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and Amos Dean, Union, 1826, he engaged in found- Peckham has for many years been identified with ing the Albany Law School, and continued as one the judiciary of the State. His judicial career beof its lecturers for a period of nearly twenty years, gan as a judge of the Supreme Court, to which he preparing in the meantime six volumes of reports of was elected in the district where he had spent the criminal cases and assisting in the editing of the whole of his professional life, and the qualities fifth edition of the Revised Statutes of the State. which distinguished him as a judge in that position He was one of the earliest advocates of law reform. | led to his nomination and election as an associate While visiting Europe in 1853 when such reforms judge of this court on its organization. His firmwere under consideration in England, he addressed ness, his learning and bis fearlessness and indethe Law Reform Club at its annual meeting on the pendence in maintaining his convictions, guided invitation of Lord Brougham, explaining the re- always by a strong sense of justice, which was a sults of his experience on the bench, as to the distinguishing feature of his character, won the changes that had been made in this State, more confidence and respect of the bar and bench, and of particularly as to the administration of law and all with whom he was associated.” equity in the same court.
Ward Hunt, of 1828, attained to the high dignity From 1855 up to the time of bis death, Judge and responsibility of associate justice of the United Parker was actively engaged in the practice of his States Supreme Court after having serred as assoprofession and recognized as one of the leaders of ciate and chief judge of the Court of Appeals and the bar of the State, being engaged in many of the commissioner of appeals. most important cases in the State and federal
George F. Comstock, of 1834, came to the bar in courts.
1837 and entered upon the practice of his profession Of Amos Dean, 1826, we have spoken in connec
at Syracuse. In 1847 he became reporter of the tion with the founding of the Albany Law School
Court of Appeals for a term of three years, and in in collaboration with two other eminent graduates 1856 a judge of the Court of Appeals to fill vacancy; of Union. This school in 1873 became a part of
was chief judge of the court 1860 to 1862. Union University, and it is very largely to the im- opinions are all marked with the stamp of eminent petus given under the management of Amos Dean ability, but his reputation as a judge rests chiefly that it early attained a high reputation as a school upon his opinions in a few cases which involve the of law.
determination of great questions and the evolution William F. Allen, of 1826, was for sixteen years a and application of principles of permanent value. justice of the Supreme Court, for two terms comp- These opinions he elaborated with the greatest care troller of the State and for eight years a judge of and exhibited great logical power, the most disthe Court of Appeals. It was well said of him criminating analysis and profound learning." He “ he filled a large space in the annals of the State." practised his profession with marked success after The qualities which characterized him were said by his retirement from the bench, and up to his death those who knew him most intimately to have been in 1892. "a firm, intelligent and comprehensive grasp of the John K. Porter, distinguished as an advocate, most difficult questions in the law, and the wisdom and bearing a high reputation as a judge of the which he brought to bear upon the solution of legal court of last resort, was of 1837. For many years controversies," as well as the “facility with which a member of the leading law firm in the city of Alhe could comprehend and formulate the principles bany, he conducted a very large business as counsel applicable to the most difficult and complicated in the higher courts and achieved a reputation in cases, and above all, his independence of judicial the argument of causes second to that of no lawyer judgment and fearlessness with which he adhered in the State. For a term of years, beginning with to and enforced his conviction of the right,” and it 1865, he was a member of the Court of Appeals, was not an undeserved tribute that “ through an and upon his retirement became the head of one of extended life he was an honor to his race, to his the leading firms in the city of New York. He profession of the law and to his judicial office." was best known to the public by reason of his par
Rufus W. Peckham, for many years justice of the ticipation in the action of Tilton against Beecher, Supreme Court in the Third Judicial Department in which he won many professional laurels, and to and at the time of his decease in 1873 a member the country at large from having been counsel upon of the Court of Appeals, was of 1827.
the trial of the assassin Guiteau for the murder of fitting tribute can be paid his memory than that of President Garfield. A hard student, the unremitthe memorial handed down at the opening of the ting labors of this trial, extending over weeks and court at its first meeting after the disaster by which months, undermined his constitution, and ruined he came to his death. Chief Judge Church, on be health necessitated his retirement from the bar. He half of himself and his associates, said, “Judge I was brilliant, persuasive and logical as a lawyer, and his opinions are clear, pointed and concise, in- Orsamus Cole, of the class of 1843, was for inany dicating a vigorous intellect trained to the duties of years chief justice of the Supreme Court of Wisconthe bar and the bench.
