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tion have united on a scheme, it would have had great weight. But, unfortunately, minds here differed. That variance of opinion was represented in Congress. Besides, legislation even upon such a subject is embarrassed by political strife. The advantage of one plan discussed in this Association was, that it created no new judges, and, therefore, neither party, as such, had any motive to oppose or delay it. The great practical objection to the other plan is, that one party or the other will always be in the way of its passage, because it will not agree that its opponent should supply all the new judges. And as for arranging for a division, that would be contrary to that established maxim already mentioned, superior in political force to Holy Writ, “To the victors belong the spoils!” So the only effort on our part to promote the administration of justice has failed. What other effort have we made ?

We have done something tending to promote “Uniformity of legislation throughout the Union.” A very valuable paper on the recording laws of the United States, by an eminent lawyer, judge, and author, projected changes which commended themselves to every mind, and which were duly discussed, published, and there was the end. I believe that one state has adopted an act as to the acknowledgment of conveyances which was approved by this Association. An able report has been made on the subject of marriage and divorce, and the necessity of uniform laws on this subject. If anything further has been done, or any change of any state law recently been made in this most important direction, I have not been so fortunate as to hear of it.

We have done something too to advance the science of jurisprudence. That is, papers have been read here at our annual meetings, by distinguished and able lawyers, discussing subjects of great moment, and thus have tended, as does every thesis upon the law, to accomplish this high end. And, yet, comparatively, has much been done?

I do not think our constitution is at fault, nor its machinery. Annually, in conformity with the constitution, committees are appointed for the year ensuing—on jurisprudence and law reform; on judicial administration and remedial procedure; on legal education and admissions to the bar; on commercial law; on international law.

What has been done by these committees ? How many reports have been made? That on legal education and admissions to the bar has reported; and beneficial effect has followed in at least one state. The agitation of that subject, and of the proper education for the bar, has, I believe, done much good. It has braced up the practice, if it has not improved the rules, in one state that I know of at least; I have hope that it has elsewhere.

But what about jurisprudence and law reform? What about judicial administration and remedial procedure ? What about commercial law? What about international law ?

Perhaps there is defect in the practicalness of otherwise well-devised machinery. It must be difficult to report generally upon such subjects. Any report to be profitable must select some one topic from those connected with the large subject matter, and devote attention exclusively to that. It has occurred to me to suggest an addition or a change in the present plan of our meetings. It is the same successfully adopted in a leading religious denomination for a meeting termed its congress. Let the executive committee determine upon some question or topic connected, we will say, with law reform, and request four members, whom they shall select, to prepare and conduct a discussion of it, arranging, if possible, that there shall be difference in the views presented. Then, let the subject, after they are through, be open to debate by speakers limited in time.

Besides this addition to the interest of our meetings, let the efficiency of our Association be enhanced by determining upon some one or two amendments to the law-say upon the subject of the acknowledgment and record of conveyances, and upon that of marriage and divorce; as to which, all will admit, the laws of the states should be uniform. And then let a committee be appointed of one from each state, whose duty it shall be to bring the measure before its legislature, and, if possible, secure its adoption. The mere motive of obtaining uniformity will be a strong argument with every legislature, and, by prudent action on the part of the committeemen, it will not be difficult to secure the adoption of a wisely drawn statute.

"Ars longa, vita brevis." Let us strive, brethren and friends, to make these delightful convocations something more than simple occasions of enjoyment. Let us strive to become a power—a power for good; a power which shall be recognized; a power to tighten the bonds of union-a power which, through the welding together of the strong minds and earnest hearts of the many thousands engaged in our noble profession, and through the attainment, by our means, of uniform laws governing social and business life, shall aid the rail and the telegraph in that glorious work, the fruition fully of that which is our national motto; a motto adopted, I must believe, not simply as descriptive, nor even as also prophetic, but, besides, as briefly declaring the duty of every citizen in reference to his state and to the nation,—E Pluribus UNUM.

ANNUAL ADDRESS

BY

JOHN F. DILLON.

AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS AND LAWS.

Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Association:

THE EMBARRASSMENT of selecting a suitable topic for the Annual Address before your Association must have been felt by all who have previously undertaken it, and may easily be imagined by others. Shall it be a technical reading of some important statute? a discussion of some controverted question connected with the law or its administration? or shall it be more general in its scope and purpose ? This seems to be settled by precedent, for I find that each of the Addresses previously made on the like occasion, although directly relating to our profession, and imbued and tinctured with a legal flavor, has been of a general or quasi popular character.

While I assent, without demur, to travel in the accustomed path, still the question recurs,—What general topic shall be selected ? and this, Mr. President and gentlemen, has been determined almost by accident. I found the invitation which brings me before you to-day awaiting my return from a recent first visit to the Pacific Coast. In the long journey, some old notions were modified; others were confirmed; and some new vistas of our institutions and laws, here and there, opened before me: and yielding to the vividness and force of last impressions, I resolved to

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