The Life of Abraham Lincoln (Arnold)/Chapter III
|←Chapter II||The Life of Abraham Lincoln by
|Chapter III. The Illinois Legislature.
Lincoln at Twenty-Five.-- At Vandalia.-- Re-elected in 1836.-- Replies to Forquer.-- To Dr. Early.-- To Col. Taylor.-- State Capital Removed from Vandalia to Springfield.-- Anti-Slavery Protest.-- Re-elected in 1838.-- Removes to Springfield.-- Re-elected in 1840.-- Partnership with John T. Stuart.-- Riding the Circuit.
Up to this time Lincoln's work had been up-hill, and his humble life had been a constant struggle with difficulties. By heroic endeavor, by persevering effort, by fortitude and constancy, and a resolute will, he had overcome these difficulties, and had at length found his true vocation. He was now to enter upon a new career. What he was he had made himself. What he knew he owed to his own exertions. Let us pause for a moment, and see what he was and what were his acquirements.
We find him now, at the age of twenty-five, a vigorous, well-developed man, with a constitution inured to toil and hardened by exposure--a sound body upon which he could rely for almost any amount of physical or mental labor, and great powers of endurance. He knew the Bible by heart. There was not a clergyman to be found so familiar with it as he. Scarcely a speech or paper prepared by him, from this time to his death, but contains apt allusions and striking illustrations from the sacred book. He could repeat nearly all the poems of Burns, and was familiar with Shakspeare. In arithmetic, surveying, and the rudiments of other branches of mathematics, he was perfectly at home. He had mastered Blackstone, Kent, and the elementary law books. He had considerable knowledge of physics and mechanics. He showed how much better it is to know thoroughly a few books, than to know many superficially. Such had been his education. He was manly, gentle, just, truthful, and honest. In conduct, kind and generous; so modest, so considerate of others, so unselfish, that everyone liked him and wished him success. True, he was homely, awkward, diffident; but he was, in fact, strictly a gentleman--"in substance, at least, if not in outside polish."
From the books named, and especially from the Bible, he had acquired that clear, concise, simple, nervous, Anglo-Saxon style so effective with the people, and in this he was scarcely equalled by any American writer or speaker. It is wonderful how many sentences can be found in his writings, short, striking, clear and emphatic, in which every word consists of a single syllable.
His residence at Vandalia during the session of the Legislature, and his removal to Springfield, brought him into association with many families of culture and refinement. He now met as associates men of learning and intellect. He had access to all the books he could read, and the world of English literature, history and science lay open before him. He became and continued through life a student, always seeking and constantly acquiring knowledge. He was never ashamed to acknowledge his ignorance of any subject, and he rarely lost an opportunity to remedy it. At the first session of the Legislature he took no very active part in the discussions, but was studious and observant. He said little, and learned much.
In 1836, he was again a candidate for the Legislature, and in this canvass he greatly distinguished himself. On one occasion there was to be a public discussion among the opposing candidates, held at the Court House at Springfield, and Lincoln, among others, was advertised to speak. This was his first appearance "on the stump" at the County Seat. There lived at this time in the most pretentious house in the town a prominent citizen with the name of George Forquer. He had been long in public life, had been a leading whig, the party to which Lincoln belonged, but had lately gone over to the democrats, and received from the democratic administration an appointment to the lucrative post of Register of the Land Office at Springfield. Upon his handsome new house he had lately placed a lightning rod, the first one ever put up in Sangamon County. As Lincoln was riding into town with his friends they passed the fine house of Forquer, and observed the novelty of the lightning rod, discussing the manner in which it protected the house from being struck by lightning.
There was a very large meeting, and there was great curiosity to hear the orator from New Salem, who, as the "Clary Grove Boys" insisted, could make a better stump speech than any man at the County Seat. A Kentuckian, then lately from his native state, and who had heard Clay, Rowan, and many of the orators for which that state was then so distinguished, says: "I stood near Lincoln and heard his speech, and it struck me then, and it seems to me now, I never heard a more effective speaker... The crowd seemed to be swayed by him, as he pleased."
