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engaged soon after in mercantile business, first at Claverack, and afterwards at Kinderhook Landing, in connection with Stephen Hogeboom, then a Senator in the Legislature of the State, and whose name is well known, as one of the most venerated patriarchs of the Democracy of the Stale, having been, in fact, in connexion with George Clinton, one of the original founders of the Democratic Republican party of New York.

Mr. Butler's father has always been a remarkably active and publicspirited man; has occupied a seat in the Legislature; and has been for the last fifteen years one of the County Judges for Columbia county. In the course of his business, which was of the most mul. tifarious character imaginable, his eldest son Benjamin from a very early age became an invaluable assistant; and as book-keeper, store-keeper, tavern-keeper, farmer, in addition to the business of .forwarding,' as owner of a line of Hudson river sloops, in all which departments he was factotum in general, he early acquired those practical habits of method, industry, and activity, together with an intimate acquaintance with all descriptions of the people, which has since proved invaluable to their possessor in a different profession and a more elevated sphere of life.

The common schools in that part of the country being, at that period, in a very low state, his father, who had had the advantages of the better school system already in operation in New England, when his eldest son was about six years old, succeeded, by great exertion, in establishing a New England teacher in Kinderhook; and until the excellent common school system of New York went into operation in 1813, kept up the school mainly, if not solely, by his exertions,--having been in the habit, for many successive years, of paying all the school-bills in advance to the teacher, and taking on himself all the trouble and risk of collecting them from the individuals, as well as chance might enable him in the course of his miscellaneous business.

From the earliest age Mr. Butler was passionately fond of reading. His father possessed but few books, * nor did the neighbourhood afford many more, but all such as could be found and obtained by him were read with avidity. This taste, with the exhibition of an unusual capacity, and especially of a very remarkable memory, soon made him an object of particular attention to his teacher. He commenced Latin as early as the age of seven. He continued at

Among these few, it may not be immaterial to mention, were the Works of Benjamin Franklin, which fastened on the mind of their reader with a peculiar force. The remark will be readily believed which we have heard from Mr. Butler himself, that to the influence of that book and that name he ascribed, more than lo any other cause, the formation of his character in the particular mould which it assumed, and of those habils of mind, and general views of men and things, which have given direction to his subsequent career in life. The incident, slight as it is, may not be without its utility to parents who may regard the hint as worthy of attention.

school till the age of fifteen, though during the last five years of that period, at least half of his time was spent out of school, in assisting his father in his business, as already alluded to above. Latin and Greek, with a little French, and mathematics to no greater extent than the earlier rudiments of arithmetic, formed the bulk of the studies of this period, in which he was very assiduous and successful.

On leaving school, in May, 1811, his father's circumstances not enabling him to send him to college, Mr. Van Buren, who was his father's personal and political friend, entertaining a high opinion of his capacity, took him into his office, at Hudson, as a law student. To diminish the expenses which could not easily have heen met by his father, without injustice to his other children, Mr. Van Buren, after a short trial of his services in the office, received him into his own family; in which Mr. Butler continued to reside, for the most part, throughout the period of his studies, and in fact for some time afterwards, till his own marriage, in the year 1818. Thus was formed a friendship, founded on intimate and long familiarity, mutual confidence, respect, and attachment-combined, on the part of the subject of our memoir, with an ardor of gratitude equally honorable to both—which the progress of time could only serve to develope and confirm.

The period of his clerkship as a student of law was spent in zealous assiduity to his profession, and to the general cultivation of his mind. Being for the first time placed in a situation affording ample means for the indulgence of his early passion for reading, the first two or three years were devoted by him, in addition to the regular duties of the office, chiefly to miscellaneous literature; and the range of his reading was very extensive and various. But after he commenced to address himself seriously to the duty of studying the law, he did so with a determination and industry rarely surpassed.

