Radical in Supreme Court Robes
ON the day before he was sworn in as a justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Samuel Seabury stopped at a stationer's on Lower Broadway and purchased the most expensive diary in the shop. It was an impressive book, bound in red leather, trimmed with gold scrolls, with a stout brass lock. The pages were ruled and marbled on the edges. It was clearly the purchase of a man very much aware of a turning point in his life; what he wrote in the diary might record the making of history.
Once before, on January 1, 1888, he had begun a diary. His father had written his name on the title page of that tan leather pocket diary with the admonition "Remember always thine end, and how that time lost never returns." Now, on January 1, 1907, Sam wrote his own name, the date, and the word "Personal," underscored. Not many years separated the two Januaries. He had lost little time between his admission to practice before the supreme court and his elevation to its bench. Dr. Seabury's son was remembering his end.
On the day Seabury was sworn in, he made the following entry in his quick, angular hand:
Today I became a justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York. I took the oath on Saturday morning in the old county courthouse with John J. Brady, before Judge Davis. The oath was administered first