« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
assessed against it, in lawful money of tho United persuading or decoying away the servant, cropper or States, and not in coupons."
farm laborer of another shall be a misdemeanor, and She is not yet free from some habits of olden times, punished criminally as such. There is history in this ! such, for instance, as that of duelling, and so in one act And also in another short act, which prohibits excur. two-thirds of both houses concurring, the disabilities of sion trains as well as freight trains on Sunday. Sensiforty-four gentlemen named, incurred under clause 3 ble acts, both these. The one protects against ignorof section 1 of article 3 of the Constitution of Virginia, ance; the other against disorder and the desecration with reference to duelling, were thereby removed. of the day of rest. The first however needs great care,
She has awakened to the necessity of public educa- or it may be the organ of oppression and wrong. Obtiou, and to her great credit be it said, to the neces- viously it is for the relief of capital against labor. sity and propriety of the education of the colored | Northern statutes almost always help labor against race; and so she has enacted that “the president and capital. faculty of the Virginia Normal and Collegiate Insti- The acts of Texas were passed at a special session tute shall be required each and every year to conduct called for specific local purposes named in the govera normal course of instruction for the benefit of the nor's proclamation. They present no “noteworthy" colored teachers in the public schools in the State, or changes whatever. of those who expect to make teaching a profes- Mississippi presents a bulky volume of no less than sion."
1,052 pages. And its examination shows much that is These are all the public acts, save some having rela- unnecessary. For instance, and it is a fact which is tion to court practice, and like technical matters, certainly greatly surprising, the book from page 200 to wbich this book contains. There is a set of joint reso- 257, inclusive, is occupied with special acts on the sublutious which perhaps are “noteworthy,” but histori- | ject of the sale of liquors and local prohibition laws, a cally and financially rather than legally.
specimen of which is the following: “Be it enacted They assert the "Riddleberger bill” as a settlement that hereafter it shall not be lawful for any person to of their State debt, which is a “finality," and that any sell or give away, for any purpose whatever, any noxexpectation that any settlement of the debt of the ious, spirituous or malt liquors, or any bitters containState upon any other basis will ever be made or toler. ing alcohol, or any brandy peaches, brandy cherries or ated by the people of Virginia is absolutely illusory other brandy fruits, or any other article or liquor conand hopeless; and they call upon all creditors of the taining alcohol; neither shall it be lawful for any perState to come forward with promptness and fund son to sell or give away any other intoxicating liquor, their bonds and claims accordingly.
nor to “treat’any person to any intoxicating article or South Carolina has passed 250 acts and 32 joint reso- liquor, in the town of Shugualah, in Noxubec county, lutions, but few justify notice. One statute enacts or within four miles of the corporate limits thereof; that if any child die in the life-time of a father or and no person living within said limits of four miles mother, leaving issue, any legacy of personalty or de- shall be qualified to petition for license to retail out of vise of realty given in their wills shall go to such issue, said limits. And be it further enacted that any person unless the deceased child was equally portioned with violating this act shall be fined upon conviction before the other children by the father or mother when liv- a justice of the peace not less than $25, or by imprising.
onmeut not less than ten or more than thirty days, or Several acts allow the question of “License or no by both such fine and imprisonment; and in all cases license” to be settled by vote of municipalities. Sev- the prosecutor shall be entitled to a fee of $5, to be eral more expressly interdict licenses in particular lo- taxed and collected as other costs. And be it further calities. Both these classes of temperance laws may epacted that nothing herein contained shall be consurprise some who hear of them, considering one's strued to prohibit the use of wine or other liquors for ideas in regard to such matters in the locality.
sacramental or culinary purposes, or by regular pracAn act for the better protection of contingent re- ticing physicians in cases of actual sickness; and if any mainders says that no estate in remainder, whether physician shall prescribe for or give to any person any vested or contingent, shall be defeated by any deed of intoxicating liquor, except in cases of actual sickness, feoffment with livery of seisin.
arising in his practice, and known by him to be cases Another regulates how a joint debtor may make a of actual sickness, he shall, on conviction as aforesaid, separate composition with his creditor, which shall be punished as prescribed in the second section of this discharge the debtor making it, and him only.
