As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 13, appendix page 6
BORN at Attleborough, in the county of Bristol, commonwealth of Mass. December 31st, 1764; educated at Yale-College, and graduated there in 1783; read law with Charles Chauncey, Esq. Of New Haven, (afterwards a Judge of the superior court,) from Nov. 1783, until Jan. 1786, when he was admitted to the bar, in New Haven county. In April, 1786, he was chosen a Tutor in Yale College, which office he declined, and settled in the practice of law in New-Haven. He represented the town of New-Haven in the General Assembly, at each successive session from October 1791 until 1797. In May 1794, he was chosen Speaker of the House of Representatives, and continued Speaker until May 1797, when he was chosen a member of the Council or Upper House; resigned his seat in that House, in 1804. In May and October 1805, he was a member of the House of Representatives. In 1809, he was again elected a member of the Upper House, which place he continued to hold until May 1813, when he was appointed a Senator in the Congress of the United States, for six years from the 4th of March preceding. In June 1811, he was appointed State's Attorney for the county of New Haven, and resigned the office in 1813, on being appointed Senator. In Nov. 1824, he became an associate instructor in the law school at New-Haven, with his present coadjutor, Judge Hitchcock; and in 1826, he was appointed Kent Professor of law in Yale-College; both of which places he now occupies. In May 1826, he was appointed an Associate Judge of the supreme court; and in May 1832, was made Chief Justice, and continued in that station until Dec. 31st, 1834, when he was constitutionally disqualified by age. In 1828 and 1829, he was Mayor of the city of New-Haven. In 1826, he received from the corporation of Yale-College the honorary degree of LL.D.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 20, pages 7 - 20
The following "sketch of the life and character of the Hon. DAVID DAGGETT," whose arguments as counsel and opinions as a judge, occupy so many pages of this series of reports, is taken, with permission, from the Address of the Rev. Samuel W. S. Dutton, pronounced at the funeral of that distinguished man; and as his long and useful life has closed almost simultaneously with the termination of the present series, this seems to be an appropriate place for such a piece of biography. It may be added, that one who practised, many years, with him at the bar, and was afterwards associated with him on the bench of the supreme court, considers this sketch as strikingly faithful and characteristic of the subject.
DAVID DAGGETT was born in Attleborough, in the county of Bristol, in the commonwealth of Massachusetts, on the 31st of December, 1764; and, of course, at the day of his decease, April 12th, 1851, had passed through three months and twelve days of his eighty-seventh year. He was of that stock, which we have so much reason to honour and reverence, the Puritan stock of the New-England Pilgrims; being the fifth in the direct line of descent from John Daggett, who came over from England with Winthrop's company, in 1630, and settled in Watertown, in the Colony of Massachusetts. His son, Thomas Daggett, Esq., resided in Edgartown, on Martha's Vineyard. He removed thither, it is supposed, with the first Governor Mayhew, when he settled that island, in 1644. He married Hannah, the oldest daughter of Governor Mayhew, was a magistrate of the island, and died about the year 1690. His son, Deacon John Daggett, the second in the line from the original settler, removed, with four sons, about the year 1707, from Martha's Vineyard to Attleborough, Bristol county, Massachusetts, where he built, for protection against the Indians, what was called a "garrison house," in which he lived. It is quite remarkable, that of the four sons of this Deacon John Daggett, three have, for many generations, been represented by their descendants in New Haven; viz., Mayhew Daggett, the grandfather of the late Henry Daggett, Esq., whose residence was on the corner of Chapel and High streets;Ebenezer Daggett, the father of Rev. Dr. Daggett, Professor of Divinity, and President in Yale-College, and grandfather of the late Captain Henry Daggett, whose residence was in George street; and Thomas Daggett, the grandfather of David Daggett, whose death we now mourn. The fourth son, Naphthali Daggett, met an untimely death, by the falling of a tree in Attleborough. The fourth in this line of descent, also named Thomas Daggett, the father of our lamented friend, was a man of vigorous intellect, strong common sense, and decided and earnest religious character. I have often heard our venerable friend speak of his father's strong sympathy with the friends of the "Great Awakening," which occurred in the earlier part of his manhood, under the preaching of Whitefield, Edwards, Bellamy and the Tennents. In the controversy, which, in subsequent years, grew out of that Awakening, he was earnest on the side of its friends; so much so, that he had a partiality for the "Separates" of that day, though he never united himself with them. He was a Baptist in sentiment; and his influence as such had a modifying, though not a decisive, effect on the opinions of his son through life. Under the nurture and admonition of such a father, the son received thorough and judicious religious instruction, commended by a corresponding example; and was well trained in the principles of virtue and piety.
At the age of sixteen, he came to Yale-College, and entered the Junior Class, two years in advance; induced to choose this, rather than the nearer College at Cambridge, probably by the fact that Rev. Dr. Daggett, the first cousin of his father, who deceased the year before, had been an officer in Yale. He graduated in due course, and with high honour, in the year 1783, in the same class with Samuel Austin, Abiel Holmes and John Cotton Smith. Of this class, numbering forty-two at the time of graduation, he was the last survivor but one.* His college life, it will be observed, was during the latter part of the stormy and trying period of the American Revolution. His class entered during the year in which the British troops, under General Tryon, invaded New-Haven; and graduated in the very month in which the treaty of peace with Great-Britain was signed. When he took his second, or Master's degree, he spoke an oration of such marked excellence, that it received the honour, quite unusual in that day, of publication. Having a strong preference for the profession of the law, he commenced, soon after leaving College, the study preparatory to that profession, with Charles Chauncey, Esq., of New-Haven, afterwards a Judge of the Superior Court; and continued therein till January, 1786, a little more than two years; when he was admitted to the bar of New-Haven County, at the age of twenty-one, and immediately entered upon practice in this town. While pursuing his legal studies under Judge Chauncey, he supported himself, by performing the duties of Butler in College, and of Preceptor in the Hopkins Grammar School. A few months after he was admitted to the bar, he was chosen to the office of Tutor in Yale-College; which he declined, being eager to pursue the practice of the profession which he had chosen.
Mr. Daggett was early called into political service. In 1791, he was chosen to represent the town of New-Haven in the General Assembly; and was annually reelected for six years, till 1797, when he was chosen a member of the Council or Upper House. Though one of the youngest members of the House of Representatives, he soon became one of the most influential; and in 1794, three years after he entered the House, he was chosen to preside over it as its Speaker, at the early age of twenty-nine. To this office he was elected, year after year, till he was chosen to the Council or Upper House. This body was then constituted in a manner very different from that in which our present Senate or upper House are chosen. At the election in the autumn, twenty persons were chosen, not from particular districts, but from wherever in the whole state the ablest men could he found; and out of these twenty, twelve were chosen at the election in the spring - the twelve who had the highest number of votes - to constitute the Senate. The members of that body, thus chosen, were rarely changed. They were usually reelected, until they forfeited public confidence by malconduct, or were promoted to some higher office, or voluntarily resigned. It was thus an unusually permanent body, for an elective one, and embraced much of the political wisdom, ability and experience of the state. To this body, Mr. Daggett was transferred from the chair of the House of Representatives, in 1797; and he retained his seat there, for seven years, until he resigned it in 1804. In 1805, he was again a member of the House of Representatives. In 1809, he was again chosen a member of the Upper House of the General Assembly; and he continued to hold a place in that body, for four years, till May, 1813, when he was chosen a Senator in the Congress of the United States, for six years from the preceding fourth of March. In June, 1811, he was appointed State's Attorney for the county of New-Haven, and continued in that office, till he resigned it when chosen Senator in 1813. At the close of his Senatorial term, in 1819, he returned to his extensive practice of law, which conduced much more to his private interest than had the public service of the state, in which he had been engaged as her representative in the Senate of the United States. In November, 1824, he became an associate instructor of the Law School in this city with the late Judge Hitchcock; and in 1826, he was appointed Kent Professor of Law in Yale-College. In these positions he continued, until at a very advanced age, his infirmities induced him to resign them. In the autumn of 1826, he received from the corporation of Yale-Collegethe honourary degree of LL. D. In May, 1826, when he was sixty-two years of age, he was chosen an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of this State. To this office he was appointed by a Legislature, in which a decided majority were opposed to him in political principles and preferences. This fact is worthy of remark, on account of its strong testimony to his preeminent fitness, at that time, for that high office; and also on account of the honourable testimony which it gives respecting his political opponents - whom he never courted, and in political conflict never spared - that in the election to an office so responsible, so remote from political interests and strifes, as that of a judge of our Supreme Court, they were willing to lay aside partisan partialities, and to be controuled by a regard to superior intellectual, legal and moral qualifications. During the years 1828 and 1829, he was Mayor of the city of New-Haven. In May, 1832, he was made Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Here, again, was singular testimony to his preeminent judicial qualifications; for, contrary to the usual custom, he was appointed to that chief place, notwithstanding the fact that he was not the senior in office among the judges on the bench. Judge Daggett continued to perform the duties of that station until December 31st, 1834; when he reached seventy years of age - the limit which our state constitution assigns to the judicial office.
Thus for forty five years, from the beginning of his twenty-sixth to the close of his seventieth year, Mr. Daggett was almost continually engaged in public service, as member and Speaker of the House of Representatives of this state, member of its Council, Senator in the Congress of the United States, and Associate and Chief Judge of our Supreme Court.
The eminence of Judge Daggett, in his profession, and among the public men of the State, is sufficiently attested, by the preceding account of the many positions of high responsibility and trust, in which he was placed, by the guardians of Yale-College, and by the people of this town, and this commonwealth; especially when we remember that the political party to which he belonged, which was dominant in the State till he was past middle life, and gave him the most of his honours, embraced, confessedly, many of the most powerful and brilliant minds of the State; and if we remember also, that some of the highest of these trusts were devolved upon him, when his political opponents had come into power, and his own party had passed into a minority.
Mr. Daggett was admitted to the bar, and entered into public life, two years before the adoption of the Federal Constitution. Of the political parties which grew out of the adoption of that Constitution, he united, as did the great body of the people of New-England, at that time, with that which was called Federal. Of this party, though he was not a mere partisan, but a true statesman, he was a firm, consistent, and thorough supporter. In the Legislature of the State, and as Senator of the United States, he was a sagacious and powerful advocate of its general principles and policy. Among its many strong men in this State, it had none stronger than he. For many years, no man in the State had so much political influence, an influence amounting so nearly to a political controul of the State, as he. And since the defeat and prostration of that party and the formation of new parties upon new issues, he, certainly, has never been ashamed, or reluctant, to have it known that he belonged to the same school of politics with Washington and Hamilton, Jay and Pickering, Adams and Ames, Ellsworth and Sherman.
If we inquire for the qualities which render Judge Daggett so able and eminent in forensic and political life, that which was, perhaps, most remarkable, was his perspicacity - his faculty of quick and thorough insight - of looking through, speedily and completely, men, measures and cases, and learning what was in them. This faculty was of great service to him in society, in political life, and in court, whether at the bar or on the bench. His knowledge of men seemed almost intuition. He looked through them at a glance, and read their characters, motives and tendencies. He knew at once his jury, the witnesses, and the opposing counsel, and understood, of course, how to deal with them. If a witness knew the truth, but was reluctant to unfold or desirous to conceal that knowledge, he perceived the fact, and well understood how to bring out his testimony. If a witness was dishonest, he saw it, and knew just where his fraud lay, and how to detect and expose it. His causes he comprehended thoroughly, and saw them in their just proportions; knowing accurately their strong, their weak, and their unimportant points - those which demanded notice and stress, those which would not bear it, and those which would occupy time to no purpose, except weariness of judge and jury.
United with this faculty, was well-balanced judgment and strong common sense. In his own intellectual efforts, he directed his force, as by a kind of instinct, to that which was useful and practicable. He was as far as possible from learned folly, intellectual quixotism, or the expenditure of acuteness to no good purpose. He could split hairs, if it was necessary: for he was acute in discrimination and profound in analysis; but he never would split hairs for nothing, or for the sake of the performance. As a lawyer and a judge, he would not be under bondage to nice quibbles or legal technicalities, but took a plain and common sense course to that which was the real intent of the law; and he preferred to lean to the side of equity and sound judgment, rather than to the side of legal formality. And, in judging of the intellectual efforts of others, he always liked those middle ground and common ground arguments, which carry the convictions of the great body of intelligent people, rather than those extreme and doubtful, though ingenious arguments, which commend themselves only to the few. And this faculty of mind, in connection with his quick and thorough perception, enabled him in arguing causes in court, to apply testimony so as to make the strongest impression of the merits of his case upon the judge, and especially upon the jury.
He had also an exquisite and quick sense of propriety or fitness. He knew how to do and say the right thing in the right time and place. He used often to remark that he admired what the Greeks call τό πρεπον: and surely, few ever understood it, or exemplified it, better than he. This quality rendered him very agreeable to others, and was of great service to him in his public life, especially at the bar. It gave him great tact. He knew just what suited what, and how to bring them together so as to produce the right result. He never did anything which was mal apropos. He never stepped on the wrong spot. He never touched the wrong spring or key. He rarely blundered in word or deed.
He abounded also in wit or humour, and had an inexhaustible fund of anecdotes, always at command, which he used to illustrate his positions and arguments, with great pertinence and felicity. He had a keen sense of the ludicrous, and remarkable power of pantomime - of imitating voice, look and manner - which he employed very effectively, when he related anecdotes, or when he wished to make his adversary appear ridiculous. He had the rare and very effective rhetorical power of passing suddenly from the humourous and ludicrous, to the solemn, vehement and impressive, and of changing the laughter of his hearers into stern conviction, or indignation, or tears.
His memory was accurate and retentive; and it had the excellent quality of retaining what was pertinent, and of letting the rest go. He took very few notes during a trial; yet everything in the case was at his command, when it was needed for use, and the right illustrations were ever ready at the right points.
