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OLD MEMBERS OF THE CALHOUN AND KALAMAZOO COUNTY BARS

BY A. D. P. VAN BUREN

I saw him in such a mood at the Centerville bar, in 1848, Judge Osborne presiding. H. H. Riley, of Constantine, then on his first legs as prosecutor for St. Joseph county, had taken a bold position against him in a suit they were trying. At this, "Chip" in all his stern dignity, addressed the court on the law in the case. Riley resolutely and ably maintained his position. The old barrister grew furious at being held in check by this stripling in law, and, turning to the court, he exclaimed, "Am I, your honor, an old veteran, grown gray at the bar, to step aside and yield to the dictum of this upstart?" Nothing could equal the look of mingled scorn and defiance with which he said this. But Riley was not cowed by it. He then showed that he had in him the material of which lawyers are made. And when he thus, single handed, defiantly bearded the old lion in his den, we thought he had won his professional spurs in thus withstanding the most formidable foe he would ever meet at the bar of western Michigan. Rile, I think, gained the suit.
It is said that' the lawyers in the olden time who lost their case in court, were accustomed to go over to the nearest tavern, and take it out in swearing at the judge, and abusing the opposing counsel. Black Chip, when he was defeated in court, used to take it out by swearing at the judge on the spot. He hated Judge -----------. At the close of a trial before him at Centerville, after having worked himself into a frenzy of feeling, he took a stand at the door of the court room, and waited for the decision from the bench. The decision came adverse to him. He, on hearing it, gave a fierce glance at the judge, and exclaimed in bitter, sarcastic tone, "The devil!" and instantly walked out of the room. At another time this judge's rulings against him had so excited him that he arose in his anger, and, addressing the court, said: "Now, by way of illustrating the point at issue, we will suppose that your honor is a d------fool.

Michigan


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