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Yale Men as Writers on Law and Government, 11 Yale Law Journal 1 (1901)


An American bar was not really in existence before the Revolution. Great causes in which the colonists were interested were occasionally argued at Westminster or before the King in Council, but they were generally in the hands of English barristers. One of the first American lawyers who ever argued before the latter tribunal was William Samuel Johnson of Connecticut (Yale, Class of 1744), a silver-tongued orator, and one of the Committee on Style, which put the constitution of the United States in its final form, but who has left no published works to perpetuate his name. His appearance was in the Mohegan case, involving important landed interests in Connecticut, heard at London in 1767, and he had been made, the year before, a Doctor of Civil Law by the University of Oxford.

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