Page images
PDF
EPUB

to two minor children and a well Adams having both held that exknown lawyer was appointed trus- alted position. Charles Francis tee. When the children became of Adams, who was minister to the age and demanded an accounting it Court of St. James during the War was found that the entire fortune of the Rebellion, rendered his counhad been dissipated. Mr. May as try the most distinguished service counsel for the heirs made strong in that position and laid the basis efforts to induce the justices of the for the Alabama Claims which cost Municipal Court to issue a warrant England $20,000,000 for the destrucfor the arrest of the lawyer, but it tion of American shipping by Conwas decided that there was no stat- federate privateers built and fitted ute covering the offence and that it out in English shipyards. At the could not be reached at common time of the incident under considlaw. The legislature was in session eration Mr. Adams was well adat the time and passed the so-called vanced in years and it was found embezzlement law as applied to that his mental condition was such “clerks, servants or agents.” In the that he was unable to testify. To meantime Mr. May had become establish a case for the government District Attorney for Suffolk coun- Mr. Stevens had to rely upon the ty, and intended to present the case testimony of Hon. Richard Olney to that body but Judge Aldrich and John Quincy Adams the son of forestalled possible action by in- Charles Francis Adams, neither of structing the grand jury that any whom had personal knowledge of embezzlement of trust funds before the transaction. It was a difficult the law was passed was not subject matter for Mr. Stevens to lay a of indictment, as the law could not foundation but he succeeded in be made retroactive in its operation. overcoming all objections raised by This ended the legal proceedings ingenious counsel and Fitzgerald, and nothing more was done.

who was convicted, was sentenced Mr. Stevens who was District At by Chief Justice Brigham to a long torney for more than thirty years term in state prison. represented the government at many John A. Andrew and George Senimportant trials where the accused' nott—the latter a celebrated crimiwere defended by the ablest attor- nal lawyer in Boston-who in 1859 neys at the bar. One of the most volunteered their services in deinteresting cases was against a fence of John Brown when tried in 'young man named Fitzgerald wlio the courts of Virginia for treason in had an extensive acquaintance an attempt to incite the slaves to among public men at Washington insurrection, made quite a reputaand who was charged with obtain- tion in the North and won the gratiing a check for about $2,500 from tude of the abolitionists. The trial the Hon. Charles Francis Adams did not give Mr. Andrew or Mr. by means of a bunco game. Mr. Sennott an opportunity to show Adams enjoyed the unique distinc- their legal abilities but it evoked tion of being not only a son but a humanitarian considerations that grandson of a president of the molded and shaped public opinion United States, his grandfather John for the tremendous conflict of arms Adams and his father John Quincy that soon followed. It was a cour

[merged small][graphic]
[graphic]

SETH J. THOMAS

ageous act for these two Boston lawyers to array themselves against the southern sentiment then prevailing on the slave question and in almost any other southern state their lives would have been in danger. The people of Virginia like those of Massachusetts, however, had been educated to respect the law and the descendants of the Cavaliers had no more sympathy with mob violence than had the

LEMUEL SHAW sons of the Pilgrims.

The real test of a lawyer has tion without representation" in the always been, and is now, the power llassachusetts Colony that led up to present questions to the full to the American Revolution. The bench of the Supreme Court. Be- constitutional questions involved fore that tribunal oratory counts were fully and ably discussed by for nothing and men who can sway Sidney Bartlett, R. D. Westona jury by their eloquence find their Smith, and Charles A. Prince who talents wasted when confronted represented the petitioners, while with propositions which to success the rights of the police board were fully maintain require logical pres- argued by William G. Russell and entation and sound reasoning. George Putnam. The decision that

The most eminent member of the the petitioners had mistaken their legal profession cannot anticipate a remedly was most disappointing, the court holding that the title to the according to his conscience, regardoffice could only be impeached by less of laws framed for the general writ of quo warranto.