There were seven whig and seven democratic candidates for the lower branch of the Legislature, and after several had spoken, it fell to Lincoln to close the discussion. He did it with great ability. Forquer, though not a candidate, then asked to be heard for the democrats in reply to Lincoln. He was a good speaker, and well known throughout the county. His special task that day was to attack and ridicule the young countryman from Salem. Turning to Lincoln, who stood within a few feet of him, he said: "This young man must be taken down, and I am truly sorry that the task devolves upon me." He then proceeded, in a very overbearing way, and with an assumption of great superiority, to attack Lincoln and his speech. He was fluent and ready with the rough sarcasm of the stump, and he went on to ridicule the person, dress, and arguments of Lincoln with so much success that Lincoln's friends feared that he would be embarrassed and overthrown. The "Clary Grove Boys," who were present to cheer, applaud, and back Lincoln, could scarcely be restrained from getting up a fight in behalf of their favorite. They and all his friends, felt that the attack was ungenerous and unmanly.
Lincoln, however, stood calm, but his flashing eye and pale cheek indicated his indignation. As soon as Forquer had closed, he took the stand and first answered his opponent's arguments, fully and triumphantly. So impressive were his words and manner that a hearer believes that he can remember to this day, and repeat, some of the expressions. Among other things, he said: "The gentleman commenced his speech by saying that 'this young man,' alluding to me, must be taken down. I am not so young in years, as I am in the tricks and the trades of a politician, but," said he, pointing to Forquer, "live long or die young, I would rather die now, than, like the gentleman, change my politics. and with the change receive an office worth three thousand dollars a year, and then," continued he, "then feel obliged to erect a lightning-rod over my house to protect a guilty conscience from an offended God."
It is difficult to-day to appreciate the effect on the old settlers, of this figure. This lightning rod was the first which most of those present had ever seen. They had slept all their lives in their cabins, in conscious security. Here was a man who seemed to these simple-minded people to be afraid to sleep in his own house, without special and extra-ordinary protection from Almighty God. These old settlers thought that nothing but the consciousness of guilt, the stings of a guilty conscience, could account for such timidity. Forquer and his lightning-rod were talked over in every settlement from the Sangamon to the Illinois and the Wabash. Whenever he rose to speak thereafter, they said "there is the man who dare not sleep in his own house, without a lightning-rod to keep off the vengeance of the Almighty."
Lincoln's reply to Dr. Early, a prominent democratic leader, in the same canvass, has been often spoken of as exhibiting wonderful ability, and a crushing power of sarcasm and ridicule. When he began he was embarrassed, spoke slowly, and with some hesitation and difficulty, but soon becoming warm, and excited by his subject, he forgot himself entirely, and went on with argument and wit, anecdote and ridicule, until his opponent was completely crushed. Old settlers of Sangamon County, who heard this reply, speak of his personal transformation as wonderful. When Lincoln began, they say, he seemed awkward, homely, unprepossessing. As he went on, and became excited, his figure rose to its full height, and became commanding and majestic. His plain face was illuminated and glowed with expression. His dreamy eye flashed with inspiration, and his whole person, his voice, his gestures, were full of the magnetism of powerful feeling, of conscious strength and true eloquence.
Among the democratic orators who canvassed Sangamon County in 1836, was Colonel Dick Taylor. He was a small, but very pompous little gentleman, who rode about in his carriage, neatly dressed, with many and very conspicuous ruffles to his shirt, with patent leather boots, kid gloves, some diamonds and gold studs in his linen, an immense watch-chain with many seals, charms, and pendants, and altogether in most striking contrast with the simple, and plainly clad people whom he addressed. The Colonel was a very amiable man, but pompous. Vain, and affecting to be, withal, an extreme democrat, he had much to say of "the bone and sinew" of the land, "the hard-handed yeomanry." He was very sarcastic on the whig "aristocracy," the "rag barons," the "silk stocking gentry." Lincoln, the candidate of this so-called aristocracy, was dressed in Kentucky jeans, coarse boots, checkered shirt buttoned round his neck without a neck-tie, an old slouched hat, and certainly the last thing he or his appearance could suggest, would be that of anything aristocratic.
