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about this case I have been reading about, of Laidlaw vs. Sage.' The novelty of the question raised in that case very much excited and aroused him. Now I believe there are no millionaires here to-day, and therefore Mr. Choate will not think it necessary to read a chapter from the Bible. But, in the language of the politicians, I have no doubt he has got something equally as good.”
JOSEPH H. CHOATE, '52. “Let me first answer the inquiry of Mr. Justice Brown by saying that he could not find, even at the bar of New York, any advocates, or any single advocate, who would imitate the wasteful extravagance of William Murray! Why, if you could find him, this Association would have immediately to proceed to raise a subscription fund to soothe the declining years of its prodigal
“When I said a moment ago to Professor Thayer that I had absolutely nothing to say, he replied with the unbridled license of a classmate, 'Why, that has always been your most felicitious condition.' Well, it is true, I have sometimes found it so when arguing before courts of justice. And even the highest courts are not absolute proof against that, as my Brother Carter can testify. I say this for the encouragement of the graduating class. The emptier the shell, the louder resounds every individual stroke. Sonorous metal, blowing a martial sound, I assure you, can have its effect at last upon the most profound jurists, and,
If words are things, as Justice Gray declares,
What monstrous loads go up some court-house stairs ! “ I know how painful eulogy is to Professor Langdell, and therefore I may throw out some suggestions that will serve, perhaps, as a little antidote to that of which the learned professor from Oxford and your presiding officer have been so profuse. I can remind him that there was a Harvard Law School before he was.
I claim myself to have enjoyed the tuition of Harvard College and of the Dane Law School in the golden age of each of these institutions. Profound as is my admiration for our present distinguished president, I graduated under the genial reign of Jared Sparks, the happy period of college life at Harvard. He had but one motto, which he universally applied in his treatment of the undergraduates :
'Be to their faults a little blind,
And clap the padlock on the mind.'
VOL. IV. - NO. 13. 4
of Professor Langdell, but he was one of the most charming and delightful of men. It was his maxim of life, which I have always endeavored to follow, that it was the duty of every lawyer to get all the entertainment possible out of his work as he went along ; and whether in his lectures, in social converse, in court, wherever he was, he had a most delightful way of saying things, which impressed themselves as uttering the foundation principles of the common law upon the minds of his hearers in a way that I for one have succeeded in carrying always through a long professional career. Now .by their fruits ye shall know them,' and I think there were fruits from the old Dane Law School with which even those of the present administration may sometimes hesitate to challenge a comparison. I do not think that Professor Langdell was the first inventor of the system or theory of studying law by original research.
“ There are results of the modern system which I do most heartily approve. It sends out to the great cities of this Union young men annually, far better equipped with legal knowledge, far better equipped with the fundamental principles which are to prepare them for the practice of the law, than any of their predecessors enjoyed. And I think we may safely say that we practitioners at the New York bar welcome all we can get of them. There is only one trouble, Professor Langdell, and that is that they know altogether too much. They know it all ; and there are none of us old men in the law who cannot learn a great deal from them. But it is their misfortune that at the outset they are top-heavy ; and it is only when after six months or a year of running about our streets they have learned that the legs are quite as important to the young lawyer as the brain, that they make themselves really as useful as you intended them to be.
“ When we graduated from the Dane Law School, we did not feel that we had completed our education. And I regard it as one of the greatest privileges of my professional life that I was able to supplement a two years' course here with a period of a few weeks' discipline in the office of your distinguished president, Mr. Carter. He already gave promise of that actual leadership which long ago he vindicated. And I should not have believed it if, when I was sitting under his tuition, it had been foretold to me that for nearly 40 years I should be pitted against him in the contests of the profession, and that never once in all that time would the close personal harmony that existed between us be even ruffled. We have always, as adversaries at law, struggled mightily, but eaten and drunk as friends.
“ Now let me say another word for the encouragement of the graduating class. I consider that America is the paradise of judges and lawyers, especially of lawyers. And when any pessimistic views are expressed, any doubts of what these coming lawyers are to do, I say to them, “Come to New York, Mr. Carter will soon be retiring, and will leave room for a thousand men.' But there is one subject to which I would attract the ear of our distinguished Oxford guest, and I would like more time to learn from him why it is that such an enormous number of lawyers and of judges are required to meet the modest wants of the American people. Take our State of New York, with its seven millions of people. It has 70 judges of the Supreme Court, besides seven judges of the Court of Appeals, three federal judges and one judge in each county, 60 in number, for probate and local business, making 140 judges to meet the wants of seven millions of people. While, as I understand it - I may be mistaken — England, with her 30,000,000 of people in round numbers, finds 32 judges of the first class ample for all her wants. Now, there is a question which these young lawyers have got to study out. I believe myself that ways will be discovered for economy in the administration of the law; and it is because these young men, with all the enlarged ideas that they gather here, will be able to grapple with such serious and difficult questions, that I throw out the suggestions. But for reform we know always where to look, and for one I am happy to say that the representatives and graduates of the Harvard Law School are foremost in that field. Mr. Justice Brown has referred to a case that recently occurred, where it took one month to impanel a jury. Ah, gentlemen, that was not all. It took more than six months to bring one offender to conviction, and I really believe that that triumph of justice would not have been achieved if one of the young, vigorous, able representatives and graduates of the Harvard Law School, one of our marshals of to-day, had not been at the helm representing the prosecution."
President Carter next introduced the Japanese Ambassador, Sinichiro Kurino, l '81, who very briefly expressed his satisfaction at being a graduate of the Law School, and congratulated Dean Langdell. The next speaker was
"I speak at a little disadvantage under these circumstances, for I have only heard the speech of our brother Choate. I do not know what other speakers may have said before, but my duty here is perfectly clear to my mind. I wanted to tell you what seemed to me to be the services of Professor Langdell, as I have witnessed them during the last 25 years. There have been three achievements here during this long period, three memorable achievements, which are due to him.
