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OLD MEMBERS OF THE CALHOUN AND KALAMAZOO COUNTY BARS

BY A. D. P. VAN BUREN

It was an admirable stroke of policy in giving Stuart the management of the suit. To add to the difficulty the "sworn twelve" were known to be bitter democrats. Pratt seemed to have the case entirely in his own hands, and thoughts of the penitentiary loomed up in Gilbert's mind. Stuart's defense was a masterpiece of legal tactics in managing Abner Pratt when mad. He based that defense on the proposition that his client did wrong in attaching Judge Lee's goods; that Pratt did right in indicting Gilbert. But the question with the jury was— did Gilbert intend-to commit perjury? To convict him they must have proof of that. There was no proof that he even intended to swear false, or to. misinterpret the case against Lee. It was a mistake, a blunder of an impulsive young man, with no intention of committing a legal or a moral wrong. Before he had been talking twenty minutes he had judge and jury in tears. Had that speech been preserved, says one who heard it, it would have been called the greatest forensic achievement of Stuart's life. Mr. Stuart himself is inclined to this belief. Stuart's style was eminently persuasive. It enabled him at this time to enforce the essential facts in the case with a pathos that carried both judge and jury. And it set at naught the idea that his strength lay mainly with the jury, and in the blandishment of his oratory. This would excite laughter in those who knew Judge Pratt. To think that the tactful blandishments of oratory could move him. No, the reverse of this was true. There was so much hard sense, sound logic, and law, in the defense of his client, that the Achillean wrath of Abner Pratt was subdued by it, court and jury carried, and Gilbert acquitted.

Michigan


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