel where he pleased, and earn a living in
any location. Accordingly, in 1823, he went to Lebanon
and learned the art of carpentry; four or five months
afterward he went to Cincinnati, and continued there,
working at his trade, for nearly a year. We next hear of



15


 



16    BiOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.



him at the city of Detroit, where he spent a summer,
busily plying his hammer and driving his plane, all the
while, doubtless, reserving time for study, pondering the
pages of science and poetry; sometimes by the light of
shavings, at the lone hours of night, or the more propi-
tious period that precedes the dawn. Returning to Ohio,
he passed some time at work in the village of Marion.
  Moved by romantic impulses, he, in company with a
Mr. Henry Wilson, made a skiff, and launching it at Mill-
ville-a small village on the Scioto-when the waters
were swelled with rains, descended that stream to its
mouth, surmounting mill-dams, rocks, and all other ob-
structions. iHe then descended the Ohio to Cincinnati.
Here he determined to visit the rice fields and orange
groves of the south. Procuring a passage on a fiat boat,
for himself and a chest of tools, he proceeded down the
Ohio and Mississippi, and spent a year at Port Gibson
before he returned.
  About this time he summoned courage to offer anony-
mously some verses to the newspapers, among which were
his sweet poems "My Mother," and "Kingdom Come."
It is probable that he had written poetry long before, but
we are not able to trace the progress of his mind from
the first rude attempts at versification up to his best orig-
inal composition. How many pages were consigned to
the flames after having been corrected, recited, commit-
ted to memory, and conned during the sleepless nights
when nothing distracted his mind but the rustling of the
forest leaves, or the music of the katydid! The poet of
the "Seasons" used to commit his early productions to
the fire every New-Year's day, not, however, without com-
posing a poetical requiem over their ashes. Ah! how
little do the readers of poetry know how much the pleas-
ure they derive from it costs! Could we get the genesis
of even one living poetical creation, how much upheaving


 



OTWAY CURRY.



and down-throwing; how much fiery and watery agita-
tion; how many depositions in darkness, should we see,
before even a stand-point was gained; and then, how
long after this before light comes, and the spirit moves
on the face of the waters '
   Mr. C.'s first published poetry was so full of fine senti-
ment and pleasing imagery, and was withal so melodious
in versification, that it attracted attention and won admi-
ration at once.
  On his return to Cincinnati, he contributed more freely
to the press over the signature of Abdallah. It was at
this time that he formed the acquaintance of M1r. W. D.
Gallagher, who was induced to seek for him by reading
his stanzas, "The Minstrel's Home."  This acquaintance,
we trust, was improved by time, and unbroken by jeal-
ousy, envy, or serious misunderstanding. On one occa-
sion, during this visit of Mr. Curry to Cincinnati, he
was in great danger of his life. The river had frozen
rapidly, but was capable of supporting a considerable
weight, except at a point opposite the mouth of the
Licking river, where the ice was thin. Mr. C. was skat-
ing with a party of friends, when, attempting to traverse
the thin ice, he sank beneath it. With great presence
of mind he turned his face down stream, and as he went
into the water, he caught hold of the edge of the ice;
when that to which he held broke, he caught farther for.
ward, and in this way sustained himself till assistance
was brought to him from the shore.
  On leaving the city, he returned to Union county,
where, in December, 1828, he was married to Mary Note-
man, a lady well worthy of him, and who became a pru-
dent and devoted wife.
  In 1829 lie again visited the south, and spent four or
five months at Baton Rouge, contributing, meanwhile,
poetical productions both to the Oincinnati Mirror and
                        2



17


 




18          O41GRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

the Cincinnati Chronicle. Upon his return, he settled in
Union county, and engaged anew in agricultural pursuits,
which he prosecuted with industry till 1839. While
on his farm he courted the muses as opportunity offered,
and issued some of his best verses from his rural home.
   He first appeared in public life in 1836, when he was
 elected a member of the house of representatives, in the
 state Legislature of Ohio. In this capacity he won the
 respect of his colleagues, and the confidence and approba-
 tion of his constituents, who re-elected him in 1837. In
 1838 he became united with Mr. Gallagher in the editor-
 ship of the Hesperian-a monthly literary journal of
 high order, which, not being adequately sustained, was
 discontinued at the close of the year. In 1839 he re-
 moved to Marysville, and commenced the study of the
 law. In 1842 he was again returned to the Legislature;
 during his term of service on this occasion he purchased
 the "Green County Torch Light," a weekly paper pub-
 lished at Xenia, whither he removed in the spring of
 1843. He conducted his paper-the style of which he
 changed to "Xenia Torch Light"-in a very creditable
 manner, for two successive years, when he sold it, and re-
 moving to Marysville, thenceforward devoted himself to
 his profession.
 Although he entered the law late in life, and practiced
 it scarcely ten years, yet, as we are assured by one of his
 ablest competitors, he had no superior as a sound lawyer,
 within the range of his practice, and bade fair, if his life
 had been spared a few years longer, to become an eminent
 legal mind.
 In 1850 he was elected a member of the Constitutional
 Convention, and with manly firmness and dignity he
 resisted some of the principles of the instrument which
that able body elaborated.
  In 1853 he purchased the Scioto Gazette-a daily pub-