act." Another settles that on all assessments of dower in Another act says: “ Each and every device or sublands of which the husband died seised, the value of terfuge which the jury shall deem to have been resorted the lands at the time of the death of the husband, to as an evasion of this act shall be punished as a viowith interest from the accrual of the right of dower, lation of the same." sball be taken and received as the true value on whicb Two or three of the acts call for elections by the to assess such dower.
people to determine upon prohibition. But generally Another declares unlawful contracts for the sale of they are of this positive and particular nature. There articles for future delivery unless the contractor is are sixty-five of them, and yet it appears there is a then the owner, or bona fide intends actually to deliver general license law. These are local exceptions; hoy at the specified time in kiud; and the burden of proof much of the territory of the State they altogether emuof such ownersbip or intent lies on the plaintiff; and brace would require too great study to say. any person who pays over money when the contract is While not able myself as yet to adopt the theory of in violation of the act, may recover it back within prohibition, I cannot but think that the grim earnestthree months after.
ness of these laws shows a tendency of public opinion The legislative session of South Carolina lasted less which suggests a hopeful future. than a month.
An act to provide for the regulation of freight and Georgia has enacted that “upon the death of a hus- passenger rates on railroads, and to create a commisband without lineal descendants, the wife is his sole sion to supervise the same and for other purposes, is a beir, and upon payment of his debts, if any, may take valuable and well-drawn law. Its first section lays possession of his estate without administration, sue down the law thus: “The track of every railroad in for, and recover the same."
this State is a public highway, on which all persons She also passes an act extending the scope of a part have equal rights of transportation for passengers and of her Code so as to provide that employing, enticing, freight on the payment of just compensation to the owner of the railroad for such transportation, and any It is a curious fact that an act very similar, if not in person or corporation engaged in transporting passen- | principle identical with this, providing for the draingers or freight on any railroad in this State who shall age of the large tracts of salt meadow lying upon the exact, receive or demand more than the rate specified waters of the sound separating New Jersey from Staten in any bill of lading issued by such person or corpora- Island, and upon the rivers whose confluence forms tion, or who for his or its advantage, or for the advan- the body of water crossed by the three-mile bridge of tage of any connecting line, or for any person or local- the Central Railroad of New Jersey, has been lately ity, shall make any discrimination in transportation pronounced by the Court of Appeals of that State unagainst any individual, locality or corporation, shall constitutional, as being confiscation and not assessbe guilty of extortion.” The commission constituted | ment, and as being a new thing, the last step in the are to revise and settle all charges, and generally pro- advance of lawless power. And yet both schemes bare tect the public against railroads.
their exemplar in the mother country, where organThere are several supplements and appendices, and ized effort to keep out water has beer sanctioned by many provisions are highly self-commendatory. One law, and its expense assessed upon those especially of these provisions is that “It shall be a misdemeanor benefited according to a measure of benefit arranged. for any legislative, executive, judicial, or ministerial Such protection from the flood is not as necessary op officer in tbis State, or for any person holding any vorthern waters as upon southern; but the creation office or place of honor, profit or trust, under the laws of a new Holland out of useless meadows, and the preof this State, to travel upon any railroad in this State, vention of pestilential malaria, would seem to be newithout paying absolutely and without any guise, cessities which would justify anywhere such a scheme trick, subterfuge or evasion, whatsoever the same fare of drainage as a public benefit. required of passengers generally; and it shall be like- Kentucky's statutes of last year are neither numer. wise a misdemeanor for any officer or employee of any ous nor specially noteworthy. I was struck with the railroad in this State to permit any such officer or per public confidence apparently reposed in her bar, by an son to travel upon any railroad in this State without act which says that when the judge of the Jefferson paying fare as herein provided.” The act further pun- Court of Common Pleas, or the chancellor, or viceishes the first offense with not less than $25 fine; the chancellor of the Louisville Chancery Court, should second with not less than $100, or county gaol uot less fail to attend, it shall be lawful for the members of than ten days, or both; the third with not less than the bar in attendance on such court to elect a special $500 and thirty days. This would be regarded as bard judge to hold court for the occasion. Not but that it lines in the North. New Jersey requires the railroads is a very good way however to get a good judge. to carry its officials without charge, attaining thus It is likewise pleasant to see how strongly the idea pretty much the same intent without such unpleasant of public education has taken hold of the popular prohibitions. I cannot help thinking however that the mind here as in all the southern States, and how their abolishing all passes except for their own officers and sense of justice and of charity leads them to proride employees would be a right thing for the public as well for the education of the colored race, and the care of as a good thing for the roads. Few have any idea how such of them as through blindness or other infirmity many people ride free upon railroads. And the diffi- make claim upon compassion. culty with railroad corporations is that while it is by I fail to see however the need of one act entitled, no means certain that a “complimentary "pass makes "An act to provide for the liberty of conscience, a friend, its refusal is pretty sure to make an enemy. which enacts that persons committed to State prison
There is a little act which makes it criminal to sell ot other penal confinement shall be allowed spiritual toy pistols, worthy of all commendation and adoption advice and spiritual ministration from any recognized elsewhere.
