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would do it. I made myself something of a judicial tyrant during that term. I run court from eight o'clock in the morning, with evening sessions often extending until twelve o'clock at night. Motions and demurrers were read and I only heard the party against whom I was inclined to rule on the reading. I took nothing under advisement. I limited the time of addresses to juries, adjusting it according to the importance of the case and the character of the rights involved. The local and visiting bar showed their appreciation of the situation and wasted no needless time in the direct or cross-examination of witnesses. We finished up our work on the last day of the alloted time, and of all that mass of cases heard and finally determined at that time not one was taken to the Supreme Court.
Quite a number of amusing incidents occurred that tended to relieve the monotony and to lighten the burden of our labors. By your permission, I will relate one.
A man had been indicted for a grievous assault and battery. The alleged place of the assault was in the woods near the northern limits of the town. The second witness for the prosecution was a school teacher from Washougal.
a tall and lank man, with high cheek bones, sunken cheeks and eyes and sandy hair. He had about him an air of conscious superiority. After he had been sworn, he advanced to the witness stand, which was directly to my right. Before he took his seat, however, he courteously bowed to me, and, with a dignified wave of his hand, saluted the Court. The following is his description of the assault and battery:
“The prosecuting witness was sitting calmly and sedately on a log, when the prisoner approached with stealthy, yet intrepid, steps, until he approximated in close proximity to his person, sir,”—The Court interrupted: “If you can get along without making a stump speech, we will be very much obliged to you.” “Thank your Honor," he responded. “Proceed," said the Court. " As I was remarking, the prosecuting witness was sitting calmly and sedately on a log, when the prisoner approached him with stealthy, yet intrepid, steps, until he approximated in close proximity to his person, sir, when he reached forth his digits and fastened them in the capillary filaments of the prosecutor's head, and then, with a tremendous jerk, laid him prone and prostrate on the ground, then he lifted his heel high in air and sent it with such force and violence into the countenance of the prosecutor that it has left an impression indelible to this day, sir.” “That will do,'. said the Court, “you can go.” He arose and, with a courteous bow to the Court and a wave of his right hand towards the Bar, said: “Thank your honor for releasing me from the impertinence of these attorneys." And he proudly walked out of that court house. The Court surrendered its dignity for a time and joined in the storm of laughter.
Pierce County, now a model of intellectual and moral progress with a thrifty, energetic and law-abiding population, was, in early territorial days, a hotbed of local feuds frequently resulting in homicides. She had no Tacoma, then, to control the spirit of lawlessness and to teach her citizens that life's truer conflicts are different. and nobler. This county was in the Third Judicial District, over whose courts I had the honor to preside for six years. At one of these terms of court, a man by the name of Walker was indicted for the murder of his nearest neighbor. Walker and his said neighbor were both unmarried and lived in cabins not far apart. Both were stock raisers, and both were well advanced in years. No one saw the killing and it was, therefore a case of circumstantial evidence. The body of the neighbor when found lay near a gate that entered Walker's pasture field, and the right side, from the shoulder down to a point opposite the navel was perforated with heavy shot. I will not attempt to state the circumstances on which the prosecution relied, suffice it to say they pointed with a good deal of force to the guilt of the accused; but I will not say, in opposition to the verdict of the jury, that they excluded every hypothesis of innocence. The prisoner was ably defended by Judge Wyche, James McNaught, Irving Ballard and Gov. Wallace. The Hon. C. H. Bradshaw was the prosecuting attorney, and he was ably assisted by Hon. Frank Clark. The trial occupied the attention of the court for four days. On the second day of the trial, a lady tastefully dressed, but closely veiled, entered the court with the prisoner's counsel, and when the prisoner came, took a seat by his side. She was evidently a stranger, and "Who was she?”. was on the lips of everyone. At the noon recess it was learned that she was the daughter of the prisoner. Day by day she appeared, took her accustomed seat, and remained a silent and mournful listener to the damaging testimony given against her father. At noon of the fourth day I thought the testimony was all in. At the call of the court after recess, I was somewhat astonished by the announcement of Judge Wyche that he wished to put one more witness on the stand. I was still more surprised when he asked this daughter to take the witness stand. She moved across the room in front of the large audience in a dignified and graceful manner, her face still veiled. Before she was sworn, Judge Wyche requested her to remove her veil, and she did so, revealing a countenance beautiful, intelligent and sorrowful. Judge Wyche asked her to state her age. She answered, twenty-four. Ques.--What relation are you, if any, to the prisoner? Ans.--He is iny father. Ques.-Before you came here, how long had it been since you last saw your father? Ans.—About fifteen years. Ques.—Are you married? Ans.-I am. Ques.-What is the object of your visit here? This question was objected to, but I let it go in. “I came,” she said, “to persuade my aged father to go back and live with me in my eastern home, so that I could smoothe his pathway to the tomb with a daughter's love and affection, but to my sorrow and astonishment, when I arrived I found him on trial for his life.” She was about to proceed, but the Court stopped her.
