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Cowhiding A Judge

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J. H. Kiniball, of Eaton county, in a Jato nuniber of the Eaton Kapida Journal, relatos an incident of early court daye, which many of the old settlers of Ingham county recollect as ba-ving taken place. M. S. 'Brackett, of Bellevue, one of the principal actors, is now a prominent lawyer, and expects sorae day to make Lansing his home. The county system was in f orce thon, and Judge Beardsley, of Bellevue, an Englishmnn by birth, wore the judicial ermine. Feeling his importancc, he aped English manners, even ia custom and dress. A bitter hatred existed between himself and M. S. Brackett. Wbea Beardsley went to Charlotte to hold his first term, Brackett expressed himself to his brother attorneys as being in fear of abuse and insult from the "court" in case he should assnmo to take au activa part in a single suit, for, said ho, "Beardsley will bo sure to take advantage of his position and brief authority to give mo h - 11." And B.'s prediction was corroct. The Eaton county bar was then composed of Luman Foote, D. A. Winslow, II. M-. Hunson, H. A. Shaw, J. H. Kimball, 0. O. Chatüeld and the h(ro Brackett. The soinewhat celebrated John Van Arman, then of Marshall, the late lamentad Judge Longyear, and other ncighboring lawyers otten visited and practiced in Eaton, and Van Armau and Judge Longyear were present at Beardsley's first term. The first case war. a school district matter, and occupied four days. Brackett was associated with Iümball in the aue, but left all the work for Mr. Kimbali to do. The second case was a Brookfield slander suit in which Van Arman, Shaw, Chatficld, Brackett, and Kimbali partieipated. One of the witnesses was a not very bright girl, who, when exposed to Van Arman's peppery cross examination, began to cry. His questions were all pertinent and proper, and wero not objected to by the other sido; but Beardsley took tho girl onder liis judicial wing and told hor sho need not answer any more questions. Van Arman insisted he had the right to put all proper questions to the wituess and havo them answered. Tho Judge ordered him to sit down. That made Van madder yot, and he kept iiring broadside after broadside into tho court, and wouldn't "down" a bit more than Banquo's ghost. Counsel on the other side disclaimed having object(!d, and venturod to say thoy thought Van Arman had the right ho claimcd. The unpleasantness grew hotter and hotter, until Van Arman raved and swore terribly. It was near dinner time, and tho Judge was getting lrangry, demoralized, and sadly the worse for his encounter with Van Arman. So he broko out suddenly and said he knew where all the trouble botween tho bar and court originated. " It was with a member of that biir on whoso head rested tho crimes of per jury, robbery, rapiñe and nmrder." Then it was jolly to seo each lawyer present, exeept Brackett, spring to his feet, and in his turn demand of the court if hu meant him in the application of tho ?e epithets? All denied the soft impeachment. Then Brackett, who had never once " peeped " during the term, rose slowly up, paleas a sheet, and asked the court if he meant him? "I can't excuse you, Mr. Brackett," said the court. " Very well, " said Brackett, 'Til see you after dinner." And the court was adjourned for aueh repast, soasoned with "leeky" butter and other condimente. In those days the members of tho bar reitdezvous'nl by day and bivouacked by night in No. 1, a good-.sizcd .square room immodiately over the bar-room of the Eagle hotel, tho only public house in Charlotte. After dinner Kimbali was the tirst attherendezvous; and presen tly Brackett came in and took from his coat a good-sized raw-hide with which ho propoaed to whip the Judgo on his bench, as Boon as the eourt oponed, for tlio insult given him in the forenoon. The rest of the lflwyors soon came in, and a j council of war was held; and it was j agreed by all that Brackett should de mand, in open court, in explicit retraction of the opprobrious language from the Jrfdge, and, in case of his rentaal to make il, that Brackett should elimbover the (lirk's i ek and rftw-hido !im in Jii.s panctum sanclorum, uini all the lawyers wuuhl back him in mee "f interferonce by olficers or others. When court convened in the ofternoon, "Jimbs of the l;iv," who lyul liever nsod walking stick beforo, were observad to have stout canes, and olose searoh would liavo discloscel to view t wo oi fchree old-faahioned, single-barreled pistols in as maiiy legal pocket. The Judgn took liis sent, the jury was called, and the slander snit -was ready to prooeed, when Brackett roso aud told the oourt ho hada littlo private matter to Bettle with him beforo the case was proceeded with, and, iu a gentlenanlv but firm nianner, deaaanded tliat lie should publicly, tlirn and thare, retract tbo offensive epitheta iic had publicly ftpplied to him in tbo forenoon. The Judge tfaid ho had nothing to retraet, and ordered Hiackett to sit down. Instead of "sitting down," Brackett flung nside bis eloak, threw off bis underooftt and eravat, and flouriehing bis cowhidc, swore he would take Batisfaction insianter, and out of " liis honor's bide." The Judge called on tbo Sheriff and liis assistauta to arrest Brackett and tnko bim to jail. Sheriff McCargar, the best natured fcllow in the eounty, Torn Curry, bis bullheaded deputy, and severa! Constables, started to obey tl ie judicial mándate. Then Braokett fairly foamed at the mouth and avowod tbat no human power should tuke bim from tbat bar alive. Every lawyer prestol, exeept tlic old man 'Footo, lounded to tbc insido of the bar and met the oflicers at tbe entranoe, shouting to Braokett to proceed with bis duty, to wit: tbo castigation of tbo Judge. Brackett'H attention was divided between bis friends, tbo Judge, and the officers, wbo were now endeavoring to comply witb tho oft-repeated orders of the eourt to enter tbo bar nnd aeize Brackett. Tbey veio, bowever, firmly j met aud kept at bay by the legal corps, and II. A. iShaw drew some claret from Torn Curry's noso to repay that official Lor kicking bis sbin. Tbe Judge bocame frightened out of bis dignity and wits, j and in tbo hottest of tbe mclce suddenry oaught up bis cloak and made a bolt out ( Dy a side door, tbrougb the Clerk's office, into tbe open air, and made tracks for the " Eagle " with most undignüicd epeed. Brackett caugbt sigbt of bis streaming coat-tails as he vanisbed tbrougb tbe j side door, bounded over the bar and tor bim lik e a uoble red man of tbo I est, caught bim iu a few stejis from the 1 House, and from the rapidity with j wbicb tbey feil no man could woll count the number of head and shonlder cuts he gave that Judge with the cowhide between tbat point and tbe old tavern. Tbe Judge at once procured a Hvery team and started on bis way to Bellevue. A capias, with an order to bold to bail in tho siim of $5,000, was obtoined from j the Circuit Court for tbe arrest of Beardsley, at the sult of Brackett, for slander; and within thrcohours that ; nitary was overbauled, arrested, brought back, gave bail, and was off for home without liaving gone through with the j formality of adjourning bis court. An indignation meeting was tben proceeded witb, and divers speeches were made denunciatory of eounty courts m general, and uot at all complimentary of one particular Judgo thereof. Michigan tben bad a statuto by which attorneys could stipulate all County Court cases into tbe Circuit. This was done with every case on tbat County Court calendar, including the balf-tried slander j case. Beardsley came over to Charlotte to hold tbe next term, and found that every old and new case bad been stipulated into tho Circuit. Tben be grew thougbtful, and concluded be was not popular witb tbe bar, as a Judge. So be resigned in disgust, left tbc country, and wben last heard of was expounding tbe gostiel aftcr tbe fasbion of tbe Cliuicb of


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Michigan Argus