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Page:Samuel Scoville -Abraham Lincoln, His Story.djvu/46

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interests of their clients if the delay was obtained. "You know it is a sham," replied Lincoln, "and a sham is very often another name for a lie. Don't let it go on record. The cursed thing may come staring us in the face long after this suit has been forgotten."

Such scrupulous honesty Lincoln carried through all his practice. It gave him a standing and a reputation which were worth more to him than fine gold. He never made the mistake that young lawyers sometimes make of sacrificing a reputation for honesty for the sake of winning a case. Moreover, unless he had confidence in a case he would not take it.

Once when it was shown that his client had been guilty of fraud he walked out of the court-room and refused to continue the trial. The judge sent a messenger, directing him to return, but he positively declined. "Tell the judge that my hands are dirty, and that I have gone away to wash them," was the answer that he sent back.

"Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser—in fees, expenses, and waste of time. As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough." So