He had great energy of feeling, which, kindling up as he proceeded with his cause, gave impressiveness to his words, and set his argument on fire. Through this feeling, he became warmly enlisted in the causes which he espoused, and had a singular power of identifying himself with his client.
His power of concentration also was distinguished. He was almost uniformly brief in his arguments, rarely occupying more than an hour; yet they embraced in their dense and compact but luminous volume, all that was essential, or really useful, for his purpose.
All who have heard him, agree in testifying, that his most marked peculiarity in the management of his causes, was, that he saw, and distinguished clearly, the minor and the strong points, and passing entirely or rapidly over the former, seized upon the latter with force and thorough comprehension, set them forth in all their strength, and pressed them with great earnestness and power upon the court and jury. His language, remarkable for its perspicuity, energy and impressiveness, and abounding in the strong Saxon words which are the common inheritance of all who speak the English tongue, enabled him to present vividly before others the truth, which he saw so clearly himself.
His knowledge of law was thorough and. eminently practical. He had it at command, when it was needed. His arguments, addressed to the court, were profound and luminous; and he applied to his cases the principles of law, as well as the testimony of witnesses, with great sagacity. He relied more, however, on the resources of his own mind, upon his clear and quick perceptions of the nature and relations of things, on his profound thought, and strong common sense, than upon the erudition of books; though he had a good professional library, which he used to great advantage.
His manner of speaking was calm and deliberate, when he began; but as he proceeded with his case or subject, his feelings kindled, his language glowed, his eye, tones and person spoke in unison with his words, and often, in his peroration, he overwhelmed his adversary as by a resistless torrent.
The features of Judge Daggett's intellectual character which have been mentioned, his quick and thorough insight, his well balanced judgment and strong common sense, his quick and ready perception of fitness, his wit and humour, his power of varied and felicitous illustration, his ready memory, his energy of feeling, his concentration, his clear and nervous language, his practical knowledge of law - these, joined to his qualities of person and manner - his tall and commanding form, always dressed carefully, richly, and in perfect taste, rising and dilating as he warmed with his subject, his large and piercing eye, his expressive brow, his strong-featured Roman face, his powerful voice ranging through the whole scale, from a subdued yet distinct whisper, till it sounded like a trumpet-call, his utterance varying from solemn deliberation to the vehemence of the torrent - these qualities of mind, person and manner, made him an advocate, who, in his best days, had, on the whole, no superior, if he had an equal, at the bar of Connecticut.
There are other qualities of Judge Daggett's character as a public man, which should not be omitted in this sketch.
His punctuality was most extraordinary. The pointers of the town clock, the sun itself, hardly surpassed him in this respect. His integrity was thorough, stern and exact; and secured entire confidence. He manifested particular kindness to those who were beginning life, especially in his own profession; sympathizing with them in their difficulties and anxieties, because he remembered his own. He had a just idea of the nature, and a thorough appreciation of the rules, of civility and courtesy at the bar; and observed them scrupulously in his own conduct. He was fair in his treatment of witnesses; regarding their feelings; never harsh and overbearing towards them, unless indeed they deserved severity, when he knew well how to use it; never resorting to the unscrupulous method of making an honest opposing witness appear ridiculous, or confused and perplexed, in order to impair the just force of his testimony.
He was very familiar with the Bible, which he had known "from a child," and had studied in his manhood more than any other book. The power of its self-commending truths and of its strong and popular language over the minds of men he appreciated highly. Its expressions were stored in his memory in great abundance and with singular accuracy; and he was accustomed to introduce them, when a Judge, into his charges, and especially into his addresses to the convicted, and when an advocate, into his arguments and appeals, with great pertinence and felicity, solemnity and power.
A few words respecting Judge Daggett, as he appeared in social life.
He was a true and accomplished gentleman. He was, in a very extraordinary degree, polished in his manners, gracefully and scrupulously observant of all civilities. His courtesy was remarkable. He was disposed, and his almost instinctive sense of propriety and his graceful and easy manners and language enabled him, to please all whom he met: and this made him a model of courtesy. In the performance of social civilities and duties, to relatives, neighbours, and friends, he was an example, such as is rarely, if ever, found in these days. His courtesy, his varied knowledge of men and things, his lively feelings accommodated readily to the old and the young, his cheerfulness, his wit and humour, his fund of anecdote, and his reminiscences of the past, made him the life of every social circle into which he entered.
The domestic life of Mr. Daggett was commenced early. At the age of twenty-one, soon after he commenced the practice of law in New-Haven, he was united in marriage to Wealthy-Ann, daughter of Dr. AEneas Munson; with whom he lived, in confiding attachment, and with almost reverential regard for her strong and marked intellectual and religious character, for fifty-three years, till death removed her from him for a time, in July, 1839, at the age of seventy-two. Judge Daggett's home, although filled with comforts and joys, was darkened by the sorrows of many bereavements. He had nineteen children, the offspring of his first marriage, and of the fourteen who lived any considerable time, only three survive him; and these, by the favour of Providence, have had the mournful privilege of smoothing his pillow in his last sickness, and to-day follow him to his last earthly house in the grave. So many children, with their mother, the beloved wife of his youth, he has followed, in the path of grief, to the tomb. Such was the strength of his parental feelings, that these bereavements took deep hold of him. With one of them he was completely overwhelmed - a bereavement, by the death of a son, in his nineteenth year, of unusual loveliness and promise, who bore his father's name, and had devoted himself in purpose and heart to the ministry of Christ. This was a sorrow from which he never entirely recovered; though the blow fell upon his heart forty-one years since. It is not long ago that he said to a friend: "There has not been a day in all these years, in which I have not thought of that beloved son." Thus it is, that they who die in their early promise, are embalmed in the memory, and prolong, as it were, their earthly life, by living in the hearts of surviving friends.
In May, 1840, Judge Daggett was married, a second time, to Mary, daughter of Major Lines, who, by her devoted affection and kindness, her cheerful society, and her anticipation of his every want, has been the joy and solace of his declining years; while she has made his home a pleasant resort, not only for his children and his children's children, but for all his friends.
Let us turn now, in conclusion, to view the religious life and character of our friend. Oh, that is the point to which, in this solemn hour, we look with paramount interest. His earthly honours would, in this hour, be poor consolation to us, did we not trust that he is an inheritor of the honour, pure, unfading and eternal, which comes from God. It would be mournful, indeed, to dwell upon his public services, did we not believe that he was a servant of Christ, and has heard from him the benediction, "Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
Reference has already been made to the thorough religious training which Mr. Daggett received in his childhood and youth. This "nurture and admonition of the Lord," under the parental roof, and the memories and records of his pious ancestry, had a strong influence upon him. He commenced his active life with great respect for religion and its ordinances. He began at once to be a liberal supporter of its institutions, as he was through life, and a regular and attentive hearer of the gospel in the Sanctuary; uniting himself with this ecclesiastical society, [i.e. that connected with the North Church,] of which Rev. Dr. Jonathan Edwards was then pastor. He always took a great pleasure in hearing the doctrines and precepts of God's Word thoroughly and discriminately presented and applied; though for many years he did not cordially and savingly regard them. Indeed, he was quite an enthusiast with regard to preaching, and received great intellectual satisfaction in hearing, whenever he had an opportunity, the ablest ministers of his time; and they had no better judges of their discourses than he.
The various and severe discipline of bereavement with which it pleased God to visit Mr. Daggett, had the effect to bring him near to the kingdom of Christ, especially the death of his son David, which has been mentioned, and the death of a beloved daughter, his youngest child. Soon after the death of the latter, which was in 1815, he felt constrained to commence family worship, which he continued from that time through life. Another influence, which had great and continued effect upon him, ought to be mentioned. His wife was a woman of decided piety, eminent in faith and prayer. She was in the habit, not only of praying herself for him at all times, but also of making appointment with those of her children who were Christians, at specified hours in the day, to plead in concert at the throne of grace for the conversion of the husband and the father. She always cherished strong confidence that he would be brought into the fold of Christ; and she was not disappointed.
It was not, however, till the year 1832, that Judge Daggett, in his own view and that of his friends, began a really religious life. In April of that year, during one of those "times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord," of which the Holy Scriptures speak, and which the church, in her glad experience, has so often realized, there were in this city continuous religious services for a few days. The power of the Holy Ghost was upon the community; and Judge Daggett, and many others among our elder men of distinction, were seriously moved. On one afternoon, when there was to be religious service in the evening, his wife and children observed that he walked his hall for hours, evidently in deep thought and mental conflict. In the evening, after an earnest and thorough presentation of the gospel, those who were disposed to take a position expressive of their desire to become the friends and servants of Christ, were invited to remain in their seats, while the other portion of the audience should retire. Judge Daggett remained. After a few words of explanation, direction and exhortation from a minister of Christ, those who were resolved, by the divine help, to serve and love and trust the Saviour of sinners, were invited to rise. Judge Daggett rose. And the decision, which he then, in that signal manner, expressed, he adhered to and cherished through life.
That was a period of rich grace and abounding joy in the house of our friend: for not only he, but his youngest son, then in the profession of the law, consecrated himself to Christ; and the father has often, in subsequent years, had the pleasure of listening to the gospel from the lips of that son.
Four months after the event just related, Judge Daggett, at the age of sixty eight, stood up in this aisle, near where his body now lies, and publicly expressed his repentance towards God and his faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ; avowing the ever-living and true God to be his God, and covenanting, by the help of divine grace, to give himself up through life to the Lord Jesus Christ, to be taught and governed by him, and to walk with this church in the divine ordinances.
Since that period he has acted, in the various relations of life, according to this good confession. He has been an interested and edified attendant on the services of the Sanctuary, and of the weekly meeting of the church for prayer and conference, until prevented by the increasing infirmities of age. In social religious services, he did not, (as many desired, and as indeed was very desirable,) take an active or leading part. But he felt a reluctance to take the attitude of instruction and exhortation in matters of spiritual experience, and thought, doubtless sincerely, however incorrectly, that he could be edified by others more than he could edify them.
Judge Daggett never spoke freely of his private feelings on any subject, and especially on the sacred subject of religion. Yet there were those, who, he thought, had a right to know his religious feelings; and to them he would speak willingly and freely. A little more than a year since, he had a full and unreserved conversation respecting his religious condition, hopes, and prospects, with one in whom he confided. He commenced his answer to an inquiry made on that point, by adopting as his own, the remark of a distinguished Christian minister: "I feel that it is a very solemn thing for a sinful man to go into the presence of a holy God." But he added, that he approved and loved the way of salvation by the atonement of Christ; that he daily committed his soul in love, loyalty and confidence to the Saviour of sinners; and believed that he was accepted now, and should be accepted hereafter, of him: though he was not able to sympathize as fully as he desired with the strong expressions of assurance, in which it seemed the privilege of some to indulge.
During the last years and months of his life, Judge Daggett has turned his attention with more and more of exclusiveness to religious subjects; and the reading which he has chosen to hear, has been almost wholly of that character.
Having a constitution singularly tenacious of life, Judge Daggett has had more than the usual dread of death. But in his case, as with God's people usually, the truth of "grace according to the day," was illustrated. He met death without fear or anxiety. It was quite evident to him, that this was his last illness; yet he felt no concern. And when one inquired respecting the state of his mind, he referred immediately to his conversation with the person who made the inquiry, more than a year previous, as expressing fully his present. feelings. Thus leaving himself quietly in the hands of his Saviour, he breathed his life away; and has gone, we may believe, into the rest and joy of his Lord.
*Rev. Payson Williston, Father of Hon. Samuel Williston, of Easthampton, Massachusetts.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 6, page iii
Appointed [Judge of the Supreme Court of Errors] May, 1826.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 9, page iii
Appointed in May, 1832, to be Chief Justice from and after January 10th, 1833.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 10, page iii
Went out of office, by the constitutional limitation, December 30th, 1834.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 135, pages 725 - 727
As a great grandson of Chief Justice David Daggett (1764-1851), Leonard Mayhew Daggett had a assured position in the legal hegemony of Connecticut. He was born in New Haven on November 23, 1863, the son of Dr. David L. Daggett, a son of Leonard A. Daggett, one of three surviving children of the nineteen born to the stanch federalist who with James Hillhouse and Timothy Dwight the Elder were indomitable foes of Jeffersonian republicanism in Connecticut.
Mr. Daggett prepared for college at the Hopkins Grammar School in New Haven, where he taught for a year after graduation from college. He was graduated from Yale in the class of 1884 and served the class as its secretary from shortly after graduation until his death.** He received the LL.B. degree from the Yale Law School in 1887, summa cum laude. He had clerked in the office of Watrous and Townsend during his law school days and spent a year after his admission to the bar in 1887 with them. In 1888 he started practice alone and continued until he became associated with Henry C. White, a very distinguished lawyer who died in 1913. John Q. Tilson was taken into partnership and the firm practiced under the name of White, Daggett and Tilson until Col. Tilson retired in 1908 to enter Congress. James Kingsley Blake, until his death in 1910, was a partner. After Mr. Blake's death, Thomas Hooker, Jr., became a member of the firm, which was known as White, Daggett and Hooker. This firm united in 1913 with the firm of Bristol, Stoddard, Beach and Fisher of New Haven under the new name of Bristol and White. This firm continued until it was dissolved in 1934. During its existence it included the following partners: Henry Stoddard, John W. Bristol, Leonard M. Daggett, Samuel H. Fisher, Thomas Hooker, Jr., Frederick H. Wiggin, Henry E. Rockwell, David L. Daggett, a nephew of Leonard M. Daggett who has been associated with him since 1913, J. Dwight Dana and Edmond M. Bartholow. Another nephew, Stanley Daggett, became associated with the firm in 1921. In 1934, Leonard M. Daggett, Thomas Hooker, Jr., and his two nephews, David L. Daggett, and Stanley Daggett, formed the firm of Daggett and Hooker. Thomas Hooker, Jr., died in 1936. I. Gordon Colby, Jr., later became a partner of this firm, and still later, Richard Hooker, Jr., was admitted to partnership. All of them now constitute the present firm of Daggett, Colby and Hooker.
