Page:Bench and bar of Colorado - 1917.djvu/44

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The Bench and Bar of Colorado
 

this bench. Gen. Samuel E. Brown came in one day, and taking his seat on one of the chairs of the court room, the perforated bottoms of which were held in place with tacks, he quickly discovered that a tack had been inverted. Immediately arising and addressing the court, he said:

"This court is sharp at the wrong end."

General Brown, first attorney general of the territory, was the wag and wit of the bar. Judge Markham said of him that he would rather get off a joke than get a verdict, and that if he had been paid a dollar apiece for all the suits he had appeared in, he'd have been the richest man in the world.

The unique and extraordinary character, who was first judge of this district, must necessarily occupy the foreground in any picture of this court for the period covered by this sketch. He presided here for thirty years, and thus rounded out a forty-year term upon the bench in Colorado. Nature is not sufficiently fecund, in departing from formula, to lend reasonable expectation that he will be approached, much less duplicated, within the century.

Dignified in bearing, austere in manner, unapproachable in demeanor, frigid in speech, there dwelt beneath this cold and forbidding exterior a heart in which the law of kindness was as well known as was the law of the land in the head above the heart.

When I had occasion to seek his aid and that of others for a pioneer lawyer who was in distress, he responded more liberally than any other man approached and in a spirit which showed that an ancient quarrel had left no bitterness. Behind the stern demand for the respect due the judicial office and judicial proceedings, there dwelt a modesty and a simplicity which few were privileged to know or understand. When with him in Washington, during and just before the Cleveland inaugural of 1885, he was turning away from the bar of the Supreme Court, because, on that day, only members of that bar were admitted within the rail. Another lawyer made known the position Judge Hal-