Preserving the Past, Informing the Future
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RICHARD DUDLEY HUBBARD, the acknowledged head of the bar of the state, died at his residence in Hartford on the 28th of February, 1884, in the sixty-sixth year of his age. He was born in Berlin in this state on the 7th of September, 1818, and was early left an orphan, with means barely sufficient for his education. He graduated at Yale College in 1839, and immediately after commenced the study of law with the late William Hungerford, and was admitted to the Hartford County bar in 1842. In 1846 he was appointed State's Attorney for the county, which office he held with the exception of two years, until 1868. During the war of the rebellion, which occurred during this period, he was an earnest supporter of the Government. In 1867 he was elected to Congress by the Democratic party, but found political life at Washington very little to his taste, and at the end of his term declined a renomination. In 1876 he was elected by the same party Governor of the state, being the first to serve under the two-years term. To the discharge of the duties of this office he brought great intelligence, an earnest desire to promote the public welfare and an absence of partisan feeling. In his first message he called the attention of the legislature in very strong language to the injustice done to women by the antiquated law governing their property rights in marriage, and under his supervision the act of 1877, making radical change in the property relations of husband and wife, and based upon the principle of equality, was drafted and passed.
It was however in the field of the law that he won his great success. Here he became a foremost figure in the public eye. He was not only the first lawyer in the state, but its greatest orator. His superiority as a lawyer was owing less to a laborious study of books, though he was always a diligent student and very thorough in the preparation of his cases, than to his perfect comprehension of legal principles. He had obtained a complete mastery of the science of law. He would detect the slightest swerving from its harmony as a fine ear would detect the least discord in music. He had a strong common sense, by which he tested everything. But with the soundest of judgments he united the greatest quickness of apprehension and brilliancy of imagination; with an apparently unlimited grasp of mind, a rare fineness of discrimination. He was however never led astray by a fondness for legal casuistry, and he had no relish and but little respect, while yet fully understanding them, for the mere technicalities of the law. His mind was eminently a philosophical one, and found recreation in the study of philosophical systems and abstract speculation; nothing interesting him more than the great mysteries and baffling questions of life.
As an orator he was best known to the general public. His success here was of course attributable in large measure to great natural powers; but he had improved these by a good classical education and by the superadded scholarly culture of a lifelong familiarity with the ancient and modern classics. Indeed it was this culture that gave to his oratory its special charm. With no attempt at rhetorical display, with never an impassioned delivery but a special quietness of manner, he yet had an exquisiteness of thought, a fertility of imagination, and a power and grace of expression, that made his addresses on every occasion captivating to his hearers; while his more studied efforts were worthy of any orator of any age. Some of his addresses at meetings of the bar called to pay tributes to deceased members, have been remarkable for their beauty. That upon Mr. William Hungerford, who had been beyond any other man in our state the representative of the ancient school of English lawyers, and who died in extreme old age in 1873, is one of the finest pieces of composition that the English language has ever known. Indeed, one gets a new sense of the power of that language in reading it. These addresses may be found in the appendices of the 35th, 39th and 48th volumes of the Connecticut Reports.
Mr. Hubbard's superiority was not limited to any circumscribed department. Before the court on questions of pure law, before the jury on questions of fact, in the halls of legislation, on the public platform, he was the same clear thinker, the same graceful, illuminating, persuasive speaker. In his professional practice he was the soul of honor; duplicity and trickery he could not tolerate. He was a man of truthfulness everywhere; he could not bear shams and pretences. His nature was a reverential one, but almost wholly towards objects that came before him as tangible, or least as veritable, realities. A noble man, a truly admirable woman, a great act, filled his heart with a real reverence. But he seemed to lack the power, with all his ideality, of penetrating the veil that hangs around our narrow horizon and filling the seeming void with realities. Ever an anxious questioner of the infinite, he seemed to get no response that he was able to interpret.
Mr. Hubbard lacked ambition; he had no fondness for appearing before the public; no desire for office or honor. Even for the law, in which he won no great triumphs, he felt no great enthusiasm. He loved the quiet of his library and the company at table and fireside of cultivated and congenial friends. In all this he was somewhat too ready to seek his ease, but he rose up manfully to meet the demands of any clear public duty. He had no ear for music and had not been educated to a taste for art; but he enjoyed greatly the beauties of nature and was charmed by foreign travel. His integrity was more than unquestioned; it had the emphatic endorsement of the whole public. In social life he was the most charming of companions, with a sparkling wit and rare conversational powers and a faculty of bringing to his service and to the entertainment of his friends quaint passages of humor and of wisdom from the old English writers.