Mr. Daggett held many distinguished positions. In 1890 he was a member of the common council of New Haven and from 1900 to 1906 its corporation counsel. In 1910 he was offered a judgeship in the Superior Court but declined the appointment. From 1894 to 1896 he was a judge advocate on Governor Coffin's staff. In 1915 he was appointed one of the trustees to hold the stock of the Connecticut Company when that company was directed to be divorced from the New Haven Railroad, and he remained on its board of directors until 1939. He was a director of the National New Haven Bank until its merger with the County Bank and from 1915 was a director of the Second National Bank until his resignation in 1947. He was also a corporator, trustee and vice president of the New Haven Savings Bank. During the first world war he was a chairman of his district draft board and during the second world war a government appeal agent. For many years he was a member of the proprietors committee, that ancient, self-perpetuating body in whom is vested title to all lands of ancient New Haven that have not been disposed of, consisting today principally of the New Haven green. He was long a director of the New Haven Colony Historical Society and a member and organizer of the Graduate, Lawn and New Haven Country Clubs. From 1894-1910 he was instructor on wills in the Yale Law School, and he wrote a historical account of the courts and judges of Connecticut for the "Green Bag"; he took an active part in the charter revision in New Haven and in the activities of the American Law Institute, whose annual meetings he frequently attended.
Mr. Daggett married Miss Eleanor Evelyn Cutler (Smith '92) on February 17, 1906. Mrs. Daggett died on June 8, 1947.
One cannot but believe that some of the sterling characteristics of the old chief justice, either consciously or unconsciously, had an important influence in forming Mr. Daggett's professional life. The meticulous care with which the best of the older practitioners prepared their cases he avowedly adhered to and relied on more than on any fortuitous circumstances or happy inspiration that might arise during a trial. In this way he inspired confidence in client and court alike and could present his case with an integrity that carried conviction. And like them too, where a principle was involved, no pains were too great to take, however insignificant might be the amount involved. He dedicated himself fully and completely to his client's interests, which in one case alone required three trials in the Superior Court, three appeals to the Supreme Court of Errors and one to the United States Supreme Court, but resulted in a victory.
His practice covered a wide range of subjects, but questions connected with the interpretation of wills and the settlement of estates gradually became his chief interest - and in a later day the complicated questions of taxation connected with them. His sixteen years as instructor on wills in Law School, together with his mutual fondness for delving into complicated and intricate facts, made this a particularly congenial field of activity and made him a valued associate to anyone involved in this form of litigation. His ability to look completely through men and measures and unearth the motives behind the acts and his refusal to be easily sidetracked by appearances, however plausible, were unusual and won success where defeat had been predicted.
It would have been surprising if, with the chief justice as an inspiring ancestor, he had not treated reverently the traditions and long-tried practices of law. He lived through a generation that saw great changes in its concepts. He saw the creeping in of a pragmatism unknown to a former generation. He saw an extension of governmental control and bureaucracy that would have been anathema to his great grandfather. He saw the bar change from a small, close-knit fellowship of dedicated practitioners to a large, loosely integrated body, whose activities were less engaged in the enrichment of its learning than in meeting the practical problems created by the increased tempo of the times, and while he felt that it was losing something of its glory and prestige, he accepted the inevitable with the wisdom of a philosopher.
He would also not have been the product of a long line of New England forebears if he had not inherited something of their reserve and reticence. He did not wear his "heart upon his sleeve," but that it was a kindly, generous and affectionate one those who associated with him quickly learned. A courtesy and a breeding that a rich, cultural background made innate established him, in the opinion of the members of the New Haven bar of the writer's generation, as an elder statesman whose integrity and fearless independence of judgment could be relied upon, whose honesty was unimpeachable and whose counsel could be accepted with confidence. He was almost the last of a dignified line of lawyers who felt the responsibility of their profession to the commonwealth and to their fellow men.
*Prepared by Henry H. Townshend, of the New Haven bar.
**Mr. Daggett died March 3, 1949.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 146, pages 743 - 746
Edward James Daly was born in Hartford on March 29, 1892, the son of the late James R. and Catherine Deegan Daly. He attended the old South School and was graduated from Hartford Public High School in 1910. He was an active, vigorous boy, maintained a paper route and did other work which, with his schooling, fully occupied his time. He enjoyed sports, particularly baseball, in which he displayed remarkable ability in fielding fly balls, often turning what looked like a home run into a sudden out. He loved sports throughout his life, but while he was in college he had to withdraw from active participation because of defective eyesight. He was graduated from Cornell University in 1914 with the degree of LL.B., having completed his academic and law studies in four years. He remained a loyal Cornell alumnus until his death and often returned to the campus to greet the friends of his college days.
Judge Daly was admitted to the Connecticut bar in January, 1915, and became associated with John F. Forward, at that time one of the leaders of the Hartford bar. This association became Forward and Daly, a partnership, in 1922. When the United States entered World War I in 1917, Judge Daly enlisted in the aviation section of the signal corps of the United States Army, the beginning of what subsequently became the United States Air Force. After training, he was assigned as squadron adjutant and commissioned a lieutenant. He flew in the flimsy, undependable aircraft of those days. In 1919 he resumed the practice of law and soon became a successful practitioner. He showed a marked ability for clearing away the legal chaff of a problem and getting down to the real grain of the matter, a characteristic which continued throughout his legal career. He was forthright and vigorous, a formidable opponent. His practice was general, and he was active and worked hard. He was a good, sound, all-around lawyer and he took his profession seriously. When the late Edward L. Smith was the United States attorney, Judge Daly was appointed an assistant United States attorney. He continued in this office for a short time but then resigned to attend to his growing practice. During his early years at the bar, he served as treasurer and chairman of the finance committee of the Hartford Democratic town committee. He did not, however, seek elective office, and when he was nominated in 1934 for the post of attorney general of the state, he was not even present at the Democratic state convention. This venture at the polls was an outstanding success, for he polled more votes than any of his colleagues on the ticket and became the first Democrat ever to hold the office of attorney general. He surrounded himself with able assistants and handled successfully legal problems incident to the acquisition of lands for the Merritt Parkway, Connecticut's first superhighway, and the negotiations for, and the completion of, the flood control compact with Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire, a task for which there were no precedents at that time. Shortly before his term as attorney general came to an end, Governor Wilbur L. Cross named him to be a judge of the Superior Court, effective as of September 22, 1937.
As a lawyer, so as a judge, he studied his cases, analyzed them carefully and worked tirelessly to see that a just result was achieved. His ideals were high, his courage great, and his moral convictions deep and strong. He was impatient with chicanery and deceit in any form. If he thought that the whole truth was not forthcoming, that facts were being withheld or corners were being cut, he spoke out bluntly and forcefully. He dispensed no favors; right was right, and he hewed to the line. Nevertheless, he was very sympathetic and understanding. If a wrongdoer was truly penitent and tried to amend the wrong, he found in Judge Daly a warm heart and a helping hand.
In October, 1947, by designation of President Harry S. Truman, Judge Daly was appointed a judge in War Crime Trials Tribunal III in Nuremberg, Germany. Obtaining a leave of absence without pay from his duties in the state courts, he went to Germany and sat with two other American judges in the trial of Alfred Krupp and other defendants. The trial consumed nearly a year. Some understanding of the enormity of the task can be gained from the fact that the court's decision, handed down on August 5, 1948, convicting Krupp and ten others and acquitting one of the defendants, took fourteen hours to read into the record. In September, 1953, Governor John Lodge appointed Judge Daly to be a justice of the Supreme Court of Errors. He assumed his duties on February 18, 1954, succeeding Justice Edward J. Quinlan. Governor Abraham Ribicoff named Judge Daly to be chief justice to succeed Chief Justice Kenneth Wynne on May 6, 1958.
Association on the bench with Judge Daly was a happy experience. He was firm in his convictions but he could accommodate his views to those of others. His mind was open to persuasion and to better solutions. If he decided his point of view was mistaken, he was quick to admit it. He was logical and positive in argument but always respectful of those who differed with him. His associates have often heard him say, "Each of us is entitled to his own opinion." A decision having been reached, he was never resentful if it differed from the one which he sought, nor did he ever again allude to the matter.
Judge Daly was always an agreeable companion. He was thoughtful and considerate. He had an ever-ready sense of humor. He liked to relate humorous anecdotes of his experience at the bar and on the bench, and he greatly enjoyed the stories of others. He was well informed in matters of current interest and discussed them in an interesting and constructive way. Although he had been active in politics and had held high elective office, he never displayed the least bit of partisanship in his work or in his discussion of any public problem. He had many friends at the bar and on the bench. Some of these friendships spanned half a lifetime. Nevertheless, in court, and in the discussion of a case in conference, the names of the parties or of counsel meant nothing to him. To his mind, each case presented a legal problem and was treated strictly as such, irrespective of personalities or any other consideration. He had a very real appreciation of the dignity and importance of his office as a judge, and he strove diligently and fearlessly to make it an instrument for justice in the finest sense of that great word. In the final months of his life, no complaint passed his lips, although he must have been aware of the gravity of his condition and have suffered great pain and discomfort. He wanted to assume his full share of the burden of deciding the large number of cases he had heard argued to the court in the May and June terms. He loved his work, and he carried on almost to the very end of his life. His associates will think of him always with esteem and affection and revere his memory in the days to come.
Judge Daly was devoted to his family. It was quite apparent to his associates that to be in the company of his wife and children gave him the greatest delight, and he often spoke of their times together with genuine enjoyment. Surviving are his wife, Viola Shea Daly; a son, Edward J. Daly, Jr., a member of the Hartford County bar; two daughters, Mother M. Anthony, a nun in the religious order of the Sacred Heart of Mary, and Betty Ann (Mrs. Theodore) Horton; three grandchildren; and three sisters. Judge Daly was a devout Roman Catholic. He loved his church, served as a choirboy in his youth, and attended masses regularly throughout his life. One of his last tasks was to work diligently for the rebuilding of St. Joseph's Cathedral, his parish church, after it was destroyed by fire.
Judge Daly died on July 20, 1959. Following the funeral mass in Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Hartford, Archbishop Henry J. O'Brien, departing from the usual custom, delivered from the chancel a tribute to the memory of the chief justice. He spoke of him as one "universally recognized as a most distinguished public servant. He was objective, honest and vigorous in public office. . . . he worked to the very last. . . . impartial and incorruptible . . . a splendid example of the representative American Catholic: faithful, devout, generous - an intelligent and responsible citizen who evenhandedly rendered to God what is God's and to Caesar what is Caesar's." The archbishop's words eloquently express the universal judgment of Chief Justice Daly's contemporaries.
*Prepared by Hon. Raymond E. Baldwin, of Glastonbury.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 141, page iii
Appointed to Supreme Court by the Governor September 22, 1953, to take effect February 18, 1954.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 145, page iii
Appointed Chief Justice April 9, 1957, to take effect upon the retirement of Hon. Kenneth Wynne.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 146, page iii
Died July 20, 1959.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 194, page iii
Appointed to the Appellate Court December 10, 1984.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 227, page iii
State Referee effective November 5, 1993.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 203, pages 814 - 815
REMARKS OF CHIEF JUSTICE ELLEN A. PETERS ON THE OCCASION OF THE RETIREMENT OF ASSOCIATE JUSTICE JOSEPH F. DANNEHY
May 5, 1987
Before we open court this morning, I want to take a moment to note that today is the final day that Justice Joseph F. Dannehy will sit as a member of this court.
Justice Dannehy’s appointment as a Justice of the Supreme Court in November of 1984 was the culmination of a judicial career that spanned more than a quarter of a century of dedicated service to the people of the state of Connecticut. That service included terms as a Judge of the Circuit Court, Judge and later Chief Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, Judge of the Superior Court and Administrative Judge of the Windham Judicial District. As the first Chief Presiding Judge of the Appellate Court, he guided the successful implementation of legislation creating that court which today is such a vital component of our judicial system. Most recently, as a Justice of the Supreme Court, he has been a valued friend and colleague whose contribution to the work of this court has been impressive.
Among the seventy-six majority opinions which Justice Dannehy authored as a member of the Supreme Court are: State v. Ellis, regarding the applicability of the statute of limitations to capital prosecutions; State v. Hill, which established the right of a defendant to ask prospective jurors whether they would put greater reliance on the testimony of a witness solely because he or she was a police officer; and State v. Rodgers, which limited the permissible inferences which could be drawn from circumstantial evidence.
Justice Dannehy also has made significant contributions to the administrative agenda of the Judicial Department through his active participation as a member of such panels as the Executive Committee and the Judicial Performance Evaluation Advisory Panel. With unflagging energy and profound understanding of the judicial process, he has steadfastly endeavored to strengthen judicial administration in this state.
I could not let this occasion pass without noting that Justice Dannehy filled the vacancy that was created when I was honored to be named Chief Justice. Over and above my firmly held belief that it is a vacancy which he filled admirably, I am struck by an awareness of the fleeting passage of time. We who are privileged to serve on this court have a unique opportunity to contribute to the development of the law in our state. It is important that we use our time here wisely. Justice Dannehy’s record on this court meets and exceeds the high standards we have set for ourselves.
On behalf of my colleagues, I want to extend my sincerest best wishes to Justice Dannehy and to thank him for the many years of faithful service he has given to the judiciary of the state of Connecticut. Returning to his beloved Willimantic courthouse, he will surely continue to serve the cause of justice for many years to come.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 267, pages 921 - 923
The Honorable Joseph F. Dannehy, a longtime Willimantic resident who had a lengthy and distinguished career in the Connecticut judiciary, passed away on December 16, 2003, at the age of eighty-six. Justice Dannehy was born in Willimantic on May 28, 1917, and attended St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield. He received his B.A. from Boston College in 1940, and earned his L.L.B. from Cornell University Law School in 1943. Upon graduation, he was admitted to the Connecticut bar that same year. From 1943 to 1946, Justice Dannehy served in the United States Army during World War II with the Counter Intelligence Corps of the 17th Airborne Division in Germany.
