Skip to main content

Full text of "Hon. Daniel Barnard: a memorial address by Hon. Henry Robinson .."

See other formats







.Jam AHY 29, 1^92. 






^.a^^ \ 







Jaxuahy 20, 1802. 





Mr. President, (ukI QpntleniPii of the (ivafton and Coos 
Bar Association : — 

There is no defenre when Deatli is elaiinant. Then, no 
demurrer prevails, no bill of exceptions is allowed, no points 
remain upon which to move for a review. All objections are 
overruled. The judgment is absolute, irrevocable. When 
the final process-server appears, even sheriffs succumb, and 
trial lawyers who have seemed almost invincible, vield orra- 
ciously as a helpless child to the universal judgment against 
humankind, a judgment that cannot be vacated or avoided, a 
judgment the execution of which can be satisfied only with 
the whole debt of life. Jurists the ablest, and counsellors 
whose experience is the longest, whose advice is the best, are 
utterly powerless to meet the dread emergency of such a 

V Not many years ago gathered at the Merrimack countv 
bar a group of very superior men. It was pronounced the 
ablest and best association of lawyers in the State, and was 
unexcelled anywhere in New England. 

Ira Perley, that great genius of legal acumen, was there. 
He was one of the brightest intellects of his day. Henry 
A. Bellows, generous-hearted as he was learned, with a 
beautiful character that lit his face as with sunshine, was 
counted in its remarkable membership. He could have been 

— 4— 

as eminent in the })ulpit as he was at the bar, and his life as 
a lawyer, a judge, and a ehief-justice was as pure and noble 
as it could possibly have been in the most exalted ministry. 
Josiah JVIinot, keen, deep, retiring, but ready with resources, 
and girded with the faculty of success, made one of that 
illustrious circle. Jonathan E. Sargent, ripe with experience 
at tiie bar and on the bench, with a mind stored with legal 
lore, was one of the central figures. Asa Fowler, a compre- 
hensive scholar, an apt technical draughtsman, and an erudite 
counsellor, also stood in the fore-front of his profession. The 
venerable George W. Nesmith, wliose integrity and impartial- 
ity became proverbial, was one of the gems in that brilliant 
crown of manly strength and possibility. There was no com- 
panion more charming, no friend more hospitable, no attor- 
ney more persistent, no citizen of social instincts with more 
sparkling and infatuating conversational powers than Anson 
8. Marshall. Grand old Mason W. Tappan was there, 
rough and yet susceptible as a child, deep read in literature, 
and with a wonderful knowledge of human natiu'e ; he was 
an earnest advocate, one of the most effective that ever 
graced the state. Perhaps the most active and indomitable 
element in that magnificent assembly was John H. George, 
who made his client's cause his own, and characterized every 
imdertaking with the force, energy and unflinching courage 
of his own imperious nature. Noble John Y. Mugridge 
was there, public-spirited, buoyant, the especial champion of 
younger men, one of the best all-round lawyers that ever 
entered a court-room. Austin F, Pike sat with the others, 
deep thinker, skillful lawyer, general student, and a wide 
reader, and, besides, there was Charles P. Sanborn, with his 
clear, calm, logical mind, his easy, popular manner ; A. F. L. 
Norris, persevering, industrious, a pioneer in judicial knowl- 
edge, a veteran in forensic experience, whose goodly fame 

— 5— 

only lialf equalled his merits ; William T. Norris, painstak- 
inpr, careful, sincere, and beloved ; Charles C. Lund, versa- 
tile, scientific and valuable in diiferent branches of useful- 
ness ; John M. Shirley, with a memory re|)lete with prece- 
detit, a cultured taste, and a piipinut wit and sparklinf; orij^- 
inality which made him a potent force in athiirs ; Hamilton E. 
Perkins, genial, polite, with a i)repo8se8sing suavity of speech, 
and an equanimity of teuq)er that won him friends every- 
where ; William ^^^ Flanders, in whom the elements were 
gently mixed, honest, faithful, tolerant, diligent; Nehemiah 
Butler, the embodiment of stability, prudence and faithful 
adherence to duty; Aaron Whittemore, Jr., voung, hand- 
some, held in uncommon esteem, and with everv element 
favorable to the best success ; Arthur Fletcher, with fine 
business qualifications, splendid mental force, and wonder- 
ful tenacity of purpose ; Warren Clark, amiable, trustvvorthv, 
upright, whose crown of glory was the eminent good sense 
that pervaded his whole career. 

