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are cases in which a simple explanation may
the prisoner's counsel addresses the court after
"Another curious system which has attracted attention in this trial is the last word.' (This sounds like one of Adelaide Proctor's poems.) The procedure in English criminal cases is this: If witnesses are called on the defense,
The opinion of Judge Ross, in the case of the Government against the Stanford estate, which action was brought to recover the share due from Stanford as a shareholder of the Southern Pacific Company, is one which will be eagerly read, as it discusses many valuable points in the national legislation by which the
construction of the Northern Pacific and Central Pacific was authorized, and the provisions made for the issuance of bonds and for their redemption.
On April 4, 1864, the California Legislature passed an act of aid to the Central Pacific, which vested in it all the rights given it by the legislation of Congress. The Western Pacific was incorporated under these acts to connect with the Central Pacific at Sacramento. This corporation in 1870 merged with the Central Pacific, and the combined property came under the legislation affecting the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific. All other consolidations were similarly affected between the Missouri river and the Pacific coast.
The principle involved in this, the court said, was elementary, but he fortified his conclusion by reading authorities. The contract contemplated a repayment of the bonds. The only question was, how? This was a question not heretofore decided, but it had a bearing on the case. It would have to be decided whether there was any direct promise from these stockholders to repay the bonds. He found that no such promise existed by implication, and it has been settled that an implied promise in such cases was not entered. The acceptance of the bonds was an applied promise to stockholders to repay them in fact, their acceptance under the language of the statutes was an absolute and unqualified agreement to pay to the government. The stockholders accepted the assistance, with an agreement as to how it should be repaid if the acceptance was unqualified, which it was, it could but be accepted as a total acceptance. While there was no statement as to this in the clause providing for the forfeiture, if considered in connection with the context of the law, no other construction was possi
The Central Pacific accepted the terms of fered. In all the corporations affected in this State Stanford was a stockholder, holding 130,880 shares in a total of 520,000 shares paid in. He owned 13,500 shares of the Western Pacific railroad when it received aid. It was charged that no part of the money due the government had been paid, and that it now amounted to more than $78,000,000, which the property of the company, if seized, would be inadequate to cover.
The court said it could not be influenced by any event which occurred subsequent to the contract with the government. The only question was what Stanford's liability was as to the payment of the debt to the government. The money made by Stanford and what has been done with the money earned by the Central Pacific were not matters of which the court could take cognizance. Sections of the State legislation were read to show the liability of stockholders. The court said the only legislation bearing on this case was section 12 of the act of 1861, which provided that when any stockholder should cease to be such, his respon-stock to capitalization of their corporation, the sibility for a proportion of his debts should legislation of the era in which the railroad debt cease, except as to debts incurred prior to his accrued did not so provide, and subsequent having become a stockholder. There was no legislation had no bearing on the debt. doubt that, though Stanford and his three partners only held a portion of the stock, they were the moving spirits.
There was no doubt that the company had accepted all the responsibilities of the loan. The question remained as to whether the responsibility rested with the stockholders. Beyond any doubt there was no common law liability. It reverted to the application of the State Constitution and subsequent State statutes as to such liabilities. It has been held that the States statutes did not fix any definite liability. The court referred to the original State Constitution and to the later Constitution of 1879, and to intervening legislation. While in later legislation the responsibility of stockholders for liability is in the proportion of their
The court referred to decisions which showed that the government grants were made under peculiar circumstances which made them in a sense national enterprises. The grants, how
ever, constituted contracts from which the companies could not arbitrarily recede.
But the court said he did not believe the State legislation material, as the contract between the company and the government would have to be relied upon - he was satisfied that the government did not intend that the stockholders should be individually responsible for the debt. It had extended its aid in a way
which showed that it was an extraordinary to the memory of Prof. Parsons. He was then occasion, and that it made the stockholders of the most eminent of the professors of the law the railroad company its instruments in delegat- school, and the only one from whom I ever ing to them great powers. It evidently did not learned anything. I do not claim that he was intend that any individual responsibility should a profound lawyer, at least before he made the be with them. Subsequent legislation could acquaintance of Prof. Langdell, but he was one not alter the case in favor of the complainants. of the most charming of men. It was his The decision was in favor of Mrs. Stanford, maxim of life, which I have endeavored to foland the federal officials said, after it had been low, that it was the duty of every lawyer to get rendered, that the case would not be further all the entertainment possible out of his work prosecuted. They regarded Judge Ross' deas he went along. I do not think Prof. Langcision as final, as all the points at issue had dell was the first inventor of the system of been covered. studying law by original research in actual Mr. Justice Gray began it fifty years ago, and has kept it successfully to this moment.
