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It may be said that the passage of a statute has no for the new questions which moderu civilization preanalogy to a lawsuit. Not to have seen the analogy sents. has been one of our great national errors. By a legal Organisms have grown up, dangerous to the Comfiction, deeply embedded in our jurisprudence, we have monwealth, because we have carried our confidence in assumed that every statute, whether public or private existing political machinery to an extreme not justibeing the act of the sovereign people is dictated by fied by auy principle of political philosophy. The benevolence, has its motives in public polioy and its ready answer that it was devised by the founders, lauguage prompted by wisdon. The lawyer, who is stayed progress to such a degree that institutional recalled upon to aid the court in the interpretation of forms have, since 1789, found less encouragement in statutes, oftentimes feels the absurdity of this fiction the United States than almost anywhere else. There when in deference to it he speaks seriously of au in- has therefore been scarcely any improvement in legistention of the Legislature, a propos of an absurd or lative machinery since the organization of the governmischievous bill which he well knows was introduced ment, and yet what a vast change the past one hundred during the last days of the session; was smuggled years have wrought in population and condition, inthrough without debate, and which either by accident creasing the four million of inhabitants, scattered or the result of deep laid design escaped the adverse along the Atlantic coast into a Nation of fifty-five milscrutiny of the few able and sincere members of the lions, changing them from a homogeneous people of legislative body. That bills of sinister and far reach- farmers and planters into a Nation embracing within ing intent are thus delayed to the last days of the ses- itself all the diversified industries and economic wants sion before submission, so as desiguedly to prevent of almost the whole human family, and occupying a notice and debate, is a well-known fact. That during continent which lays under contribution for its dea sessiou a considerable number of appropriate and velopment the whole field of sciences and of arts. useful laws are passed, goes without saying, and that a Washington and Jefferson probably crossed the Pogreat number of obnoxious bills are supressed is also tomac on a rope-ferry or pontoon bridge. No railway true. The condition would be intolerable were it not engineer thinks that a good reason for taking a train so. But that the people regard the sum total of con- of cars across a bridge, which though good enough for gressional and State legislative activity as maleficent the saddle horses or gigs of these great ancestors, is instead of beneficent, is clearly shown by the fact that wretchedly inadequate for the perfected machinery of they look forward to the convening of these bodies steam land transportation. In refusing to change the with dread, and hail their adjouru ment with a sense machinery of legislation fitted for the conditions of of relief. Some few years ago I was driving with a 1789, to the needs of to-day, our countrymen have been friend through Parliament street in London, which as devoid of wisdom as would be an engineer of a railfaces the Victoria tower on the top of which brightly road were he to attempt, out of respect for the wisdom burned the lime light telling to all London that Parlia- of the layers of the foundations of our government to ment was in session; he said to me that he felt safer use the rope ferry of revolutionary times for his trausbecause six hundred wise and honest men were con- portation service. We still convene and manage the sidering what was best for the Nation, and it always legislative business on the theory that we are a homoseemed to him no harm could well come to England geneous Nation of farmers and planters and with a as a whole, so long as Parliament sat. I could not help machinery so wretchedly inadequate for the purpose contrasting this confidence in the wisdom and integ- that the wonder is that the condition is as tolerable as rity of Parliament with the feeling with which our we find it to be. people regard our law factories. On investigating the With the application of steam to industrial pursuits, causes which create so great a disparity between the the modern era of production on a large scale, and legislative results in the mother country and those of through the instrumentality of corporate manageher numerous cis-Atlantio progeny I was forced to ment began almost simaltaneously with the organizacome to the conclusion that the greater part of the tion of the government. Not ignoring the enormous difference in results is due maiuly to differences in advantages, which from a politico-economic point of methods.