We buried another, Willinm M. I^arnard, a beautiful 
young man, whom we all loved. Early in life he showed 
an es|)ecial ada])tation to the legal profession, but hardly had 
he entered ujion a practice of surprising success and promise 
when he wiis called l)ehind the veil of mystery. As we paid 
tribute to him in the court-room, his father walked backward 
and forward in front of the building, unable to bear the 
tender allusions to his partner in business, his own son, 
whom he love<l so fondly, and in whom were clustered such 
fond h')j)es. And now that indulgent father himself who 
sacrificed so much and strove so hard to bring up aright and 
educate his children, unshrinking has passed, as Ingers(»ll 
said of Conkling, "beyond our horizon, bevond the twi- 
light's jjurple hills, beyond the reach of human harm or help. 


to that vast realm of silence or joy, where the innumerable 

These departed lawyers were the Websters, the SuUivans, 
the Bells, the Woodburys, the Jeremiah Smiths, the Icha- 
bod Bartletts of our day and generation, and worthy suc- 
cessors they were indeed of those illustrious founders of our 
jurisprudence. They were roundly equipped in intellectual 
attainment ; they were beacons in our social fabric, promo- 
ters of reform, friends of education, framers of legislation, 
encouragers of industrial enterprise, leaders in politics, busy 
men of affairs, mainstays of the community, important fac- 
tors in the world's progress, but, one by one (I have not 
named them in the order of their departure) they receded 
from our sight to be gathered to their fathers, to become 
mere clods which the rude swain might turn with his share 
and tread upon, or wiser than kings. Able and upright in- 
deed should be those who wear their mantle of honor, who 
have donned the armor of their responsibility. 

There was among them no gentler spirit, no clearer intel- 
lect, no lawyer more efficient and serviceable, no worker more 
faithful, no man more loveable than Daniel Barnard. Let us 
believe that he has awakened "like a child in the daylight's 
gleam." Ilis character requires no glowing setting ; he was 
a true gem. It is not necessary to entwine his memory with 
any wreath of oratory ; there is eloquence in his very name. 
His life is an example of fidelity, industry and usefulness. 
He was himself a sentiment of cheerfulness wherever he 
went, of geniality, of good-natiu-e, of hopefulness, yet his 
was the pathos of genuine sympathy ; his atmosphere always 
that of kindliness and courage. As Phillips Brooks said of 
Abraham Lincoln, "He possessed the greatness of real 
iroodness, and the ofoodness of real greatness." 

Hie career needs no gilding of words, the principal 


eventt! of it arc fiuniliar to our pco})lc. We stop beside his 
grave to-day only to express deep regret at his death, and to 
})ay a tribute in simple and sincere language to his work and 
worth, a tribute that conies spontaneously from the heart. 
Every grief tears open afresh every other grief, yet, let us 
not mourn for the dead, but, as Charles Sumner bade us, re- 
joice in their lives and examples. There was no dross in 
Daniel Barnard's character ; he was pure gold. He left us too 
recently to be weighed yet in cold thought ; it is still too early 
to analyze his merits ; but in the affection of close fellowship 
we speak of him as we feel toward him, running the inno- 
cent risk of overpraise. It is hard to believe that that rest- 
less, energetic, magnetic force that we called and knew as 
Daniel Barnard, is gradually to merge itself with other 
forces, and in time cease to assert its individual ])owcr. 
Lord Lytton, in "Night and Morning," pronounced it a 
strange thing that that very form which we prized so chari- 
ly, for which we prayed the winds to be gentle, which we 
lapped from the cold in our ai'ms, from whose footstep we 
would have removed a stone, should be suddenly thrust out 
of sight ! And this same composition of bone and muscle 
that was yesterday so strong, — which men resijccted and 
women loved, and children clung to, — to-day so lamentably 
powerless, unable to defend or protect those who lay nearest 
to its heart ! A breath from its \i\)8 making all that mighty 
difference between what it was and what it is. 

