Ward had not expected to appear as a witness at all, and though a shrewd man, he came upon the stand not well knowing the legal ground he was upon; and the questions came so thick upon each other, that they fairly took his breath. If plaintiff objected to a question, it was at once withdrawn, and another instantly put, so that he was rather confused, than aided, by his counsel’s interference.
It was certainly a relief to both Kelly and Ward, when the latter, tattered and battered, was permitted, with the ironical thanks of Bart, to retire; and the plaintiff’s rebutting evidence closed. Bart called two or three to sustain Bullock, and rested also. This was near the close of Wednesday.
Mr. Kelly then arose, and delivered the opening of the final argument to the jury, contenting himself with presenting his own case. He only glanced at the case of defense, and said he would reserve full argument on this, as he might, until he had heard from the other side. As Bart arose to commence, the Court said:
“Mr. Ridgeley, we will hear you in the morning. Mr. Sheriff, adjourn the Court until to-morrow morning.”
At the opening of the Court on Thursday, the court room was crowded. The interest in the case was general, and the character of the facts, and principal witnesses for the defense, was such as appealed powerfully to the memories and early associations of the people, and there was an earnest desire to hear the speech of the young advocate, whose management of the case had so far, won for him the heartiest admiration.
When the jury had answered to their names, “Mr. Ridgeley, proceed with your argument,” said Judge Humphrey. The young man rose, bowed to the Court and jury, and stood silent a moment, with his eyes cast down, and it was at first thought on his rising for his speech, that he was laboring under embarrassment. When he raised his eyes, however, embarrassed as he certainly was, and commenced with a low sweet voice, it was discovered that his faltering was due mainly to the emotions of sensibility. Nature had been liberal in bestowing many of the qualifications of a great advocate upon him. He had a strong compelling will, when he chose to exercise it, which in the conflicts of the bar often prevails, and courage of a chivalrous cast, which throws a man impetuously and audaciously upon strong points, and enables him to gain a footing by the boldness and force of his onset. Barton was one to lead a forlorn hope, or defend a pass single handed, against a host. Without something of this quality, a great advocate is impossible.