On one occasion when Lincoln was present, Taylor, in the midst of a most violent harangue against the whig aristocrats, made a gesture so forcibly, that he tore the buttons off his vest, and the whole magnificence of his ruffles, gold watch chain, seals, etc., burst forth, fully exposed. Taylor paused in embarrassment. Lincoln stepping to the front, and turning to Taylor, pointed to his ruffles and exclaimed, "Behold the hard-fisted democrat. Look, gentlemen, at this specimen of the bone and sinew. And here, gentlemen," said he, laying his great bony hand bronzed with work, on his own heart, "here at your service," bowing, "here is your aristocrat! here is one of your silk stocking gentry!" Spreading out his hands. "Here is your rag baron with his lily-white hands. Yes. I suppose," continued he, "I, according to my friend Taylor, am a bloated aristocrat." The contrast was irresistibly ludicrous, and the crowd burst into shouts of laughter and uproar. In this campaign the reputation of Lincoln as a speaker was established, and ever afterwards he was recognized as one of the great orators of the state.
The Sangamon delegation to the Legislature, there being two senators and seven members of the House--nine in all, and each over six feet high--was known as the "Long Nine," and Lincoln, being tallest of all, was called the "Sangamon Chief." Among his colleagues from Sangamon, were Edward D. Baker, afterwards member of Congress and United States Senator,--killed at Balls Bluff, and Ninian W. Edwards, son of Governor Ninian Edwards. Among his fellow-members of the House, were Stephen Arnold Douglas, John J. Hardin, James Shields, William A. Richardson, John Logan, John A. McClernand, and others who became prominent in the state and nation. In this canvass he had received, as in 1834, the highest vote given to any man on the ticket. At the first session (1836-7), he advocated and voted for measures for opening the great ship canal from Lake Michigan to the Illinois River. This work, which would bring into exchange the commerce of the Lakes and the Mississippi, by cutting through the short portage between Lake Michigan and the Illinois River, needs but to be enlarged to the size contemplated in its original plan, to realize all, and more, than was expected from it. He also voted for a system of internal improvements by means of railroads, far, very far, in advance of the needs of the state at that time, and very much exceeding the ability of the people to pay for; yet such was the popular delusion, that the people of Sangamon County instructed their delegation to vote "for a general system of internal improvement," and not only Lincoln, but Douglas, and nearly all the prominent members, voted for this extravagant measure. Orville H. Browning, then senator from Adams County, and afterwards United States senator, had the honor of opposing this system.
For the immediate constituents of Sangamon County, Lincoln and the "Long Nine" succeeded in getting a law passed removing the capital from Vandalia to Springfield. A fellow member, one of the "Nine," speaking of this measure says: "When our bill to all appearance was dead, and beyond resuscitation, ...and our friends could see no hope, Lincoln never for a moment despaired, but collecting his colleagues in his room for consultation, his practical common sense, his thorough knowledge of human nature, made him an overmatch for his compeers, and for any man I have ever known."
At this session, and on the 3d of March, 1837, he began that series of anti-slavery measures which were ended and consummated in the "Proclamation of Emancipation," and the "Amendment of the Constitution," abolishing and prohibiting slavery forever throughout the republic. At this time it required courage to speak or write against slavery. Resolutions of an extremely violent pro-slavery character, and denunciatory of "abolitionists" and all efforts to abolish or restrict slavery, were carried through the Legislature by overwhelming majorities. The people of Illinois at that time, were made up largely of emigrants from the slave states, filled with the prejudices of that section, and the feeling against anti-slavery men was violent, and almost universal. There then existed in Illinois a body of laws against negroes, called "The Black Code," of most revolting cruelty and severity. Under these circumstances Lincoln jeopardized his popularity by drawing up and signing a solemn protest against these resolutions. But among all the members of the House, over one hundred in number, he found only one who had the courage to join him. Abraham Lincoln and Dan Stone were the only ones who had the nerve to express and record their protest against the injustice of slavery. This protest, qualified as it was to meet, if possible, the temper of the times, declared that slavery is founded on injustice and bad policy.
