Page:Harvard Law Review Volume 1.djvu/409

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
 

statute law as a well-educated man ought to know, together with an analysis and exposition of the Constitution of the United States. His lectures were clear, strong. and impressive; were listened to with great satisfaction, and were full of materials of practical interest and value.”

Of Joseph Story he writes: “Dr. Dane, in establishing the professorship that bears his name, requested that Judge Story might be its first incumbent. In accordance with this wish and the concurrent desire of all the friends of the college, the appointment was made and accepted, in 1829. At the same time Mr. Ashmun was chosen Royall Professor of Law, with the understanding that he should have the immediate supervision of the Law School, while Judge Story was to devote to it such time as he could spare; and this was no little time, for he knew how to make his days elastic. There never was a man who did more work than he, and yet he knew not how to slight his work, or to put into it less of heart and soul than it could hold. With a body that seemed incapable of fatigue, he had the alertness and vivacity of youth, and imparted his own enthusiasm to his pupils.

“I had repeated opportunities of profiting by his instruction. In the moot courts, at which he presided in the Law School, he drafted juries among the divinity students, and I served several times in that capacity.”


A novel case, involving the question of larceny, was tried in the District Court at Providence, R.I., on Jan. 21. The defendant, a married woman, was charged with the larceny of a will from the deputy town-clerk. Her father had recently died, leaving $5 to the defendant, and the rest of his property, estimated at $60,000, to her brother. On the 9th inst. the will was presented to the Court of Probate, read and referred to the next meeting of the court with a notice of intended probate. The clerk of the Probate Court not being present at the meeting, the deputy town-clerk was elected clerk pro tem., and retained the will in his possession. The next day the defendant entered the town-clerk’s office and asked to see the will. The deputy town-clerk, knowing her to be the testator’s daughter, gave it to her, whereupon she began to tear it into minute fragments in spite of his efforts to prevent her. When asked the motive of her act, she replied: “It was something that had to be done.” She attempted to burn the fragments in the office stove, but being prevented, took them away, and burned them at her home.

The warrant on which she was arrested was based on ch. 242, sect. 11, of the Public Statutes of Rhode Island, which declares that “every person who shall steal any…assurance whatsoever, respecting any property, real or personal, shall be deemed guilty of larceny.” The code gives no definition of the word “steal.”

The court decided that the defendant was not guilty of larceny, “as the evidence showed that the woman had taken the will, not with intent to appropriate it to her own use, but with intent to destroy, and that she was in legal possession of it.”

On Feb. 13 the destroyed will was regularly probated. The contents of the will had been read and noted by the court and clerk at the first meeting; the lawyer who drew up the will swore to its contents; and the son, who was the principal beneficiary, produced a carefully preserved copy, which he had retained in his possession.