In every position in life he was facile princeps. In his death in the full vigor of manhood the "gladsome light of jurisprudence" seems dimmed. His brilliant life passed by, and left very few memorials of itself. He filled a large place while he lived, yet how small that which his memory will fill, when, a few years hence, those who knew and admired and loved him, have passed away? Most touchingly appropriate to his own case are these concluding words of his eulogy upon Mr. Hungerford:
"And now when I consider this long life closed, these many years ended of eminent labor in the highest ranks of the forum, and nothing left of it all but a tolling bell, a handful of earth and a passing tradition - a tradition already half past, I am reminded of the infelicity which attends the reputation of a great lawyer. To my thinking, the most vigorous brainwork of the world is done in the ranks of our profession. And then our work concerns the highest of all temporal interests, property, reputation, the peace of families, liberty, life even, the foundations of society, the jurisprudence of the world, and, as a recent event has shown, the arbitrations and peace of the nations. The world accepts the work but forgets the workers. The waste hours of Lord Bacon and Sergeant Talfourd were devoted to letters, and each is better remembered for his mere literacy diversion than for his whole long and laborious professional life work. The cheap caricatures of Dickens on the profession will outlive, I fear, in the popular memory, the judgments of Chief Justice Marshall, for the latter were not clownish burlesques, but only master-pieces of reason and jurisprudence. The victory gained by the counsel of the seven bishops was worth infinitely more to the people of England than all the triumphs of the Crimean war. But one Lord Cardigan led a foolishly brilliant charge against a Russian battery at Balaklava and became immortal. Who led the charge of the seven great confessors of the English church against the English crown at Westminster Hall? You must go to your books to answer. They were not on horseback. They wore gowns instead of epaulets. The truth is, we are like the little insects that in the unseen depths of the ocean lay the coral foundations of the uprising islands. In the end comes the solid land, the olive and the vine, the habitations of men, the arts and industries of life, the havens of the sea and ships riding at anchor. But the busy toilers which laid the beams of a continent in a dreary waste are entombed in their work and forgotten in their tombs."
At a meeting of the Hartford County bar, called on the occasion of Mr. Hubbard's death, and which was very largely attended, the following resolutions were reported by a committee for adoption:
"The Bar of Hartford County, called together by the death of Richard D. Hubbard, places upon record this tribute to their honored leader and loved associate: -
"Mr. Hubbard had won the first place in his profession; but while others have done this, he took a step beyond and created a place which no one but himself could fill. It was not mere professional ability that distinguished him above his fellows - it was profound ability permeated by a personality so rare that there could be no question of equality where there was no possibility of comparison. He laid the foundations of success by grappling with the toughest drudgery of the profession with a persistence that nothing could shake. Yet all this ground work was enlivened by a spirit so fresh, a humor so sparkling, an ease so natural, that the result of his severest labors seemed rather the inspiration of the moment, and we lost sight of the fact that he was really one of the hardest of workers.
"He was eloquent; but his eloquence was entirely his own. His quiver was filled with every arrow that could legitimately be used. Logic, solid and compact; rhetoric, fresh and natural; humor, sarcasm, invective, pathos - all were used, and in his own peculiar way, not for the mere sake of use, but as occasion required to accomplish some specific object, with an unerring instinct as to the fitness of time and place. And running through all his eloquence, distinguishing his illustrations, the fitting of words, the turning of phrases, and even the putting of syllogisms, was that masterful wit which consists in pleasing surprises and holds the hearer, not only by the force of what is said, but by the witchery of constant expectation.
"He looked upon the law as an arena for professional struggle, and was, in the best sense, a stalwart fighter. Indeed, a certain healthy and vigorous combativeness that squarely met every obstacle, asking no quarter, was one of his most marked characteristics and largely contributed to his success. In the trial of a case he was like a soldier armed at every point, fighting for his client with an utter fearlessness and an energy untiring to the end. But his combats had no tinge of bitterness. They never left a sting, and were marked by a generosity that received with hearty admiration well-directed blows fairly given.
"In council, the rare suggestiveness of his mind was conspicuous, and in argument of questions of law he exhibited the highest qualities of the jurist. A broad and yet clear conception of legal principles, the power of keen analysis, often subtle, but rarely unsound, a nice discrimination in the application of law to facts, made his arguments a valuable and lasting contribution to the jurisprudence of the state.
"He never forgot the lawyer in the advocate. In the performance of every professional duty he exercised his office with fidelity as well to the court as to his client.
"As a public man, Mr. Hubbard illustrated anew the truth that the most unselfish patriotism and purest execution of public trust is found in those drawn from the ranks of our profession. He carried into public life the same industry, eloquence, fearless advocacy, broad and vigorous thoughtfulness and sterling integrity, that marked him as a lawyer. But his life was mainly given to his profession. He held office long enough to accomplish some lasting good and to prove how much the state has lost.
"The records of the courts will bear witness to Mr. Hubbard's rare professional ability, the records of the state will testify to his public service; but the virtues of the man, just, generous, loving, true - binding to him through a long life by unbroken links of firmest friendship all who have really known him - these can have no permanent record; they live only in the hearts and lives of his friends."
