previous next


He was well possessed of his cause, and spoke with a heartiness which showed that he desired to serve his client rather than to display himself. He was more bold and free in his language, yet perhaps equally exact and perspicuous; and if Mr. Pinkney was more formally logical, and Mr. Dexter more coldly cogent, Mr. Emmett was more persuasive.

When he had finished, I was surprised to find that he had interested me so much that, if he had not stopped, I should have lost my dinner.

February 21, 1815.
I was in court all this morning. The session was opened by Judge Story and the Chief Justice, who read elaborate opinions. During this time Mr. Pinkney was very restless, frequently moved his seat, and, when sitting, showed by the convulsive twitches of his face how anxious he was to come to the conflict. At last the judges ceased to read, and he sprang into the arena like a lion who had been loosed by his keepers on the gladiator that awaited him.

The display was brilliant. Notwithstanding the pretension and vehemence of his manner,—though he treated Mr. Emmett, for whom I had been much interested yesterday, with somewhat coarse contempt,—in short, notwithstanding there was in his speech great proof of presumption and affectation; yet, by the force of eloquence, logic, and legal learning, by the display of naked talent, he made his way over my prejudices and good feelings to my admiration and, I had almost said, to my respect. He left his rival far behind him; he left behind him, it seemed to me at the moment, all the public speaking I had ever heard. With more cogency than Mr. Dexter, he has more vivacity than Mr. Otis; with Mr. Sullivan's extraordinary fluency, he seldom or never fails to employ precisely the right phrase; and with an arrangement as logical and luminous as Judge Jackson's, he unites an overflowing imagination. It is, however, in vain to compare him with anybody or everybody whom we have been in the habit of hearing, for he is unlike and, I suspect, above them all.

He spoke about three hours and a half, and when he sat down, Emmett rose very gravely. ‘The gentleman,’ said the grand Irishman, in a tone of repressed feeling which went to my heart,—‘the gentleman yesterday announced to the court his purpose to show that I was mistaken in every statement of facts and every conclusion of law which I had laid before it. Of his success to-day the court alone have a right to judge; but I must be permitted to say that, in my estimation, the manner of announcing his threat of yesterday, and of ’

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Thomas Addis Emmett (3)
America Pinkney (2)
Samuel Dexter (2)
William Sullivan (1)
Joseph Story (1)
Harrison Gray Otis (1)
James Jackson (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
February 21st, 1815 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: