Major Raphael J. Moses of Georgia:
Autobiography of an Unreconstructed Southerner
. . . I think I have always had one element of wisdom which is said to be uncommon; I have always known myself. My conception was quick, my language good, my business education a great advantage in my profession as a lawyer, and because I understood bookkeeping and business methods, and could always understand a merchant’s case, and because I evinced a familiarity with their business pursuits, I soon earned the reputation of being a first-class “commercial lawyer,” irrespective of how much or little I might know of the commercial law contained in the books. While I had (not altogether undeserved) considerable reputation as an orator, there was one thing that I could never do: make something out of nothing, and that is what I am required to do now. My temperament was sympathetic, and I had language and manner enough to make others feel what I felt, but unless I feel the subject myself, I could never have made others feel. So that, boiled down, my legal reputation could be largely attributed to my business education and my oratorical standing [which] spring[s] chiefly from my strong, sympathetic nature. My knowledge was more the result of observation than reading; my taste for books was limited, my memory was never good, and getting ideas from books was with me like pouring water through a sieve; the fluid passed quickly away but the sediment remained. And so with my reading: the language passed away, but some of the ideas remained, and, particularly in law, the principles remained, but the book, page, case, etc., soon passed out of my mind. . . .
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