Ramblings & ephemera

Stanton the uber-lawyer

From Shelby Foote’s The Civil War: Fort Sumter to Perryville (244):

[Lincoln’s Secretary of War Edwin McMasters] Stanton had done devious things in his time. A corporation lawyer, he delighted also in taking criminal cases when these were challenging and profitable enough. His fees were large and when one prospective client protested, Stanton asked, “Do you I would argue the wrong side for less?” For a murder defense he once took as his fee the accused man’s only possession, the house he lived in. When he had won the case and was about to convert the mortgage into cash, the man tried to persuade him to hold off, saying that he would be ruined by the foreclosure. “You deserve to be ruined,” Stanton told him, “for you were guilty.”

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