These pursuits and studies did not, however, prevent his taking a very earnest interest in the high political excitements that agitated the public mind at that period. An ardent democrat from the earliest opening of his mind to the perception of the great principles involved in the contest of parties, his penindulged itself freely, and was wielded with no slight degree of energy and eloquence, in the columns of the Democratic paper of Hudson, the “Bee,” in support of the war, and of the administration of James Madison. And when at a later day he took his seat in the Cabinet of the late President of the United States, it was not an unpleasing reminiscence, that one of the earliest productions of his pen had been an animated eulogy of which the following was, substantially, the commencement. We give it as a not uninteresting instance of the confirmation of the early impressions of youth, by the mature judgment of manhood, in relation to the same individual, on a closer inspection, and a different and more arduous theatre of action:

“ Among those who, during the late war, have contributed to sustain the character and exalt the glory of the nation, while they have secured for themselves the approbation and applause of their country, ANDREW JACKson is pre-eminently conspicuous. Bold and enterprising, to an extraordinary natural sagacity he adds an energy of character which enables him to triumph over every obstacle and find resources in every emergency. Undismayed by difficulties, regardless of reputation, and unawed by clamor, he is influenced alone by his duty to the State, and in the course which that duty is designated, he is indefuigable, vigorous, and successful.”

The same pen, set to the same task, would probably employ, at the present day, terms not materially different from the above.

On Mr. Butler's admission to the Bar, in 1817, as an attorney of the Supreme Court and solicitor in Chancery, Mr. Van Buren, then Attorney General of the State, and resident at Albany, received him into partnership in his professional business; which connection subsisted till the appointment of the latter to the Senate of the United States, in December, 1821—-with the exception of a interval of a few months in 1819. This temporary separation was caused only by private reasons which it is of no importance to explain, though honorable to both, as evincing the greater solicitude felt by each for the interests of the other than for his own. That interval was spent by Mr. Butler at Sandy Hill, Washington County, when he was induced to accept a flattering and advantageous office of the presidency of a bank, owned by Mr. Barker, of New York, and conducted in connexion with the larger banking institution in the city of New York managed by the latter in person. Mr. Butler, whose recent marriage connected him nearly with Mr. Barker, had already shown himself a decided advocate of free banking; and had written a pamphlet on the subject, in which he urged forcibly the same general views of the true principles of republican freedom and of sound political economy, which are now becoming much more ex. tensively popular in that State. It is rather a remarkable circumstance, that the individual now the most distinguished in that State, as the advocate of those liberal and wise views to which Mr. Butler has been consistently attached from the outset of his career, was at that time the very author of the celebrated Restraining Law, recently repealed, against which the pamphlet here alluded to was directed, though we by no means would imply, in the credit to which this circumstance may entitle the one, any corresponding discredit upon that other, most upright, wise, and honest statesman. His acceptance of the presidency of the Washington County Bank, an incor. porated institution, does not in the least impugn the consistency of his views on this subject. By a clause of the Restraining Law, Mr. Barker had been prohibited from maintaining his private bank, two years being allowed him for the settlement of its affairs. The restriction was, however, easily evaded by him by the purchase of nearly the whole of the stock of the chartered institution referred to; which was thus, when its charge was offered to Mr. Butler, to all intents and purposes, a private one. The failure of Mr. Barker's experiment is well known,-a failure by which those banks of our own day which we see unwisely attempting to combine a mercantile with their proper banking business, would do well to take caution. Mr. Barker failed as a banker, because he combined with that character the incompatible one of a merchant. The fall of his “Exchange Bank” dragged with it, of course, that of its subordinate branch; which, in fact, was already in such a situation on Mr. Butler's first assuming its management as to be compelled to suspend specie payments very shortly afterwards. This event restored Mr. Butler to his profession, though before he left the bank, by great exertions and care, its credit was restored and specie payments resumed.

Immediately on his admission as counsellor, in 1820, Mr. Butler began to appear as an advocate in all the higher courts of the State. Mr. Van Buren, “with a liberality as rare in itself as it was useful to its object," (to quote an expression of the latter ) gave him every opportunity of appearing prominently and to advantage in the argument of cases,—sometimes at his own expense; and when his increasing public engagements, on another stage of action, took him from the Bar, much of his professional business naturally devolved upon Mr. Butler.

