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DELIVERED IN THE
NEW COURT HOUSE, IN SPRINGFIELD,
HAMPDEN COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS,
AT THE DEDICATION OF THE SAME, APRIL 28, 1874,
SKETCHES OF THE EARLY HISTORY OF THE OLD COUNTY OF
HAMPSHH^E AND THE COUNTY OF HAMPDEN, AND
OF THE MEMBERS OF THE BAR IN THOSE
COUNTIES, WITH AN APPENDIX.
WILLIAM G. BATES
PUBLISHED AT THE REQUEST OF THE MEMBERS OF THE BAR,
BY THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS.
CLARK W. BRYAN & COMPANY, PUBLISHERS.
■rms'^))^ ^ 1874.
NEW HAMPDEN COUNTY COURT HOUSE,
ELM STREET, SPRINGFIELD, MASS.
DELIVERED IN THE
NEW COURT HOUSE, IN SPRINGFIELD,
HAMPDEN COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS,
AT THE DEDICATION OF THE SAME, APRIL 28, 1874,
SKETCHES OF THE EARLY HISTORY OF THE OLD COUNTY OF
HAMPSHIRE AND THE COUNTY OF HAMPDEN, AND
OF THE MEMBERS OF THE BAR IN THOSE
COUNTIES, WITH AN APPENDIX.
WILLIAM G. BATES
PUBLISHED AT THE REQUEST OF THE MEMBERS OF THE BAR,
BY THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS.
CLARK W. BRYAN & COMPANY, PRINTERS
«a. 1 3 3 a '01
THE NEW YORK
ASTOR, LENOX AND
TILDEN FGU ■-•o.-riONS
Springfield, April 28, 1S74.
Hon. Wm. G. Bates :
My Dear Sir, — I have the honor to inform you that at a meeting of the Hampden
Bar Association, held this afternoon, it was unanimously voted, that the thanks of
the Association be presented to you for the very able, instructive and delightful
address delivered by you, upon the occasion of the dedication of our new County
Court House, and that a copy of the same be requested for publication.
In behalf of the committee, to whom that duty was assigned, I take pleasure in
communicating that vote to you, with the earnest solicitation that you will comply
with the request of your brethren of the Bar.
EDWARD B. GILLETT.
Westfield, June 15, 1874.
Hon. Edward B. Gillett, of the Committee of the Hampden Bar Asso-
My Dear Sir, — I have received your notice of the unanimous vote of the Associa-
tion, expressing their approbation of the address, which was prepared at their
request, and delivered at the dedication of the new Court House ; and I am pleased
at the expression of their wish, that it is deemed worthy of being preserved as a
portion of the history of the times. The men who have lived in the old County of
Hampshire, during the last half-century, certainly were remarkable men, and
deserving of an abler chronicler; but such commendation as my acquaintance with,
and my observation of them, has enabled me to make, is cheerfully submitted to
With my thanks to the members of the Bar for their long kindness and courtesy
to me, and especially for this last expression of their regard, I am their and your
friend and brother,
WILLIAM G. BATES.
By Hon. William G. Bates of Westfield.
Fellow Citiscns, Gentlemen, Ladies,
And viy Brethren of the Bar:
I FEEL grateful to you, my brethren, for this opportunity of
professional and social speech. It is now almost one-half of a
century, — good heavens ! can it be so long .'' — since, as man and
boy, I became connected with the legal profession. During
that time, I have been almost a constant attendant at the sit-
tings of the judicial courts in this County; and, although for a
few years past I have been compelled to abstain partially from
my accustomed participation in your forensic trials, and have
been rather a "looker on here in Vienna" than an actor, I feel
complimented by the assurance that your appointment gives, that
you still regard me as one of your number ; as one who has not
yet passed away, out of sight, out of thought, adown behind the
western hills of life ; but, who is still with you, and of you, sym-
pathizing with you in your toils, your anxieties, and in your
efforts to render the profession of the law an honorable profes-
sion, in the estimation of all men.
I am gratified, also, in the audience, which the occasion has
called together. Not only you, yourselves, are present, whose
peculiar theater this place hereafter is to be, and where you are
to labor and struggle in the intellectual contests of professional
life ; not only the learned jurist who has relinquished a remu-
nerating professional practice to hold the scales of justice with
a hand that does not tremble as he holds it, and whose un-
clouded eye watches its slightest preponderance ; not only those
who, having with you one passion, one interest, and one honor,
6 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
arc here with you, with their hopes and sympathies ; but a large
delegation of the staunch and solid men of the County, which
bears the honored name of the great and fearless champion of
the constitutional laws of England, have assembled with us, to
manifest their respect for an institution upon which rest the
pillars of every well-organized and stable government.
The occasion itself, also, is one of unmixed gratification. We
are here to dedicate a magnificent structure to one of the most
useful and magnificent of purposes. Having erected a temple
to the administration of the law, we are here to consecrate it, as
the forum where the law is to be meted out with Rhadaman-
thine impartiality. And with what more solemn earthly purpose
could we come together ? Next to the consecration of a temple to
the worship of Almighty God, what is there that can so impera-
tively command our reverence, as the accessories of an institu-
tion that He has founded, and that has been handed down to us
through the hoary ages of the world .'' And if we give but a little
reflection to the subject, we shall realize, that we do but follow
in the wake of all those hoary ages, in the respectful ceremoni-
als of this day. We only show forth, by these evidences of our
reverence, our concurrence in the sentiments of the people who
have preceded us in the long annals of time.
The historical books of the Old Testament disclose the rev-
erence of the peoples, whose histories are there recorded, for the
immutability, the impartiality, and the wisdom of their laws.
The trial of St. Paul, in the midst of a mob, clamoring for his
blood, reveals to us how suddenly the words of the apostle, " I
appeal unto Caesar ! " hushed the violence of the maddened pop-
ulace, changed the venue, and transferred the jurisdiction of his
case, whose life they sought, from Jerusalem to Rome.
When Demetrius had stirred up the whole people of Ephesus
to violence and tumult by an exciting appeal, not merely to
their passions, but to their pecuniary interests, and the voice of
reason was drowned in the absorbing cry, " Great is Diana of
the Ephesians," how suddenly did the speech of the town clerk
to the infuriated mob, announcing to them that " the law is open,"
and " if Demetrius and the craftsmen which are with him have
a matter against any man, there are deputies : let them implead
one another," — how soon, I say, did this reference to the law
appease the tumult and disperse the assembly. If we were to
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 7
go, to-day, to those cities of Italy, which, for nearly twenty cen-
turies, have been buried beneath the lava of Vesuvius, and gaze
upon those ruins that modern enterprise has unveiled to the eye
of the astonished beholder, among the numerous examples, ex-
hibiting the depraved tastes of those luxurious and sensual peo-
ples, we shall still see that the ruins of the Forum are the most
noble relics of their reverence and regard.
If we visit the ruins of imperial Rome, although the interest of
the traveler at once draws him to that magnificent cathedral,
whose incomprehensible attractions fill up, with a constantly
growing admiration, the impressions of its vastness and its beauty,
yet his steps most fondly and most frequently turn to the Forum,
where Hortensius, Varro and Cicero spoke, and there they often-
est and longest linger among its mouldering and mournful ruins.
Upon the whole, I think it may safely be said, that the respect
and regard of the different nations of antiquity for the laws of
their country, will be found to correspond with the character of
those public monuments, which their genius has reared, and
which the tooth of time has yet spared to us.
The history of our race reveals to us no nation in which a
respect for the law has not been handed down by its traditions,
or manifested by its memorials ; and the universal evidence
upon this point has induced the conclusion, in the minds of
many persons, that the laws which have existed, as the institu-
tions for the governance of society, were revealed to the race by
the special inspiration of the Deity. But if this conclusion is
not warranted by facts, it seems that a respect for law is so
deeply implanted in the very nature of man, as to become a
part of his being, inscribed upon his conscience, and modifying
the whole conduct of his life. It is so ever-present with us,
above us, beneath us and around us ; it moves along so quietly,
so silently, and withal, with such a tremendous energy ; we feel
that its invisible shield, " by night or noon," is always before us,
and its protecting sword is being brandished continually around
us ; we lie down to sleep with such an assurance of its guar-
dian security, and we go abroad with so confiding a reliance
upon its accompanying care ; we look to it with so confiding a
trust, that there are in its provisions the protection of every
right, and the remedy for every wrong ; that there is, even in
its very inaction, a strength as omnipotent as in its active
8 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
power ; it impresses itself so strongly upon us, that our impres-
sions become a part of ourselves, an instinct of our being, sway-
ing us, guiding us, and so influencing us, that we are constrained
to do right, almost without a consciousness that we can do
wrong. And when we look at its wonderful adaptations, and
see how, almost like the precepts of the gospel, it conforms
itself, as they successively arise, to the varying and changing
economies of commercial life, we feel that the language of the
author of the Ecclesiastical Polity is not too high an eulogium.
Consider a few of the many instances of its felicitous adapt-
ations. The uses of gas, the application of electricity to the
telegraphic inter-communication between man and man. State
and State, and nation and nation ; the application of steam to
the system of navigation, and to the transportation of passen-
gers and freight, — these are all the inventions of later years,
and almost all of them affecting the property, the security and
the lives of mankind. And although, coming down from the
early enlightenment of Rome, the civil law, revised by the au-
thor of the Justinian code, refined by the reflective considera-
tion of Alfred, Edward, and the sages who have lived from the
dawn of civilization, through the growing enhghtenment of
England, it was yet brought over to us in 1620, in the May-
flower, with all those provisions which the relations of all those
new discoveries require in their innumerable ramifications.
Well, then, might that great divine, to whom I have referred, in
language that scarcely can be too often repeated, make use of
this eloquent panegyric concerning it :
" Of Law there can be no less acknowledged, than that her
seat is the bosom of God, her voice the harmony of the world ;
all things in heaven and earth do her homage, the very least as
feeling her care, the greatest as not exempted from her power ;
both angels and men, and creatures of what condition soever,
though each in different sort and manner, yet all, with uniform
consent, admiring her, as the mother of their peace and joy." —
Hookers Works, vol. i, p. 240.
A greater man than Hooker, though less eloquent, in lan-
guage distinguished for its quaintness, and more so for its truth,
has given a definition, that should be engraven in the memory
of every student, who commences the study of the law :
"Reason is the life of the law, nay, the common law itself is
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 9
nothing else but reason ; which is to be understood of an arti-
ficial perfection of reason, gotten by long study, observation,
and experience, and not of every man's natural reason ; for,
Nemo nascitiir artifex. This \^g2i\.xQ.2j&o\\ est siimina ratio. And
therefore if all the reason that is dispersed into so many several
heads, were united into one, yet could he not make such a law
as the law of England is ; because by many successions of ages,
it hath been fined and refined by an infinite number of grave
and learned men, and by long experience grown to such a perfec-
tion, for the government of this realm, as the old rule may be
verified of it, — Neininem oportet esse sapientioreni Icgibus ; no
man (out of his own private reason) ought to be wiser than the
law, which is the perfection of reason."
At an earlier period, centuries antecedent to the age of Coke,
a greater man even than he was, speaking, not merely with the
comprehensive wisdom of a philosopher, but with a fervid elo-
quence, which denoted in him a Christian love and reverence
for virtue, has pronounced this sublime eulogium upon the
beauty and harmony of this sovereign and immutable law,
" True law is indeed right reason, consistent with nature, shed-
ding its influence upon all, constant and immutable. It incites
men to the exercise of every moral duty ; it deters them, by its
prohibitions, from the commission of fraud. * * It is im-
pious to change such a law ; neither is it lawful to abate it, nor
can it be wholly abrogated. The Senate nor the people cannot
discharge us from its obligations. It does not require an ex-
pounder or interpreter. It will not be one thing at Rome, and
another at Athens ; pne law now, and a different one hereafter;
but it is the same eternal and inviolable law that comprehends
every nation, throughout all time ; and is, as it were, a common
master and ruler, the divinity of all. God is the inventor, the
giver, and the judge of this law ; and whoever will not obey its
precepts, let him flee, and avoid the companionship of his race."
" Law," said Dr. Johnson, in the language of a terse defini-
tion, " is the science, in which the greatest powers of the under-
standing are applied to the greatest number of facts ; " and that
great statesman, who superadds to the highest eloquence the
profoundest philosophy, has defined the law to be, "the science
of jurisprudence, the pride of the human intellect, which, with
all its defects, redundancies and errors, is the collected reason
lO HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
of ages, combining the principles of original justice, with the
infinite variety of human concerns."
In the face of all those high eulogiums, that have come down
to us from the wisdom and the eloquence of Cicero, we hear,
occasionally, a flippant witticism about "the law's delay," "the
law's imperfection," and " the glorious uncertainty of the law."
It would be unjust to apply to these persons the couplet of the
witty poet : —
No man e'er felt tlic halter draw,
With good opinion of the law.
But, too often some private grief, some misfortune, some mis-
take, or some negligence is the source of these stale utterances.
They do not distinguish between the principles of the law, the
law itself, the glorious old common law of England, in all its
wisdom and majesty, and its imperfect administration. Un-
happily we are so circumstanced in this w^orld, that with a code
of laws made absolutely perfect, and a constitution for the gov-
ernment of a nation, designed and perfected by an infinite wis-
dom, there would necessarily be a considerable jarring in the
operation of its machinery. We have only to look at the con-
duct of those who, during the long lapse of ages, have differed,
and stumbled, and quarreled, and fought over the precepts of
the divine law, to rejoice, that in the administration of the "high-
est" reason of men, its provisions have moved on so harmo-
niously. But we must consider that there are, in this country
alone, half a hundred Legislatures, each member of which is of
the opinion that, in some respects, he is capable of suggest-
ing an improvement or an amendment. And some such men
there are, so unreflective in this consideration, so impressed
with the idea of their own ability to provide a remedy for
every w-rong, and of such a far-seeing sagacity, as to be able
to look down through all the complicated relations of human
events, and to provide regulations for the government of
human conduct, that it is a matter of surprise, that even
a shred of the common law should be now visible, or that,
like the rules of practice, it should not have been entirely
covered up with enactments, or absorbed in codifications.
These friends of innovation do not seem to consider that it is
better, occasionally, to submit to an inconvenience, or even a
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. II
mischief, on the part of a few persons, than by the change of a
well-known and established provision, to introduce uncertainty
and doubt, to the prejudice of many. They do not realize, that,
day by day, each doubtful provision of the law is receiving con-
stant explanations and constructions from the courts, to adapt
it more fully to the exigencies of commercial life ; nor still
less do they reflect, that each new feature, which is engrafted
on the common law, not only discards those mature commenta-
ries upon it, that have been the outgrowth of the wisdom of
centuries, but is, itself, a new subject requiring future judicial
construction. We are told by a learned author, that many
years since, the statute of frauds, a statute of a few sections,
and of but few lines in a section, had been examined, and an
estimate made of the expense that had attended its construc-
tion ; and that the amount, at that time, exceeded the sum of
several millions of dollars.
In commenting upon the evils of legal changes, one of the
most learned and eloquent of the philosophers of England once
said, that " no one, who is not a lawyer, would ever know how
to act, and no one who is a lawyer would, in many instances,
know how to advise, unless the courts were bound by authority,
as firmly as the pagan deities were supposed to be bound by
the decrees of fate."
Poets are said to be born, and not to be so created. Poeta
nascitur non fit- But Shakespeare seems not only to have been
born a poet, but born also to that legitima ratio, which is the
result of long study, observation and experience. His legal
opinion upon this subject ife as sound as his poetry is beautiful :
Bassanio, I beseech you
Wrest once the law to your authority ;
To do a great right, do a little wrong,
And curb this cruel devil of his will.
Portia. It must not be ! there is no power in Venice
Can alter a decree established ;
'Twill be recorded for a precedent ;
And many an error, by the same example,
Will rush into the State. It cannot be.
But a still greater evil, that affects the administration of jus-
tice, arises from the constitution of our courts. Of these there
are many hundreds -already, in this wide-spread, and rapidly
increasing country. All of them are almost in constant opera-
12 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
tion, and continually throwing out their influences, either for
good or evil. A most essential part of a judicial tribunal, the
jury, — a body derided, jeered at, at times pronounced an excres-
cence, and yet a body that, in this country, we cannot do with-
out, — is elected by the people. Their names are placed in a
box, and they are drawn from it when their services are required.
It is for them to hear and decide upon all questions of fact
between man and man, and between the State and a citizen, —
questions, often, of the most momentous importance. Without
referring to other States, is it not the case here, that our most
able and intelligent men are left out of the jury box, and placed
beyond the power of choice, in the performance of duty ? and
are not their places too often supplied by those who are too
inexperienced, and too ignorant, to discharge the high and the
most important office of a juryman ?
Of the judges, who preside over these hundreds of judicial
tribunals, some are appointed by the governors of the different
States, with the consent of the advising branch of the depart-
ment, and others by the nomination of the President of the
United States, with the approbation of the Senate. Each one
of the judges, so appointed, reflects the political opinions of the
appointing power, — for the cases are infrequent when the chief
magistrate goes out of the pale of his party, to elevate even a
more competent person to that high office, when he could be
the means of so great good to the people and the State. If the
executive would, in all cases, without fear, favor or affection,
select the nominee from the ablest of those within the pale, we
should probably possess a more able judiciary, in the different
States of the Union.
Sometimes they are selected for their talents and character;
and at times, it must be confessed, as a reward for their politi-
cal services ; — services sometimes rendered to the appointing
power; and there is one sorrowful record of the nomination of
a person so incompetent, not only in talent, but in character, as
to have constrained the conservative voice of the whole people
to cry out, and compel the President to withdraw the nomina-
In those cases, where the choice of judges is made directly
by the people, there is more frequently an incompetent judi-
ciary. The pride of the State, and that regard for the judicial
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 1$
honor, integrity and usefulness, that always exists in a large por-
tion of every commonwealth, will always prompt the contend-
ing parties to strive to put in nomination for judicial office their
ablest and wisest men ; but local considerations and private com-
binations will sometimes over-ride the conservative efforts of the
people. But these honorable endeavors that influence the con-
duct of the more intelligent electors, do not come into operation
in the nomination of many of the subordinatejudicial magistrates.
If the highest seats of the judicature are filled by honest and
capable men, the people are apt to relax their efi"orts to secure
subordinate judges of virtue and intelligence. They do not
seem to consider, that the administration of the law, like the
temple of justice, is one harmonious structure, commanding the
respect of the world by the magnificence of its proportions, and
the perfectness of all its parts. They do not reflect, that by far
the greater part of all the varied transactions of fife which seek
the decision of a legal tribunal are, practically, under the judi-
cial cognizance of these subordinate magistrates ; that, for the
most part, from their decisions there is, practically, no appeal
to the higher courts ; and that the conflicting rights of man
and man, nay, even the liberty of the subject, his property, and
the amount of his punishment are vested in their discretion,
and subject to no other human control.
And yet, with how little thought of the vast consequences,
are these offices filled ! Sometimes the contest for them de-
generates into a scramble. Men seek for them, and strive for
them, and employ their paid partisans. Selfish men and power-
ful corporations array themselves in a contest for success, hav-
ing ulterior objects and interests to subserve ; public associa-
tions are formed to defeat one candidate, and to elect another
for the purposes of anticipated legal decisions ; money is paid
out by the candidate in his electioneering canvass, from his
own funds and from the party contributions, collected by a
constrained levy ; and the result is, that a good man, nominated
by the conservative element of one of the political parties, is
defeated, and a time-serving politician, willing to lend himself
to the behests of the rabble that elected him, is chosen to a
place of honor and responsibility, than which, whether subordi-
nate or otherwise, there is none other upon which can more
safely rest the nation's hope.
14 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
I do not intimate, that the evils to which I have referred flow
only from the system of popular judicial elections. Sometimes
they date back to the designs of a foreseeing wickedness.
Sometimes a corrupt and scheming politician, with the design
of destroying an honest bench that he cannot control, and of
creating a tribunal that will subserve his own or his party's ends,
arranges an organization, which, by the force of legislative en-
actment in abolishing an existing tribunal, and the action of
a subservient appointing power, produces results. 'if possible,
still more deplorable.
But, after all, the misfortune to the people, in the appoint-
ment or choice of judges, relates back to their own guilty apathy,
in the exercise of the elective franchise. If every man reflected,
that the vote which duty required him to cast at every election,
was an expression of his own honest opinion, and that the result
of the ballot was the true voice of the people ; if he realized that
a vote for an unworthy candidate, — for a man whom he thought
was not fit for the oflice, either from want of character or com-
petency, — was an acted falsehood, — a sin from which no party
Pope could give him absolution, or repair the evil that his ex-
ample had sowed, tending to disease public opinion, — we should
find that those fraudulent political practices, which seem to be
carrying us downward to the tomb of nations, would soon be
arrested, and that reverence, veneration, and new hopes would
beat again in the national heart. In this Commonwealth the
conservatism of the people has thus far preserved us from an
ignorant or a corrupt judiciary. There has never been a taint
upon the character of any of our judges, or the slightest stain
upon the judicial ermine.
When, therefore, those who, in a moment of petulance, for
the misconduct of a jury, the ignorance of a judge, or the inno-
vating change of a sound principle that has been hallowed by
the experience of ages, or disgusted by the conduct of those
legal practitioners who sell not only their talents, but their char-
acters, for the purposes of a corrupt and unprincipled client, in-
veigh against the delays, the uncertainties, and the imperfections
of the law, let it be understood, that their vituperation has ref-
ereiTice rather to the defects of its administration, to the folly or
the apathy of the people, in the first duties of their political ob-
ligations, in reference to the nomination of virtuous and intelli-
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 15
gent legislators, in the choice of honest and faithful executive
officers, and in the election or appointment of able and upright
judges, than to any imperfections of those principles of law, that
are the choice heritage from our fathers. The law is still over
us and around us, in all its strength and wisdom ; and it is we,
we ourselves, whose criminal omissions are the sources of those
evils, which all good men deplore.
