Imágenes de páginas
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]




DEC 14 1908





Maryland State Bar Association



July 8th-10th, 1908

The Association was called to order at the Blue Mountain House, Maryland, July 8th, 1908, at 11.30 A. M., the President, L. Allison Wilmer, in the chair.


Members of the Maryland State Bar AssociationLadies

and Gentlemen:

Upon the wall above the old cabinet organ in a little church, which stood some years ago in a section of a far western State then principally inhabited by cowboys who sometimes attended the services held in that church, there were inscribed these words: "Don't Shoot the Organist, He's Doing the Best He Can!" A pathetic protest against the executing of an unwritten law of that section which was administered by the cowboys.

With a change in the designation of the performer, and after dropping the first letter in the second word, such in

once the

scription might well be written above my head today; for, in the absence of knowledge of conditions, you would be justified in expressing condemnation of my shortcomings as President of this Association, particularly in the matter of lack of preparation for the duty which falls upon the President at the opening of our annual meetings. When I accepted this office I had full knowledge of the obligations and duties attached, and I assumed it with a determination to live up to all obligations and to perform all duties. I appreciated the honor then, as I value it now; and I shall always cherish with pride the recollection not only that I was President of the Maryland State Bar Association, but of the delightful intercourse with its members, wheresoever my lot may be cast in the future.

But while apologies are awkward, and generally in bad taste, I must throw myself upon the indulgence of gentlemen who know what it is to be so “crowded” as not to have opportunity to write addresses.

I have never wilfully shirked any duty, however insufficient may have been the performance. It was, and is, a question whether or not paramount duty does not demand that I shall be elsewhere today. My coming involved some sacrifices, but sacrifice is incident to the performance of every duty. The determination to be here required some courage, in view of the fact that I have been unable, in the two days at my disposal, the Fourth of July and Sunday, to develop, especially along certain lines, the matter about which I have proposed to speak. · The subject is an important one, and deserves historical and philosophical, as well as practical, common-sense treatment; and, as I have been able to deal with it only in a most superficial way, I shall ask leave to curtail in some instances, to enlarge along certain lines, and to re-arrange, it may be, the form and the order of what I have written before the address shall be delivered to the Secretary to be printed in our archives. My subject is



Whatever may be the opinions, the notions or beliefs of those who follow the higher critics in their higher criticism as to the authenticity of the record wherein is written “The Lord our God made a covenant" with his people, and wherein it is stated that He promulgated, through the great law-giver of Israel, “certain statutes and judgments,” one of which prescribes "Thou shalt not kill," another of which prescribes “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” and another of which prescribes, "Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbor's wife,” it must be admitted that, apart from this record, there has always been written upon what may be called the consciences of human beings, more and more clearly and vividly in the progress of the evolution of the race, the first of these injunctions, as, equally, not only does every man recognize the obligation resting upon him to obey the last two, but he has the natural impulse to resent any violation of them by another.

It may be noted, however, and this phase of the subject deserves philosophical treatment, that the first injunction has always been incorporated into the criminal law of the land, with severe penalties for its violation, that the violation of the second, particularly in later days, and in the more socalled civilized communities, has been visited with light penalties under the law, while the last, after being extended to include the mother, the sister and the daughter of "Thy neighbor,” and every woman that is his, has been largely considered and held to be a mere moral obligation with slight, if any, notice being paid to it by our law-making bodies except in cases where the accomplishment of the forbidden desire was violent and against the will of the woman.

Through all the ages, throughout all the development of civilization and law, the right of a man to live, the sanctity of human life, has been held paramount to every other right

« AnteriorContinuar »