THE STORY OF THE ATTEMPTED ASSASSINATION OF JUSTICE FIELD BY A FORMER ASSOCIATE ON THE SUPREME BENCH OF CALIFORNIA. George C. Gorham.

THE STORY OF THE ATTEMPTED ASSASSINATION OF JUSTICE FIELD BY A FORMER ASSOCIATE ON THE SUPREME BENCH OF CALIFORNIA.

[np. San Francisco? nd. 1893?]. 198pp. Bound in original publisher's blue cloth, with gilt-lettered title stamped on spine [light rubbing at the extremities]. Repair to blank endpaper. Very Good.

Gorham was, as stated in the Publisher's Note, "a lifelong friend of Justice Field," and spent much of his career in Justice Field's courts. He tells the unusual story of Terry's enmity against Field, the exciting chain of events, and Terry's final fate. Field, "a brilliant lawyer and one of the founders of Marysville" [Wheat Gold Rush 76], was named by President Lincoln in 1863 to the Supreme Court, where he served 34 years, eclipsing John Marshall's 33-year record. "A craving for excitement led him to voyage to California during the Gold Rush year of 1849." He became "the equivalent of mayor-plus-judge in Marysville; he also became wealthy through real estate speculation and fees. Field emerged as a colorful and controversial character in the unsettled days of the little community, making enemies who would follow him even to the Supreme Court" [Hall].
Terry, an ambitious and belligerent lawyer, quickly became Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court in a stunning 1855 upset. A pro-slavery Democrat, he then killed anti-slavery U.S. Senator David Broderick of California in a duel. Terry's personal life was equally chaotic. He fell in love with Sarah Althea Hill Sharon, who was then enmeshed in "one of America's noted trials... Sarah Althea Hill, a designing woman had married William Sharon, a got-rich-quick mining potentate, ostensibly for his money. At any rate Sharon claimed fraud in his suit for divorce. David S. Terry represented Mrs. Sharon as counsel. He later married his client. Judge Field had presided at the trial" [46 Decker 41, 42]. Field declared Sarah's marriage to Sharon a fraud, and held Terry and Mrs. Sharon in contempt of court. Enraged, Terry sought revenge, attacking Field at breakfast in 1889. U.S. Marshal Neagle, assigned to protect Field, killed Terry.
Howes G259. Cowan 244. Rocq 9583. Cowan 209. Not in Harvard Law Cat. or Marke. Hall, The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States 289-292. Item #37596

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