clergyman of the denomination or church to which Another forbids the exhibition of indecent pictorial such persons may belong or have belonged. A good newspapers, pictures or casts.
man who wished to see a prisoner could hardly be deThere are no less than sixty-six laws for the relief of nied, but one would think the chaplain, whatever bis individuals, some of them of a very minute character. denomination, might do his duty without infringing The fashion there seems to be not to repose much con- liberty of conscience. fidence in municipalities, but to have the Legislature There is an act wbich rebukes northern civilization do every thing, as for instance, pay for a dead mule, by prohibiting the sale, or circulation of any paper, repay wrongly collected taxes, refund license fees, au- book,or periodical, the chief feature or characteristic of thorize men to make and sell a medicine invented by which is to record the commission of crimes, to distheir father for curing ulcers and cancers, exempt play by cuts or illustrations, crimes committed, the blind men from license taxes, etc.
actors, pictures of criminals, desperadoes, fugitives There is a line of acts in Mississippi for the erection from justice, and cuts illustrative of men and women of levees which seem very noteworthy. The system is in improper dress, lewd and unbecomiug positions, or to authorize the designation by the governor of com- men and women influenced by liquors, drugs or stimumissioners, one from each county in the particular lants. Evidently certain journals in certain large delta, or otherwise interested, who form a body corpo- cities find little favor in brave old Kentucky. rate, whose office it is to protect this designated section There is an act illustrating a comity which deserves of counties or delta. The corporation is authorized to adoption elsewhere, providing that where there are take land for the levees, by condemnation if need be, non-resident cestuis que trust with a trustee also bouand then to build, rebuild,strengthen, elevate and main. resident, and no trustee in Kentucky, the foreigu trustain the described levees, with full power to do what tee may come there and collect and remove trust is best, and to make all contracts for the work and property. The action of such foreign trustee howerer regulations necessary. They have power to issue bonds is to be authorized, after petition filed, by a court of of the board binding the district, and so raise funds. chancery in Kentucky. To pay these bonds a tax of thirteen mills on the dol- An act of thirty-seven pages amends and reforms lar is laid on the front counties, and nine mills on the the common-school laws of the Commonwealth, and property in the district behind them. In case of de- with rare sagacity and good sense. fault to pay the like procedure for collections is au- Another act rebukes the North again, by proriding thorized as in case of other taxes, even to sale of prop- for the delivery of bibles and testaments to the conerty. And the same for the maintenance of the levee victs of the penitentiary and the inmates of the peval after its erection.
charitable institutions of the State.