If the people were not recreant, we should not be compelled
to read, as we often do, in an opinion of a court of one State, a
complaint that a court in another State holds a different doc-
trine on this point from that which we have always maintained:
nor, on the other hand, a counter crimination. There would not be
that diversity of which the wise old Roman orator so eloquently
complains — " One law at Rome and another law at Athens ; "
but its provisions would be uniform, stable and permanent ; and
to the demons of innovation, whether legislators or judges, its
language would be that of the great apostle : "Finally, brethren,
whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, what-
soever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever
things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there
be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things."
For these are the principles of the common law ! These are the
foundations upon which all the great institutions of society re-
pose. Upon them is erected the beautiful fabric of social life.
The general security of society is maintained by them. They
are the protectors of the innocent and the avengers of the guilty.
They hush the turbulence of discord, and inspire that peaceful
quiet, that preserves, refines, and adorns society. They incite
and inspirit men to the cultivation of science, to the love of art
and beauty, and are the nourishers and guardians of the progress
of the world. Therefore I maintain that Mr. Choate was right
in his reply to the judge, who said to him, that he would pass
what he conceded to be an equitable rule, if he would furnish
him with any precedent. " I will look, your honor, and en-
deavor to find a precedent, if you require it, though it would
seem to be a pity that the court should lose the honor of being
the first to establish so just a rule."
It has been intimated to me, as your expectation, that I shall
give a cursory history of this County, and the course of its judi-
cial progress, with such personal reminiscences of the courts, the
l6 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
judges, and the leading members of the bar, as may be interest-
ing to those who have come into professional life, since the days
when there were giants in the land. There is but one objection
to this course, and that is, that he who does it, almost necessa-
rily subjects himself to the charge of egotism. When a person
essays to delineate his personal recollections of the character,
the conduct, and especially the conversations of another, he, of
necessity, makes himself more or less a companion, and identi-
fies himself with the individual whom he describes. Thus, Bos-
well, although an author of talent, sufficient to write the best
biographical history that the world has ever seen, would scarcely
have been known to it at this time, but for his connection with
the distinguished father of English literature.
Some few years since, an aspiring lawyer essayed to write
the biography of a most eloquent forensic orator ; and a wag
was cruel enough to say of it, that it was a history of the wit,
wisdom, and eloquence of the author, with the attestations, en-
dorsements, and recommendations of Rufus Choate. But,
when it is recollected, that, in the early part of the present cen-
tury, before railroad intercommunication had interfered with
the professional habits of the bar, the terms of the courts, in
the agricultural portions of the Commonwealth, brought to the
shire town all the legal practitioners, and kept them there, dur-
ing almost the whole length of their sessions, it will occur to
every one, what a favorable occasion was presented to each one
of the number for observation and memory. It was particularly
so in this country. When a person was admitted to the bar,
excepting as to the different grades of the court, and the offices,
he was admitted to its full communion, and to all its courtesies.
It was the custom for the greater portion of the members to
congregate at one house ; and though at breakfast and tea they
sat at reserved seats, at the head of the table, yet their dinner
was served up in their own apartment. The judge was seated
at the head, and the members arranged themselves somewhat
according to their seniority at the bar. And here, the distinc-
tion of age and rank ceased. The dinner was the feast of rea-
son and the flow of soul. If not the duty, it was the employ-
ment of the judge to call forth, from the different members,
their highest contributions of enjoyment ; and at times, the
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 1/
length of the hour was made to trench somewhat upon the hour
On one of these oQcasions, when, as it happened, a couple of
distinguished gentlemen from the eastern part of the Common-
wealth were present, and the general hilarity had caused the
company to forget the hours, the watchful sheriff remarked to
the judge that the court bell was ringing. " And let it ring,"
said his honor, with exhilarating emphasis ; " why should its
tongue interrupt our harmony ? Here are the counsel on both
sides, — there, in excited controversy ; here at peace. And for
myself, I think I can say, as another man did, who %vas going to
be executed, — ' Don't hurry, gentlemen ; there will be no fun
till I get there ! ' Well, Mr. Sheriff, one song more, and then
we will seek further what carried off that dam !"
But it was the evenings, the nights, the more than nodes am-
brosiancB, that brought the different members of the bar and the
judges into that close communion, where dignity, age and learn-
ing were fused and melted into good-fellowship, and gave to the
young student, even, those advantages that, at the present day,
are hardly to be attained. For a short time after supper, the
leaders of the bar were generally closeted with their juniors, in the
preparation for the cases for the morrow ; and those who were
not so engaged were left in the parlor, to discuss the pro-
ceedings of the day, or to indulge in such conversation as
seemed pleasant to them. But, at a later stage of the evening,
there was a general convocation of the members of the bar and
the judges, in the parlors, and a conversation ensued, that was
always in the highest degree interesting and instructive. I once
heard an indolent lawyer speak of those meetings with the high-
est enthusiasm. "I have," said he, "but few books and little
business ; and I contrive to pick up sufficient law, from the
elder lawyers, to last me through the next vacation."
Before I proceed to speak of my personal reminiscences, let
me recall briefly to your recollections, the early history of West-
ern Massachusetts, being that part of it, that constituted the
old county of Hampshire.
During the first winter of the settlement at Plymouth, in
December, 1620, one-half of the whole colony, including twenty-
eight of the forty-eight adult male population were laid in their
carefully leveled graves. In June, A. D., 1630, an additional
l8 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
colony was settled at Boston. Within fifteen years from the
landing at Plymouth, people went forth from these scanty
municipalities,— a sufficient number of bold, brave and advent-
urous men,— to form settlements in different parts of a territory,
greater in extent than the whole island from which they emi-
grated. Plymouth, Boston, Charlestown, Watertown, Rocks-
bury, Dorchester, Hingham, Medford, Newbury, Ipswich, Salem,
Saugus, Waymothe, and New Towne, had become before that
time, regularly organized plantations : and in addition to these,
were the settlements in New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island
I have not ascertained the exact date of the discovery of the
Connecticut river. It was navigated as early as 1631, and a
settlement was made upon its banks in 1633. In the latter part
of 1635, a representation was made to the court, sitting at New
Towne, that several of their friends, neighbors and freemen
from the eastern plantations, as also other men of quality, now
in England, are resolved " to transplant themselves and their
estates to the Ryver of Conecticott, there to reside and inhabite ;
and that there may be, upon occasions, some causes of difier-
ence, and also dyvers misdemeanors, which will require a speedy
redresse ; " and, thereupon, it was ordered, that William Pinchon,
William Phelps, and others, should have authority, by a majority,
and in certain cases by any two of them, to hear and determine,
in a judicial w^ay, such causes of difference, and to inflict
corporal punishment or imprisonment, to fine, and levy the
same, "soe as shall be for the peaceable and quiet ordering of
the affairs of the plantation for the space of one year." (Records
of Massachusetts, vol. i, p. 173, 1635-6.)
There being a controversy in reference to the meaning of
the resolve above referred to, a petition was made by Mr. Pinchon
and others to the general court ; and, after a consideration by
that august body, three distinct explanatory resolutions were
adopted ; and a declaration was made that Mr. Pinchon's au-
thority in all "tryalls," shall extend to all causes, civil or crimi-
nal, subject to an appeal to the courts of assistants, with a jury
of six men until they shall have a greater number for that
service. (Records of Massachusetts, vol. i, p. 320, 1641.)
Prior, however, to this subsequent legislation, there seems to
have been a controversy relative to the authority of Mr. Pinchon
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 1 9
as a magistrate for the county; and, as a case ex necessitate rei,
the people resorted to the first principles of government, and,
on the 14th of February, 1638, they resolved that, "being by
God's providence, fallen into the line of Massachusetts jurisdic-
tion, and it being farr off to repayre thither, in such cases of
justice as may often fall out, among us, we doe therefore, thinke
it meete, by a general consent, and vote and ordaine Mr. Wil-
liam Pinchon " as a magistrate, etc. And it was also agreed
upon, that, ^ seeing a jury of 12 fit persons cannot be had at
present among us, six persons shall be esteemed and* held a
sufficient jury to try any actions under the sum of ten pounds,
till we shall see cause to the contrary, and by common consent
shall alter this number of jurors, or be otherwise directed from
the general court in ye Massachusetts."
Mr. Pinchon continued to exercise these judicial powers,
until a storm broke upon him which, at last, drove him from
the colony. As this was the first instance of the impeachment
of a public man in this country, or of a process in the nature of it,
it may be interesting to refer to it, as illustrating the dispositions,
and the gross inconsistency of those who had just fled from
their own country to find liberty of conscience here. Mr. Wil-
liam Pinchon appears to have been a man of considerable talent;
and though not a lawyer, to have filled a leading position in
public affairs. He possessed the confidence of the government,
which in many instances deferred to his suggestions, in relation
to the affairs of the colony. But, in the height of his useful-
ness, and in the zenith of his reputation, like many others before
him, he was induced to write a book ! And it was for this reason ;
" quo nuniine Iseso,
Quidve dolens, regina deum tot volvere casus
Insignem pietate virum, tot adire labores
Impulert : tantje ne animis coelestibus irae !"
It was on the i6th day of October, 1650, when Thomas
Dudley was governor, John Endicott, Esq., deputy governor,
and William Pinchon, gent., one of the ten assistants, that the
record declares, that " the courte, having had the sight of a
booke, printed under the name of William Pinchon, doe judge
meete, first, that the protest be drawn to satisfy all men that
the courte utterly dislikes and detests it, as erroneous and
daingerous ; secondly, that it be answered by one of the elders ;
20 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
thirdly, that the said William Pinchon, gent., be summoned to
appear to the next general courte to answer ; and fourthly, that
the booke be burnt by the executioner, or such person as the
magistrate shall appoint (the party being willing to doe it,) in
the market-place, on the morrow immediately after the lecture."
On the same day, the court made a more formal declaration of
their innocency and ignorance of the writing, or publishing
thereof; of their detestation and abhorrence of much of its
contents as false, erroneous, heretical ; of their condemnation
of it to be burned in the market-place ; of their purpose to
convent the said Mr. William Pinchon before authority ; and
also, God assisting, to proceed with him according to his
demerits. They also further purpose to appoint some fit person
to make particular answer to the errors and falsities, so that
the minds of those that love and seek after truth may be con-
firmed therein. On the next day it was ordered, " that this
declaration be signed by the Secretary, sent into England and
be printed there ; that Mr. John Norton of Ipswich be instructed
to answer the booke ; that Mr. William Pinchon be summoned
to appear before the courte on the first day of the next session,
to give answer to the booke entitled, The Meritorious Price of
our Redemption, Justification, etc., and not to depart without
leave from the courte."
Accordingly, on the meeting of the council, in May, 165 1,
Mr. William Pinchon apj^eared, and avowed himself the author
of the obnoxious book. The court, out of " tender respect " to
him, gave him liberty to confer with all the elders present, or
such of them as he chose. He selected three of them, and
" returned his mind under his hand," that he hoped he had so
explained his meaning, as to take off the worst construction ;
and " that it hath pleased God to let (him) me see," that he had
not spoken so fully of Christ's sufferings as he should have done ;
for, he says, " in my booke I call them but trials of his obedi-
ence, yett intending thereby to amplify the mediatorial obedi-
ence of Christ as the only meritorious price of man's redemp-
tion ; but " he adds," I am now inclined to think they were
appointed for a further end, — as the due punishment of our sins,
by way of satisfaction to divine justice for man's redemption."
In view of this candid and frank acknowledgment, from this
able and upright magistrate, the court gravely resolved, " that
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 21
through the blessing of God on the pains of the reverend
elders, that he is in a hopeful way, they judge it meete to grant
him his liberty to return to his family the next week, and to
carry Mr. Norton's reply up with him to consider thereof, so
that at the next session in October, he may give full satisfaction,
as is hoped for." But inasmuch as the people of Springfield
required a magistrate, to " put issew " to such causes and dif-
ferences as might arise, and a man like Mr. William Pinchon,
was so far tainted with heresy upon such an important point of
theology, as not to be able to settle their controversies, they ap-
pointed his son-in-law, Mr. Henry Smith of Springfield, for the
present exigency, who tooke his oath, and was dismissed to his
jurisdiction. At the same session the thanks of the court were
presented to Mr. Norton for his book ; and, what was doubtless
of more value to him, the sum of ;^20 was paid to him therefor.
At the October session of the same year, the consideration
of the errors and heresies of Mr. William Pinchon were again
resumed in the court. They enjoined him to more thoroughly
consider them ; to weigh well the judicious answer of Mr.
Norton ; and protesting that it was their desire that he should
give a full satisfaction, and that they should not be constrained
to proceed to so great a censure as his offence deserved, they
ordered that the judgment should be suspended to the next
May session, at which time he was enjoined to appear, under a
penalty of ^^loo. He soon after returned to, and died in, Eng-
land, leaving his son as one of the colonists, who, like his father,
was an intelligent man, and an upright public officer. What
became of the recognizance of ;^ioo, or of the book, or of the
answer of the Mr. Norton, we are not informed ; but they
would be, at the present day, extremely valuable, as an ancient
precedent on the subject of trials of impeachment.
Mr. William Pinchon was one of the court of assistants, a
body in some respects analogous to the council, at the present
day, and, in others, to our Senate. He was one of the members
of it before the colonists left Europe. He continued in office
from the time of their landing at Boston, until the year 165 1,
when he was deposed, and his son-in-law, Henry Smith, ap-
pointed in his stead. He was one of the persons named in the
royal patents of James and Charles ; the subsequent confirm-
atory charters of William and Mary, and George I., commonly
22 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
called the provincial charters ; he was the Moses, who led this
band of pilgrims into a distant wilderness, afar from human
sympathy, or succor ; he was not only an assistant, — a high
counselor of the colony, — at Boston, but the friend, the magis-
trate, the chief officer of the infant plantation, in the scene of
its early and dangerous trials ; and having expended the buoyant
energy of his youth, and the matured wisdom of his manhood
in behalf of a cause, that lay like a living coal at his heart, he
was forced back from passing beneath the very arch of his tri-
umph, and, with a bosom throbbing with disappointment and
sorrow, compelled to return to the intolerant persecutions of a
land, from which he supposed he had fled forever.
What a striking lesson does this melancholy example teach
us of the reckless inconsistency of human conduct ! How fully
does it illustrate the truth, of which history is full, that when
political animosity or religious intolerance has inflamed the
popular heart, and an unholy passion has driven reason from
her throne, meritorious services, unrequited toils, and common
dangers are forgotten, private rights and constitutional obliga-
tions, shrivel in the furnace of public indignation, and, like that
ideal creation, which the great Master of morals has depicted
as the embodiment of a jealous and unreasoning passion, "it
dooms, but dotes, and murders, yet adores."
However interesting may be the history of the subsequent
period, from the year 1650 to the establishment of the county
of Hampden in 1812, I pass it over briefly, inasmuch as it has
been spread before the people by the Hon. George Bliss, in his
address to the bar of the old county of Hampshire, September
27, 1826. I merely insert a few dates, for the convenience of
reference, and a few facts which are not contained in the address
of that learned historian. Hampshire county was incorporated
on the 7th day of May, 1662. The incorporating act recites
that the inhabitants of this jurisdiction "are much increased,"
and " are planted farre into the country, upon Conecticott river,"
that they cannot conveniently be annexed to any existing coun-
ties ; it is therefore ordered, that henceforth Springfield, North-
ampton and Hadley shall be a county by the name of Hamp-
shire ; that Springfield shall be the shire town there, and the
courts shall be kept, one time at Springfield, and one time at
Northampton, and that the inhabitants shall pay their public
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 23
rates to the county " in fatt cattle, or young cattle, such as are
fitt to be putt off," or " in corne at such prises as the law doe
commonly passe amongst themselves." The boundaries of this
great county were certainly somewhat indefinite. It was pro-
vided that the limits of it, on the south, should be the south line
of the " Pattent," and the extent of the other bounds to be full
thirty miles distant from any, or either of the '" foresaid " towns;
and it was provided, further, that whatever towns or villages
should hereafter be erected within these bounds, should be and
belong to the aforesaid county. Inasmuch as the south boun-
dary of the patent was not definitely known or fixed, but exten-
ded, as it was claimed, far down into Connecticut ; as, also, the
lines of the towns of Springfield, Northampton and Hadley
had hardly better or more definite termini than " the wilderness,"
and thus, as the starting-point of the thirty miles from these
three towns was beyond conjecture, the extent of the county
could hardly be very correctly ascertained.
Prior to the grant of the province charter in 1692, the law
was administered with little regard to form. From the few
records, which now can be referred to, it seems that the magis-
trates more nearly resembled arbitrators, or referees, than judi-
cial magistrates. Sometimes they assumed great astuteness of.
practice, and undertook to dispose of pleas in abatement,
demurrers and special pleas in bar, with the affected precision
of Lord Coke, or Chief Justice Saunders. At others, they set
themselves up as lord chancellors, and disposed of cases upon
what they called the principles of equity, as they understood
equity, and that was, to dispose of each case, not according to a
system of precedents, but upon its own merits, or, as it seemed
fair and equitable. From their decision an appeal was had to
the court of assistants in Boston. Of course, a party injuriously
affected by the verdict of a jury, in a community where it was at
times impossible to empanel more than six capable jurymen, and
where the law was laid down to them by magistrates, generally
without a legal education, would have frequent occasion to crave
the relief of an appeal ; but, when we consider the time to be
consumed in a journey through what was called "the wilder-
ness," a journey sometimes of eight or ten days, we shall be
apt to conclude, that few of them were of sufficient resolution
to avail themselves of it.
24 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
But, after the establishment of the county of Hampshire, and
the creation of the court at Springfield and Northampton, to
be held alternately, at each place, and an arrangement by which,
at the direction of the authorities at Boston, a court should be
held in the county whenever there should be an occasion for it,
the administration of the law began to assume much more the
character of a science. Rules of court were established, by
which the oath, which is now taken by an attorney, on his ad-
mission to the bar, was then to be administered to each person
so admitted. The people had seen the evil of an unqualified,
and an unprincipled pettifoggism, and the court adopted meas-
ures to protect them from it. More learned judges were
appointed for the benches, both of the supreme court, the suc-
cessor of the court of assistants, — or the town meeting court, —
and the court of common pleas, the substitute of the former
county court. The bar at once felt the change ; and, in a few
years, those pettifogging persons, who, without learning, except
the tricks of dishonorable practice, without self-respect for
themselves, or a regard for the character of the profession, and
with no desire, except the sordid wish to embroil neighborhoods
in quarrels, in the hope of filching from them the means, which
they could persuade them to sacrifice to stimulated passion,
were succeeded by gentlemen of talent and influence, whose
names have come down to us, as men who were honored in their
day and generation.
The county of Hampden was incorporated February 25, 1812,
and the act provided, that it should be in force from and after
the first day of August, then next. It enumerated the towns
to be embraced within it, the terms of the different courts of
probate, the circuit court of common pleas, and the supreme
judicial courts, and the powers and duties of sundry officers of
the new county ; but it failed to make provision for the author-
ity of the sheriff, and the deputies of the county of Hampshire,
to act, as they had acted, within the territorial jurisdiction of
the new county. The incorporating act was passed in a time of
great political excitement. Hon. Elbridge Gerry had been
elected previously as the governor of the Commonwealth, with
a working majority of the democratic party as his coadjutors.
The possession of office was then, as now, the great object of
political toil ; and, on the 23d of May, before the day for the
THE FIRST COURT HOUSE, BUILT ABOUT 1740.
HISTORICAL ADDRESS, 2$
county to go into existence, he appointed Jonathan Smith, Jr.,
the sheriff. He had, also, on the 20th of the same month,
appointed the Hon. Samuel Fowler the judge of probate for
the same county. It will readily be conceived, that a corps of
officers for a new county, appointed under such extraordinary
circumstances, would arouse a spirit of intense excitement;
and, probably, in consequence of this very act, a political
change took place in the government.
There was manifested an immediate disposition to test the
legality of the proceedings ; and, on the 4th of P'ebruary, 18 13,
an order was passed in the House of Representatives, request-
ing the attorney, or solicitor general, to file informations, in the
nature of a quo warranto, to know by what authority the Hon.
Samuel Fowler, Jonathan Smith, Jr., and divers other persons,
exercised the offices to which they had been so appointed. The
attorneys and solicitor generals refused to file the information
officially, because they had not been requested by both branches
of the Legislature, and they prayed the advice of the court in
the premises, which it very properly refused to give, until the
said Smith should be heard thereupon. Accordingly the pro-
ceedings were dismissed.
The next move in the direction against Smith, to which I
refer, was a plea in abatement, in the case of Fowler vs Beebe,
et al (9th Mass., 231). On the 17th of August, 18 12, one Day,
a deputy sheriff of Smith, had served a writ in the case of
Fowler vs Beebe ; and, at the return term thereof, on the last of
the same month, Beebe pleaded in abatement, that Smith had
received a pretended commission, dated May 23, 1812, from one
Elbrjdge Gerry, with the advice of the council, appointing him
sheriff of the county of Hampden ; and, on the 14th of August
next following, Smith appointed Day a deputy sheriff; whereas,
on the day of said appointment, there was no such county as
Hampden, nor any such office as sherifi; The plaintiff demurred
to the plea, and Hon. Samuel Lathrop argued for the plaintiff.
