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him the respect and confidence of all men. He must be one who was willing to put aside private ambition, and make it his life work to establish the rank of the court given to it by the Constitution, but which bitherto had scarcely been conceded to it. As a concession to her importance it were better that he be a citizen of Virginia; and John Adams naturally believed he should be a Federalist. He found all these essentials in John Marshall. The hour of fate had come; and he was the man of the hour.

Speculations on what might have been the result had important events happened otherwise than they did, are usually profitless. But one cannot forbear indulging in a shudder at the contemplation of what might have been the destiny of the nation had the appointment of Chief Justice been made a few months later by that apostle of the anti-Federalists, Thomas Jefferson. One experiment of a league of sovereign States had been tried and haw failed. Another would have meant hopeless wreck. More than once, as we review the events of our history, are we led to recognize with reverence the hand of an overruling Providence, guiding our path, shielding us from danger and destruction, chastening us when we have gone astray, and leading us on to become the lamp of liberty enlightening the world.

John Marshall grasped the helm with the hand of a master. There was no chart to guide his course, excepting his conception of the spirit of the Constitution. But that conception was based upon a belief in the sovereignty of the nation, and was elevated by a conviction of the power and dignity of the judicial branch of the Government. Within three

Within three years he had disposed of a contention, seriously made, that Congress was not bound by


the Constitution, excepting as it might interpret for itself the terms of that instrument. He pronounced one of its statutes void, and thus asserted the supremacy of his court over the legislative department, –a supremacy which has never since been challenged, and which it is difficult for us now to conceive ever to have been challenged. Soon after he pronounced void an act of a State legislature which was in violation of the Constitution of the United States. Then men began to appreciate the fact that the Federal power was supreme, and that, under the interpretation of John Marshall, the Constitution did not provide a mere rope of sand for the States, but was the strong tie which bound them together into a Nation.

From these sound beginnings he proceeded with unfaltering steps, literally building up a nation upon the foundation of the Constitution. His yiews did not at first, nor even during his life, meet with universal acquiescence. During the whole of the two generations of his judicial service, he was the subject of bitter criticism, and more than once there was almost open revolt. He himself at times became disheartened, and in a letter to his associate, Joseph Story, in 1832, he said: “I yield slowly and reluctantly to the conviction that our Constitution cannot last." This was but three years before his death, and it may well be that his last hours were clouded with doubts of the future of his country. But he had builded more wisely and surely than he knew. His interpretation of the spirit of the Constitution, besides having the weight of authority, came eventually to be accepted as well for the truth of its resistless logic. He was not merely a great and learned judge. There have been others. His title to the eternal gratitude of his countrymen is found in the fact that he was the creator of constitutional government, as we now understand that term. The result of his work is the grandeur of the imperial flag under which we live.

Of the life and career of John Marshall it is not for me to speak in detail at this time. It will be better done on this anniversary by others more competent for the task. Beyond declaring his part in the growth of the nation, as I have briefly attempted to do, I will content myself with observing that, considered merely as a judge, his career was a model for all who have come after. Dignified and genial, patient in attention, learned and logical, luminous and convincing in opinions; welcoming the help that the bar can give to the court; not lacking in respect for the executive and legislative departments, and for that presumption of right which should be accorded to them, but never forgetting that the function of the court is to be true to its own lights and not subservient to the standard of the Legislature,- he created for the court a respect and esteem which has never since been shaken, and established a standard of judicial deportment which may well be followed to-day.

But it is by the high principles he promulgated and upheld, and upon which this nation has grown to grandeur, rather than by any mere judicial eminence, that he will be remembered while the nation endures.

As I stood, last month, upon the steps of the National Capitol, I was led to contrast in my mind the splendid panorama there unfolded with the rude beginnings of a century ago. But I also reflected that in the luminous clearnes; of John Marshall's vision there has been, there can be, no advance. A hundred years hence the material achievements of the nation may eclipse those of to-day,

ages, and

even as we have surpassed those of the founders of the Republic; or, on the other hand, some future Marius may contemplate from the same eminence upon which I stood the ruins of the capital of a once great nation. The things of this world pass away and are forgotten. But the prophetic wisdom and truth of the principles enunciated by Jobn Marshall will endure through the his courage and sagacity in discovering and establishing them will be his deathless renown.

In view of the solemnity of this anniversary and of what it means to us and to our fathers and to our children as well, I have the honor to suggest in behalf of my associates that the work of the court be suspended for the day, that the bar and the court may appropriately celebrate the occasion; and to that end I move that the court do now adjourn.

Response of Chief Justice Holmes.

As we walk down Court street in the midst of a jostling crowd, intent like us upon to-day and its affairs, our eyes are like to fall upon the small, dark building that stands at the head of State street, and, like an ominous reef, divides the stream of business in its course to the gray cliffs that tower beyond. And, whoever we may be, we may chance to pause and forget our hurry for a moment, as we remember that the first waves that foretold the coming storm of the Revolution broke around that reef. But, if we are lawyers, our memories and our reverence grow more profound. In the Old State House, we remember, James Otis argued the case of the writs of assistance, and in that argument laid one of the foundations for American constitutional law. Just as that little building is not diminished, but rather is enhanced and glorified, by the vast structures which somehow it turns into a background, so the beginnings of our national life, whether in battle or in law, lose none of their greatness by contrast with all the mighty things of later date, beside which, by every law of number and measure, they ought to seem so small. To us who took part in the Civil War, the greatest battle of the Revolution seems little more than a reconnoisance in force, and Lexington and Concord were mere skirmishes that would not find mention in the newspapers. Yet veterans who have known battle on a modern scale are not less aware of the spiritual significance of those little fights, I venture to say, than the enlightened children of commerce who tell us that soon war is to be no more.

If I were to think of John Marshall simply by number and measure in the abstract, I might hesitate in my superlatives, just as I should hesitate over the battle of the Brandywine if I thought of it apart from its place in the line of historic cause. But such thinking is empty in the same proportion that it is abstract. It is most idle to take a man apart from the circumstances which, in fact, were his. To be sure, it is easier in fancy to separate a person from his riches than from his character. But it is just as futile. Remove a square inch of mucous membrane, and the tenor will sing no more. Remove a little cube from the brain, and the orator will be speechless; or another, and the brave, generous and profound spirit becomes a timid and querulous trifler. A great man represents a great ganglion in the nerves of society, or, to vary the figure, a strategic point in the campaign of history, and part of his greatness consists in his being there. I no more can separate John Marshall

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