Imágenes de páginas

gers should be wrecked in mid-ocean, and two Americans should be saved and find a plank to float upon, the first thing to do would be to call one to the chair and the other to the office of secretary, and pass resolutions expressing their sentiments on the occasion.

Often, at these meetings, the members pass hasty, crude, and ill-advised resolutions expressing their sentiments; yet, in a free country like ours this is the beginning of public opinion, and when the question is urged upon States and parties, we occasionally see it become a part of the platform of one or the other of the great political parties. It is enacted into a law if a majority of the people want it enacted into a law. The time in the history of the American people has arrived when the element which is really the foundation of our Constitution and our form of government, and that which is peculiar in this country demands the attention and the study of the legal profession. Our Constitution, new in many of its ideas, was in a great measure a departure from the habits of the old world, and has to undergo the processes of judicial determination and be more or less examined. All classes discuss questions, and take the cue from the legal profession. It is not strange, therefore, that the legal profession should occupy a unique position in this country. Critics and historians have noticed this peculiarity in our American government, and one of the most profound scholars of many years ago remarked of the legal profession that if we had nobles and a leisure class in the United States, the lawyers would be the highest political class and the best social circle in the American government; and he then went on so far as to state that if he were called upon to say what would be the aristocratie element of American government, he would not say it was the rich, who had no common tie to bind them together, but it was the bench and the bar. This same man, DeTocqueville, has said that the legal profession also tends to restrain the deniocratie element in our government. Hence, a meeting of this kind, composed of men who make the government of our country and men who study the laws of the State and government, with no secret discussions but open doors, should have attached to it, and does have attached to it, more than ordinary importance.

In behalf of the members of the Chattanooga bar, I therefore welcome the State Bar Association of Tennessee to our midst, to discuss those questions pregnant with the good of the profession and our State government. Our profession, as you gentlemen are aware, in the city of Chattanooga is perhaps representative of more States, and is composed of more various elements, than any other bar in the State of Tennessee. We ask that the State Bar Association not only convene with us this year, but next year; and we think we have many inducements for you to make this the permanent home of the Association. One reason is, that if at any time you have a dearth of new members the Chattanooga bar can afford a quota equal to any in the State, and they are as handsome a set as you can find in any section of the country. They are able to speak for themselves. I am not the best looking man in the crowd. I will therefore, in behalf of the bar of Chattanooga, welcome you into our midst, and, as I said before, we hope that the Bar Association will see fit to make this its permanent meetingplace; and we are sure you will find this as comfortable and pleasant a place as any in the State, and one that is, in many respects, the most delightful on the top side of the green earth.

THE PRESIDENT.—Gentlemen of the Chattanooga bar and State Bar Association : It is with some embarrassment that I, as President of this Association, respond in behalf of the State Bar Association to this address, not having had the means of ascertaining the sense of the Association. However, in view of the formidable numbers of the Chattanooga bar, and the small number that we have from other places, I believe I am prepared to say that we are yours. You have fairly surrounded lis, and are entitled to our unconditional surrender. However, I want to make a stipulation, and that is that we be permitted to retain our side-arms. You will understand that I refer, speaking figuratively, to our addresses and written speeches and reports. They are the only offensive weapons that we have to carry with us. I trust that you will not be misled by the size of our supposed artillery, for I can assure you, gentlemen, that they are not dangerous, the larger ones not being at all loaded. I speak more seriously, gentlemen of the Chattanooga bar. We that do not live in Chattanooga, and

those of us who do live in Chattanooga I will add, have come to regard Lookout Mountain as the home of the State Bar Association, and doubtless for all time to come; and it is the place that seems to have been designated by nature where we shall hold these happy family reunions, and it is with a great deal of pleasure that I say on behalf of the State Bar Association that all its members who come from abroad feel that they are coming back to the old homestead, as they find all the family at home, and are greeted with a hearty hand-shake and cordial welcome. We will carry it home with us as a pleasant memory.

The minutes of the preceding session having been printed, their reading was dispensed with.

The President then read his annual address. (See Appendir.)

The Secretary and Treasurer then submitted his report, as follows:


To the Bar Association of Tennessee :

The report of the proceedings for year the 1890 has been laid before the members in the printed copies distributed. I am pleased to report that the printed copies were distributed within forty days after the adjournment of the Association, though the resolution adopted at the last meeting allowed ninety days. The Treasurer respectfully reports:

[blocks in formation]

An itemized statement of receipts and disbursements will be submitted to the Central Council, as required by the by-laws.

Respectfully submitted,


Secretary and Treasurer. Lookour INN, JULY 15, 1891,

J. M. Dickinson.-I move that the report be referred to the Central Council.


THE PRESIDENT.—The next thing in order is the report of the Central Council.

J. S. Pilcher.— The Central Council has nothing of special interest to report, so they have not undertaken to make any report in writing. They have had the ordinary meeting, and uridertook as best they could to shape the business of the Association, and prepare for a successful meeting at this time. I suppose there will be nothing of any value to be put in permanent shape. The Central Council presents the names of the following applicants for membership, with the recommendation that they be received: Edward T. Sanford, Joshua W. Caldwell, Flournoy Rivers, J. II. Cantrell, Edmund P. McQueen, William B. Reese, W. R. Turner, Lewis Minor Coleman, W. G. Hutcheson, A. W. Chambliss, A. H. Douglass, W. S. Small, S. T. Fitzhugh, Geo. T. Lancaster, S. C. Williams, T. C. Lattimore, N. G. Atkins, L. M. Elder, C. J. Sawyer, J. A. Fowler, J. E. Johnston, Douglas Anderson, Duncan Martin, Robert Vaughn, J. H. Watkins, J. B. Ragon, Granville Allison, Creed F. Bates, John M. Bright, James L. Watts.

A ballot not being called for, the applicants recommended were declared to be received as members.

J. S. Pilcher:-I have a resolution to offer in reference to the amendment of the by-laws:

Resolved, That the by-laws be so amended as to provide that no person in discussion shall occupy more than ten minutes at a time, nor be heard more than twice on the same subject.”

The Association adjourned until 2:30 P.M.


The Association was called to order at 2:30 o'clock by the President.

James M. Greer then read a paper entitled “ Religious Unbelief as a Disqualification to Give Evidence in the Courts.” (See Appendix.)

THE PRESIDENT.—The paper is before the Association for action.

John Ruhm.--The paper is so well written, and presents in such an excellent manner the views of Brother Greer, that it is hard to criticise it. There is much in it that would strengthen the convictions of those who think like him; that the time has long passed when, as a first impression, those who do not come up to the standard laid down by the judiciary, who cannot say that they believe in future rewards and punishments, are not competent witnesses; the time has long passed when merely that objection should disqualify a witness; yet it seems to me that in the organization of our system, and in the manner in which the law is administered in this country, a revolution which would at once bring about this change without educating the people to the new state of things would be dangerous. Those of you who know me know that I am not a church-member. I will not now discuss how far I am a believer or an unbeliever, but I do believe that justice cannot be administered in a country—or, I may say in the world—where there is so much lack of thorough general information and education if we should open the doors to the testimony of every one who has not been able to make up his mind what will be the consequence if he does not tell the truth. I believe in adhering to the old rule as a police regulation of the conscience. If you should propose that all those who know right from wrong every time, and who do not believe in a state of future rewards and punishments, should not be allowed to testify, I should say no; but we all know that there is a large

« AnteriorContinuar »