page_0236

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Hbutler2325 at Nov 22, 2020 01:56 AM

page_0236

-233-

war has greatly curtailed our fortunes, and the little that is left
furnishes no revenue at present. My Father's northern property,
amounting to nearly one hundred thousand dollars, has been swept away
by the cruel and unconstitutional confiscation acts of the United States.
Bank and Rail Road stocks at the South have perished with our cause,
and the rents of real estate the military power will not at present
permit us to collect. I have now less than one hundred dollars of
borrowed money, which, for the reason that it is not mine, I will not
spend except under the pressure of absolute necessity: I see no prospect
of early improvement in ay means or hopes of remunerative business. I
have announced the resumption of legal practice in the daily paper,
but as yet it has brought no clients. The only field for practice is
in the two Provost Courts established here by military authority, in
which anyone can obtain permission to appear, though not as Attorneys
at Law: this title is not recognised among those who have not taken the
oath, and no paroled officer has yet been authorised to take it. Most
of the business in the Provost Courts is monopolised by Yankee officers,
and interlopers claiming to be extreme Unionists: the proceedings are
arbitrary; each case is decided upon its own merits by the officer presiding
as Judge, and there is no appeal from his decision. The practice
is extremely distasteful to a lawyer trained in the liberty of the
Common Law, and accustomed to learned Judges, established system and
polite counsel: but in these trying times bread must be sought where
it can be found. We have to make a virtue of necessity.

page_0236

-233-

war has greatly curtailed our fortunes, and the little that is left
furnishes no revenue at present. My Father's northern property,
amounting to nearly one hundred thousand dollars, has been swept away
by the cruel and unconstitutional confiscation acts of the United States.
Bank and Rail Road stocks at the South have perished with our cause,
and the rents of real estate the military power will not at present
permit us to collect. I have now less than one hundred dollars of
borrowed money, which, for the reason that it is not mine, I will not
spend except under the pressure of absolute necessity: I see no prospect
of early improvement in ay means or hopes of remunerative business. I
have announced the resumption of legal practice in the daily paper,
but as yet it has brought no clients. The only field for practice is
in the two Provost Courts established here by military authority, in
which anyone can obtain permission to appear, though not as Attorneys
at Law: this title is not recognised among those who have not taken the
oath, and no paroled officer has yet been authorised to take it. Most
of the business in the Provost Courts is monopolised by Yankee officers,
and interlopers claiming to be extreme Unionists: the proceedings are
arbitrary; each case is decided upon its own merits by the officer presiding
as Judge, and there is no appeal from his decision. The practice
is extremely distasteful to a lawyer trained in the liberty of the
Common Law, and accustomed to learned Judges, established system and
polite counsel: but in these trying times bread must be sought where
it can be found. We have to make a virtue of necessity.