This great lawyer
and statesman was born in Tipton County, Tennessee, but when he was but a year
old his parents removed to Arkansas. Receiving a classical education at St.
Mary's college and St. Joseph's college in Beardstown, Kentucky, he studied law
and was admitted to the bar in 1853. For three years he practiced law at
Washington, Arkansas, removing to Little Rock in 1856, where he continued to
He was a delegate
to the Arkansas state convention in 1861, when that body passed the ordinance of
secession; and was also a member of the provisional congress that met at
Montgomery, Alabama, in May of the same year. He was afterward chosen to
represent his state in the confederate congress, serving in both houses, being
in the senate at the close of the War for Southern Independence.
the war, he was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson. He could not practice law,
however, because of a congressional act of Jan. 1865 that debarred former
members of the Confederate government. This led to Ex parte Garland
(1867), a Supreme Court case in which Garland successfully pleaded that since
the act was an ex post facto law it was unconstitutional.
In 1867 he was chosen United States senator from Arkansas,
but was not allowed to take his seat. He then followed the practice of law until
the fall of 1874, when he was chosen governor without opposition. He took his
seat in the United States senate on March 5, 1877, succeeding the republican,
Powell Clayton. He was made attorney-general by President Cleveland in 1885.
Upon the senate floor he has distinguished himself as a most able lawyer and