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Bar News - October 15, 2014

Morning Mail: Another Humorous Letter from the Past

When reading the Aug. 20, 2014, edition of your publication I especially liked the story of attorney Dave Nixon’s “combat” with the big bad New York lawyer, culminating in his letter dated April 28, 1964, which you printed verbatim.

Recently while cleaning out my desk drawer in contemplation of my retirement I came upon a copy of a letter given to me by my then dearest colleague, now deceased, Judge Douglas R. Gray. I laughed out loud in reviewing its content and I enclosed a copy for your perusal. I thought perhaps the readers of your publication would also find it amusing.

Some context is required. Judge Gray’s letter of March 5, 1996, was in response to a letter that he had received from Superior Court Chief Justice Joseph P. Nadeau. The Chief Justice’s letter referenced a telephone call that he got from an individual named John Driscoll who identified himself as being a Commissioner for Rockingham County. Mr. Driscoll complained that upon a recent visit to the Rockingham County Superior Court he noted that a huge portrait of Daniel Webster hanging in Courtroom 1 (Judge Gray’s Courtroom) was missing. Mr. Driscoll suggested to Chief Justice Nadeau that perhaps Judge Gray or some other judge removed the portrait in order to hang it in their own home. Judge Gray’s enclosed letter was in response to that allegation... For those who knew Judge Gray, it is an excellent example of his great wit.

Hon. Kenneth R. McHugh
Hooksett, NH

Editor’s note: The following is the letter McHugh sent to Bar News, dated March 5, 1996, and written by Judge Gray to former NH Superior Court Chief Justice Joseph Nadeau.

Dear Joe,

There are people dying in Israel; there is famine in Africa; turmoil in Bosnia and very little certainty in the world. Two things, however are certain. One is that John Driscoll is not a County Commissioner in this county and the other is that the portrait of Daniel Webster still hangs in Courtroom No. 1 in this county. That particular portrait weighs at least 250 pounds and measures approximately 8 feet by 5 feet. To remove it from the room would take much more than “one of the justices.” I cannot imagine that any of the justices have “asked” for the portrait. What in God’s name would anyone do with it? It is comparable in size to Rhode Island!

To my knowledge, no portraits are missing and there are no intrigues afoot to remove any. Please rest assured that we shall be ever vigilant in our efforts to deter removal of any portrait and that I, personally, shall be like hound after hare should any brigands attempt any such removal.

Perhaps the reporter accidentally entered Courtroom No. 2. Hopefully he will not someday get in the back seat of his car and then report his steering wheel stolen.

Vigilantly yours,
Douglas R. Gray

Supreme Court Rule 42(9) requires all NH admitted attorneys to notify the Bar Association of any address change, home or office.

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