And another makes contracts for stock, bonds, “It shall be the duty of said board of managers," grain, cotton, or other produce on personalty on time says this benevolent act “to maintain such control where either of the contractors have no intention or over all prisoners as shall prevent them from commitpurpose of making actual delivery or receiving the ting crime, but secure their self-support and accomproperty in specie, gaming contracts, and declares plish their reformation." thein void, aud punishes the contractors crimi- All praise to the philanthropy which has originated nally.
such an act, and to the State which has adopted it. Thus ends the review of the legislation of the South, With some doubt and fears, we hail the experiment, partial and incomplete because so many of its strong- | and wish it all success. We believe that the worst est States have had no legislative sessions since our natures respond to kindness, and that there are many last meeting, but yet suggestive that great change for more redeemable by proper treatment than are genthe better is going on. There is perceptible a simplicerally supposed. But reformed convicts are few and ity of intention, a desire for the improvement of all far between to be numbered, indeed, among the heroes its people, for universal education, and for the sup- of mankind. port of wholesome charities, a hearty belief in Chris- The supposed necessities of the colored race bave tian morals and Christian religion, and a love of all doubtless induced a statute which enacts that “all right, which deserves and cannot but elicit admiration persons within the jurisprudence of the State shall be and respect. The patriot, the lover of his whole coun- entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the accomtry cannot examine these books of laws without modations, advantages, facilities and privileges of greater assurance of a happy future.
inns, restaurants, eating houses, barbershops, public Among the western States there has been no law- conveyances on land and water, theatres, and all other making since last year in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, places of public accommodation and amusement." Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nevada, Nebraska, Colorado, The public feeling which has produced this law has or Oregon. The laws of Ohio, Iowa and Kansas only showu itself elsewhere. In New Jersey a special mestherefore require notice.
sage from the governor called the attention of the Ohio bas a session volume of 450 pages, but it con- Legislature to the fact that in the Dutch settled tains very little not local in its character. It strikes county of Bergen, the managers of a cemetery had reone as strange to find among these an act to amend an fused to let a colored man be buried there, whereupon act to provide a license ou trades, business and profes- both political parties rivalled each other in their alacsiops carried on in cities of the first grade, etc., which rity for the passage of a law requiring that “this place reads thus: “Astrologers, fortune-tellers, clairvoy- of public accommodation,” to use the Ohio phrase, ants, palmisters and seers, shall pay a license of $300 should not be the exclusive property of the other race. per annum.” The same act strikes from the original In Massachusetts a special law compels life insurance the word “mediums.” This class of “ business" in companies to insure the lives of colored people on the some States comes under obtaining money by false same terms with those of other people, apparently forpretenses, and I believe is made in some by special getting that tables of longevity might make the statute itself a crime. It lives too, upon ignorance risk in one case different from that in the other. and silliness. Licensing it has not even the arguments It may be doubted whether the privileges of this no in its favor which are used by those who advocate the longer unfortunate race will not be more increased license of prostitution, for that is defended by the sug- and enhanced by converting public opinion to their gestion that the vice it lives by is universal and irre- side, than by force of statutory enactments. The day pressible, and that regard for the health of the com- is near, I hope and believe, when the prejudices under munity requires that the followers of the business which they have for centuries labored will all be disbe under official care.
sipated here, as they have in other lands; when all Ohio, like other States, is vexed with the question will feel and act in accordance with the great truth of contract labor in penitentiaries. With New Jersey adopted and preached by the Apostle to the Gentiles, she has gone beyond New York, and has enacted that God has made of one blood all nations that are " that the contract system of employing convicts shall upon the earth; but the advent of that day will be not exist in any form in the penitentiary, but the pris- hastened not by statutes, but by the self-improvement oners shall be employed by the State, and in such way of the race itself, now so evidently going on; by manias in the least possible manner to interfere with or af- fest desert on the one side, and Christian charity on fect free labor, and the managers shall use every effort the other. to so dispose of all merchandise as to avoid injurious An act appointing a State inspector of the sanitary competition with any business of citizens of the condition of shops and factories, is another illustraState."
tion of the advanced philanthropy which seems to This is a difficult, and considering the interests in- characterize Ohio whose appropriation bill for the year volved, a delicate subject. But if convicts are to be includes about 740,000 for public charities. kept confined, and yet work, they must be employed A very valuable act provides for the renewal of rein manufacture. The products of their toil must be cords destroyed by fire. sold, and hence competition with outside labor would There is an act additional to that noticed on the subseem unavoidable. The State has the alternative either ject of prison discipline which I cannot but thiuk very herself to carry on trade, or to hire the services of noteworthy. It allows sentences to be simply to the these victims of her laws. There are grand objections penitentiary, leaving the managers to determine its to either course, both for the good of the convicts and duration within the provided maximum term, eviof the people at large.
