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and study. In 1834 he entered Western Reserve college, at Hudson, Ohio, but lack of means prevented him from completing his course. At the age of twenty one he was elected justice of the peace for Richland township, and held the office for many years. As justice of the peace he gave general satisfaction, being always just, thorough and exact. He was elected to the state legislature in 1819. His thorough acquaintance with the wants of the locality and hearty identity with its interests, combined with his parliamentary ability and ready talent for debate made him a valuable representative. In 1860 he was a delegate to the republican national convention, held at Chicago, and was earnest in his efforts to secure the nomination of William H. Seward. He was a presidential elector the same year, and was also elected probate judge of Kalamazoo county, which office he held for eight years. From 1864 to 1868 he was a member of the national republican committee. He was a member of the convention which revised the state constitution in 1867. In 1869 he was commissioned consul general at Calcutta, but, fearing the effect of the climate on his health, he declined the appointment. One year later he was appointed governor of New Mexico. This position he accepted, and held at the time of his death, which occurred at Santa Fé, New Mexico, June 3, 1875. He married, in 1836, Louisa Mills, daughter of Augustus Mills, of Richland.' His wife and two children survive him. He was an esteemed member of the Congregational church for many years before his death. Judge Giddings was a man whose physical weakness was the more marked by contrast with his rare intellectual strength.
A quick, retentive memory made him "an invaluable assistant in historical and legal research, and, coupled with his gift of clear expression, made him an effective speaker and a powerful advocate. He was a well read lawyer, and his cool judgment and knowledge of human nature made him a safe counselor. Poor health compelled him, in later years, to avoid the excitement of litigation in the courts. He excelled in the thorough preparation of his cases. He disliked to be tied to law precedents-looked upon them as old, lacking common sense. As a public speaker, he was forcible, argumentative, often sarcastic, and sometimes eloquent. Much of his time was devoted to politics, and few men in the state were better known, or better versed in the political history of the country. A zealous whig, he took a prominent part in the formation of the republican party. He was a partisan from conviction, and was very influential in molding the course of the party which he had espoused. He was at home in a political convention; here “his foot was on his native heath,” and he was master of the situation. He was unsurpassed in doing effectual work for his party among a body of its representative men. Although outspoken in his political opinions, he had few enemies; since even when party feeling ran highest, he rarely allowed himself to speak unkindly of any one. He was eminently social in disposition, and everywhere genial and companionable. Those knew him best who knew him at his home. His wide familiarity with literature, his love of poetry and music, his quick appreciation of character, his exhaustless fund of anecdote, all contributed to his rare gifts as a conversationalist, and made his home a charming place. In all his relations, official and private, his influence was exerted in behalf of the best public interests; and his loss was sincerely regretted, not by his personal friends alone, but by multitudes who valued highly his public services.
As a rule it is always the easiest to do the best thing. Giddings knew how to try a lawsuit, because he went at it in the most natural and easy way. The habitués of the old court room of thirty five years ago say that he tried a case in the coolest, fairest and pleasantest manner of any lawyer they ever knew. He never lost anything by excitement or anger during the conflict of the trial. He would get along with the most difficult matter, the most obdurate witness, the most disagreeable and carping opponent, in the easiest manner possible. Trying a lawsuit, after all, is an affair in which the equable temper and manner of the lawyer have so much to do that they may be said often to turn the suit in jhis favor. Giddings carried his accustomed suaviter in modo into the court room, and made it as effectual in the conduct of business there as he did in social life. Knowing that mankind everywhere recognize "fair play as a jewel,” he made a lawsuit no exception to its use. While he respected and got along well with an honest pettifogger, yet he repudiated the “pettifogging" so much in vogue among a certain class of lawyers. Said he to one of the latter class, in a suit he was trying with him: “Now, B- , don't let us pettifog this case, but let us reason it through, like lawyers.” At another time he said: “E— is a pettifogger, but he always argues his case like a lawyer; while, on the other hand, Mis a lawyer, but he always pettifogs his case, whether in a justice or in a circuit court, and he always makes a long plea in every trivial suit, and bursts into rhetoric over every trivial incident.”
