him, but of course not so much as Judge Davis
, who held the court, and whom Lincoln
followed around on the circuit for at least six months out of the year.
I easily realized that Lincoln
was strikingly deficient in the technical rules of the law. Although he was constantly reminding young legal aspirants to study and “work, work,” yet I doubt if he ever read a single elementary law book through in his life.
In fact, I may truthfully say, I never knew him to read through a law book of any kind.
Practically he knew nothing of the rules of evidence, of pleading, or practice, as laid down in the text-books, and seemed to care nothing about them.
He had a keen sense of justice, and struggled for it, throwing aside forms, methods, and rules, until it appeared pure as a ray of light flashing through a fog-bank.
He was not a general reader in any field of knowledge, but when he had occasion to learn or investigate any subject he was thorough and indefatigable in his search.
He not only went to the root of a question, but dug up the root, and separated and analyzed every fibre of it. He was in every respect a case lawyer, never cramming himself on any question till he had a case in which the question was involved.
He thought slowly and acted slowly; he must needs have time to analyze all the facts in a case and wind them into a connected story.
I have seen him lose cases of the plainest justice, which the most inexperienced member of the bar would have gained without effort.
Two things were essential to his success in managing a case.
One was time;