view flow to society through corporate existence, aud In no other department of human activity is there that wealth is more economically produced by conany such disparity between results achieved in Eng. centration in production, it is nevertheless true that land and those which the United States are able to ac- the corporate conscience is something other and less complish. The latter manufacture as good machinery, developed than the individual conscience, and that run railways as successfully as Great Britain does, and corporations require from the law-maker more watchin many departments of human activity far surpass fulness than the individual, because the corporate life the mother country; for example, in the making of is longer, and its grasp wider; it is less considerate of agricultural implements, sewing machines, pianos, private rights, it has as a rule more money than private machine-made boots, etc. For a reason important in individuals have, and therefore more power; and it this connection to discover, the American intellect has less direct personal responsibility in the exercise has not devoted itself to improvement in its legis. of this power than the individual. Hence the neceslative machinery to keep pace with the demands of the sity for strengthening the law-making power to preage.
vent the citizens from being wronged by this creature Much of this thought stagnation, on so important a of the law which has growu for want of proper and subject, is doubtless due to the confidence that was timely restraint almost into a master of the law. Eugfelt, until the outbreak of the civil war, that the or- land also freely chartered corporations, and also from ganizers of our goverument were so wise in their appli- about 1825 to 1845 ran mad with the new found toy of cation of the theories of government to practice that civilization--unlimited enterprise with limited liabilwe could dispense for all time with thinking on the ity. She found the lobbies of her halls of legislation subject, and that somehow this department of human swarming with agents of her corporations buttonholactivity was an exception to the law of evolution and ing members, and exercising ofttimes, as Francis, the progress. We were taught to believe that govern- historian of the railway, says, influences of a corrupt mental questions were solved for us by a superior in- nature, so that public legislation was impeded and pritelligence. This indulgence in a fetishism which has vate and special legislation took the foremost rauk in retarded our progress has now to be settled for. At Parliament. every turn we discover that our 'institutions, if ad- England's statesmen of the last generation had wisministered by the old methods, fail to offer a solution dom enough to see that successfully to cope with the
ingenuity of the captains of the moderu industrial era If the bill is entertained a further payment is to be it was necessary to arm the Legislature with additional made by the promoters to pay its way during its conaud better methods to sift legislation so as to separate sideration in committee. Each one of these payments the useful from the mischievous. At an earlier per- is about £50. Bills then are separated by tbe chairman iod, but subsequent to the foundation of our own gov- of the ways and means committee and the chairman ernment, the British Cabinet were converted from per- of committees of the House of Lords. Those that insonal advisers to the crown, to the chief executive com- volve railway or canal projects or which involve the mittee of Parliament, and as a part of the responsibil- exercise of the right of eminent domain are referred ity which attached to the party in power the guardian- for special scrutiny to the board of trade. All are exship over the law and the changes therein to be made amined by the chairman of committees of the House to meet public exigencies was assumed by the minis- of Lords, who makes his suggestions and amendments, try in office as part of its duties. We on the other which are generally accepted by the parliamentary haud, have adopted party government without attach- agents, who are the attorneys for the promoters of ing thereto this grave party responsibility. Our pub- private and local bills, in filing the same and conductlic laws and changes therein are not committed to the ing them until the parliamentary committees come to care of any official body. This important change in consider the bill in opeu session. The bills are then the English Constitution was the first step in legisla- referred for trial. The trial committees are composed tive development and reform, which culminated in of chairmen, who are members of Parliament, one or the adoption of the standing orders of 1818, and two additional members and several experts, thor. completed the separation between the method of oughly conversaut with the technical elements of the treatment of public from private and local bills. The subject-matter of the bills and who need not be mem. former are placed under the wing of the cabinet. The bers of Parliament. A calendar is then prepared conlatter are no longer treated as legislation, strictly taining a list of the bills, analogous in character to calspeaking, but as petitions to Parliament for special endars of trial causes in a court of justice, and a trial immunity or privileges which are conducted by pri-. is had in which the petitioners as well as the adrer. vate parties, subject to a strict rule of procedure, tried saries against the bill are represented by counsel. The as a lawsuit, the petition and bill being filed before question of the expediency of the passage of the measthe beginning of the session and opposed at every step,