Mr. Henry C. Robinson remarked upon the resolutions as follows: -
Mr. Chairman and Brothers: We are all in harmony to-day. It is the harmony of minor chords. This chamber of yesterday's contests is a chamber of mourning; in this temple of justice there is no fire burning but upon the altar of affection. There is no eye here which is undimmed, no voice which is unfaltering, no heart which is untouched. And I look along the lines and circles to find one who is brave enough to tell our story of sorrow. But the lips which we should all love to wait upon to voice our grief shall open no more in eulogy. Oh, for an half hour of the living Hubbard to sketch the features of our Hubbard who sleeps. It seems as if we were standing by that great prostrate trunk in the Mariposa grove which began to build its young growth into its magnificent architecture and to toss its green braids in those crystal airs before the birth of Plato or Demosthenes. But now it lies upon the ground, its roots torn, its branches shattered and gone, its massive column stretching away in long distance and rising up in its circumference like a fortress. It is all that is left of that once supreme specimen of nature in vegetable life. They call it the "Fallen Monarch."
I shall attempt no exhaustive analysis of our friend's professional powers. There is no office in a lawyer's high calling which he did not adorn. His presence was the presence of a master, in the struggles of reflection, the flashes of insight, the responsibilities of counsel, the preparation of causes, the perils of examinations and the triumphs of advocacy. There is no weapon of honorable warfare which he did not wield; there is no method of skilful defense which he did not use. No conflict of authorities confused him, for he poured them all into the crucible of his fervent analysis, and burned away their dross. No problem of induction appalled him, nor any network of sophistry, though knit with the skill of Vulcan, bound him. He feared no antagonist however great; he despised no associate however humble. He brought to his practice great learning, but he was linked to no past which must not yield to a better present. He honored a technicality which covered a principle or was tied to a policy, but for a technicality which had only the credentials of scrupulosity and of weed-tithing, he had only contempt. The wisdom of the old judges he held in high respect, for their wigs and gowns he had only a smile.
To his profession he was ardently attached. He loved its science, its eloquence, its wit, its nobility. He was proud of its history, of its contributions to philosophy and literature, of its manifold struggles in defence of human rights, and assaults upon human wrongs. But he had no idolatries. He loved his profession with the zeal of enthusiasm, and the loyalty of chivalry, but he was bound in chains to no philosophies, or traditions, or callings. He had no theory in things political that man was made for a party or a profession; nor in things social that man was made for etiquette or wardrobe or sacraments. He believed that churches and states, parties and professions, titles, traditions, symbols, and treaties, chancels and vestments, Sabbaths and scriptures, were all made for man. And so while he was the ablest and most accomplished lawyer of our state, he was more than that; as manhood is greater than business, and life than a profession.
The great questions of life which take hold of human rights and human character; of truth, justice, love, self-denial, courage, freedom, benevolence, modesty and honesty, education and culture, are all too broad to be delivered to the trusteeship of any single profession or philosophy, to any one church or nation. They are open to the enduring power of literature and to the evanescent influence of oratory, to the shadows of art and the substances of experience. From these great things so great a man as our friend could not withhold the activities of his great nature. To them he brought that strength which characterized his efforts, and which was written legibly upon his features and form. To them he brought that aggressiveness which made him so often a victor, and always so brave. To them he bought that honesty which scorned tricks and hated lies, and that conscience which sought truth, and for it slew many a prepossession. He illustrated that rare combination in intellectual nature, of consummate powers of reasoning joined with those flights of creative imagination, bubblings of wit and thrills of pathos which are significant of insight and intuition. His processes were skeptical rather than positive. He was never over-sanguine, and was often too apprehensive. His words and sentences blazed like the sun. At times, disregarding the strictest rules of the rhetoricians, his grand thoughts found expression in pungent and incisive phrase, which sparkled with originality and freshness. He had no room for common-place things in idea or form. His arguments, addresses and eulogies are of the finest forensic efforts of our nation, and his state papers are among the best contributions of our political literature. Mr. Hubbard's culture was peculiarly his own. He sought and studied the great arguments and orations of the past and present. He was a profound student of Shakespeare and Milton; he delighted in John Bunyan, Thomas Browne, Thomas Fuller and Jeremy Taylor. He was cultivated in the French language and enjoyed the suggestive methods of French wit, and was familiar with their great dramatists and public orators. For fiction and pure metaphysics he cared little. The terms of Hegel seemed to him a tangled humbug. He was no lover of art. He was wont to ridicule men who raved over a square yard of painted canvas, but who felt no enthusiasm in a Connecticut sunset. He had no taste for music; there was a certain strength and manliness in architecture which reconciled him to it. He was exclusive in his affections, but he was broad in his sympathies. With the tumult of his whole personal force he hated despotism and oppressions, civil, social and ecclesiastical, and he held the emancipators in high honor. He waited for public office, and that in a day when political gardens blossom with claims and booms and self-pushings, and when modesty has gone out of the conventions as a lost grace. I dare not speak of what he was in the intimacies and sanctities of his personal friendship. Blessed are they who felt them; bitter is their grief as they are now but memories.
