As a lawyer, Maxwell was “quick, active and industrious, spending many hours in his office at night pouring over his business papers and records while his companions were engaged in social pleasure or at rest in their beds.”55 He was also somewhat inflexible in his opinions. “Once convinced of the right, he pursued it, be the result what it pleased.”56 Maxwell’s public image is illustrated by an incident at one point in his career – probably at a later period – when he closed his law office briefly with a card on the door which read: “House on fire, will be back in 30 minutes.” A fellow lawyer familiar with Maxwell noted that the card implied the “Duration of fire [had been] fixed by Henry D. Maxwell and the Almight[y] beforehand by pre-trial conference.”57
Maxwell had considerable contact with Washington McCartney. In addition to McCartney being married to Maxwell’s sister (see above), the two men also served as Deputy Attorney Generals at the same time (see above). Moreover, Maxwell’s mentor, James Madison Porter, was the principal founder and first President of Lafayette College,58 where McCartney was a leading professor.
In 1850, Henry Maxwell took a break from his law practice due to ill health, by accepting an appointment as the U.S. Consul in Trieste (then part of Austria, now in Italy). However, he quickly “tired of the indolence and ‘insolence of office’” of this position, and returned to Easton the following year.59 He took up residence on North 2nd Street (at the SE corner with Spring Garden Street) – just half a block from his mother and sister, and also near the home of bookseller William Maxwell,60 his brother.61
Henry Maxwell became the President of Council for the Borough of Easton from 1853 – 56.62 He married in 1854, and had four children: a son, Henry D. Maxwell Jr., and three daughters.63 Maxwell also organized the original Y.M.C.A. in Easton in 1856. He became the Y.M.C.A. President in 1860, but the organization’s development was