Justice Joseph Story and the Rise of the Supreme Court

By Gerald T. Dunne | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
Congressman Story

NOMINATION AND ELECTION

On January 18, 1808, Jacob Crowninshield collapsed in the House of Representatives. Down with him as he fell came the real political power of the Crowninshield family, down went the last truly personal tie which held Story to an authentic Republican allegiance, and down went any chance the embargo had for success. Crowninshield made a great fight for his life, but his seaman's constitution was not proof against this last illness. He died April 15, 1808. Story and Dr. Bentley united in eulogy. "[M]y honored and lamented friend..." said Story, "a man of excellent understanding, of manly feeling, and incorruptible integrity."1"I have known him from a lad & have nothing to blame in him," mourned Dr. Bentley. "Had he not been confined in his early education & early been engaged in the business of the Seas he would have left none before him."2 At some point during Crowninshield's last illness, Story cast his eye on the Salem seat in the House of Representatives. So did the dying Congressman's brother, Benjamin. "I heard the other day," gibed Story's brother-

____________________
1
Letter to William W. Story, Jan. 23, 1831, in Miscellaneous Writings, 29.
2
Bentley, III, 355.

-60-

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