dently having regard to the prisoner's behavior. Of I observe another section in the same act certainly this a daily record is kept. The convict who passes “noteworthy." The earnings of prisoners, not to ex- the entire period of his imprisonment without violaceed twenty per cent, are to be placed to their credit tion of the rules is entitled to immediate restoration respectively. And the funds thus accruing shall be to citizenship. He, who not being able to show such paid to the prisoner or to his family, at such time and a record, shall at the end of a year present a certificate i! such manner as the managers shall deem best, pro- of good conduct, signed by ten or more reputable vided that at least a quarter thereof shall be kept for citizens of his place of residence, is then entitled to and paid to himself at the time of his release, it being such restoration. And the period of imprisonment provided beside, that misconduct may cancel all or diminishes to the well behaved, five days the first year, part of the credit.
seven the second, nine the third, ten thereafter. All
this is not now. But some of it is. And all is merci- pamphlet of “session laws" with which I have been ful and philanthropic to a degree.
furnished from tbat State is prefaced with a proclamaIt is perhaps true however that under such a system, tion by which he announces, that " whereas there are many a poor but honest wretch, victim of disease or about 2,000,000 head of cattle valued at $50,000,000, and want, might almost pray and seek the comfort, health sheep valued at $2,300,000, that constitute a large and and merciful consideration of a penitentiary life. It is valuable part of the wealth of this State, and whereas possible, we suppose, to be too humanitarian. Im
a very contagious and alarming disease, known as the prisonment is partly retribution, partly the protection foot and mouth disease, has been brought into the of society through the prevention of crime. A pevitenti- State, and said disease is declared by competent and ary should not be other than a terror to evil-doers. It reliable veterinary surgeons whom I have had to exmay be so managed as that it shall lose this element amine it, to be highly contagious and incurable, and and be little more than an enforced boarding-house. whereas there is no power in the executive or other And yet the very word implies the infliction of suf- branches of the State to quarantine, destroy, starp fering, if it does not, that this infliction shall be severe out, or prevent the spread of that contagion, and enough to produce penitence.
whereas the executive has been requested by a numI shall only notice further an act amending formed ber of boards of county commissioners, and by large laws as to the rights of married women, proceeding and respectable publio meetings, letters, telegrams, still further iu the direction adopted by statutes else- and personal requests to convene the Legislature in where. By it a husband is neither to be liable for his special session, so that it may pass proper laws to wife's contract, before marriage, nor for her tort after- eradicate and stamp out the disease, now therefore 1, ward; nor upon any contract by her, except to the ex- Governor of the State of Kansas, as on account of the tent of any separate property of hers which he has extraordinary circumstances affecting the livestock acquired by aute-nuptial contract or otherwise. And interests of the State, do hereby convene the Legislathe wife whom her husband deserts, or when he from ture." intemperance or other cause neglects to provide for One or two laws not relating to the stamping out his family, may make contracts in her own name for process were crowded in and passed, but they are not the labor of her minor children and sue for and col- "noteworthy." lect their earnings. She may file a petition in the Federal legislation interesting to this association, County Court alleging this desertion or neglect and has been during the past year very meagre. Using the upon proof thereof, the court must enter judgment, words of the distinguished member of the general vesting her with the rights, privileges, and liabilities council from the District of Columbia, I remark that of a head of the family, as to the care, custody and “the session lasted more than seven months and its control of her minor children, and with all the powers records show the passage of 113 public acts, 44 public of a feme sole, as to disposing of her real property, freo resolutions and 70 private acts." from the custody of her husband. Verily Obio has es- The rest of the legislation at the late session is ocestablished herself as the earthly paradise of deserted or cupied with matters affecting merely the ordinary adneglected married women!
ministration of the government, changes in laws of Iowa has passed two hundred and three acts, almost purely local application, and grants of one kind and all of them without interest elsewhere. A little act another for the benefit of private individuals and cor that it shall be unlawful and punishable with thirty poratious, and has no special interest, of course, for days county gaol to “knowingly sell, present, or give the Bar Association. The conclusion from the review any pistol, revolver, or toy pistol to any minor," of the work at the last session is either that there is goes rather far in a very right direction. A man is a very little for Congress to do in the field of National minor until twenty-one.