In 1838, Lincoln was again elected to the Legislature. One of his colleagues, who made the canvass in a part of the county with him, says: "We called at nearly every house... Everybody knew Lincoln. It was, then, the universal custom to keep whiskey in the house, for private use, and to treat friends. Everywhere the master of the house, addressing Lincoln, would say: ' You never drink, but may be your friend will take a little.'" "I never saw Lincoln drink, and he told me he never drank." He was now the acknowledged leader of his party, and they made him their candidate for speaker; but his party, the whigs, being in a minority, he was not elected.
The great service he had rendered the town of Springfield, in carrying through the law for removing the capital to that place, was gratefully appreciated, and his many friends urged him to come there to live and practice law. His old friend, John T. Stuart, a lawyer of established position and in good practice, offered him a partnership. This offer he gladly accepted, and in April, 1837, he removed to, and made his home in Springfield. He had been admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court in the fall of 1836, but his name does not appear on the roll of attorneys until 1837. On the 27th of April of that year he entered into partnership with Stuart, under the name of Stuart and Lincoln, and this partnership continued until the 14th day of April, 1841.
His friend Speed, speaking of his entry into Springfield, says: "He rode into town on a borrowed horse, without earthly goods, but a pair of saddle-bags, two or three law-books, and some clothing in his saddle-bags. He came into my store, set his saddle-bags on the counter, and said:
"'Speed, tell me what the furniture for a single bed-room will cost.'
"I took my pencil, figured it up, and found it would cost seventeen dollars.
"Lincoln replied: 'It is cheap enough, but I want to say, cheap as it is, I have not the money to pay. But if you will credit me until Christmas, and my experiment here is a success, I will pay you then. If I fail, I will probably never be able to pay you.'
"The voice was so melancholy, I felt for him."
Lincoln was evidently suffering from one of his fits of depression and sadness. Speed kindly replied:
"I have a very large double bed which you are perfectly welcome to share with me, if you choose."
"Where is your bed?" said Lincoln.
"Up-stairs," replied Speed.
He took his saddle-bags on his arm, went up stairs, placed them on the floor, and came down, laughing, saying: "Speed, I am moved." The ludicrous idea of "moving" all his goods and chattels, by taking his saddle-bags upstairs, made him as mirthful as he had been melancholy.
From that time on, Springfield was his home until when, twenty-three years thereafter, he left his humble residence to occupy the White House as President of the United States. He and Speed took their meals with William Butler, a mutual friend, and afterwards Treasurer of the State of Illinois. In a short time, by his close application and industry, and by his association with Stuart, he had a good practice, and attended courts in all the counties near Springfield.
We are indebted to Mr. Speed for another incident, illustrating his kindness of heart. Lincoln and the other members of the bar from the capital had been attending court at Christiansburg, and Speed was riding with them towards Springfield. He tells us that there was quite a party of these lawyers, riding, two by two, along a country lane. Lincoln and John J. Hardin brought up the rear of the cavalcade. "We had passed through a thicket of wild plum and crabapple trees, and stopped to water our horses. Hardin came up alone.
"'Where is Lincoln,' we inquired.
"'Oh,' replied he, 'when I saw him last, he had caught two young birds, which the wind had blown out of their nest, and he was hunting the nest to put them back.'
"In a short time, Lincoln caine up, having found the nest and placed the young birds in it.
"The party laughed at him, but he said; 'I could not have slept if I had not restored those little birds to their mother.'"
The act was characteristic, and illustrates a tenderness of heart which never failed him. To that tenderness in after life, many a mother appealed in behalf of a wayward son, and rarely in vain.
When Lincoln began the practice of law in Springfield, all the federal courts in the state were held there. John McLean, Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, was the circuit, and Nathaniel Pope the district judge. Both were good lawyers, and very able men. The Supreme Court of the state then held all its sessions at the capital, and the judges were sound lawyers and men of high personal character. The Springfield bar was especially distinguished for its able lawyers and eloquent advocates. The state was sparsely settled, with a hardy, fearless, and honest, but very litigious, population.