I cannot leave this shining death, this silence of tongue most eloquent, this gathering to dust of him, the foremost citizen of our state, this muffling of that heart which always beat in rhythm with justice and truth and friendship, without seeking for a gleam of hope through the clouds. Let him who will, believe that there are no invisibles; that logic, wit, imagination, friendship, courage, faith, love, are born in the fibres of the body, vibrate with its molecules and die with its decay. We stumble upon mystery and mystery until life seems a string of puzzling interrogation points. We fill our waste basket with puerile notions; we revise our philosophies and our creeds. But there remain as our stars in these hours of midnight, as everlasting verities, the reality of the invisibles, the universality of the divine goodness, the immortality of human love and human character, all ensphered and uplifted in that one holy life of Judea which defies definition, but which it is our sweet privilege to follow.
Mr. Alvin P. Hyde, who had been for several years one of his law-partners, addressed the bar as follows: -
Mr. Chairman and Brethren: None of you can be more aware than myself of my utter unfitness to speak on an occasion like this, and were it not that my peculiar relations to Gov. Hubbard seem to render it fit that I should say a few words, I should obey my inclination to mourn in silence. My intimate acquaintance with Gov. Hubbard commenced in 1858, when we were associated as members of the legislature. The friendship thus formed was never broken or interrupted during his life. In 1867 I became his partner, and ever since, for a period of more than sixteen years, we have occupied the same or adjoining rooms and have been in almost daily communication. During all these years there has never been a jar or disagreement between him and myself or any member of our firm, a fact of which he spoke to me a short time since, as a matter of which we might well be proud. The admiration, respect and esteem I entertained for Gov. Hubbard as a lawyer, an advocate, a citizen and a man, before I became his partner, have since ripened into a feeling of affection and love for him which overshadows all other ties. No man could live in daily intercourse with him, as I have done, without learning that the fundamental principles on which all his actions were based and governed, whether professional, personal or as a citizen, were - what do the strictest rules of honor, right and justice require? Nothing was ever allowed to interfere with that idea. His self-interest, the apparent interest of the firm, nay, even partisan interests, so far as he could control them, must yield to this inexorable rule.
His loss to me is something more than his loss to most of the members of the bar. My attachment to and affection for him could not have been stronger had he been my own brother - though had he been my brother I should have felt an infinite pride in the thought that I belonged to a family which could produce such a specimen of a man. I leave it for others to speak of his character as a lawyer, simply remarking, what no one here will gainsay, that our chief has fallen and we have no equal to take his place.
As a counselor, when called upon to advise a client as to the launching or defending a suit, he was cautious almost to the verge of timidity, indefatigable and minute in investigating the principles bearing upon both sides of the question in issue. But when the issues were made up, he cast aside his doubts and entered the contest with his armor on, equipped at every point, and fought manfully, a stand-up fight, despising all subterfuges or evasions. If he sometimes failed, as all must, it was from no fault or neglect of his.
As an advocate he possessed remarkable power. His addresses whether at the bar or elsewhere sparkled with gems of wit and illustration. He had a wonderful faculty of presenting a case involving the driest questions of law or fact in such attractive and illustrative language as compelled the constant attention of the hearers, without for a moment abandoning his line of argument or interjecting a single sentence by way of ornament and which did not serve as a part of his argument. I never have seen a member of our profession or any other, who exhibited in his speeches such evidence of rugged strength combined with literary excellence and scholarly finish as did Gov. Hubbard. His arguments were always solid, symmetrically and logically built from the foundation. There was no stucco or outside adornment to cover or conceal the barrenness of the walls. But every idea and thought, which formed one of the beams or planks of the frame-work of his structure, was so carved and ornamented that when put in its place its ornamentation added to the strength of the whole.
It is said that when a man dies, however prominent he may have been, it is like casting a pebble into the sea which causes a ripple that soon vanishes and all is forgotten. This may be so, but I do not believe that a member of this bar who has known and practiced with Gov. Hubbard will forget him or his character or his example while life lasts.