sin, and as such attained a high reputation as a jurist, His standing with his brethren at the bar is, per- Robert Earl, of 1845, retired from a seat upon the haps, best illustrated by the fact that he was chosen bench of the Court of Appeals at the close of 1894. as the first president of the New York State Bar after a continuous judicial service in that court of Association upon its organization in 1876, and nearly twenty-five years, having served a longer elected for a second term the following year.
period in that tribunal than any other judge sitThose in attendance upon these Centennial exer- ting upon that bench since the organization of the cises have listened to a commemorative address court. Judge Earl was admitted to practice in from George F. Danforth, of 1840. To those who 1848, and remained at the bar until 1869, serving have had that pleasure it is unnecessary to recall
during that period as county judge of his county. either his vigorous personality or ability as an ora
He first took his seat upon the bench of the Court tor. To the wider circle of graduates of the col
of Appeals in 1870. He later became a member of lege he is known as a loyal son of Union, for whom
the Commission of Appeals, and, upon the dissolua successful career at the bar was followed by a
tion of that body, was again elected a member of
the court. term of fourteen years of service in the Court of
He acted as chief judge in 1870 and
1892. Appeals, from which he retired alike to the regret
His opinions appear in the New York reof the bar and bench only by reason of the consti- ports, beginning with volume 41 and ending with tutional limitation upon the term of his office. He volume 144, and number over 1400. If published by was selected by a unanimous vote of his associates themselves, it is said they would make about eighto preside over the deliberations of the commission
teen volumes of the Court of Appeals reports.
He appointed in 1890 to revise the judiciary article of has thus impressed himself in a most striking manthe Constitution and did much toward shaping the
ner upon the developement of the law in this State report which was ultimately substantially adopted
for the past quarter of a century, since their quality by the recent Constitutional Convention.
fully equals the quantity. Hamilton Harris, of 1841, is, perhaps, among all The unusual courtesy was extended him upon his the names mentioned, more especially a representa- retirement from the court of the expression of the tive of the bar as apart from the bench. Nearly all views of the judges in an official minute, and their the sons of Union who have been distinguished as appreciation and that of the bar cannot better be lawyers have likewise achieved success as judges. expressed than by an extract from that proceeding. But aside from the office of State Senator, Mr. They say:
Especially we shall miss him at the Harris has aspired to no official position. For very consultation table, where the capacity to see swiftly, many years he has been closely identified with the grasp accurately and hold firmly the rapid succeshistory of the bar of the State, and his industry, sion of facts and doctrines involved in the cases as ability and learning have been availed of by hun- they pass in review, finds its most useful field of dreds of suitors in trial courts and courts of last re- effort. He held his place there, a sentinel never sort, and no lawyer in the State has a more substan- asleep, a patrol always on the alert, a guard not to tial clientage nor is better worthy of its confidence. be eluded; and yet none of us, even when stopped The easy and deliberate manner of Mr. Harris in or challenged, ever had reason to regret the manner the trial courts recalls the anecdotes related of Sir of the vigilance. For, however earnest the warnJames Scarlett, who was said, during the progress ing, or relentless the criticism, there was always of a trial, to regard the proceedings with apparent kindness and courtesy behind it, and a zeal which indifference, but, as in fact, giving the closest at- fully subordinated pride of opinion to the sound tention to the salient features, with regard to which and stable reputation of the court." his adversary found him a most thoroughly equipped John T. Hoffman, of 1846, is best known in other and dangerous adversary. Nothing of fact or law fields than the law. He was, nevertheless, a man of escapes his notice, and in concise and convincing standing at the bar, and, as recorder of the city of terms, with no attempt at oratory, every point is New York, obtained a liigh reputation for a fearless presented in the clearest and most convincing terms and independent discharge of his judicial duties. to court and jury. No one has greater pride in his Eighteen hundred and forty-six graduated Silas profession nor takes greater interest in affairs ap- W. Sanderson, for some time chief justice of the pertaining to the advancement of the educational Supreme Court of California, and who for many interests of the State. Mr. Harris is not a stranger years occupied a commanding position at the bar of to the delights of literature, and finds relief from that State, and William H. King, a lawyer of high most painstaking and successful labor at the bar standing and reputation in his adopted city of among the shelves of a carefully selected library. Chicago, where, for a considerable period of time,
he was president of the association of the bar of The roll of lawyers and jurists who graduated that city.