ure is determined first, as a whole, on the preamble, as a whole and in detail, by the board of trade, and by and then by sections, and every injury direct or indievery private interest wbich may be menaced or af- rect is presented for the consideration of the commitfected thereby. Counter petitions, attorneys, counsel tee, to be guarded, if possible, by amendments of and a trial, a standing and a day in court, before the clauses of the bill or by the awarding of proper combill can become a law to all parties in interest, prevent | pensation. The adversary who succeeds in a defeuse wrong to individuals; counsel for the ministry for the of a property right to secure by amendment the inser public bills, and for the private bills, committees to aid tion of a clause which, in all fairness, should for his them in the intelligent discharge of their work, pre- protection have originally been inserted in the draft vent the possibility by collusion of wrong to the pub- deposited by the promoters of the bill, mulcts them to
pay his costs. If the committee determine in favor By virtue of this system of standing orders no pri- of the bill they so report together with their amend. vate or local bill is considered by Parliament unless meuts to the House, and with but very rare excepdeposited in the private bills office sixty days in tions, the House regards the findings of a committee advance of the session. If it be a railway or canal on a private or local bill as final. The methods of asproject a deposit of five per cent of the estimated cost certaining the merits of a measure is so complete, the of construction must be made at the time of filing the examination of witness and experts is so thorough, bill. If it involves the exercise of the right of emi- every element that can enlighten the mind of the leg. neut domain, evidence must be given that notice of islator has been brought to bear with so much accuintention to file the bill has been served on all the per- racy and forensic skill that the margin of human errur sons whose interests are likely to be affected adversely after such a trial is very small. The amount paid to by the legislation. Accompanying these documents Parliament for considering a private or a local measas to the contents of which the most precise instruc- ure is on an average $1,000 a bill. tions are given in the rules, there must also be de- By these payments, which are somewhat in excess posited a sum of money to cover the expenses of pre- of the costs of the service of examination, private leg. liminary examinatious or the bill in order officially to islation is not only no finaucial burden to the English ascertain whether the stauding orders have been com- Parliament but even pays the expense of public legis. plied with.
lation. Now note the very great ditference between The opponents of the bill have until fifteen days be- that system and the no-system of the United States. fore the openi:g of the session of Parliament to file It places the business of draughting proposed legisla their objections to the bill and to point out wherein tion (both public and private) in the hands of skilled the standing orders have not been complied with by specialists, called parliamentary draughtsmen. The the petitioners. If either by the unaided investiga- services of the best intellects from among these spections of the official examiners or at the suggestion of ialists of parliamentary draughtsmen and counsel, are adversaries, it becomes apparent that the promoters employed by the speaker, by the chairman of commithave failed to give the requisite votice by advertise- tees, and by the ministry, and they are consulted by meut in the public gazettes, and by personal service, the parliamentary agents in important cases of private or that the map is not in conformity with the bill, or legislation. This system has caused the lobby virtuin any other particulars they have failed to comply ally to disappear, a fair trial and no favor being now with the standing orders, the bill is indorsed, “stand had for private bills. A member of a committee re. ing orders not complied with," and Parliament is re- gards being buttonholed or privately talked at in the lieved from its consideration during that session. If interest of a measure before his committee, almost there be a question whether the standing orders have with the same disfavor with which a self-respectbeen complied with, the parliamentary agent is heard ing judge would regard a like attempt out of upon the subject. If he can explain a seeming neglect, court to entrap his judgment or influence his the examiners may allow the bill to be entertained, opinion. In place of the lobby as we know it, but no substantial deviation from the rules is toler- composed of a disreputable set of go-betweens to bribe ated, and non-compliance means non-consideration. a bad measure through a committee or to negotiate
for the release out of committee of a good one, Eng- law and an examination of the history of its progress land now has a trained bar analogous to the common- through the legislative halls is one which the policy of law bar; the parliamentary agents take the place of the law now forbids. attorneys, and parliamentary counsel take the place of The constitutional restriction of the Legislature to barristers. A division has been made between the pass special and local acts has not only failed to actreatment of public aud private legislation, which complish the purposes of the projectors of the reform, recognizes the fundameutal distinctiou between them, and produced a condition of affairs more dangerous to the advantage of both public and private legisla- | than that wbich it was intended to cure, but it has tion. A private bill is either an exception from a pub also placed the general body of the law in great jeoplic burden or it is a special privilege. Therefore in ex- ardy by creating a strong incentive to destroy the genercising this power the Legislature acts much more in eral law to serve special interests. Under ordinary a judicial than in a legislative character, and the legis circumstances a special interest finding that the genlature should therefore be armed with all the instru-eral law does not provide for the exigencies of its situments given to the courts to ascertain the truth. atiou, will attempt to secure by special act such legis