The court house was sometimes framed and boarded, but more frequently of logs. The judge sat upon a raised platform, behind a rough board, sometimes covered with green baize, for a table on which to write his notes. A small table stood on the floor in front, for the clerk, and another larger one in front of the clerk, and in the area in the center of the room, around which in rude chairs the lawyers were grouped, too often with their feet on top of it. Rough benches were placed there for the jury, parties, witnesses, and by-standers. The court rooms were nearly always crowded, for here were rehearsed and acted the dramas. the tragedies, and the comedies of real life.
The court house has always been a very attractive place to the people of the frontier. It supplied the place of theatres, lecture and concert rooms, and other places of interest and amusement, in the older settlements and towns. The leading lawyers and judges were the star actors, and had each his partisans. Hence crowds attended the courts to see the judges, to hear the lawyers contend with argument, and law, and wit for success, victory, and fame. The merits and ability of the leading advocates; their success or discomfiture in examining or cross-examining a witness; the ability of this or that one to obtain a verdict, were canvassed at every cabin-raising, bee or horse-race, and at every log house and school in the county. Thus the lawyers were stimulated to the utmost exertion of their powers, not only by controversy and desire of success, but by the consciousness that their efforts were watched with eagerness by friends, clients, partisans, and rivals.
From one to another of these rude court houses, the gentlemen of the bar passed, following the judge around his circuit from county to county, traveling generally on horseback, with saddle-bags, brushes, an extra shirt or two, and perhaps two or three law books. Sometimes two or three lawyers would unite and travel in a buggy, and the poorer and younger ones not seldom walked. But a horse was not an unusual fee, and in those days when horse thieves, as clients, were but too common, it was not long before a young man of ability found himself well mounted. There was great freedom in social intercourse. Manners were rude, but genial, kind, and friendly. Each was always ready to assist his fellows, and selfishness was not tolerated. The relations between the bench and bar were familiar, free, and easy, and flashes of wit, humor, and repartee were constantly exchanged.
Such was the life upon which Lincoln now entered, and there gathered with him, around those pine tables of the frontier court house, a very remarkable combination of men; men who would have been leaders of the bar at Boston or New York, Philadelphia or Washington; men who would have made their mark in Westminster Hall, or upon any English circuit. At the capital were John T. Stuart, Stephen T. Logan, Edward D. Baker, Ninian W. Edwards, Josiah Lamborn, attorney-general, and many others. Among the leading lawyers from other parts of the state, who practiced in the Supreme and Federal Courts at the capital, were Stephen Arnold Douglas; Lyman Trumbull, for many many years chairman of the judiciary committee of the United States Senate; O. H. Browning, senator and member of the cabinet at Washington; William H. Bissell, member of Congress, and governor of the state; David Davis, justice of the Supreme Court, senator, and Vice-President of the United States; Justin Butterfield, of Chicago, and many others almost, or quite, equally distinguished.
It was with these men that Lincoln now came into constant collision and competition. It was in conflict with these intellectual giants at the bar and on the stump that he was trained and disciplined for the great work before him. In those days law libraries were small, and comparatively few adjudicated cases could be found, so that the questions which arose had to be solved, not by finding a case in point, but by the application of principle. These men were therefore constantly trained to reason from analogy, and the result was a bar, which for ability, logic, and eloquence, had no occasion to fear comparison with any in the American Union. It was thus that Lincoln was educated and trained, and became one of the ablest lawyers and advocates in the United States. From 1839 to 1860 he was in constant practice before the State and Federal Courts of Illinois, and was often called on special retainers into other states.
There will be occasion to speak more fully of Lincoln as a lawyer and advocate by and by; suffice it now to say that in his practice on the circuit and before the Supreme Court he was popular with the bench, bar, jury, and spectators. His wit and humor, his wonderful ability to illustrate by apt stories and anecdotes, was unrivaled.
This "circuit riding" involved all sorts of adventures. Hard fare at miserable country taverns, sleeping on the floor and fording swollen streams were every day occurrences. All such occurrences were met with good humor and often turned into sources of frolic and fun. In fording swollen streams, Lincoln was frequently sent forward as a scout, or pioneer. His extremely long legs enabled him, by taking off his boots and stockings. and by rolling up, or otherwise disposing of his trousers, to test the depth of the stream, find the most shallow water, and thus to pilot the party through the current without wetting his garments.