legislation, or that Congress has left much undone. I The auti-liquor laws of Iowa seem very stringent. believe the latter conclusion is the one generally acManufacturing intoxicating liquor is a crime. So is cepted by the country. its sale. The buildings in which these offenses are One of these acts relates to official oaths. It repeals perpetrated are nuisances and are to be abated. Com- the irou-clad oath, and thus, and by force of a separate mon carriers of liquors to unlicensed consignees are section admits to office under the United States all liable, and their agents criminal. The spirit of the not excluded by the Constitution, except those who act may be understood from its last section, “every having held a commission in the army and nary at person who shall, directly or indirectly, keep or main
the beginuing of our civil war, served in the Confedertaiu by himself or by associating or combining with ate army, navy or civil service. others or who shall in any manner aid, assist or abet Another act punishes the counterfeiting or frauduin keeping or maintaining any club-room, or other lent passing within the United States of notes, bonds, place in which intoxicating liquor is received, or kept or other securities of foreign governments. for the purpose of use, gift, barter or sale, or for dis- Another establishes a bureau of animal industry tribution or division among the members of any club seeking to extirpate contagious diseases among or association, by the means whatever, and every per- animals and prevent the exportation of diseased catBou who shall use, barter, sell or give away, or assist
tle. another in bartering, selling, or giving away any in- Another, perhaps most important of all, seeks by retoxicating liquors so received or kept, shall be deemed
moving burdens on the American merchant marine, guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction therefor
and by other means, to encourage the American foreign shall be punished by a fine of not less than $100, nor carrying trade. more than $500, or by imprisonment in the county Another politic and philanthropic act establishes a gaol not less than thirty days nor more than six bureau of labor under the charge of a commission who months.
shall collect information upon the subject of labor, My task is well nigh done. I congratulate my audi- its relation to capital, the hours of labor, the tors. What can be dryer work, even to lawyers, than earnings of laboring men and women, and the means the recital of statutory law? But I have one State of promoting their material, social, intellectual and to review, Kansas—and yet I have scarce any thing to moral prosperity. say of her either. She is one of those happy Common- Another constitutes a board of navigation in the wealths who are satisfied with a dose of new law once treasury department. It is an act evidently designed in two years. In all such however power is given to with the one already noticed to renovate the American the governor to call Legislators together, and the tiny
Another act is in aid of Indian civilization and au- all precedent audacity; grand in its fertility and its thorizes the expenditure of money for erecting, fur- agricultural productions; grand in its wealth, whether nishing, and repairing school buildings, for the further dug from the bowels of the earth, or expelled by the instruction and civilizing Indian children dwelling blasting of its rocks, or gathered from its numerous west of the Mississippi.
flocks and herds, or from the wonderful cultivation of Noble objects have all these laws. Patriotism and its wonderful farms; it gives promise of a future in philanthropy should hail them cordially. The oblit- which humanity may obtain greater and more admireration of the disabilities made necessary by the civil able development than elsewhere on the habitable war, and the condonation by a united people of all of- globe. Eastern, middle and south, yea, the States, fences against the Union, the restoration of our mer- once western, now central, lying east of the Mississchant marine, so far as possible, to its ancient prosper- ippi, are belittled by the strides of the West beyond ity and usefulness; the prosecution of tbe civilization the river. It is the land for the fairest and speediest of tbe Indian tribes, through the instruction in the trial, and for the most unprejudiced settlement of all arts of life of their children; what grauder objects | vexed questions, social or political. No puritanism could Congress seek than these, having in view the anchors it to strict and defined views. No quakerism peace, greatness and prosperity of the country? Three as in the land of Penn, or inheritance of Holland principal subjects, which to my mind, at this day call blood as in New York, or commingling of these and specially for patriotic effort, are the restoration of other conservative elements as in New Jersey, or long brotherly love between North and South, the restora- habituation to the system of slave labor as in the States tion of our slaughtered commerce, and the civilization below Mason and Dixon's line, embarrass or in any of the Indian tribes, and their adoption, as citizens, wise give tone or color to their ideas. They are more into our fold. Add to these two more, the extinction cosmopolitan than any region under the sun. Their through wise civil reform of the vile maxim that “to people is made up almost of every Nation under the victors belong the spoils,” and the solution of the Heaven. Their laws and their social life ought to be great problem how to make friends of capital and la- the best, for they have all the past and all the present, bor, aud the field of statesmanship is well nigh cov- for their teachers. If they are so wise as to rise mere erod. Happy the day which would see us all united acquisition as the motive of social life; to enforce uniupon these grand objects. Woe betide our beloved versal education ; to encourage in their midst instituland if somehow party spirit, communism, and inor- tions for the spread of learning and science, to adopt dinate greed of gold, and gold- bought power, be not and cherish the freedom which comes of the open eradicated or permanently bridled!