We have heard the occasion of Mr. Butler's first appearance in the Supreme Court described, ( January, 1821,) and it is not undeserving of notice. He was the attorney in the cause, with Colonel Burr and Mr. Van Buren, against the celebrated Mr. Henry, then at the head of the Albany Bar, and one of the most eminent lawyers in the State. The case turned on recondite questions of black-letter learning, and such was the impression made by Mr. Butler's argument, that neither of his distinguished senior counsel thought it worth while to speak in the cause, which was gained singlehanded by the young advocate whose first effort was thus so arduous and so honorable. His first cause in the Conrt of Errors was also won, in the next year, in a similar single combat with the same powerful antagonist, -Mr. Van Buren, who had argued it in the Supreme Court below, having, on his own withdrawal from practice, advised his client to entrust it to Mr. Butler's hands. This success placed Mr. Butler at once in the front rank of the profession. His practice has ever since been very extensive and important; and in the Court of Errors, especially, has been with the exception of the period when the Revision of the Laws withdrew him from the courts ) perhaps as much as twice or thrice that of any other individual.

In February, 1821, he was appointed the District Attorney of the city and county of Albany. This office, involving the duties of criminal prosecutor, was an laborious though useful school, as he had

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constantly to appear against many of the ablest members of the profession, and never (with the exception, we believe, of but a single instance) associated with himself any other assistance. With respect to his manner of discharging the delicate functions of this office, which he resigned in March, 1825, we feel at liberty to transfer from the minutes of the Court of Common Pleas, to the publicity of the present notice, the following extract from the letter in which the court accepted his resignation :

“We accept your resignation, but at the same time regret that the occurrence of events has rendered it necessary for you to tender it.

" And as you are now about to retire from an office you have held with so much honor to yourself and satisfaction to the community; we avail ourselves of this opportunity of expressing the pleasure we derive from the reflection, that the trust reposed in you, as public prosecutor, has been so faithfully discharged. And were we permitted to indulge in the gratifying reflection that we also had been successful in any effort to discharge our official duties, we yield it to you, as a just tribute, to say, that it is to your candor and ability we are indebted for much of that success.

"From the opportunity we have had of correctly estimating your services for the citizens of this county, we take the liberty to say, on their behalf, that their laws have been fully supported, and in you, their taste, their morals, and their reputation have had a zealous advocate.

“ But, sir, more especially are you enabled to congratulate yourself, that those whom your duty has required you to conduct to the bar of justice, have reason to be grato ful to you for the opportunities you have afforded them for a fair and impartial trial. This reflection must be peculiarly gratifying inasmuch as it is not enjoyed by all. For the desire to succeed in a cause, tegardless of the means, appears to be the strongest passion in the heart of an advocate, and the last and most difficult one, in the whole progress of refinement, to subdue. But in no one does this appear more odious than in a public prosecutor. This great moral conquest it appears you have accomplished at a very early period of your life. We have witnessed, with pleasura, the scrupulous regard you have always had to the means—that they should be no less worthy than the end. While on the part of the people your end and aim were justice, except that, you surrendered all to the unfortunate prisoner.”

In November, 1824, Mr. Butler was appointed, together with two other distinguished lawyers, to the arduous charge of the revision and codification of all the statutes of the State of New York. In this duty, of which Mr. Butler performed the largest part, he was engaged more or less nearly five years; two of which were so exclusively devoted to it as to compel him to discontinue his appearance in court, as well as his other professional labors. With what signal ability this colossal task was discharged, has long been considered established by the almost unanimous opinion of the bar, the bench, and the public at large, of that State.

Chiefly with reference to this work Mr. Butler allowed himself to be nominated by his political friends, in 1827, for the office of a Member of the Assembly from Albany, and after a sharp contest was elected. In this capacity an immense labor devolved on him, of explaining and advocating the different sections of the new code ; in which he had, of course, to encounter single-handed all the objections to be urged from different directions against separate

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