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MY DEAR SIR, The plaintiff in the Edson cause requested my attendance at Portsmouth at the Circuit Court. I have agreed to go on his performance of certain conditions precedent; and probably it rests on this, whether I shall attend the court. As to the college cause, I cannot argue it any more, I believe. I have told you very often that you and Judge Smith argued it very greatly. If it was well argued at Washington, it is a proof that I was right, because all that I said at Washington was but those two arguments, clumsily put together by me. I do not mean to hold you answerable for any deficiencies ; but in truth have little right to claim the merit, if there be any, in the opening of our case. Since I came home, a young man in my office has assisted me to copy my minutes, and I have been foolish enough to print three or four copies. I committed this folly principally on the motion of some friends here, who were anxious to know something of the grounds of our case, of which they have been most deplorably uninformed. These copies are and will remain, except when loaned for a single day, under my own lock and key. They are hastily written off, with much abbreviation, and contain little else than quotation from the cases. All the nonsense is left out. There is no title or name to it. These precautions were taken to avoid the indecorum of publishing the creature. If I have a safe conveyance, I shall send one to you. You must not let Farrar see it, because he would wish to show it to President Brown and all. And perhaps I should do better to burn it, than to send it at all. Judge Story has been recently in town. I have no doubt he will incline to send up the new cause in the most convenient manner, without giving any opinion, and probably without an argument. If the district judge will agree to divide without argument, pro forma, I think Judge Story will incline so to dispose of the cause. A special verdict is the most convenient mode, I think. The verdict in the other cause I think very right, and from the same minutes one can be drawn in the present case. I shall be at Portsmouth whether I hear from Edson or not, unless I should be engaged at Ipswich.
Mr. Prescott is judge, a very good thing for the county of Suffolk, and not so bad a thing for himself as it might at first seem. He will receive about three thousand dollars per annum. He does not wish and has repeatedly declined a seat on the other bench, on account of its great labor, and being willing to leave the bar pretty soon, this seems to be an eligible retirement. We shall endeavor to get along without him at the bar, and bear our loss as well as we can.
We expect Mrs. Mason to see us next month, and she has partly promised to bring her husband.
Yours truly, D. WEBSTER.
- Private Correspondence of Daniel Webster, Edited by Fletcher Webster, Volume I, 1857