There are results in the modern system which I
The Honorable Joseph Hodges Choate, president of the recent Constitutional Convention, | jurist, humorist, and, it is claimed, the persecutor of Sage, the multi-millionaire, is always a subject of pleasure and delight. There is certainly a keenness to his wit and a grace to his words which add to the charm of his presence, and we always seek his remarks on lawyers and his arguments on the Income Tax, or other subjects, as one would search for sweet clover among bristling thorns. At the commencement exercises of the Harvard Law School, James C. Carter, Esq., the toastmaster, introduced Mr. Choate, and said that he was the person who, at the recent trial, was constrained to read a chapter of the bible to the millionaire defendant in the case of Sage v. Laidlaw, and might have something equally as good and apropos for his legal brethern. In speaking of Sir Frederick Pollock, Mr. Choate said:
do heartly approve. It sends out to the great cities of this Union young men far better equipped with legal knowledge and with the fundamental principles that are to prepare them for the practice of law than any of their predecessors have enjoyed, and I think I may fairly say that we practitioners of the New York bar welcome all we can get of them. There is only one trouble, Prof. Langdell, and that is they know altogether too much. They know it all. And
there are none of us old men in the law who But it is their misfortune that at the outset they are cannot learn a great deal from them. topheavy. And it is only after six months or a year of running about our streets, when they have learned that the legs are as important to the young lawyer as the brain, that they make themselves as useful as you intended them to be.
"I consider that America is the paradise of judges and lawyers, especially of lawyers, and when any pessimistic views are expressed of what all these coming lawyers are to do, I say, come to New York. Mr. Carter will soon be retiring, and will leave room for a thousand men.
"I can remind him," said the speaker, "that there was a Harvard school before he was. I claim myself to have enjoyed the tuition of Harvard College and of the Dane law school in the golden age of each of these institutions. Profound as is my admiration for our distinguished president, I wish to say I graduated under the genial reign of David Sparks, the happy period of college life at Harvard. He had but one motto, which he universally applied in his treatment of the undergraduates: 'Be to their faults a little blind, and to their virtues very kind, and clap the padlock on the
One question I should submit for the consideration of our distinguished guest from over the water. Why is it that such an enormous number of lawyers and judges are required to meet the modest wants of the American people? Take our State of New York, with 7,000,000 of people. It has 70 judges of the Supreme Court, besides seven judges of the Court of Appeals, three federal judges and one judge in each of the counties, 60 in number, for probate and legal business, making 140 judges to meet "When from there I proceeded to the law the wants of 7,000,000 people. Well, as I school a similar state of things prevailed. Hap-understand it, though I may be mistaken, Engpily, there was no such thing as dean of the land, with her 30,000,000 people, finds 32 judges law school. I do wish to pay a single tribute of the first-class ample for all her wants."
Address before the Pennsylvania State Bar Association, at Bedford Springs, July 10, 1895, by J. NEWTON FIERO.
THE WORK OF THE BAR ASSOCIATION. of the legal profession; having, as a subordinate
and secondary aim, the cultivation of social intercourse among its members, and the perpetuation of the memory of those who have passed over to the
may be termed
which you have taken is a brief and beautiful epitome of your duties," and it is usual to add that it is unnecessary to enlarge upon the powers and responsibilities which are therein so elearly and succinctly stated. It is equally the custom of the judge thereupon to proceed to an elaborate explanation of the rights, privileges and functions of the grand inquest.
In the by-laws of the Pennsylvania State Bar Association, as in the constitutions of its sister associations, there is embodied a concise and distinct statement of the purposes of the organization. This declaration seems an adequate and complete presentation of the objects sought to be accomplished; but following the example of the court in like case, I shall somewhat amplify this provision and enlarge upon the practical work of associations
of members of the bar.
The formation of associations of this character is a recognition of the futility of individual effort and of the power and influence of organization; an admission that the lawyer, unaided by co-operation on the part of his brethren, can, except in rare cases, accomplish but little that is of value to the profession or the public, beyond the performance of his
duties as counsel and advocate.
It is the outgrowth of and possibly an improvement upon the compact and influential organizations of lawyers in the mother country, concentrated in and gathered about the inns of court, which have done so much toward preserving the standard of ability and integrity of the bar of England, and its efficiency has been most thoroughly recognized by a recent movement among English barristers looking
toward the formation of a like association.
THE PURPOSE OF BAR ASSOCIATIONS.
The association of members of the bar has a higher purpose, however, than is possible for any organization which, as in most cases, has for its sole object the protection of the interests of a trade, class, or profession, in that it cultivates a broader and more liberal spirit in its effort to improve the science of jurisprudence in the interest and for the benefit of the people of the State.
While the line of differentiation is not sharply drawn, yet the aims of such an association divide themselves into two classes: first, the oversight and care of the education of the prospective lawyer previous to his admission to practice, and the creation and maintenance of such a sentiment in the bar as shall tend to uphold the honor and dignity
the association holds toward the profession; second, the more important duty which lawyers, as members of an association, owe to and undertake to perform toward the public, is, by way of revision and repeal of unwise, improvident and obsolete laws, through appropriate legislation; the prevention of ill-considered, hasty, careless and vicious legislation, so far as practicable under existing conditions, and the exercise of care and watchfulness over the administration of the law by duly constituted tribunals.
In the discharge of the obligation which lawyers owe to themselves, the first to be considered, and perhaps the more important, as influencing all the others and relating most intimately to the welfare and standing of the profession, and at the same time affecting the public interest, is admission to its membership. Questions relative to legal education and qualification have, during the past few years, received most careful consideration, and the standard of legal learning has thereby been, and is being, raised to and maintained at a much higher point than was heretofore deemed practicable.
