Rufus Choate AMs; s.l., 2 pages. Rufus Choate's manuscript notes concerning the salvage of the barque Missouri while moored near the coast of Sumatra.
In honor of
Elissa Krieg and Katherine Kramp
This manuscript was penned by prominent Massachusetts lawyer and U.S. Congressman Rufus Choate (1799-1859). At the time, he was prosecuting attorney for a Boston trial on the embezzlement of cargo/specie salvaged from the Barque Missouri off the coast of Sumatra. These manuscript notes are a fine example of Choate’s sometimes extravagant and at times illegible handwriting. His friend and colleague Edwin Whipple remembered his script in a courtroom setting, saying “The judge replied that the case was one in which he [Choate] might write out his argument. With a mock solemnity . . . he replied, ‘I write well, your Honor, but slowly.’ As his handwriting resembled the tracks of wild-cats, with their claws dipped in ink, madly dashing over the surface of a folio sheet of white paper, the assembled bar could not restrain their laughter. Indeed, it is affirmed that he could not decipher his own handwriting after a case was concluded, and had to call in experts to explain it to himself.” (E. P. Whipple, Some Recollections of Rufus Choate. New York, Harper & Brothers, 1879: 36).