The learned and Hon. George Bliss, as counsel for the
defendants, with great zeal and ingenuity, opposed the demur-
rer ; and in the course of his argument he perpetrated, what is
said to have been, the only joke of his life. After commenting
upon the legal authorities in Great Britain, and insisting that
no such office existed, and no such county, at the date of the
26 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
commission, he said : " It was indeed possible, that the county
of Hampden might come into existence, in the ensuing August ;
that there might be then such an office, as that of sheriff of
such possible county; and that, at the time contemplated,
Smith might be a fit and proper person to fill such possible
office. This last, however, in the opinion of many, \i2J& potentia
remotissima!'' It is hardly necessary to add, that notwith-
standing the zeal and ingenuity of the counsel, the court held
that Smith was de facto, the sheriff, though he might not hold
the office dc jure ; and that it was only by process against him
personally, and not incidentally, in a suit between other per-
sons, that his rights could be affected ; and so the demurrer
was adjudged bad.
At the April term of the supreme judicial court, held at
Northampton in 1813, the solicitor general filed an information,
in the nature of a quo warranto, against the Hon. Samuel Fow-
ler, requiring him to answer by what warrant he claimed to use
and enjoy the office of judge of probate, for the county of
Hampden, which office he had usurped. After summons to
Fowler, Hon. Eli P. Ashmun, moved to quash the information,
upon sundry technical grounds ; and he presented his views
with great clearness and force. Bliss, in the absence of the
solicitor general, replied, and the court over-ruled the motion.
Ashmun, for the respondent, then pleaded in bar, that, on the
20th of May, 1812, the said Fowler was duly appointed by Gov.
Gerry to the office of sherift" with the advice of the council,
and was sworn by William Gray, the lieutenant governor, to
the discharge of the duties. After oyer of the commission,
and certificate, the solicitor general demurred, and the respond-
ent joined in demurrer.
Bliss, in support of it, made a strong and learned argument,
and Ashmun replied to it with great ability. In the course of
his reply, he produced two certificates of the secretary of state,
of similar appointments, in like cases. Mr. Bliss, in his closing
argument displayed great ingenuity and a most unwonted zeal.
I copy a few sentences of it, inasmuch as it is not fitting that
such noble sentiments and such exalted precepts of political
morality should be hidden in the sequestered pages of the
volumes of the law reports. In reply to the argument of Mr.
Ashmun, that similar appointments of other persons to other
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 2/
offices should be considered as authority in this case, he very
happily, and very pungently says : " It is however, to be hoped,
that executive precedents are ndt all of them to be established
by law. If they should be, our government would be, emphati-
cally, a government of men, and not of laws. One governor
divides, and another unites the militia. One orders detach-
ments from it, and another declares the measure unconstitu-
tional. One waits until there is an office before an officer is
appointed, and another makes appointments, before the law has
created an office. At one time, the executive causes it to be
entered upon the public records, that an adherence to party
ought to be the rule of elections to office. Another executive
holds to the saying, dettir digniori ; and, in the spirit of an old
English statue, \\2. R. 2. c. 2.) declares that 'no officer shall
be ordained, or made for any gift, or brokage, favor, or affection,
nor that any which pursueth, by himself or any other, privily
or openly, to be in any manner of office, shall be put in the
same office or in any other; but that all such officers shall be
made of the best and most lawful men, and sufficient' : — 'a law,'
says Sir Edward Coke (i. Inst. 234) 'worthy to be written in
letters of gold, but more worthy to be put in execution. For
never shall justice be duly administered, but when the officers
and ministers of justice be of such quality, and come to their
places in such manner, as by this law is required.' "
The court adjudged the respondent's pleas bad and insuf-
ficient, and the appointment void and without legal authority.
Mr. Ashmun moved in arrest of judgment, and the case was
continued ; but, at the next term of the court they overruled
the motion in arrest, enjoined him from holding or receiving
said office, and ordered judgment against him for costs. This
seemed to have been the end of the controversy. As soon as
the opinion of the court was ascertained, the residue of the
offices were relinquished, and the federalists entered into the
full possession of them.
]V[y first acquaintance with the courts of judicature of the
county of Hampden, commenced in the Autumn of 1825. I at
that time became a student at law, in the office of my father, in
Westfield ; and profiting by the authority of Lord Coke, who
"would advise our student" "to be a diligent hearer and ob-
server of cases at law," in Westminster hall, he advised me to
28 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
be a punctual attendant of the courts in the county, to read the
declarations and pleadings of each case, to listen to the evidence
and the arguments, to examin-e the making up of the costs,
and, in short, to make each case my own. I am happy to say
that I gave more than usual heed to these parental admonitions ;
and now, standing in this legal association, in loco pareiitis, I
wish to say, for the benefit of those who have commenced, or
shall hereafter begin to acquire a knowledge of the science and
the practice of the law, that I never can be sufficiently thankful
that such advice was given to me, and that I was wise enough
so well to follow it.
The court of common pleas, as it was reorganized in 1820,
consisted of the following justices : Artemas Ward, chief justice,
John M. Williams, Solomon Strong and Samuel Howe, justices.
The members of the Supreme Court, in 1825, were Isaac Parker,
chief justice, Samuel Putnam, Samuel S. Wilde and Marcus
Upon the death of Chief Justice Ward, in 1839, J'-i^lge
Williams was appointed as his successor, and remained in office
till his resignation, in 1844, when he was succeeded by Hon.
I never saw Chief Justice Ward upon the bench ; but Judge
Williams frequently held the terms of the court in this county,
and was a most acceptable judge. He was well versed in the
rules of practice, was quiet and gentlemanly in his manners,
and when the questions which were presented for his decision
had been discussed, he passed upon them, and the trial proceeded,
nor would he indulge a further discussion.
Judge Howe was a citizen of Hampshire county, and an emi-
nent lawyer at that bar. In connection with Hon. Elijah H. Mills
and Hon. John H. Ashmun, he established a law school at
Northampton, delivered a course of lectures, and heard the reci-
tations of his pupils. He was a man of great industry in his
studies, of great ardor of character, and exceedingly fond of
legal discussions. He took a deep interest in the cases that
were tried before him, and any questions of doubt, he was ac-
customed to reserve for further investigation. At the close of
a term which he had held, he usually narrated to his pupils the
cases that had been tried, and his descriptions of the conduct
of the different counsel were exceedingly interesting. He died
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 29
about the time of my admission to the bar, in 1828, and the
Hon. David Cummins was appointed as his successor.
The Hon. Solomon Strong remained upon the bench for a
period of twenty-two years, and resigned in 1842. The west-
ern circuit was a favorite one with him, and he used to strive
for the opportunity to hold it. His attachment to the lawyers
in the western counties, of course, begat a corresponding
attachment ; and it was a pleasure to see the jovial face of
Judge Strong upon the bench. If he was not so erudite as
some of his brethren, he made up for it by the honesty of his
purposes, and his strong common sense. He was kindly in his
conduct to the junior members of the bar, and in all cases he
exercised the strictest impartiality. Soon after my admission
to the bar, a case was tried of Colton vs. Bliss, for the services
of the former as an hired man, who had left his employer before
the period of his agreed service had expired. Mr. Chapman,
the late chief justice, was for the plaintiff, and the late Hon.
Oliver B. Morris. for the defendant. At the conclusion of the
evidence, Judge Strong inquired, "Well, Brother Chapman, do
you wish to argue this case to the jury ? " Mr. Chapman was
rather taken aback ; but it was one of his first cases, and he
felt confidence in it. " Most certainly I do," was his reply.
"Well," said the judge, "you can go to the jury ; but can you
hold a verdict .'' Well, go on." Mr. Chapman proceeded to
deliver an effective address ; and, as I have often heard him in
his best moods, in subsequent years, I have thought that I
never heard him more effective in his address to a jury. Ris-
ing to give the charge to the jury, Judge Strong said, that the
question for them to decide was one entirely of fact. Was the
plaintiff justified in leaving the employ of the defendant before
the expiration of the time of service, in consequence of the
language of the defendant.'' "At the conclusion of the evi-
dence," said he, " I intimated a most decided opinion for the
defendant. I was wrong in giving such an intimation ; perhaps
wrong in my opinion. That is for you to judge. It is pecu-
liarly a question of fact for the jury, and the court has nothing
to do with it. You will therefore consider my remarks as not
having been made, and, as you decide upon this question, such
will be your verdict." After receiving proper instructions from
the court, as to the law and the facts of the case, the jury prompt-
30 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
ly returned a verdict for the plaintiff. Mr. Morris at once
moved for a new trial ; and, after a few remarks, said that it
was unnecessary for him to enlarge, as the court had already ex-
pressed so decided an opinion. " I know I did," said Judge
Strong, " but as I often do, I made a mistake. It was a ques-
tion for the jury; they have decided against me, and I cannot
but say that they have decided right. The defendant upbraided
the plaintiff at the breakfast table, and before his family, repeat-
edly, and in improper language ; and Brother Chapman says
that it would have been beneath the spirit of a man to have
submitted to it. On the whole, I think he is right, and I shall
not disturb the verdict ! " Mr. Chapman enjoyed and deserved
his triumph ; but rarely has the conduct of a judicial officer
inspired a deeper feeling of respect and reverence, than this
conscientious manliness of Judge Solomon Strong.
To properly appreciate the character of Judge Strong, it was
necessary to see him off from the bench, at chambers, in the
hearing of motions, settling bills of exceptions, and to see him
upon those social and convivial occasions, when, the business of
the court being over, he gave himself up to the hilarity of the
occasion. He was fond of a joke, a story, or a song ; he was
full of anecdotes of men whom he had known in his youth ;
and he had a fund of historical reminiscences that were exceed-
ingly interesting. I well remember with what zest he used to
relate a story of his own experience as a member of a school
committee. Having served several years in that capacity with
a deacon in the town, he notified the deacon that it was his last
year of service ; and, that as he had always addressed the pupils
at the close of the schools, it would be a good thing if the dea-
con should get his hand in, and to make an address before a
new board should come in. The deacon assented to the arrange-
ment, and the judge agreed to introduce him for the purpose
of the address. Accordingly, at the close of the recitations,
the judge remarked to the school, that he had been upon the
committee for a long time, and had frequently addressed them ;
but he should decline any future appointment ; and, with a few
observations and a little advice, bade them farewell ; and then
he added, that his colleague would make a short address to
them in behalf of the committee. The deacon arose, stepped
behind his chair, and, sawing forward and backward a few times.
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 3 I
gave a preliminary hem, and thus began : " My young frins ; a
kerect pronounsation is not only important in this world, but
exceedingly valable in that which is to come ! " There he
paused ; and, either because he had forgotten the residue of his
speech, or conceived, that the proposition contained all that it
was important to impress upon their youthful minds, he turned
and said to his associate: "Judge Strong, does anything occur
to you to be added?" "Nothing," said the judge; "nothing
to be added ! "
And now I am in the way of it, and as this is a family party,
I may as well narrate an event connected with the judge, which
occurred at the dinner-table of the bar. It will be recollected
that the bar were accustomed to dine in a parlor by themselves.
It was at the June term of the Common Pleas, the weather fear-
fully hot, the bar just seated at table. Judge Strong at the head,
and Hon. Isaac C. Bates on his right, when an excellent and ven-
erable member of the bar from the eastern part of the county,
entered the dining-room in a glowing heat, and seated himself by
the side of Mr. Bates. At that time it was the custom to use de-
canters instead of pitchers, for water, cider, or such other bev-
erages as the company required. In front of our venerable
friend was a decanter of sour cider, and by the side of the
judge, a decanter of gin. The former was a strong temperance
man ; indeed, a teetotaler. He looked at the cider with wistful
eyes, and thought of his dry, parched mouth ; and he concluded
to put in the smallest quantity of cider to qualify the insipidity
of nature's best beverage. Accordingly he said, " Brother
Bates, I'll thank you to pass me that decanter of water ! " Mr.
Bates handed him the Judge's gin. Pouring into the modicum
of cider, enough of the limpid element to fill the tumbler, he
drank it off at a draught. Alas ! it was too fiery for the sensitive
membranes of his throat and stomach ; and when he at last
recovered from his convulsive coughing, he turned to Mr. Bates,
with a great vehemence of voice and action : " Brother Bates,
you knew that that was gin ! " The reply was simple and signifi-
cant : " So did you ! " "I aver," said he, " that I did not ! I aver that
I thought it was water." " Well played!" said Mr. Bates ; " I did
not suppose you had so much ingenuity in you. But let it pass.
You've got the gin, and the judge does not object to it." "No,"
said the judge, "you are welcome. Brother Knight, to the gin;
32 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
and, if I had thought of it, I should have offered it to you ; but
in that case we should have lost your ingenious ruse." " Judge
Strong," said our venerable friend, now thoroughly aroused,
" does your honor suppose that I would resort to such a con-
temptible trick, so slimsy a device, to get a glass of your gin?"
But the laughter had now broke forth in full volley, and Mr.
Bates and the judge were forced to compromise the matter, by
affirming that it was a mistake all round. He was at last pre-
tendedly satisfied ; but, in the frequent conversations he had dur-
ing the term, with his brethren, who were accustomed to enjoy
his simplicity, he used to intimate that, notwithstanding all the
protestations of innocence, he could hardly persuade himself
that both Mr. Bates and the judge did not know it was gin.
Passing from the notices of those judges of the common pleas,
who were in office when I first attended it, I pass to the judges
of the supreme judicial court. It then consisted of Hon. Isaac
Parker, chief justice, who sat upon the bench from 1814 to 1830;
Samuel Putnam, from 18 14 to 1842, and Samuel S. Wilde, from
1 81 5 to 1850. The life of Judge Parker is well sketched in the
judicial reports of the Commonwealth, by Chief Justice Shaw,
his successor, and needs no addition to it from my hand. He
was a mild and pleasant gentleman, exceedingly courteous to
the young men of the profession, and a favorite judge with all
the members of the bar.
It may as well be stated here, that not only the common
pleas, but the supreme court, especially, was a more dignified
tribunal than the courts of judicature of the present day.
There were then no business suits, or bob-tail coats, disclosing
the fashion of the seat of the pantaloons ; no fanciful and
waxed moustaches, no exuberant goatees, within the circle of
the bar ; but the officers of the court were clean shaven, clad
in raven black ; nor did even " twilight gray " allow any mem-
ber of the court to be clad, even " in her sober hvery."
The approach, the entry into, and the departure from the
temple of justice, would be a novelty to us in these days. By
the side of the court, came the dignified and stern Sheriff
Phelps, with his rod of office and his dress sword ; and, follow-
ing them, were the members of the bar, the procession passing
through the crowd of the citizens, which was divided at their
approach. Entering the court house, the sheriff bowed to the
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 33
judge as he ascended the judgment-seat, and not until he
assumed his seat was the audience seated. The sheriff then
placed his official rod in position, suspended his threatening
sword, shouted " Silence ! " with his stentorian voice, and the
crier, Mr. Brewer, opened the court for the routine of business.
At that time, and until the year 1832, the supreme judicial
court had jurisdiction of the more flagrant crimes, and the
grand jury was in attendance, under the charge of the solicitor
general. I well remember the impression of awe, with which
the opening of the criminal proceedings of that court inspired
me. In the first place, the solicitor was the author of a book,
that correct and learned treatise upon the duties of a justice of
the peace, with an appendix of forms, reported to be of scrupu-
lous accuracy. He was also a man of great presence and dig-
nity ; and, in the neatness and taste of his dress, not Apollo
himself, with the aid of the choicest Parisian tailor, could have
arrayed himself with more grace and beauty. When the grand
jury, having been first empaneled and charged, were ready to
report, a messenger was sent to the judge, who suspended the
proceedings of the civil trial ; the sheriff and his deputies
caused to be vacated the seats of the first jury and a sufficient
space adjacent ; and the crowded court house was in anxious
suspense for the appearance of the solicitor general and the
grand inquest of the County of Hampden. At last the double
doors were thrown open, and the procession appeared. F'irst
came the solicitor, his head freshly powdered, his ruffled shirt
and sleeve ruffles of faultless form and whiteness, his hat and
cane in one hand, and a bundle of papers, with a green silk bag,
in the other, marching, preceded by a deputy with his staff" ot
office, with a slow and measured step to his seat in the clerk's
desk, whfle the loud cry of the sheriff, — "Make way for the
grand jury!" — seemed to deepen the silence. The solicitor
remained standing, and, looking earnestly at that great body, as
if to see that every one was in his appropriate position, and
then with a low bow and a graceful wave of his hand to them
to be seated, he sat down. After a few moments' time, he rose,
and announced to the court: "May it please your honor! the
grand inquest of the body of the county of Hampden have
found a number of indictments. I move, sir, that they be re-
ceived and the defendants be called upon to plead." Then came
34 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
the arraignments ; and, as the venerable clerk read over, in the
technical language of the law, the story of each man's misdoings,
it seemed as if a man must be a hardened criminal indeed to
deny such a truthful accusation, and to trouble Such a respecta-
ble looking gentleman with the necessity of proving it.
In despite of the dignity that seemed to hedge in the supreme
court, there were occasionally scenes, in which the wit of counsel
and the circumstances of the occasion, would sometimes awaken
the hilarity even of a grave judge. At one of the terms, at
which Chief Justice Parker presided, a man was indicted for
adultery, and put upon his trial. Hon. Patrick Boise was for
the defense. The case proceeded laboriously ; some of the
witnesses were absent, and the sohcitor was put to many vexa-
tions in disappointments and delays. Prior to the statute of
1840, it was necessary, in a case like that, to prove the solemniz-
ation of a marriage by an ordained clergyman, or by a magis-
trate. In that case the marriage was proved to have been only
solemnized, but the difficulty was to prove the ordination. At
last the witness appeared ; but he, though he supposed that the
ordination had taken place, did not, of himself, know it. While
the solicitor was in a quandary about the proof, the witness pro-
duced to him a printed sermon, purporting to have been delivered
at the ordination of the clergyman. The solicitor offered it in
evidence, with an air of triumph. " I object to it," said Mr.
Boise. " What is the objection .-' " said the solicitor. " The fact
that such a sermon was printed, does not prove that the ordina-
tion actually took place," was the reply. The solicitor called the
Rev. Dr. Vermilye, then of West Springfield, to the stand, and
enquired of him, if he had ever heard of a sermon having been
preached at the ordination of a minister, where the minister was
not ordained. The reply was, — "I have!" So unexpected an
answer disconcerted the solicitor, and excited the merriment of
the judge and the bar. It was finally ruled, that the sermon
might be admitted, as evidence tending to prove the fact, but
not as full proof of it. The solicitor arose, and with the look
of an advocate who has surmounted his last difficulty, read the
title-page of the sermon and offered it in evidence. Mr. Boise
promptly rose and said to the chief justice : " If the solicitor
general insists upon putting that sermon in evidence to the jury,
I insist that he shall read the whole of it ! '' This was too much
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 35
for the gravity, even of the court. The idea of the solicitor,
standing in the clerk's defk, and reading to the jury an ordina-
tion sermon, awoke the mirth of the whole audience. He
seemed to be at his wits' end. Turning to the bar, he encoun-
tered a universal cachinnation ; to the jury, he saw them laugh-
ing, at what they supposed to be a joke, of which they did not
exactly see the point; and when he turned to the chief justice,
and saw him convulsed with ill-suppressed merriment, he saw
no relief from his discomfiture. At last, looking at the text
and the title of the sermon, he said to the jury, " I see that the
title of the sermon is 'A call to the unconverted'; I read the
title-page to you, as my evidence in this case; and I commend
the title, the text and the sermon to the serious consideration
of my Brother Boise ! "
HON. SAMUEL PUTNAM,
whose long service on the bench made him well acquainted
with the profession in all the counties of the Commonwealth,
was a most thorough and well-read lawyer. He was not so
quick and ready in his apprehension of cases as some of his
associates; but he never suffered a case to go to the jury
without a full understanding of it. He was exceedingly val-
uable as a judge at the hearings of the law term. He made a
great use of his books ; and his opinions, and especially his dis-
senting opinions, exhibit great industry and talent in their prepa-
ration. In his manners upon the bench, he was the embodiment
of kindness and good nature ; nor did, I presume, any member
of the bar ever see in him an instance of pettishness or ill-nature.
Socially, he was a most agreeable and entertaining gentleman.
He had seen much of the leading men of the former generation,
and his anecdotes of them, his sketches of their peculiarities and
their talents were interesting and instructive. I remember his
description of a very eminent and learned lawyer, who was well
versed in Coke and Fleta, but who did not imitate the style of
Bacon and Seldon. He spoke of the singular terseness of his
peroration in an action for a breach of the marriage promise.
He represented him, in his manner of address, as standing with
bowed head, hands behind him, and with closed eyes, turning now
to the judge and now to the jury until he had succeeded in get-
ting his back to the tribunal that was to assess the damages ;
36 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
and, after finishing his comment upon the perfidy of the man,
who, after a long courtship, had proved faithless to his vows, he
closed his address with the following personal appeal : " And
now, Mr. Foreman and gentlemen of the jury, I put the ques-
tion to you, and to each one of you, on the subject of damages,
what would you have your daughter bamboozled over in that
sort of a way for ? "
THE HON. SAMUEL S. WILDE
had been long upon the bench, 'prior to my recollection of it,
and he remained upon it until 1850, when the infirmities of age
compelled him to resign. He was a practitioner at the bar in
the district of Maine, at the time of his appointment, and was
in the enjoyment of a large practice. At the time of the in-
corporation of Maine as a State, he removed to Massachusetts,
and thus our Commonwealth received the benefit of his judicial
experience. It has always seemed to me that he was born for
a judge ; or, if not so born, he took to the duties of the office
at an early age. He was apparently an unimpassioned man.