One other important fact was recognized by this lation as will meet its requirements and necessities. cbauge; that in the pressure of modern society for de- In this effort it now finds itself balked by the Constituvelopment the general body of the law cannot possibly tion, and it bends its energies to change the general keep pace with its ever varying features and necessi. law to meet the special case. And what is there to ties; no attempt therefore was made to restrict pri- | hinder if it has political influence and money, and is vate legislation, but it was subjected to rule and form, willing and ready to use both unscrupulously, or what submitted to scrutiny and surrounded by safe.guards, is there to protect the general body of the law from so that while on the one hand Parliament may meet such desecration? It is nobody's business to stand the demands for legislation of a private and local guard over the law; we have no goverumental or pocharacter to vary the general law, it yet, on the other litical organization that is charged with the daty of hand, to meet such exigencies, does no injustice to guardianship over the statute law as England bas. We other private and local interests; and above all the look in vain for any organism in the State to protect general body of the law is not allowed to be torn to the geueral law from change or invasion at the dictate pieces at the demnand and under the pressure of pri- of private interests. It may be said that that is part vate interests.
of the duty of Congress and the State Legislature. We also have recognized the corruption and evils in. True, but the duty of initiation and watchfulness is cident to our system of legislation, but have sought one that must be coupled, for their habitual exercise, tbe remedy in a different direction. Discovering that with responsibility, and to charge a whole body, conour method of dealing with demand for legislation has stantly dissolving into its constituent elements, with resulted in corruption, we determined to cut off the the duty of initiation and watchfulness, is practically legislation which yields this crop of corruption. We to charge nobody with it. In all other coustitutional took recourse to constitutional restriction upon spec- forms of government the dominant party which is reial and private legislation in numerous cases which sponsible for the ministry is, through the ministry, theretofore gave food to the lobby, and have said that held responsible for the public legislation during the such objects shall thereafter be accomplished by a period while the party wields power. We have no Nachange of the general law. This attempted remedy for tional nor State ministry to hold responsible for puban undoubted evil affords us no protection whatever, lic legislation. The Cnited States Cabinet is composed but on the contrary, within a few years after the adop- of executive officers, and althougb in their annual retion of such amendments, is is discovered that special ports the heads of departments may suggest to Conlegislation of the worst possible description lurks un- gress such statutes as their experience may have taught der the form of amendments to the general law, and them to be appropriate for their administration, yet instead of driving the enemy of pure legislation from they scarcely ever venture to draft the bill, and any the field we have driven the devil under a monk's active interposition to secure its passage would probacowl, not thereby lessening his mischievous activity, | bly be regarded as an intrusion; at all events failure to but rather enabling him still more adroitly to catch secure proper legislation is not laid to the door of the the unwary legislator. The demand for special legis- Cabinet, and they are not held responsible by the peolation is a justifiable and a constant one; to attempt to ple for mischievous public legislation. Congress is repress it, as with every natural want, causes it to seek therefore left without leadership on these matters of secret means for its gratification. The wise legislator great public importance. The only leadership 'that it regulates human activity, and makes no attempt at has is of a political cbaracter to influence public opinthe repression of proper natural desires. Every such ion, and therefore the legislation which is prompted by attempt must end in failure, and has so ended from such leaders is not done for its own sake, but to affect the beginning of time.
an ulterior object, and is sure to be carelessly done. In my own practice, since the inhibition of special | The little attention that is paid to the language of leglegislation, in 1874, three instances of special laws un- islation is somewhat indicated by the fact that there is der the guise of general laws were smuggled through
not a single American work upou legislative expresthe Legislature for the purpose of affecting litigation sion. Although I am addressing lawyers who probarelating to private interests, and wbich changed the bly have extensive libraries, among which the Law Licourse of such litigations. Almost every New York brary Series, published in Philadelpbia many years lawyer in an active practice must recall like instances ago, surely has a place, I venture to say that few of within the last decade. In several cases where the dis- you remember the little treatise on legislative expresguise was too flimsy the Court of Appeals recognized sion, reprinted from the English work of Coode, the attempted evasion, and declared the acts to be un- which never yet found a venturesome American constitutional.