Bible, which is founded on true religion, which recogI cannot leave this review of legislation without call- nizes the Most High as the monarch of all Nations, and ing attention to the argument it presents in favor of obedience to the law as obedience to Him; if in short only biennial legislation. Why should so many law they build on the foundation of education and religion, manufacturing shops be busy, three months on the the civilization of the great West will be the crowning average every year to produce at last so little? Think triumph of mankind; and in the States which constiof it, thirty-eight regular statute manufactories, and as tute it will be verified and fulfilled the prophecy so many more to come as there are territories now to be familiar to us all: constructed, busy grinding out laws, which override
"Westward the star of empire takes its way : common law, civil law, canon law, and the decisions of all courts upon them, or either of them, and
The four first acts already passed,
The fifth shall end the drama with the day ; with how much appreciable improvement? Think
Time's noblest offspring is the last.” of the expense of all this. But that is the lowest argument. Think of the fraud, bribery, May I be permitted, now that my allotted task is and corruption which festers in and around Leg- done, to add a few words which seem to me called for islatures during their process of gestation, known by the occasion. to all men, seen by scarcely any; punished when, To-day begins the eighth year of this association. Its out of New Jersey ? think of the agitation caused couception was eminently happy. Its popularity is exby each session in the public mind, its effect upon hibited by its yearly increase in attendance, and its business, how it cows enterprise and checks business present large number of members. But has it attained effort. Think of the crudeness generally of the schemes its avowed objects? It has “ upheld the honor of the devised, and the frequent obscurity and illiteracy of profession of the law.” It has “encouraged cordial the language adopted. Think of the relief felt on intercourse among the members of the American every band, when the nuisance comes to an end !
Bar." Amual sessions may probably be necessary for Con- In these respects I claim for it high distinction. gress, and possibly for such a great Commonwealth, as These meetings which bring and keep so many of us New York. But I think of no other State in the together coming from all portions of this wide Union, Cnion which might not, at least, try the experiment have done more to unify the American Bar than any already adopted by so many States, and I respectfully thing else throughout its history, and yet they have suggest that this association at its present meeting, ex- only begun to do their work. Nor is the benefit thus press, its opinion upon the subject.
effected easy to be exaggerated. It makes us realize I could almost wish that this had been the session that we are not merely of the bar of Massachusetts, of year in the States of the great West, the West of to- New York or of New Jersey, of Louisiana, or South day, not simply that of half a century ago, that we Carolina, or Texas, or California, but of the bar of might have seen on their statute books the indications America. It stimulates our curiosity as to the pecusuch books always give of the character of a people, liarities, advantages or defects of the laws of Commontheir sentiments, their grogress and their future. For wealths outside our own. It tends to lead us to forthe West, the great States beyond the great river and get State divisions, and to love the whole great counstretching over the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific try. ocean, States which half a century ago were scarce But what have we done so far to advance the science more than a wilderness populated by the savage and of jurisprudence? What to promote the administrawild animals upon whose capture they were supported, tion of justice? What to promote uniformity of legisis the type and picture after all of what this country is lation throughout the Union ? to be. Grand in its extent, its rivers, its lakes, and We have attempted to promote the administration its mountains: grand in its enterprises, which dwarf of justice. The situation of the docket of the Su