Justice Dannehy was a member of the Windham County Bar Association and began his law career as an assistant prosecuting attorney in the Willimantic Police Court from 1946 to 1959. He also served as town counsel for Windham from 1946 to 1948, and as corporation counsel for Willimantic from 1947 to 1959.
During his forty-two years on the bench, Justice Dannehy had the unique distinction of being the only Judge to have served on every court in the Connecticut judicial system. In 1961, he was nominated to the Circuit Court where he served until 1965, when he was appointed to the Court of Common Pleas. Justice Dannehy served as the chief judge of that court from 1967 to 1968. In 1968, he was appointed a judge of the Superior Court where he served for a period of fifteen years. Thereafter, in 1983, Justice Dannehy was appointed as one of the original five judges of the newly created Appellate Court, and he became its first chief presiding judge. After leading that court for more than one year, he was appointed an associate justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court in 1984. Justice Dannehy retired from the Supreme Court in 1987 upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of seventy. Thereafter, he continued his service to the judiciary by serving as a judge trial referee for sixteen years until his death in 2003.
During his tenure as a Supreme Court justice and an Appellate Court judge, Justice Dannehy resided on the judicial panel of 535 cases. He authored ninety majority opinions, seventy-six while serving as a member of the Supreme Court. At a ceremony marking his retirement from the Connecticut Supreme Court, Chief Justice Ellen A. Peters acknowledged that Justice Dannehy “has been a valued friend and colleague whose contribution to the work of this court has been impressive.” Additionally, in recognizing Justice Dannehy’s significant contributions to the administrative agenda of the judicial department, Justice Peters commented: “With unflagging energy and profound understanding of the judicial process, he has steadfastly endeavored to strengthen judicial administration in this state.”
During his so-called retirement years, Justice Dannehy worked relentlessly as a judge trial referee mediating or pretrying cases where he devoted many hours to the settlement of cases. As a result, he settled thousands of cases in his second career as a judge trial referee and many deserving litigants did not have to wait years to recover their losses.
Throughout his distinguished legal and judicial career, Justice Dannehy also served on the judicial council, the sentence review division of the Superior Court, the commission on adult probation, the state bar examining committee and the executive committee of the Superior Court. He also served as administrative judge of the Windham judicial district.
In addition to his judicial duties, Justice Dannehy was very active in politics and local community affairs. He served as assistant clerk of the state Senate, chairman of the Windham Democratic Town Committee and president of the Windham County Democratic Association. Additionally, Justice Dannehy served as governor of the Willimantic Country Club, director of the Willimantic YMCA, trustee of the Windham Community Memorial Hospital, president of the Windham Visiting Nurses Association, president of the Greater Willimantic Community Chest, first vice president of the Willimantic Chamber of Commerce and director of the Chronicle Printing Company and the Willimantic Savings Institute.
Justice Dannehy was predeceased by his wife of many years, Margaret Riordan Dannehy, who died in 1997, and was survived by their four children, Nora R. Dannehy, Mary Ellen Dannehy, Michael R. Dannehy and Patrick T. Dannehy, as well as two grandchildren.
On September 21, 2005, a memorial dedication for Justice Dannehy was held at the Willimantic Superior Court where he was honored and recognized for his contributions to the law, the art of lawyering and the community. He was remembered by friends and colleagues as a judge who was well liked and respected, and who ran his courthouse in a firm but fair manner. He was also remembered as a very private person who helped many people and many causes but never wanted the spotlight. In receiving the ultimate compliment for a judge, Justice Dannehy was praised as a man of integrity and accomplishment who made his colleagues better lawyers.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 191, page iii
Appointed to the Appellate Court August 9, 1983, to take effect August 15, 1983.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 194, page iii
Appointed to the Supreme Court November 21, 1984.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 203, page iii
Retired May 27, 1987, under constitutional limitation as to age.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 114, pages 742 - 747
Daniel Davenport, for many years a distinguished member of the bar, died on March 9th, 1931, at the residence of his daughter, Mrs. James S. Westbrook in Fairfield, Connecticut. He was born in Wilton, Connecticut, on January 13th, 1852, the son of George A. and Mary Sturges Davenport, and a direct descendant of the Rev. John Davenport, founder of the New Haven Colony. He was educated at the Wilton Academy and at Yale College, where he graduated in the class of 1873. On October 16th, 1875, he married Mrs. Mary E. (Lockwood) Jones, the daughter of William and Sophia (Halsey) Lockwood. His domestic life, which extended into the golden autumn, was one of unruffled placidity and beauty. His daughter, Beatrice, now Mrs. Westbrook, and her two sons, Nathaniel D. and James S., survive.
Mr. Davenport was an active member of the Democratic party until 1896, and was frequently heard on the rostrum in the three campaigns of Grover Cleveland. He was a member of the House of Representatives from the town of Wilton in 1875. Thereafter he became a resident of Bridgeport where he received political recognition by being chosen City and Prosecuting Attorney 1876-77; member of the Common Council 1879-80; President of the Board of Charities 1889-93; City Attorney 1893-95; and delegate to the Connecticut Constitutional Convention of 1902.
Mr. Davenport was admitted to the Fairfield County bar from the offices of Woodward and Perry of Norwalk, Connecticut, September 24th, 1875; to the bar of the United States Supreme Court October 13th, 1890, and was enrolled as a member of several State and Federal courts, including the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia. From 1882 to 1899 he was associated in the practice of the law with William H. O'Hara, and from 1899 to 1908 with Elmore S. Banks. During this period the courts of Connecticut and New York were the forum of his professional activities. He appeared in these courts and in the United States Supreme Court, as counsel in several important cases, and his resourceful and masterful arguments of the law and facts involved, won for him recognition not only as a brilliant trial lawyer and advocate, but also as the possessor of a marvellous knowledge of the basic principles of our jurisprudence.
From 1903, until a few months prior to his decease, Mr. Davenport's professional services were retained by a group of manufacturers who had organized to protect their industrial rights from the strikes and boycotts promoted by labor unions. At the beginning of this engagement he found the law with respect to organized labor and its employers in many of their vital contacts without judicial determination. It was his task for twenty-eight years of distinguished service to his clients, to leave it determined and enrolled in precedent, and this task was so well accomplished that interstate boycotts are a thing of the past. He will be forgotten, but this and other generations of lawyers reading the celebrated cases recorded in the reports, will find some among the number, in which Mr. Davenport pioneered the way for courts to hold the scales of justice in even balance. Thus he will live in gremio legis.
Some of the cases which gave Mr. Davenport a national reputation are mentioned in the tribute to his memory of former Chief Justice George W. Wheeler delivered at the commemorative meeting of the bar. In a voice of deep emotion he said:
"Daniel Davenport is known only by reputation to large numbers of the members of our bar, yet for over thirty years he actively practiced law in Bridgeport and won a commanding place at the bar, famed for his learning, his marvellous memory, his capacity for clear analysis of a legal problem, his power of reasoning and the especial clarity of his oral argument.
"I have heard Governor Baldwin when Chief Justice say that Mr. Davenport was one of the half dozen members of the bar of the State whom he most enjoyed listening to before our Supreme Court.
"Those of us who have met him in forensic combat still have a poignant memory of his wonderful grasp of a legal problem, the finished preparation he gave to his case, the masterful way in which he marshaled his facts and applied to them the law. When authorities were not available his mind could summon to his aid the analogies of the law, with illustrations of the fallacy of an argument, and he could buttress his own position from the history which surrounds the development of legal principles, clear to its beginnings. He loved the books and even after his employment in Washington had removed him from the active practice of the law in this State, he continued to read the opinions of our court and now and then when we met he would discuss some of the opinions which interested him the most, and indicate his own viewpoint in cases, in which a majority and minority opinion had been written. His discussion was always illuminating and occasionally he would suggest bases of argument not presented in either opinion, but apparently relevant, and at least difficult to counteract in casual speech. He could, when the occasion required, find the technical point which saved his case, but he much preferred to make his argument upon some sound principle of the law. . . .
"Mr. Davenport was not as well adapted to the business side of a modern law practice. But in the solving of a real law problem, in the development of a complex legal position or argument and in the lucid presentation of a legal question he had while in active practice few superiors in the State. He would have made a towering reputation anywhere as an appellate court advocate. That was the place I long ago adjudged to be the one place where his great qualities would have shown their surest and happiest product.
"Yet he made his national reputation in the magnificent preparation and presentation of the Danbury hat case. That action was brought to recover damages against the defendants, suffered by the plaintiffs as a result of a boycott declared against them and carried to such success that it had restrained or destroyed the plaintiffs' commerce with other States. The contest upon the pleadings occupied over four years, finally the Supreme Court of the United States reversed the Circuit Court of Appeals and held that Mr. Davenport's complaint stated a good cause of action. The trial on the merits occupied nearly four months. The damages were assessed at $74,000 which were trebled under the statute. A new trial was granted. The Supreme Court of the United States denied a writ of certiorari. On the second trial a verdict for the full amount demanded was obtained and judgment entered for $252,130. On Appeal to the Circuit Court the judgment was sustained and affirmed on the appeal to the United States Supreme Court on January 5th, 1915, nearly eleven years, I believe, after the action was brought. This is an abbreviated skeleton of the procedure in this remarkable case. I doubt if within our memory any lawyer in our State has prevailed in a case of equal difficulty.
"Other highly competent lawyers from time to time were associated with Mr. Davenport in this protracted litigation, but it must be remembered that it was his brain which conceived the theory of the case and it was largely his unwearying, indefatigable and exhaustive labor which ascertained and correlated the facts upon which it was based. It was his complaint which stood the test of the court of last resort and it was, in greatest part, his indomitable purpose, his skill in presenting the evidence and the weight and persuasiveness of his advocacy which convinced the jury.
"Throughout the trial he met the cloud of objections with rare clarity, convincing logic and apt authority. In many respects he was blazing the way and his own faith in his position was an unconquerable asset to him. No matter what one's convictions may be upon the labor problems involved and decided in that case, it must be conceded that Mr. Davenport's part in that case is an everlasting monument to his strength and capacity as a lawyer. Throughout it all Mr. Davenport showed a balanced judgment delighting even his most admiring friends. It was his reserved and sustained power which carried him to this ultimate triumph. Every Connecticut lawyer has reason to feel proud that he can claim professional relationship with Daniel Davenport.
"He conducted the case against Samuel Gompers and prevailed in that memorable contest. His preparation of some of the cases connected with labor questions took him in places of apparent danger. It never occurred to him to quail, nor would he listen to talk of his personal safety or protection. Though strong in his convictions and outspoken when it was time to speak he provoked little of antagonism to himself. That spoke volumes for the instinctive regard all men pay to the brave man who will do his duty whatever comes.
"He became one of the most regarded of all the attorneys who appeared before the committees of the Congress or Senate. His opinion was sought by the most distinguished of our thoughtful legislators. His acquaintance in Washington has been a very wide one.
"His appearance before the Supreme Court of the United States added to the high esteem in which he was held. His life in Washington brought him in contact with questions of prime importance which touched closely the public welfare.
"The limits of this occasion forbid a statement which would fairly catalogue and do justice to Mr. Davenport's achievements or attainments.
"I may not speak of his strictly public life save in two particulars. Bridgeport elected him as her delegate to the Constitutional Convention held nearly thirty years ago. It was a distinguished body of our ablest men. Not long after its organization a member arose and moved that the delegate from Bridgeport should address the Convention upon the history of the towns of the State. Mr. Davenport arose in response to this unexpected call and for three hours held that body in intense interest as he told the story of the towns of the State. Without a note, dates, places, facts and incidents fell from his lips in their right order, giving to them their most dramatic effect in words so chosen that they fitted in his story with all the symmetry the chiseled stone of a majestic cathedral fits into its designated place. That address lifted Daniel Davenport to a niche of his own with all that group of men, and we too outside its hall all knew better something of the storehouse of his knowledge and of that great reserve intellectual power waiting to be called to the front.
"Over thirty years ago he delivered a course of lectures on French history in Bridgeport which were much admired. Then he talked as he did at the Constitutional Convention, in oral speech, mainly supplied from the storehouse of his knowledge. I can think of no other active lawyer of his time who had read on certain subjects as much outside the realm of law except Simeon E. Baldwin.
"History, biography and poetry, I have thought, were his chosen subjects. What he read he absorbed and treasured, not for an occasion or for tomorrow, but for his use at his pleasure. If the shelves of his library were stripped of his large collection of books, so accurate was his memory, so prodigious his reading, that he could still sit in that room so bare of books and say with Shelley:
`My days among the dead are passed,
Around me I behold,
Where'er my casual eyes are cast,
The mighty minds of old.'
The foregoing sketch of Mr. Davenport's achievements at the bar, notable as they are, afford but a meager estimate of the man. Nature gave him a stalwart physique, an engaging personality, an abundance of physical stamina, intellectual vigor, intuition and vision. He was a striking example of commanding appeal combined with a pretorian dignity and a rare sweetness of character. He was a wide and discriminating reader of history, biography and the classics; he was as familiar with the legacies which the great poets, orators and statesmen of the storied past gave to posterity as with his law books; gifted with a phenomenal memory, he could relate not only the great events and traditions of his State and country and the men associated with their origin and outcome, but also repeat the jewels of prose and verse which adorn our literature; devoted to his profession and to the interests entrusted to his keeping, he was courageous in combat when these interests were at stake; he was an idealist in things to promote the general welfare, but no utopian dreamer; he was open handed with charity and sympathy for the poor and unfortunate; he was a congenial and edifying companion, modest and steadfast in his friendships; the descendant of a learned exponent of the religious doctrines of the Puritan Fathers, he looked upon all religious denominations without intolerance, and rested his hereafter on "faith, and faith alone, believing where we cannot prove." These talents when cultivated as in the case of Mr. Davenport, by contact for more than two score years with gifted men on the bench, at the bar, in industry, and in Congress, frequently make men distant and reserved, but he never stood aloof nor lost the common touch.