from Union during the first half century of her And here we have arrived at the close of the first existence numbers also Alfred Conkling, of 1810, half century, and, with a single exception, leave the United States minister to Mexico and district judge record from 1847 to be made up at a later day; not Northern District of New York; John W. Edmonds, but that a number of the sons of Union have dis- of 1816, circuit judge of the First Circuit in 1845 tinguished themselves at the bar and served faith- and justice of the Supreme Court in 1847; Josialı fully and well upon the bench, but for the reason Sutherland, of 1824, justice of the Supreme Court that we now come to deal more fully with our con- in 1857; Enoch H. Rosekrans, of 1826, justice of temporaries, many of whom have established their the Supreme Court in 1855, and William W. Campreputation, some of whom bave it yet to make, and bell, of 1827, judge of the Superior Court and further suggestion might seem invidious.
justice of the Supreme Court. The exception noted is that of Samuel Hand, of Eighteen hundred and twenty-six graduated 1851, who passed away nearly a decade since at the Alexander W. Bradford, commissioner to revise the comparatively early age of fifty-three. From 1859, laws, and surrogate of the county of New York; when Mr. Hand located at Albany, his reputation Hamilton W. Robinson, judge of the New York as a lawyer was at once established throughout the Common Pleas, and Gilbert M. Speir, judge of the State. As a member of the famous firm of Cagger, Superior Court. Porter & Hand, he developed his capacity for Eighteen hundred and thirty-three gave to the work, his methods of thorough preparation, and his Supreme Court bench Joseph Mullin and Daniel ability to grasp and expound intricate questions of Pratt; 1835, James C. Smith, for a long time prelaw.
siding justice in the General Term of the Supreme Up to the time of his death, except the short Court; 1836, Peter S. Danforth and William Fullerinterval during which he was a judge of the Court ton of the Supreme Court bench; 1839, John N. of Appeals in 1878, he was the leading counsel at Pettit, circuit judge in Indiana, and Hooper C. Van the bar of that court, a position for which he was Vorst of the Common Pleas and Superior Court; admirably fitted not only by bis knowledge of the 1841, Joseph Potter of the Supreme Court, and law but by reason of his ability to grasp compli- 1842, Joseph W. Jackson, justice of the same cated facts and to apply legal principles thereto. court. During these years he served a short period as State Union has, therefore, in addition to a brilliant arreporter, publishing six volumes of the New York ray of lawyers whose name is legion, and whose reports. Chief Judge Ruger said of bim with the services at the bar have been rendered with ability, approval of the members of the Court of Appeals: fidelity and integrity second to none, seen of her “His most enduring claim to distinction must, we graduates up to 1846 upon the bench, a chief justice think, rest mainly upon the reputation made by of the Supreme Court under the Constitution prehim as an advocate at the bar of this court, where, vious to 1846, three chief judges of the Court of for nearly a quarter of a century, he occupied a com- Appeals, eight associate judges of that court, four manding position and was more extensively em- of the five commissioners of appeals, and the list is ployed in the argument of cases than any other not complete without the enumeration of numerous individual practitioner. The confidence reposed by judges and justices of Superior Courts, and three his clients in his ability was fully justified by the chief justices of the highest courts of other States. great power and varied resources which he brouglıt Thus has the college discharged its functions as to bear in the discharge of his professional engage- an educator of the men who are described by the ments and the success which usually attended his prince of Roman orators as “learned in the laws labors. His forensic efforts were always distin- and that general usage which private persons obguished by thoroughness of preparation, perfect and serve in their intercourse in the community, who expert knowledge of the case in band, a clear and
can give an answer on any point, can plead and comprehensive appreciation of the legal questions take precautions for their client," and from involved, and of the reason and philosophy of the among whom are selected the magistrates of the rules bearing upon them, a logical and felicitous commonwealth, whose duties are set forth in the method of arrangement and presentation which en- quaint language of Bishop Horne to be, "when he abled him to exbibit in the strongest light the goeth up to the Judgment Seat to put ou righteousfavorable features of his theme, and to anticipate ness as a beautiful robe and to render his tribunal a and counteract those of his adversary.”
