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Reminiscences of an Old Georgia Lawyer

Judge Garnett Andrews

S. Kittrell Rushing, ed.

Publication Year: 2009

The old judge enjoyed swapping tales and sharing company with other lawyers, politicians, and family members. A true aristocrat of the Old South, Garnett Andrews (1798–1873) so enjoyed hearing and telling good yarns that he decided late in his life to preserve them for posterity. The judge wrote down a collection of his stories, including tales of men with whom he had worked—and some whom he had worked against—and in 1870, about three years before he died, he had his booklet printed and circulated among friends. He titled it Reminiscences of an Old Georgia Lawyer. This new volume reprises Andrews’s work, and features a new introduction by S. Kittrell Rushing. In recounting a lawyer’s life from the frontier period through the Civil War and into the Reconstruction era, Andrews’s recollections provide rare and fascinating details, particularly about pre–Civil War Georgia, the state of the judiciary in the early national period—about which little has been written—and the larger political and social milieu of antebellum and postbellum America. This is an eclectic mixture of tall tales, humorous anecdotes, and keen observations about southern society and the practice of law. In his introduction, Rushing places Andrews’s writings in a broad context. He addresses Andrews’s racial views head on, confronting and probing the racism, sexism, and classism of Andrews and his times. In addition, Rushing provides biographical and genealogical information about the judge and his family, including his daughter, the noted diarist and novelist Eliza Frances Andrews. This volume also includes other pieces by Andrews, among them letters, speeches, and his acceptance of the 1855 gubernatorial nomination. Highly readable and lively, Reminiscence of an Old Georgia Lawyer will enlighten and entertain both scholars and general readers interested in the history of Georgia, the Old South, and American legal history.

Published by: The University of Tennessee Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-x

Several years ago I told the luncheon guests of the Washington–Wilkes County Women’s Club that I know well many people of their Georgia community. The problem for me, I told the women, the Wilkes County people I know are long buried to the south of town in Resthaven Cemetery. Nevertheless, and in spite of the long stillness of many of my Washington-Wilkes ...

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Editor's Introduction

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pp. xi-xxvi

The old judge was a storyteller. He enjoyed sitting at table with other lawyers, politicians, and family, telling tales and sharing company. His graciousness was legendary, and the hospitality of his home is part of the historical record of nineteenth-century Georgia. Garnett Andrews was an aristocrat of the Old South. He was a lawyer, politician, and planter. But Garnett Andrews ...

Reminiscences of an Old Georgia Lawyer

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pp. 1-2

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pp. 3-4

If there be but a step from the sublime to the ridiculous, there is but another between representing the latter and becoming its object, and I know I run the risk of finding myself in the latter predicament by recording what I have heard told with effect, but which may appear very flat, diluted with the ink of my pen. I know there is no reputation to be made by retailing other men’s wit, ...

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Advertisement. To the Lawyers of the United States:

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pp. 5-6

The wit of the stage and literary men gives some of the most delightful reading in the English language, but, I think, inferior to that which might be had of our profession, if not lost—as much has been—to the world for want of record. I say lost to the world, because it is a gainer every time it is made to laugh, or is even amused. Besides, I think it due to the profession, that it ...

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Chapter I.

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pp. 7-14

Much of that about which I write, occurred some years before my professional life began, and was told me by others, and as some idea of the general state of society at that time is a very proper introduction to my professional reminiscences, I give that from a like source. An old friend—like many old people—was bewailing the degeneracy of the times; ...

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Chapter II.

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pp. 15-24

A foreigner, giving an account of his travels in the United States, and remarking on the decline of respect shown for authority, said, when we came out of the revolution the citizens had been subjects, and the people, substituting George Washington and the officers of the government for George the Third and the colonial officials, gave the former the same respect they had the latter. ...

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Chapter III.

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pp. 25-38

A young friend, formerly practicing law in Wilkes County, Georgia, rising to the dignity of editor of a newspaper, and seeming to have been hard run for matter, wrote the following amusing account of his “toughest law case.” With a hope of aiding him in his extremity, I contributed the three succeeding numbers to his paper; and as they relate to trials in the courts of the ...

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Chapter IV.

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pp. 39-64

Forty-eight years ago, when I came to the Bar,26 Dooly, the greatest wit of his day, was on the bench. “Tom Cobb,” 27 the great Senator, who “sent his word through the court house wall at every lick;” Mr. Upson,28 the most profound lawyer in the Sate; Mr. Lumpkin—late Chief Justice of the State—the most eloquent orator I every heard speak; Mr. Gilmer,29 afterwards Governor of ...

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Chapter V.

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pp. 65-74

What I have written relates to the Northern circuit of Georgia, in which I have resided; but practicing at one time in one county in the Middle circuit, I cannot let it pass without saying it was remarkable for the courtesy and high breeding of the leading members of its Bar, who always give tone to the rest of the profession and indeed, I may say, in some degree, to the best citizens of ...

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Chapter VI.

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pp. 75-102

The next and only circuit I shall notice, is the Western, (so named because it was the most Western when organized,) but now more in the North-eastern than Western part of the State.43 So, of the Northern, for it lacks much of being in the most Northern part of the State now, whatever, it may have been when named. As Judge Underwood 44 said of a lawyer, though I may not have been of ...

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Chapter VII. Fees

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pp. 103-108

The following letter explains itself: . . . “Enclosed you will find the Augusta Fee Bill, which I copy and send at your request. It is the same by which the Bar regulated the charges before the war. Reference to it is somewhat neglected now-a-days, but we sometimes use it as a standard. You know in these times of poverty, we are compelled to be governed by the circumstances of the parties in making charges.”...


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pp. 109-156


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pp. 157-166


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pp. 167-168


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pp. 169-174

E-ISBN-13: 9781572336919
E-ISBN-10: 1572336919
Print-ISBN-13: 9781572336780
Print-ISBN-10: 1572336781

Page Count: 200
Illustrations: 10 halftones
Publication Year: 2009