Reagan’s Tribute to the Loyalty of Man’s Best Friend

The above clip is Ronald Reagan in an episode of Death Valley Days. (Today is Ronald Reagan’s birthday.)

(p. A15) George Graham Vest, a 39-year-old lawyer, . . . [on] Sept. 23, 1870, . . . delivered one of the most enduring arguments ever performed in a courtroom.

. . .

He told jurors that “the one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him and the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog. A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground . . . if only he may be near his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer.”

. . .

Ronald Reagan portrayed George Vest in a 1964 episode of “Death Valley Days” and delivered his famous summation. You’ll find it. Have a tissue ready. Vest’s oration, referred to as “Tribute to a Dog,” is revered by judges and lawyers.

. . .

Vest, . . ., concluded his speech by reminding the jurors that a dog remains loyal to the end. Even after his master’s funeral, and all others have left the cemetery, Vest said, “There by his graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad but open in alert watchfulness.”

For the full commentary, see:

Randy Maniloff. “Stand on Precedent. That’s a Good Boy!” The Wall Street Journal (Wednesday, September 23, 2020): A15.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date Sep. 22, 2020, and has the same title as the print version.)

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