 


OTWAY CURRY.



lished in Chillicothe-which he edited with characteris-
tic ability for about a year, when, his wife's health fail-
iDg, he sold out, and returning to Marysville, resumed
his legal practice.
   In 1842, when in attendance as a member of the Leg-
islature, he suffered an attack of bilious pneumonia,
which had such an effect upon his mind, that on recover-
ing he made a profession of faith in that Gospel which
had guided his steps and comforted his heart, by uniting
with the Methodist Episcopal Church, in whose fellow-
ship he continued till he died.
  He had an open countenance, impaired, however, by
strabismus, a broad and lofty brow, a noble form, tall and
well proportioned, which might have borne with ease the
armor of a knight of the middle ages. His spirit was
that of southern chivalry mingled with the Puritan. He
was a man of fine taste. This he exhibited in his dress,
his language, his reading, in fine, in every thing.
Though he never wore any thing gaudy or extravagant,
he had none of Dr. Johnson's indifference to fine linen;
satisfied with garments neat, good, and clean, he was un-
happy if they were soiled, badly fitted, or of unsuitable
material. Under such circumstances, he felt depreciated,
and could not be enticed into company. In selecting cloth
for his own use, he has been known to examine the same
piece ten times before he could make up his mind con-
cerning it.
  He indulged in only one habit violative of good taste.
Like Campbell, Gray, and many other poets, Ile worshiped
the "great plant," a habit which he had probably form-
ed in early life, to which he finally became a slave, and
which it is supposed impaired his health, and under-
mined his constitution. Although I was often his guest,
I never saw him burn incense to his idol, nor did I ever
find the blackened and empty censer among his literary



19


 



.20    BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.



ware, or detect the smoke either in his garments or habit-
ation. His good taste led him to perform his devotions
to the Indian weed under such circumstances as neither
to defile his person nor offend the senses of others.
  When I first visited him he dwelt in a humble cot-
tage, but it bore, both outside and inside, the marks of
neatness and delicacy; flowers bordered the walks, and
vines climbed the trellis; modest carpets covered the
floors, and choice books, with elegant bindings, spread
the table. Later in life, he occupied a house more spa-
cious, but it bore the indications of neatness, free from
ostentation. Upon his porch a magnificent weeping wil-
low threw its shade and beautifully symbolized the
owner's mind.
  His words, whether written or spoken, were few and
well chosen. This is the more remarkable considering
that his early education was so limited. The study of
languages renders words transparent, so that we can dis-
cern their most delicate shades of meaning, and adapt
them to the most delicate shades of thought. One who
is not a linguist is not expected to use language with pre-
ciseness. Mr. Curry did; he would allow no thought of
his to go abroad in an unsuitable garment, however pro-
tracted might be the process of fitting it. When he
wrote for the press his first drafts were scanned, laid
aside, examined again, altered, and rewritten, sometimes
often, before they were published. Every word was scru-
tinized. Hence, we may suppose that his poems will bear
criticism, and will be best appreciated by those who most
closely examine them.
  Of his opinions he was as careful as of his words.
Cautious and skeptical to a fault, he never expressed or
formed an opinion without revolving the matter in his
mind, long and carefully, and reviewing it in all its bear-
ings. Labor, according to the Latin maxim, overcomes


 



OTWAY CURRY.



all things; it frequently distances genius, and indeed
often wins the crown which genius wears.
  Mr. Curry's reading was remarkably tasteful and im-
pressive. Of this Mr. Gallagher uses the following
terms: "Mr. Curry's voice and manner of reading gave
to his poems a peculiar charm. And when this was
hightened, as it often was, at that period, by the quiet
of night, the rustling of leaves, the fitful echoes of far-
off sounds, the witchery of murmuring winds and waters,
and other accompaniments of a moonlight ramble, pro-
longed into the morning hours, the fascination was irre-
sistible. On one of these occasions, as we sat overlook-
ing the expanse of the beautiful Ohio, the midnight
moon and an autumnal haze enveloping the whole scene
in robes of softened radiance, and peculiar dreaminess,
the whole of some provincial romance was recited
with a power whose weird influence rests upon my mem-
ory yet."
  He had a cultivated moral taste. Not even the fasci-
nations of Byron or Sir Walter Scott, to whose magic
power his heart was peculiarly susceptible, could reconcile
him to wrong or throw a charm over the wrong-doer.
The following is one of his earliest productions:

          "Pray cease to laud the novels and hymns
             Of Byron and Walter Scott,
           I'll show you a long, dark list of crimes
             In judgment against them brought.