The judge's family were all gifted with a natural talent for music, and culture had given them rare attainments in this art. The writer, who for many years had been an occasional guest in their delightful home at Galesburg and Kalamazoo, still remembers with pleasure the rich musical treats he has enjoyed there, and how he and his cherished friend, the judge,
“Long, long through hour, the night and the chimes,
Would talk of old books, old friends and old times.” A few years ago, while traveling in the southern part of this state, I met many people who still spoke with enthusiasm of the old political campaigns when Marsh Giddings and "Charley” Stuart were “stumping it” in that part of the country; and as political orators they yet held the highest rank in their estimation. Giddings was thoroughly versed in politics. He was master of his subject, and when he appeared at the hustings was always ready to make an able and effective speech. He used to remind me of Daniel s. Dickinson, the celebrated political orator of New York. Like Dickinson, the very soul of a genial nature beamed from his countenance, and, like him, he had wit, a natural vein of drollery, aptness in illustration, a love of scripture quotations, and a rich fund of anecdotes and poetry, all of which enabled him to illustrate his argument, give point to his logic and carry conviction to the minds of his hearers. He would often win over or carry the crowd by persuasive humor where others would fail by mere serious argument. Let him speak in whatever place he would, there was a kindly manner, an air of sociability about him that won his way to the hearts of the people. He felt at home at the hustings and made his hearers feel that he was their friend. Of all political speakers that I ever heard none surpassed Marsh Giddings in the peculiar power of winning over his hearers by "putting himself in their place." "My democratic friend,” he would say, "may differ from me as to whom he will vote for at the coming election. This comes from our viewing the matter from different stand points. Now if he will listen, and I know he will, while I present the matter from my standpoint, and give the reason for my voting the whig or republican ticket (as the case might be) this fall, he will have this advantage, he will have a republican's reason for the faith that is in him, which, when fully understood, may be strong enough to influence him to vote right hereafter.” Thus he would reason and hold a democrat interested and instructed till his speech waz finished, which, in many cases, has brought the democrat to see the matter as the speaker saw it, and to vote as he voted. As has been said of a distinguished American orator, in regard to this peculiar power in influencing an audience, we can say of Giddings: "In whatever crowd or assembly he might be his mind would catch with marvelous facility the general tendency of the mind of the audience, and a chemical process, as it were, would take place within his mind. How could he fail then to force attention of those to whom he returned their own thoughts strengthened, broadened, and adorned with superb flights of eloquence.”
A REMINISCENCE OF THE OLD WHIG DAYS.
Horace Mower and Marsh Giddings were the popular whig orators in central Michigan. And it was largely due to their zeal and eloquence in the whig cause, that the whigs of Kalamazoo county rallied in such large numbers, and were so well represented in the great whig mass meeting at Marshall in the presidential campaign of 1844. The old whig party in this campaign tried to repeat the political coup d'etat of 1840, and carry the election by public parade and song. Kalamazoo county whigs outdid themselves in their efforts to get up a large delegation for Marshall on this occasion. The towns in the county seemed to vie with each other in their endeavor to muster the most men. The procession that left the "burr oak city” was one mile long, and took the banner for the largest delegation. But the Portage delegation, all things considered, took the banner for Kalamazoo county. A. K. Burson, of Prairie Ronde, drove a four horse team, tricked off with banners and bells in real Canestoga style. Richland furnished a four horse team, with whom went Giddings and Gilbert E. Reed. From the latter I got this reminiscence. Grand Prairie sent an eight horse team, gay with banners, and lively with music. An unique feature of the procession was a delegation of native Americans from Kalamazoo, led by Selkrig and Joy, bedizened in war paint and feathers, sitting in a monster canoe on wheels, drawn by four horses. The procession stopped at Battle Creek and the orators, Mower, Giddings and Dr. Isaac Lamborn, made speeches from the old Battle Creek house balcony. The “old Doctor,” who spoke for an hour or more, in his whig enthusiasm made this remarkable declaration: “Fellow citizens, there are really but three great men in America. Daniel Webster is one, Henry Clay is another, and the third, modesty forbids me to mention !” At Marshall the great whig orators, Frank Granger, of New York, and Thayer, of Boston, and others, addressed this rousing whig mass meeting. Ossian E. Dodge, the famous singer, sang his most popular whig songs, and, among others, “. Such a nominee, as Jimmy K. Polk, of Tennessee.” A misfortune met the procession at Battle Creek. Some unfriendly persons stole the canoe. Of course the whigs laid the theft to the democrats. The Richland delegation did not get back from Marshall under three or four days.
