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August 19th, 1841 AD (search for this): chapter 23
to that, I cannot at this time, Mr. Butler. I hardly supposed you could, I said, and Record may go. The legislature at its next session passed an act which made severing portions of real estate for a felonious intent larceny,--so that now one may be indicted for stealing apples from trees, which before could not be done. I do not mean it should be understood that I won in all the sharp points I took; far from it, but I took them all the same and not infrequently won. On the 19th of August, 1841, Congress passed an act establishing a system of bankruptcy. There had been no bankrupt law since that of 1800, and I saw that I should, by studying it, know as much about the new law as anybody, and more, if I examined the decisions under the old system and under the English bankrupt laws with more diligence than anybody else. I also reasoned that there would be a large number of private cases arising under that law. I therefore gave it most painstaking and exhaustive study, devoti
rd. I was at Concord attending the court. The constable was a Democratic friend of mine who always used to go to the convention as a delegate, and I always sent him the political documents of the campaign to be distributed. Hearing of his death, and not being engaged on the day of the funeral, I took my horse and rode over to Lincoln to attend his funeral, with as much grief as I would attend the funeral of any dear friend. In the February term Carey was indicted for murder, and in the April term of the Supreme Court at Lowell he was arraigned and pleaded not guilty. Now, there is a custom which has become a law that where a prisoner who is to be tried for his life has no counsel the court must appoint someone to defend the case. I had never seen the prisoner, and knew nothing about him, but when the chief justice asked him: Carey, have you any counsel? he said: I should like to have Mr. Butler. The horror of defending the murderer of my friend quite overcame me. I said:
nto the prisoner's eyes. The man, without a will, was compelled to obey, by every constitution of his infirm mind. Guilty, he faltered, and sunk down into his seat, crushed with a sense of shame. Now, gentlemen, said the counsel for the prisoner, have I, or have I not, performed my part of the compact? You have. Then perform yours. This was done. A nol pros. was duly entered upon the three indictments. The counsel for the prosecution immediately moved for sentence on the fourth, to which the prisoner had pleaded guilty. General Butler then rose, with that indictment in his hand, and pointed out a flaw in it, manifest and fatal. The error was in designating the place where the crime was committed. Your honor perceives, said the General, that this court has no jurisdiction in the matter. I move that the prisoner be discharged from custody. Ten minutes from that time, the astounded man was walking out of the court-room free. The flaw in the indictment,
il for murder. Lincoln is about six miles from Concord. I was at Concord attending the court. The constable was a Democratic friend of mine who always used to go to the convention as a delegate, and I always sent him the political documents of the campaign to be distributed. Hearing of his death, and not being engaged on the day of the funeral, I took my horse and rode over to Lincoln to attend his funeral, with as much grief as I would attend the funeral of any dear friend. In the February term Carey was indicted for murder, and in the April term of the Supreme Court at Lowell he was arraigned and pleaded not guilty. Now, there is a custom which has become a law that where a prisoner who is to be tried for his life has no counsel the court must appoint someone to defend the case. I had never seen the prisoner, and knew nothing about him, but when the chief justice asked him: Carey, have you any counsel? he said: I should like to have Mr. Butler. The horror of defendin
re at its next session passed an act which made severing portions of real estate for a felonious intent larceny,--so that now one may be indicted for stealing apples from trees, which before could not be done. I do not mean it should be understood that I won in all the sharp points I took; far from it, but I took them all the same and not infrequently won. On the 19th of August, 1841, Congress passed an act establishing a system of bankruptcy. There had been no bankrupt law since that of 1800, and I saw that I should, by studying it, know as much about the new law as anybody, and more, if I examined the decisions under the old system and under the English bankrupt laws with more diligence than anybody else. I also reasoned that there would be a large number of private cases arising under that law. I therefore gave it most painstaking and exhaustive study, devoting to it all the time I had and what I could rob from sleep, in order to prepare myself in this branch of professional w
en under my command affected with scurvy. Not one of the doctors of their regiment had reported it to me, and I found out the fact myself only because I inspected my own hospitals and knew what I was looking for. I have mentioned above that in preparing cases I have had to spend days in a machine shop, and I will state a case in which that happened, as an encouragement and an instruction to my young friends of the bar as to how I think a case should be prepared. In November of the year 1852, it will be remembered, General Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire was elected President. In the December following, himself, his wife, and only son, a lad about ten years old, got on board the cars at Boston to go to their home at Concord, New Hampshire. When about twenty-four or twenty-five miles from Boston, and between two and three miles from the town of Andover, the train was derailed by the breaking of the forward axle of the tender on the left side. The train happened to be on a slig
s, and in quite all the circuit courts of all the districts of the latter State. My docket contained causes of every description of practice and in regard to all possible business, so that from necessity preparing myself to examine and cross-examine experts in every class of business, I became more or less an expert in all myself. I suppose I may mention a few of the more important cases, especially where great principles were decided, in all of which I was engaged as leading counsel. In 1853 the legislature passed an act annexing the city of Charlestown to the city of Boston, provided both cities, by ballot in the majority, should decide to accept the annexation, such acceptance to be certified to the Secretary of State by a certificate of the popular vote by a majority of the mayor and aldermen of each city. The vote of Boston was strongly in favor of annexation. There was a very strong feeling against it in Charlestown. Public meetings were held; all sorts of printed publica
what it is. I am acting, said he, in behalf of the American Emigrant Aid Society of Connecticut. Our business has been procuring lands in the western country, generally those denominated swamp lands, and settling emigrants upon them. We got a large quantity of such swamp lands of Adams County, Iowa,after considerable negotiation. They gave our trustee a full deed of them, and we paid them by building a court-house for them, which they received as payment on account, Benj. F. Butler in 1856. from a photograph. and by paying the balance in money at the price agreed. Afterwards there was a political change in the county officers, and a young lawyer became a member of the board of county authorities. The county under his advice brough a suit against us in the State Court to set aside our deed on the ground that in our negotiations with the county we stated that the lands were worth much less per acre than they were actually worth, and got them at too low a price on that misrepre
7th year, and among the youngest, if not the youngest, ever admitted to that court, for in the olden time only the elder members of the bar got to Washington to be admitted. But I had the fortune to have drawn the specification for the patent of Elias Howe, a native of Massachusetts, for his invention of the sewing machine. This brought me there to argue a motion in that court, but I did not do so as the case was settled. The first important case that I argued in the Supreme Court was in 1857. It was Sutter vs. the United States. Sutter had been fortunate enough to find gold in the raceway of his sawmill near Sacramento in 1849. The case involved the effect of the laws and action of the provincial governors of Mexico in granting titles to very extended parcels of lands. The rules which should govern the distribution of that land and the validity of titles to such land under our treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo were under discussion in that case. It was a leading case upon those qu
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