Mr. George G. Sill remarked as follows:
Thirty years ago it was my good fortune to be a student of Gov. Hubbard. There was formed a friendship which remained unbroken and never marred by one unkind word uttered in the sometimes fierce heat of forensic contests. He was not demonstrative in his friendships or affections, and one might only learn by a single word or tone of voice the degree of esteem in which he was held. It was my privilege to sympathize with him in his sorrows and disappointments and to rejoice with him in his hopes, ambition and success. It is not needful to speak of his social qualities and friendships, for these are private treasures of those whom he honored with his society and confidence. I prefer in this presence to speak of him as a lawyer and a magistrate. He came to the bar when such men as Hungerford, Toucey, Perkins and Chapman were the chiefs, intellectual gladiators, completely armed and experienced warriors. This young Ivanhoe, with vizor down, and with sword and lance, entered the lists of these Knights Templar. If the first tournaments were not joyous, if his lance was splintered, his shield pierced and he unhorsed, he obtained the respect of his adversaries for his fairness, his equipment and his fertility of resource. If Chapman, that unrivalled man in dealing with questions of fact, excelled him in cross-examination and sharpness of speech, Hubbard was his superior in application and study and knowledge of legal principles. If Hungerford, that profound and never-satisfied student, who explored all the labyrinths of the law, all the broad rivers and little streams, following them over trackless wastes to their sources, was more untiringly devoted to his profession, Hubbard had more personal magnetism and persuasive oratory. And so the youthful knight was no despised competitor, and soon came to stand shoulder to shoulder with them in contests for success and honors in the forum, and when they passed away full of years and renown, Governor Hubbard easily became the foremost man in his profession in the state.
Let us turn from his abounding successes and honors won in his chosen profession, to view his career as a politician and chief magistrate of the state. With his philosophic mind, patriotic impulses, honest purposes and economic studies, he was thoroughly fitted for the ideal governor of an ideal commonwealth. For this age and present state of political morals, he was born too early. He believed that men formed themselves into a political party from the unity of ideas and purposes, that each party had for its ultimate object the greatest good to the greatest number, while pursuing that object by widely divergent paths. He apparently forgot that all men were not like himself, and that parties are formed to secure the honors, powers and emoluments of public positions, the good of the state being a secondary consideration. With his habits of thought, love of study and quietness, and his hatred of ostentation, sham and gewgaws, he was reluctant and illy-fitted to enter the noisy and dirty arena of politics. The tramp of men, the glare of torches, the suffocating smoke, the tinkling of cymbals, the shoutings of the hustings, the applause of the people, were distasteful to him and failed to make his pulses bound or arouse his enthusiasm. Had he lived in the days of Cromwell and the English revolution he would not, like Hampden, have led his little troop of horse against Rupert's forces on the field of Chalgrove, and sacrificed a priceless life. He would have been found in his library or in a cloister, reading his breviary, or Milton and Shakespeare, or the Greek and Latin poets and historians and orators. Turmoil, confusion, blood, were not to his liking. An advanced age may admire his really wonderful qualities of mind and heart for a chief magistrate, his masterly state papers, his unsurpassed oratory and his unequalled specimens of English composition, but to-day these are appreciated by a few only. I have said he was born too early. He was born too late. With his love of philosophy, of the beauties of nature and art, and his love of discussion, he should have been born in the culminating period of Athenian patriotism and culture. I think I can see him under the soft skies of Greece walking with Socrates and Plato in the academy, the porticos, the gymnasia, the workshops and market places, and discussing the nature or origin of virtue and the immortality of the soul.
The temples, the statues, the games, and the philosophy and poetry of Greece would have been to him an unending pleasure. He had the fascination and versatility of Alcibiades without his follies and faults. He loved thought and repose. The latter he has at last found in the cold embrace of death. The mysteries of life and the grave are now revealed to him. His halting faith no longer darkens his existence. What he longed so much to believe and know he has realized in that unknown and mysterious future which lies beyond the confines of his mortal life.
Mr. William Hamersley spoke as follows: -
In the presence of the grief that calls us together I would far rather be silent. Standing by the open grave of one possessed of rare mental gifts and acquirements, but whose gifts of intellect, great as they were, seem but as sounding brass and the tinkling cymbal when compared with the wonderful gifts of heart and character that drew to him his friends with a love not to be expressed, speech seems utterly weak and empty; and yet I felt compelled to say a few words - not to sketch his life or offer a tribute of praise to his memory, but simply to join with my brothers in this very inadequate way of testifying to our great loss.
