Scarce N.C. Lawyer's Memoirs in Dust Jacket
Seawell, Joseph Lacy. LAW TALES FOR LAYMEN. [Spine and dust jacket title: "Law Tales for Laymen and Wayside Tales from Carolina."]. Raleigh, N.C.: Alfred Williams & Co., 1925. First edition. Raleigh, N.C.: Alfred Williams & Co., [printed by Bynum Printing Co.], 1925. 314 pages, plus six full-page photographic plates. The front free endpaper is printed with a copyright notice on the recto and prior appearance notice on verso. Original olive-green cloth with gilt spine lettering. 20 x 15 cm. There was a variant in blue cloth, priority unknown. A good copy in good plus dust jacket. Moderate stains to both covers along and near the joints. The binding is a bit fragile internally (cracked between most gatherings), however, all contents are holding well (stitching is intact) and the hinges are sound. Foxing to the pages facing the plates, but only faint marginal foxing to the plates themselves. Jacket shows tiny tears to the head of the spine panel and upper corners, a short (2 cm) closed tear at the bottom of the front hinge, and a pinhead-sized hole near the top of the spine panel. FIRST EDITION. Joseph Lacy Seawell (1869-1936), a native of Raleigh, was an attorney and for many years the clerk of the Supreme Court of North Carolina. This collection of essays, several of which were previously published in “The New York Times,” includes recollections of court cases and of lawyers and judges Seawell knew, plus musings on various episodes in American legal history and the history of North Carolina. Seawell discusses state laws regarding women, provides a defense of capital punishment, defends slavery, and laments the impact of Reconstruction on the North Carolina legal system. In one chapter, Seawall recounts the 1897 trial of Henry Crichton, an African American waiter, for attempted murder in Lynchburg, Virginia. In “A Negro who Prepared Whites for College,” he discusses John Chavis, who ran an all-white school in Granville County and educated Gov. Manly and other prominent North Carolinians. Another chapter is devoted to Thomas Blacknall, a former slave who became a wealthy slave-owner himself. Seawell also discusses episodes in Andrew Jackson’s life (including his duels with Waightsill Avery and Charles Dickinson) and the origin of the term lynching. At the end are two biographical addresses: one by Junius Davis on Supreme Court justices, Alfred Moore and James Iredell (pp. -291) and the other by R.W. Winston on Leonard Henderson, chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court (pp. -314). Archibald Henderson provided the foreword and a blurb on the dust jacket. Thornton 12341.
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