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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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David Paul Brown

BROWN, David Paul, lawyer, born in Philadelphia, 28 September, 1795; died there, 11 July, 1872. He was the only son of Paul Brown, a Quaker descended from one of the first settlers of New Jersey. He pursued classical studies for two years in Massachusetts, and began the study of medicine, but turned to the law, and was admitted to the bar at the age of twenty-one. His first case was a suit against a prominent citizen for severely beating a child--a bound "redemptioner"--and his vehement pleading won the case. He was soon busy in the courts, where he had abundant opportunity for his masterly examination of witnesses and appeals to juries. In 1824 he successfully defended Judge Robert Porter, who was impeached before the senate of Pennsylvania. Within fifteen years his professional income amounted to $100,000, but his generous living had absorbed it all. His powers and gifts as an orator were frequently called forth by societies of various kinds, and on public occasions. On the hundredth anniversary of the birthday of Washington he delivered the address at the laying of the corner stone of a monument to be erected in Washington Square, Philadelphia. Mr. Brown had excellent physical qualifications for an orator, was of medium height, with full chest and a voice of remarkable compass and sweetness. He carefully cultivated his style and manner. He was a lover of the drama, and aspired to be a dramatist.

His tragedy" Sertorius, or the Roman Patriot," was written in 1830, during his evening horseback rides from Philadelphia to Yellow Springs, in Chester County Though the elder Booth took the title role, the play was acted but nine times. Another tragedy, "The Trial," had even less success. A melodrama, "The Prophet of St. Paul's," and a farce, "Love and Honor," complete the list of his dramatic attempts. Mr. Brown was courteous to his opponents, and expert in questioning witnesses. He resolutely declined office, and rarely practiced in other states than Pennsylvania,. Though less prominent in the courts during his latter days, he continued the practice of his profession till the closing year of his life. In 1856 he published "The Forum, or Forty Years' Full Practice at the Philadelphia Bar" (2 vols.). This work contains sketches not only of the judges and eminent practitioners of his own time, but also of their predecessors. It has also chapters on forensic eloquence, legal ethics, and professional etiquette, and "Golden Rules for Examination of Witnesses" and "Capital Hints in Capital Cases.". In 1859 Mr. Brown published in pamphlet form several of his early speeches (each separately), and in 1869 a pamphlet on "The Press, the Politician, the People, and the Judiciary." His son, Robert Eden, edited and published "The Forensic Speeches of David Paul Brown" (Philadelphia, 1873).

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