In 1840 he was again elected to the Legislature, and at this term he had as his colleague his old friend, John Calhoun. He was again a candidate for speaker. Having been elected four times to as many biennial terms of the Legislature, he declined again to be a candidate.
In looking over his eight years service in the General Assembly, there appears little indication of the great ability as a statesman, which he afterwards developed. It is true that his party was, at all times, in a minority, and that the population of the state was small. The legislation consisted largely of measures for opening roads, building bridges, and for other local purposes, and the bills for the construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, and other internal improvements. If he had died at the close of his service in the General Assembly, neither the nation nor his own state would have known very much of Abraham Lincoln. He had not yet fully developed those great qualities, nor rendered those great services, which have since made him known throughout the world. All who closely studied his history will observe that he continued to grow and expand in intellect and character to the day of his death.
- In his reply to Douglas, at Springfield, July 17, 1858, he said: "I set out in this campaign with the intention of conducting it strictly as a gentleman, in substance, at least, if not in outside polish. The latter I shall never be, but that which constitutes the inside of a gentleman, I hope I understand, and I am not less inclined to practice than another." (Lincoln and Douglas Debates, p. 57.)
- Joshua F. Speed.
- Joshua F. Speed. See the Lincoln Memorial Album, pp. 144, 145.
- Joshua F. Speed. Letter of 1882.
- Holland's Life of Lincoln. Statements to the Author by the by-standers.
- See Ford's History of Illinois.
- Robert L. Wilson, see Journal of House of Representatives, 1836-7.
- The following is the protest in full. See House Journal of Illinois Legislature, 1836-7, pp. 817, 818.
"March 3, 1837.
"The following protest was presented to the House, which was read and ordered to be spread on the journals, to wit:
"Resolutions upon the subject of domestic slavery having passed both branches of the General Assembly at its present session, the undersigned hereby protest against the passage of the same.
"They believe that the institution of slavery is founded on both injustice and and bad policy, but that the promulgation of abolition doctrine tends rather to increase than to abate its evils.
"They believe that the Congress of the United States has no power, under the 'Constitution', to interfere with the institution of slavery in the different States.
"They believe that the Congress of the United States has the power, under the 'Constitution', to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia, but that that power ought not to be exercised, unless at the request of the people of said district.
"The differences between these opinions, and those contained in the said resolutions, is their reason for entering this protest.
"Representatives from the county of Sangamon."
- Robert L. Wilson.
- Robert L. Wilson.
- "Springfield, Ill., September 7, 1882.
"Hon. Isaac N. Arnold.
"Dear Sir:-- I have received your favor of the 4th inst., and I answer.
"The partnership, between myself and Mr. Lincoln, was entered into, on the 27th day of April, 1837, and continued until the 14th day of April, 1841.
"The partnership, between Judge Logan and Mr. Lincoln, was entered into on the 14th of April, 1841, and continued until about the 20th of September, 1843.
"About the 20th of September, 1843, Mr. Lincoln and William H. Herndon, entered into partnership, which continued until the death of Mr. Lincoln.
"Mr. Lincoln never had any other partner in Sangamon County, his home, and so far as I am informed, never had one elsewhere.
"Repectfully your friend,
"JOHN T. STUART."
- John F. Speed, Lincoln Memorial Album, pp. 145, 146.
- Killed in the Mexican War at the battle of Buena Vista.
- Speed. Lincoln Memorial Album, p. 147.
- A man whom Judge McLean pronounced the ablest nisiprius lawyer in the United States.