FLAVIUS J. LITTLEJOHN,*
Of the Allegan Bar.
Judge Littlejohn's ancestry was Scotch on his father's side, and English on his mother's side. His grand parents came from England and settled near Boston, Massachusetts. Mr. Littlejohn's parents removed from Worcester, Mass., to Litchfield, Herkimer county, New York, where all but the two oldest of a family of twelve children were born. The names of the children
* See vol. 3, page 310.
are, John, Tilley, Levi S., Mary (Mrs. Amasa Pratt), Silas F., Augustus, Flavius J., Lydia (Mrs. Wells), Philo B., Elizabeth, Charlotte (Mrs. Marsh), and Gilbert H. The writer of this sketch remembers John, who was a Presbyterian clergyman and revivalist, and Augustus, clergyman and temperance lecturer, a sketch of whom will be found in volume 5 of these collections.
Flavius Josephus Littlejohn was born in Litchfield, Herkimer county, N. Y., July 20, 1804. He remembered the war of 1812. He had the benefit of the common schools of Litchfield, and fitted for college at the Whitesborough academy, in Whitestown, Oneida county. He entered Hamilton college at Clinton, N. Y., in 1824, and graduated in 1827 with the valedictory and first honors of his class.
He read law and prepared for his profession in Herkimer village with Hoffman & Hunt, and entered upon his practice in 1830 at Herkimer. His first suit was at Utica, Oneida county, and his opponent in this trial was the celebrated Alvan Stewart, who was the James Otis of the moral revolution of his day. And despite the able counsel opposed to him he won the suit. He practiced law two years at Little Falls, Herkimer county. In one of his suits he was taken with bleeding at the lungs in the court room. This compelled him to abandon, for a time, his chosen profession. In the spring of 1836 he came to Michigan for the benefit of his health, and to improve it he sought out door work. Having first settled at Allegan, which was then néarly an unreclaimed wilderness, he became surveyor, engineer, geologist and lawyer by turns. He surveyed the west end of the proposed routes of the Clinton and Kalamazoo canals. At the end of eight years he returned to the practice of his profession in Allegan.
In 1842 he was elected to the legislature, where he made his mark and was reëlected twice, and then, in 1847, was sent to the state senate, and was president pro tem. of that body during the long session of 1816, when the revised statutes were discussed and adopted. In 1818 he was again elected to the house, and sat in the first legislature which assembled in the then new capitol at Lansing. He was also a member of the legislature of 1855. In the interval he practiced law. In 1858 he was elected circuit judge, and tried the first case in the new county of Muskegon in 1859. His circuit was one of very large extent, when there were but few roads; and it entailed on him the most severe labors. In 1866 his circuit was changed to Van Buren, Kalamazoo and Allegan counties.
He was at first an anti-slavery man of the old school. Then he became a free soiler, and ran on the first free soil and whig ticket, in 1819, for governor against John S. Barry, democrat, receiving 23,540 votes against 27,837 for his opponent. He finally became a democrat. But in whatever party