fit emblem of that etei val throne of which justice He was the second president of the New York and judgment are the habitation." State Bar Association, serving two terms in that No one can be better aware than the writer of capacity
this paper that justice has not been done to the
alumni of Union who have pleaded at the bar or have fully prominent. The bar is supposed by the pubadministered justice from the bench. Lack of time, lic to be a blood-sucking profession. How often its opportunity and sources of information can alone members work for nothing the public know not. excuse the shortcomings of which he pleads guilty. Few barristers are grasping builders of fortunes. He throws himself upon the mercy of the court, Very many vehemently support causes in which craving light a sentence by way of just criticism they have once embarked with absolute self-abanas may be compatible with the character of the of- donment. Conspicuous instances may bring this fense. To have selected from the large number of home to the popular mind. names of those who have graced the bench, those
“The forensic conflicts became personal. The who might have been deemed most worthy of fur- ex-solicitor-general was fighting an up-hill fight ther mention, would have been a work of difficulty leading a hope, if not forlorn, yet desperate. The which could have been performed, with justice to solicitor-general had to ensure that the previous those interested, by no expenditure of time or labor. partial miscarriage of justice in the absence of the To have selected a few for fuller mention would law officers should not become perfect when he was have appeared invidious. To have given the record leading. He had to face a fierce and watchful deof all might have been tedious. It bas therefore fence to get rid of that dangerous glamor of been deemed best to leave those names as well as - art” which Wilde himself impudently attempted those of the distinguished members of the bar who to throw over the filthiness of his crimes, and which have made a reputation for themselves and been an his advocate courageously supported by eloquence honor to the college to other annals, in which may of which the theme was wholly unworthy; 'trimbe more fully recorded their ability, industry and mings' it was of the most deceptive but tawdry integrity.
description, and we certainly do not complain that J. NEWTON FIERO.
Sir Frank Lockwood was one whit too vehement, ALBANY, N. Y.
nor do we regret that he exercised the dubious
right of reply, which defenders of prisoners grudge COMMENTS OF ENGLISH LEGAL PE
to the law officers of the crown. RIODICALS ON THE WILDE CASE.
“ The little lofty lectures of Sir Edward Clarke N America, in addition to the feelings of disgust all round would be pardonable vanities, even if
they had no forensic design. What he did in the views of the evidence in the Wilde trial, there has longest period during 100 years in which one solicibeen great interest in the judge and lawyers who tor-general hus held oflice is of no more importance participated in this cause celebré. On this account a than the fact that Sir Alfred Wills likes a room to short review of the opinions of the English legal bimself. That he never exercised the right of reply periodicals will prove attractive to the members of affords no reason why no other law officer should. the American bar.
Of course it is satisfactory that he approved of the The Lair Times, in its editorial columns, says:
fairness and ability of Mr. Gill and of the cross-ex" It is a long time since we had a trial so full of amination of Sir Frank Lockwood, whilst disaplessons as that of Taylor and Wilde for sodomy. Its proving of his rhetorical descriptions of some of the judicial aspect is interesting. Mr. Justice Charles evidence. Sir Edward, not without foundation, beappeared to attach some weight, however small, in lieved that this projection of his personality well lavor of the prisoner, to the intellectual and liter- forward would be effective, and the foreman of the ary character of Wilde. Mr. Justice Wills was jury, who is reported to have jerked out 'guilty' overpowered by the offensive nature of the case amidst snivelling gulps of emotion, no doubt felt a the intellectual and literary character of Wilde pang of regret for the ex-solicitor-general. The rather added to the beastly odor which arose to
bar has to face this sort of influence as a real dannostrils unused to such moral stinks. Here we find ger. The personal character, personal experiences different idiosyncracies influencing slightly but per- and opinions of advocates are beside every issue to ceptibly the judicial mind in dealing with the same be tried, and it will be a sad day for the bar of subject-matter. It is unavoidable.
