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The Best Book To Read First

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" Tho best book to read fir6t ?" said "udge T., repeating the qnestion i put on ntdring bis office asa law student. " That 's the best book to read first, md list too," he added, laying bis hand in a well thutnbed "King James' Bibk,' n .which less dust was suffered to accun ulate Iban I had of ten seen on a profesor's parlor table. " But I didn't come here to learn to jreach," I answered a little pertly. " Yes you did," replied the Judge. " And the better you preach, every ime you get beforo a jurv the better fou'll suoceed." " I'll prove it," said ho quickly noticng my look of incredulity. And wheeling around in his chair, jringing bis legs to a cross, and using his sar for a pen rack, he proceedei : " ïhe first year after my ' adinission ' I was elected State Attorney. My maiden 3asef was one of petit larceny ; Bill I)wkes, jne of the trifling, good sort of fellow, so malled because good for nothing, was ound in ' recent possession of a oarca.'S of mutton whlch the ovraer had left langing out over night, and which was non i, thatis to say, ' turned up missing ' in the morning. I drafted the indictiuent with great care, charging, with painfulparticularity, that one Wiliiam l)awkes, not having the fear, etc., but moved and seduced by a certain personage whom it was common to include in every indictment as an ' accessory before the fact,' on, etc, at, etc, one carcass of mutton of the value, etc, of the good?, chattels, and personal property of one telatiah Potts, out of the possessions, and against the will of the said Pelatiah feloniously aud with force of arms, did steal, take and carry away. ' What's the matter," I asked sharply, when my friend Bob C, burst out laughing on hearing me read over this, my first professional production. " It's the best joke of the season !" said Bob with another guffaw. " What is it?" " Why that pun- calling a sheep thief a yeoman. " My office was a scène of confusión at the end oí' five minutes. Bob's head had gone through the glasa door of my bookoase, two of my three chaira lay with broken legs ; and Bob and I had a pair of black cyes between us. It was more than a uionth beforo either spoke to the other. " But I am wandering from thejpoint. In due time the prisoner was brougbt up for trial, oíd Potitos appeariug for the defense. " Oíd P. was a character. The only law book he ever read Vas ' Swain's Treaisë for Justices of the Peace ; ' but in tbat and the scripture he was powerful. He had a way of quoting and applying the latter, which in a religioug coinmunity, made it diffinult to oppose him without incurring the suspicion of orthodoXy His forte lay in carrying the jury whom he generally succeeded in convincing that he and they were on one side, and his adversar on the other. His style and grammar were original. " I had set my heart on winning that case. If I could only beat oíd Polifox. bef ore a jury, my nest would be feathered." " I hnd carefully written out my opening, and when I read it over to Nellio Wynne, to whom I was paying my attention at that time, she said it was " re:tl nice." which I knew was feminine í'ot "bully" - an encomium I felt a littlo droud of. 11 When the case como off I ipoke my iiece without a blunder. I cited matiy luthorities to show that he in whose ! session stolen property is found soon j :er the theft, is in law presumed to be the ;hief. I was prepared to prove, I said I ;hat the propert.y in question had disapjeared at the dead hour of night, when all honest people were in their beds, and jad been found at early dawn in the sinoke house of Dawkes, tho defendant. " I put tny witnesses on the stand and proved the ownership, value and identi;y of the property, its mysterious disapjearance and subsequent reappearanee in he construotive possession of the prisoner, and rested " Old Polifox sat in soletnn silenoe, his eyes closed, and his red band&na over liis ïead. He asked no questions and called no witnesses. I was disappoiuted at the old fftllow giving in so easily. It would .ako away half the glory of the triumph. " But I was reckoning without my host. "Old Polifox slowly got upon his legs and removed the bandaua, and taking up the Bible on which the clerk had sworn witnesses, began : " I ain grieved my breethering "- he always oalled the jury 'breethering' - ' I am grieved and sore amazed to hear such heathenish doctrines in a Christian court house as we've just been liatenit;' ;o. What sez the sacred volume I hold n my hand ? Why it sez at the uiouth of two witnesses let every matter be established. Now, my Breetheriug, let me eik what witnesses - what witnessseed my cliënt hook this sheep ? Echo answers, nary one. My delooded young brother ïas read profane authors to show that ;he finding of goods on the wrong man's jremises is proof of his stealing' 'em. lts a presumption of law, he says,and a great jieoe of presumption it is my breethering. Now, in this sakred volume we have narrated a case in pint, that of one Benjauin, which you all hearn about. " A silver cnp, worth a huudrcd times as much as this trumpery sheep, was disrivered not way off in Benjamin's tmoke louse whar Benjamin moughn't a been for a week, but chucked into the mouth of the very sack he was riding 011 to. Benjamin was innocent. But, my breeihering, if it was Benjamin's luck instead of my unfor - túnate client's to be this day on trial before you, you would be obliged, according to my onexperinced brother, to bring him in guilty spite of Scripture, andconsign him to a place whar he'd haye to wear a coat of many colors of a very different stripe from his brother Joseph's." "I not only lot the case," said the Judge, " but my office at the next elee ■ tion, my attempts to confute old Polifox's Rcripture argument creating a doubt in the mind of the oommunity as to the soundness of my religious views." "In all soberness," the Judge continued, "if you want to be a successful lawyer, search the Scriptures. In them you will flnd the base of all that is best and noblest in human laws. Bsides, the words and phrases of the Bible, are the language of the popular heart. lts parables are household words. lts illustrations never miRS their mark. I have given you a ludicrous instance of their effect, but it is in the field of pathos and real feeling that their power is irresistible." " And yet," I reinarked, " old Polifox made them the instanoe of gaining an erroneous verdict." " There you are mistaken," said the Judge. "It transpired subsequently that poor Dawkes was really innocent- a private enemy, the same person who flrst directed suspicion towards him having abstracted the property and placed it through malice, where it was afterward found."


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Michigan Argus