Not that he was void of passion, or zeal ; for no one could look
at those expressive gray eyes that occasionally lighted up with
an intensity of animation, or that long, thin face, that most
strongly expressed the varying emotions of his heart, without
being sensible, that, if his passions were not at all times re-
strained and controlled by the sense of duty, there existed a
hidden fire, which might break forth and overleap those bounds,
which he had prescribed for his judicial conduct. But those
bounds he never passed. During the long period of his judicial
career, I never saw in him the exhibition of peevishness or pas-
sion, or heard from him a word calculated to wound the feehngs
of a member of the bar. He entertained an unbounded respect
for the administration of the law ; and even in what are called
" hard cases " he could not be swerved from carrying out its
provisions. Probably no one of his associates was so familiar
with the practice of real actions, — his knowledge of real estate
law having been acquired in Maine, in the numerous suits to
settle the disputed land titles in that State. His opinions are
distinguished for their brevity and their plainness. They are
not essays, or treatises upon topics of the law to which the cases
,relate ; but they are simply decisions of the points in contro-
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 37
versy, and the reasons for those decisions. In his charges to
the jury, he was singularly lucid and intelligible. He was brief
in his addresses, and he seemed, by his wonderful power of
generalization, to present the questions of fact to them in a
manner plain to their understandings. He may have had disa-
greements of the juries ; but in such cases it must have been
from the extremes of stupidity, or wickedness. And yet no
member of the court was accustomed to say and do so much,
in the way of admonition to the counsel to hurry on the progress
of the case. It used to be said at the bar, that if a lawyer did
not well understand his own case. Judge Wilde would soon
know more of it than he did. A counselor once apologized to
the jury for the time he expected to consume in the argument
of a very complicated case. He said it must be necessary for
him to trouble them for more than an hour. " You are mis-
taken !" said Judge Wilde ; " I never argued a case longer than
three-quarters of an hour in my life. An hour is as good as a
THE HON. LEVI LINCOLN
was appointed to the bench in 1824, and remained upon it but
one year, I saw him but once as a presiding judge, and I well
recollect his charge to the jury. He was of an ardent and ex-
citable temperament, and seemed to present the case with the
zeal of a counselor. Such is too apt to be the failing of a new
judge, who goes from the excitement of the bar to. the quiet
dignity of the bench ; and he would probably have changed his
course of conduct had not the popular voice called him to a po-
sition, which, for nine years, he illustrated with wonderful execu-
His successor upon the bench, was the
HON. MARCUS MORTON,
who commenced his judicial career in 1825, and remained in
office until 1840, when, to the general regret of the bar of the
Commonwealth, he resigned a situation he was so well qualified
to fill with honor and usefulness, for one which is sometimes
considered, — erroneously considered, — as of more dignity. It
would seem to many, at the present day, that the position in
which Judge Morton was placed was one of peculiar embarrass-
T,S HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
ment. The members of the bar were for the most part mem-
bers of the whig party, and most decided in their political senti-
ments. He was not only a democrat, but he was put forward
by his party as a candidate for the chief executive magistracy.
It is natural to suppose, that, in a time of great political excite-
ment, the relation of the parties — the bar and the judge — would
be constrained and formal, and that there could be no cordial
sympathy between them. But such was not the fact. The
amenities of professional life would of course restrain any open
breach of decorum within the precincts of the court room ; but
in the parlor, and in all those social entertainments where they
were thrown together, there was no constraint and no want of
sympathy. They met in the parlors in full communion of spirit,
and there was no separating wall to divide them. Politics were
discussed, party relations and anecdotes were narrated, but they
were discussed by them not like partisans, but like gentlemen,
and like brethren of the bar ; nor do I remember, in all the
long intercourse of many, many years, one single expression to
ruffle the sensitiveness of any one of the company.
I happened to meet the judge as he was leaving the custom
house, after the appointment of his successor. I expressed my
regret, and the regret of our bar, that he ever should have ex-
changed the judicial ermine for any offices which a party could
have bestowed. He pressed my hand and said : " I regret the
separation more deeply than any other person can do. I shall
never forget the many hours that I have spent with the bar of
the Connecticut river. That decision has been the great mistake
of my life!"
THE HON. CHARLES A. DEWEY
relinquished his practice in Berkshire county, removed to North-
ampton, and became a partner of Hon. Isaac C. Bates, They
had a large and extensive practice at the time when he was ap-
pointed to the office of judge, in 1837. He remained in office
till his death, in 1866, a period of twenty-nine years. He
had a great familiarity with practice, and particularly with crimi-
nal practice, he having held the office of district attorney from
the time of the creation of the office, in 1832, to his appointment
to the bench. He was of great urbanity of manner, a thorough
and accurate lawyer, and a most agreeable judge. The law
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 39
terms of the supreme court were held at Northampton, for the
three river counties, and the leading counsel of Plampshire,
Hampden and Franklin used to come together there to argue
their cases. The spacious mansion of Judge Dewey was always
thrown open upon those occasions, at a social party to the court,
the bar and their families, who frequently made a point of being
present, and to the elegant and refined society of the town.
The parties were not vapid and formal collections of discord-
ant individuals, but were an annual and social re-assemblage of
parted friends. Their professional communion was always
hightened by a profusion of delicate viands ; and a copious
variety of liquid beverages, produced that overflow of well-
bred jollity that poetry ascribes to the effects of the fruit of
I am far from intimating that it was only at the hospitable
mansion of Judge Dewey, that the members of the bar of the
three counties were accustomed to assemble in social and con-
vivial converse. A short time after supper, the members of the
court were accustomed to betake themselves to the law library,
or to the private library of Judge Dewey, to discuss, and, if
practicable, to decide, such cases as did not require a more ex-
tended examination ; and, of course, the members of the bar
were left to indulge themselves in conversation, and in those
enjoyments that are common to kindred souls. Their minds
gradually tired of legal discussions. Grave disquisitions light-
ened into poHtical and literary conversation. These were suc-
ceeded by jokes and anecdotes, until, at last, their souls broke
forth into song ; and it was not seldom that the culmination of
the evening's enjoyment was a frugal supper. Generally it so
happened, that, about the time for the evening symposium, the
judges had adjourned from their consultation. They cheerfully
took and maintained their seats at the table ; and, during these
relaxations from the toils of judicial life, they contributed from
their stores of social experiences, to the prolonged enjoyments
of lengthened nights. I ought not to omit, that, for years,
Hon. Samuel L. Hinckley, a member of the bar of Hampshire
county, was the sheriff of the county ; and it was his pleasure,
which he performed as regularly as though it were a duty, to
open his hospitalities to his professional brethren.
At the decease of Chief Justice Parker, in 1830, there was a
40 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
deep-felt anxiety relative to the appointment of his successor.
The two senior members of the bench were of about the same
age and judicial service ; and each one of them was well quali-
fied for the office. There were very many of the profession
who had such a reverence for the character and talent of Judge
Wilde, and such an admiration of his capacity for the adminis-
tration of business, that a strong wish was expressed for his
appointment. But the governor was an acquaintance of the
Hon. Lemuel Shaw, and had known him when he was a mem-
ber of the Legislature, and also in professional business ; and
he astonished, at least, the western part of the Commonwealth,
by nominating him for the vacant office. Never, perhaps, has
there been a more fortunate appointment. He was in the full
meridian of his days, and at the height of his usefulness ; and
though he was only known to the profession in this vicinity,
through the medium of the Reports, he soon vindicated, by his
knowledge of the law, the wisdom of the executive. For a
period of thirty years, he discharged the duties of the office of
chief justice ; and his judicial opinions extend through fifty-
eight volumes of our law reports. They are cited, not only in
the courts of all the States of this Union, but also in the courts
of all countries that adopt the common law. Each opinion is
exhaustive of the subject for consideration ; and the cases are
rare where any judicial tribunal presumes to over-rule an opin-
ion of Chief Justice Shaw. He was deeply imbued with the
learning of the old authors, and had read with zest those quaint,
and almost obsolete reports, which now but rarely find a reader.
His mind was stored with an accurate knowledge of the com-
mon law, and he made frequent reference to it in his decisions.
His opinions disclose his famiharity with it. Instead of declar-
ing what the law is, and referring to an adjudged case, as an
authority for it, he begins by a reference to the general princi-
ple that governs it. and only refers to the cases, for the purpose
of reconciling discordant opinions, or showing in what respect
they are the true declaration of what the law is. Every one
who examines his opinions is struck with their comprehensive
nature. His decisions are not each one a barren declaration,
ita lex, with a short application of the law to the facts ; but he
labors, rather, to make each case the subject of a disquisition
upon that branch of the law ; and by an explication of the prin-
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 4I
ciples of the common law, to establish the general rule by which
all such cases must be governed.
But it is not my purpose to depict the legal attainments of
the chief justice. I propose, rather, to present to you my rec-
ollections of him as a man. He was a large, powerful man,
though rather short, with a large head, and a face of unprepos-
sessing appearance. Upon the bench, his manners were some-
times stern and austere. This did not arise from an acerbity
of disposition, but from the engrossment of his mind with the
present objects of his thought. No man had a kinder heart or a
more generous nature ; or, as I believe, was more anxious to
avoid offense to the members of the bar, however his conduct,
at times, might seem to the contrary.
I remember a laughable incident, which illustrates the habits
and manners both of Chief Justice Shaw and Judge Wilde.
The late Chief Justice Wells, of the common pleas, when at the
bar, was arguing a case in bank, and, after concluding his
remarks on one point, stated his next at length to the court.
Judge Wilde, whose honest bluntness was too well known ever
to give oftense, remarked to Mr. Wells, "If you have got no
better point than that, you had better give up your case." Mr.
Wells replied that the general principle seemed to be in favor
of it, and he had seen no contradictory decision ; however, he
said, he would submit it to the court ; and then went on with
his argument. In a few moments the chief justice said, in a
loud and abrupt voice, " Mr. Wells ! " The latter stopped sud-
denly in alarm, and the chief justice said, "Judge Wilde did not
intend to disturb your feelings, or to prevent you from arguing
your case in your own manner, sir ! " Mr. Wells, who had for-
gotten the injury for which the chief justice was apologizing,
or, rather, into whose mind it had never passed, replied to him,
inquiringly, " I do not understand your honor I " " Why," said
he, "Judge Wilde only meant to intimate a present opinion of
his own ; he did not intend to injure your feelings, but he is
willing to hear and consider your views." " O," said Mr. Wells,
" I've known Judge Wilde too long and too well to suppose him
guilty of any unkindness." Judge Wilde, who, during this col-
loquy, had been in a quandary as to the meaning of it, and won-
dering, though hearing his name, what he had to do with it,
exclaimed, " Oh, yes ; Brother Wells knows too much of me to
take offense at what I say ! Go on ! "
A delightful trait in the character of the chief justice was his
readiness to yield his preconceived opinions during the trial of
a case, when he was convinced that he was in the wrong.
There are men, who, once having advanced an opinion, some-
times without such reflection as to make it a matter of judg-
ment, will persist and adhere to it with the more pertinacity,
the deeper they are in the wrong. Like Dr. Sangrado, — whose
book recommended bleeding and hot water, and which treat-
ment he was advised to abandon, because he made more widows
by it than were made at the siege of Troy, and who declared
that he would continue the treatment, though all the nobiUty,
clergy and the people should perish, — they continue to maintain
a loosely expressed opinion, when firmness has degenerated into
obstinacy. But Judge Shaw had no pride of opinion. If such
a simple-minded man could be conceived to ever act a part for
the exhibition of stage artifice, he might rather be supposed to
pretend to change, and yield his opinions, for the purpose of
showing, by an example, how a strong and reasoning intellect
can sacrifice intellectual pride at the shrine of truth. Upon
one occasion, in a reported case, he startled the plaintiff's
counsel, by asking if he had a case to show that the grantors of
the plaintiff had a continuing authority ; and, after a few sug-
gestions, he expressed a decided opinion to the contrary and
reported the case. At the hearing at the law term the counsel
for the defendant declined to argue, alleging the decided opinion
of the chief justice at the trial. " That is nothing to do with
it !" said he ; " that was my opinion then, without argument or
authority. But was I right ? That is the question now. You
have heard the argument ; I should like to hear your reply to
it." The decision was reversed.
Of the varied knowledge of the chief justice, his extraordi-
nary powers, and the sympathy with which his faculties were
blended into one harmonious character, no one, who has not
seen him when he was off from the bench and released from the
thoughts and restraints of judicial cares, can form an adequate
conception. When we have seen him in court, — either deciding
the incidental questions, that suddenly arise at a nisi prints trial,
often with but an extemporaneous argument and meagre authori-
ties, or drawing up from that "deep well," of which Lord Coke
saith that " every man draweth according to the strength of his
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 43
understanding," those principles of the law that had been recog-
nized by the court, — we have been astonished at the breadth of
his comprehension, the minuteness of his observation, and the
strength of that chain of reasoning that led us along, so irre-
sistibly, to the truth he labored to establish. He was not aided,
in the impressions he produced upon us, by any adventitious
circumstances. His voice was low and indistinct, his face dull
and heavy, and his manner and style dry and painfully elaborate.
But his learning seemed to well up without labor or effort, like
water from an artesian well, from some inexhaustible subterra-
When we saw him in private life, either at the hotel, during
the sessions of the court, in the parlor, with his professional
brethren, during those delightful evenings when the awakened
thoughts of the past, gleamed like a dream of recollections, of
which all the harsh realities are softened and subdued by the
kindly illusions of each man's heart ; or at the frequent associa-
tions of his friends, at the entertainments of the club, it was there,
that he disclosed that diversity of learning, that made all his
companions his eager listeners. He loved those social gather-
ings. He was no epicure ; but he was fond of the pleasures of
the table, including the liquid ones. They seemed to soften his
heart, to wean him from the habit of meditating so constantly,
more upon the rights of persons and the rights of things, than
upon his intercourse with his fellow-men, — a habit which has a
tendency to render a judge formal, reserved and austere, and to
quench that sympathy between a judicial magistrate and the
people, which it is so desirable to promote. Upon all these
occasions his companions were made to feel how abundant were
the stores of his information. What the poet said of Henry
v., and which has been so pertinently applied to Alexander
Hamilton, may well be said of the chief justice :
" Hear him but reason in divinity,
And, all admiring, with an inward wish,
You would desire the king were made a prelate ;
Hear him debate of Commonwealth affairs,
You would say, — it hath been all in all his study ;
Turn him to any cause of policy,
The Gordian knot of it he will unloose
Familiar as his garter."
He understood thoroughly the science of music. He was
44 HISTORICAL ADDRESS,
acquainted with the structure of the church organ, and of the
inherent difficulty of so constructing it as to express all the
tones of the musical scale. He invented an improvement upon
the piano, which is now in common use. "It occurred to me,"
said he, " that by raising the bass strings from the plane of the
other strings, and stretching them across the center of the sound-
ing-board, it would give room for the elongation of the strings,
and thus increase the volume of sound. I made the suggestion
to my tenant, and he adopted it ; " and now we have the invent
tion in many of our families. He was familiar with the racy
songs of Charles and Thomas Dibdin, and the other old song-
sters, whose names have passed from memory, and we have
often been furnished in these counties, with the best evidence
that he was familiar with the tunes, also. On one occasion, he
went to one of the whip factories of Westfield, to examine their
nice and beautiful machinery. He regarded it with great atten-
tion ; and, as he left the factory, he desired to descend to the
basement and examine the motive power. Having examined
the form of the wheel, he proceeded to give a scientific disserta-
tion upon the powers of the different water-wheels.
It is impossible to estimate, or to exaggerate the usefulness
of such a man as Chief Justice Shaw. The duties of a judge
are performed within the walls of a court-house, or in his own
library, where there are few or no witnesses ; and, even in the
court-house, the judge who discharges his duties with tha least
noise and tumult, and who sways the progress of trials, by his
own dignity, in silent power, is generally the more useful judge.
When he pronounces an opinion, how little do the people know
how many silent hours have been spent over the midnight lamp
in the preparation for it. Consider for a moment the thirty
years of his judicial life! How many thousands of cases have
passed under his examination and determination ! Of how many
millions of acres of real estate, of how many homes of our citi-
zens, have the titles depended upon his decision ! What untold
millions of dollars have been changed from man to man, or
have been suffered to remain with their original possessors,
because of the law that he has declared ! How many innocent
lives have been preserved I How many persons entrenched in
their power and pride have been arrested and punished, because
he has meted out the law with fearless and unswerving justice !
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 45
And with all those thousands of persons, whose interests have
been affected by his judicial determination, who has ever ques-
tioned its impartial justice? Who has not felt, that, if at any-
period, during his long and useful career, the secrets of his
heart could have been thrown open, it would have disclosed no
taint, no judicial stain ? At the end of a long and useful life,
we followed him to his grave with reverence and veneration ;
and we felt that to him the language of a quaint old English
lawyer, in relation to Sir James Croke, might well be applied :
He remained upon the highest seat of dignity and usefulness,
" till a certiorari came from the Great Judge of heaven and
earth, to remove him from a human bench of law, to a heavenly
throne of glory."
Of the members of the bar of the county of Hampden, who
were in practice at the time I commenced attending court, or even
at the time of my admission to it, all are now deceased, except
NORMAN T. LEONARD.
He was admitted to practice in the county of Berkshire in 1824,
and was admitted as an attorney of the supreme court in 1827.
At that time he resided in Feeding Hills, West Springfield, and
in 1830 he removed to Westfield.
was the oldest member of the bar in this county, except Hon.
George Bliss. He was ^admitted to the supreme court in 1797
at Northampton, and resided at Westfield. At the time of the
division of the old county of Hampshire, and the formation of
this county, in 18 12, he was appointed clerk of the court, and
removed to Springfield. During his residence in Westfield, he
and my father, Elijah Bates, were for many years the only
lawyers in Westfield, and lived opposite to each other on the
same street, in the closest terms of intimacy. Mr. Ingersoll
was a most estimable man, and a useful member of society. It
is narrated, that an aged lady of Westfield was much dissatisfied
with the "woe " that was pronounced upon lawyers ; for, she said,
that both Esquire Ingersoll and Esquire Bates were really too
good men to be sent to hell ! Mr. Ingersoll was graduated in
1790, and Elijah Bates in 1794, and the latter was admitted to
the bar in 1797.
46 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
The clerkship of Mr. Bates was spent partly in the law school
at Litchfield, under the charge of Hon. Tapping Reeve, and
partly in the office of Hon. Joseph Lyman, who was then a
practising lawyer in Westfield, but afterwards removed to North-
ampton. Mr. Bates remained in practice until 1825 ; when,
having initiated me into the mystery of making writs and deeds,
and renewing executions, referring me to Oliver's Precedents of
Declarations and Chitty's Pleading, he set me down to the study
of Blackstone's Commentaries and Bacon's Abridgement, and
betook himself to what he most enjoyed, the cultivation of his
farm ; leaving me to " come up " as a lawyer, wise or otherwise,
as the Fates or my own industry should decree.
THE HON. GEORGE BLISS
was the senior member of the bar, at the time of my connection
with it. He was called Master George, because he had been
accustomed to have a number of students, and was reported to
have been more than usually attentive to their instruction. I
have understood that he prepared a course of law lectures, upon
the different branches of the law, which he was accustomed to
deliver to them. He appeared to be an old man, in 1825 ; and
yet he was graduated in 1784, and died in 1830, at the age of
65. I never saw him in the common pleas. It was said, that,
when that court was organized, in 1820, he desired and expected
an appointment as one of the judges ; and he was grievously
disappointed at the nomination of Judge Howe, " one of the
boys," for a situation to which he supposed himself so much
better entitled. Therefore it was that he abandoned his practice
in that court, and would not even give it his countenance. As
a consequence, his practice fell off in the supreme court ; for
the public seems to expect, that if a lawyer is not willing to
devote himself to their interests, in any legal tribunal, he is not
the person to resort to for counsel. I do not know that he was
ever a candidate for any judicial office, or would have accepted
an appointment as a judge of either court. His friends, who
estimated his knowledge of the law, attributed the neglect to ap-
point him, to his religious opinions ; and the dissatisfaction that
he felt with the constitution of the court, may have arisen from
the fact that the judicial offices were given to those who were
not so well qualified as he was, without even the compliment of
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 4/
an offer of the office to him. He was, undoubtedly, a most
thorough and erudite lawyer, as his arguments in the reports
show, and as his reputation has come down to us. But he was
far from being an eloquent man. He was no orator to steal
away the hearts of the people, or to delight and astonish popular
audiences. He had —
" Neither wit nor words,
Action, nor utterances, nor the power of speech,
To stir men's blood."
When addressing the jury, or the court, his hands were usually
behind him, his head was bowed down and his language dry and
terse ; but he was so clear and direct, his reasoning so close and
just, that he arrested and kept the attention of his audience,
and, especially, of the court. As a technical lawyer, he was
without a peer ; and it was said, that he was fond of displaying
his technical learning. I heard it related, that, having subjected
an opposing lawyer to the imposition of terms, by a successful
plea in abatement, the latter, in reading a writ, read as follows :
" For that the said defendant, in the year of our Lord and Sav-
iour, Jesus Christ," "What," said the judge, "is the occasion
of that profanity.''" " Why," said the witty relative, "I thought
that if I did not allege what Lord it was, my Cousin George
would plead in abatement!"