He lived to the end with faculties unabated, but the optimism always dominant in his nature, was tinged with sadness, when he reflected over his long retrospect and noted that nearly all the members of the Fairfield County bar in 1875, had one by one passed into another realm. Only a few days before his final departure, in conference with his first partner, he alluded to a veil of sadness encircling the memory of men who have passed three score years and ten, as the inspiration of the Last Leaf, as he repeated:
"The mossy marbles rest,
On the lips that he has prest,
In their bloom ;
And the names he loved to hear,
Have been carved for many a year,
On the tomb."
*Prepared by William H. O'Hara, Esq., of the Bridgeport bar, at the request of the Reporter.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 133, pages 733 - 736
The death of Edward Marvin Day on May 2, 1947, brings to mind the picture of a typical New Englander who rose step by step to a high and commanding position among the citizens of this state by his contributions to its legal growth, its charities and its associations for literary and historical purposes. He was born in Colchester on August 20, 1872, being the first son of Erastus S. and Katherine Olmsted Day, natives of Colchester. His father was a prominent attorney, widely known for his cool judgment, his level head and his knowledge of human nature. His mother was a most interesting woman. She had an understanding love of history.
Mr. Day had a rather spare but well-knit frame and a rugged constitution. He was conspicuous for his erect bearing and distinguished appearance. He received his early education in his native town at Bacon Academy and throughout his life was interested in its affairs. He became a trustee of the academy in 1916 and held that office until his death. He was graduated from Yale University in 1894 with the B. A. degree, and from the Yale Law School in 1896. He was admitted to the Connecticut bar on October 7, 1896. While at Yale, he formed many friendships which lasted until his death, receiving from his college life the most valuable thing it offered, the contacts with men from all parts of the country and from all walks in life. He could recognize a weakness or a virtue in any of his friends with unerring judgment. He had a deep knowledge of the Christian religion and its foundations. He was a constant attendant of the First Church of Christ in Hartford from 1898, when he became a member, to the date of his death.
He played baseball during his school days and often the triumphs of the Colchester team over supposedly superior teams were due largely to his skillful pitching and his coolness in any crisis. He was passionately fond of fishing and of hunting and it would be difficult to say which appealed to him the more. He always enjoyed walking and golf.
His love for the classics and poetry was another part of this many-sided man. He often drew on his reading of history "to point a moral or to adorn a tale." Only the best poetry and the best literature appealed to him and it was that interest in them which brought him into the mutual and warm friendship which grew up between him and Governor Wilbur L. Cross.
In 1896 Mr. Day was elected a representative from Colchester to the General Assembly and was the youngest member of the house. He was executive secretary to Governor George E. Lounsbury and also to Governor Henry Roberts from 1901 to 1905. He was often called a conservative but that did not mean that he clung blindly to ideas merely because they were old. He would hold firmly to them only as long as they fitted the changing life of the times, but whenever he believed that the time had come for a change he had the courage and he not hesitate to step forward. In 1907, the General Assembly authorized the appointment of a committee to recommend legislation on the question of the liability of employers for accidents to employees. Mr. Day became chairman of the committee which was appointed in accordance with the act. It was undoubtedly that report which finally caused the enactment of the so-called Workmen's Compensation Act.
He was counsel for the board of water commissioners of Hartford when it was evident that the constant and healthy growth of that city required the immediate expansion of its water system, now known as the Nepaug reservoir. The method of compensation in kind to meet the damages suffered by riparian owners was original with him and he proved his point in the case of Board of Water Commissioners of Hartford v. Manchester, which was successfully carried to the Supreme Court of the United States. His draft of a form for the proceedings to be followed in the frequent condemnation of land for the purposes of the water system was a model, so short and yet so plain that it was refreshing to lawyers and to laymen.
He early recognized the danger to world peace from unsettled conditions in Europe and the unwise management of affairs. It was clear to him that the First World War was inevitable. He volunteered as a dollar-a-year man in the American Red Cross and spent some months in Washington. In those days he seemed to some of his friends to be a pessimist, but afterwards his forebodings proved to be well-founded. He should not be classed a pessimist nor as an optimist. He was rather a wise prophet.
He started the practice of law alone in 1896 in Hartford and continued in that manner for twenty-three years, building up a large clientele until he had more work than he could handle. At the urgent solicitation of some of his clients, he formed the firm of Day and Berry, composed of himself, Joseph F. Berry and Lawrence A. Howard, which is now and for many years past has been known, with the addition of many more partners, as Day, Berry and Howard.
It seemed to his partners that he had the most difficult and intricate problems presented to him by his clients, especially the corporate ones, but he invariably mastered them and brought order and prosperity to them. His rare judgment and tact were admired by all who sought his advice, and, notwithstanding his wide law practice, he always found time to help his friends whenever they needed expert advice, whether or not they could pay for it.
He gained the confidence and respect of all with whom he came in contact, so much so that for many years, and at the time of his death, he held directorships or trusteeships in the following corporate businesses and institutions: Aetna Life Insurance Company and affiliated companies, Phoenix Insurance Company, Connecticut Fire Insurance Company, Equitable Fire & Marine Insurance Company, the Hartford-Connecticut Trust Company, the Hartford Courant Company, J. B. Williams Company, North & Judd Manufacturing Company, the Montgomery Company, the Institute of Living, Bacon Academy, New Britain Machine Company.
For many years he was a member of the Judicial Council of Connecticut, and at the time of his death he belonged to the following law associations: Hartford County Bar Association, State Bar Association of Connecticut, American Bar Association, American Law Institute, American Judicature Society, Life Insurance Counsel.
His writings, letters and papers showed a marked literary versatility, especially indicated in connection with the Monday Evening Club, which was composed of men who met at each other's homes for dinner and who afterwards listened to a paper by one of the members. This club was founded in 1869 by such men as Horace Bushnell, Judge Hammersley, Joseph R. Hawley, Henry C. Robinson and other men of note, and shortly thereafter included Mark Twain, Francis Goodwin and Charles Hopkins Clark. By careful replacements, it has continued with its high quality of literary membership to the present day.
Mr. Day was widely known for his generous assistance, financial and otherwise, to worthy charities and improvements of a civic nature, as illustrated by his large gift to his church in Hartford, the restoration of his church in Colchester at great expense and many other similar instances.
He left a sister, Miss Elisabeth G. Day of Colchester, and a brother, David S. Day of Bridgeport.
*Prepared by John H. Buck and Joseph F. Berry, of the Hartford bar.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 99, pages 733 - 736
HARRY GOODYEAR DAY died at his home in New Haven, October 16th, 1922, in his fifty-third year, after a long illness with which he was stricken in the spring of 1917.
He was born in Seymour, Connecticut, March 13th, 1870, the son of Henry P. Day and Frances (Gilbert) Day; prepared for college at Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, and was graduated from The Sheffield Scientific School in the class of 1890, of which he was Secretary.
After a year in the West, he entered the Yale Law School, from which he was graduated in 1893. While there he took the Munson Prize, and was an editor of The Yale Law Journal. For a short time he was Quiz-Master at the School.
He entered the law office of Watrous and Buckland, and upon Mr. Buckland's withdrawal to enter the service of The New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Company in 1898, he entered into partnership with George D. Watrous under the firm name of Watrous and Day.
Very early he displayed those qualities of mind and heart which won for him the respect, the confidence and the affection of a host of friends. To an unusual degree he had the faculty of making and holding friends.
His position in professional, business, University and social life was such as few men in this community have ever attained. He was so sincere, so loyal, so capable and so honorable, that innumerable honors came to him unsought.
In his professional life, and indeed in everything that he undertook, he was thorough and faithful. His greatest success was not in the court room, though he often tried cases and tried them well. His preparation was thorough; he left nothing undone that could honorably be done, and mastered both sides of a case before he tried it.
It was as counsellor and organizer of large enterprises that his best work was done: in the consolidation of banks and the handling of large trust estates. He could bring men together who seemed too far apart to ever agree. No one could meet him without being at once aware that here was a man who could be trusted both for sound advice and honorable dealing. Though he lacked the stimulus which impels most men to do their best, he was in all matters, small or large, true and attentive to his clients’ interests.
Many honors came to him in the course of his professional career. When taken ill he was Vice-President of The State Bar Association and Vice-President of The New Haven County Bar. Against his protests, he was retained in both positions until it became clear that he could not return to active life. He held, with fairness and fidelity, the thankless position of a member of the Grievance Committee.
In the spring of 1914, in preparation for the separation of The Connecticut Company from The New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Company, which was effected after the Federal Decree of October 17th, 1914, he was appointed General Counsel of The Connecticut Company. To him, as the head of its Legal Department, fell mainly the work of organizing that department and supervising the legal steps necessary to carry out the separation. This was a prodigious task, and taxed his strength, patience and abilities to the utmost; but it was done, and well done.
It is generally understood that he might have had high judicial honors, but they did not appeal to him.
But his activities were by no means measured or limited by his professional work. He wanted to bear his full share of the burdens which the highest citizenship imposes.
He was an ensign in the Naval Militia from its first organization, and did much to promote its success.
He had a part in almost every good work in city life. He took much interest in the cause of Civil Service Reform.
As a graduate, he was often appealed to for advice and assistance in many undergraduate undertakings.
In 1916 he was elected a member of the Corporation of Yale University, as one of the Successors of the Original Trustees; an honor which had then but once or twice been conferred upon a layman. His term of active service was very short; but in those few months he won the respect and affection of his associates, and at their urgent request held back the resignation, which he offered, until 1920. It was one of the last posts which he surrendered. The Honorary Degree of M. A. was conferred upon him.
Perhaps his greatest public service was that which he gave to the New Haven Hospital. To this work, in which he took the greatest interest, he gave much time, strength and effort. As a member, and later Chairman, of the Prudential Committee, for many years, he helped to bring about the affiliation with the Yale School of Medicine and to carry out the Hospital’s building program. It is pathetic to note that one of the last measures in which he took part, was the construction of the Allingtown Hospital, designed for the care of patients suffering from tuberculosis.
In the business world he was also actively engaged. He was a director, first in The Yale National Bank and later in The First National Bank, in The Union and New Haven Trust Company, and in many important manufacturing corporations.
Perhaps in consequence of his intense devotion to all of these interests, with too little regard for his own health and strength, he was stricken down with tuberculosis early in the year 1917. He was sent to Saranac Lake, but failed to improve. Later he purchased a house in Litchfield and lived there until shortly before his death, when he returned to his home in New Haven. Everything that professional skill and loving care could do, proved of no avail.
Throughout these long years he kept up a splendid courage, and in touch with all of the enterprises with which he was identified, taking a keen interest in all that was being done in his profession and in the world. Friends vied with one another to be allowed to visit him, and as these visits had to be more and more restricted, those who had the privilege of seeing “Harry Day” were envied. The inevitable end came at last. He faced it, as he faced life, calmly and bravely.
Notable as were his achievements, it was his own sterling qualities which won for him the unbounded esteem in which he was held. In his manner he was quiet, dignified, modest and reserved; never forth-putting and never aggressive. He had, however, a well deserved confidence in himself, and when occasion required, he could speak with assurance and force. When duty demanded it, he was unflinching and nothing could turn him aside from what he believed to be right.
He thought with remarkable clearness and directness. His opinions, whether in matters of law, or otherwise, were sound and seldom mistaken. He saw things as they were and in their true relations. He was fair-minded, with a strong, unerring sense of justice; kindly and generous; conscientious almost to a fault.
While he took all of the duties of life seriously, he was far from devoid of humor. He thoroughly enjoyed the humorous side of life, and enlivened his own labors and those of others by many a flash of wit, or a good story—never anything but clean.
Toward his professional associates he was all that a man could be. He never shirked, and was always ready to bear more than his share of every burden. Throughout his illness he was always ready to share in the solution of their problems and retained his interest in their doings to the end. “Harry Day” was a rare man, and rarely did any man have or deserve more devoted friends.
He left a wife, Mary Barker Day, a daughter of a former Justice of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, and five children; Henry Barker, Mary Barker, Frances Gilbert, Helena Whiting and James Barker.
With characteristic modesty, he asked that no meeting of the Bar be held to take action upon his death, but that one of his associates, if he would, prepare a sketch for the Reporter.
*Prepared by George D. Watrous, Esq., of the New Haven County Bar, at the request of the Reporter.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 23, pages 668 - 671
The Hon. THOMAS DAY, for many years, Reporter of the Judicial Decisions of the Supreme Court of Errors, died on the first day of March, 1855.
At a meeting of the members of the Hartford County Bar, holden at the Court Room, on the third day of March 1855, the following resolutions were unanimously adopted:
Whereas the Hon. THOMAS DAY, one of our most venerable citizens and a member of this Bar, has been removed by death, therefore,
Resolved, That the event calls upon us for an expression of our share in the common sorrow.
Resolved, That we cherish the highest esteem for the many excellencies and great worth of the deceased. By a long and honorable performance of various important trusts, he was entitled to the respect awarded to fidelity in public duties. Connected for many years with a high position, in the administration of state affairs he was unswerving; as counselor, safe and judicious; and on the bench, he was an example of judicial integrity; as a reporter of the decisions of the Supreme Court of Errors, his accuracy and discrimination commended themselves to the profession, and in our sister states, as well as in this, those Reports were received and approved, as of the highest authority; while, during a long and useful life among us, his quiet virtues and uniform courtesy won for him the highest respect as a citizen. Thus he honored his public stations, and has left a name above approach. We lament his death and will cherish the memory of his many virtues.
