1818 · Concord
This is the original lower court opinion in the famous Dartmouth College Case, brought because the anti-Federalist legislature of New Hampshire had abolished Dartmouth's Charter and turned it into a State university. Daniel Webster was not original counsel in the Superior Court, but delivered Dartmouth's summation at the close of trial. No record of his speech evidently exists, "but it was said that his emotional peroration 'left the whole courtroom in tears'" [Peterson, The Great Triumvirate 99].
Nevertheless, the Court found against Dartmouth; Webster took the case to the U.S. Supreme Court for a $1000 fee. There, Webster's argument that the charter was a contract whose obligations the legislature could not constitutionally impair succeeded; the lower court had rejected that claim.
FIRST EDITION. Cohen 11611. Sabin 18623. AI 44995 . (Inventory #: 26124)