Soon after my admission to the bar, I commenced an action
of covenant-broken, upon the covenant in a deed of warranty
of lands in Virginia, for a failure of title. The case was com-
plicated ; and my father advised me to go to Springfield and
consult Mr. Bliss; "for," said he, "when you have a difficult,
knotty case, there is no so good man to unravel it as Master
George." Accordingly, I went to his office, took from my
satchel a large bundle of transcripts of trials, and judgments in
Virginia, and opened my case. I waited to hear the responses
of the legal oracle. In a few moments, he raised his head, and,
in a petulant manner, inquired, " What did you bring this knotty
case to me for.? " "Because," said I, "my father told me, that
when I had a difficult, knotty case, there was no so good a man
to unravel it as Master George Bliss." The old gentleman, — for
he looked old, and was always called old ; but, if his head had
not been so filled with Coke and Littleton, and the old black
letter folios, he would then have been young, — gave a hitch in his
48 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
chair, and a sort of a half-gratified smile seemed almost to break
out upon his face, as he said, "■ Well, that is just the way ! If a
lawyer has got a complicated case, that nobody can under-
stand, then it is all ' Master George ! Master George ! ' but if it
is a plain matter, then off he goes to Oliver, or George, or
Willard ! But come, let me see your brief! " He went over it
with me, step by step, examining the transcripts of judgment,
the records of evidence of ouster and eviction, sometimes sug-
gesting striking out unnecessary parts, and again adding to its
particularities, until I could but wonder to what a perfect training
his mind had been brought, with the peculiarities of a new case,
new in its association of facts, but depending on principles as
old as the English Justinian. My conference continued with
the kindly, genial gentleman, — for when the crust was broken, I
so found him, — for nearly an half day, when he told me he
guessed I'd get along; that he didn't see how the defendants
could dodge a verdict.
From hearing his argumentation of a few cases, in the su-
preme court, and more from my interview with him, I was per-
suaded that he deserved the reputation with which he was ac-
credited. The fact that he was a formidable antagonist of the
late Gov. Caleb Strong, is strong evidence in his favor. There
was, it was reported, a feeling among the old lawyers, that the
old court, which contained among its members Simeon Strong
and Moses Bliss, was inclined to favor their relatives. I re-
member hearing repeated a poetical squib, which I was told was
current at the bar, after the close of the Revolution, of which I
only retain the last couplet :
The parties are fools, and the witnesses liars,
And Judge Moses' learning but troubles the triers.
It was also said, that one of the old judges was accustomed
to sleep, at times, upon the bench ; and on a trial, the chief
justice of that court, awaking him, inquired, " Who shall we
give this case to, Caleb or George .■*" "Who had the last one.-'"
inquired the sleeper. " George," was the reply. " Well, then,
give this to Caleb ! "
THE HON. SAMUEL LATHROP,
of West Springfield, was graduated at Yale College in 1792. I
do not find on the record the date of his admission to the bar :
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 49
but his name is inserted on the list, in the appendix of the ad-
dress of Mr. Bliss, and it is presumed that he was duly admit-
ted, in course. In 1825, he still continued in practice; but it
was partially interrupted by his long service in Congress, as a
member of the House, and by his subsequent terms of service
in the Senate of this Commonwealth. He was the son of the
Rev. Dr. Joseph Lathrop, a man of a large frame, a dignified
presence, and well calculated to impress himself upon those
with whom he came in contact. He was able and attentive to
his public duties, and, at different times, was nominated to the
office of governor. He was said to have been a sound, well-
read lawyer, and his arguments display his erudition, as they
appear in our reports.
Next, in the order of seniority, of those who were in practice
at the bar of Hampden county, in 1825, was the
HON. ELIJAH H. MILLS,
of Northampton. He was graduated at Williams College in
1797, admitted to the bar of the supreme judicial court in
Northampton, in 1803, and was in large and leading practice.
His election as a Senator of the United States interfered exten-
sively with his professional practice ; but, in the vacations of
his professional duties, he had abundant retainers for the full
power of his exertions. He was connected in business with
Hon. John H. Ashmun, who was subsequently Royal professor
of law in the University of Harvard, who was well able to pre-
pare his cases, or to argue them, in case of the necessary
absence of Mr. Mills. During the years 1827 and 1828, I was
in the law school at Northampton, and was a clerk in the office
of Mills & Ashmun. Of course I had the opportunity of ob-
serving, to some extent, the mode of preparation of their cases.
This was mostly done by Mr. Ashmun, during the absence of
Mr. Mills. He prepared an elaborate brief, noting the antici-
pated objections, and citing the authorities, and also setting
down the objections to be made to the proposed evidence of the
opposite counsel. This was done with a thoroughness, that I
have no where else seen equaled in the practice of any other
lawyer in my experience. The brief was submitted to Mr.
Mills, who appeared to apprehend it instinctively, and with a
slight conversation, he went forth equipped for the contest.
50 HISTORICAL ADDRESS,
The latter was a man, in person, of full size, well formed, erect,
and graceful in his carriage, with an eye, which, when lighted
up with excitement, was as powerful as the eye of the Caliph
Vathek upon the heart of a dishonest witness. He was con-
nected with Judge Howe in the management of the law school
at Northampton, but his health was then in a decline, and he
gradually withdrew from the school, and at last from the active
duties of the law office. When I first saw him, he appeared, to
my boyish imagination, a most wonderful lawyer. At the courts
in Hampshire, he was the adversary of Hon. Lewis Strong and
Hon. Isaac C. Bates. The contests between them used to call
together large audiences. The people seemed delighted to wit-
ness the intellectual struggles of these eminent advocates.
Mr. Strong rarely came to Hampden, but confined his practice
to his own county of Hampshire. There he was at home, in
the midst of his neighbors and his friends, and in a community
that revered him, not more, perhaps, for his distinguished
father's sake, than for his own. But Mr. Bates was a regular
attendant at our courts in Hampden, and, in almost all impor-
tant cases, both he and Mr. Mills were employed in opposition.
If one of them was employed, the other, almost of necessity,
was employed also.
No one, who is acquainted only with the style and manner of
arguing cases, at the present time, can imagine the exhibition, —
for such it often was, — of the counsel in those days in their
addresses to the jury. Before the trial began, the case was
thoroughly examined. The juniors brought to the aid of the
leaders their whole stock of evidence, and all such suggestions
as would properly aid in the presentation of the cause. Full
briefs were made up ; and, when it could^be anticipated, the clos-
ing address would be to a great extent prepared. Usually, a
large audience of the intelligent people of the town, the friends
of the parties from their vicinity, and, by no means seldom,
numbers of the reverend clergy were within the bar, or upon
the side bench, to enjoy a rich, intellectual repast.
And it was rarely that they were not gratified. The argument
of a cause was an argument for a cause. It was to vindicate
and protect right. It was to sway and influence mind. It was
to induce the impartial, and upright, and conservatorial portion
of a judicial tribunal, to mete out equal and exact justice be-
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 5 I
tween man and man ; and if the advocate, perchance, glanced
from the panel, towards whose hearts all his energies were
bending, to " the sea of upturned faces " surrounding him closely
on every side, and saw and felt — felt from their very silence — their
answering sympathies, he could not but feel his own heart glow,
with a new fervor, from their enkindling. The eloquence of the
bar, compared with that of many popular lectures, or the dis-
courses of some other assemblies, is entirely of a different
character. It is not made up of high-sounding phrases, and
metaphysical syllogisms, that require an accompanying diction-
ary, or elaborate foot notes, to define and interpret. The client
does not employ an advocate to amuse his audience with soft
words, " in linked sweetness long drawn out," or to present them
with sketches " that lead to bewilder, and dazzle to blind."
It is his object, rather, to acquire and maintain substantial re-
sults ; to protect virtue and to denounce vice ; and, however coolly
and unconcernedly a wrong doer may repose under the homiUes
of the pulpit, to make him smart under the infliction, when the
lawyer is the preacher.
HON. ISAAC C. BATES
was graduated at Yale College, in 1802, with the highest honors
of his class. I have not found the date of his admission as an
attorney of the common pleas, but he was admitted in the
supreme court in 1807. He studied law in New Haven, and
there he acquired that knowledge of general principles that
served him so well in after years, in the place of continued
study. Perhaps, as his friends thought, it was a misfortune to
him that his tastes led him to some branches of agricultural
pursuits ; and, for a time, he gave up to his partner the care of
the office, contenting himself with arguing such cases as seemed
to force themselves upon him. He had, however, those personal
advantages, — that commanding presence, that rich, silvery voice,
that graceful address, and that power of speech to stir men's
blood, — that would not allow his powers to lie dormant. A
speech of his before the Agricultural Society, in 1823, and an
aildress before the Bible Society in New York city, about the
same time, by the complimentary notices that they elicited,
seemed to arouse his energies, and he devoted himself to the
argument of important cases in the courts. His success was
52 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
brilliant and rapid. Retainers poured in upon him, and success
increased by each new eftbrt. In the county of Hampshire, he
rivaled Mr. Mills, as one of the two leaders of the bar; and in
a class of cases he far exceeded him. He rose with equally
rapid strides in this county, and after the illness of Mr. Mills,
he was the acknowledged leader.
His addresses to the jury were studied and eloquent ; and
where the facts and law of a cause would authorize it, his influ-
ence with the jury was omnipotent. Judge Howe, on his return
from a term in Hampden, in narrating a speech of Mr. Bates,
spoke of it as the most eloquent and effective speech to which
he had ever listened; and Prof Ashmun, in speaking of another
argument, when he was upon the other side, said that he was
so hurried along by the power of the advocate, that he, for the
time, forgot on which side he was engaged, and that all his
sympathies moved on with him in opposition to the case of his
own client. I know that an eloquent address falls upon the ear
of a young lawyer, with more of power and beauty, than in ma-
turer years. But it has been my fortune to listen to the great
orators of Massachusetts, — whom those of no other county or
state have exceeded, — and I can safely say, that I have never
heard more powerful addresses to the jury than from Isaac C.
Bates. He was elected, and served for several terms in the
House of Representatives, and for a period of five years in the
Senate, and his eloquence in each body received high commenda-
tion. Those who listened to, or read the glowing tribute to his
memory at the time of his death, that was pronounced by Mr.
Webster in the United States Senate, will appreciate how feel-
ingly the words of the great senator portrayed the eloquence of
one, whose lips were to be evermore silent.
THE HON. OLIVER B. MORRIS
was graduated at WiUiams College, studied law with Mr. Bliss,
and was admitted to the bar in 1807. He married his daugh-
ter, and commenced practice in Springfield, where he continued
it, until, at a late period of his life, he retired from the profession,
and devoted his time to antiquarian and literary pursuits. Earl^^
in life, he was the prosecuting attorney of the county; then he
obtained the office of register of probate ; and, on the decease
of Judge Hooker, he became judge of probate. He performed
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 53
the duties of these various offices with industry and ability,
without a suspicion of unfairness ever attaching itself to him.
His law practice was large and profitable. He was an impulsive
man, became intensely interested in his client, and labored with
corresponding effort. After he retired from practice, his heart
continued in the profession, and he loved to linger in the court-
room, and watch the progress of events in a theater, in which
he had formerly performed so leading a part. He died in 1871,
at the ripe age of 88 years.
HON. ALANSON KNOX,
or General Knox, which was the title that he was known by, was
admitted in 1810, and was a native of, and, during the greater
part of his life, practiced law in Blandford. He had, ^.t differ-
ent times, many students in his office, among whom was his
son-in-law, Hon. Reuben Atwater Chapman, afterwards chief
justice of our supreme judicial court. In the latter years of his
life, he removed to the State of Ohio.
was a graduate of WilHams College in 1803^ settled in Ches-
ter, married a daughter of the Rev. Aaron Bascom of that
town, continued in the practice of his profession there until his
death in 1830, at the age of 48. I have but a faint recollection
of him. His professional business was small, but he was highly
esteemed as a useful man, in the affairs of the town, and soci-
ety, and his decease was felt to be a serious loss to the people.
HON. DANIEL WELLS
was a native of Greenfield, was graduated at Dartmouth in
1 8 10, and was admitted to the bar in 1813. He is said to have
been a most diligent student, and he certainly was a profound
lawyer. For many years he was the leader of the Franklin bar,
and was in a large and successful practice. He was for one
year a State senator ; and there was an incident in his life, which
shows the difficulty of special legislation.
A case was submitted to him for examination, and he found
that an action could not be brought to try the right, at a court
of law, without a special provision for the purpose. Being nom-
inated as a candidate for the Senate, he consented to stand for
54 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
the office, and was elected. As chairman of the judiciary com-
mittee, he reported a bill, which passed to be enacted, and he
went home and brought a suit under its provisions. At the
hearing, at nisi prizes, Judge Wilde ruled, that the act did not •
provide for such a case ! Mr. Wells insisted ; and, as a conclu-
sive argument, stated to the court that he drew the bill for the
purposes of that case, and that such was the design of the com-
mittee. "Then," said the judge, "you did not say what you
ought to have said ; for such is not the meaning of the words
of the act," and, on exceptions, such was the ruling of the whole
Mr. Wells had acquired such a reputation at the bar, that, in
1837, when a new judge was to be appointed, his friends pre-
sented his name as a candidate, with a strong representation
from the bar. Mr. Dewey, however, received the appointment,
and he succeeded to the office of district attorney, made vacant
by the elevation of Mr. Dewey to the bench. He continued in
this office from 1837 to 1844, and during the period he devoted
himself to the performance of its duties, with a faithfulness, a
diligence, and a laboriousness, that has never been surpassed.
At one time, during his term of office, he was called to attend a
session of the court in Middlesex county, to conduct the pros-
ecution of William Wyman, the president of the Middlesex
bank, for the fraudulent embezzlement of its funds. The defence
was conducted by Mr. Dexter, one of the ablest lawyers in the
Commonwealth, assisted by Mr. Webster. It was a long and
ably contested trial ; and the perusal of the history of it, as well
as the account which is given of it, bears full testimony to the
ability of Mr. Wells, as counsel of the Commonwealth.
Upon the resignation of Chief Justice Williams, in 1844, Mr.
Wells was appointed to the office of chief justice of the common
pleas, and remained in the office for a period of ten years, till his
death in 1854. As to the manner in which he discharged the
duties of his office, there has been a difference of opinion.
But, I apprehend, that there has been no doubt, in the mind of
any one, of his conscientiousness, his impartiality, and his puri-
ty of character. No man, who ever sat upon the judicial bench,
could ever assume, with more propriety than Daniel Wells, that
noblest motto of a judge, —
" No favor sways us, and no fear shall awe ! "
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 55
His errors arose, so far as they were errors, from his convictions
of judicial duty. The court, in his opinion, was a place where
justice was to be administered ; and it was the duty of a judge
to see that it was properly done. He commenced his adminis-
tration of the law with the presumption, that each party would
entrust his case to his own lawyer, and abide the issue upon his
skill. He likened a judicial trial to a tournament, where the
opposing knights were to continue the contest, until the victory
was won, while the judge was only to sit, like the arbiter of the
tournament, and see that the counsel conducted the struggle
with decorous fairness. But, as he afterward found that clients
came to the most important trials, with counsel unequally
matched, one of them, as he once expressed it, " like a large
fish, swallowing his small adversary, case and all," he concluded
that if it was his duty to see justice done, it was necessary to
do something else than to sit still, and rule only upon the points
of law raised by the counsel. It was necessary to interfere, to
inquire, to suggest, and, to a certain extent, to take part in the
trial of a case.
Whenever a judge commences acting upon this theory, he
enters at once upon the field of discretion ; and the exercise of
judicial discretion depends upon individual temperament, the
depth of moral convictions, and the correctness of judgment,
as to the extent of the interference, that is necessary to secure
the correct decision of a case. If a judge essays, not only to
decide the questions that arise according to the law, but, by oc-
casional suggestions, to prevent the skillful lawyer from taking
an unfair advantage, there is no occasion for any complaint of
magisterial interference. But if he adopts the conclusion that
it is his duty, not only to hold the scales of justice between the
parties fairly, but to weigh the talents and efforts of the respect-
ive counsel, to balance the scales by his own aid to the weaker
party, he at once makes himself a party to the cause, and does
a greater injury to the opposing party, than if he were to leave
the bench for a time, and assume openly ^the role of the advo-
cate. So far, therefore, as his nice perceptions of what was
right may have led him to overstep the Hne of judicious dis-
cretion, he may have been amenable to censure ; but no one
who knew the purity of his mind, and the justice of his heart,
would ever suspect him of an improper motive.
56 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
a native of Blandford, was admitted in 1813, and settled in
Westfield. During liis clerkship, he had a high reputation as a
young man of an acute mind, who bade fair to take a distin-
guished rank at the bar. He was always an ingenious, pains-
taking lawyer, in the habit of making a thorough investigation
of the law and facts of his cases, and presenting them to the
court in the best form. Early in life he had formed a habit
which impaired his energies, and held him back from that emi-
nence that his youth had promised. But he had an element in
his character that no habit could impair, and that was his high
sense of professional honor. He realized to the fullest extent
his duties to others, and, except in one particular, his duties to
himself. No temptation, however pressing, could ever swerve
him from his duty to his clients, his profession, or to the world ;
and no one ever heard from him a profane or indecent expres-
sion. As may be inferred, he died poor, the victim of what may
well be called a disease, against which he had long and faith-
fully struggled, but which, it seems, he could not conquer ; and
when he died, at a full old age, he received not only the commis-
eration and pity, but the respect of all that knew him.
HON. JOHN MILLS
was settled in Southwick, and married the daughter of Col.
Enos Foote. He was a native of Sandisfield, a student in the
office of John Phelps of West Granville, and was admitted to the
bar in this county in 18 15. His business was extensive and well
attended to, and he amassed a considerable property by his pro-
fessional practice. His personal appearance was prepossessing.
He was of medium size, rather burly in person, of a florid com-
plexion, and his head was of a polfshed and glossy baldness.
He early took to politics, and his fine appearance and his ur-
bane manners aided his reputation for talent, so that he was, in
1826 — 1828, placed in the senatorial chair of the president. He
is said to have made^n excellent presiding officer.
It will be recollected that in the year 1824, Lafayette, the
early and faithful friend of the United States, paid a grateful
visit to the scenes of his youthful sacrifices and dangers. He
showed, on many occasions, that he had a wonderful recollection
of persons, whose faces he had not seen for nearly half a cen-
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 5/
tury, and there were few large places which he visited, where
there were not persons presented to him whom he called by
name. But a memory of the strongest tenacity is not always
infallible. When he visited Boston it was, of course, in the
order of the performance, that he should be presented to as
many as possible of his old acquaintances, all of whom he ap-
peared anxious to see, as did they also to see him. A space of
half a century having elapsed since their last meeting, both
parties were prepared to expect time's changes; and it was
wonderful that he should have been so often able to look through
the wrinkles of eighty, upon the youthful face of thirty years.
It happened at that time that Mr. Mills was a member of the
Senate, and, with the other senators, he came up to the desk of
the president of the convention, and was duly introduced to the
Revolutionary hero as the Hon. John Mills, the Hampden Sen-
ator. They shook hands with great cordiality ; and, as Lafay-
ette rose up from his bowing position, his eye fell upon the
polished head of the young senator. Looking at him with an
intense gaze, a delightful recognition stole over his joyous
features, and, taking again the hand of Mr. Mills in both of his
own, and shaking it cordially, he exclaimed with fervid energy:
" My dear friend, I recollect you in the Revolution ! "
Succeeding, in right of his wife, to the handsome estate of
his father-in-law, Mr. Mills removed to Springfield, and erected
a beautiful residence upon one of its encircling hills. But he
had left a profession, to the pursuit of which he was fully equal,
for the hazards of an uncertain voyage upon a sea of commer-
cial speculation. In a short time, one misfortune after another
began to assail him. The sources of his confidence dried up.
The desire to extend and accumulate, became a desperate strug-
gle to retain. At last, the unwilling and bitter truth must have
forced itself upon his conviction that, to a man whose youthful
anticipations, whose growing desires, whose very life has been
educated to the sure and proportionate rewards derivable from
the exercise of an honorable profession, its compensations are
more to be desired, than even the golden streams that follow the
course of successful adventure.
THE HON. PATRICK BOISE
was a native of Blandford, and a graduate of Williams College.
He studied law with his uncle, John Phelps of West Granville.
58 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
He was admitted to the bar in 1815, and succeeded to the pro-
fessional business of Mr. Phelps, who had been appointed to
the office of sheriff of the county of Hampden. Here, for a
time, his practice was extensive. The centralization process,
by which the flourishing mountain towns have been gradually
concentrating their industries in the cities and large towns, had
not then commenced. Granville was then comparatively popu-
lous and thriving, and its business of all kinds was exceedingly
flourishing. This was especially so as to its law business. The
people did their business of that kind at home, instead of resort-
ing to Westfield or Springfield. Mr. Boise was one of the lead-
ing counsel of the county, and his practice used to call him to
the smaller controversies in the vicinity of his residence, and to
attend arbitrations and references in the western part of the
county and in southern Berkshire. Upon these occasions, he
used to encounter in opposition, Sheldon of New Marlboro,
Filley of Otis, Twining of Sandisfield, Mills of Southwick,
Cooley of his own town, Knox of Blandford, and occasionally
the grave and dignified looking Lathrop of West Springfield.
An arbitration or a reference in those days, was an event long
to be remembered. Reasonable notice was always given to the
country around. The ball-room of the village tavern was cleared
out and made ready. Viands were prepared of both kinds,
solid and liquid, and always in great abundance ; and in the
afternoon beforehand, the respective counsel, usually on horse-
back, with a pair of saddlebags, stuffed out with a shirt and a
bundle of law books, met their expecting clients, and proceeded
to prepare for the coming engagement. The supper, bountiful
beyond modern imagination, foreshadowed the good things that
were to come. Not to speak of the substantial below the dais,
for the ordinary guests, and such travelers as chanced to be
present, the abundance upon the board where were seated the
arbitrators, and the lawyers, indicated either that they had
endured a long fast, or that they needed an extraordinary sup-
ply for the exhausting encounters of the morrow.
