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Cross-roads at that time was the place of intersection of two great thoroughfares, and had something more than mere local consideration. Mr. Deaderick was during many years its postmaster, an official of some importance in those days.
The most notable event in the life of Mr. Deaderick was his residence in Iowa among the Pottawottamies as Indian agent, under appointment made by President John Tyler. To the acceptance of this office he was doubtless induced by the stress in his pecuniary affairs that then existed; but the duties of the office, and his social and material surroundings, we infer, were not congenial. Be this as it may, happily for himself and his family, and fortunately for the administration of justice at the bar and on the bench of his native State, after holding this office for a few months only, he resigned, and, returning to Jonesborough, began a course of legal study. Ilaving acquired sufficient knowledge of the law in the opinion of two eminent judges then on the bench-Seth J. W. Luckey and the great East Tennessee chancellor, Thomas L. Williams--some time in the year 1844 he was by them licensed to practice. A certificate of good moral character and a license to practice law, were then at least prima facie evidence of personal and professional merit, and were noc issued and signed on mere application, as a matter of course.
Mr. Deaderick was not an office-seeker, but he was several times called by the people to the discharge of the functions of political and public station. In the memorable session of the General Assembly of 1851-52 he was in the Senate, and in the presidential election of 1860 he was the Bell and Everett candidate for elector in the first congressional district. .
At the first election of judicial officers under the Constitution ordained and established in 1870, he was chosen one of the judges of the Supreme Court of Tennessee. On the death of Judge A. O. P. Nicholson, who had presided over the court as chief justice from its organization with signal ability, judicial discretion and integrity, Judge Deaderick was at once placed in the seat vacated by this lamented death. On the expiration of the term for which he had been elected by the people, they continued him in office for another term, and he was again recognized by his associates as the fittest among them to hold
the most exalted position in the judicial department of the government. At the expiration of his second term he was far advanced in age. He did not desire office any longer. On October 8, 1890, he died at his home, on the place where he was born, and where during the greater part of his long life he had lived, and there he is buried.
The General Assembly of which Judge Deaderick was a member is noted in the annals of Tennessee legislation. It introduced many radical changes in the practice of both the courts of common law and of chancery. It abolished the rule in the Shelly case. It inaugurated the scheine of State aid in the construction of railroads. Judge Deaderick was chairman of the senatorial Committee on Internal Improvements, and, ardently supporting this measure, contributed much toward its adoption. It has been the prolific parent of much wrong, of extensive legislation and fierce political strife; but these could not be foreseen, and it must be recorded that the aid thus given in the construction of our railroads has been a most efficient instrumentality in the development of our internal resources and social interests.
In ante bellum politics Judge Deaderick was à pronounced Whig, and his prototype in statesmanship was Henry Clay, whom he followed in his dejected political life until the star of his destiny went down to rise no more.
When a candidate for elector, his position and his utterances were characteristically conservative. He was for the assertion and preservation of all the constitutional rights of the Southern States; but he believed this would be accomplished in the Union, and he was opposed to secession. He saw the cloud with sorrow when it appeared in the political horizon, but when the storm of war burst over the land, he yielded his allegiance to the newly-established government de facto, and made every contribution within his power, sending his numerous sons to the field of battle, for the consummation of a permanent de jure. The struggle between the States elsewhere had the characteristics of war between two independent and alien powers, but in East Tennessee it was civil war with all the horrors of such a struggle, its internecine quarrels and vindictive reprisals. Through these, and through the violence in the country which followed, and which was the natural result of the cruel war, and through the avalanche of litigation in the courts, civil and criminal, that overwhelmed those who had aided or sympathized with the cause of the Confederate States, he bore himself with dignity, fortitude, and dauntless courage. In the midst of these trying scenes he was quiet and considerate, and closed his eyes to “the little ones of nature" acting for revenge and retaliation.
Judge Deaderick's career as a lawyer was most honorable and very successful. When he came to the bar of the first judicial circuit, he found as competitors many very able men of long experience. The judges were distinguished for their ability, learning, moral worth, and high moral standing. None but such aspired to the bench, and none but such were tolerated.
Judge Deaderick, when he commenced the study of the law, was well read in the English classics, which was an accomplishment of no inconsiderable value. He studied law as a science, and endeavored to master and store his mind with its fuudamental principles. These were then a sine qua non to success. It was not then the practice of lawyers to make themselves acquainted with particular questions only as they arose pro re nata. He was not a great advocate, like his celebrated contemporary, John Netherland, but he argued his causes with much force. He did not practice the arts of the dexterous practitioner; did not foment litigation; did not seek business by dishonorable means and solicitation.
It was written of Judge Deaderick on a recent mournful occasion, that “on the judgment-seat he exhibited great judicial excellence.” He was a patient listener, recognizing that counsel who had been for many days searching the books for all that could be found on the topic in hand, and who had laboriously collected and collated the facts, might be of great service in reaching a correct and just conclusion. His judgment was sound and safe, always under the dominion of cautious conservatism. The opinions which he delivered were carefully written, ably reasoned, and expressed in clear and direct language. With him justice was the great interest of men on earth, and he measured it out equal and exact to all men. Ile
wrote no line that, leaving his great office, he could wish to blot. Sixteen years he wore the ermine, and when he put it off it was as immaculate as when he put it on.
The personal and private character of Judge Deaderick was no less excellent than his public. He honored “the private station.” He inherited generations of good name, which he
” transmitted unimpaired to his children. He met with reverses, he was exposed to temptation, and he passed through crucial ordeals, yet he never hesitated, never faltered. His whole private life was clean and pure.
No dishonest, dishonorable, immoral, or dastardly act was ever imputed to him. He discharged all his moral duties promptly and faithfully, and with the courtesy of the cultured gentleman.
The old lawyers of the first judicial circuit were a distinguished and noble brotherhood. Three of them were placed on the bench of the court of last resort, because of their qualification and fitness. Others of them were the
Others of them were the peers of any bar in the State. With but three eminent exceptions-David T. Patterson, Joseph B. Heiskell, and Robert M. Barton—they have all passed away, two of them being in Gray Cemetery. 6. Each in his narrow cell forever laid." The names of the others have been transferred from the roll of attorneys to the tombstones in the church-yards of the villages of the circuit.
RELIGIOUS UNBELIEF AS A DISQUALIFICATION TO GIVE
EVIDENCE IN THE COURTS.
JAMES M. GREER.
The President of this Association has requested me to present a paper upon the religious disqualification of witnesses. My own view about excluding the testimony of one who has no faith in a future state of reward or punishment is pronounced. That any words from me expressive of that view can enlighten or benefit this Association I may be permitted to doubt; but the thought may be put before this body, and, if discussion ensues, then I can see where good will result.
The law, in order that it may keep pace with the march of our century, must needs pull down much that it has erected, and see in the ruins thus made only rubbish where before it beheld a stately edifice. A block, a section, or a side of the edifice that must crumble is this one of shutting out the testimony of a witness because of the superstition of our ancestors. An anomaly, an absurdity, is presented to us to-day, coming down through the ages, when we force the judge to say that a person appearing before him can tell the truth sufficiently to say whether he has faith, but cannot tell the truth sufficiently to narrate the facts which his senses have received. We will hold in one breath that a witness must be credited who will say to us that he believes certain dogmas, or that he does not believe certain dogmas; and in the next breath we will say that,
Having implicitly accepted your statement, we will hear you no further.” If this is logic, it is a logic which has produced the reductio ad absurdum.
If “the common experience of mankind” has shown that at any time in the world's history men who did not believe in a future state of reward or punishment were truthful men, then, as the nature of man has undergone no change, persons of such