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“ 2. That the President is authorized and requested to appoint a committee of three to prepare a bill and have it introduced in the Legislature to repeal the law in conflict with the first of these resolutions."
S. D. Hayes.-I move that the resolution be referred to the Committee on Jurisprudence and Law Reform, to report at the next meeting, which is held before the next session of the Legislature.
G. T. Fry.—I do not know whether this is a debatable proposition or not. I have no debate to offer, but we have in Chattanooga an anomalous condition of things, and if the resolution strikes the bar favorably, it is all right with me. In Chattanooga, within the last six months, we have been reduced to the extreme of humiliation. I will give names and places, so that you can understand why this resolution is offered by the Chattanooga bar. A young man by the name of Buchanan came to our city six months ago; he was wholly ignorant and unfitted to practice law anywhere. He went to the clerk of the county court and paid $5 to get a license to practice in the justices' court. I name Buchanan because he is the latest and most remarkable addition or edition of our bar. We have three or four others as badly qualified as he is. Such cattle ought not to be allowed to practice law anywhere, and to prevent it is the object of the resolution. As Mr. IIope says, I do not know how you gentlemen in Memphis, Nashville, or Jackson, and other cities are situated in this particular, but in Chattanooga it is a sore grievance, and brings the profession into contempt. It enables these unscrupulous wretches to prey upon the ignorant and rob and fleece them of money, and collect money and make no account of it; and that is more or less a reflection upon the members of the bar, not only here but throughout the State, upon its reputation and honor. This evil, and it is a gigantic evil, ought to be removed. That resolution ought to be passed, so that it might be acted upon by the Legislature at its first session.
R. M. Barton.-I think I will oppose that motion. I do not think we ought to have any hasty legislation. I do not think any thing ought to be rushed through here without debate. I,
for one, do not think anybody can be licensed to practice before a justice of the peace that cannot furnish a justice of the peace some information. Again, I am satisfied that no first-class lawyer will go before a justice of the peace and practice law. In the third place, I am opposed to this continual representation by these gentlemen that Chattanooga is such a bad place. We have heard about our juries and justices. It is true about them I know. In the next place, I think we have a remedy already. The trouble with our courts and justices is that they do not enforce the law. We have a justice down town—not from Lookout Mountain-by the name of Holtzclaw who ought to be elected a member of the Bar Association. He has more respect for the law and its enforcement than many of the judges of courts of record. He has disbarred several attorneys from practicing in his court, and he enforces order with a paperweight. I do not know that this resolution ought to be passed, and I think justices are circumspect and ought to take their
M. M. Hope.—I want to say that while I have the distinguished honor of being a justice of the peace from the town of Lookout Mountain, I have not opened an office, and if I had I doubt very seriously whether I would allow Mr. Barton to practice in my court. He has the reputation of being a mighty good lawyer. I know he is a mighty clever fellow. He has the reputation of being a mighty good lawyer, but he has circulated that report mostly himself. I know it is a fact that if this resolution passes it will cut Mr. Barton off from a great deal of practice. I know about his license. There are a great many of you gentlemen who do know about it, and to tell the truth about it, I am a little surprised that he did not get somebody to make his speech for him. I know how vulnerable he is; and I am not casting any reflections upon Mr. Barton, because he is a mighty good fellow. If all these fellows that pretend to practice before squires were like Mr. Barton, I would not have insisted on this resolution.
A member.-Does Mr. Barton understand how to reach a justice without license?
M. M. Hope. I will answer that by saying that I have not opened an office to practice law as a justice, nor squire either. I understand from Mr. Barton himself that he gets most of the justices by giving them a drink before the case with the promise of two afterward. I doubt whether he gets justice because of the argument he makes to the squire. Mr. Barton is with me in this matter, but he thought he had an opportunity to get up a good thing on me, and has undertaken to do that thing, and has succeeded, and I suppose he is satisfied. I have no reflections to cast upon Mr. Barton, because he is a good man, and a lucky man before the squires, and I would not do him an injustice in the world. I would suffer my right-arm to be taken off before I would do Mr. Barton an injustice, and I think it would be doing him an injustice to have him cut off from the bar now. It will not take him long to be as good a lawyer as I am if he keeps on. If he will do his duty, and study while practic ing before the squire, it will not be long until Judge Lurton and Judge Caldwell and Judge Turney and Judge Moon will sign his license and raise him up from the position he occupies with the squires and make him one of us. I want to say, in all seriousness, that I would not have said any thing about Mr. Barton if he had not said something about me. I will take back everything I have said and indorse Mr. Barton, and everybody knows he is a gentleman and a lawyer right, and does not practice in that sort of way; that he does not do business that way. This is a matter of the greatest importance to us. At the last term of the court in Hamilton County, Judge Moon cut off and disallowed from $1,500 to $2,000 costs that had been accumulated by these squires in our city. These fellows that practice around the squires wait until the midnight hour comes and the constable comes in with a poor fellow that happened to be traveling on the railroad not able to pay his way on the train. Instead of being taken before a justice of the peace who is the right kind of a man, he is taken into an office where one of these fellows comes along and tells him he is a lawyer, and will take his case and get him through. This fellow, who is without any legal claim on the face of the earth, comes along to one of his victims and says: “Sue the railroad, the street-car company; sue Colonel Fort or Mr. Barton, and give me $2.50 and I will attend to your case." We want that thing stopped. I do not know how it is in other counties, but I do not suppose Chattanooga is worse than any other city in the State in this respect. It is true that we have the biggest city in the State, but there are other cities that try to keep up with us, and let us stop this sort of business. It is the duty of the lawyer and the men who are honest men, men who claim to respect and love the law and practice it because they love it, to take action in this matter. A set of rascals and scoundrels bring reproach upon the profession that way, and it ought to be stopped. There is no waiter in this hotel, even if he is black, that cannot go before the County Court of Hamilton County and get a license. If the judge of the court refuses him, the quarterly court will give it to him. We want to stop this, and save these costs to the State and county.
S. D. Hayes.—I want to make a motion to amend the resolution offered so as to make it apply to squires and not to justices of the peace; and, as preliminary to my motion, and in order that the Association may vote intelligently, I want to relate a little anecdote. I had a client not a great while ago
a that told me the difference between a squire and a justice of the peace. I thought they were the same until he brought out the marked distinction. I asked him to tell me the difference
. between a justice of the peace and a squire. “Well,” he says,
. a justice of the peace is a man that is elected by the people of a particular civil district to try small controversies between man and man according to the law and evidence.” I suppose that is a very fair definition. “What is a squire?” He says: “A squire is elected by the same people, in the same district, to do the same, and do as he damn pleases.” I want to confine him to the squires.
J. M. Dickinson.-I move that the whole matter be referred to the Committee on Law Reform. We ought not to make so many recommendations.
We will fritter away what strength we do have. Let us refer the matter to the committee; and if it is necessary to draw up a bill, we can have it drawn.
G. T. Fitzhugh offered the following resolution of thanks, which was adopted :
Resolved, That the sincere thanks of the Bar Association
are due and tendered the ladies and gentlemen who have added so much to the interest and pleasure of our meeting by their exquisite music.”
G. T. Fry.--I move that the thanks of the Association be tendered to General Pickle, the outgoing President, for the able and impartial manner in which he has presided over the Association the past year, and to all the officers who go out of service with him.
J. W. Bonner.-Resolutions of thanks to retiring officers are never allowed in this Association.
THE PRESIDENT.-I declare the tenth annual session of the State Bar Association adjourned.