American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Samuel Warren, The Experiences of a Barrister, and Confessions of an Attorney, New York: Cornish, Lamport, 1852.
Circumstantial Evidence
by Samuel Warren

  out, and mine substituted. The fee also–a much less agreeable alteration—had been, I saw, considerably reduced; in accordance, doubtless, with the attorney's appreciation of the difference of value between a silk and a stuff gown.

“You are not, sir, I believe, retained for the prosecution in the crown against Everett?” said Mr. Sharpe in his brief, business manner.

“I am not, Mr. Sharpe.”

“In that case, I beg to tender you the leading brief for the defence. It was intended, as you perceive, to place it in the hands of our great nisi prius leader, but he will be so completely occupied in that court, that he has been compelled to decline it. He mentioned you; and from what I have myself seen of you in several cases, I have no doubt my unfortunate client will have ample justice done him. Mr. Kingston will be with you.”

I thanked Mr. Sharpe for his compliment, . . .


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    In the second year of my connection with the Northern Circuit, when even junior briefs were much less numerous than acceptable, I was agreeably surprised, as I sat musing on the evening of my arrival in the ancient city of York upon the capricious mode in which those powerful personages the attorneys distributed their valuable favors, by the entrance of one of the most eminent of the race practising in that part of the country, and the forthwith tender of a bulky brief in the Crown Court, on which, as my glance instinctively fell on the interesting figures, I perceived that the large fee, in criminal cases, of fifty guineas was marked. The local newspapers, from which I had occasionally seen extracts, had been for some time busy with the case; and I knew it therefore to be, relatively to the condition in life of the principal person implicated, an important one. Rumor had assigned the conduct of the defence to an eminent leader on the circuit—since, one of our ablest judges; and on looking more closely at the brief, I perceived that that gentleman's name had been crossed    




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