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Mr. Johnson and Mr. Curtis were the recognized leaders of the American Bar, and their experience, learning, and intellectual power justified fully the high position which by common consent was awarded to them.

Long associated with Mr. Johnson, I can speak truly of the ability he uniformly displayed in the argument of his causes in the Supreme Court, and of the amiability which marked his intercourse with his professional brethren.

It is seldom allotted to one man to be distinguished in more than one sphere, but it may be said of our departed brother, that he was as equally eminent as legislator and jurist.

In honoring the memory of such a man we honor ourselves.

I do not rise, Mr. Chairman, to multiply words, which at best are but jeeble exponents of feeling, but merely to move the adoption of the resolutions.


Mr. PRESIDENT: I do not feel that I can suffer this occasion to pass without saying a word expressive of my appreciation of Mr. Johnson and my tegard for him. Of course this is not the time to delineate a character of which so much might be said, or to review a life which, for half a century, was so intimately connected with the history of our country. There are striking features in his character to which I call attention.

As a statesman he had large views, and compassed the interests of his whole country. Eminently familiar with and learned in international law, in constitutional law, in the history of his times and of his country, at any moment and on any emergency he was ready to come to the front, and there courageously and ably contend for what he believed the best interests of his country.

He was an able lawyer; not in my opinion that he always appeared the best equipped and prepared on a given occasion, but he was full of his profession and of its learning, and was ever ready to communicate instruction or enter the arena. He was eminently a ready man.

He was a patriot, with whom the love and the duty he owed his country was paramount to any allegiance he owed to a party. You and I, sir, have seen him push away the demands of party that he might better meet the demands of his country, as readily as he would wipe the moisture from his brow.

But I do not stand here to delineate his excellencies. They were impressed upon and realized by us much more readily than they can be depicted. But if I was called upon to state the marked moral characteristics of Mr. Johnson, I should say that they were courage and generosity, — two attributes that always command the admiration of mankind. We know that with the ancients courage was the acme of the virtues. Christianity has inculcated the virtue of meekness, and modified our views of what constitutes true courage; but it has not detracted from it, for all of us know that that Being who had the most of meekness had also the most of

courage, and we do not at this day remove that virtue from the high niche it held in the days of the Cæsars.

Mr. President, last Sunday morning I saw in the city of Baltimore the avenues leading from Mr. Johnson's dwelling to his tomb lined with citizens, that, as his funeral car passed, they might manifest the high respect and regard they felt for one they so well knew. A friend with whom I was riding then pointed me to the site of the dwelling formerly occupied by Mr. Johnson, which years ago was demolished by the excited violence of the populace. He had faced the storm of popular prejudice, and had calmly and resolutely waited until public opinion came to do him homage. He had the courage to stand and wait.

But it was his generosity that made him friends. He delighted in words and acts of kindness, and he withheld his sympathy from no one in trouble. There are men in this world who are respectable, honest, circumspect, but from whom we instinctively turn away, because we feel that they love themselves supremely, and care for no one else. But to the wholesouled, the genial, the generous man, we open wide the portals of our hearts. This is the tribute the world pays to that disinterestedness which is the crowning virtue of our holy religion. No man lives to himself; he certainly did not live to himself. No man dies to himself; he did not, for there is in his life and character much that we may all properly imitate, and thus perpetuate.


Mr. CHAIRMAN: I cannot allow this occasion to pass without adding my feeble tribute to what has been said concerning Mr. Johnson. I knew him well more than twenty years ago. It is about that period sirce it happened to me to take some part in the discussion at this Bar of that great cause which so much agitated the country, and the decision of which has so much affected its present and its future. Mr. Johnson shared the opinion that the welfare of the country required that the Supreme Court of the United States should arrive at the decision, which it reached by a majority, in the well-known Dred Scott case. It was his forcible presentation of the Southern view of our Constitution in respect to the relations of Slavery to the Territories and of the Territories to Slavery, that contributed more than any thing else to bring about the decision that was made in that cause. I believe that he held those opinions with entire sincerity; at any rate, he enforced them with great power. Those who were opposed to him (and I happened to be one of them) felt the force of his arguments, and foresaw what their effect would be upon a majority of the court. The judgment of the country very speedily may be said to have reversed that decision; but in my opinion it becomes us all, in the view that we may take of this great man's efforts, and of the sincerity with which he held and enforced his opinions upon constitutional questions, to recognize the patriotism that lay at the bottom of the whole effort that he made on that occasion, and to give it its just due.

Mr. Chairman, in listening to the beautiful remarks with which you opened this meeting, I was struck by your reference to the sudden death of Mr. Johnson. I happened quite recently to have seen a couple of verses written by one who, in middle life, had reason to anticipate, and who met with, a sudden death:

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"While others' set, thy sun shall fall;

Night without eve shall close on thee;
And He who made, with sudden call,
Shall bid, and thou shalt cease to be.

"So whispers Nature, whispers Sorrow,

And I could greet the things they say,
But for the thought of those whose morrow
Hangs trembling on my little day."

But, sir, in the case of a man so aged as Mr. Johnson, of a man whose fame was gathered and full, who had no occasion to look back over a long life, save with gratitude for the mercies and distinctions by which it had been marked, sudden death comes not as a calamity, but may be welcomed as a blessing.