Daniel Barnard had nothing of the eccentricitv of genius. 
The secret of his success was work. The lesson of his life 
was diligence, charity and consistency. The machinery of 
his make-up was held in even motion by the balance-wheel 
of sound principle and well-defined convictions of duty. 
The modest estate in worldly goods that he left, and the imi- 
versal grief that overshadowed the whole state at his sudden 

— 8— 

death are tuuchmg testimonials to his honesty and self-sacri- 
fice. There is no higher, no better, no grander type of 
manhood on earth than an able, cultured, upright, trust- 
worthy lawyer. Such was Daniel Barnai'd. No citizen can 
be 80 helpful and comforting to his fellow citizens, such a 
solace and support to his brother men in trouble as a clear- 
headed, calm-souled, sympathetic and experienced counsellor. 
Such was Daniel Barnard. 

He rounded a splendid succession as attorney-general, that 
comprises the names of Mason W. Tappan, of Lewis W. 
Clark, of William C. Clarke, of the Sullivaus, of John S. 
Wells, of Samuel Bell, of Jeremiah Mason, and others, a 
single file of forensic giants, reaching down to us, men pon- 
derous in intellect, replete in wisdom, and unswerving in rec- 

Daniel Barnard in his last official position especially enti- 
tled himself to our respect and regard. The duties of the 
office are important, difficult and delicate. They call for 
learning and ability, })rudence and much mildness and firm- 
ness. All these qualities he had. There was in him no sem- 
blance of the hardheartedness of an unfeeling public prose- 
cutor. It was obvious that his fidelity to the state and his 
obligations to the innocent made him demand punishment for 
the guilty. He was sure to discover all the weak points in 
the case of a respondent, sure to bring out the full facts a- 
gainst him, but he was evidently pleased if the accused could 
show himself innocent. He was not vain of convictions ; 
he took no pride in pursuing wrong-doers, except as far as 
it became his mission and duty. Nobody dared to offer him 
a bribe ; he was above the suggestion of corruption. On 
his hands was no smell of pitch. Insinuation, that foul 
bird of disparagement, never brooded over his good name. 
He stood erect and unsuspected ; his honesty was never ques- 

tloiu'd. lie was never a persceutor, and as a public pros- 
ecutor he seeujcd a just father to tlie state rather than a 
.tjovcrnuient officer. As we look back over his career now, 
we see what nice discernment, what fine discretion, he ex- 
ercised as to what suits should be brou<rht and what should 
not. We see with what sagacity and ability, and satisfac- 
tion to the people and credit to himself he conducted the re- 
sponsible duties of nn office that requires uncommon qualifi- 
cations. AVe begin to realize the magnitude of our loss. 
In the language of Mr. Webster in reference to Chief- 
Justice Jay, when the spotless ermine of the judicial roljc 
fell on him it touched nothing less spotless than itself. 

^Vc reuiember how kind he was to young men, how cour- 
teous and polite and popular he was to everybody on every 
occasion everywhere. It was from the conflict of elements 
that comes forth the desirable, and I have sometimes thought 
that the intellectual battles that men wage at the bar serve to 
develop their best, as well as to uncover their w^orst qualities. 
Tliere was nothing sinister about Daniel Barnard. 1 do not 
remember ever having seen him lose his temper. When the 
most important cases were at stake, wdien everything seemed 
pivoted as it were upon a single phase of a trial, he never 
lost his self control. He cherished no enmities. lie forirot 
when he forgave. He desfjised meanness and hated crimi- 
nality, but he pitied weakness and never ridiculed ignorance. 
He was not a talebearer of others' failings and prated not 
of their misfortunes. He dealt in no scandals. He never 
thought to build himself u[) by berating others, and it is 
very deplorable incleed that so estimable and exemplary a 
man and officer has left us forever. He was, take it all in 
all, a charming gentleman. He died as he had wished to go, 
with the harness on. He died with his books open ; he died 
with his ])apcrs ai'ouiid him. Suddenly he stepped out of 