editor to apply it to our needs. But many acts more skillfully disguised will pass the
The States have not even executive cabinets, exceptscrutiny of the courts unharmed, so that in many ing such suggestions of a very slight texture which the cases the general law has aud will continue to be governor in his annual message may make to the lawchanged under the pressure of private interests, and no makers, there is no initiative for public legislation in discovery will be made of the lurking intent of the any State orgauism. The party in power is occupied Legislature, as a judicial iuquiry into the origin of the with the important question of how to keep the other party out of power. The suggestions for the public but increasing pleasure in his work, arising largely legislation generally come from without. The oppo- from decreasing painful efforts. The doctor, with insition to proposed general legislation also generally creasing experience, diagnoses, and prescribes for få comes from without. A curious illustration of this is miliar diseases by an acquired instinct. How different to be found in the recent history of code legislation in it is with a lawyer in active practice? The constant the State of New York. Several commissioners, of changes in the law, aggravated by the limitation on which Mr. Throop was at the head, were charged with special legislation, makes it impossible for him erer to the duty of revising the Code of Procedure. Now, I feel safe in advising a client, even on the law of promshall express no opinion how well or ill this duty was issory notes, without firsi consulting the recent roldischarged. My business is done when I have drawn ume of statutes to see whether to meet a special case your attention to how theCode came to be enacted after the Legislature has not been induced to obliterate all the commissioners reported. Scarcely had the report the old land marks. been made when the bar awoke to the great changes that Not content however with the quack medicine of rewere impending in the law of procedure, and the many stricting special legislation, and thus rapidly destroyincongruities (probably necessarily) involved in so ex- ing our general body of the law, there is another retensive a task. Sides were taken in bar associations striction now advertised by political charlatans warfor and agaiust any change, and finally it was deter- ranted to cure all the evils of bad legislation, which is mined that if some important amendments could be somewhat less mischievous but more absurd than the incorporated it should be suffered to pass as a whole one which we have already adopted. That is the sugwithout strenuous opposition. Whatever sides the gestion for biennial instead of annual legislative meetlegislators took in this controversy was mainly of a
ings. Dr. Sangrado to the life: “When the body is personal character, and as instructed by the bar asso- sick, the blood is sick. Take from the patient hall his ciations or the commissioners. At last the first seven sick blood, and he is but half as sick as he was". Our chapters were passed. It was then discovered that the Legislatures do more harm than good when they meet; repealing clause threatened a general jail delivery, and cut their years of meeting to one-half, and, presto! that section had to be amended subsequently before but half the mischief. the Code could be permitted to take effect.
That legislation is the highest function of man's aeAnother instance of the slipshod manner in which
tivity, and when rightly exercised its most beneficeut the Legislature does its work is given by the so-called
manifestation is a fact which all this course of reason. Municipal Code, which passed the Legislature of 1882. ing leaves out of sight. A manufacturer wbo finds The commissioners appointed tu adopt this Code re
himself running behind haud, because his processes are ported a volume to reduce to order the laws which af- out of date, will not prevent bis competitors from fected the city of New York. In reprinting it for the turning out better blankets than he does, or keep himLegislature a page of the printed report was left out. self out of bankruptcy by ruuning at half time. He Did a single legislator discover the omissiou? Notone. must tear out his antiquated machinery, discharge his There was of course no third reading, as a whole of the incompetent workmen, and improve his methods of bill, and it was passed and signed as a law with this manufacture. omission. A subsequeut Legislature was called upon To allow two years to intervene between sessions of to make good the omission. The responsibility of this the Legislature in busy communities like our own, law was left entirely with the gentlemen intrusted with wherein the powers for evil ara almost as busy as the this codification. The Legislature took their work on powers for good, is to offer an additional inducement trust. If the bar association or some other body had to every pletter against the Commonwealth or its peotaken the trouble to analyze it, suggested amendments ple to perfect its plans, under the existing lax laws, to or its rejection, there might have been a contest over circumvent the legislation of the day,and if he succeed its adoption. The governor is constantly compelled to iu so doing that, for two years at least he will not be inuse the veto power to throw back upon the hands of terfered with. It is well to bear in mind that for thirty the Legislature bills which were passed in so slipshod a years our Legislatures have been run by the corporate manner, although possibly meritorious in themselves, powers in their own way; that the legislation of the past or great confusion would arise if they were permitted generation has been whatever the strong nets and long to become laws. There were three notable instances of purses of our builders up of corporate wealth chose to this during the very last session of the New York Leg- have it. We are just now awakening to the fact that islature.
