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tion of considerable importance of a western man, who, though on the bench,” was of indifferent reputation as a lawyer.
"Well now, Judge,” returned Mr. Lincoln, “I think you are rather too hard on
Besides that, I must tell you, he did me a good turn long ago. When I took to the law, I was walking to court one morning, with some ten or twelve miles of bad road before me, when
overtook me in his wagon.
‘Hallo, Lincoln !' said he; 'going to the court-house? Come in and I will give you a seat.'
“Well, I got in, and went on reading his papers. Presently the wagon struck a stump on one side of the road: then it hopped off to the other. I looked out and saw the driver was jerking from side to side in his seat; so said I, Judge; I think your coachman has been taking a drop too much this morning.'
"Well, I declare, Lincoln,' said he, 'I should not much wonder if you are right, for he has nearly upset me half-a-dozen times since starting. So, putting his head out of the window, he shouted, Why, you infernal scoundrel you are drunk !'
“Upon which pulling up his horses and turning round with great gravity, the coachman said: 'Be dad ! but that's the first rightful decision your honor has given for the last twelve months !'”
Honest Abe and His Lady Client. About the time Mr. Lincoln began to be known as a successful lawyer, he was waited upon by a lady, who held a real-estate claim which she desired to have him prosecute, putting into his hands, with the necessary papers, a check for two hundred and fifty dollars, as a retaining fee.
Mr. Lincoln said he would look the case over, and asked her to call again the next day. Upon presenting herself, Mr. Lincoln told her that he had gone through the papers very carefully, and must tell her frankly that there was not a “peg" to hang her claim
upon, and he could not conscientiously advise her to bring an action. The lady was satisfied, and, thanking him, rose to go.
“Wait,” said Mr, Lincoln, fumbling in his vest pocket; "here is the check you left with me."
“But, Mr. Lincoln,” returned the lady, “I think you earned that.”
No, no," he responded, handing it back to her; "that would not be right. I can't take pay for doing my duty.”
Attention Shown to Relatives.
One of the most beautiful traits of Mr. Lincoln was his considerate regard for the poor and obscure relatives he had left, plodding along in their humble ways of life. Wherever upon his circuit he found them, he always went to their dwellings, ate with them, and, when convenient, made their houses his home. He never assumed in their presence the slightest superiority to them, in the facts and conditions of his life. He gave them money when they needed and he possessed it. Countless times he was known to leave his companions at the village hotel, after a hard day's work in the court room, and spend the evening with these old friends and campanions of his humbler days. On one occasion, when urged not to go, he replied, “Why, aunt's heart would be broken if I should leave town without calling upon her;" yet he was obliged to walk several miles to make the call.
How Lincoln Kept His Business Accounts.
A little fact in Lincoln's work will illustrate his ever present desire to deal honestly and justly with men. He had always a partner in his professional life, and, when he went out upon the circuit, this partner was usually at home. When out he frequently took up and disposed of cases that were never entered at the office. In these cases, after receiving his fees, he divided the money in his pocket-book, labeling each sum (wrapped in a piece of paper), that belonged to his partner, stating his name, and the case on which it was received. He could not be content to keep an account.
He divided the money, so that if he, by any casualty should fail of an opportunity to pay it over, there could be no dispute as to the exact amount that was his partner's due. This may seem trivial, nay, boyish, but it was like Mr. Lincoln.
Lincoln in Court.
Senator McDonald states that he saw a jury trial in Illinois, at which Lincoln defended an old man charged with assault and battery. No blood had been spilled, but there was malice in the prosecution, and the chief witness was eager to make the most of it. On cross-examination, Lincoln gave him rope and drew him out; asked him how long the fight lasted, and how much ground it covered. The witness thought the fight must have lasted half an hour, and covered an acre of ground. Lincoln called his attention to the fact that nobody was hurt, and then, with an inimitable air, asked him if he didn't think it was “a mighty small crop for an acre of ground.” The jury rejected the case with contempt as beneath the dignity of twelve brave, good men and true.
In another cause the son of his old friend, who had employed him and loaned him books, was charged with a murder committed in a riot at a camp-meeting. Lincoln volunteered for the defense. A witness swore that he saw the prisoner strike the fatal blow. It was night, but be swore that the full moon was sliining clear, and he saw everything distinctly. The case seemed hopeless, but Lincoln produced an almanac, and showed that at the hour there was no moon. Then he depicted the crime of perjury with such eloquence that the false witness fled the Court House. One who heard the trial says:
It was near night when he concluded, saying: “If justice was done, before the sun set it would shine upon his client a free man.''
The Court charged the jury; they retired, and presently returned a verdict— “Not guilty." The prisoner fell into his weeping mother's arms, and then turned to thank Mr. Linclon, who, looking out at the sun, said: "It is not yet sundown, and you are free."
One of Lincoln's “Hardest Hits."
In Abbott's “History of the Civil War," the following story is told of one of Lincoln's hardest hits:”
“I once knew," said Lincoln, "a sound churchman by the name of Brown, who was a member of a very sober and pious committee having in charge the erection of a bridge over a dangerous and rapid river. Several architects failed, and at last Brown said he had a friend named Jones, who had built several bridges and undoubtedly could build that one.
So Mr. Jones was called in. «Can you build this bridge ? inquired the committee. "Yes,' replied Jones, or any other.
I could build a bridge to the infernal regions, if necessary !'
The committee were shocked, and Brown felt called upon to defend his friend. 'I know Jones so well,' said he, and he is so honest a man and so good an architect that if he states soberly and positivəly that he can build a bridge to-to-why, I believe it; but I feel bound