The end of any useful life is a loss irreparable to the living. In our moments of gloomy philosophy we are apt to say that no one life is of much consequence, that those who come after take the places of those who go before, and the world moves on without a ripple. This is not quite true. The creative power that never duplicates a creation, even in the countless myriads of the forest leaves, gives to every human life a different character and a peculiar work. The work that is specially given us to do, if not done in our lives, will forever remain undone. While this is true, yet the resemblances among men are so great that one generation succeeds another with little apparent loss. But now and then, as if to keep us in mind of the great truth that each life, however humble, has a work to be accomplished that can be taken up and finished by no other life, we find a character so widely different from the ordinary mold, that we say at once, here is a man whose place in life, once emptied, can never be filled. Such was the character that gave the peculiar charm to the life of Mr. Hubbard, that makes his death a loss, a void. When the healing hand of time has somewhat softened the sharpness of the grief that now fills our hearts, it would be a pleasure, perhaps a duty, to place in some enduring form an analysis of the qualities that combined to make so rare a character. To-day we can only acknowledge our irreparable loss. Doubtless the thought has this morning come to all of us, of the golden tongue that has spoken for us when from time to time we have met to pay the last tribute to the memory of some brother fallen from the ranks. We recall the brilliant and life-like portrait of Chapman, the matchless eulogy of Hungerford, the eloquent portrayal of the judicial career of Seymour and of the kindly virtues of Waldo. Bu now - where is the golden tongue that can give voice to our love for Hubbard? There is no need. He being dead yet speaketh. The throbbing of the people's heart, the thronging memories of this room, this sad gathering, these unaccustomed tears, pronounce an eulogy, more just, more eloquent, more loving than human tongue can utter.
Mr. Albert H. Walker remarked as follows: -
When Robert Burns died his townsmen went about inquiring of each other, "who will be our poet now?" as though Dumfries or Scotland might hope to have another Burns. No Burns came again to the Scotch, but that people soon after gave another great poet to mankind. In like manner, Hartford and Connecticut may be given, by the coming years, as great a man as Richard D. Hubbard; but they cannot give a man having the same combination of solid traits and brilliant qualities. He was able as a lawyer. He was more than able as a statesman. As an orator he was great. As a lawyer his superiority was philosophical rather than learned. Other members of the bar may have excelled him in command of the resources of the books; but none equaled him in command of the resources of reason. While others were basing legal conclusions upon ancient precedents, he was causing them to grow naturally out of the relation of things and the circumstances of human life. As a statesman, his superiority was ideal even more than it was actually realized. His standard was too high to be adequately advanced without ambition, and Governor Hubbard was not ambitious. It was for this reason, and this reason alone, that the light which shone in Connecticut did not shine throughout all the states. As an orator his superiority was poetic rather than passionate; rhetorical in form and in figure, rather than in fire or fury. The field of his eloquence was the field of the imagination. The devotions of patriotism; the kindly qualities of the dead; the swift approaching end of the living; these inspired his prophetic brain to fashion the language of poetic prose to mould the beautiful sentiment of eulogy. In this field he was supreme. None live to lay so beautiful a wreath upon his grave as those he laid upon the graves of Hungerford, Seymour and Waldo.
Mr. Thomas McManus next spoke as follows: -
A professional residence for many years, under a common roof with our departed friend - an intimate friendship from the date of my admission to the bar - these give the right to add my voice to the many that are this day lifted up in lamentation over the prostrate form of the great leader of the Bar of Connecticut.
An ancient maxim enjoined all utterances save in praise when the dead were the subjects. It was the singular felicity of him whom we mourn, that he experienced this delicate exemption even in life. It has been permitted him to anticipate a portion of the fame that attends the memory of the good.
Striking in personal appearance, in physique powerful, in disposition cheerful, super-eminent in abilities and irreproachable in character, with scarcely a peer and with no superior, it is no wonder that we exulted in the fact that this rare being was one of our own professional community. An ardent patriot, yet wholly unselfish; an able statesman, a jurist unexcelled, and an orator unequalled; indignant at professional uncleanness, yet merciful even to tenderness towards human weakness when repentant. Surely this generation can not hope to look upon his like again.
He had held high honors, but they were so far below his deserts that even envy murmured at the paucity of his rewards.
(The speaker closed with the narration of an incident that fell under his personal notice strikingly illustrative of the warm sympathy and thoughtful kindness of Gov. Hubbard.)
Other addresses were made by Messrs. Franklin, Chamberlin, Samuel F. Jones, Henry S. Barbour, Sherman W. Adams, Charles E. Perkins and John Hooker, after which the resolutions were unanimously adopted by a rising vote.
Eulogistic addresses were made the day before in both houses of the General Assembly, which was in session, and resolutions in honor of Gov. Hubbard were passed.
Gov. Hubbard's funeral took place on Saturday afternoon, March 1st, prayers being read at the house of Rev. Mr. Watson, rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd, at which he was an attendant. After this a public address was delivered by Rev. Dr. Parker of the South Congregational Church, a life-long friend, to an audience that filled the church to its fullest capacity, the bar of the county attending in a body, with delegates from other counties, and representatives of the city corporation and other companies and institutions with which Gov. Hubbard had been connected. The address was as follows: -
ADDRESS OF REV. DR. PARKER.