- Justin Butterfield was among the ablest lawyers of Chicago. I insert the following incidents connected with him and illustrating life at that time. In December, 1842, Governor Ford, on the application of the executive of Missouri, issued a warrant for the arrest of Joseph Smith, the apostle of Mormonism, then residing at Nauvoo in this state, as a fugitive from justice. He was charged with having instigated the attempt, by some Mormons, to assassinate Governor Boggs of Missouri. Mr. Butterfield, in behalf of Smith, sued out, from Judge Pope, a writ of habeas corpus, and Smith was brought before the United States District Court. On the hearing it clearly appeared that he had not been in Missouri, nor out of Illinois, within the time in which the crime had been committed, and if had any connection with the offence, the acts must have been done in Illinois. Was he then a fugitive from justice? It was pretty clear, that if allowed to be taken into Missouri, means would have been found to condemn and execute him. The Attorney General of Illinois, Mr. Lamborn, appeared to sustain the warrant. Mr. Butterfield, aided by B.F. Edwards, appeared for Smith, and moved for his discharge. The prophet (so called) was attended by his twelve apostles, and a large number of his followers, and the case attracted great interest. The court room was thronged with prominent members of the bar and public men. Judge Pope was a gallant gentleman of the old school, and loved nothing better than to be in the midst of youth and beauty. Seats were crowded on the judge's platform on both sides and behind the judge, and an array of brilliant and beautiful ladies almost encircled the court. Mr. Butterfield, dressed a la Webster, in blue dress-coat and metal buttons, with buff vest, rose with dignity, and amidst the most profound silence. Pausing, and running his eyes admiringly from the central figure of Judge Pope along the rows of lovely women on each side of him, he said:
"May it please the Court,
"I appear before you to-day under circumstances most novel and peculiar. I am to address the 'Pope' (bowing to the judge) surrounded by angels (bowing still lower to the ladies), in the presence of the holy apostles, in behalf of the prophet of the Lord."
Among the most lovely and attractive of these "angels," were the daughters of Judge Pope, a daughter of Mr. Butterfield, Mrs. Lincoln, Miss Dunlap, afterwards Mrs. Gen. Jno. A. McClernand, and others, some of whom still live, and the tradition of their youthful beauty is verified by their lovely daughters and grandchildren.
General Shields and the Shot that Killed Breese.-- All the old members of the bar will recall with pleasant recollections a gallant and genial Irishman, James Shields, of Tyrone County, Ireland. He was, however, more distinguished as a politician and soldier, than as a lawyer and judge. In 1848, he was elected to the United States Senate, succeeding Senator Breese, who was a candidate for re-election. At the battle of Cerro Gordo, in the war against Mexico, he was shot through the lungs, the ball passing out his back. His nomination over a man so distinguished as Judge Breese was a surprise to many, and was the reward for his gallantry and wound. His political enemies said his recovery was marvellous, and that his wound was miraculously cured, so that no scar could be seen where the bullet entered and passed out of his body, all of which was untrue. The morning after the nomination, Mr. Butterfield, who was as violent a whig as General Shields was a democrat, met one of the judges in the Supreme Court room, who expressed his astonishment at the result, but added the judge, "It was the was and that Mexican bullet that did the business." "Yes," answered Mr. Butterfield, dryly, "and what an extraordinary, what a wonderful shot that was! The ball went clean through Shields without hurting him, or even leaving a scar, and killed Breese a thousand miles away."
"Oyer" and Terminer."-- It was on one of the Northern Circuits, held by Judge Jesse B. Thomas, that Mr. Butterfield, irritated by the delay of the judge in deciding a case, which he had argued some time before, came in one morning and said with great gravity: I believe if your Honor please, this Court is called the 'Oyer and Terminer.' I think it ought to be called the 'Oyer sans Terminer,'" and sat down. The next morning, when counsel were called for motions, Mr. Butterfield called up a pending motion for new trial in an important case. "The motion is overruled," said Judge Thomas, abruptly. "Yesterday you declared this Court ought to be called Oyer sans Terminer, so," continued the judge, "as I had made up my mind in this case, I thought I would decide it promptly." Mr. Butterfield seemed for a moment a little disconcerted, but directly added: "May if please your Honor, yesterday this Court was a Court of Oyer sans Terminer; to-day your Honor has reversed the order, it is now Terminer sans Oyer. But I believe I should prefer the injustice of interminable delay, rather than the swift and inevitable blunders your Honor is sure to make by guessing without hearing argument."