During the summer of 1819, a month or so before his fortieth birthday, Justice Joseph Story had his portrait done in oils. Gilbert Stuart was the artist, and the painting was not one of Stuart's better works, for the colors were somber and the pose was stiff. Perhaps the artistic deficiency lay in overwork, for Stuart was especially busy that summer. Or possibly any shortcoming there was resulted from quantity discount, for Stuart did Mrs. Story at the same time.1 Nonetheless, Story seems to have been pleased with the picture, and his attachment certainly contradicted his detractors. Doubtless, were the Justice as vain as some suggested, he would have had his reservations about a work in which he showed up balding, bland and thick-featured.
Possibly Story's liking for the portrait was due to the fact that it represented the first fruits of the long-overdue increase in his judicial salary. More likely, however, he valued it because it had been done just after the Great Term of 1819 and thereby served as a memento of the Supreme Court's towering trilogy of decisions.
Certainly the 1819 term had provoked enormous interest, and____________________