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Page:Samuel Scoville -Abraham Lincoln, His Story.djvu/41

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CHAPTER III

THE LAWYER

A man stands revealed by his work. For twenty-three years Abraham Lincoln practiced law and sowed the harvest which the nation reaped in his presidency.

He was admitted to the bar in 1836, and his bar examinations consisted simply of an inquiry into his moral character. In those frontier days judges and lawyers depended more on common-sense than on common-law, and most of the courthouses were log cabins. A contemporary of Lincoln remembered that when Judge John Reynolds sat in the Circuit Court of Washington County, the sheriff opened court by coming to the door of the one-room log-built courthouse and shouting to the crowd outside: "Come in, boys; our John is a-goin' to hold court."

Another sheriff used to announce the opening of court as follows: "Oh yes! Oh yes! Oh yes! The Honorable Judge is now opened!"

One of the judges of Lincoln's time once restored order in his court by leaving the bench and thrashing the offenders, remarking as he resumed his seat: "I don't know what power

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