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THE FARMER AND MECHANIC.
GEORGE W. BROOKS Last Federal Judge of the State of North Carolina and First Judge of the Eastern District By Hon. Francis D. Winston, and read by him on the occasion of ;r , presentation Monday night. September 6, by sons and daughters of judge. Brooks, of a portrait of their father to the U. S. Court at Raleigh u: -til OKS, th. a n d the S44. r. it love 'i'hf .'T.s and daughters of lion. George W. Brooks, last federal Judge f(,r the State of North Carolina and i:rt j idfro of the eastern district, re O.jtst that your Honor receive, for a pMce 'n the. walla of thus court-room. it, turned eowardlv from slavery and was an was educat- this portrait of their honored father. l is the work of one of the foremost portrr.it painters of America. They do me the very high honor of rt trusting the presentation to me, and for this honor I thank them. Our fathers were friends of a life time, b:u2 much in common of early struggle, and of final success, and were closely allied in legislative and convention labors. Their children are friends. The artist has, with master strokes, pla-ced on his canvass the face and form of Judge Brooks, and as one studies the portrait, the marked char acteristics of the man are discovered, order, decision of character, neatness, reserve, fixedness of purpose, deter mination, poise. It is appropriate, and custom war rants, that I should accompany this request with a. sketch of his life, and a tribute to his worth. I can speak b;:t little from personal acquaintance. I first saw Judge Brooks when he was .1 member of the convention of 1865. I appeared in his court but once, at the last term held by him, and then only for a formal entry of a consent judgment. One who studies the life of another uith whom his personal contact was limited, must find his material in the conversation of those who knew his subject well, from traditions and from what hits been published of him and Ly him. Judge Brooks never spoke, nor wrote, for publication. Those who w-er actors with him have mainly followed him. No lawyer is living who over saw him at the bar. If these sources of information are scant, wo are fortunate in knowing xhe pivotal points of his life and from l hem we can see clearly the moving causes of his conduct- The spot of around on which a man is born, the character and location of the school he attends in youth; the environment t his professional preparation, de cidedly mark his habits and char acter, and shape and control his con duct. If these surroundings are uti iisual, then their Impress is the more certain and the more controlling. In thee respects we have a striking Illustration in the life of Judge 'ti rooks. His hve of liberty was intense. He "was bom in that atmosphere. The colonial record of organized Rovornment in North Carolina is of a general assembly by the people of Ihe colony near the home of Captain Mecklefleld, which is now supposed to have tn-en located near the present ate of Nixonton, is Pasquotank county. In his Grandfather's Tales." the late CoL Richard lienbury Creecy makes (lie following narrative in sup tort of the tradition: "Gen. Duncan McDonald, of Eden ton, was my kinsman by marriage, a good man, fond of children, indulgent and libefal with them. He was a military- man by training and position, and his official business often called hirn to distant places in his military district. On one of these occasions he was called to Elizabeth City to review the militia of Pasquotank county. I was to accompany' him. On the day appointed we equipped ourselves with a double rig and a nic stepping horse and started on our day's journey. The general was kind, chatty and com ranionable. Towards evening we crossed Hall's Creek bridge, in Pas quotank county, half a mile from Hecklefield farm, near Nixonton. On rising the hill at Hall's Creek, the general stripped the horse and said to me: " 'The first General Assembly of North Carolina met under that tree at the same time pointing to a large oak tree on the left-hand side of the road that towered above ths oaks that surrounded it. Oen. McDonald was a man of extensive information, of liberal culture, and particularly fond of antiquarian and historical lore." On the 11th day of June, 1910, at Hall's Creek churcli, a memorial tone Was set up with appropriate ceremony, commemorative of the pot pointed out by Gen. McDonald, n which that assembly was held. The inscription on the eton reads: "Here was held the first Albemarle Assembly, February 6. 1665, erected hy the Sir Walter Raleigh Chapter, daughters of the Revolution, June 11. 