“The first is perhaps the most extraordinary, namely, the introduction and acceptance of a new mode or method of teaching law. Can we imagine a subject in which a new mode of instruction is less likely to be introduced than the subject of law? Well, the method of Professor Langdell has not only been adopted by the young men, his disciples, but it has been adopted by a series of professors who were educated in another system, and have been brought into the School from the bench or from the practice of the profession. I remember that when Judge Smith accepted a professorship here, coming from an active life at the bar and on the bench, and immediately stated that he proposed to follow the method of instruction that Professor Langdell had advised, Professor Langdell felt that that part of the battle of his life had
It was the adoption of this method of teaching by professors who were not brought up in it which seemed to him to show that the end of that struggle had come. Now it has been adopted not only in this School, but in many other schools, leading schools throughout the country.
“There have prevailed about this method some misapprehensions, particularly at the outset. A case lawyer' was not an agreeable expression, did
not present a pleasing picture to the mind of the profession. Misapprehension concerning the nature of the method prevailed for a long time. It was not perceived that its keynote was discriminating, orderly selection of the material to be studied. This I count the greatest of Professor Langdell's achievements here.
“But there is another, a second. Professor Langdell early advocated the appointment as teachers of law of young men who had had no experience whatever in the active profession. What a venture was that, gentlemen, what bold advice was that to give, for the head of the School! No school had ever done it; this School had never done it; it was an absolutely new departure in our country in the teaching of law. I remember very well how reluctantly the Corporation and the Board of Overseers consented to the first experiment on this point, namely, the appointment for a limited term of five years of Assist. Prof. James Barr Ames. You may well applaud now, gentlemen, when the success of that experiment has been absolutely assured, but what was the courage which first suggested the experiment! Now that experiment, too, has not only been extended in our Law School with perfect success, but it has been adopted by various other law schools throughout the country. And what does it mean? What is to be the ultimate outcome of this courageous venture ? In due course, and that in no long term of years, there will be produced in this country a body of men learned in the law who
ave never been on the bench or at the bar, but who nevertheless hold positions of great weight and influence as teachers of the law, as expounders, systematizers, historians. This, I venture to predict, is one of the most farreaching changes in the organization of the profession that has ever been made in our country.
“ And now I come to a third of Professor Langdell's achievements, one which, I venture to say, has greatly commended itself to his Scotch nature. I refer to the extraordinary pecuniary success of the Law School. He never shrank from any measure of change because it threatened a loss of pecuniary
He never shrank from any measure that would obviously diminish temporarily the number of students in the School. But when in time the success of his work was demonstrated when, as years went on, a strong and united faculty worked with him in the School, and the number of students began to increase, and that of late years quite rapidly, it was a most sincere delight to the dean that the Law School became the most prosperous of all the departments of the University. Its expenses are far within, of late years, its receipts. The salaries in the Law School are higher than in any other department. It has a handsomer building, thanks to our great benefactor, Mr. Edward Austin, and it has also a more ample and better maintained library than any other of the professional departments. This pecuniary success of the School is the third of the achievements on which we congratulate the dean.
And now, after all this good work, and after attaining the age of 69 years, Professor Langdell has quite lately said to the Corporation that he desires to retire from the office of dean, and, moreover, to be relieved of one third of his teaching work in the School. He wishes to retain all his instruction in
jurisdiction and procedure in equity, but he will discharge no other teaching function in the School hereafter. This suggestion, being offered to the Corporation by the dean, could have but one answer. The President and Fellows, feeling under the deepest obligations to Professor Langdell for his services to the School and to the University, acceded to this desire, and now the work of the dean will soon be committed to younger bands. But the President and Fellows entertain the confident conviction that these last years of Professor Langdell, devoted, we hope, in good part to the publication of materials which he has been long accumulating, will be the best years of Professor Langdell for the School and for the University. And they propose to continue to him his full present salary. I believe that this honorable connection of Professor Langdell with the Law School, bis continued connection with it, is a good example to the whole academic staff, and that there will result from it a thoroughly cheerful and hopeful view among the academic staff of the prospects of a distinguished university teacher and administrator. And now we all wish him the longest life of all the long-lived men of his family stock, and we wish him an accumulating happiness and prosperity and productiveness in the many years which are to come.”
President Carter next referred to the benefactors of the Law School, and called on Mr. Henry Villard to respond; but as the latter had quitted the hall, Mr. Carter introduced, as the final speaker, C. J. Bonaparte, '70, the chief marshal of the day, who concluded a very brief response with the remark that “brevity is a very great legal merit.”
Letters of regret were received from Sen. G. F. Hoar, '46, Sen. E. O. Wolcott, l '75, and the Hon. C. M. Campbell, L. S., ?75. The officers of the day were, Chief-marshal: C. J. Bonaparte, '70, with the following aids : A. G. Fox, '69; F. Rawle, ’69; A. M. Howe, '69; H. W. Putnam, '69; R. I. Gammell, L. S., '72; R. S. Gorham, '88; S. Hoar, '82; J. J. Storrow, Jr., '85; W. H. Rand, '88; 0. Prescott, '89; H. G. Vaughan, '90.
LAWRENCE SCIENTIFIC SCHOOL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION. The Association held its annual meeting at the School building at noon, Commencement Day. The reports of the officers were received, and the following officers were elected to serve for the present year: President: Nathaniel Southgate Shaler, s '62.
Vice-Presidents : Frank Wigglesworth Clarke, s '67 ; Thomas Smith Howland, s '68.
Secretary: Andrew McFarland Davis, s :54.
son, s '84.