Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/34

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30 Southern Historical Society Papers.

ally as associate counsel, and was thereby relieved of much of the preliminary preparation which occupies so much of the time of an attorney in getting a case ready for trial. In the Supreme and Chancery Courts, he had, of course, only to examine the record and prepare his argument. On the circuit his labors were much more arduous. The important criminal and civil causes which he argued necessarily required consultations with clients, the preparations of pleadings and proofs, either under his supervision, or by his advice and direction, and this, from the number and difficulty of the cases, must have consumed time and required application and industry.

"At the time of which I speak his long vigils and continued excitement, did not enfeeble his energies. Indeed, he has been known to assert that he felt brighter and in better preparation for forensic debate after sitting up all night in company with his friends than at any other time. He required less sleep, probably, than any man in the State, seldom devoting to that purpose more than three or four hours in the twenty-four. After his friends had retired at a late hour in the night, or rather at an early hour in the morning, he has been known to get his books and papers and prepare for the business of the day.

' ' His faculty of concentration drew his energies as through a lens, upon the subject before him. No matter what he was engaged in, his intellect was ceaseless in play and motion. Alike comprehensive and systematic in the arrangement of his thoughts, he reproduced without difficulty what he had once conceived.

" Probably something would have still been wanting to explain his celerity of preparation for his causes, had not partial nature gifted him with the lawyer's highest talent, the acumen which, like instinct, enabled him to see the points which the record presented. His gen- ius for generalizing saved him, in a moment, the labor of long and tedious reflection upon and collection of the several parts of a nar- rative. He read with great rapidity; glancing his eyes through a page he caught the substance of its contents at a view. His analysis too, was powerful. The chemist does not reduce the contents of his alembic to their elements more rapidly or surely than he resolved the most complicated facts into primary principles.

" His statements like those of all great lawyers were clear, con- spicuous and compact; the language simple and sententious. Con- sidered in the most technical sense, as forensic arguments merely, no one will deny that his speeches were admirable and able efforts. If the professional reader will turn to the meagre reports of his argu-