Le 16 novembre 2016, 05:45 dans Humeurs • 0
When the time came for removal the young lawyer hesitated between Boston, Albany and New York, but finally decided in favor of the first place. Of his removal we shall have occasion to speak further presently. Before doing so it is well to say that these nine years, though they brought Mr. Webster but little money, did a great deal for him in other ways. He was not employed in any great cases, or any memorable trials, though he and Jeremiah Mason were employed in the most important cases which came before the New Hampshire courts. Generally they were opposed to each other, and in his older professional compeer Daniel found a foeman worthy of his steel. He always had to do his best when Mason was engaged on the other side. That he fully appreciated Mr. Mason’s ability is evident from his tribute to him paid in a conversation with another eminent rival, Rufus Choate.
“I have known Jeremiah Mason,” he said, “longer than I have known any other eminent man. He was the first man of distinction in the law whom I knew, and when I first became acquainted with him he was in full practice. I knew that generation of lawyers as a younger man knows those who are his superiors in age—by tradition, reputation and hearsay, and by occasionally being present and hearing their efforts. In this way I knew Luther Martin, Edmund Randolph, Goodloe Hart, and all those great lights of the law; and by the way, I think, on the whole, that was an abler bar than the present one—of course with some brilliant exceptions. Of the present bar of the United States I think I am able to form a pretty fair opinion, having an intimate personal knowledge of them in the local and federal courts; and this I can say, that I regard Jeremiah Mason as eminently superior to any other lawyer whom I ever met. I should rather with my own experience (and I have had some pretty tough experience with him) meet them all combined in a case, than to meet him alone and single-handed. He was the keenest lawyer I ever met or read about. If a man had Jeremiah Mason and he did not get his case, no human ingenuity or learning could get it. He drew from a very deep fountain. Yes, I should think he did,” added Mr. Webster, smiling, “from his great height.”
The young reader will remember that Mr. Mason was six feet seven inches in height.
It is always of great service when a young man is compelled at all times to do his best. Daniel could not oppose such a lawyer as he describes Mr. Mason without calling forth all his resources. It happened, therefore, that the nine years he spent in Portsmouth were by no means wasted, but contributed to develop and enlarge his powers, and provide him with resources which were to be of service to him in the broader and more conspicuous field in which he was soon to exercise his powers.