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How Lincoln and Judge B- Swapped Horses.

When Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer in Illinois, he and a certain Judge once got to bantering one another about trading horses; and it was agreed that the next morning at 9 o'clock they should make a trade, the horses to be unseen up to that hour, and no backing out, under a forfeiture of $25.

At the hour appointed the Judge came up, leading the sorriest-looking specimen of a horse ever seen in those parts. In a few minutes Mr. Lincoln was seen approaching with a wooden saw-horse upon his shoulders. Great were the shouts and the laughter of the crowd, and both were greatly increased when Mr. Lincoln, on surveying the Judge's animal, set down his saw-horse, and exclaimed: "Well, Judge, this is the first time I ever got the worst of it in a horse trade."

A Remarkable Law Suit About a Colt-How Lincoln Won the Case-Thirty-Four Men Against Thirty Men and Two Brutes.

The controversy was about a colt, in which thirty-four witnesses swore that they had known the colt from its fall-. ing, and that it was the property of the plaintiff, while thirty swore that they had known the colt from its falling, and that it was the property of the defendant. It may be stated, at starting, that these witnesses were all honest, and that the mistake grew out of the exact resemblances which two colts bore to each other.


One circumstance was proven by all the witnesses, or nearly all of them, viz.: that the two claimants of the colt agreed to meet on a certain day with the two mares which were respectively claimed to be the dams of the colt, and permit the colt to decide which of the two he belonged to. The meeting occurred according to agreement, and, as it was a singular case and excited a good deal of popular interest, there were probably a hundred men assembled on their horses and mares, from far and near.

Now, the colt really belonged to the defendant in the


It had strayed away and fallen into company with the plaintiff's horses. The plaintiff's colt had, at the same time, strayed away, and had not returned, and was not to be found. The moment the two mares were brought upon the ground, the defendant's mare and the colt gave signs of recognition. The colt went to its dam, and would not leave her. They fondled each other; and, although the plaintiff brought his mare between them, and tried in various way to divert the colt's attention, the colt would not be separated from its dam. It then followed her home, a distance of eight or ten miles, and, when within a mile or two of the stables, took a short cut to them in advance of its dam. The plaintiff had sued to recover the colt thus gone back to its owner.

In the presentation of this case to the jury, there were thirty-four witnesses on the side of the plaintiff, while the defendant had, on his side, only thirty witnesses; but he had on his side the colt itself and its dam-thirty-four men against thirty men and two brutes. Here was a case that was to be decided by the preponderance of evidence. All the witnesses were equally positive, and equally credible. Mr. Lincoln was on the side of the defendant, and contended that the voice of nature in the mare and colt ought to outweigh the testimony of a hundred men. The jury

were all farmers, and all illiterate men, and he took great pains to make them understand what was meant by the "preponderance of evidence." He said that in a civil

suit, absolute certainty, or such certainty as would be required to convict a man of crime, was not essential. They must decide the case according to the impression which the evidence had produced upon their minds, and, if they felt puzzled at all, he would give them a test by which they could bring themselves to a just conclusion. "Now," said he, "if you were going to bet on this case, on which side would you be willing to risk a picayune? That side on which you would be willing to bet a picayune, is the side on which rests the preponderance of evidence in your minds. It is possible that you may not be right, but that is not the question. The question is as to where the preponderance of evidence lies, and you can judge exactly where it lies in your minds, by deciding as to which side you would be willing to bet on.”

The jury understood this. There was no mystification about it. They had got hold of a test by which they could render an intelligent verdict. Mr. Lincoln saw into their minds, and knew exactly what they needed; and the moment they received it, he knew that his case was safe, as a quick verdict for the defendant proved it to be. In nothing connected with this case was the ingenuity of Mr. Lincoln more evident, perhaps, than in the insignificance of the sum which he placed in risk by the hypothetical wager. It was not a hundred dollars, or a thousand dollars, or even a dollar, but the smallest silver coin, to show to them that the verdict should go with the preponderance of evidence, even if the preponderance should be only a hair's weight.

Lincoln's Story of a Young Lawyer as He Told it to General Garfield.


General Garfield, of Ohio, received from the President the account of the capture of Norfolk with the following preface: By the way, Garfield," said Mr. Lincoln, "yon never heard, did you, that Chase, Stanton, and I, had a campaign of our own? We went down to Fortress Monroe in Chase's revenue cutter, and consulted with Admiral Goldsborough as to the feasibility of taking Norfolk by landing on the north shore and making a march of eight miles. The Admiral said, very positively, there was no landing on that shore, and we should have to double the cape and approach the place from the south side, which would be a long and difficult journey. I thereupon asked him if he had ever tried to find a landing, and he replied that he had not.

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"Now,' said I, Admiral, that reminds me of a chap out West who had studied law, but had never tried a case. Being sued, and not having confidence in his ability to manage his own case, he employed a fellow-lawyer to man-/ age it for him. He had only a confused idea of the meaning of law terms, but was anxious to make a display of learning, and on the trial constantly made suggestions to his lawyer, who paid no attention to him. At last, fearing that his lawyer was not handling the opposing counsel very well, he lost all patience, and, springing to his feet, cried out: "Why don't you go at him with a capias, or a surrebutter, or something, and not stand there like a confounded old nudum-pactum.?”

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