It was in those trials that Mr. Boise was at home. He had
great experience in them. Always a pleasant and an easy
speaker, and, on these occasions, unrestrained by the technical
rules or the formal requirements of a judicial tribunal, he gave
a free range to his imagination. He was an impulsive man,
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 59
easily excited, and with a store-house of words and phrases to
express the results of his convictions ; and when he was excited
by controversial debate, especially if he thought his opponents
were unfair in their opposition, or when his sense of justice was
aroused by the unworthy conduct of the opposing client, his
invective was withering.
There was a high sense of justice in Mr. Boise, that was
apparent in his professional conduct, and which gave him a great
advantage with juries or arbitrators. They were apt to believe
that he was honest ; and, if the facts would authorize it, he was
very apt to win a verdict or an award. These arbitrations or
references usually continued for two or three days ; and when
the case came on for argument, a large and appreciative audi-
ence was almost always present, to listen to the well-prepared
and eloquent arguments of the counsel.
At the expiration of the term of office of Hon. Caleb Rice,
as sheriff of the county, Mr. Boise was appointed as his suc-
cessor. He was a proper person to officiate as " the companion
of the court ; " and he ever discharged the duties of the office
with dignity and discretion. He was, during his life, a member
of the Legislature, — of the House and Senate, — and also a
State councilor. In every situation, no suspicion tainted his
In the year 1830, yielding to currents of business, he re-
moved to Westfield, where he remained until his decease in
1859. No member of the bar exhibited a more racy wit than
Mr.'Boise. Scarcely a trial took place in which he was en-
gaged, where a bright attack or a brilliant repartee was not
uttered. He had an abundance of expressions and phrases,
which were always fitted to the subject or to the person, and
used to provoke a general merriment.
He was associated with me in the trial of Jesse Hall, on a
charge of murder. Hall refused to state the whole facts in the
case, and his obstinate reticence subjected him to a verdict of
murder, instead of manslaughter. Repairing to the jail, after
sentence, he was with difficulty persuaded to state the facts.
" I am guilty," was all we could extract from him. After ascer-
taining the truth, we prepared a petition for a commutation,
which he hesitated to sign. Mr. Boise was provoked, and said,
" Do you want to be hung ? " This staggered him, and at last
6o HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
he said, " Squire Boise, what sort of a place is the State prison
to Hve in ? " The reply was, " A great deal better than any
place you ever lived in, in Tolland ! "
In speaking of the address of a fluent speaker to the jury, he
said, " My learned brother has got a vivid imagination, and
wind enough to blow it off! "
THE HON. JUSTICE WILLARD,
of Springfield, was admitted to the bar in 1816, and settled in
Springfield. He was a member of the Senate, and on the ap-
pointment of Oliver B. Morris to be judge of probate, in the
place of Judge Hooker, he succeeded Mr. Morris as register.
As a lawyer he was a sound one. As a special pleader, he was
acute and logical, and he had, perhaps, no rival in his knowl-
edge of the science, except Master George Bliss. Eloquence
was not his forte. His manner was dry and hesitating, and he
was too much given to refining and making nice distinctions, to
impress his views upon the jury. But he had a great fervor of
character ; and when he had once examined a subject, he adopt-
ed the results of his examination with his whole heart. An
example will illustrate. During the examinations, bearing upon
the policy of constructing the railroad from Boston to Albany,
a public meeting was held at Springfield, at which sundry
reports were made of the prospective amounts of business, the
rate of speed, and number of passengers, which reports, if now
exhibited, would provoke a smile at the general incredulity.
After a number of persons had spoken, Mr. Willard arose, with
his accustomed ardor. Warming with his subject, he concluded
as follows : " Mr. President, I am told that I am apt to be too
sanguine. But, sir, when I consider the improvements of the
age, the new discoveries that must hereafter be made in that
wonderful machine, the steam engine, and the new applications
of the power of steam, I believe, and I am ready to declare, —
and I do declare, here, before this audience, — and some of you
may make a note of it, — that during the lifetime of some per-
sons standing here, a train of cars will run from Springfield to
Boston, between sun and sun ! " And then pausing, and draw-
ing himself up, and shaking his finger with oracular solemnity,
he continued : " Yes, sir, I repeat, between sun and sun ! and
back again in the same day ! ! " The prophesy was received
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 6 1
with a deafening shout, and the enthusiast sat down amid the
jeers of the audience. The Hon. John Howard, a strong friend
of the road, who sat next to me, exclaimed, " There ! Willard is
so sanguine, that he always throws an air of burlesque over the
most solemn subject ! "
But the scene, where the peculiarities of Mr. Willard shone
forth with the most resplendence, was when wit, and humor and
song contributed their fascinations to the gladdened heart, in
the social circle of his friends at their friendly convivialities, or
at his own hospitable board. Upon such occasions, the inten-
sity of his temperament always carried him a flight beyond the
conceptions of his most vivacious companions, and excited in
them a constantly recurring wonder at his grotesque imagin-
ings. It was not an assumed jocularity, or an extravagant explo-
sion, made for the purpose of astonishing his friends by his
amusing wildness ; but it was the genuine emotion of his heart,
true and natural, and giving more joy to them, because they
knew that it was the undoubting sincerity of his transient
HON. CALEB RICE,
a graduate of Williams College, was a student in the office of
William Blair, and was admitted to the bar in 1819. He settled
in West Springfield, and resided in the next house to the Hon.
Mr. La.throp. The law business of this town also, like that of
the other large and flourishing towns in the county, had sought
the absorbing center, and he felt constrained to remove to
Springfield. When established there, the next step was to quit
the quiet walks of the profession, and to enter into the more
enticing business of political and commercial life. Before his
removal, he had succeeded Hon. John Phelps of Granville as
sheriff of the county, and had also represented his town and
county in the House and Senate ; and when he became a resi-
dent of the city of Springfield, the people naturally sought a
gentleman of his energy and talent to fill the oflice of mayor.
For many years he filled these offices to the universal approba-
tion of the people, and when he retired from them he engaged
in other pursuits.
Mr. Rice never aspired to the business of an advocate. But
he was a good lawyer, prudent, careful, and sagacious. Few
62 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
lawyers exceeded him in the skill of preparing a case, and pre-
senting its points to the leading counsel. In all the relations
of life, he enjoyed the respect and confidence of the community,
and died at the ripe old age of 8i, in the year 1873.
CHARLES F. BATES,
of Granville, was graduated at Williams College in 18 12, studied
law with his brother, Elijah Bates of Westfield, was admitted in
181 5, and settled in Southampton. It was a hopeless place for
the business of a lawyer, and I believe he selected it as being
the only town in the vicinity that was not represented by its
village counselor. A few years were sufficient to discourage
him, and he returned to his paternal acres and devoted himself
to agriculture. His parents were dead, all the members of a
large family had emigrated, and his old neighbors were all gone.
His children had settled in Ohio, and sighing over the desolation
that had sent away the population of a once beautiful but now
deserted village, he removed from the place of his birth, the bright
scenes of his youth and the home of his manhood, to a distant
land, to die among his kindred.
was from Brimfield, and was admitted in 18 19, from the office
of George Bliss. He did not long continue in practice, but
removed to Clinton, N. Y., where he died in the spring of
1874. He married the daughter of Dr. Bond of Enfield, Ct.
The latter years of his life were devoted to the care of his estate ;
and it is said that he spoiled a good lawyer, in making an ordi-
nary farmer, though a successful manager.
ELI B. HAMILTON
was also a native of Blandford, and a pupil of General Knox.
He was admitted to the bar in 181 5, and settled at Westfield.
He was a man of strong common sense, and more than usual
talent. Nothing was wanting to his success but continued and
faithful application. But this was a quality which he had not,
and, in the constitution of his nature, he could never have ; the
very intensity of his temperament forbade it. He felt " another
law " in his members, warring against the law of " his mind,"
and bearing him away from his books and the love of his books.
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 63
to those scenes, employments and exercises, for the enjoyment
of which he was especially fashioned. In size and figure he
was the embodiment of strength and manly grace. He was
over six feet in height, erect and well proportioned ; and, with
no marks of obesity, his weight was two hundred and sixty-four
pounds ! In my conception, he realized the description of
Richard Coeur de Lion, as portrayed by Sir Walter Scott in
" The Talisman," and in " Ivanhoe." The mention of these
romances recalls an incident that illustrates that fidelity and
naturalness of description, that pervades the delineations of that
wonderful author. I had just loaned "The Talisman " to Mr.
Hamilton, who was a great admirer of the Waverley novels, —
the only books, almost, that could keep him in his office ; and,
having occasion to pass by it, I saw him standing, stripped to
the waist, his body thrown back as if to spring, and his right
hand grasping a chair, extended, as in the act to inflict a crush-
ing blow. " What in the world," said I, as I entered, " are you
doing ? " " I am trying to look like Richard ! but I cannot
start out the muscles from my brawny arm, like the cordage of
the ivy round the limb of the oakj I am too fat ! "
Mr. Hamilton was an ardent lover of natural scenery. He
loved to wander over the country, and particularly into its wild-
est scenes. With his dog and gun, or with his fishing-tackle,
he used to roam over the mountains, and through the valleys,
fording brooks and rivers, and never changing his wet clothing
when he returned, because, as he said, it exposed him to a cold !
He was born with a constitution for the years of Methuselah,
and with a strength and activity that I never saw equaled ; but
exposure and irregularity told their tale, and the strong man
yielded himself, in the very pride of his years.
HON. JAMES COOLEY
was a native of East Granville, a graduate of Williams college,
and a brother of Rev. Dr. Timothy M. Cooley. He settled in
the practice of the law in his native town, and was a useful citi-
zen, and a good practical lawyer. He represented the county
as one of the members of the Senate, and was always respected,
in all the situations of life, for his probity and honor. He was
admitted to the bar in 1814, and was a student in the office of
John Phelps in West Granville.
64 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
HON. GEORGE BLISS, JR.,
was admitted to the bar in 1816, after his clerkship in the office
of his father. He at first settled in Monson ; but, soon after,
removed to Springfield, and formed a co-partnership with his
father-in-law, Jonathan Dwight, Jr. The firm was Dwight &
Bliss ; but Mr. Dwight was never seen by me in court, and I
suppose that the business of the firm was carried on by Mr.
Bliss alone. He was a graduate of Yale College, of the class
of 1812, and was a good scholar and well educated for his pro-
fession. His knowledge seemed to be at his fingers' ends; and
in a case of emergency, it was always at his command. No
lawyer at the bar was more careful in his preparation, or thor-
ough in his examination of the law. Of course, he was more
than ordinarily successful. At the organization of the Western
railroad, he embarked in the enterprise, and finally gave his
whole time and attention to it ; and, after resigning an office
which he had filled for many years, he yielded to a request of
those who had appreciated his services, to take a similar charge
of a road at the West. He finally gave up all those employ-
ments and retired to his own fireside ; and, in 1873, he died at
his home, leaving an untarnished reputation to his children.
He was, at different times, a speaker of the House, and a presi-
dent of the Senate; and it was while in the former office that
he received that brutal insult, that no falsehood could explain
was born and educated in Connecticut, was admitted to the bar,
practiced for a time in Berkshire, and finally settled in West-
field. He was a most diligent and studious office lawyer, always
at his post, with pen in hand, ready for a deed, writ or con-
tract. He was a constant reader of the reports and the statutes,
and was the principal magistrate before whom civil and crimi-
nal cases were tried in his town. He was accustomed to elab-
orate the preparation of his cases to a fearful extent, and the
leading counsel had an exhausting labor in reading, comparing
and analyzing the numerous cases that his industry had col-
lected. He died at his home, in Westfield, leaving an estima-
ble reputation as an impartial, intelligent magistrate, and a use-
ful citizen. I cannot ascertain the dates either of his birth or
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 6$
his death. Even his tomb-stone is strangely barren in this re-
spect. It merely announces his name, and age as 62, with a
scriptural quotation of no particularly antiquarian value.
He was admitted in 18 16, and settled in West Springfield.
For a short time after my connection with the bar, I used to
see him at court, but his business was not extensive, nor did I
ever see him engaged in judicial trials. My impression is, that
he left the State for the West.
I find his name entered on Mr. Bliss' list of members of the
bar of the county of Hampshire, but I do not find the date of his
admission. He was in practice several years after my acquaint-
ance with the bar, in the town of Huntington, then Chester vil-
lage. His business was by no means extensive or profitable,
although he is said to have possessed talent sufficient to have
made it so. He was a singular man in his dress, and in all his
tastes. His hair was long and uncropped, with a profusion of
unguents»permeating the mass, the whole brush apparently inno-
cent of a comb ; every hair standing, lying and curling inde-
pendently, and as if at war with every other hair of his head ;
his capacious pantaloons, constructed, probably, according to
his own directions, certainly not by the conception of any pos-
sible tailor ; his large frock coat, with its long flowing skirts,
extending itself beyond the dimensions of an overcoat ; an
immense loosely rolled bundle of white muslin encircling his
neck ; a narrow outbreak of cotton cloth below the short vest
and above the nether garment, betokening a shirt ; and, to
crown the whole, an immense, old-fashioned, yellow seal-skin,
bell-crowned hat on the top of his head, completed the picture
of an object, that would have made the fortune of any collector
of rare curiosities, or called together a crowd at the museum of
The appearance and manners of this extraordinary specimen
were as pecuhar as was his dress. He was a large, good look-
ing man, of over six feet in height, and more than two hundred
pounds avoirdupois, erect in his form and dignified in his car-
riage, stately and formal in his address, deep-toned and deliber-
66 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
ate in his utterances, impressing a beholder with the belief, that
he possessed all the wisdom that he pretended to have, and per-
haps something more. Having little professional business to
attend to, and with time enough upon his hands, he devoted
himself to the pursuit of historical studies and the perusal of
such literature as the town libraries afforded him, and his mind
was well stored with a chaos of learning. He balanced, with
even more than Johnsonian accuracy, the ponderous sentences,
which were modeled upon the style of Rasselas, and swelled
their mellifluous sweetness by an admixture of the smooth and
somewhat indefinite phrases, which add so much to the har-
mony of Counselor Phillips' speeches. He was a standing
Fourth of July and Eighth of January orator; and he yielded
himself readily to the wishes of even a small number of his
neighbors, who wished to listen to his lucubrations. Some of
his orations were published at the time of their delivery, and if
they are still extant, they would be objects of careful preser-
On one occasion, he argued a case before the court at the law
term ; and it was said that the court was divided on the question,
which was the most remarkable, the lawyer or his argument.
With all this oddity, Mr. Johnson was an excellent and a useful
man. At a period of his life, far too late for his own good, he
married a most estimable woman and removed to the West, and
there, it is said, he established the reputation of an able and
was admitted as counselor in 1820. He was settled in Wilbra-
ham, and was, to a considerable extent, engaged in the practice
of the law, though he was employed more particularly as an
office lawyer, administrator, executor and guardian, etc. He
took little or no part in litigated business, but used to come,
occasionally, to court, for the purpose of attending to his col-
lecting business. I was but little acquainted with him ; but he
seemed to be an estimable man, of great simplicity of charac-
ter, and was much esteemed by his fellow-citizens, as a prudent,
careful and honest lawyer. He removed, several years since, to
the State of Ohio.
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 6/
He was a native of Hardwick. For a few years he was an
usher, and then the preceptor of the Westfield academy. He
was a man of some literary attainments, but with no striking
legal qualifications. He was a student, and, for a few years, he
was the law partner of Elijah Bates in Westfield. But the
arrangement was not a lasting one. His success in carrying
on business on his own account was not prosperous, and he
finally removed to. the State of Illinois, where he died. He was
admitted in 1820,
JOHN HOOKER, JR.
He was the son of Hon. John Hooker, the first judge of pro-
bate of the county, studied law, and was admitted in 1813.
I never heard of his having an office, or practicing at the bar,
except in his own cases, and then he was accustomed to call in
associate counsel. He was engaged, while I knew him, in busi-
ness foreign to the employments or the desires of the profession.
was a younger brother of John. He was admitted in 1829, and
attended, to some considerable extent, to professional busi-
ness. He was an excellent lawyer, and a learned and useful
man. As an arbitrator, a referee, or an auditor, he was one of
the most capable members of the profes-^iion. Always fair and
impartial, not only with the ability to discern the right, but with
the courage and honesty to do it, he was frequently called upon
to act in those capacities; and, though it is said that the dis-
charge of those duties always is unsatisfactory to one of the
parties, yet no one ever arraigned his uprightness of intention,
his rigid impartiality, and generally not even the wisdom of his
was a native of, and settled in Monson. He was admitted in
1823, and practiced for a short time in his native town. I do
not remember seeing him at court.
JOHN B. COOLEY
was admitted to the bar in 1822, and was settled in Brimfield.
He was a man of talent, but not a hard student or a laborious
68 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
practitioner. He was a man of wit and humor, and desirous
rather of having a jovial time than of accumulating money or
fame. Many years ago, he removed to the West, but within a
short time he returned to this Commonwealth.
RICHARD D. MORRIS,
of Springfield, was a brother of Judge Morris, and for a few
years his partner. He was admitted to the bar in 1822. At
the commencement of the building of the Western Railroad, he
was employed to settle the land damages, and to attend to the
other office business of the corporation. He accordingly relin-
quished his professional business, and devoted himself exclu-
sively to their interests. He died in 1870.
was admitted in 1822, and commenced practice in Springfield.
For some c/Dnsiderable time he was the law partner of Justice
Willard, and the firm of Willard & Bliss was engaged in the
transaction of considerable business. The health of Mr. Bliss
was poor, and he accepted the office of county commissioner,
in the hope that air and exercise would restore his energies.
But the attempt proved vain. He was a promising lawyer, and
died, leaving a high reputation for talent and character.
HON. WILLIAM B. CALHOUN
was admitted to the bar in 1821. My impression is that he was
a student of Mr. Bliss ; but whether from want of taste for the
profession, or an absorbing love of politics, he had very little to
do with professional practice. The desire of political office, in
some persons, and in some fartiilies, seems almost to run in the
blood, and many a man is ready to relinquish the true honors of
life, and his capacity for usefulness therein, for an appointment
by the executive, or the choice by the people to a situation, in
which respect does not follow the appointment, or the choice.
Mr. Calhoun was a man of talent. For many years he was a
Representative in Congress, from this district. In 1828 he was
chosen Speaker of the House in this State, in which office he
remained till 1835 ; and in 1846 and 1847 he was the President
of the Senate. He at last, in impaired health, retired to his
farm, a home in which he found that peace and quiet, that he
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 69
had failed to find in the scenes of political turmoil, in which the
greater part of his life had been spent.
was admitted to the bar in 1813, and practiced law in Palmer.
In his old age he removed to Springfield, his native town, where
JAMES W. CROOKS.
He was a native of VVestfield, a graduate of Yale College in
1 81 8, and for some years a teacher in Westfield Academy, and
afterwards in Springfield. He studied law with Mr. Bliss, and
was admitted in 1824. His office was in Springfield, on the
" Hill," where he was at some time in large business. He died
in 1867. As a teacher he had an excellent reputation, and in
all respects was an agreeable, companionable man.
FRANCIS B. STEBBINS
was a native of Granville, admitted in 1826, and settled in Brim-
field. He was a lawyer of studious habits, and attentive to all
the duties of his profession. When at court, he was particu-
larly attentive to the trial of cases. He gave careful heed to
the management of each cause, and studied the pleadings, and
watched the examination of the witnesses. He became a skill-
ful practicing lawyer, and had attained a good standing as an
estimable and useful man, when he removed from the State to
Central New York, and became engaged in the grain or flour
business. He married the sister of Hon. Thomas H. Bond, of
New Haven, and is now deceased.
MATTHEW IVES, JR.,
was a student in the office of Mr. Blair, and was admitted, in
1827, as an attorney of the common pleas. He did not engage
in practice, but devoted his attention to other pursuits. He
was a member of the House and Senate, and for many years
the postmaster of this town, in the time of Gen. Jackson.
was a student at the law school of Judge Howe, and was admit-
ted in 1830. He early removed to the State of New York,
JO HISTORICAL ADDRESS,
where he engaged in the cause of common school education,
and, after a short life of usefulness, he died.
JOSEPH D. HUNTINGTON
was a student with Augustus Collins, in Westfield, admitted in
1 83 1, and removed to Lancaster, Mass., where he died. He
never practiced in this county.
GEORGE B. MORRIS
was admitted in 18.40, was a student in the office of his father,
and commenced business in company with his brother, Henry
Morris. On the resignation of Richard Bliss as clerk of the court,
he was appointed as his successor; and, until his death, in the
year 1873, he performed the duties of the office in a faithful and
obliging manner. He was kind and social in his habits ; and
we know of no other officer to whom the members of the bar
were more justly attached.
was admitted in 1841. He practiced for a few years in Spring-
field ; but, when the common pleas was abolished, and the supe-
rior court was substituted for it, he was appointed as one of the
justices, in which office he remained till his death, in 1869.
ERASMUS D. BEACH
was a student in the office of his uncle, John Mills, and was
admitted in 1833. He practiced in Springfield, and his busi-
ness was extensive. He had at different times several partners :
James W. Crooks, William G. Bates, Edward B. Gillett and
Ephraim W. Bond. He was a courteous and a successful prac-
titioner, and exercised a great influence with the jury.
was a student in the office of Chapman & Ashmun, was admit-
ted in 1843, and became a partner in their firm. He died about
1850. He was a diligent and faithful lawyer.
HON. EDWARD DICKINSON.