competition is not the solution for the things that will Enough has been said to show my hearers that there not compete, but combine; and that the State owes is no such organization, either in the National or State to the community an intelligent supervision of the arlaw-making bodies, to prevent mischievous special tificial organisms which it has created so that these arlaws from being passed under the guise of general laws, tificial organisms, endowed with huge maws and erernor to prevent the whole body of our law from being lasting life, do not devour the natural flesh and hiood torn to pieces at the instigation of individual self-ag- organisms which create and constitute the State. To grandizement, which our institutions tend so abuor- strike out what has been inserted in the statute books mally to develop. Hence all limitations on special leg- for special and sinister purposes, and to put our legisislation are particularly dangerous in this country, lation on a level with our achievements ir machinery, where there is no safeguard protecting the corpus juris in agriculture and in commerce would require a confrom attack, particularly when the attack is of an insid- tinuous session of several years. ious and disguised character, so as to evade the cousti- To cut in half the time of the session of our Legielatutional amendment inhibiting special legislation. ture as a cure for bad legislation is not only to prove
Upon lawyers as a class a very onerous burden is cast ourselves ignorant of the cure for our evils, but also to by this condition of affairs. In every department of ignore the causes of the evils as well. Insufficient time human activity constant practice brings rest in labor. for investigation, inadequate machinery for investiga In time the processes which were laborious efforts of tion as preliminary to legis ation, absence of notice to the mind become mechanical, and are done by what parties to be affected by proposed legislation, hurry, psychologists call unconscious cerebration. The artist, absence of method and of publicity, absence of delibeas his reputation increases and his remuneration en- ration, are among the maiu causes of bad legislation. larges, paints his pictures with increasing facility, and Now, how do you cure this by biennial Legislatures, there comes to him, if frugal, not only monetary ease, with the consequent doubling at the least of the pressure upon the Legislature when it does meet? Reduc- to call in as aid, but not to vote op final determination, ing the time for deliberation increases the hurry, and experts who are not members of the Legislature, to sit necessarily dispenses with the little method that is with them. still observable. It is true that the dread of the meeting 7th. The creation of a legislative bill of costs to inof the law-makers comes upon the community only demnify successful and punish unsuccessful litigants biennially instead of annually. Large interests would before legislative committees. be adversely affected but once in two years, instead of 8th. An absolute prohibition of all local and private every year, but if that reason should govern in the in- legislation (except under circumstances of great pubtroduction of this proposed reform, it does not go far lic exigency, which can easily be provided for) which enough; why not put off the dreadful visitation for a has not passed through the ordeal of this improved decade or a generation !