The public press has fitly voiced the feeling of tender sorrow that pervades our afflicted city; honorable members of the state legislature have recalled Mr. Hubbard's distinguished services to our commonwealth, and have testified of the high esteem in which his name and memory are held by the people of Connecticut; his brethren of the legal profession have justly and eloquently eulogized their illustrious and beloved chief, delineating his character, remarking his solid and shining intellectual endowments, reviewing his signal success in his chosen profession, and his no less brilliant success as a statesman and orator. It is therefore, unnecessary that, on this occasion, I should speak of him in his professional or political relations. Let me simply indicate the vital relation of the man's character to the singular success which he has achieved, and to the admiration, pride and honor in which he is justly held.
"Many are the friends of the golden tongue." But it would be a great error and injustice to attribute his power and popularity to the possession of remarkable forensic and oratorical gifts alone. The "golden tongue," the genius for convincing and charming eloquence, could never, of itself alone, have secured for Mr. Hubbard the commanding position which he occupied, or won for him the universal respect, confidence and honor accorded him throughout this commonwealth. Behind the "golden tongue" was a powerful intellect, a splendid and chastened imagination, great analytic and synthetic powers, rich and varied learning, singular skill of statement, remarkable felicity of illustration, a firm grasp of both facts and principles, a resolution commensurate with his resources, the regnant calmness of a circumspect mind which suffers no straggling word to betray its lines of march or to mar with haste the dignity of its movement. He was
"No wordy babbler, wasteful of his speech,"
even when his words fell like flakes of wintry snow, but behind all this manifold and marvelous intellectual instrumentality was the manhood and its mighty powers of truth and honor and justice and gentleness. His splendid genius rested on his granitic character. The chief secrets of his success are to be found deep in the virtues of his great manliness.
First of all, Mr. Hubbard was a truth-loving, truth-seeking, truth-speaking, truth-acting, truth-exacting man. You read this in his clear, unquailing eyes, in the firm set of his head, in the strong features of his face, in his gait and gestures, in his movements and manners. You heard it in the tones of his gentle but masterful voice. You felt it in the atmosphere of his presence. Not only in matters of business and politics, but in the affairs of society, and in the personal and intimate relations of life, this splendid sincerity, this absolute truthfulness of nature, was evident. Men knew that he was incapable of falsity and could be trusted utterly.
He was a singularly honorable man. His standard of honor was a lofty one. His sense of honor was keen. He renounced the hidden things of dishonor as heartily as he denounced their external manifestations. His God was so far medieval as to be the "Lord of Courtesy." He was in full sympathy with that early English poet who described Jesus as
"The first true gentleman that ever breathed."
He never took unfair advantage. He never dealt a foul blow. There was something knightly in his magnanimous spirit. He belonged to the nobility by birth, and accepted the obligations of the nobility, -noblesse oblige! His soul stood upright within him, - a soldierly sort of soul, loyal and reverent to authorities, but fearless, vigilant, inquisitive, circumspect, looking out thoughtfully and sadly into the all-encompassing night and mystery, but undismayed, nor ever swayed from duty or warped from uprightness.
He had a passion for justice and a fine pride therein. This inspired his unremitting labor, and explains his solid and compact character. This passion for justice now prompted, now checked his speech. It determined and regulated his argument and his conduct. I think it even made him unjust to himself at times. It made his conversation and companionship refreshing. It guided him amid political excitements, it strengthened him against the temptations of partisanship, it gave to his friendship a priceless value. It explains what has been called his lack of ambition. To deal fairly and do justly seemed to him of more importance than forensic victories, oratorical successes, party triumphs, or personal popularity. As Dean Stanley said of Mr. Grote, it may be said of Mr. Hubbard: "Let those who think it consistent with their station, or their rank, or their religion, to treat with rudeness or with scorn those from whom they differ or those to whom they are superior, remember the gracious urbanity, the antique courtesy, the tender consideration with which he met the jarring circumstances and characters of life." He could prefer others in honor, he could render to every man his due, "Honor to whom honor, custom to whom custom."
There was a great, warm, generous heart in Mr. Hubbard, overflowing in human kindness, for with him justice was not that literal and legal skeleton which does duty in the dissecting-rooms of scholastic philosophy, but a living and spiritual virtue in whose heart are fountains of mercy and tenderness. How kind, how generous he was - except to himself! How catholic his sympathies! Belonging to the aristocracy of letters, yea, to the aristocracy of souls, he was as true a democrat and as little of a demagogue as Abraham Lincoln. His whole heart went out toward the innumerable children of men in the their never-so-blind and unwise struggles for freedom against oppression and misrule. Thoroughly conversant with the history, institutions and literature of older nations, his confidence in the political constitution of his own country and in the capacity of the people to work out their political salvation with unprecedented success, was complete and enthusiastic. In the diligent pursuit of a profession which more than any other, perhaps, discovers the perversities of human character and conduct, he did not lose his faith in men, nor his respect for human nature, nor his confidence in human progress, but continually his heart was enlarged. And so, despite his reticence, his shyness of professions, his extreme sensitiveness to publicity, his tendency to seclusiveness and study, and the strain of something like melancholy that ran through his poetic and philosophic temperament, he came to be known as our least voluble, but most valuable citizen. There is mourning for him in the factory and in the college, in the store and in the study.