Twenty years ago, Mr. Chairman, in the argument of an important cause before Judge McLean, four lawyers, from remote parts of the country, met at Cincinnati, of whom one was unknown, and two but little known; but three of those four men were destined to occupy exalted places in our nation's stormy history. They were Mr. Lincoln, Mr. Stanton, Mr. Johnson, and myself. At that time Mr. Lincoln had not been heard of very far beyond the limits of his native State; Mr. Stanton was practising law in Ohio; and Mr. Johnson was in the maturity of his strength, and with a reputation secured and safe. Three of those men have passed away. Mr. Lincoln lives in history, and in the hearts of his countrymen, as a statesman whose political sagacity was only excelled by his philanthropy, and whose philanthropy was the embodiment of the Golden Rule. Mr. Stanton is remembered and admired as the vigorous administrator, whose iron will braced up the tender and yielding heart of the beloved President in the trying hours of the nation's struggle for existence; and now Mr. Johnson, last of all, leaves to us the reputation of a profound jurist, a wise legislator, and a noble, generous-hearted friend. When we contemplate the characters and virtues of these three distinguished men, it is to us, as Americans, a proud satisfaction that we need not look beyond that trio, that we need not open the pages of history, nor search beyond the confines of our own country, for examples worthy of imitation and sufficient for our guidance, whether we are statesmen, or administrators, or lawyers; for I believe that in these three can be found the very excellence of those qualities which have distinguished the great rulers of men throughout all time.

Since that long-past encounter, in which these three dissimilar great men met in friendly strife, Mr. Johnson's fame has steadily increased and

widened, until to-day it fills the whole country, and is cherished wherever men rely upon law for safety and protection.

With feelings of the most profound regret, softened by recollections of many years of agreeable personal associations with this great man, I have risen to add my tribute of respect for his memory, and to recall the incident I have mentioned, that it may suggest at once those three departed friends as examples for our admiration and our guidance, whether we would climb ambition's paths or labor where Mr. Johnson earned his great reward.


Mr. CHAIRMAN: It would not be proper that this meeting should pass away without Virginia adding the tribute of her admiration to the great lawyer of her sister State, Maryland. It was my pleasure, sir, to know Mr. Johnson but a very brief period while I lived temporarily in the city of Baltimore, several years ago. I can bear testimony to that generosity of disposition of which gentlemen have spoken, and which then manifested itself to me, a stranger and a younger member of the profession; and while I can unite in the tribute which has been paid to him as a great constitutional lawyer, and an eminent lawyer in other branches of jurisprudence, it is a peculiar pleasure to me to testify to the warmth of the friendship which he showed towards me at that time and ever since.

To any man who looks upon the law as the necessary companion of all progress, he who for nearly threescore years has stood as an advocate at the American Bar in the maintenance of constitutional principles and in the development of every other department of jurisprudence, must occupy a most important position in the advancement of our race. And although a man who is merely at the Bar and has never been elevated to the Bench may not go down to future times with the fame and the distinction which attaches to that more distinguished position, yet, like the stones in a great edifice which are not seen, he may still be as important to the strength of its structure and to the beauty of its outward appearance. And it is a consolation to those of us who occupy a more humble position in the ranks of the profession, that while we may not be known in the future, we may at least feel that we have played our part, a very humble one it may be, but still a valuable part, in the promotion of liberty and civilization.

I felt, sir, that it was due from me, as a Virginian, that I should say thus much in testimony of the great and eminent character of Mr. Johnson.


Mr. CHAIRMAN: After so much has been said on the interesting subject which has drawn us together in the presence of so large a number of the learned and distinguished members of the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States, I know it would be unbecoming for me, deeply as I feel interested in the proceedings now in progress, to do more than offer a few brief suggestions.

I had the honor of knowing Mr. Johnson for more than thirty years. In the winter of 1847-48 there was a banquet given in this city in honor of certain distinguished commanders of the American army, just returned from Mexico. At that banquet Mr. Johnson was present, and I for the first time heard him speak. A more patriotic and eloquent production I never listened to, nor one that was more universally admired and commended; for on that occasion he rose above his party for the purpose of maintaining the vital interests of his country.

A few weeks thereafter I heard for the first time an elaborate speech from the lips of Mr. Johnson in this hall, then, as you well know, occupied by the Senate of the United States. As a member of that body, he spoke for two days upon the great questions then at issue in the country, in a manner that commanded the respect, the sympathy, and the intense admiration of all who listened to his remarks, not only by reason of the extraordinary ability displayed by him, but on account of those noble attributes which he exhibited so resplendently on that occasion, - his ardent patriotism, his manly independence, his high moral courage.

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I may be permitted to extend my remarks for a few minutes only, whilst I state the deliberate opinion which I formed of Mr. Johnson at that time, and which I have ever entertained up to the present moment. And by way of illustration, Mr. Chairman, of what I have already said, and of what has fallen from the lips of others as to his extraordinary merits, I may mention a rather curious historical fact: When General Taylor was elected to the presidency of the Union, the programme of his cabinet was made known a day or two before the inauguration occurred. In that programme Mr. Johnson's name was not mentioned, but it was made known to some who were then members of the Senate, that if it should so happen that a bill which had passed the House of Representatives for the establishment of the Department of the Interior, and which had thus far failed to pass the Senate, should, upon a motion for reconsideration, be taken up and passed, General Taylor would take delight in adding Mr. Johnson to his cabinet as attorney-general. It did so happen that the individual now addressing you, with his associate in the body of that period, admiring Mr. Johnson very highly, having but slight objections to the bill for the establishment of the Department of the Interior, but objections sufficiently strong to have induced us to vote against the bill originally, determined upon that information to change our votes. We did change our votes; and by that change was the Department of the Interior established and the way made open for Reverdy Johnson to become Attorney-General of the United States, an office to which he lent such extraordinary dignity during the period that he held it.

I have said that for nearly thirty years of his splendid and useful public life he was known to me more or less familiarly. I first saw him, as I have said, some thirty years ago, and it was my fortune to behold him when acting amidst various scenes here of high responsibility, in which all the attributes almost that can possibly be imagined as dignifying humanity

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