[1838 Letter of Boston Lawyer Charles G. Loring to Connecticut Shipowner Charles P. Williams concerning a Legal Case to be argued before Circuit Justice and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story].
Joseph Story and “...very great & important questions”
1838 letter from Boston lawyer Charles G. Loring (1794–1867) to his client, Stonington, Connecticut shipowner and businessman Charles P. Williams concerning the legal matter of Charles P. Williams v. The Suffolk Insurance Company being heard by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Joseph Story. Williams’ schooner Harriet (or a schooner named Breakwater) was captured in 1831 and condemned for sealing on the Falkland Islands.
Charles G. Loring expected the case to be quickly decided by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Joseph Story, then acting in his capacity as Circuit Justice for the U.S. First Circuit Court in Boston. Justice Joseph Story, however, who was also then teaching law at Harvard University, thought the case had some greater significance to the law:
We completed our briefs & handed the papers with them to Judge Story, expecting to be heard on the following Saturday: but he then announced to us that upon looking at the case he found it to involve very great & important questions, which he wished to hear argued at the bar and which would require much time afterwords for his examination. That it would be utterly impossible for him to bestow sufficient time to them before his return from Washington [D.C.]: & that if the argument were had now it would not speed the decision, nor be so useful as it had when he could take up the case for investigation. That he expected to return in about 6 weeks and would hold the court to hear & decide the case & he ordered it to stand & adjourned the Court to a day in March I think to hear the argument.
Charles Greely Loring graduated from Harvard College in 1812, then studied at Litchfield Law School in Connecticut, and was admitted to the bar in 1815. He worked briefly in the offices of Massachusetts Supreme Court Judge Charles Jackson in Boston before setting up his own practice. He was prominent Boston lawyer, a fellow of Harvard College from 1838 to 1857, and, in 1862, was elected as a Massachusetts State Senator. Loring’s correspondent, Charles Phelps Williams (1804–1879) was a shipowner and businessman in Stonington, Connecticut, who, around the time of this letter, was involved in sealing and whaling ventures.
Joseph Story’s opinion of Williams’s case is given in the May Term, 1838. See pp270–279 of Reports of cases argued and determined in the Circuit ... Sumner’s Reports, v. 3 (1837-1839). United States (Boston, 1851).
Description: [1838 Letter of Boston Lawyer Charles G. Loring to Connecticut Shipowner Charles P. Williams concerning a Legal Case to be argued before Circuit Justice and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story].
Boston [Massachusetts], J[an]u[a]ry 9, 1838. pp. Autograph Letter Signed. 9½ x 7¾ inches. Bifolium with integral address leaf and remnant of red wax seal; postal cancelation stamped in red; pale blue wove paper with countermark of “J. Green & Son 1836.” Folds; very good.