Since the delivery of this address, and the publication of this
edition of it, Mr. Dickinson has died. He was a member of
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 71
the House of Representatives, and died suddenly, in the latter
part of the same day that he had been engaged in the discharge
of his duties, upon an important question in the House. He
was born early in the year 1803, was graduated at Yale College
in 1823, in the same class with tlon. George Ashmun, of whom
he was a room-mate, and a life-long friend. He was a student
who applied himself severely to his books, who was regular in
his habits, and took a highly respectable rank in his class. In
his college life, he was distinguished by the traits that have illus-
trated his whole life. No one was more decided in his opinions.
He adopted them upon a mature examination, and adhered to
them with what many people would call an unprofitable persist-
ency. His independence, perhaps, stood in the way of his
advancement, but it did not weaken the respect of the people
for his intelligence or honesty.
AMOS W. STOCKWELL
was a graduate of Amherst College, in 1833, and studied law at
Harvard Law School. He was also a student in the office of
Hon. Isaac Davis, of Worcester, and for a short time, his part-
ner. He at last removed to Chicopee, where, for several years,
he was an honorable practitioner at the Hampden bar. Unfor-
tunately, his health was not strong enough for the labor devolv-
ing upon him, and the community was soon deprived of a use-
ful, and much respected lawyer. He died in 1853.
REUBEN ATWATER CHAPMAN
was born at Russell, in Hampden county, on the 20th of Sep-
tember, 1 801. His parents were poor, and in too humble cir-
cumstances to give to their children anything in the way of
education, except what was to be obtained at the common
school of the town. Their home was in a sequestered district
of the town, remote from neighbors, and with little opportunity
to obtain books ; and the school of the district was kept only
for a few months in each year. The vacations were spent by
him in labor upon the farm. His time was so well employed,
that he was engaged as a school teacher, and taught in the
neighboring town of Montgomery at the early age of seventeen
years. He afterwards went to Blandford as a clerk in a store.
The young men of that town established a lyceum, or debating
72 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
society, young Chapman became a member, and distinguished
himself as a debater. He at length entered his name, as a
student at law, in the office of Gen. Alanson Knox, of Bland-
ford. He soon mastered the ordinary routine of country prac-
tice, and was accustomed to attend justice's trials in Blandford
and in the neighboring towns, encountering, sometimes, the
lawyers in the vicinity, and sometimes their students. At the
time of his admission to the bar, he enjoyed the reputation of
being an able and acute practitioner.
He was admitted to the bar at the March term of the court
of common pleas, in 1825, and opened an office in Westfield.
There were then, in that town, a large number of law-offices, a
number much too large for the necessities of the town and its
vicinity, and he was much disappointed with his success. In
1827 he removed to the quiet town of Monson, and, finding the
demand for his services there too limited, he removed, in 1829, to
the more thriving town of Ware. He was at once regarded in
the light of an intruder ; and a feeling of professional rivalry rijD-
ened into controversy. He was not a person to come off second
best in such a state of things, and he had obtained a lucrative
and an increasing practice, when he was invited to a co-partner-
ship with the Hon. George Ashmun, in Springfield, in this
county. He came to Springfield in the year 1830, and the
firm of Chapman & Ashmun was formed. Subsequently,
Mr. Lorenzo Norton was admitted as a partner, and remained
as such until his death. In 1850, the firm was dissolved, and
Mr. Chapman, for a time, conducted his business alone. In
1854, he took Mr. Franklin Chamberlain as a partner, and the
relation continued till the appointment of Mr. Chapman as a
justice of the Supreme Judicial Court, in i860, Mr. Chamber-
lain removing to Hartford, Conn. Upon the vacancy in the
chief justiceship, by the retirement of Chief Justice Bigelow, in
February, 1868, Mr. Chapman was appointed as his successor,
and continued to fulfill the duties of the office until his death,
June 28, 1873.
It is by no means an easy task to prepare a satisfactory esti-
mate of the professional character and services of the late Chief
Justice Chapman. That which, in some portions of the Com-
monwealth would be considered eulogy, in another part might
be considered as faint praise. His practice at the bar, before
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 73
his elevation to the bench, was chiefly a local practice. In a
few cases, he appeared before the jury in the eastern counties,
and occasionally in Berkshire county ; but his professional
efibrts were mostly exerted in the old county of Hampshire.
His term of office, as a justice of the court, was also for a com-
paratively short period, and he filled the high office of chief
justice only for a period of a little over five years. By the
arrangement of the terms of the court, for the convenience of the
justices; a greater rather than an equal proportion of the terms of
the court were held by him in the central and western portions
of the Commonwealth ; and, in consequence, the people and
the members of the bar in the eastern counties were not so
well acquainted with his capacities. Any estimate of his ability
is one which puts him to a trying test. He who assumes the
mantle, so long worn by those great men who have so long and
so ably filled the office in which he died, must indeed be a great
man, not to suffer in the comparison. Few of the present mem-
bers of the bar remember Parsons ; but his reputation still
represents him to us as the "giant of the law."
A greater number, especially of the older members, remem-
ber Parker. He had been a public man, before he was elevated
to the bench, and his high reputation was exalted by his ability
in a new sphere. But the great part of the legal profession,
and indeed, of the people of the Commonwealth, were educated
under the legal teachings of Chief Justice Shaw. For a long
period, — from 1830, to his death, in 1 861, he had filled the office
of Chief Justice. His opinions, scattered as they are over
volumes of our Reports, if collected and published as a sepa-
rate work, would constitute many volumes of the most valuable
judicial essays and disquisitions of perhaps any legal mind in
this country or in England. When, therefore, we sit down to
estimate the talents and character of any person who has suc-
ceeded to an office that these three great men have occupied,
we insensibly are led to the institution of a contrast or compar-
ison, without reflecting, that, in every age of the world, and in
all countries, there are always a few representative men, whose
names stand out from among their contemporaries, as worthy
of the general homage of the world.
Cicero was accustomed to boast, that by his " studious
nights," and " his laborious days," he had enabled himself, a
74 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
7i(ir)is homo, to sit in the ivory chair of the Fabii, and the other
noble patrician families of Rome. Certainly it is no less a mat-
ter of pride, when a young man emerges from a sphere of pov-
erty, at the age of seventeen years becomes a teacher of our
public schools, and, through all the gradations of a laborious
life, rises constantly in the scale of intellectual progress, till he
crowns the honors of his life by faithfully performing the duties
of the highest judicial office in the Commonwealth.
Let it not be understood that, because the late lamented
Chief Justice Chapman was of humble origin, of a limited edu-
cation, and comparatively unknown to the bar and the people
of the Commonwealth, that he was deficient in any of the qual-
ifications which are necessary to form a good judicial officer. It
is rather to his credit, that, with these disadvantages, he should,
in his short term of office, have won the respect and approbation
of the members of the bar, and of the public, by an exhibition
of talent which no one who did not know him intimately was
authorized to expect. Entering upon legal practice with noth-
ing but a common school education, acquired in the intervals
of daily toil, he acquired a knowledge of the Latin language,
and was a reader of the ancient classics in that tongue. And,
in the midst of his laborious professional duties, he also applied
himself with success to the acquisition of the French and Ger-
man languages. His studies also were extended into the sci-
ences ; and, in his associations with distinguished scientists, he
has been able to sustain himself honorably in conversational
discussions. In one respect he succeeded admirably as a
chief justice. He was a most excellent administrative officer.
He properly appreciated the evils of the law's delay, and he
was of a character to push forward the legal business of the
court to speedy justice.
Another trait of his character was his entire impartiality.
He considered a judicial tribunal as a theater for the ascertain-
ment of right, and that the legal forms of procedure were the
necessary securities by which the rights of parties were to be
investigated and established. Without regard, therefore, to the
parties litigant, and with no influences of friendship in favor of
the opposing counsel, he labored to discover the substantial
merits of the controversy, and to apply the principles of prac-
tice to the triumph of justice. The opinions which he has left
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 75
upon the record bear testimony to his industry and his talent.
They are generally brief, being rather decisions of the questions
of law in dispute, than long disquisitions upon the law. His
language is concise and clear ; and no one who is desirous of
ascertaining, can fail to understand what the point of law is,
that he proposes to decide.
There was one admirable trait in the mind of the chief jus-
tice, which distinguished him, both at the bar and on the bench ;
and we allude to the quick appreciation of the evidence, and the
points of law in the case. He was always distinguished for his
readiness in understanding the facts, and his application of legal
principles to it.
ANSEL PHELPS, JR.,
Was born in Greenfield, studied law in the office of Wells,
Alvord & Davis, at Greenfield, and was admitted to the bar in
1840. He was settled in his profession in the town of Ware,
•where he continued until the year 1846, when he removed to
Springfield, in this county, and became the attorney or legal
adviser of the Western Rail Road. In this capacity, he attend-
ed not only to its business in court, but at hearings before the
Legislature. He was a member of the House of Representa-
tives, and the Senate ; and was, in all situations, an active and
intelligent person. Mr. Phelps was a man of extraordinary
energy and zeal, and threw his whole soul into his business.
He was, from the year 1856 until 1859, mayor of the city of
Springfield, and he deserved the confidence of his constituents,
in the discharge of the duties of the office. He died in the
I have thus given what you will scarcely believe to be a brief
statement of my recollections of the members of the bar in the
county of Hampden, who were more early in practice than
myself, of several of my contemporaries, and a few of the
younger members. A fear of being still more tedious has com-
pelled me to omit much that would be necessary to render the
narration desirably complete. A delineation which would be a
history of the members of the bar would swell into a volume.
Nor have I ventured to speak so particularly of the characters
and talents of those who have lived in these latter days. It
•J^ HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
has been my object, rather, to refer to the senior members of
the bar, whose ability and virtue have done so much to form its
reputation and to give it the high standing it ever has main-
tained in this community. Let me say, then, of my seniors
and contemporaries, that I know not on the wide earth a body
of more upright, honest and just men, than were the members
of the Hampden bar. Their word was like their bond, inviola-
ble, and they seemed to have no wish to violate it. Agreements
between them needed no instrument in writing to bind them to
the performance, and, except in regard to one or two unfortu-
nate cases which fell short of that high professional character
that formed the reputation of the bar, I do not remember that I
ever heard a dispute or misunderstanding between two of the
members about a verbal agreement. Then, as now, there was
a strong feeling on the part of each counsel in favor of his client.
Then, as now, it was hard to give up a preconceived opinion.
But each one submitted himself without evasion to his convic-
tions of the law. Soon after my attendance at the court began,
a motion was made by Mr. Bates on one side for a set off of two
judgments of opposite parties. He presented his views with
great clearness, confessing that he had found no adjudged
authority. Mr. Chapman, with whom was Prof. J. H. Ashmun,
replied to him. Prof. Ashmun then said that the argument
of Mr. Bates reminded him of an adjudged case which he would
read, as a friend of the court and not as counsel. When he had
concluded it. Judge Strong said, "Well, Brother Bates, you and
the supreme court seem to have indulged in the same train of
thought, and I do not doubt but you will plead not guilty to the
charge of reading their opinion ! " "I am sorry," said Mr.
Bates, " to be obliged to confess that I am not guilty ! " How
honorable was it in this learned lawyer to produce to the aid of
the court an authority that was conclusive against his own
It was customary for the judge to invite the officiating cler-
gyman, at the opening of the court, to dine with him and the
bar at their rooms. On one of these occasions, the Rev. Dr.
Osgood was at dinner, at the right hand of Judge Putnam, and
the conversation turned upon the relative influences of the law
upon the conduct of the different classes of society. Judge
Putnam said, " During my long life and my judicial experience.
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. T'J
I have observed and reflected much upon this subject ; and,
making all allowances for my professional bias, I am compelled
to say that there is no class of society, and no profession, that
is so free from crime, and that ha* ever manifested so abiding a
reverence for the laws of God and man, as the legal profession.
I say it, and I say it with regret, not even excepting your min-
isterial profession." " I fully agree with you," said the doctor.
" Whether it is their knowledge of the law and their fear of it
that deters them, or their frequent observation of crime in oth-
ers that disgusts them, or whether it proceeds from the influ-
ence of a correct moral principle controlling their conduct, I
know not; but I confess that the fact is so!" "It is so!"
resumed the judge. " We have scoundrels in all the profes-
sions. We have Gilbert Glossin and other rascals in the legal
profession, as they have Dr. Lampedos in the medical (the man
who tried to keep his patient sick by pills and drops which he
had tried upon a dog to see if they were dangerous) ; but, as a
general fact, what I have said, I believe to be true."
This conversation took place more than forty years ago. It
made a deep impression upon me then, and I have often reflect-
ed upon it. I submit to your adjudication, — Is not the declara-
tion of Judge Putnam true .? I speak not now of other coun-
ties, and especially not of other states, but have not the lawyers
of the old county of Hampshire sustained the reputation that
was thus ascribed to them .''
We are all acquainted with the characters of those whose
names have come down to us embalmed in the annals of that
respected county. We have all known, either personally or by
a recent tradition, the men of whom I have spoken, whose rep-
utation, as a body, though the men are now dead, " yet speak-
eth." We have known of their virtues by the hearing of the
ear, and our eye seeth the great moral power that the influence
of their example hath exerted upon the world ; and we cannot
but acknowledge with reverence and gratitude the obligations
of society for their wisdom and guidance.
Let me recall your thoughts to the consideration of the sub-
ject to which I first called your attention. Let me again refer
to this dedication of a court-house, or rather this consecration
of a temple, to the purposes and the worship of law. And, as
we carry back our reflections from the present to the past, we
78 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
cannot but be astonished at the striking contrasts. At one
time, the inhabitants of Hampshire were so few in number, the
legislative body ordained, that, while the people should be so
few in number that twelve suitable persons could not be found
to constitute a proper jury, six persons should be considered a
competent number ! Now, our own county, one-third part of
the county of Hampshire, consists of a population of 80,000
souls. Then, the valuation of the whole of the old parent-
county was so small, that the taxes assessed upon it were
authorized to be paid in " cattle and corne," upon the apprais-
ment of an indifferent person ! Now, the valuation of the
county of Hampden, by the apportionment of 1872, exceeds
^58,000,000. Then, — as the remonstrance of the town of West-
field, representing the situation of the shire town of this county
two hundred years ago, alleges. — Springfield "hath been sorely
under ye blasting hand of God, so that it hath, but in a lower
degree than ordinary, answered ye labor of ye husbandman I "
Now, its population exceeds, probably, 30,000, and its valuation
$37,000,000 ! Then, its courts were held in the dwelling house
of " ye worshipful Major Pinchon," or in places of which the
record or history is silent, until the new court-house was erected
by the joint expense of the town and county, about a century
and a half ago ! Now, we are met to dedicate this judicial
forum, one of the most beautiful in this Commonwealth, if not
in any State of this Union !
Hardly less astonishing is the contrast between the first
court-house, standing upon a site in Court House lane, which
cost ^30, and the present building, situated upon land of the
value of $75,000, and on which has been expended $185,000, —
a structure apparently intended to be as permanent as the Ro-
man forum, or the exhumed temples of Pompeii or Hercula-
neum. I need not describe the particulars of the contrasts.
The enterprise of one of the journals of the city has displayed
to the eye of the people, a representation more satisfactory than
I crave your indulgence for a few moments, while I allude to
the court-house of 182 1. I well remember the controversies in
reference to its site, — a portion of the inhabitants of Springfield
striving to locate it near the Unitarian church, in the garden of
Hon. Jonathan Dwight, instead of in its present location. I
THE SECOND COURT HOUSE, BUILT 1821.
ASTOR, LENOX AND
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 79
saw, at different times, the rising of its walls, and I rejoiced at
its magnificence, at its completion. From the year 1825 to the
short period that will complete the half century, I have been
almost a constant attendant at the sitting of the courts ; and for
forty-six years I have been an actor in its forensic controver-
sies. It has been to me my professional home, and connected
with all the associations of my life. It has been the scene of
my first professional hopes, my earliest efforts, my matured
exertions. It has been the place where I expected to unclasp
and hang up, upon its resounding walls, the controversial har-
ness, when its weight should be too cumbersome for the infirm-
ities of age. No wonder its old halls are dear to me, and that I
leave them with regret. A thousand memories crowd upon me,
as I utter this last tribute. I seem to see the venerable clerk,
a man that no one could look upon but with respect, or approach
without reverence. There, also, was the abrupt and loud-voiced
Sherift^ Phelps, prompt and energetic in the maintenance of
order, but always kind, polite and courteous. There, too, was
the burly crier, Mr. Brewer, watching with an eager eye each
motion of the judge, and shouting forth to all people who need-
ed the aid of the court to approach and they should be heard ;
and at the adjournment thereof, proclaiming, in tones more of a
command than a petition, " God save the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts !" I seem to see, also, the court-room, crowded
to its utmost capacity with an appreciative audience, listening
with an unrestrained delight to the classic eloquence which was
poured forth from never-failing sources, not more dazzling from
its brilliancy, than constraining and swaying the reason by its
strength and power. But, alas ! all those voices are now
hushed. Of all the members of the bar, prior to the period of
which I have spoken, there are but two survivors who can
appropriate the language of the poet, —
^ " What is the worst of woes that wait on age ?
What stamps the wrinkle deeper on the brow .''
To see each loved one blotted from life's page,
And be alone on earth, as I am now ! "
My brethren of the bar, — Though I have already invaded so
long the time of this audience, you will permit me, — indeed you
will expect it of me, — to address a few words to you, personally.
I venture the more freely upon your indulgence, because I have
80 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
SO often witnessed your own readiness to invoke the patience of
the jurors. I have spoken of the characters of our predeces-
sors at this bar, and of the bar of the old county of Hampshire,
but I have studiously refrained from speaking of our own repu-
tations. Each one of us well knows, by a more certain knowl-
edge than the public can ever possess, what his own reputation
should be, and that reputation is, of course, according to his
own deservings. Each lawyer stands, as it were, upon a pinna-
cle, — an epistle "known and read of all men." A thousand
eyes are upon him, and if he yields to the temptations that
assail him, — temptations greater and more numerous than lie in
wait for the weaknesses of any other men, — he finds himself in
the presence of a community that scans his conduct with an
unsparing criticism, and visits his transgression with a relent-
During the past few years, it must be confessed, the charac-
ter of the legal profession in some parts of our country, has
suffered much of obloquy, in the estimation of the world. The
moral sense of a large portion of the community has been
blunted ; and many of our profession have sunk with it into the
slough of national immorality. They have turned aside from
the narrow path of professional honor, to wander into the by-
ways of fraud and corruption. They have departed from the
temple of the law, or rather have entered into it, as money
changers and extortioners, from which they should be driven by
" a scourge of small cords." They have brought into the mar-
ket not only their legal services and their professional skill, but
have sold themselves also to the purposes of peculation and
crime, and when the popular indignation has at last become
aroused, and exposure and punishment have demanded a victim,
they have loaded, as upon a scapegoat, the burdens of their own
sins upon one of their number, — perhaps the most innocent,
but probably the most unskillful, — and driven him forth into the
wilderness ; while, with their pockets filled with the choses of
corruption, they have gone up into the temple, and, with a sol-
emn mien, thanked God that they are not, "as other men are,
extortioners, unjust, or even as this publican."
Thank God, this professional demoralization has as yet made
no lodgment in the western part of the Commonwealth. The
counties that once constituted the parent-county of Hampshire,
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 8l
are still loyal to the influences of those great and pure men,
who bequeathed their precepts, their conduct, and the history
of their whole lives, as examples for us to follow ; and if there
shall, hereafter, arise within our borders those unprincipled
men, whose chicanery and fraud disgrace the fair fame of
the American bar, we owe it to ourselves, to the character of
the profession, to the welfare of the public, whose reliance is
upon the aid of honest and honorable lawyers, to our coun-
try, — that comprehensive phrase, which embraces the being, the
permanence, the "eternity of the State," and has depended and
still depends, upon the fidelity and fealty of a virtuous legal
profession, — we owe it to all these objects of our duty and
regard, to cause their names to be expunged from the roll of
It was said by Mr. Burke, in describing the character of an
eminent statesman : " He was bred to the law, which is, in my
opinion, of the first and noblest of human sciences ; a science
which does more to quicken and invigorate the understanding,
than all other kinds of learning put together ; but is not apt,
except in persons very happily born, to open and liberalize the
mind exactly in the same proportions."
We are far from supposing that either blood or birth can aid
in liberalizing the mind of a lawyer. We should place more
reliance upon the zealous pursuit of classical studies, and the
cultivation of those social qualities which do so much to invig-
orate and sweeten life. He who confines himself exclusively to
the consideration of one subject, either law, medicine, theology,
or any one of those reformatory measures, that engross so en-
tirely the minds of so many men, is apt to settle down as a man
of one idea, and can never aspire to the honors of an Erskine,
a Curran, or a Stowell, a Jeffrey, a Brougham, or a Talfourd ; or,
in our own country, a Marshall, a Shaw, or a Story, a Web-
ster, a Pinckney, or a Choate. Let no one say that the prac-
tice of the law is too engrossing to allow him to devote his time
to the cultivation of his mind in classical literature. Not to
refer to those distinguished men whose times of recreation have
shed such a halo upon the polite learning of England, or to that
great chancellor, whose learned treatise was composed^ while
he was waiting for his dinner ; let us refer to the biography of
our own Choate, who, for a long course of years, never failed to
82 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
devote at least one hour each day to the ancient and modern
classics, whatever may have been the engrossment of his pro-
There is one thing for which all of us have time enough.
