A two volume of collection of "Specimens of Argumentation and Exposition by Eminent Lawyers" was published in 1903 by the Keefe-Davidson Company of St. Paul, Minnesota. Eight years later, the editor, Van Vechten Veeder (1867-1942), was nominated to the Federal District Court in New York by President Taft. Confirmed in 1911, he served until the end of 1917, when he resigned to return to private practice. In a "Preface" to the first volume of ?Legal Masterpieces,? he writes:
?The purpose of this collection is to bring together, from the whole field of legal literature, specimens of the best models of the various forms of discourse and composition in which the lawyer's work is embodied. The aim has been to select, as far as possible, topics
of general interest and importance, and to present these topics through the medium of some great legal personality. Much will be made of style and form; but it must not be supposed that substance is thereby underrated. Knowledge and invention, or the power of supplying ideas, is the first and essential step in all discourse and composition. Without clearness of thought, there can be no precision of statement; and clearness, as Webster said, is the great power at the bar. These specimens are designed simply to indicate the best methods of making the thought most effective; to show discourse as a system of thought animated by a rational order and sequence of ideas, and to display the effect of skill and
taste in expression."