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HE biographies included in the present volume
have been compiled from the best authorities.
They contain no new facts, and put forward no startling theories; but they have been written from an independent and an impartial standpoint, and the expression of opinions which they contain is at least honest and sincere. As the title indicates, they are devoted to eminent lawyers; but in making the selection, it has been the aim of the writer to deal with men who have been eminent lawyers—and something else. He has sought to show, more or less directly, that conspicuous success in some particular department of human effort does not necessitate failure in all other departments, but that, on the contrary, the broader and deeper a man's general attainments, the more thorough will be his knowledge of the calling to which he has specially devoted himself. It may be true that a versatile man is generally a smatterer; it is not less true that a specialist is usually narrow-minded. He so confines his vision to a particular object, that it becomes incapable of any extended scope or range. Other morals are necessarily taught in these pages; those old, old morals, so valuable that they cannot be too often repeated, which enforce the value of patience and perseverance, of the resolute will, the fixed purpose, the steadfast adherence to principle. Every man's life is. full of lessons for his fellows; much more so the lives of those who have risen out of the mass, and helped to make the history, or literature, or jurisprudence of a nation.
Some objection may be offered to the inclusion of Edmund Burke among eminent lawyers; but he was certainly “ learned in the law," and his knowledge of the higher principles of the law helped him largely in his public career.
Primarily this work is intended for the young, and every page, it is believed, bristles with examples and encouragements or warnings, which, if duly heeded, will assist them not a little in the battle of life. But the author hopes that older people will derive some interest from its very unpretending but faithful sketches of men who ever played an important part in our national life, and whose names are for ever associated with much valuable and enduring work.
W. H, D. A.