Resolved, That we sympathize with the family of the deceased, and tender them our affectionate condolence in their affliction.
Resolved, That as testimony of esteem, we unitedly attend his funeral this afternoon.
Resolved, That a copy of the foregoing resolutions be signed by the Chairman of this meeting and communicated to the family, and published in the daily papers in this city.
Resolved, That Hon. Martin Welles be appointed to communicate these resolutions to the Honorable Superior Court now in session, and request that the same may be entered upon the records of said court.
On Monday, the 12th of March, 1855, which was the time assigned by the members of the Bar presenting the resolutions, Hon. Martin Welles addressed the Court as follows:
MAY IT PLEASE THE COURT:
The Bar of this County have requested me to present these resolutions to the Court and to move your Honor that they be entered upon its records; that these expressions of respect and esteem may be preserved in the most enduring form. It is fit that these memorials should live - should remain as evidence of our deep and grateful sense of obligation to this distinguished man, for his faithful and invaluable services to the profession.
For duration, those services are probably without a parallel in the annals of the Law. From 1802 to 1853, he has reported the decisions of the Supreme Court of Errors. During this period, seven different Chief Justices have presided in that Court, each holding office, with perhaps one exception, until disqualified by age.
As a result of these protected labors, we have twenty-six volumes of Reports.
In addition to these Reports, he has edited, with valuable notes, several elementary works and many volumes of English Reports. What a record of mental power do these volumes present on the part of the Bar and the Bench! What labor - what research - what talent - what nice discrimination - what enlarged views, and what careful adjustment of conflicting claims.
In these volumes the dead speak; from them, while our language shall last, there will be going forth an influence, superior to mere legislation, which shall affect all our relations and reach to every interest.
Of Mr. Day, as a Reporter, it has been truly said, that he had no superior in the ability to grasp the precise point decided, and to present that point clearly and definitively; in the power to extract the spirit of the decision separated from all extraneous matter.
Were I to discriminate among the Reports, I should say that the first five volumes of Day's Reports were more rich and valuable in the arguments of counsel, than any other Reports I have seen, and were I called upon to recommend to a young lawyer the best collection of law arguments I have ever known reported, I should not hesitate a moment in selecting the masterly arguments contained in those volumes.
It is melancholy to reflect that of all those distinguished men who prepared and presented those ingenious and learned arguments, nearly all, with their reporter, are silent in death. Of those who remain, I scarcely remember one, except Chief Justice Williams, and Mr. Staples of New York. When I look back over the list of great men, whose names are presented in those early volumes, even no farther than my own recollection, it seems one long procession to the tomb.
Of Judge Day, as Chief Judge of the County Court, for a series of years, (the court then consisting of three judges,) I can not forbear to speak; of him, in that capacity, I feel entitled to be my testimony, having been associated with him, for many years, as a humble member of that court. I am sure that a more just, upright and impartial judge never sat to decide controversies among men, and no man whispered, or even suspected, that he could be swerved from the right. Although naturally timid, in the administration of justice he was fearless and independent. As an accurate and learned lawyer, he had few superiors, and his opinions on legal questions were regarded, by the bar, as entitled to great respect.
In his charges to the jury, which were always written, he was brief and comprehensive, yet clear and distinct, presenting and deciding each point of law, raised by counsel on the argument, and nothing else. As your Honor will remember, he carefully abstained from passing that just boundary, which separates the province of the court from the province of the jury. Shunning no responsibility on questions of law, he assumed none on questions of fact.
That he was a popular judge, possessing the entire confidence of the Bar and community, is fully evinced by his annual appointments to that office for such a series of years.
Of him as a man, it is unnecessary for me to speak. Here, in this city where he resided so long, and discharged so many important public trusts, he was known and read of all men, and by all approved. His has been a favored lot. Spared the exhausting and wearing contests, which attended the active duties of the profession, he stood by, a clam intelligent spectator of the conflict, recording the result. While others have been assailed in the ferocity of party spirit, or wounded by the shafts of calumny, he has passed smoothly on, "by gentle wings up-borne." Enjoying the consolations of friendship, and possessing an easy fortune and an extensive reputation, blest with all that is valuable in possession for earth, and all that is cheering in prospect for heaven, he has been kindly, calmly brought to the "consistent close of a consistent life,"-"content to live, yet not afraid to die."
And when the appointed hour came, he left us: to use the words of the just and beautiful eulogium, at his funeral, as "one who had passed through life - without a cloud upon his sun, or a spot upon his character."
I move that these resolutions now presented, be entered upon the records of this court.
Judge ELLSWORTH responded to the resolutions as follows:
GENTLEMEN OF THE BAR: I most cheerfully grant the motion. It is wholly unnecessary to say that I most heartily concur in the sentiments of these resolutions. They express nothing too much in eulogy of that respected man, whom we all reverenced, - in whom we all placed the most unbounded confidence. His abilities, and his judicial knowledge were of the highest order. When I came into active life in this county, in 1813, there was already no superior guide, no one whom I could more freely and safely consult in relation to any question before the court. He would have done honor to any judicial station that could have been assigned him in the state. He was a most amiable man, eminently distinguished for his taste, and of the strictest integrity, - an integrity founded in deep religious sentiment. The pervading religious element of his character made his last days truly happy. We can not doubt, gentlemen, that one so eminently distinguished for his virtues on earth, is received to enjoy, in the next world, the society of the truly great and good, who have gone before him.
I rejoice that these resolutions are to stand upon the records, as a perpetual memorial of our departed friend.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports volume 20, pages 3 - 6
NOTE - prospective and retrospective.
THE present volume completes the second series of my reports of judicial decisions, designated CONNECTICUT REPORTS, consisting of twenty volumes. From my terminating this series here, it may be natural to infer, as some probably will, that it is to be the end of my labours as a chronicler of the law. It is certain that it may be. It may become so, either by the act of God, by the act of the court, or by the voice of the Connecticut bar. But I have come to this determination, principally, in view of a very simple fact, viz. that some of the volumes happen at present to be out of print, and are not likely to be reprinted soon. As complete sets cannot be furnished, it seems unwise to increase the number of odd volumes; and to avoid this evil, I have concluded to begin a new series. It must be distinguished, in some way, from the preceding series; otherwise there will be confusion in citations. It might be cited as Day's Rep. N. S.; but a simpler mode, sanctioned by inherent propriety and analogous usage, seems to me preferable. A young friend of mine of the New-Haven county bar, (STEPHEN W. KELLOGG, Esq.) has engaged to assist me in my future labours, so far as I may need assistance and his professional engagements will admit of his rendering it. I therefore propose, that the series in contemplation be cited as Day & Kel. R., until a change of circumstances shall render a change of citation necessary or proper. And to guard against misapprehension, I state, that I contemplate, in this change, no throwing off or division of responsibility. So long as I continue to hold the office of Reporter, every case will be either wholly prepared by me, or undergo my careful revision, before it is passed to the printer; and even then I shall, as heretofore, read the proofs once and again.
Standing in the gap between the past and the future, I shall not incur the penalty of a by-gone age, if I pause awhile - and look back; for I am not escaping, by divine command, from a wicked place.
It is now forty-six years (a) since I entered upon an employment somewhat analogous to that in which the great lexicographer of England had been occupied, when he declared, that the unhappy mortal engaged in it was "exposed to censure without hope of praise, and liable to be disgraced by miscarriage, or punished for neglect, where success would have been without applause, and diligence without reward." Still if I have been useful in "removing rubbish and clearing obstructions from the path" of the enlightened jurist, it will not disturb me, if he "presses forward to conquest and glory, without bestowing a smile on the humble drudge that facilitates his progress." I may have, indeed, somewhat of the "solitude" which he experienced, at the close of his labours, but without the "gloom." If he, after the lapse of seven or eight years only, could say, that he had "protracted his work till most of those whom he wished to please, had sunk into the grave," what must be the result, when the period of protraction has been extended more than sixfold!
After all, I cannot add with him, that "success and miscarriage are empty sounds" to me. Because the province assigned me was one of humble labour, I have not been the less solicitous to be found faithful in it; nor will the award of success therein be, on that account, the less grateful to me.
Besides, the cotemporaries of my early days have not all departed. A few of my seniors even, remain. I am happy to refer to one, who was my fellow student in the most distinguished law school then in the country; who encouraged my incipient attempts as a juridical annalist, and aided me, by the communication of his own notes; who, for many years, was at the head of practice in his own county at least, and after serving the public in the state and national legislature, accepted a seat on that bench from which the principles of justice and equity regulating the concerns of this community, are authoritatively promulgated and applied; who, for eighteen years, discharged, with distinguished purity and ability, the trust committed to him, occupying, for more than three-fourths of that period, the first place among his associates; who was my fellow boarder, before we had families of our own, my near neighbour afterwards, and my unswerving friend at all times; - he, in a green old age, remains, to look back upon the progress of our jurisprudence, and the efforts of himself and others for its advancement, during the last half century. His immediate predecessor in the office referred to, who, fifty-four years ago, was a member of the same court, differently organized, has but just departed. [(b)] And a member of the court, which, thirty-seven years ago, first made it my official duty to report its decisions, still lives, in physical and mental soundness. A few others, whom, in my early professional life, I admired and respected, as I have done ever since, likewise remain.
But if I stood alone - the sole survivor of all that started with me or before me - the want of such witnesses, at this point of my course, would bring no gloom to my mind. Should I reach the gaol before me, "without faltering or turning aside, the approbation of those, who came, or may come, after me, with my personal consciousness, would satisfy all my cravings. Whatever may be my future situation or employment, may I not hope for a place in their continued friendship and encouragement? Will not the remembrance of their companionship enliven the weariness of age? Will it cease, if I am longer continued in an employment, which has engaged my thoughts and labours from youth to age, in the solacing hope that I was thus discharging some part of the debt which I owed to my profession?
HARTFORD, May 20th, 1851.
(a) My reports - both series - embrace a period of forty-nine years; but the first volume of the first series, embracing a period of three years, is made up of cases, prepared indeed and published by myself, but decided before I began to take minutes regularly with a view of reporting the cases.
[(b)] The Hon. DAVID DAGGETT, late Chief Justice, experienced "the last of earth," at his residence in New-Haven, April 12th, 1851. Vide post.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 21, page iii
Note - valedictory.
In a note prefixed to the 20th volume of these Reports, I remarked, that that volume might terminate my labours as a reporter, by the act of God, by the act of the court, or by the voice of the Connecticut bar. Since that time God has vouchsafed to me prolonged life and a working state of health; the court have not disapproved of my labours; and to my brethren of the bar I am indebted for their continued favor. The consequence is, the appearance of the present volume. A change of title or mode of citation was also suggested. But as this is the last volume which I expect to publish, the reason given for such change will have little weight; and as there are some objections to it, and the court have advised me not to make it, the title or mode of citation will continue unchanged. After the completion of this volume, I shall retire from all responsibility of a public nature. On this event, touching as it is to me, and associated as it is with so many grateful recollections, I can only say, in view of "all the past," to those now living, judices instructissimi, valete; socii dilectissimi, vos quoque valete! My regrets at parting are, however, in both bases, somewhat softened, by the hope I indulge, that their reputation, as jurists and juriconsults, has not materially suffered, by passing through my hands.
Hartford, April 1, 1853.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 22, page iv
HON. THOMAS DAY, long and honorably connected with the Supreme Court of Errors, as Reporter of its judicial decisions, having declined a re-appointment to that office, the Judges of said Court passed the following Resolution:
SUPREME COURT OF ERRORS,
Hartford County, June Term, 1853.
The Hon. THOMAS DAY having declined a re-appointment to the office of Reporter of judicial decisions, which he has continued to fill, with distinguished ability, fidelity and usefulness for the unprecedented period of nearly half a century, we deem it proper to avail ourselves of his retirement, to express our high respect for his eminent services and exalted character, and to tender to him the tribute of our acknowledgment, for his advancement of juridical science, through his numerous reports and other legal productions, and for his uniform kindness and courtesy, in all his intercourse with us and our predecessors, with our best wishes for his future welfare and happiness.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 227, page 935
1903 - 1993
The Honorable Searls Dearington, a state referee and former judge of the Circuit Court, died on October 7, 1993, at the age of ninety.
Judge Dearington was a native of Malden, Massachusetts. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire and received his law degree from Boston University Law School. He was admitted to the bar in 1932 and practiced law in Danielson, where he and his family lived from 1935 to 1987.
Judge Dearington served as clerk of the state House of Representatives between 1943 and 1947, and clerk of the Judiciary Committee of the legislature in 1951. He was a Windham County public defender for ten years and was appointed state's attorney in 1951. He was involved in community affairs for many years.
Judge Dearington was appointed to the Circuit Court in 1961 and later served in the Appellate Division. In that capacity, he personally authored 172 decisions. He became a state referee in 1973.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 101, pages 763 - 764
ROBERT ELLIOTT DEFOREST was born in Guilford, Connecticut, February 20th, 1845, the son of George P. Griswold and Julia (Chapman) Griswold. He was a lineal descendant, upon his father’s side, of the Rev. John Elliott, the great apostle to the Indians, and author of the Indian Bible. He prepared for college at Guilford Academy, and was graduated from Yale College in 1867. He began the study of law while at college with the late Professor Johnson T. Platt of New Haven, and after teaching school for a year, he was admitted in 1868 to the bars of Vermont and New York, and to that of New Haven County, Connecticut. In 1869 he began the practice of law in Bridgeport. He soon gained public confidence and professional success. For a quarter of a century he was engaged in public service and filled with distinction the following offices: 1870 and 1872, Assistant City Attorney for the city of Bridgeport; 1874, 1875 and 1876, Judge of the Court of Common Pleas; 1880, State Representative; 1882 and 1883, State Senator; 1883 to 1885, City Attorney for the City of Bridgeport; 1878, 1888 and 1890, Mayor of the City of Bridgeport; and in 1890 and 1892 he was elected, as a Democrat, to the 52d and 53d Congresses of the United States. He had that industry which answered every call to duty with great ability and fidelity.
