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in two years than he will learn in five years in any other way.

I know that it is sometimes said that a student who has just graduated in a law school thinks that he knows all of the law; but I have never met one of that sort. He has seen too many law books ranged along the shelves to think that his studies are ended. He perceives that the journey is a long one; and he is usually so distrustful of his abilities and learning that he trembles at the sight of the first client with a feeling of infinite pity for his confiding and helpless innocence.

Men are so constituted that they can not live in soli. tude; nor can they live in society without laws; hence man is essentially a law-making animal. Like all the emanations of the human mind, the law must always be imperfect; sometimes it will be prostituted to unworthy purposes; and yet there never was any system of law that was not better than no law. Fortunately it is selfpreserving and indestructible. Anarchy is for a day; but the law is for all time. Good laws are among the most imperishable of all of the creations of man; and Napoleon was right when he said that he would go down to posterity with his code in his hand.

I think that every lawyer toward the close of his career must sometimes feel as if he had always been chasing a rainbow. Hard as he may have toiled, extensively and patiently as he may have burned the midnight oil, the serene and infinite law defies his puny efforts to fix its limits, to distinguish its precepts, to define and classify the countless rules and exceptions that go to make up its wondrous fabric. It is the mightiest creation of the human intellect. It has not been made by any one man, or by any millions that can be computed, or in a hundred years, or in a thousand years. Beginning as a mere rivulet before the dawn of history it has come down through all the ages, receiving at every step some additional rill or rivulet until it has become a mighty river, and at last spreads out until it presents a shoreless sea.

Laymen sometimes ask us why the law cannot be simplified. The answer is easily made. The law must hold the mirror up to human life, and must adapt itself to every phase of human existence, to every variety of human conduct. It must take note of every child as soon as it is born; and sometimes before it is born. It must take notice of every change which time and circumstance produce. If he marries, the law will be there to note the fact, and if he gets a divorce the law is sure to be present. It will follow him like his shadow through every vicissitude until he dies; and after his death it will take notice of his dead body, and will protect the monument that has been erected in order to transmit to posterity a record of the virtues that he ought to have possessed. All of this is difficult enough; but complexity is multiplied when you have to consider the individual in the infinite number of relations that he may assume towards the state and its local subdivisions, towards individuals and persons natural and artificial. There must be rules for every contract that he makes, and for every piece of property that he acquires, rules of title, management and disposition, rules to keep him from doing a thousand wrongs to which he may be tempted, and to keep others from injuring him; and it may be that in many instances the law will have to inquire into the state of his health of mind and body, and to enter into the most profound scrutiny of the secret movements of mind and heart. The law that does not foresee and provide for these and many thousands of other conditions and emergencies is so imperfect that it will often result in the grossest injustice.

Our laws, woven in the loom of time, are the result of countless experiments, and of the survival of the fittest. Wrecks of repealed statutes and of overruled cases lie thick along the line of its progress; and from them, if it were worth while, we might construct a system that would be a caricature of the law as it now exists. The selection has been made after practical tests, and with infinite toil and labor; so that at present the law reflects all of the accumulated civilization and enlightenment of all time. It cannot do otherwise than keep step with human progress.

It is sometimes said that the law is an expensive luxury; but take it all in all it is the cheapest commodity in the market. To most persons the idea of the law is chiefly associated with proceedings in the courts; but they in themselves are but as the foam on the surface of the sea.

There are millions of our race that never suspect the existence of the air that they breathe; and there are millions of men in our country, and more women, that hardly have occasion to know that the law exists. The law that spreads its golden network over all the land, the law that never sleeps, that has more eyes than Argus, more hands than Briareus, that protects them by night and by day, at home and abroad, is to them hardly more than a myth. Considering the daily commercial transactions, the countless agreements and sales, great and small, that are made every day, we may be sure that not more than one transaction out of millions ever finds its way into the courts.

The wealth of our country, consisting of houses, lands, factories, merchandise, ships, railways, money, the cattle on a thousand hills, bills, bonds, notes and every variety of property, is so great as to defy computation. Every piece of property has an owner; but in a few years every acre of land, all of the houses, railways, ships and every other piece or article of property that does not perish in the using, even down to the last rag and the last penny, will have been transferred to new owners, who will not have paid for it one cent; a circumstance that makes us feel that it would have been more satisfactory to us if the tide had been reversed, and we could have been heirs instead of ancestors. The law makes this tremendous transfer of all existing wealth with but little friction, and with only here and there a random lawsuit.

The omnipotence of the law is for the most part manifested silently, without judges, without writs, without bailiffs, and without lawyers.

We cannot take in all of the law in one comprehensive glance. Life is but a span, an ad interim affair, merely a short paragraph in the endless and illegible book of fate. But that is not the worst of it. The finite cannot comprehend the infinite. No one mind can sum up the experience of all the ages; and that is what the law does. If we knew all of the law, we should forget most of it in less than a week. If we do not know all of the law, we know part of it; the part that we know sheds light on the rest; and we know where to find the rest of it if need be; and so we get along the best we can.

Jean Paul Courrier was the most accomplished Greek scholar that France ever produced. He could converse or write in Greek with as much fluency and ease as in his native tongue. One day he said that there were only four or five persons in France that understood Greek; and he added that the number that understood French was much less. The number of men that understand English thoroughly must be small; but most of us manage to get along with far less knowledge of that kind.

Of all sciences the law is the most ancient. day the centre of time has been shifted. Formerly we were told that the pyramids of Egypt were 4,000 years old; now archeologists say that they are 6,000 years old. Thus time seems to be growing at both ends.

Our professional retrospect has been lately extended


In our

in a most unexpected way. Prof. Hilpreth, of the University of Pennsylvania, in excavating the ruins of Nippur, in Mesopotamia, lately discovered the vault of an ancient firm of attorneys known as Murashu & Sons, who are supposed to have lived about 7,000 years ago.

We used to consider Abraham as one of the ancients; but now he appears to be painfully modern. Murashu & Sons were practicing law in Nippur 3,000 years before Abraham was born in Ur of the Chaldees, which, like Damascus, was of more recent date. They were farther removed from Abraham than we are from Romulus and Remus.

This vault of Murashu & Sons, buried under twentyseven feet of cosmic dust, was found to contain legal documents inscribed on tiles, which had been deposited there for safe-keeping. One of these that was deciphered was a bill of sale of a ring with an emerald set, containing a guaranty that the set would not fall out for twenty years. The document is in the highest style of the art; and all that it lacks to make it valid is a United States revenue stamp. Doubtless the ring was intended to adorn some high-born lady, and to enable her to multiply or perpetuate her conquests. No better confirmation of the ancient saying that the written word remains. The lady and all of her lovely companions are faded and gone, and have long since been swept into the dust bin of oblivion. The city was destroyed ages ago, and yet the vault of these attorneys has guarded these precious documents entrusted to its care until a man from a world unknown has broken into its privacy and revealed its secrets. Murashu & Sons are by thousands of years the oldest members of the profession known to us; and they make, I think, a good showing. This vault or archive room shows that they were prosperous in their professional pursuits; and its contents prove that they were esteemed and trusted. There is one thing that I suppose

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