good of the public. Several years The next day an opinion came ago the Rev. Mr. Davis refused to down in an unimportant case that ask for a permit to preach on the settled all the points in controversy, Common, claiming that it was his although the constitutional ques- inalienable right to preach the Word tions had merely been suggested of God whenever and wherever he and not much insisted upon. The desired. He was complained of for case was that of the Commonwealth violation of a city ordinar.ce and vs. George Plaisted, a member of upon conviction carried the matter the Salvation Army, who had been to the Supreme Court upon excepconvicted of violating the regula- tions which were overruled on the tions of the police board requiring ground that such an ordinance was all itinerant musicians to have li- valid. The Mayor of Boston was censes. The right to worship God willing to give Mr. Davis a permit according to the dictates of one's but he refused to apply for one. He conscience was a constitutional was before the court several times question that was raised but in its and remained in jail rather than opinion the court dealt very lightly pay the fine imposed. On one occawith that branch of the case and de- sion Mr. Davis appealed from a fined at some length the powers of sentence of the Municipal Court the legislature in determining local and at a trial in the Superior Court self-government. The court says Judge Aldrich, a man of profound that while the legislature could not religious conviction, and of the old abolish town system without coming Puritan type, presided. As usual into contact with some provisions of Mr. Davis in his own behalf adthe Constitution, yet in most respects dressed the jury, claiming that even it leaves the powers and duty of pro- the legislature had not a right to viding laws for the government of prescribe the forms of religious the towns and cities to the discre- worship. Judge Aldrich listened tion of the legislature. “It may patiently for a few minutes when amend their charters, enlarge or he interruptell the defendant with diminish their powers, extend or the remark, “Vr. Davis, I want you limit their boundaries, consolidate to distinctly understand that the two or more into one and abolish first duty of a Christian is to obey them altogether at its own discre- the laws of the land." The jury tion."

speedily found Mr. Davis guilty Plaisted is not the only man who and it was his last appearance in has claimed the right to worship the courts.

The American Sewing Machine

A Boston Yankee Invention which has Conquered the World

By ALEXANDER HUME FORD

IT TOOK a Yankee to invent the day there are more Yankee-made 1 sewing machine, and it took sewing machines used abroad than

him many years. In fact, it is those of all foreign makes comjust half a century since the first bined. commercial sewing machine, that Fifty years ago sewing machines could sew, was put together in Bos- were still being made to sell as curton, although a hundred years be- iosities. Firms and manufacturers fore that, in 1755, an Englishmar. went bankrupt when the good patented a sewing machine that housewives who had been imposed couldn't sew; and it took fully one upon discovered that the newcentury to remedy the defect. To fangled machine could not begin to America belongs the credit, and to do the work of woman's fingers.

[graphic][merged small]

use, the machine completed at last and the three stockholders gathered together in final confab, only to discover that the wonderful machine from which they had expected so much — would not work. Silently the partners of the tramp left him in disgust. It was a fellow wanderer of the road that in pity held the light now while the inventor worked on and on through the night, until the tools at last fell from his weary hands. He had failed. The only consolation in his despair came from his companion in misery who persuaded him that he had “almost” succeeded, for "the loose loops of threads were all upon the upper side of the cloth." Instantly the idea of the gathering shuttle flashed across the mind of the inventor, and at dawn Isaac Verritt Singer had perfected the first practical sewing machine ever constructed. It made him a rich man, changed the fashions for all

[graphic][merged small]

Moreover, parliaments and people inveighed against an invention that would deprive woman of her chief means of gaining a livelihood. A New England clergyman, the Rev. John A. Dodge, came near inventing a practical sewing machine in the early part of the nineteenth century, but fearing that its perfection and manufacture would drive the journeyman tailors out of business, as a good humanitarian he destroyed his models and declined to make any more. The next great step forward was made by a New England tramp, destitute of altruistic motives, who knew that he must either succeed — or starve. Enthused with his brilliant dreams of success where others had failed for a century, he induced two humble Boston workmen to take stock in his visionary enterprise. One put in his entire capital, forty dollars, with which to buy necessary parts for the proposed machine; the other loaned the use of his tools and workshop. The money was spent, the tools dulled by long

[graphic][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »