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competition, the waterway carrier should at least be compelled to give the benefits of rail competition at all points, and be governed by the long and short haul clause. The extortion and unjust discrimination of the waterway carrier, is as great a wrong as that of the railway carrier. To allow the waterway carrier to collect such rates as he can get at non-competitive points to enable him to recoup losses at competitive points, or to raise and lower his rates at will, while the railway carrier cannot, is manifestly inequitable and unjust. If to-day it is found that the grain to be moved from Chicago to the sea-board is more than double the car capacity and available tonnage, the waterway carrier will raise his rates for to-morrow; the railway carrier must give ten days' notice of his purpose to do so. What will result? Why, to bring in a whole fleet that will carry off every bushel before a car load can be moved. Why the railway carrier should be held, while the waterway carrier batters him, I cannot see, unless it be considered in the nature of a just punishment for the wrongs committed by the railway when it was unrestricted; but I submit, there should somewhere be a limitation to this; in my opinion, I think in the opinion of most fair men, that limitation has been reached when all old scores should be adjusted at once, or wiped out; and care should be taken that hereafter even-handed justice, under the operation of law, should be dealt out alike to the owners of the car and the owners of its load,—the owners of the craft and the owners of its cargo. With the interposition of a law potent in its provisions, capable of enforcement, enabling all parties in interest to obtain speedy judicial interpretation of its terms, without conflict between State and Federal authority, the time will soon be reached when a reasonable, fair and stable rate can be obtained everywhere,—where there are not, as well as where there are, competing lines.
There are five great railroads betwen Chicago and Kansas City; any two, indeed, I think any one, of them can carry all the traffic.
The sum of the cost to the shippers, passengers, or consumers of all this traffic, must be a reasonable profit on the investment, taxes and operating expenses, including five full sets of officials and employés.
If all the traffic was diverted to two roads and the others obliterated, the increased expenses of those two roads would be but little more than the cost of the extra train service, and the amount saved, the difference in the cost in doing the business, would, in from five to seven years, pay the entire cost of the three roads obliterated, and allow the traffic to be done ever afterward at a reduction of from 25 to 40 per cent of the old rate of the five roads. Roads cannot, should not, be obliterated, but similar cases should not be produced in sections where they do not now exist, by unnecessary railroad construction. There is no more practical sense in building two railroads side by side, than there would be in building two wagon roads along side of each other. The cost of construction and maintenance is doubled without any additional advantage whatever, where the first road is under proper control.
The operation of the law has been a clumsy, and to the commercial prosperity of large sections of the country, an expensive, experiment, and to our form of government, a dangerous one; but has been a move in the right direction, namely, the making of the common carriers of the country, controlling its highways, subordinate to law, and compelling them to respect the rights of individuals and communities.
Last week, one of the most successful railroad managers in the country said to me: “I am tired; I am going to quit; I can't stand this new order of things. I can't run a railroad with a copy of the Revised Statutes under my arm. Those of us who came up from telegraph messenger boys, by the operating table, from brakemen, conductors, engineers and station agents, have had our turn. Why, it will soon get to be so an engineer can't blow his whistle without running the risk of getting into the penitentiary, or a manager make a move without running the risk of bankrupting his road. It is the lawyers' innings now; they know how to keep out of the penitentiary."
There is much in what my friend said. But who are the lawyers ? Not the men who simply have diplomas or license to practice law. No, not at all. They are the men who do, or can, practice law successfully. Law schools make nominal lawyers by the score, and set them around upon the benches like models of clay. In one in each hundred of them the judicial germ is vitalized, and a practical lawyer is produced; the ninety-and-nine, like so many unfructified eggs in the nest, if used promptly when fresh, are good for other purposes, but if kept, rapidly deteriorate and produce an intolerable stench, which often clings to the neighboring fledgling, much to his discomfort and often to his detriment. The talent to be a lawyer may be cultivated, but cannot be created by man. It is a gift of God. He who possesses it, has the faculty of readily acquiring a knowledge of the intricacies of every trade, calling and profession. This faculty enables him to arrive at correct conclusions in the multifarious controversies of life, and to read human nature like an open book.
Ordinarily a man may rely upon fair success in life by the development of a faculty to excel in one thing, but the lawyer, to secure success, must be able to excel in all things, and to apply his talents to every field of human knowledge, where the interests of his various clients may be found. More than this, he must not only be able to move things, but to move men, and impress upon them his ideas, purposes and aims, and to secure their hearty, uniform coöperation in the execution of his plans and the accomplishment of his designs; so constituted that his preceptions of right and wrong are as clear as the unclouded sky, and with a conscience as sensitive and true to the right, as the needle to the pole, guiding and controlling his every action in life; so controlling his nature and his growth, until every lineament of his countenance, to all honest men, is a proclamation of honesty and truth; so convincing, that none such will doubt his word or question the purity of his motives. Yet, after all, practicing law is very much like swimming,-easy enough after you know how; but, unlike it, ninety-and-nine sink as soon as they lose bottom, or they must restrict themselves to the limit of paddling around where it is only chin deep, doing a great deal of splashing, taking frequent soundings with the toe, and making but little headway. Yet, just like swimming, after you leave bottom, it makes no difference to you whether the depth be seven or seventy feet; whether you strike across the mill pond of the Circuit Court or the deep waters of the courts of last resort—the same strokes, the same principles, will carry you over one that will carry you over the other, and if you relax your efforts or fail in the application of correct principles, you will as effectually drown in the one case as in the other.
In the country they will fish you out and express some sympathy for the “toad that attempted to turn bullfrog;” while in the city your failure, if it attracts any
attention at all, will provoke disgust and probably the inquiry from some passerby, “If the fool could not swim why did he go in there?” And echo answers, why?
The interest of your clients are to you ideal, they have no specific gravity. The millions of a Gould, Sage or Vanderbilt, require no more effect to buoy them over, than does the comparatively small interest of your country neighbor; nay, not half so much, for if by some mischance you lose a million or two for them, they have many more millions left than you have lost, but to your client in the country it may mean his all, and the failure may drive him to poverty, suffering and death. A consciousness of this may make your heart heavy, weigh you down, disconcert your efforts and endanger your success; or if you have true pluck, "real sand,” will inspire you with greater energy and endurance, and keep your head level to the end.
It is suggested "the fees! the fees! the difference in the fees is very great." No, gentlemen, you are mistaken, there is no difference in the fees, they are exactly alike in both cases. You simply get as a net result your board and clothes, except that in the country you have a more healthy way of living, and will doubtless there live longer and be much happier and better prepared to die when the time comes.
Bear in mind that fees never are and never were the motive that inspired a successful lawyer: success was and always will be the motive, and the fee an immaterial incident to him.
For the profession, a new era has begun: it has been greatly accelerated, if it was not precipitated, by the Inter-State Commerce law. Hereafter, ninety per cent. of its work will be in the office or in the busy affairs of life, either directing or counseling and guiding those who do direct and control, the great financial operations of the world.
The great lawyers, the successful operators of the age, are country-bred. The great cities go to the country alike for their horses and their men, that they may drive one and be led by the other.
Among our unassuming brethren here from the country circuits will be found one at least, who, having crossed the circuit pond successfully again and again, will launch out in the great metropolis and win the right and place of leadership there. To him whose inclination leads that way, I tender encouragement and sympathy; encouragement to accomplish his desires, in the gratification of a laudable ambition, sympathy for him in the trials and troubles that he must endure; with the assurance of my conviction that however great his achievement or renowned he may become by their accomplishments, no victory, no success that he will attain, or praises that may be showered upon him for his ability or powers, will give him a tithe of the unalloyed pleasure that he will receive when he comes back here among his brethren of the bar, receives a sturdy shake, an earnest cheer or other heartfelt recognition, as that same "old stub and twist country lawyer” back again.
"And as in duty bound your orator will ever pray, etc."
E. M. PRINCE, OF BLOOMINGTON.
READ BEFORE THE ILLINOIS STATE BAR ASSOCIATION, JANUARY 14, 1890.
Cardinal Manning's definition of education is especially appropriate to that essential to the lawyer—that is, to see things clearly, and to be able to state them clearly. Whoever is able to see legal things, facts and principles, and their connection, and is able to express them accurately, has the elements of a great legal mind. The late Judge David Davis once told me, that Judge Stephen T. Logan was the ablest lawyer he had ever met; and in reply as to what mental characteristic this ability was due, he said, to his clear perception and unrivaled power of cogent reasoning; that the premise of his arguments seemed self-evident truths, so plausibly were they stated, but if they were admitted by his opponent, the judge was the certain victor, so faultless was his logic. Nothing can compensate the lawyer for the lack of this clear vision and precision of statement. Wit, imagination, magnetism, facility of speech, can do much, but these will prove broken reeds, unless based on this fundamental qualification, for we may say of its practice as Lord Coke said of its philosophy, “Reason is the life of the law."
All intellectual effort is but a study of law. The child studies the law of the formation of letters into syllables, syllables into words, words into sentences, and sentences into discourses. The astronomer studies to comprehend the law by which worlds are made and held in their places while circling through space in their majestic orbits. Burke says, “Law is beneficence, acting by rule.” This is, of course, the ideal of what all law should be, in the light of which it should be formulated, interpreted and executed. But we never reach our ideals, and have to accept narrower definitions of law, as administered by our courts. You all remember Blackstone's definition of municipal law, “A rule of civil conduct prescribed by the supreme power in a state, commanding what is right, and prohibiting what is wrong.” One of the latest, is that of Judge Benjamin, in his Principles of Con. tract, “The totality of rules of action which are enforcible by public authority." Even in this aspect, it is a field coincident with all human enterprise, and may well tax man's highest powers, and inspire his greatest enthusiasm.
Much of the education requisite to make a good lawyer, is that required to make a man successful in any calling. It would, perhaps, be too much to say that a great lawyer must have all the education that is special to all other avocations, but this, at least, is certain, he must have that general culture and training, combined with an alertness of mind, that will enable him quickly to master any branch of knowledge. There is no sphere of public activity which a lawyer may not be called upon, in his professional career, to investigate and pass upon.
Notwithstanding the complete severance here of Church and State, the history of religious opinions in this country might well be gathered from the litigation in our courts. Andover Seminary is now fighting out, in the Massachusetts courts, the old and new orthodoxy of Congregationalism, involving, substantially, the dogmatic history of that great Church, from Plymouth Rock to the present day. In the enforcement of our patent laws, the lawyer is often called upon to investigate the most recondite and difficult principles of chemistry and physic. If he is called into a case against a railroad, he must know as much about the point of railroading involved in the litigation, as the railroad experts themselves. So, in the course of his profession, he may be obliged to become an expert in mining, milling, engineering, farming, book-keeping, insanity surgery, medicine, etc. No other calling requires so hroad a foundation for its special training, as that of the law. The lawyer, to use a sporting term, must be an all-around athlete, capable, at a moment's notice, of training with good condition in any special department of human knowledge, industry or activity.
Carlyle says, that "great men, taken up in any way, are profitable company.” So we may say that the study of law “taken up,” either as a life-work or as a preparation for other work, is “profitable company.” Henry Watterson, the brilliant editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal, in an address on Journalism, advised young men about to enter that profession, to study and practice law a short time, on account of the drill it would give them in habits of concise, logical thinking and statement. It is this aptitude of quickly and accurately mastering the facts of any particular subject, an aptitude born of the very nature of our profession, that is due the fact that all our presidents-except our military heroes—three-fourths of our senators and representatives in Congress, cabinet officers, heads of bureaus, and the controlling influence in our State legislatures, are, and have been lawyers. This is not due to accident or self-seeking, but to the eternal fitness of things—the fact that the lawyer's training fits him better than that of any other class to deal with the multifarious affairs of public life. When Mr. Lincoln wanted a great war secretary, he did not go to the army; Gen. Halleck, as military adviser, was not a success. Nor to business, for Simon Cameron, an eminently successful business man, had failed. He went to the bar, and found in Edwin M. Stanton, another organizer of victory. The greatest railroad manager in this country, the man to whom is committed greater financial interests than to any one else in the United States, and perhaps in the world, Chauncey M. Depew, had become celebrated as a lawyer before he became a railroad president. A New York capitalist, several years ago, became famous as a reputed railroad wrecker, while Gen. McNulta, one of our Bloomington lawyers, has become famous as a resurrectionist of moribund railroads, gladdening the hearts of despairing bond-holders with copious dividends. These instances might be multiplied ad infinitum, of the overflow of lawyers into high, responsible positions in other activities of life, due to their habits of accurate thought and clear judgment, begot of their profession.
I think this is the explanation of the well-known anecdote of Dr. Buckland, the naturalist, George Stephenson and Sir William Follett, the lawyer, while visiting