1S10." Within a mile of this spot In a Main country home, on the 16th day of March, 1821, wai born George Washington Brooks. How much the historic tradition that enveloped the Place of his birth entered Into his life, s a matter for conjecture. It is a fact that fifty years afterwards, he Issued the great writ of English lib erty when those who sacred duty it was to issue the task. He opposed advocate for peace. He ed in those nrincir.iey The Quaker element in our popula tion was prominent in the early settlement of Eastern North Carolina" m the colonial period, in the revolu tion and subsequently thereto up to the half of the nineteenth century, when negro slavery and the threats of the war had much to do with the emigration of our North Carolina Quakers to Indiana and Illinois. Bel videre, in Perquimans countv. still remains representative of that "sturdy people who made their distinctive im press upon the character of that sec tion. "The old time Quakers were a sturdy, stalwart people conserva tive, plain, direct in purpose and in speech, averse to worldly vanities, poised, prudent, undaunted by op position, shrewd in trade, and thrifty in buisiness." At Belvidere the yuaners maintained a first-class love as f ri-r.'N char.g. . 1 wi:!s hi -v f. f lib- loYe place r ? of his pre- I r i i k s. arid who :h i-h;tr- mother aquutank and school conducted along the lines of Under this master. Cori:e W TV entered as a student of the law relation was the m. t o confldential. He rea, h failure of Mr. Kinney's h.-akh Lnuer th.s association and was natural thai a eon-un for the union should take of the young student, such ' neither local considerations, example and beseeching . near and dear to him rouh It was a h've that in.cr-a maturity of body and mind!" We may well trace his it erty to the place of his birth oi ireeuum and oe.iro to rl of his schooling and his union to the atmosphere fessional training. His father was William C born in the county of Gates, was later a merchant of hi acter in Elizabeth Citv. Th was Catherine Davis, of ount.., ueseeiioeu irom orave patriotic revolutionary ancestry. The boyhood of George W. 1 '.rooks on his father's farm was marked bv industry and intelligence in his tasK, by obedience to his superiors and by a love for reading. He was the fore most student of his day at Belvidere Academy. On leaving the ofiiee of Mr. Kinney, he entered the law of fice of John B. Ehringhaus and was Mcensed by tlie Supreme Court to practice in the county courts in 18 4f.. In 184 6 he received his superior court ncepse. ne located in the county seat of his native countv. He married June 20, 18 50. Margaret Ann Gotten. of Gates county. Their children were William Costen Brooks, deceased. Dr. George Costen Brooks, of Suffolk, Va.. James Costen Brooks, an attornev. of Elizabeth City, Sallie Costen Brooks. who married Harry W. West, of Courtland, Va , and Maggie Costen Brooks who married George W. Cobb. ity. His devotion to seen in his giving her to each of their n c v r a 1 1 : meeting, fell it;!. i) heart of th' er-d their ' ro-.'irht t :. Hm led Ever-. a rr."re speaker ii?nent th n; nt. stii ran, heard eijaaii- erSIv John " of : i:.. .-is; r. .iL.-ht in i i in tlie m !; r ! - re W i'.: r-':i ti ,ie-t o A I i eVe.s r t! r.t- t!..lt Ae . 1 e h.-t - : t U Ik tnr nr. V e to th oh. ier.it. d.rv turn deh -V .i ' :!- 1 1 i s ! O Y 1 ? 1 . I , . r !;.!: : ri' His utt. ' a r n t he tn;. i n ta i r;e! s. dej recatt d aruuo! its f..t a con t N ruy. lie u IS e l'ele e r vetnid.;;e ro'ih u opinions n . ninait of tint i Ve a I U ., s tlllie. a "1 o - 1 t S l Ur. - hi ! 4 . !t : a !a r. the . 1 1 r IT..' is t i ' Hi - of U. S. JUPGi: GKO. W. BROOKS. Quaker life and characteristics. Here young BrooKs spent two years at school. Aiay we. not trace to the training of these years in that surrounding his conservatism, his directness, his bal ance, his prudence, his aversion to all forms of slavery whether of mind or of body? His devotion to the union was the all absorbing sentiment of his being. He opposed secession with all the in tensity of his nature. He read law with a New Englander. ADout tne year iszu mere came from Norwich, Conn., to Norfolk, Va on his way to Mobile, Ala,, Charles R. Kinney, a young man about twenty-six years of age, destined, in after years, to fill a place in the in fluence, affections and bitter antago nism of the Albemarle bar. There happened in Norfolk at the same time, Miles Gregory, a wealthy farm er from Camden county, who was stopping at the same hotel with the young stranger and who in a chance conversation found that he was seek ing