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[252] own office seemed a common resort. His genial temper, his courteous affability were peculiarly attractive to young men who were entering upon the profession. There seemed to be no question for which he had not a ready answer, no point upon which he could not throw light, no difficulty upon which he could not make valuable suggestions; while his thorough mastery of legal principles, his great knowledge of the text-books, his familiarity with the reports, ancient and modern, and his wide knowledge of lawyers and judges, extending into the minutest details of their history and characteristics, rendered him a most interesting and valuable companion. His reading upon every topic connected with law had been really very extensive, while his investigation into recondite and minute points was also very thorough. His memory, too, was prodigious. He always seemed to talk with a full mind upon every thing connected with our profession, inspiring his juniors with something of his own enthusiasm. Before he went abroad, he was doing a respectable business, and, I think, gave good attention to his work; ready to take up any labor that came to him, and desirous of becoming a thorough practitioner. He told me with some glee, one day, that he wrote a love-letter for a man who had come to him in distress, making it so tender in expression as to draw tears from his client, who was not before aware how deeply his affections were wounded. I do not think that he did much of any business in the courts before he went abroad; nor do I suppose him to have been an adept in the minutiae of practice or in conducting trivial cases in the various tribunals; but I believe he was ready and desirous to enter upon any honorable labor connected with the profession. When he went abroad, the opinion was pretty generally expressed that it would do him no good in a professional point of view; and this, to some extent, turned out to be so. Although he returned with a professed determination to confine himself to legal pursuits, it is probably true that his brilliant career, his extensive acquaintance, his large literary and personal correspondence, considerably impeded his progress as a lawyer. He would have been glad to succeed Mr. Peters as Reporter of the United States Supreme Court; and I know he was deeply disappointed that he was not offered a position in the Law School on the death of Judge Story. His time was considerably occupied by literary pursuits; his office was a constant resort of literary men; he read a great deal of the current literature of the day, and was often in the library of the Athemaeum. He became a frequent and most valuable contributor to the “Law Reporter,” of which I was the editor. Some of his more important contributions contained, as I think, his best thoughts. He did not care to discuss abstract questions, or to theorize in a heavy way upon points that might never arise; he chose rather to speak of men, judges, lawyers, and writers. He was an admirable critic of books; his contributions were light, airy, and fanciful, sometimes perhaps superficial: they were usually apposite, full of learning, and very interesting. Nothing delighted him more than to write upon curious matters, throwing a flood of learning upon difficult points. Sometimes he really “ran a muck,” and astonished staid and respectable lawyers who looked over the pages of the magazine. Thus, in April, 1841, he undertook to write a leading article on the law magazines

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William W. Story (1)
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