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OLD MEMBERS OF THE CALHOUN AND KALAMAZOO COUNTY BARS

BY A. D. P. VAN BUREN

He seemed to be able to take the jurors into his confidence and by his talk win them completely to his cause. He was a natural lawyer and a self made man, his inherent gifts seemed sufficient for any emergency, legal propositions were as readily grasped as the simplest problems. The fame of his. remarkable success as an advocate still lingers, though nearly all of those who knew him as such have passed away. Col. Stuart in many other ways became prominent. He was a close friend of Douglas, and no man in Michigan enjoyed more the confidence of the democratic leaders of the nation than he. Very few of the older citizens of Michigan but know him as the devoted agriculturist, the successful lawyer, and the pure and patriotic statesman. " Mr. Stuart, on account of ill health, some number of years ago retired from the practice of his profession. His mind is yet clear and vigorous. Like Fox, in his retirement he gives himself to his books and friends. He is the social, genial gentleman at home; a fine conversationalist and an interesting raconteur. In the noted "malpractice case" of Beals vs. Dr. N. M. Thomas, tried at Kalamazoo before Judge Ransom in 1844, Stuart was at his best. A young daughter of the plaintiff had injured her arm, Dr. Thomas treated it as a fracture; the plaintiff claimed that it was only a dislocation at the elbow, and brought suit to recover damages, as the arm was yet partly useless. The jury was an unusually intelligent one. When a trial of importance was on, the students of the "Old Branch" used to take some text book and go over to the court room, and "hunt out their lessons" in the dull intervals of the trial. Although I had heard Stuart in most of his great •efforts at this bar, yet at this time he surpassed himself. Always admired as a model orator by the students, here he was to us a Cicero in real life.

Michigan


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