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OLD MEMBERS OF THE CALHOUN AND KALAMAZOO COUNTY BARS

BY A. D. P. VAN BUREN

In private intercourse Chipman was a man of great dignity and courtesy, until his habits of life became impaired by means of his immoral conduct. His legal education was good; he ranked high as an advocate, but as an orator his powers were more versatile. He tried cases with a good deal of legal ability, and as a counselor stood high with the members of the bar. He became a politician and democrat from conscientious convictions, and his ascendancy as a politician was marked by his declination as a lawyer, as well as morally and socially. " From the late Judge J. P. Littlejohn I received the following estimate of Chipman: "He was a man of strong elements of character. His notions were often erratic and visionary. His impulses gave the hue and complexion to both motive and conduct. His eloquence before public assemblies was at times of a high order; but its effect was frequently obscured by reckless assertions, and inconsequent deductions. His moral faculties were not properly developed. " This portraiture agrees substantially with that drawn by Mr. Coffinbury. Chipman had in him all the passion and enthusiasm of the orator. Listening to one of his eloquent speeches was like reading from one of Cooper's novels. You were moved by the startling incident, the grand description, -the dauntless spirit, and thrilling passages and scenes in which the speaker seemed the hero in real life. Chipman had something of the stern bearing and dignity of Chatham; something of Burke's love of the sublime; combined with these were the immoralities of a Wilkes.

Michigan


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