busy life where he vvus a most iin[)ortant factor, and left un- 
finished and unguarded various interests that had learned to 
look up to him as invaluable and indispensable. He left us 
before any of his faculties had begun to fail, while yet he 
was in the prime and glory of his existence. He went 
with characteristic quickness and promptness, without any 
lingering sickness. Just as his hair was silvered over, even 
before the noonday splendor of his capability had begun to 
dim, he was called away. "When the sun fades away at 
nightfall we behold the harmonious fulfillment of nature's 
law ; but when darkness comes at noonday we are struck with 
awe at the mysteries of the universe. When eternity beck- 
ons to one whose labors are ended here, and who walks wear- 
ily under the burden of years, we see him sink down to his 
rest with resignation to the decrees as they are written ; but 
when death claims the great and strong, in all their pride of 
})ower and place, we break forth in grief, and question the 
ways of Heaven and earth, which are past finding out." 

Charles Sumner said when the martyred Lincoln died, "In 
the universe of God there are no accidents ; from the fall of 
a sparrow to the fall of an empire or the sweep of a planet, 
all is according to Divine Providence whose laws are ever- 

The air has been thick with death for many weeks. 

"His flying shafts 
Strike down to-day the bravest in the land; 

And here and there, how suddenly he wafts 
His fatal arrows. Nor can long withstand 
'I'he mailed warrior, or the statesman manned, 
Against him. But why should he hasten on 

* * * to strike one down 

Just in the zenith of his strength and glory of renown?" 

But we are told that death cannot long lead the procession 
that has passed oyer the silent river, for the tramp of innu- 


mcrable footsteps echo far l)ov<)n(l his sphere. "Tis said tliat 
he knows not more tlian wo their distant iioal. lint God 
who made tlieni knows and will not leave them on their toil- 
some and doubtful march, either to wander in infinite nneer- 
tainty, or to perisli by the way. 

We have felt with Natiianiel Hawthorne that it is very sin- 
ocular how the fact of a man's death seems often to give people 
a better idea of his character, whether for i>'ood or evil, than 
they have ever possessed while he was living and acting 
among them. Death is so Pennine a fact that it excludes 
falsehood or [)ortrays its emptiness. It is a touchstone that 
pi'oves the gold and dishonors the baser metal. 

No man has been held in higher respect and esteem than 
Daniel Barnard by his fellow men, and now that he is dead 
his character stands out in bold relief, and we appreciate and 
prize his excellence as we never did before. lie was not 
only the friend of his professional brcthi-en and of other 
prominent men, but of the conunon pcoj)lc ; the humblest 
and the poorest counted him as a benefactor, and felt glad to 
press his hand in recognition of his kindly salutation and 
sympathy, and many were the noiseless charities that he dis- 

"God give us men ; a time lilte ttiis demands 
Strong minds, great hearts, true faitli, and reaciy iiands; 
Men whom the lust of office does not liill ; 
Men wliom the spoils of ollioe cannot buy ; 
Men who have honor; men who will not lie; 
****** * 

Tall men, ^un crowned, wlio live above the fog 
In public dutj- and in private thinking." 

Daniel Barnard never felt himself above anybody, lie was 
not to be flattered, wheedled, or intimidated, l)ut he was pleased 
with appreciation, and loved to meet the approxal of his fel- 
low citizens. There was nothing of pomp or vanity about 