question. I presume it will be objected to, and you need not answer until the Court permits you to do so. Taking into consideration all that you have stated and all that you may know in the past, as well as in the present, of your father-what is your opinion of his sanity?” “We object," came quick and sharp from Mr. Clark; but, as he did not arise to argue the objection, Judge Wyche made a clear and cogent argument in favor of the admissibility of the testimony, admitting that the authorities were in conflict, but claimed that the better reason was in favor of its admission. In conclusion, he repeated the testimony of the witness and drew a brief but pathetic picture of her melancholy condition. His emotions seemed to intensify as he proceeded until they became too great for utterance, and he resumed his seat amid the profound silence of the court room.
Frank Clark, who had watched this performance with the keen eye of a connoisseur, immediately arose to reply. He did not waste much time on the legal proposition, but addressed himself to the concluding portion of Judge Wyche's argument. He said the learned counsel for the defendant had drawn a pathetic and melancholy picture, but, with a voicé trembling with seeming emotion, he asked: "Did the learned counsel say anything about the poor, lone man who fell on yonder plain, pierced by many cruel shot, with no daughter near to receive his last blessing or to close his eyes fast glazing in death?” Seemingly overcome with emotion, he resumed his seat, but no sooner had he done so than he put his hand to the corner of his mouth and said to the prosecuting attorney, in a stage whisper, distinctly audible in most of the room: "I guess they did not beat us much in that game.”
All of the older members of the bar in Western Washington were acquainted with I. M. Hall. He was Probate Judge of King county for two terms, and for one term its auditor. He possessed what Bishop calls “a legal mind.” While he was well read in the elements of the law, after his admission to the bar he had very little use for books other than Statutes, Blackstone's Commentaries and Kent's Lectures. His knowledge of statutory law was comprehensive and wonderfully accurate, both in a historical and constructive sense. He often said that we were too much inclined to go far from home for our law, that we were fond of legal exotics. While reports were useful, their abuse was greater than their proper use. He claimed that their use had changed the members of the legal profession from a body of original and stalwart thinkers to a body of sickly book worms. Their inquiry was not what was the reason of the thing, but what had some court said?
It was a frequent saying of his, that the principal difficulty that he met with in the practice of the law was to get the Court to see the law as it was. A difficulty that many of us, no doubt, have thought at times obstructed our success, but with that modesty and discretion so characteristic of the profession, we have failed to voice.
Mr. Hall was the acknowledged wit of the bar of Western Washington. I might give many instances of his ability as a wit, but one must suffice.
It was the last day of a term of court at Port Townsend. My practice was to read over the docket on the last day of court in the presence of the attorneys, so that I could correct on my
omissions or mistakes. I was about to adjourn court when Mr. Hall said he desired to have a demurrer heard. I told him to proceed. He made a brief yet clear and plausible argument in favor of the demurrer. It involved a point of statutory construction. When he had concluded, the opposing counsel rose to reply. I told him I did not desire to hear him, that the point presented so ably by Mr. Hall was not new tu me, that my mind was against the construction contended for, and that I would have to overrule the demurrer. Mr. Hall, who had arisen to his feet, and who was manifestly a little disappointed at the ruling of the court, said he would like to have an exception. I said: “The Court will grant you an exception with pleasure, but," I said, “this very question has been up before my brother Greene and my brother Lewis, and