employment. The conversation resulted in his making an engagement with Mr. Kinney to go to Camden county and teach the children of Mr. Gregorv in his family. He went out to Camden by boat through the Dis mal Swamp canal, and took charge of the Grecorv children as a member of the household. While so engaged he became acquainted with John H. Bailev, a member of the Pasquotank bar and afterwards judge of the superior court. Mr. Bailey sympa thized with the strutting, and soon IUU11U UUt LHVT V om-iiiit-ni yjt- uui'o Kinney; a poor man, ardent, ambi tious, educated, with refined and noble instincts, and everv inch a man. The result of this friendship was the en trance of vouns; Kinney as a student tn the. law office of Mr. Bailey. He made proficiency in his studies and wsls admitted to the bar. He located in Elizabeth City, and by his proves slonal attainments. his superipi natural gifts, and his impulsive and chivalrous nature, he became con spicuous with friend and foe. To his friends he was sympathetic, faith ful, loving, making himself part and parcel of their joys and sorrows; to his foes he was dauntless, unyielding, firm, and a bold as a tiger with fresh blood upon his teeth. He was Imbued with the New Engiand theory of our American g-overnment. and was a firm adherent of the Webster school of construing our constitution. of Elizabeth ( his wife is best maiden name children. Mr. iioidks ..tis diligent arid atten tive to the small business that comes to the young lawyer. He was most exemplary in his nabits at a time wnen some dissipation was the rule with his professional brethren. He was faithful to his client's cause. Diligence, attention, sobriety, faith fulness, then. ts ever, put him to the front and in a few years lie had profitable practice. Unlike most of the lawyers of his day he did not ride the full circuit- He found work more profitable and life more con genial in his office and in his home. His pleadings were clear and concise. His method of trial direct and con versational. He made clear state ments to judge and jury, rather than heated orations. He had a discrimi nating judgment, that was seldom at fault. His mind was of the judicial cast. He thoroughly weighed and examined every question in golden scales. He had courage of his convic tions and an opinion once deliberate ly formed reached the verge of ob stinacy, yet in times of stress and trial to his friends and to his community he was the "strong staff" on which they leaned for guidance and support. Physically and morally he shrank from no responsibility. He was thor oughly brave and of inflexible inte grity. He was a conspicuous repre sentative of that type of men, now so rare, who are lntiexioie to in and obstinately just." In him that noble quality was unquestioned and unquestionable. With him the love of the Union was a passion, an ab sorbing sentiment, which gave color to every act of his public life- it triumphed over party. It triumphed over policy. It brought him into close relation with those who differed with him in all else. It estrangeed him from those bound to him by the most sacred ties of friendship who agreed with him in all else save that. In 1852 he was elected a member of the House of Representatives from Pasquotank county. His service was honorable and was approved by his people. He never again sought po litical preferment. He was a mem ber of the Methodist Episcopal church and a Master Mason. George W. Brooks was not always in accord with the popular sentiment in the community in which he lived nor with the friends with whom he was intimatee; but no man ever ques tioned the honesty, or sincerity of his convictions. It was this deep im pression of his absolute honesty that enabled him sometimes to maintain his opinion in the face of a storm of popular sentiment that would have swept most other men before it. In an able editorial announcing the death of Judge Brooks, his intimate friend. Col. R. B. Creecy, wrote in his paper, the Economist: "At the outbreak of the late civil war between the States this commu nity and section were greatly divided upon the questions at issue and upon the policy of a resort to violent meas ures. The antagonism oi tne oio parties was still active and in the presence of imminent danger the lead ers stood apart. In this condition OI tilings nevs cuaue to mr io,4l through the Baltimore papers that a conflict had occurred in the streets of Baltimore between a Massachu setts regiment and the citizens in which blood had been shed on both sides. It fired the public mind and a public meeting was arranged for the next day in the court house. It was made the