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past history of the country. History repeats itself. The strict constructionists who, in Marshall's day, denied the existence under the Constitution of the powers upon which we now know the success of the Union depended, are again making themselves heard in the land denying the existence under the Constitution of powers which are essential not only to the further progress of the Nation in the direction where its great destiny lies, but for the preservation of that which it has already achieved, and insisting upon a construction of the Constitution which will handicap and cripple the United States as a member of the community of sovereign nations.
On the other hand, there are those who now seem impatient of any organic limitations upon the powers of the Federal Government in respect to its foreign relations or colonial possessions and answer adverse criticism of our international policy by appeal to unreasoning patriotism, decrying all opposition on the specious and dangerous plea that we must always present a united front in our external relations, and that party divisions on such questions will weaken the nation in the eyes of the world.
It is fortunate that, at this critical period, the bench and the bar of this country, and the great institutions of learning, the leaders of thought in every State of the Union, have by common consent turned aside for a day from their ordinary avocations to contemplate the public services of John Marshall. For there can be no better preparation for the solution of the momentous questions before us than a study of the life work of the great expounder of the Constitution. We shall thus strengthen and renew our allegiance to a Constitution under which the liberties and happiness of the people have been secure, while the United States have gone forward along
the road to national greatness with surer and more rapid strides than any other of the nations of the world. Its mandates and its limitations will not be disregarded or found irksome by one who has learned their meaning and the reasons for their existence from the decisions of Marshall. But we may learn from him another timely lesson, one that the strict constructionists and little Americans of the day should take to heart, and that is that our great organic law is not a dead but a living instrument, not rigid and inflexible, but capable of growth and expansion, not made for one time and one set of conditions, but for all times and to meet all the needs and exigencies of all the stages in the growth of a nation completely and absolutely sovereign within the sphere of its action. For thus regarded and construed, our Constitution will not be found, for the first time, to be a bar and an impediment to the growth and progress, to the success and greatness, of the United States.
If, as I believe, the teachings of Marshall, the character he gave the Constitution and the principles of construction he established shall tide us over the present constitutional crisis, and secure for the United States, under the Constitution, the powers necessary to enable them to maintain the proud and commanding position so promptly accorded them on their first appearance among the great world powers, then a crowning glory will be added to the already imperishable renown of the great American judge.
STATE OF FLORIDA.
Marshall Day was celebrated in Florida under the auspices of the Jacksonville Bar Association at a dinner given at the St. James Hotel in Jacksonville. Among the members and guests present were the following: President A. W. Cockrell, Jr.; guests of honor: Hon. W. S. Jennings, Governor of the State; Attorney-General W. B. Lamar, Judge W. H. Arnoux of New York, G. W. Wilson and W.R. Carter, Dell Cassidey, Clerk of Circuit Court; Hon. C. M. Cooper, Circuit Judge R. M. Call, United States District Judge J. W. Locke, Judge John L. Doggett of the Criminal Court of Record, Ex-Governor F. P. Fleming, C. D. Rinehart, W. H. Baker, Alex. St. ClairAbrams, County Judge H. B. Philips, Charles L. Fildes, W. B. Clarkson, W. B. Young, H. E. Bowden, D. C. Campbell, S. G. Shaylor, A. B. Humphries, A. G. Hartridge, Colonel H. Bisbee, H. H. Buckman, Seton Fleming, J. M. Barrs, W. J. Bryan, N. P. Bryan, George C. Bedell, W.P. Smith, H. L. Montgomery, Geo. M. Powell, F. P. Fleming, Jr., J. S. Maxwell, Frank 0. Clark, C. H. Summers, E. 0. Locke, C. S. Adams, A. H. King, M. A. Brown, D. U. Fletcher.
At the great fire in Jacksonville, which occurred in May, 1901, all the papers of the Jacksonville Bar Association were destroyed, including the manuscript of the addresses. From a contemporary account we are able to give a synopsis of the proceedings and addresses.
The meeting was presided over by A. W. Cockrell, Jr.,
President of the Association, who, after reading congratulatory dispatches from the National Committee on Marshall Day and from Adolph Moses, sending the greetings of Illinois to Florida, then introduced Governor Jennings. After some fitting remarks by Governor Jennings the chairman introduced as the orator of the day C. M. Cooper, formerly a member of Congress and Ex-AttorneyGeneral of the State, from whose address the following is taken:
Address of C. M. Cooper.
We have met to-night to do honor to the memory of a great man and a great judge. The greatest of American judges, like the greatest of American Presidents, was born of poor parentage. He was fond of reading, and had at his elbow the best books of the English authors which were to be found in the old homes of Virginia. He had no collegiate education, but the sentiment is as true now as it was when Carlyle said: “The best college is a fino collection of books."
After reviewing the history of Marshall and his judicial career and leading decisions, Mr. Cooper continued:
To form an adequate estimate of John Marshall we must consider, first, the conditions of the field to which he was called; second, the man; and third, his work.
First, let us take the conditions which existed when he was appointed. Independence had been achieved, the Constitution had been adopted, and the government of the United States thereunder had begun.
Some Revolutionary patriots, such as Patrick Henry and George Mason, had opposed the adoption of the Constitution. Many others, of whom Madison, who had been es
pecially prominent and influential in securing its formation and adoption, may be considered a representative, had become fearful of what they considered a too free construction of its provisions as dangerous to the rights of the States, local self-government and individual liberty.
The contentions of the schools of construction of Hamilton and Jefferson were strenuous and bitter. None of the greatest constitutional questions had been decided by the Supreme Court. Oliver Ellsworth had resigned the Chief Justiceship. John Jay had declined a reappointment, saying: “I left the bench perfectly convinced that under a system so defective it would not obtain the energy, weight and dignity which were essential to its affording due support to the National Government; nor acquire the public confidence and respect which, as the last resort of the justice of the Nation, it should possess.”
This declaration of Jay and the position of authority to which the court had attained, and the work that it had done in a few years later under the Chief Justiceship of Marshall, is a measure of his greatness. Second The man.
His birth and education; life and offices prior to his appointment as Chief Justice, his mental characteristics and his qualities as a judge.
Mr. Cooper then elaborated all of these points, going deeply into Marshall's character. Mr. Cooper was thoroughly informed on the history of Marshall's life, and this part of his oration was very full and interesting.
The third head of the oration was his Work. Among other things Mr. Cooper said: His judicial opinions established the authority of the Supreme Court, its right to declare acts of Congress and of State legislatures unconstitutional, in pursuance of what has been called the American Discovery in the Science of Government. He