England when the prestige of privy councilors, “ The forensic aspects of the case are, perhaps, noble lords, and ex-law officers in practice fail to more interesting. The devotion of Sir Edward find opponents capable of rising above it, and so far Clarke to the cause of a client who, at his best, was as possible counteracting its influence upon the a moral monstrosity, is startling. It has been called 'superstitious reverence 'which is believed, in some heroic. Possibly it was — had it been successful, instances, to possess the minds of jurymen.” the achievement would have been phenomenal. But Then follows an article on “The Legal Points in it failed, and the worthlessness of the cause which Wilde's Case," thus: received self-sacrifice of every kind becomes pain- “ There are several legal points of very wide and
general interest connected with this case which it withdrawing the charge connected with Shelley. would be unsatisfactory to pass by unnoticed. We | Roscoe, however, says in his Criminal Evidence alluded in a previous number to the rule laid down (p. 123) that "it has been repeatedly laid down that by Reg. v. Carden (1879, 5 Q. B. Div.), which pre- a conviction on the testimony of an accomplice unvents a magistrate in a prosecution for criminal corroborated is legal,' * 'but, while the libel from receiving evidence in support of a plea of law is thus fully established, the practice of judges justification, and on which the magistrate acted in is almost invariably to advise juries not to convict the preliminary proceedings in the Queensberry upon the evidence of an accomplice who is uncorcase, and pointed out both its unfairness and its roborated, and sometimes judges, where the testianomalous character now that the legislature has mony of the accomplice is the only evidence, take repealed it in favor of newspaper proprietors. We upon themselves to direct an acquittal of the prisrevert to the subject now merely to express the oner. “The law,' he adds, ‘remains in that anomhope that advantage will be taken of Sir John Leng's alous state in which the bare existence of a principle bill to amend and consolidate the law of libel is acknowledged, but which principle is constantly which is at present before Parliament — to repeal it disapproved of and frequently violated.' altogether. Another point of importance raised by “We think Mr. Justice Wills acted wisely in this the Wilde case is as to the position of prisoners in- instance, but it is desirable that the law and pracdicted at once for a statutory offence in regard to tice should be made uniform and consistent." which they are, and a common-law offence in regard
The Laio Times prints several letters sent to the to which they are not, competent to testify. This editor, the first is on “The Function of Prosecutquestion was first raised in Reg. v. Owen (1888, 58 ing counsel," as follows: L. T. Rep. 780). There the prisoner was tried on an "Linguam causis acuis (Horace Epist. 1, 3, 1.23). indictment containing two counts, one for an inde- SIR.-While admiring the generosity of the sencent, and the other for a common assault. He gave timent expressed by Sir E. Clarke, in his splendid evidence at the trial under section 20 of the Crim- oration in defense of Wilde at the Old Bailey, that inal Law Amendment Act 1885, which makes a
the solicitor-general should act rather as a judge person charged with an indecent assault a compe-than as an advocate working for conviction, permit 'tent witness, but does not apply to a charge of me to cite one or two historic instances which would common assault, denying that he had indecently decidedly induce the view that the reputation of the assaulted the prosecutrix, but admitting that he solicitor-general is, speaking historically, that of a had put his arm around her. He was acquitted on lawyer with a decided talent for what Aristotle calls the statutory, but convicted on the common-law eristic speech. Thus, Solicitor-General Finch, on charge. There was evidence to support the convic
the trial of Sir Harry Vane, in June, 1661, indulged tion independent of the prisoner's statement. But
in such forensic amenities as openly declaring that the Court for Crown Cases Reserved held that his
the prisoner must be made a public sacrifice of.' statement was an admission which could be used
In his peroration he exclaimed: "What counsel does against him. This decision was impliedly followed
he think would dare speak for him (Sir H. Vane) by Mr. Justice Charles in the case of Wilde and
in such a manifest case of treason, unless he could Taylor. It clearly shows the necessity for the en
call down the heads of his fellow-traitors, Bradactment of the Evidence in Criminal Cases Bill in shaw or Coke, from the top of Westminster Hall.' order that these arbitrary distinctions between In the last century it fell to the lot of a solicitorcharges with reference to which prisoners are, and general to deliver an invective, which for its scaththose with reference to which they are not, compe. ing satire, as well as for its pregnant consequences, tent witnesses may be abolished. The present law has acquired a permanent place in the pages of hisis doubly unfair. If the prisoner's incidental evi- tory. I refer, of course, to Wedderburn's invective dence in regard to charges as to which he is not against Franklin before the Privy Council, Februcompetent to testify is adverse to himself, it is avail- ary, 1774. It is well known that the solicitor-genable against him as an admission; if it is favorable, eral's sarcastic wit on this occasion produced such it merely ranks as an unsworn statement, to which a profound resentment in its object that Franklin little credit is attached.
declared his resolution never again to wear the “Lastly, the question of the admissibility of the clothes he donned before the Privy Council till he evidence of an accomplice, and the effect of the ab- signed the public Declaration of the Independence sence of corroboration has arisen, and the action of of America. It is unnecessary to add he kept his the judge in withdrawing the charge supported by resolution, being one of the four American signatories such evidence only invited criticism. Mr. Darling, to the Treaty of Paris, in January, 1783, by which Q. C., in the Times, arraigns the judge as if he had bis Britannic majesty declared the United States to acted beyond his power and contrary to practice in l be free, sovereign and independent. The incident