A Successful Lawyer
His Practice and PovertyCircuit CourtHouse Enlarged in his AbsenceHorse, Saddle-bags, and BuggyHis CharacterNot Defend a Client in WrongAn Interesting CaseThe Old Negress and Her Son RedeemedColonel Baker and LincolnWhat Judge Treat relatesDeluded into a Wrong CaseRefused to Defend his Client when Convinced he was GuiltyAnother CaseA Suit against a RailroadRefused $250 offered himWhat Gillespie Thought of him as a LawyerWhat Sparks said of himHow he saved Jack Armstrong's Son from the GallowsAunt Hannah and her GratitudeHis Eloquence and PowerHow he Assisted Aunt Hannah afterwardsReleased her Son from the Army when PresidentWhat his Associate said of his PleaHabits of StudySending Money to ParentsSpends $750 for his MotherLetter to his Dying FatherTestimony of Judge Davis and Judge Drummond
When Lincoln commenced the practice of law he was too poor to own a horse and saddle-bags. He was obliged to borrow this outfit of a friend, until he scraped together enough money to purchase one.
But why did he need a horse and saddle-bags? the reader will ask.
At that time the Court went to the clients instead of the clients going to the Court. That is, Court business was laid out in Circuits; and the Court travelled from place to place, holding sessions, and transacting such business as the locality brought to it. Lincoln was in the Eighth Judicial Circuit of Illinois; and for several years travelled over it on horseback, with no other outfit than the contents of his saddle-bags and a cotton umbrella. A longer or shorter period was occupied in completing the Circuit, according to the amount of business brought to the Court. Lincoln was sometimes absent three months from home on the Circuit. During one of these long absences his wife had a second storey and a new roof put upon their house, as a surprise to him. It was nicely finished when he returned. Coming in front of his old home, he sat upon his horse surveying the changed habitation, and pretending not to recognize it, he called to a man across the street,
Stranger, can you tell me where Lincoln lives? He used to live here.
When he got a little more of this worlds goods, he set up a one-horse buggy,a very sorry and shabby- looking affair, which he generally used when the weather promised to be bad. But the lawyers were always glad to see him, and the landlords hailed his coming with pleasure.
Honesty, kindness, generosity, fairness, justice, and kindred qualities distinguished him in the practice of law. A whole volume of incidents might be related, illustrating these qualities of the man, but a few only can be given.
A stranger called to secure his services.
State your case, said Mr. Lincoln. The man stated it at considerable length, when Lincoln surprised him by saying,
I cannot serve you, for you are wrong and the other party is right.
That is none of your business, if I hire and pay you for taking the case, retorted the man.
Not my business! exclaimed Lincoln. My business is never to defend wrong if I am a lawyer. I never take a case that is manifestly wrong.
Well, you can make trouble for the fellow, added the applicant.
Yes, responded Lincoln, there is no reasonable doubt but that I can gain the case for you. I can set a whole neighbourhood at loggerheads; I can distress a widowed mother and her six fatherless children, and thereby get for you six hundred dollars, which rightfully belongs as much to the woman and her children as it does to you. But I wont do it.
Not for any amount of pay? inquired the man.
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