To William Cox Cochran

24 December 1872


[Autograph signed letter in the possession of Mrs. Ellen Speers, 3915 Sierra Drive, Austin, Texas 78731.]


Oberlin 24 Dec. 1872

Dear Willy.

Yours of the 26th ult.

came duly. I think you

are wise in deciding

to remain in your Fathers

Office at least for some time

yet. You will get hold of

laws & practice much sooner

there than by yourself or with

a young partner. Making

briefs & preparing causes for

Trial is of more importance

to you now than the conduct

of suits in court. This last

is generally the ambition of

novices in the profession, &

by indulging in this

propensity, they are often

through ignorance, guilty

of blunders that will injure

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their practice for years.

Acquaint yourself well

with law & practice before

you attempt to conduct

a cause in the higher courts

where a blunder will be

seen & remembered against

you. You may venture to

conduct suits in Justices courts

where a blunder will not

be observed. Whenever you

try a cause before any court

be sure to study up the case

& make yourself complete

master of the situation.

Do not embark on the

wrong side of a question

if you can avoid it.

If the bar & bench see that

you are always master of

your causes, have studied

them up, & are thoroughly

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acquainted with the

law and the facts, they

will naturally treat you

& your opinions with a

respect & consideration

that will soon make a

business & a fortune for

you. Nothing is more

seen to injure a young

lawyer than to go before

a court so poorly prepared

as to necessitate a feeling

of contempt within the bar

& upon the bench. For the

bar & bench to entertain

a feeling of contempt or

of distrust is almost sure to

ruin a young lawyer.

Every body will notice it &

a young man will rarely

overcome such an obstacle.

Be sure Dear Willy to force

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both bar & bench to respect

your ability & your candor.

Avoid by all means getting

the reputation of loose thinking

a blackgard - a pettifogger

or a blunderer. Deserve a

reputation for ability &

candor & you will soon beco

me all but omnipotent

with a jury. We are all well.

We expect Dolson here tomorrow

to spend christmas.

Weather very cold but otherwise

pleasant. No snow, or very little.

All here join in love & kisses

to you all. Dear Willy dont

neglect the saviour. You cant

afford it for any earthly good.

God bless you forever.

C. G. Finney



This letter is not in the Finney Papers