He affiliated himself with Trinity Episcopal Church, and in 1882 was chosen vestryman, which position he held until 1887, when he was elected senior warden, a position he held until his death.
On October 18th, 1871, he married Rebecca B. Marey, daughter of John S. Marcy of Royalton, Vermont, a distinguished lawyer of that State and an associate justice of its Supreme Court. She died March 24th, 1924. Their children were three sons, Frederick M., an Episcopal clergyman; Robert G., an attorney practicing in Bridgeport; and John B., Professor of Languages at the University of Vermont.
In his practice of the law he was associated at various tunes with Sidney B. Beardsley, a former Justice of our Supreme Court, Levi Warner, Theodore Downs, Israel M. Bullock, Mark D. Wilber and Francis P. Norman. In 1888 he entered into partnership with Jacob B. Klein under the firm name of DeForest & Klein, which continued without interruption for thirty-five years.
Endowed with a fine and manly presence and a brilliant and analytical mind, he had moreover an unassailable integrity, a nice sense of justice, never overriden by misdirected zeal, a vivid imagination, heart full of sympathy; yet he was seldom deceived by sham or pretence. He had a keen sense of humor and a wit which was spontaneous and original and which scintillated and sparkled, to the edification and entertainment, but never to the real hurt, of those within its sphere of action. His literary ability was developed to a high degree, and his frequent writings of prose and poetry are of rare literary quality. During his last year at Yale, he was one of the editors of the Yale Literary Magazine.
In all the intercourse of life he was courteous, affable and kindly. None of us can forget the charm and dignity of his presence, nor the beautiful and felicitous language in which he clothed his sentiments. To the younger members he was an unfailing aid and inspiration, and upon all who came in contact with him, he left an indelible impression of sweet and tender recollections.
A lovable Christian character shone all through his life, and during his last year of rest and freedom from activity, his life became a benediction to all who came in touch with him. Tried by all the standards which constitute the just test of title to the esteem of his fellow man, he is worthy of lasting commemoration.
“Three friends has he more firm than day or night, himself, his Maker, and the angel death.”
*Prepared by Jacob B. Klein, Esq., of the Fairfield County Bar, at the request of the Reporter.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 204, pages 814 - 815
1912 - 1987
The Hon. Henry J. DeVita, who served as a judge and later senior judge of the Superior Court from 1972 to 1982, died June 30, 1987, at the age of 74.
Judge DeVita was born in New Haven on August 26, 1912. He graduated from Yale University with a B.A. degree in 1933 and received his LL.B. degree from the Yale Law School in 1936. He was admitted to the Connecticut bar that same year.
Judge DeVita, who was engaged in the private practice of law for nearly thirty years, served as an alderman in the city of New Haven from 1939 to 1955 and was president of the board from 1946 to 1950. He served as assistant prosecutor in the New Haven City Court from 1949 to 1955.
Judge DeVita became a judge of the Court of Common Pleas in 1965 and was appointed to the Superior Court in 1972. He elected to become a senior judge of that court in 1978, holding that position until he became a state trial referee in 1982.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 144, pages 750 - 751
Justice Edwin Cole Dickenson died at his home in Wethersfield on November 18, 1956, after a distinguished career at the bar and on the bench.
Justice Dickenson was born in Cromwell on March 11, 1880, the son of Linus and Mary Cole Dickenson. Brought to Hartford to live when he was one year old, he attended the old South School and the Hartford Public High School, where he was graduated in 1898. He received his law degree from the Yale Law School in 1902 and began the practice of law in Hartford in that year. Before starting his long career on the bench, he was a member of the Hartford common council from the seventh ward and served as vice president of the board of councilmen.
He began his judicial career in 1917 as judge of the Hartford Police Court, after serving as prosecuting attorney from 1907 to 1911. In 1920 Governor Marcus H. Holcomb nominated him to be a judge of the Court of Common Pleas for Hartford County and he was duly appointed. On February 5, 1925, he became a judge of the Superior Court on the nomination of Governor Charles A. Templeton. His appointment was urged by the Hartford County Bar Association, whose officers and prominent members signed a petition citing his "splendid judicial temperament" and stating that he held the confidence of the bar. He served on the Superior Court for seventeen years until his elevation to the Supreme Court of Errors on September 4, 1942, on nomination of Governor Robert A. Hurley. He retired as associate justice of the Supreme Court on March 11, 1950.
Justice Dickenson was a member of Troop B, Connecticut Cavalry, from 1911 to 1917 and saw active service as a sergeant on the Mexican border. He was a member of the American, Connecticut and Hartford County Bar Associations.
On July 1, 1908, Justice Dickenson was married to Florence Louise Blood. Mrs. Dickenson and two of his sisters, Mrs. William A. Shew of Wethersfield and Mrs. George L. Bilderbeck of Groton, survive. He had one son, John C. Dickenson, who died.
These facts should be recorded in the reports of the Supreme Court, which Justice Dickenson helped to write, but give little idea of his personality. On the legal side, he was perhaps more successful than any of the other judges in composing the differences between litigants. His success in settling cases was phenomenal. When a case had to be tried, it might be said of him, as it was of Judge John Richards Booth, that "he heard courteously, he answered wisely, he considered soberly and decided impartially." Early in his career he achieved considerable success as a writer of short stories and his experience doubtless stood him in good stead. His Supreme Court opinions were concise and clear and were promptly filed.
Among his hobbies were golf and sailing. He and Mrs. Dickenson spent their summers in Madison and he almost always had a boat. He did a good deal of cruising with her and with his colleagues. He was an extremely sociable person and his skill as a raconteur was unexcelled. His presence at any party ensured its success.
Justice Dickenson was held in the highest esteem and affection by the bench and bar of this state.
*Prepared by Hon. Newell Jennings, of Bristol.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 129, page iii
Appointed to the Supreme Court May 23, 1942, to take effect upon the retirement of Hon. Christopher L. Avery.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 136, page iii
Retired March 11, 1950, under constitutional limitation as to age.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 263, page iii
Appointed to the Appellate Court May 13, 2003, to take effect May 13, 2003.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 233, page 920
The Honorable James P. Doherty died on July 18, 1995. He was ninety-six years old. Judge Doherty was first appointed to the bench in 1959 and became a state trial referee in 1969. A lifelong resident of Hamden, Judge Doherty served on that town's board of education from 1925 to 1927 and on the board of selectmen from 1928 to 1933. He was prosecuting attorney for the Hamden Town Court from 1933 to 1938 and judge of the Hamden Town Court from 1949 to 1951 and 1955 to 1959.
Judge Doherty received his B.A. degree from Holy Cross College in 1923 and his L.L.B. degree from Yale University School of Law in 1927. He was admitted to the Connecticut bar that same year.
Judge Doherty and his wife, Mary McGrath Doherty, were the parents of three daughters and four sons.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 67, pages 595 - 598
Tilton Edwin Doolittle was a descendant of the seventh generation from Abraham Doolittle, who was a resident of Massachusetts soon after the settlement of Salem, and removed thence to New Haven prior to 1642, and became a householder there. He was one of the committee appointed to establish a new colony in Wallingford, and took up his residence in that place about the year 1669. During King Philip's War he was a member of the vigilance committee and held military rank among the defenders of the town. Often chosen as deputy from New Haven and afterwards from Wallingford, to the General's Court, he was a man of repute, esteemed and respected by his fellow townsmen.
Mr. Doolittle was born at Riverside, Connecticut, July 31st, 1825. His father, Ambrose E. Doolittle, and his grandfather, Benjamin Doolittle, were natives of Cheshire and farmers by occupation. His mother was Elizabeth A. Benham of Cheshire, Connecticut, a descendant from Joseph Benham who removed from New Haven to Wallingford in 1670.
He prepared for college at the Protestant Episcopal Academy in Cheshire, and in 1840 entered Trinity College, Hartford, and graduated there in 1844. He then entered the Yale Law School and graduated thence in 1846. He was admitted to the bar at Middletown in August 1846, within a day or two of his twenty-first birthday.
Mr. Doolittle established his first law office in Cheshire where he remained until 1850. In 1848 he married Mary A. Cook, daughter of John Cook, of Wallingford. In 1850 he removed to Meriden and in 1858 to New Haven, where he thereafter resided. In 1861 he entered into partnership with Judge Samuel L. Bronson and was associated with him until 1870. In 1874 he formed a new partnership with Judge Henry Stoddard. In 1876 William L. Bennett was admitted to this firm, which was then known as Doolittle, Stoddard & Bennett. In 1882 Judge Stoddard left the firm to go upon the Superior Court bench. The business association between Mr. Doolittle and Mr. Bennett continued until the death of the former, having existed more than twenty-five years.
In the spring of 1859 Mr. Doolittle was appointed United State District Attorney by President Buchanan, in the place of Judge William D. Shipman who had been appointed judge of the United States District Court. He held this office until 1860. In 1866, 1867 and 1870 he represented New Haven in the lower house of the legislature. In 1874 he was again one of the representatives from New Haven, and was elected Speaker of the House. In 1879 he was appointed State's Attorney for New Haven County, succeeding the Hon. O. H. Platt. He held this office until January, 1896, when at the opening of the January term of the Superior Court in New Haven County, he resigned. For more than a year before that time he had been aware that the work of his life, if not life itself, was nearing its end; and on the 21stday of March, 1896, after a few weeks' illness from which he seemed about to recover, he died suddenly and without pain.
At a largely attended bar-meeting called to take action upon Mr. Doolittle's death, Ex-Governor Charles R. Ingersoll, in presenting resolutions which were unanimously adopted, spoke substantially as follows; - "I confess that it is very difficult for me, here in this assemblage of the lawyers of New Haven County, to speak of Tilton E. Doolittle as no longer among living men. He has been for so many years a living, actual and vigorous presence in this court-room, at these tables, before this bench, and among the many busy men who daily come and go through the offices and halls of this building, that I cannot yet easily bring myself to think of him in any other association. It seems to me that he must still live as our courts live, so thoroughly has he been identified with them. Nor can it be necessary for me to tell any one here who Tilton E. Doolittle was. His personality was so individual that the youngest lawyer at this bar knew him as he actually was. He wore no mask. He never posed for what he was not. He never posed, indeed, for anything that he was. In all his ways, in all his moods, under all circumstances, he was simply himself, - he was Doolittle. I never knew a man more content to let the world put its own valuation upon his worth. This forcefulness of character was certainly born with him, but it was greatly strengthened by his career at this bar. He came into practice a half-century ago, and with the exception of a few months when he was out of the State, I do not think there has been a term of the Superior Court for this county at which he has not been present, and generally an active participant. Looking at that long career in all its aspects of a much varied and hardworking practice, so largely in the court-room, it is not easy to find the parallel in our State. And in this practice the individuality of which I have spoken was conspicuous. That voice even, so familiar to these walls, had its tone characteristic of him. His methods of trial, his vigor of attack, his skill of defense, his promptness to use every weapon of the thoroughly equipped lawyer which he was - were all manifested in a manner that was his own peculiarly, and impressed upon every one his strong personality. And he has gone through these fifty years of professional life with all the burdens and heat of conflict that are inseparable from it, with respect and esteem and friendship of his fellow members of this bar.
"But it was not altogether in this court-room that these forceful traits of character were shown. There was a side of his character which those who have known him as long as I have, and particularly in these latter years, have had frequent occasions to recognize. He had a most kindly nature, and it was quick to respond to any appeal to his sympathy or friendship. In his administration of that most responsible and important office which he has held with such marked ability for so many years - the State's Attorneyship for this county - he is to be remembered, nor more for the zeal and vigor with which he has prosecuted crime in courts, than for the wisdom, prudence, humanity and integrity with which he has discharged its great responsibilities outside the court-room."
Ex-Governor Henry H. Harrison, having recalled the names of many brilliant members of the bar at the time Mr. Doolittle began practice - Ralph I. Ingersoll, his brother Charles A. Ingersoll, Roger S. Baldwin, Dennis Kimberly, Clark Bissell, Henry Dutton and Alfred Blackman - "such a galaxy of great lawyers as had never been seen here before and has never been since," proceeded:
"In that school our friend began his professional life, and under the influences which a high-minded and honorable set of great men and great lawyers would necessarily exert upon him, in that school, under the influences, he got his training. The school and its influences would have been no use to him had he not possessed, as he did possess by nature, the instinct, the tastes, the moral character which fitted him to feel the influences, and all the influences of his environment there, and to absorb and assimilate all that was valuable in them.
"Well, in due time these men passed away. The young lawyer continued his course; I will not go over it; continued it always gaining strength by going, until he reached that place here which for many years has been by all of you unanimously accorded to him. He cared little for public life, although he repeatedly served the public well for short periods of time, by the mandate of his fellow-citizens. But the court-room was his place; he was a lawyer down to the quick; he delighted in the contest, the stress and strain and struggle of forensic life in such a place as this. He was here the hero of many battles; he enjoyed victory; always believing he was on the right side; never doubting that; but when defeat came, why, like every manly man, he took it in a manly way.
"And now he has died at last a veteran, as veterans always hope to die, in the very act of laying down his armor. Those who entered this bar contemporaneously with him are few in number. There are in this county only some six or eight of them still living. But they are in the place that nobody else fully occupies, for they stand at this end of his career and they are able to look back for fifty years during the whole of it to its beginning. And they see in that career not one act done by him unworthy of a high minded and honorable generous man. They part with him in sorrow; and so long as they shall live they will remember him with profound respect and sincere affection."