method of legislative procedure. This proposed remedy is contrary to the tendencies 9th. A complete remodelling of the organization of of modern civilization; it is the abdication of a func- committees and the rules of the Legislature to conform tion, not its specialization and development; it is the them to the new system of orderly trial of bills inmerest refuge of imbecility, a confession that we are stead of the prevailing irresponsible aud haphazard bankrupted in thought on this subject, that instead of method. being able to turn out better laws by selecting better Many of these suggestions may be embodied in laws legislators and improving their methods, our invention instead of being incorporated in the Constitution. offers no other cure than to close the gates of our leg- Enough should go into the Constitution to make the islative mills every other year, in the vain hope that in change imperative. It is not to be expected that ail the alternaie year they may produce better wares. In the smaller details of a statute should be imbedded in the domain of social affairs recourse to false measures the Constitution, but experience has taught us howworks the same kind of mischief to the body politic ever that constitutional directions to the Legislature that recourse to quack medicines does to the physical may be of too general and vague a cbaracter to enforce body. They treat symptoms and allay the outward obedience. manifestations of the internal disease; the disappear- Since 1848 the Constitution of the State of New York ance of the symptoms of the disease creates a fatal confi. contained a provision that the Legislature shall restrict dence that the disease itself has ceased its ravages, until the powers of muuicipalities to create indebtedness, the patient is too far gone for genuine therapeutic treat- but until recently it has failed to do so. The constiment. There is no other remedy for the evils of our leg. tutional amendment of 1874 required the Legislature islation, and the harm they call forth than first to recall to pass a general street railway bill. It failed to do so our prohibition of special legislation, and the aband- from 1874 so 1884, and many, other instances may be onment of the idea of biennial Legislatures, as twin cited to the same effect. progenies of Dr. Sangrado's brain, and then earnestly When we shall have introduced into our law-making set to work to secure the adoption of a series of con- bodies something like scientific procedure we shall stitutional amendments which shall prescribe-
then have done much to abolish that noxious and cor1st. A division of local and special laws from general rupting element known as the lobby. laws, treating the former as private petitions, to be When every measure involving private interests must tried before enactment, and attach to the preserva. stand a fair trial, the same change will probably take tion and amendment of the latter the safeguard of party place in the United States that has already taken place responsibility.
in that country whence we derive our laws. The adop2d. To carry out this latter purpose, either institute tion of the standing orders substituted for the lobby cabinet or ministerial responsibility, or raise a perma- agent the parliamentary bar, as honorable a body of nent board of revision as a bar to further mischievous men in our profession as is to be found at the common innovation to subserve private interests.
law bar or in the equity courts. Preferment to the 3d. A requirement that all bills which create or ex- bench is not so frequent an honor to the silk gowns of tend corporate powers, or which change municipal or St. Stephens as to those of our brethren of the Sulocal laws other than by general law, granting any spe- preme Court of Judicature, but the emoluments of cial privilege, or which involve the exercise of the right the parliamentary bar are somewhat higher. Much of of eminent domain, shall be filed in a proper public of- course remains to be done by the destruction of party fice sixty days before the beginning of the session, and machinery, and liberating constituencies so as to raise that in all cases notice by publication must be given of the personnel of the law-makers. I do not share the such filing, and personal notice before the beginning popular conviction of the wide-spread corruption of of the session to all property owners whose fee or ease- Legislatures; it is the inability of the average legislaments are proposed to be taken in invitum.
tor to know the truth, which gives to the corrupt few 4th. Oblige the petitioners in every case of an im- their great opportunity. provement, the creation of which involves legislative The great remedies for the evils of our institutions sanction to deposit a percentage of the amount of the are publicity and investigation of a judicial nature. cost as evidence of good faith, and so as to prevent The test of merit, to my mind,of the recommendations speculations in public franchises.
that I have made this evening lies in the fact that they 5th. The establishment of a schedule of legislative secure both these elements. And as the first creative fees to be paid to the comptroller, and to be subject to act was the Divine ordination, “Let there be light," the joint drafts of the presiding officers of the legisla- so through all time more and more light is the first tive bodies to pay the expenses for the consideration condition of progress in every department of human and trial of private and local bills, and to that end the activity, committees are authorized to employ experts and counsel as aids to inform them. This sum should be sufficiently large to deter frivolous applications to the
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - LOTTERIES. Legislature, and to enable the Legislature to secure
NEW YORK COURT OF APPEALS, JUNE 24, 1884. ability of the highest order. 6th. The enactment of a simple code of legislative
KOHN V. KOEHLER. procedure for private and local bills to secure a fair Lotteries which are the subject of condemnation under the trial, examination of witnesses and argument of coun- Constitution and laws of this State are schemes, where sel before these committees, and to allow committees money is paid for the chance of receiving money in re