In the freedom of the society of his chosen friends what an altogether remarkable man he seemed. What originality of thought, what cogent reasoning, what splendid allusion, what wealth of illustration, what apt quotation from his Bible and his Shakespeare, what sallies of wit, what copious outflow of sinewy but graceful speech, what a beauty of soul, what powers of subtle, versatile, brilliant mind were unconsciously displayed!
He was unfathomable and unaccountable on the spiritual side of his nature. There was something awful in the greatness of his secrets, in his will and power to carry alone burdens and sorrows and doubts. He looked out into the unseen things, as it seemed to me, with the calm, sad eyes of the Sphynx. What he saw in that direction no man knows, I think. If he was constitutionally skeptical, his spirit was reverent and devout in unusual degree. Such a man's quiet questionings are more religious than much unquestioning faith. Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely and of good report - he not only thought on these things, but was rooted and grounded in them.
And if the beatitudes are true - if the poor in spirit, the merciful, the meek, the peacemakers, and they that hunger for righteousness are blessed and the kingdom of heaven is theirs, then our friend receives the Great Master's benediction. Thinking of him, recalling him, one cannot conceive of any other kingdom in the least suitable for him than that wherein dwelleth righteousness. For each true man is citizen of one true city.
Fellow-citizens, as we review the names of our illustrious dead in Connecticut, behold how numerous they are and how they make our annals shine.
"This little planet doth adorn itself
With the good spirits that have active been
That fame and honor might come after them."
Among these bright historic names is now enrolled the name of Richard Dudley Hubbard. Among these spirits whom fame and honor follow, lives forever his good spirit. We shall see his face no more, but we have not wholly lost him since his lofty standard and bright example remain. We shall hear no more the music of his lips, but the message of his life and character shall be pondered in our hearts with his name and his memory. No one will fill his place. No one can. But his place is already filled. His work is done. Other men will come and take their own places and do their appointed work. Let us remember that Nature never blunders. Let is believe that God makes no mistakes. The destructions over which we mourn because they remove the objects on which our affections are so fixed, are preliminary to reconstructions. The decaying tree must be supplanted, the crumbling column replaced. The mysterious voice heard all along the shores of the Aegean sea proclaiming that great Pan was dead, was a herald of the birth in Bethlehem.
Our heroes die and our saints depart and our hearts are full of sorrow yet not without hope. Lying in their mothers' arms and lodged in rude mangers, it may be, are the heroes and the saints of the time to come; nor shall they be wanting to any age, nor shall God's kingdom fail to come for lack of them.
"And they made ready for Ulysses that he might sleep there without waking. Then he embarked and silently lay down, and deep sleep weighed down his eyelids - a sweet, unwakeful sleep. But when the messenger of Dawn arose, the ship touched the strand, and the sleeper awoke and stood upon his native shore."
Oh, brother sweet! What would'st thou have me say?
Sleep well, farewell; the night is for the day
And not the day for night!
Sleep well, till morning light
Shall break thy rest; then rise, and go thy way!
The verse with which the address of Rev. Dr. Parker closes, proved to be a part of a poem written by him at the time, and which has since been published. The poem is one of such exquisite tenderness and beauty that it is added as a fitting close of this memorial.
R. D. H.
The lips are silent which alone could pay
His worthy tribute. We can only lay
The laurel on his breast,
And bear him to his rest,
And say, farewell, dear soul, till the break of day!
Amid the fickle and faint-hearted throng
His heart was ever steadfast, brave and strong.
His counsel gave us light,
His courage gave us might,
To see the right, to wrestle with the wrong.
The sturdy, stalwart presence was a tower
Of strength and hope, in many a trying hour:
In friendship warm and wise,
In large self-sacrifice,
In countless kindnesses we proved his power.
Dear brother soul! within that realm unknown
Where thy good spirit far from us hast flown,
Canst thou look back and see
How lonely, without thee,
And how impoverished our world has grown?
In purer light dost thou now clearly scan
The lines of truth so dim to mortal man?
Dost see, amid our gloom,
The beauty and the bloom
Of some inclusive and unfolding plan?
Are mysteries disclosed? misgivings stilled?
Dark doubts disproved? hope's prophecies fulfilled?
We only hear our cries
Re-echoed from the skies
In the vast, awful silence God has willed.
Oh, brother sweet! what would'st thou have me say?
Sleep well, farewell; the night is for the day
And not the day for night!
Sleep well, till morning light
Shall break thy rest; then rise, and go thy way!