Ex-Judge Henry Stoddard also spoke and said, in part: "It will not, perhaps, be out of place for me to add a few words to what has been so well said by Governors Ingersoll and Harrison. I knew Mr. Doolittle somewhat intimately after I came to the bar, and was his associate in business for several years. In consultation at the office his knowledge of law was intuitive, grounded of course upon a thorough study and appreciation of its fundamental principles; and even in the most intricate causes, arising but seldom in our practice, his unerring sagacity invariably went straight to the marrow of the controversy. In the trial of his causes he was both sagacious and bold in attack, and in defense prudent and wary, a most dangerous antagonist and a most powerful ally. In his examination of witnesses I may say that he was without a peer, and especially so in his cross-examinations. In the discharge of his public duties he was always actuated by the highest motives; and in conduct of that great office which he recently laid down, it may truthfully be said that he not only discharged with entire faithfulness his duty to the public, but to individuals as well. For in the discharge of the duties of that office the public prosecutor owes a duty, not only to the public, but to the unfortunate and erring, and Mr. Doolittle never forgot to protect and assist the unfortunate, so far as it lay in his power to do so.
"While he always brought the highest degree of skill and a very large amount of labor to the trial of all his causes, yet there was one class of cases, or rather of clients, that called forth from Mr. Doolittle a more fervent application of all his powers of body and mind, than any other. I refer to those cases where the weak and the unfortunate applied to him for aid. In such cases he was unsparing of time and labor, and that without hope of any reward other than the consciousness of having done his full duty by a client who could not otherwise repay him.
"As a friend, Mr. Doolittle was the last degree open-hearted and generous, and I know that I express the common sentiment of those about me, who knew him so well, when I say that by this generation of lawyers their departed friend and associate will always be held in the most tender and grateful remembrance."
*Prepared by William L. Bennett, Esq., of the New Haven County bar, at the request of the Reporter.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 233, page 919
The Honorable Leonard W. Dorsey died on April 17, 1995, at the age of seventy-three. Judge Dorsey was appointed to the bench in 1973 as a judge of the Circuit Court. He became a judge of the Court of Common Pleas in 1976 and was elevated to the Superior Court in 1978. Judge Dorsey became a state trial referee in 1992.
Prior to his appointment to the bench, Judge Dorsey was an attorney in private practice for twenty years. One of Judge Dorsey's law firm colleagues, Thomas J. Meskill, Jr., later became governor. It was Governor Meskill who read the oath of office during Judge Dorsey's swearing-in as a judge of the Circuit Court in New Britain. Professional affiliations included membership in both the Hartford County and the New Britain bar associations.
Judge Dorsey served in the United States Navy from 1942 to 1945. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a B.A. degree in 1950, and from the University of Connecticut School of Law with an L.L.B. degree in 1953. He was admitted to the Connecticut bar that same year.
A New Britain resident, Judge Dorsey was married to Patricia Dudack Dorsey and was the father of four daughters and two sons.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 197, pages 821 - 822
Attorney Donald H. Dowling, of Avon, the eleventh Reporter of Judicial Decisions and former Chief Clerk of the Connecticut Supreme Court, died October 30, 1985, at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford after a long illness.
The Honorable Ellen A. Peters, Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court, praised Attorney Dowling for bringing to his position "unflagging energies devoted to the improvement of the reporting of decisions by all of the courts in this state.
"Throughout his stewardship, he insisted on the scrupulously conscientious editing of all the materials that appear in the Connecticut Reports. He will be remembered always for his devotion to excellence and for the high standards he set for himself and his staff.
"On behalf of the Justices of the Supreme Court and the entire Judicial Department, I extend to his family our condolences," she said.
Attorney Dowling held the rank of captain in the United States Naval Reserve and, at the time of his death, had completed his eighth year as chief staff judge advocate of the Naval Reserve Readiness Command, Region 1, Newport, Rhode Island.
He was a graduate of St. Thomas Seminary and Wesleyan University. Following four years of active duty with the United States Navy, he enrolled at the Yale University Law School, where he received his Juris Doctor degree in 1961. He was admitted to the Connecticut Bar that same year.
Following graduation from law school, Attorney Dowling entered private law practice. In 1966, he joined the Judicial Department as Deputy Reporter of Judicial Decisions and, in 1968, he succeeded Attorney Louis Weinstein as the eleventh Reporter of Judicial Decisions. During his seventeen years as Reporter, he was responsible for many innovations in the process by which court decisions are published, including the introduction of a reporting and publishing system that provided members of the Bar instant reference capability, and substantially reduced the time period between the reporting of a case and its appearance in a bound volume. In 1982, he completed a ten volume digest of the reported cases for all state courts.
Attorney Dowling is survived by five brothers and two sisters.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 254, page iii
Appointed to the Appellate Court October 12, 2000, to take effect November 9, 2000.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 191, page iii
Appointed to the Appellate Court August 9, 1983, to take effect August 15, 1983.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 194, page iii
Appointed Chief Presiding Judge [of the Appellate Court] November 21, 1984.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 243, page iii
Senior Judge effective September 1, 1997.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 37, pages 620 - 622
HENRY DUTTON, late a Judge of the Supreme Court of Errors and of the Superior Court of this state, and a former Chief Magistrate of the state, died at his residence in the city of New Haven on the 26th day of April, 1869. A sagacious lawyer, a successful advocate, one of the leaders of the Connecticut bar, and, later, an able and honored Judge, it is eminently fitting that these pages should embody a brief tribute to his memory.
Judge Dutton was born in Watertown, in this state, on the 12th of February, 1796. His early opportunities for education were limited "to the advantages ordinarily possessed by a farmer's boy, but an eager desire for self-improvement led him to qualify himself for admission to Yale College, where he was graduated with honor in 1818. After graduation he studied law with the Hon. Roger Minott Sherman, in Fairfield, at the same time teaching in the village academy in that place. Subsequently he filled the position of tutor in Yale College for two years, and in 1823 commenced the practice of his profession at Newtown in Fairfield County. From that time down to the date of his elevation to the bench Judge DUTTON'S professional life was, in a pre-eminent degree, an active and laborious one. Associated at the outset of his career with such men of distinguished ability as Roger W. Sherman, Thaddeus Betts, Charles Hawley, Reuben Booth, and others who then composed the bar of Fairfield County, Judge DUTTON never doubted his own ultimate success. The event justified his anticipation. Entirely devoted to the duties imposed upon him by his profession, he grew steadily in knowledge, power and reputation, until he at last became the acknowledged head of the bar of his adopted county.
In 1837 Judge DUTTON removed from Newtown to Bridgeport. His life in the latter place was one of great professional activity, as will be readily seen by a reference to the Connecticut Reports. The purity of his private life, the eminence of his legal acquirements, and his professional successes, gave him a deep hold on the confidence of the community, and he was, in consequence, made the recipient of many public offices; among others he held the position of State Attorney for Fairfield County, and on numerous occasions represented the interests of Bridgeport in the State Legislature.
In 1847 Judge DUTTON accepted an invitation from the Corporation of Yale College to fill the chair of Kent Professor of Law in the Yale Law School, and thereupon removed to New Haven. In addition to the duties of his professorship, Judge DUTTON continued after his removal to engage in active practice both in New Haven and Fairfield Counties, and during one year acted as Judge of the New Haven County Court. He also, during the same period prepared and published his Revision of Swift's Digest, and assisted in preparing the Revisions and Compilations of our Statutes in 1849, 1854, and 1866. He also found leisure to devote to political affairs, and in 1854 was elected Governor of the state by a vote of the legislature, the people having failed to effect a choice at the preceding spring election.
In 1861 Judge DUTTON was chosen a Judge of the Supreme Court of Errors, and of the Superior Court, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the retirement of the late Judge Ellsworth. He remained on the bench as associate Judge of the Supreme Court until he reached the age of seventy, upon the 12th of February, 1866. After leaving the bench he devoted his energies chiefly to duties connected with the Law School, though engaging to some extent in general practice, until his death in the spring of 1869.
Judge Dutton devoted himself most earnestly and assiduously to his profession, and few men in the state have ever achieved higher distinction in it. Without being a profound student of the law he had a mind well stored with legal principles, a remarkably extensive and accurate knowledge of adjudged cases, wonderful readiness in their application, great quickness of perception, much fertility of resource, and a happy audacity in asserting and maintaining new lines of legal thought which made him a most formidable antagonist.
As an advocate he possessed great power, not only in presenting questions of fact to a jury, but also in the discussion of purely legal questions before the court. His devotion to the interests of his clients was unbounded and no labor was too arduous if he could thereby protect their rights or secure their success. His mind was eminently a practical one. Trained by a large and varied experience in the ordinary affairs of life, it discarded mere theories, and yet was ready to accept of any innovations upon established usage that approved themselves to his common sense. To his practical sagacity while a member of the legislature is largely due that fundamental change in our law of evidence permitting parties in interest to testify - an improvement in the law which the state of Connecticut had the honor to pioneer.
As a Judge he was always courteous, accommodating and prompt in the despatch of business; quick to reach conclusions, his mind readily received new impressions and was not tenacious of an opinion once formed. By his impartiality, intelligence and ability he commended himself in the discharge of his judicial duties to his brethren of the bench and bar. To his worth as a man no tribute need be paid; his character in every relation of life was most exemplary; he was everywhere an upright, generous and kindly hearted man; he lived an useful and successful life, and, dying, left an honored name.
*Prepared at the request of the Reporter, by Louis H. Bristol, Esq., of the New Haven County bar.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 30, page iii
Elected [to the Supreme Court of Errors] by the Legislature at its May Session 1861 to fill the vacancy caused by the expiration of the term of Judge Ellsworth.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 33, pages iii
Retired [as Judge of the Supreme Court of Errors], under the constitutional limitation as to age, on the 12th day of February, 1866.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 13, appendix page 5
Born at Northampton, Mass., Dec. 15th, 1764; in Nov. 1783, began the study of law, in the office of Pierpont Edwards, Esq. at New Haven; admitted to the bar in Jan. 1787; passed the time in Greenfield, in the county of Fairfield, until Nov. 1787, when he settled in the practice of law, at Haddam, in the county of Middlesex ; Feb. 1791, removed to Hartford and resumed practice in that city; in October 1806, was elected a representative to Congress for a single session, to fill a vacancy which had occurred, by the resignation of the Hon. John Cotton Smith, but declined being a candidate at any future election. In May 1809, he was elected a member of the Council of the State, and was continued, by re-election, until 1815, when he relinquished the practice of law and removed to Albany, in the State of New-York, and set up the Daily Advertiser in that city. In February 1817, he remained in the city of New-York, until 1836, when he returned to Hartford.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 147, pages 733 - 734
John T. Dwyer, the senior judge of the Common Pleas Court, died July 22, 1960, after being stricken in a Connecticut Turnpike restaurant, having that day completed a contested matter on the bench in his summer chambers assignment.
Judge Dwyer was named to the Common Pleas bench on April 23, 1935, by Governor Wilbur L. Cross and had been appointed for a new term commencing November 3, 1960.
He was born in Ansonia, Connecticut, November 7, 1891, and was graduated from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., in 1915. He joined the Norwalk law firm of Keogh and Candee and continued with it until 1932 except for the period of his service in the United States Army at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, in 1918. In 1932, he formed a partnership with Sheldon B. Smith. He ran for state senator in 1930 in the twenty-sixth district, succumbing only to the rural vote in the small towns comprising the district. He surpassed the Republican candidate in Norwalk. He was appointed corporation counsel of Norwalk in the administration of Mayor Harold L. Nash in 1931 but resigned in 1933 when he was appointed judge of the Norwalk City Court, succeeding the late United States Senator Brien McMahon. He was a past exalted ruler of the Norwalk Lodge of Elks and a member of the American, state and local bar associations, the Frank C. Godfrey Post of the American Legion, and the South Norwalk Council of the Knights of Columbus.
Early in his judicial life he suffered a grievous loss in the death of his wife, Kathleen Tracey Dwyer, and was left with the problem, especially difficult for a father, of guiding and directing an only daughter. His daughter was a matter of joy to him, and, as her personality developed, she occupied a conspicuous place in his esteem as well as in his affection. After her marriage to William Dysart of Tulsa, Oklahoma, that became a place of at least an annual visit by the judge. He also undertook, to some extent, travel in the Caribbean and in South America.
While Judge Dwyer was associated with Keogh and Candee, much of the appellate work of the office came into his hands, oftentimes when he had not been present at the trial table. So functioning, he became familiar with the rules of procedure and appellate practice to the extent of becoming expert in the presentation of such matters and in brief writing. It was the legal side of any problem that attracted him. Not that he neglected the facts. Not that he overlooked the practicalities. Most men stop with them. But in his mind, they were the starting point, the springboard from which he took off into the upper air of close reasoning and analysis in which many find it so difficult to breathe. He was at home in this rare atmosphere. He read the law, he understood it and he applied it carefully and deliberately. Perhaps, too deliberately. If he had a weakness, that was it. In this jet age, he sometimes moved slowly. He probably felt that speed is not the answer to all our problems. Could it be that he was right?
His interest in aspiring candidates for the bar, his association with their efforts, his satisfaction and pleasure in their ultimate achievement, his kindly treatment of the younger members of the bar, gave to some of us the sincere impression that his area of effort could have been in elucidation over the teaching desk. He found his relaxation in the study of governmental and political affairs. He went daily to the newspapers as some men go to poetry or novels or mystery stories. He read them exhaustively and little of significance escaped him. He went further. For many years he received and read the "Congressional Record." One suspects that in his daydreams he was a senator longing to move others with his logic and his eloquence, although, in fact, he had little aptitude for that sort of life.
He had a great capacity for human companionship. He enjoyed good food, good drink and good fellowship. He was not loud or assertive or arrogant, but he could keep the ball of conversation bouncing back and forth with lively interest and good humor. His wit was sometimes sharp like a needle but never heavy like a sword.
He has left behind him life's greatest wealth - a host of friends who loved him and will miss him.
*Prepared by Hon. Edward J. Quinlan, of Norwalk, and Hon. John M. Comley, of Stamford.
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