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do in the business, and picked up knowledge as I went about

2023-12-01 11:40:43 [love] source:Headwind and Evil Waves Network

"What were their first steps at the death of Mr. Stanley, the father? Merely those which were absolutely necessary to secure themselves; they inquired for the absent son, but they inquired feebly; had they waited with greater patience he would have appeared, for the story of his disinheritance would never have reached him. Whence did that story proceed from? It is not for me to say; others now present may be able to account for it more readily. No, gentlemen, it is a bitter truth, that the conduct of the executors has been consistent throughout, from the moment they first took possession of the Stanley estate, until their appearance in this court; the conduct of the rival legatee has also been marked by the same consistent spirit of opposition, from the time of his first interview with Mr. Stanley, after he had arrived at years of discretion, and knew the value of the estate he hoped to enjoy; from the moment, I say, when he coolly ordered the unfortunate sailor to be locked up in Mr. Wyllys's smoke-house, until the present instant, when his only hope lies in denying the identity of Mr. Stanley's son." Mr. Clapp dwelt for some time upon this first interview, and the smoke-house; as he had previously hinted to Hazlehurst, he laboured to make that affair "look ugly," to the best of his ability. If the language of the Longbridge lawyer had been respectful throughout the preliminary proceedings, his tune in the court-room changed completely. As he drew towards the close of his speech, he gave full scope to a burst of virtuous indignation against wickedness and hypocrisy in general, and particularly against the conduct of the defendants. He declared himself forced to believe, that both Mr. Wyllys and Hazlehurst had suspected the existence of William Stanley from the first--others might have the charity to believe they had been ignorant of the young man's existence, he only wished he could still believe such to have been the fact--he had believed them honestly ignorant of it, until it was no longer possible for the prejudices of a long-standing friendship and intimacy to blind his eyes, under the flood of light presented by proofs as clear as day--proofs which his respected brother, the senior counsel, and himself, were about to lay before the court. He wished to be understood, however; he never for one moment had included in these suspicions--so painful to every candid, upright mind, but which had recently forced themselves upon him--he repeated, that in them he had never included the respected lady who filled the place of step-mother to his client, whose representative he now saw before him, in the person of a highly distinguished lawyer of the Philadelphia bar; he did not suppose that that venerable matron had ever doubted the death of her husband's son. He knew that excellent lady, had often met her in the social circle; none admired more than he, the virtues for which she was distinguished; he had never supposed it possible, that if aware of the existence of William Stanley, she could have sat down calmly to enjoy his inheritance. Such a case of turpitude might not be without example; but he confessed that in his eyes, it would amount to guilt of so black a dye, that he was unwilling to accuse human nature of such depravity; it went beyond the powers of his, Mr. Clapp's, imagination to comprehend. No, he acquitted Mrs. Stanley of all blame; she had been influenced and guided by the two gentlemen before him. He had himself observed, that during all the preliminary proceedings, the venerable step-mother of his client had shown many symptoms of doubt and hesitation; it was his firm conviction, it was the opinion of his client, of his brother counsel, that if left to her own unbiassed judgment, Mrs. Stanley would immediately have acknowledged her husband's son, and received him as such. He appealed to the defendants themselves if this were not true; he called upon them to deny this assertion if they could--if they dared! Here Mr. Clapp paused a moment, and looked towards Mr. Grant.

do in the business, and picked up knowledge as I went about

The defendants had already spoken together for an instant; Mr. Ellsworth rose: "The answer which the counsel for the plaintiff was so anxious to receive, was reserved for its proper place in the defence. Where so much might be said, he should scarcely be able to confine himself within the bounds necessary at that moment. Let the counsel for the plaintiff rest assured, however, that the answer to that particular question, when given, would prove, like the general answer of the defence, of a nature that the interrogator would, doubtless, little relish."

do in the business, and picked up knowledge as I went about

During Mr. Clapp's abusive remarks, and impudent insinuations against himself and Mr. Wyllys, Hazlehurst, placing one arm on the table before him, leaned a little, forward, and fixed his eye steadily, but searchingly, on the face of the speaker. It proved as Harry had expected; the lawyer looked to the right and left, he faced the judges, the jurors; he glanced at the audience, raised his eyes to the ceiling, or threw them upon his papers, but not once did he meet those of Hazlehurst.

do in the business, and picked up knowledge as I went about

"Gentlemen of the jury; you will observe that the question remains unanswered!" continued Mr. Clapp, with a triumphant air. He then contrived to appeal to his brother counsel to declare his own impressions, and gave Mr. Reed an opportunity of affirming, that he had believed Mrs. Stanley inclined to acknowledge their client; he spoke calmly and impressively, in a manner very different from the hurried, yet whining enunciation, and flourishing gestures of his colleague.

Mr. Clapp now proceeded to prepare the way for the evidence: he gave a general idea of its character, expressing beforehand the firmest conviction of its effect on the court. "I have been engaged in hundreds of suits, gentlemen; I have been a regular attendant in courts of law from early boyhood, and never, in the whole course of my experience, have I met with a case, so peculiar and so important, supported by a body of evidence so clear, so decided, so undeniable as that which we shall immediately lay before you;" and Mr. Clapp sat down, running his fingers through his curls.

The court here adjourned for an hour. The curiosity of the audience seemed thoroughly excited; when the judges reassembled, the room was even more crowded than in the morning.

Before calling up the witnesses, Mr. Reed spoke for five minutes; his dignified manner was a favourable preparation for the testimony in the plaintiff's behalf.

The first fact proved, was the resemblance of the plaintiff to William Stanley; this point was thoroughly investigated, and settled without difficulty in favour of the plaintiff--some half-a-dozen witnesses swearing to the identity, according to the best of their belief. The fact that the defendants themselves had acknowledged the personal resemblance, was also made to appear; and Mr. Reed introduced the identity of handwriting to strengthen the personal identity--several witnesses giving their testimony on the subject. It seemed indeed, clear, from the whole of this part of the evidence, that there was no rational ground to doubt any other difference, either in the personal resemblance or the handwriting, than what might naturally exist in the same man, at the ages of eighteen and thirty-seven.

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