Scarcely less important is the preservation of the high standing of the members of the bar, and the maintenance of the reputation for honor and integrity which is demanded from the profession, by means of discriminating, yet firm and uncompro mising action in the discipline and exclusion of unworthy members.
Nor is the association of the members of the bar
for mutual improvement by closer acquaintance and the enjoyment of the social courtesies of life to be passed lightly over, and as we recall how little is preserved of the record of the life of the active lawyer, who has attained even a very high degree of prominence in his profession, we more fully appreciate the desirability and necessity of that branch of the work which is devoted to keeping green the memory of those who have passed away, rendering the department of legal biography one of the greatest interest and highest importance.
Thus far, as to the duties lawyers owe to and undertake to discharge toward each other by mutual association, embodying, however, very much due to the public as well as to the profession. I in no wise underrate their importance, but the reference made to them must suffice at this time, since our object in this paper is to consider more particularly the work of the association in its relation to the citizen and the State, and the manner in which that work can be most readily and effectually ac
complished, and as to this branch of the subject | leaders are too much engrossed in their practice to only that portion can be touched upon relative to give this subject their personal attention, those who the general features of reform in the substantive manifest an interest in the subject find the majority law and methods for its administration. of their brethren wedded to existing conditions, and the organization of the courts, the regulation of the practice and the enactment of the statutes are left very largely to men who are but indifferent lawyers although exceedingly able politicans not to say eminent statesman.
The truth is, and it should be enforced on every proper occasion, that the lawyers of these United States as a body do not exhibit a proper public spirit in performing the duty which they owe to the community by way of enforcing a careful, thorough and complete revision of the laws, State and Federal, and insisting upon the simplifying and rendering less expensive the existing methods of procedure.
The indisposition of the bar to give sufficient time and attention to the science of jurisprudence, the enactment of statntes and the proper constitution of the courts, is a conceded lamentable fact, and so far as it has become a spirit of opposition to necessary reforms it is to be criticised and deprecated. I can only presume that your bar is so liberal in its views, modern in its spirit and progressive in its methods, that I may thereby be relieved from even the suspicion of comment or criticism.
A PLEA AGAINST CONSERVATISM.
The lawyers of America are not to overlook the fact that we are nearing the close of the nineteenth century, with a strong predeliction in many quarters for the adoption of twentieth-century methods of thought and action. It must be appreciated that rules of law and methods of procedure which were established at the period of the Norman Conquest, devised by the early chancellors of England, and modified by the decisions of Eldon and Mausfield, are not now accepted without question or controAs affairs have been influenced by steam and electricity, so laws which were adapted to the time of William the Conqueror served the purposes of a rude kind of justice in the days of Thomas à Becket, and were administered with many misgivings by the doubting chancellor and the great common-law judge, will not be tolerated by the business public of to-day. The conservatism of the bar must necessarily give way to the spirit of progress, and we must adopt such rules of action and such methods of business as are reasonably consonant with the disposition and responsive to the demands of the client..This boasted conservatism is not only beyond criticism, but deserves all praise, in so far as it does not stand for opposition to modern thought and action; but when that conservatism is arrayed against the spirit of the time, it requires no prophet to foretell the result, and it is the part of wisdom for the profession, acting through association of its members, to recognize the existing condition of affairs, and adapt laws and procedure to such conditions. The demand of the age is for greater simplicity, both in the law and in the practice, and this demand must be heeded, and if not acceded to by the profession, they will no longer be the leaders, but will be obliged to follow the steps of those who are unfit for and incapable of framing laws or constitutions.
There is a decided indisposition on the part of the individual lawyer to devote either time or attention to the amendment of the law in any respect, and he therefore resigns himself to a condition of inertia which from absolute indifference soon becomes active opposition to any effort on the part of his brethren to reform either the substance or the administration of the law, contenting himself with the view that present conditions have existed for nearly a thousand years and that any change or amendment is not only disadvantageous but will be dangerous.
As a profession, we are not up to the times; our
That our statute books are full of crude, illy-considered, unintelligible, inconsistent and obsolete laws is conceded. That this is a disgrace to our civilization does not seem to be appreciated. That it is the duty of the bar to remedy it, does not appear to be seriously considered. Yet here is a field which can be most profitably occupied without creating objection or arousing antagonism from any quarter.
It is the province of bar associations to correct this evil, to educate the sentiment and enforce the views of its members who are in sympathy with modern ideas, to formulate the plan and regulate the manner and method in which the law shall be condensed, revised and simplified, and in so doing it will conserve the highest and most important interests of the bar, the bench and the State.
This demands careful, painstaking and unremitting labor, carried on with a due spirit of reverence for the past, with a large measure of wisdom and prudence as to the present, and a wise forecast for the future.
OBSTACLES TO WORK OF ASSOCIATIONS. The practical question is, "In what manner can a bar association best accomplish the ends of its existence?" and in answer to this question we must not overlook the obstacles to be met and overcome.
There is a most formidable obstacle in the way of effective action, even when the members of the profession are agreed upon a course of action which