him. He did up a good, clean life's work, and left a record 
that is the best encomium that could be pronounced. He 
had an ingenius, intuitive mind. It had been trained by long 
experience in the ramifications of a broad practice that cov- 
ered in its extensive scope almost every trade and profession, 
and he was naturally alert, naturally quick of discernment, 
with not a particle of the inertia of laziness or indisposition 
in his constitution. He was well informed; fully abreast of 
the times on all subjects. He was vivacious, energetic, un- 
tiring, and yet tolerant, patient and uncomplaining. He 
never gave up until the end came. He loved fun ; saw the 
ridiculous side, could tell a good story, and was a good lis- 
tener. His agreeable personage will be missed at the rail- 
way stations and the hotels ; his welcome face will be seen 
no more on the cars ; he will be missed in our courts, in our 
social gatherings, at our political conventions, wherever men 
meet to confer and do congregate for legitimate purposes and 
to cope with the momentous concerns of life, there Daniel 
Barnard will be sorely missed. His advice was alwaj's good ; 
he saw at a glance the pivotal point upon which a question 
turned. He acquired the faculty of lucid statement and co- 
gent argument. Pie gave to every case and to every critical 
phase of it his best, most careful consideration and research. 
His fortunate temperament allowed him to carry on his mind 
a great burden of business, public and private, that would 
have overwhelmed an ordinary attorney, or one upon whom 
it came suddenly. There seemed to be before him many 
years of usefulness and progress, years of comfort and enjoy- 
ment, but in the lottery of death there are no blanks, and 
suddenly, unexpectedly to him as to us all, he solved the 
greatest problem of life. His virtues were worthy of emu- 
lation. He iiad great sagacity and tact, swift perceptions, 
and was ready to decide and to act. As Attorney-General, 

—1 3— 

he hiul IK) pet policy to enrry out. exee|tt the poliev of dis- 
cretion and riofht. A friend of the author of the cniaiieipa- 
tion proehunation once joked him ahout tlie |)rociirin2; of an 
ordinary lawyer to ])reside over a <r\-e:\t nation throu^ii one 
of the most terrihle civil rebellions that ever arose, Mr. 
Lincoln replied with the greatest gravity: "I don't believe 
any great man with a policy could have saved the country ; 
if I have contributed to that end it has been because I have 
attended to the duties of each day with the hope that when 
to-morrow came I should be equal to its duties also."' 

Daniel Barnard had to do Avith the organization of the 
Unitarian church in Franklin, and remained one of its most 
earnest and generous supporters. He was modest always in 
his own oi)inions, and did not attempt to impress his relio-- 
ious views upon others. lie believed more especially in im- 
proving, enriching and ennobling life and character here, in 
making men worth the saving, and his religion was the prac- 
tical, working, every-day kind that men can carry into their 
business and pleasure, — introduce into their homes, their of- 
fices and stores and shops, and into their work, their politics, 
and everywhere else, — and which conduces to make them 
better and nobler and happier. 

For forty years he lived in Franklin, and so closely was 
he identified and allied with its manufacturing, its banking, 
its various interests, educational, social, moral, political and 
other, that when he died it seemed as though the keystone of 
the arch was gone, and certainly a central pillar of the town 
itself had fallen. Forty years I And no man lives to say 
that Daniel Barnard wronged him, and no man lives to 
say that he ever wittingly did injustice to anybody, or looked 
with contempt upon the humblest of God's creatures. (), 
young men, what a record was that ! AVhat a encomium on 
earth I What a passport to heaven. 


He was born sixty-five years ago in the town of Orange. 
His youth was spent in hard work on a not over-productive 
farm where ojiportunities for education were very meagre. 
From the outset to the end he was eminently what is styled a 
self-made man. He worked his way, paid his way, earned 
and deserved the victory that he won over adverse circum- 
stances. He taught district school. Young and inexperienced 
as he was, such was the trust and confidence in which he was 
held in that little, sparcely settled town of Orange, that he was 
sent four times to represent its people in our state legislature, 
where his prepossessing personality, his bright insight to 
men and things was recognized, and, unassuming though he 
was, he then attained a high position in public trust, respect 
and admiration that he never lost, and the luster of which 
was never tarnished. He committed himself to that party 
that stood for the freedom of the soil, and later for the free- 
dom of the slave. In 1851 he moved to Franklin, and en- 
tered the law office of Nesmith & Pike, and upon his ad- 
mission to the bar became a partner with Mr. Pike, Judge 
Nesmith retiring from the firm, leavino^ a larofe and lucrative 
practice, which had been established througli remarkable in- 
dustry and aptitude. Nine years later Mr. Barnard with- 
drew from the partnership, and began the practice of the law 
by himself, and for nearly thirty years continued in business, 
overrun with clientage, toiling day and night some of the 
time to meet the urgent demands of a most exacting profes- 
sion. After his son AVilliam's admission to the bar he be- 
came a partner with his father, a business arrangment that 
was very agreeable to both, and promised to relieve the elder 
Barnard of much responsibility, but the sad death of the son 
intervened, and left the father to struggle on alone. His 
practice comprised not only the state cases, but a large civil 
docket in Merrimack county and important causes in nearly 