Each one of us can deepen his respect for the law, and cultivate
those social affections that should unite the members of the
legal association into one brotherhood. We should have but
one interest, and the same object ; and, while our struggle should
be to make our lives useful to the community, by our respectful
treatment of each other, we shall thereby render them more
pleasant to ourselves.
We do not, I apprehend, sufficiently realize the relation that
our profession sustains to the State, and our consequent obliga-
tions to each other. It is a relation, the importance of which
cannot be overestimated. The legal profession has ever been,
and, of necessity, must ever be, a fundamental social organiza-
tion, commencing at the birth of civilization, and keeping pace
with its advancing progress. The very first cry of man, as he
emerges from savagism, is for protection. He does not call
for favoritism, but for security. He asks not for the property
of others, but for the protection of his own. " Secure to me," is
his cry, " the sacredness of the family relation, protect m.e in the
enjoyment of my own property, and the fruits of my own labor,
and my own industry shall accumulate my own wealth. So
organize the social force of the community, that it shall be able
to punish fraud, and repress violence ; so arrange the instru-
mentalities of the law, that its strong arm shall allow me to sit
under my own 'vine,' and my own 'fig tree, with none to molest
or to make me afraid,' and then I shall truly feel, that the ac-
cumulations of my industry are not merely transient acquisi-
tions, but are, in truth, parts of my permanent possessions, to
minister to me, in the enjoyments of the family, during my life-
time, and, when I shall cease to live, to descend to a succeeding
It is this confidence of the people in the power of the law, —
as the great conservator of the public peace, — and a reliance
upon an honorable and learned profession to direct its enforce-
ment, that gives the stimulus to individual industry, and is the
source of national wealth ; and I think it will be found true, in
the history of the world, that the degree of wisdom of a nation's
HISTORICAL ADDRESS. 83
laws, and the efficiency of their enforcement, is, to a great ex-
tent, the true measure of its national wealth.
The legal profession has ever been true to the appeal of the
people. Not to refer to those distinguished lawyers, who led
the advance of civilization in our mother-country, and who were
denounced by arbitrary power, as " popular lawyers," a class of
men who had "most affrontedly trodden upon the royal preroga-
tive," let us look to the early history of our own country, and
listen to the voice of its own recent traditions.
What a bright roll of honorable names adorns the annals of
our own brief history ! How distinguished have been those
self-educated statesmen, who moulded the minds of the people,
and imbued them with a knowledge of the doctrines of the revo-
lution ! How confidently did that people follow their lead, in
the discussions of the ante-revolutionary period ! And, when the
slogan cry of John Adams, " Sink or swim," was sounded in the
convention, with what a joyful, — with what universal acclaim
did they hail the declaration of American independence!
The sanguinary war, that at last culminated in triumph, was
succeeded by a period of a higher wisdom, and a loftier public
virtue. A government was to be organized upon untried princi-
ples, between peoples of strongly antagonistic interests. But
there were found men equal to the novel emergency ; and the
persuasive eloquence of three lawyers united the people of thir-
teen colonies in one harmonious union.
Those who have gone before you, my brethren, in our
Coiintry, our Commonwealth, and in the old County of Hamp-
shire, have left a bright example for you to follow. If you may
not exceed, it should be your aim not to fall below them. The
realization of your future success will never exceed your present
aspirations. You have embarked in a profession, in which suc-
cess is dependent upon ceaseless toil. The aphorism of " action,"
as applied to eloquence, may be substituted for "study," as con-
stituting the capacity of a good lawyer. No genius can take
the place of "study" in conducting you to that high eminence.
Genius can marshal and arrange the materials of thought and
action, that study has prepared, but it cannot be a substitute for
that refinement of thought and wisdom, that has been the result
of the experience of so many ages. You have chosen a pro-
fession that is honorable. The numerous persons that have
crowded into it, to procure its endorsement to official place and
power, cannot degrade the character of those professional men,
who, having an object to pursue it, for its own sake, labor for it,
with all the forces of their being.
It is also a remunerating profession. You may not gather
the golden showers, that sometimes rain down upon the efforts, —
often hazardous, — of commercial adventure ; but there is such a
relation between the talents and character of a capable and an
honest lawyer, and the wants and necessities of the community,
for whose purposes the legal profession was created, that the
impelling energies of an honest and a devoted life will conduct
you to success ; and, in due time, you may rest assured that "you
will reap, if you faint not."
The sketch of the Hon. George Ashmun was prepared and deliv-
ered as a part of the original address, and was intended to be inserted
herein, next to that of the late Chief Justice Chapman. But, in chang-
ing, to some extent, the order of the names of the members of the bar,
the sketch was wholly omitted, by an accident. As the mistake was
not discovered, until the whole had been put in type, the only way to
repair the error was to do the only thing which remained to be done.
This is a matter of the most sincere regret. Mr. Ashmun was so well-
known as one of the leaders of the bar ; so highly distinguished as a
man of talent and influence in the Legislature, as the Speaker of the
House, and as a member of the House of Representatives in Con-
gress, and, as he so well emulated the intellectual talent of his distin-
guished brother, Prof. John H. Ashmun, who possessed one of the
purest and keenest legal minds in the Commonwealth, — and of his
illustrious father, Hon. Eli P. Ashmun, — it is doubly unfortunate that
his name should be left out of its proper place among his professional
HON. GEORGE ASHMUN
was graduated at Yale College in 1823; studied law with his
brother, the late Prof. John Hooker Ashmun, at Northampton ;
was admitted to the bar in Hampshire County, in 1830, as coun-
selor ; settled for a time in Enfield, in that county ; in a few
years removed to Springfield, and formed a co-partnership with
Reuben A. Chapman, the late chief justice, which continued for
many years. Mr. Ashmun spent many years in Congress, as a
member of the House of Representatives, and many years in
Washington city in a private capacity. His political offices
interfered with the practice of the law ; and his foreign employ-
ments called off his mind from the duties of his profession.
86 HISTORICAL ADDRESS.
But he was, when in practice, an eminent lawyer, and a suc-
cessful advocate. It has been the opinion of the public, and
also of many of the profession, that he gave little heed to the
preparation of his causes for trial. But this is a mistake.
There is little of what is commonly called genius in the arrange-
ment of a case for trial, when an able and shrewd counselor is
employed on the other side. In the long practice which I have
had with him at the same bar, at times associated with him, and
again opposed, I have known few persons in practice who pre-
pared themselves with more assiduity than Mr. Ashmun. He
died in Springfield in the year 1870.
I DESIRED to append a complete list, as far as possible, of all the
members of the bar, of the old county of Hampshire, prior to the
organization of the county of Hampden, and I have made considerable
effort for that purpose ; but, I regret to find, from time to time, that
there is still great uncertainty and doubt in relation to the dates and
names. The Hon. George Bliss, in his address, in 1826, has appended
a catalogue of the attorneys and counselors, either admitted, or prac-
ticing in that county, from 1786 to 1826 ; and he also speaks of many
of those who were in practice before the earlier of those two periods.
Relying upon his well-known accuracy, I have accordingly concluded
to insert his list, and also the names of the persons to whom he refers,
as members of the bar, or as practicing at it, from the earliest periods ;
and I also add to the list the names of those I have ascertained from
other sources. In many cases, I cannot fix the date of their admission
to the bar by any records ; but, in some, if not most of cases, the
members of the bar were graduates of colleges, and it is safe to assume
their admission as dating three years from their graduation.
Mr. Bliss says, "That at the county court, or court of pleas and ses-
sions of the peace, September, 1686, holden under the authority of the
President and council, is the following entry : ' John King of North-
ampton, Samuel Marshfield and Jona. Burt, Sen., of Springfield, were
allowed of by this court, to be attornies for this county's court, and they
took the oath of attornies.' " It appears from the same address, that
John Ashley, in 1732, was admitted as an attorney. He was the per-
son who contracted with twenty-one Indian Sachems, in April 25, 1724,
for the purchase of the south part of what is now the county of Berk-
shire, in consideration of his bond of ^^460, three barrels of cider and
thirty quarts of rum; and, subsequently, in 1735, by a like authority
from the General Court, for a strip of land, two miles in width, and
twenty-six miles in length, from Westfield to Housatonic. He removed
from Westfield to the lower Housatonic, now Sheffield, and after a
short professional practice, was appointed a judge of the common
pleas. A copy of the deed of the Sachems is to be found in the ap-
pendix of the Westfield Bi-centennial Celebration.
John Huggins and Christopher J. Lawton were in extensive practice
in Springfield. Huggins removed to Sheffield, and Lawton to Suffield.
Timothy Dwight, of Northampton, was admitted in 1721, and in 1773,
Joseph Dwight and Oliver Patridge, also.
Cornelius Jones was an astute pettifogger, from 1732 to 1752, when
he was admitted as an attorney.
Gen. Phineas Lyman, of Suffield, a graduate of Yale College in
1738, commenced practice in this county in 1743, but when Suffield
revolted, and renounced allegiance to this Commonwealth, he followed
her fortunes, and ceased to practice here. Mr. Bliss eulogizes Col.
John Worthington and Joseph Hawley, barristers, as eminent men,
who were the leaders of the bar, and who introduced many beneficial
changes in its practice.
In an able address before the bar of Worcester county, Joseph Wil-
lard, Esq., in speaking of the members of it, mentions that Levi Lin-
coln, Sen., was admitted in Hampshire county.
The late Hon. Increase Sumner, of Berkshire county, a few years
ago, and shortly before his decease, delivered an address before the
bar of that county, which contained much historical information, and
which, like the historical address of Mr. Taft, at the dedication of the
Berkshire county court-house, should be published in a permanent form,
and not entrusted to the ephemeral columns of a newspaper.
A list of the attorneys and counsellors, either admitted to the bar in
the county of Hampshire, or practicing in that county, from 1786 to
1826, as furnished in the appendix of Hon. George Bhss :
Elihu Lyman, Alexander Wolcott,
Moses Bliss, Samuel Lyman,
Simeon Strong, Pliny Mirrick,
Theodore Sedgwick, Samuel Hinckely,
Caleb Strong, John Hooker,
Justin Ely, Ephraim Williams,
John Phelps, John Barrett,
Samuel Fowler, Samuel Mather,
William Billings, George Bliss,
John Chester Williams, Joseph Lyman,
Abner Morgan, John Taylor,
Edward Walker, William Coleman,
John Chandler Williams, Jona. E. Porter,
Eli P. Ashmun,
William M. Bliss,
Richard E. Newcomb,
Hezekiah W. Strong,
Charles P. Phelps,
Jonathan Dwight, Jr.,
Samuel F. Dickinson,
Elijah H. Mills,
Samuel C Allen,
Oliver E. Morris,
Giles E. Kellogg,
James M. Cooley,
Noah D. Mattoon,
Isaac C. Bates,
Jonathan H. Lyman,
John M. Gannett,
Isaac B. Barber,
John H. Henshaw,
Horace W. Taft,
Warren A. Field,
John Hooker, Jr.,
Joshua N. Upham,
George Bliss, Jr-,
Charles F. Bates,
Eli B Hamilton,
Jonathan A. Saxton,
Frederick A. Packard.
Charles E. Forbes,
Joseph P. Allen,
David A. Gregg,
Timothy C. Cooley,
John B. Cooley,
John H. Ashmun,
Samuel F. Lyman,
Justin W. Clark.
Horatio G. Newcomb,
William B. Calhoun,
Daniel N. Dewey,
James W. Crooks,
Richard D. Morris,
Francis B. Stebbins,
Norman T. Leonard,
Reuben A. Chapman,
Andrew A. Locke.
MEMBERS OF THE BAR FROM l8l2 TO 1 8/4.
ADMITTED TO THE BAR.
*John Hooker, Jr.,
*Charles F. Bates,
*George Bliss, Jr.,
*Eli B. Hamilton,
*William B. Calhoun,
*John B. Cooley,
18 I 5
AU.MHIEU to [HE
*Richard D. Morris,
Norman T. Leonard,
*Reubea A. Chapman,
*Matthew Ives. Jr.,
William G. Bates,
fWilliam M. Lathrop,
t Joseph Knox,
tChauncey B. Rising,
*William C. Dwight,
*E. D. Beach,
f Richard Bliss,
*H, H. Buckland,
fGeorge Baylies Upham,
f Russell E. Dewey,
fWilliam W. Blair,
*George B. Morris,
Edward Bates Gillett,
*Otis A. Seamans,
fWilliam O. Gorham,
fLorenzo D. Brown,
*Allen Bangs, Jr.,
* Wellington Thompson,
Ephraim W. Bond,
f Lester E. Newell,
f Albert Clarke,
fWilliam Allen, Jr.,
fP. Emory Aldrich,
AUMirrEU TO riiE bak.
* Thomas B. Munn,
fBernard B. Whittemore
f Lester Williams, Jr.,
f Charles C. Hayward,
fSamuel L. Fleming,
f Elbridge G. Bowdoin,
James H. Morton,
f Edwin M. Bigelow,
fCharles K. Wetherell,
Charles R. Ladd,
fGeorge L. Squier,
fi^euben P. Boies,
fCharles H. Branscomb,
f Joseph M. Cavis,
William B. C. Pearsons
Aug. L. Soule,
f John Munn,
f Edward P. Burnham,
fTimothy G. Pelton,
*Charles A. Winchester,
f Asahel Bush,
f Franklin Crosby,
*Charles T. Arthur, ,
John M. Stebbins,
fOramel S. Senter,
N. A. Leonard,
f James C. Hinsdale,
George M. Stearns,
f Martin J. Severance,
f James F. Dwight,
fWilliam C. Greene,
fGeorge L. Frost,
Milton B. Whitney,
William L. Smith,
James G. Allen,
f John H. Thompson,
*John M. Emerson,
ADMnTF.n TO •
ADMnTED TO THIi
Henry B. Lewis,
William S. Greene,
tGeorge 0. Ide,
tjames K. Mills,
tCharles A. Beach,
fNorman L. Johnson,
tjames C. Greenough,
James E. Mclntire,
J. P. Buckland,
tSamuel J. Ross,
E. W. Chapin,
A. M. Copeland,
tjoel T. Rice,
George D. Robinson,
William S. Shurtleff,
tGeorge B. Morris, Jr.,
George H. Knapp,
tCharles A. Birnie,
t Ambrose N. Merrick,
tj. Porter, Jr.,
tS. B. Woolworth,
C. L. Gardner,
fE. A. Warriner,
Charles C. Spellman,
fEdw. D. Hayden,
Elisha B. Maynard;
tLiberty B. Dennett,
Stephen E. Seymour,
William B. Rogers,
tFrank E. Merriman,
tJno. W. Burgess,
*Moses W. Chapin,
tElbridge W. Merrill,
tHenry E. Daniels,
Joseph W. Browne,
tjohn M. Cochran,
tWilliam C. Ide,
Albert A. Tyler,
William H. Haile,
*Benton W. Cole,
John P. Wall,
E. Howard Lathrop,
tThomas F. Riley,
Homer B. Stevens,
Harris L. Sherman,
John W. Converse,
James A. Rumrill,
Charles L. Long,
tjno W. Moore,
William Slattery, Jr.,
tOtis P. Abercrombie,
S. S. Taft,
Timothy M. Brown,
Robert 0. Morris,
Marcus P. Knowlton,
tjoseph H. Blair,
tLuther Emerson Barnes,
F. E. Carpenter,
James R. Dunbar,
t Samuel G. Loring,
Loranus E. Hitchcock,
* Deceased, t Removed from the count
JUDGES OF PROBATE.
Samuel Fowler, Westfield, 1812.
John Hooker, Springfield, 18 13.
Oliver B. Morris, Springfield, 1829.
JUDGES OF PROBATE AND INSOLVENCY.
John Wells, Chicopee, 1858.
William S. Shurtlefi", Springfield, 1863.
JUDGE OF INSOLVENCY.
John M. Stebbins, 1856 to 1859.
REGISTERS OF PROBATE.
William. Blair, Westfield, 1812.
Oliver B. Morris, Springfield, 18 13.
Justice Willard, Springfield, 1829.
William L. Smith, Springfield, 185 1.
Henry Smith, Springfield, 1853.
Charles A. Winchester, Springfield, 1855.
Charles R. Ladd, Springfield, 1857.
REGISTERS OF PROBATE AND INSOLVENCY.
William S. Shurtlefi; Springfield, 1859.
Samuel B. Spooner, Springfield, 1863.
REGISTERS OF INSOLVENCY.
C. A. Winchester. 1856 to 1857.
William S. Shurtlefi", 1857 to 1859.
Oliver B. Morris, Springfield. 18 12.
George Bliss, Springfield, 1812.
Samuel Lathrop, West Springfield, 18 17.
Oliver B. Morris, Springfield, 182 1.
Charles A. Dewey. Northampton, 1832.
Daniel Wells, Greenfield, 1837.
William Porter, Jr., Lee, 1844.
Increase Sumner, Great lianington, 1851.
William G. Bates, Westtieki. 1853.
Henry L. Uawes, Adams, 1854.
Edward B. Gillett, Westfield, 1857.
George M. Stearns, Chicopee, 1872.
N. A. Leonard, Springfield, 1874
JUSTICES OF THE COURT OF SESSION.
Samuel Fowler, Westfield, i8]'2 to 18 13.
Gideon Burt, Longmeadow, 1812 to 1813.
Isaac Coit, South wick, 18 12 to 18 13.
Joshua Frost, Springfield. 18 [2 to 18 13.
Abel Bliss, Wilbraham, 1812 to 1813.
Abner Brown, Monson, 1813 to 18 19.
Heman Day, West Springfield, 1813 to 1828.
Ethan Ely, Longmeadow, 18 13 to 18 14.
William Ely, Springfield, 1814 to i8t8.
Amos Hamilton, Palmer, 1819 to 1820.
Stephen Pynchon, Brimfield, 1819 to 1823.
Sylvester Emmons, Chester, 1819 to 1825.
James Stebbins, Palmer, 1823 to 1828.
Joseph Forward, Southwick; 1826 to 1S2S.
Caleb Rice, VVest Springfield, 1828 to 183 1.
Joel Norcross, Monson, 1828 to 1835.
Reuben Boies, Jr., Blandford, 1828 to 1835.
William Bliss, Springfield, 183 1 to 1835.
James W. Crooks, Springfield, 1835 to 1838.
Gideon Stiles, Southwick, 1835 to 1838.
Cyrus Knox, Palmer, 1835 to 183S.
John Ward, Palmer, 1838 to 1844.
Patrick Boise, Westfield, 1841 to 1844.
Forbes Kyle, Chester, 1841 to 1844.
Willis Phelps, Springfield, 1844 to 1847.
Samuel Root, Granville, 1844 to 1850.
Austin Fuller, Monson, 1844 to 1847.
Penning Leavitt, Chicopee, 1847 to 1850.
John McCray, Wilbraham, 1847 to 1850.
Norman- T. Leonard, Westfield, 1850 to 1853.
William V. Sessions, Wilbraham, 1S50 to 1853
Melvin Copeland, Chester, 1850 to 1853.
William B. Calhoun, Springfield, 1853 to 1855.
Alured Homer, Brimfield, 1853 to 1857.
George C. Gibbs, Blandford, 1853 to 1856.
Francis Brewer, Springtield, 1855 to 1858.
Henry Fuller, Westfield, 1856 to 1859.
Henry F. Brown, Brimfield, 1857 to i860.
Nelson D. Parks, Russell, 1858 to 1864.
Henry Charles, Ludlow, 1859 to 1862.
Henry Fuller, Westfield, i860 to 1863.
Benning Leavitt, Chicopee, 1862 to 1865.
Daniel G. Potter, Monson, 1863 to 1869.
Charles C Wright, Agawam, 1864 to 1867.
Ambrose N. Merrick, Springfield, 1865 to 1868.
William M. Lewis, Blandford, 1867.
Phineas Stedman, Chicopee, 1868 to 187 i.
Randolph Stebbins, Longmeadow, 1869 to 187 1.
George R. Townsle}^ Springfield, 187 1 to 1874.
James S. Loomis, Palmer, 1871.
Lawson Sibley, Springfield, 1874.
Edward Pynchon, Springfield, 18 12.
David Paine, Springfield, 1830.
George Colton, Springfield, 1835.
William Rice, Springfield, 1838.
Norman Norton, Springfield, 1856.
Charles R. Ladd, Springfield, 1859.
M. Wells Bridge, Springfield, 1867.
REGISTERS OF DEEDS.
Edward Pynchon, Springfield, 181 2.
David Paine, Springfield, 1830.
William Rice, Springfield, 1831.
James E. Russell, Springfield, 185S.
Jonathan Smith, Jr., Springfield, 181 2.
John Phelps, Granville, 18 14.
Caleb Rice, Springfield, 183 1.
Justin Wilson, Blandford, 185 1.
Patrick Boise, Westfield, 1853.
Nathaniel Cutler, Chicopee, 1855.
Robert G. Marsh, Holyoke, 1857.
Frederick Bush, Westtield, 1S60.
A. M. Bradley, Springfield, 1869.
CLERKS OF THE COURT.
John IngersoU, Springlield, 1812.
Richard Bliss, Springfield, 1841.
George B. Morris, Springfield, 1852.
Robert O. Morris, Springfield, 1872.
Page 19, ninth line from bottom, for " Impiilert : tan/ir wt'," read " Impulerit: taii-
Page 24, insert " same " before oath, in the eighth line from top.
Page 34, for " only " read " duly," seventeenth line from top.
Page 47, add " nor worth" to seventh line from top, and in eighth line, for " utter-
ances," read " utterance."