A Quote by Josiah Quincy on ability, anecdotes, approval, argument, cities, conversation, day, determination, fame, good, journeys, justice, laws, lawyers, libraries, money, preparation, presidency, time, and work

Josiah Quincy, one-time mayor of Boston and president of Harvard University, recalled: "I will repeat an anecdote which I think Daniel Webster gave at a dinner, though, as I made no note of it, it is just possible that he told it in my presence at some later date. The conversation was running upon the importance of doing small things thoroughly and with the full measure of one's ability. This Webster illustrated by an account of some petty insurance case that was brought to him when a young lawyer in Portsmouth. Only a small amount was involved, and a twenty-dollar fee was all that was promised. "He saw that, to do his clients full justice, a journey to Boston, to consult the law library, would be desirable. He would be out of pocket by such an expedition, and for his time he would receive no adequate compensation. After a little hesitation he determined to do his very best, cost cost what it might. He accordingly went to Boston looked up the authorities, and gained the case. "Years after this, Webster, then famous, was passing through New York City. An important insurance case was to be tried the day after his arrival, and one of the counsel had been suddenly taken ill. Money was no object, and Webster was begged to name his terms and conduct the case. " 'I told them,' Mr. Webster, 'that it was preposterous to prepare a legal argument at a few hours' notice. They insisted, however, that I should look at the papers; and this after some demur, I consented to do. Well, it was my old twenty-dollar case over again, and as I never forget anything, I had all the authorities at my fingers' ends. The Court knew that I had no time to prepare, and was astonished at the range of my acquirements. So, you see, I was handsomely paid both in fame and money for that journey to Boston; and the moral is that good work is rewarded in the end, though, to be sure, one's self-approval should be enough.'"

Josiah Quincy (1744 - 1775)

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