every county in the state, ami especially in Belknap, Grafton 
and Coos. In 18(i0 and 18()2 he represented Franklin in 
the legislature, and was subsequently, in 1865 and LSUfi, 
elected to the state senate, presiding over that body in the 
latter year. In 1870 and 1871, lie was a nicmber of the 
Governor's council. In 1872 he was a delcijate to the Ivc- 
j)ublican National convention at Philadelphia. 

He was solicitor of Merrimack county fi-oni 1<S67 until 
he declined the position, in 1872. He again declined the 
position in 1877. He was an earnest sup[)orter of the 
homestead-exemption law, in 1850. He introduced the reso- 
lution in the House which first gave the members a daily 
news[)a[)er. As a member of the senate he took an interest 
in the amendment of the Federal Constitution prohibiting 
slavery, making an able and effective argument in its sup- 
port. He was appointed Attorney-General of the state in 
1887, which position he held with great honor at the time of 
his death. Any position that Daniel Barnard might have 
held would have been filled efficiently and well, and to pub- 
lic satisfaction. His appointment to the Attorney-General- 
ship did not come by im})ortunity and solicitation, but by 
the acclaim of the whole bar, and the confirmation of j)opu- 
lar sentiment. In 1867, Dartmouth college honored herself 
in honoring him with the degree of Master of Arts. 

His life is worthy of a volume. 1 cannot crowd a satis- 
ftictory sketch of it into the half-hour allotted to me. He 
was not a professional philanthropist, and yet we counted him 
one of the guardians of the Granite state, such was his in- 
terest in us all personally, and in our welfare as a common- 
wealth, and such was his considerable })art in the history of 
our progress during the last half-century. 

Ho died on the thirty-sixth anniversary of tiie birth of his 
eldest son, and at the same hour and minute of the day that 


his son (lied. As scholar, statesman, lawyer, attorney-gen- 
eral he had to do with great concerns, important affairs, 
stirring events, public tribunals, but it was as husband and 
father that he appeared to the most attractive advantage. He 
shone the brightest in what has been designated "the small 
sweet courtesies of life." No man ever loved and was beloved 
more devotedly. His early disadvantages led him the more 
to ap})reciate education, and he made great sacrifices that 
his children might have the advantages of good schooling. His 
home was as sunshiny as his own disposition. Quoted and 
honored as he was, it was in the family circle that his wit 
and humor sparkled the most, it was at the hearthstone that 
he was the best appreciated ; but now the cloud is over his 
house. Yet, if death is sunrise, then it is morning with 
him ; if to die is gain, he has won his greatest conquest. 

He has gone. The great, bustling, pulsating world will 
go on without him. Railway and other corporations will 
organize, lease and contract with one another ; litigation will 
arise ; legislatures will convene ; but we shall see him no 
more. Xo more will he be anxious for others, no more will 
he bear their burdens and fight their battles. Nothing dis- 
tnrbs him now. Men will strive and struffde, reach and 
fall as they did before, but all must share his fate. Our 
paths, however widely they may seem to diverge, lead only 
to the grave. We know not on whose cold, dead, pathetic 
face we may next be called to look. We know not when 
our own hour coineth, but the lesson of his life, the example 
of his success, the pleasure of having had his acquaintance 
and companionship, the sum of his usefulness, the sweetness 
of his memory, are such that we thank God for having giv- 
en us Daniel Barnard. 

"More life, more life I Tis this we crave. 
More life, more life ! When this we have — 
'Tis this that we call death.'' 


014 014 140 9