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The Court of Appeals of Maryland, A History
Volume 368, Page 101   View pdf image (33K)
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from 1806 to 1851 101

1789, and Chief Judge in 1799; and, therefore, he
had had seventeen years judicial experience when
he came to the Court of Appeals in 1806. He had
been a successful lawyer; and he was a judge of
superior qualities. The few opinions of his which
we know to have been deliberated and delivered
in writing show this. That delivered in Whitting-
ton v. Polk, 1 Harris & Johnson, 241, and an
earlier one in Runkel v. Winemiller, 4 Harris &
McHenry, 448, will serve as examples, although
it is perhaps not certain that the latter was com-
mitted to writing. But judicial ability of a still
higher order is displayed in Judge Chase's an-
nouncements and explanations of rulings by the
judges of the General Court during the course of
trials, many of which are reported in 1 and 2
Harris & Johnson's reports. They are reported
from notes of Harris' which seem to have been
taken down in the court room. Some at least of
the rulings were evidently delivered orally, some-
times in dialogue with counsel, yet they not only
show a full understanding of the law, but are char-
acterized by a logical order, precision and lucidity
beyond the ordinary. And they show a fine judi-
cial poise. It is not easy to choose among the many
rulings to illustrate these qualities, but those re-
ported in Harper v. Hampton, 1 Harris & John-
son, 622, will probably be sufficient for the pur-
pose. Judge Chase became one of the most im-
pressive figures of his time. On his death in 1828,
the Maryland Gazette appeared (May 5) in heavy
black column lines, and offered what it considered
"the simple, unvarnished truth" as his best eulogy,
and to the eulogy added that:

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The Court of Appeals of Maryland, A History
Volume 368, Page 101   View pdf image (33K)
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