           Shall Flora M'Ivor go down to death,
             O'erwbelmed with numberless woes,
           While Waverly, false as the mystic wreath,
             Is wedded to lowland Rose

           Shall Minna, the flower of Norman pride,
             In sadness and gloom sink down,
           While Brenda, beloved, by Mertoun's side
             Is weaving the bridal crown 



21


 




22     BIOGLRAPHIICAL SKETCHES.



             Shall the guerdon of faultless love attend
             Miss Edith, the fair and frail;
             And destiny with that guerdon blend
             The life-blood of Evandale

             Shall Leila be laid in death's cold bed,
             Where the sea-weed garlands grow,
             With the deep broad waters o'er her head,
             And the shining sands below

             Shall Selim be torn from ' love's young dream,'
             And his peerless Moslem bride;
             While his life's warm waning crimson stream
             Is tinging the surging tide

             Shall the pirate over old ocean rove,
             In his proud and reckless glee;
             And smile in scorn at the blighted love
               Of Ivan and fair Haidee

             I say, shall these dark issues be wrought
             Where chivalric loves abound;
             And yet, shall the brows of Byron and Scott
             With myrtle leaves be crowned

             If so, farewell-go lauding along,
             Our journey together is o'er;
             Leave me with the hope of Campbell's song,
               And the angel loves of Moore."

  To one capable of appreciating moral beauty, sin is
discord, disorder, deformity-horrible is a boy growing
into a villain, or a full-grown villain maturing into a devil;
beautiful, a youth rising up to virtuous manhood, or a.
man ripening into an angel of God.         As a mansion for-
saken of men, and occupied with serpents and wild
beasts, so, to a pure eye, is a sinful soul.
  Mr. Curry's life was answerable to his taste; his name
is without a spot. In early life he labored with his
hands, in later years with his mind; always rendering
either moral or material benefit for all that he received.
Had he been avaricious, he might have been rich; with
his capacities, education, experience, and profession, amid



 



OTWAY CURRY.



the opportunities for speculation afforded in a new coun-
try, it were easy to accumulate a fortune; but though
frugal, prudent, and free from pecuniary misfortunes, he
died poor. Had he been ambitious he might have been
eminent. When called to office, it was by unsolicited
suffrages, and when placed in power, he was no tool of
party. No speeches for sinister ends, no motion for fac-
tious purposes, no empty declamations, or busy demonstra-
tions, or crafty schemes disgraced his political career.
Guided by a sense of duty to his country, he walked heed-
less alike of private threats and popular clamor.
  As a lawyer, he was equally upright. Many can not
understand how any lawyer can be honest. Men may,
indeed, practice law dishonestly, as they may any other pro-
fession; but that there are proportionately more rascals
among lawyers than among other classes of society, it
would be difficult to show. It may be admitted that, in
legal practice, there are peculiar facilities to chicanery,
and temptations to pervert truth and justice, but they
are counteracted by peculiar incentives to integrity; for
in no other profession is it so clearly demonstrated, that
"the way of the transgressor is hard;" in none is it more
apparent that honesty is the best policy; in none is a rep.
utation for uprightness more valuable, or its absence more
blasting. If the legal profession were incompatible with
honesty, it would not be a legitimate pursuit, and no
lawyer could be a worthy member of society. Human
law is founded upon divine, and, imperfect as it is, it is
the expression of the world's best ideas of justice; its
object is to shield the right and punish the wrong; it is
necessary to society, and society is necessary to man. To
say that it can not be practiced honestly is a libel upon
the providence of God.
  Mr. Curry, at the bar, was the shield of innocence, the
terror of guilt, and the moderator of justice. Though



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BI OGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.



liable, like other men, to be deceived by his client and
influenced by his passions, he would not enforce what he
deemed an unjust claim or prosecute a just one in an un-
just mode. His intercourse alike with his clients, his
professional associates, and the court, and his motions,
argumentation, and pleading, were all marked by dignity
and fairness. He spent immense labor in the prepara-
tion of important cases. Taking nothing upon trust,
never relying upon hasty or superficial investigation,
when he made up his mind he was almost always right.
When right, he was pretty sure of success; for, though
unadapted to the off-hand conflicts of the bar, he kept
his eye steadily upon the legal principle upon which his
case turned, and possessed a searching scrutiny and a log-
ical skill by which he could detect and expose the most
ingenious fallacy that sophistry could invent to obscure it.
  As an editor, he manifested the same integrity, though
sorely tried. To stand firm in the tempest of politics re-
quires the virtue of an Aristides; to conduct a newspaper
amid the prejudices of the populace, the clamors of the
candidates, the assertions of the misinformed, the threats
of misguided friends, and the vituperations of excited
enemies, and yet preserve accuracy in statement, dignity
in comments, and a sacred regard to the decencies of
private life, and the requirements of public morals, de-
mands a degree of virtue that few have attained. A
Themistocles might sail his fleet to Salamis, and a Milti-
ades march his platoons to Marathon, and yet not have
courage enough to be an honest political editor.
  It was remarked by one of Mr. Curry's friends that he
was inactive in schemes of reform and hopeless of human
progress; the remark applies only to his youth. In the
county in which he resided he was the master spirit of
the temperance enterprise, and he contributed in nc
small degree to change the public sentiment of Ohio in



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relation to slavery. In early life he mourned in silence
over that evil, hoping that the southern states would de-
vise some safe and speedy means for its abolition; but
after the annexation of Tex