occa-sion to harmonize conflicting opinions. Leading repre sentative men of eve-ry phase of opin ion were invited to be present and address the assemblage. We have and calmly le .o intt r: aha. sie. !:-;; d op . ! i K ,n arms and so U:;e;-;ul d his MHt patiently. ; in that as in utter;;.: with the . rinu. conduct at that tune. aith opinions i e t heretic." At the close of ti;,. war of North Carolina held a :u convention ior t M pur justing the State to th Union. The States were one and indissoluble, and fr iend -. the peoph county, instinctively :r !!i;-;-ship in the IS'".;-,, which convened tolu'r L'nd. Amomr were fw who had origin fu -i ssion and none w ho mit'ly associated with t' pariy. Most of the me o!d -Willi's, Who Willi" o :fssion r.:id mhmittrd t the ma'or-'y a-, expre.'... cession "onv t.thm e-' th-iri v. ' i number of .'. . v.': ?r: : of the p-:. fore a a,', .nrinc the w a oi in - vroer; r.t.na;:' '' ') c ."a t e v..".' rauer to -to its i or ma I relation u . eral government. This peared as the session las The prime struggle was in dealing with th May, 161. That mat else progressed with The two constitutional sharply arrayed. The -p a i i v. 'Mi i d 1 !l .i:- 1 to man I;, oi d h.v hi the the nst p i S e oh:, to . n hi r called, him eonver.T a : in Bah IK e We t S t j e to of e ." r r.-d th ha f t hat i na to settled ill frit- bo h. ore. of on. ere ir.anee '.!:- ally adopted declared "that the oidin ance of the convention of th S.ate of North Carolina ratified on the 21st day of November. ITS'4. hioh adopted the constitution of the bnite.i States, and also all acts and parts of acts of the General Assembly r-,t:fy-ing and adopting nmoiplim nts to the said constitution are now and at all Jimes since the adoption and ratifica tion thereof, have been in full force and effect, notwithstanding the ordin ance of the L'Oth day of May. 1S61. declaring that the same "be repealed, rescinded and abrogated," and the said supposed ordinance, is now and hath been at all times null and void." The vote on its final adoption was 54 in the atirmative and 20 in the nega tive. Of course Brooks voted with the majority. The teaching and con viction of his life found clear and de finite expression in that vote. Ha voted as did every other member, for the ordinance abolishing slavery'- 1 do not find that he took part in the debates on either of these ordinances. He spoke with force and feeling fa voring the ordinance repudiating the State debt incurred in aid of the war measures- On April 2 3. 1361. Hen. Asa Biggs, the United States District Judge for the. State of North Caro lina, had resigned to President Lin coln and surrendered his comminlon. His resignation was couched In nolnt ed and dramatic language. North Carolina was the first of the ?ecedir.jr States to re-establish it e relatlcna with the Federal government, and the first of those Statese In which thy Federal courts were opened. Presi dent Johnson tendered the appoint ment to the vacant judge-hip to Tlon Robert P.. Dick. He was not able to take the oath of oftro required by law as provided ti the Act of Congress of March 2, 1S62. President Johns-. n then appointed Hon. Geortre W. Brooks to the va cancy. His nomination was quickly confirmed and he was commissioned January 22. 1 S 0 6. He waa the a. Federal -fudge for the whole State, It is coincidence that later, the Stat was divided into the present district and both he and Judge Dick were ar the same time United States DiHtrlct Judges. His entrance upon the duties of the bench was during a period oi unrest and of abnormal conditions. "U'o V,ui.l inst etnereed from, a t War and found the court system the Union greatly enlarged. N principles had been invoked to et- ! Vi1. O i. W legislation had it and new increasing power extremely ular. The name Federal" then i r good repute among court as well as the law wa. favor with the people. But it served for Judge i;r. M:-- to r-r..-.T- 1 li c e. nrt in the ' '( fellow citizens and 'iia.ii - u r : ; w '. s us. the ' m a V. e Wa A t r o name dear to Xf popular n'-un . native Stat-. Tn the administt of the criminal law he was ever j seeking at all times to uphold and force it. but never permittir.tr it to made an instrument of oppress; and r.evtr allowing the court to converted into machinery to ad', a IJ . r"f- . wn -n -h on. b (Continued on Paue Twenty.) y - " t i . i 4 v 4 i - . t if !- i . j ' b - i 1 ,. .: M . u 1 - M i 1 1 ; f l1 t 11 '-'is L ii, 'I i YA W - H " : I . '.ill i(Vtt & r 1 i ' 1 "S- -ttf t; 'iv ' , i .- : T .1 i - ? if .-i l4. ? 1 , i It - ! ii -1 i n ,- i. 1 1 ' l a - si ; I i s - i . ' i ,.a ' M 4 , . VP