Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

The Albany Law Journal.

ALBANY, JANUARY 13, 1894.

Current Topics.

[All communications intended for the Editor should be addressed simply to the Editor of THE ALBANY LAW JOURNAL.

All letters relating to advertisements, subscriptions, or other

business matters, should be addressed to THE ALBANY LAW JOURNAL COMPANY.]

THE program for proceedings of the seven

teenth annual meeting of the New York State Bar Association, which takes place on the 16th and 17th inst., is printed in this number of THE ALBANY LAW JOURNAL. We have already referred to the arrangements made and need only note that aside from the matters heretofore suggested, Mr. R. D. Marshall of Dayton, Ohio, will be present as a representative of the Ohio State Bar Association and read a paper upon the work of bar associations. This, with the other portions of the program, insures a most interesting meeting.

We also publish two reports of committees of the association, one relative to admission to the bar, the other, upon the president's address of last year relative to law reporting, legislative counsel and the statutory enactment of common law rules. These reports were ordered printed and distributed to members of the association

H. Cardwell, present speaker of the House of Delegates and a lawyer of recognized ability, and Major John W. Riley, of Halifax, for many years one of the leading lawyers in Southside Virginia. The nominations are well distributed geographically, and while the friends of the numerous defeated aspirants will naturally feel chagrined at the defeat of their favorites, the general feeling will be one of congratulation that men worthy of the honor have been chosen for Virginia's highest court.

Hon. John R. Fellows, of New York, having been elected district attorney, announced his intention to appoint Hugh O. Pentecost his first assistant, whereupon the press of the city began to denounce Mr. Pentecost in the most virulent manner. It was said to his discredit that he had been a minister of the Gospel and had abandoned that calling for the profession of the law; also that he was a socialist and the apologist of anarchy. Col. Fellows, unable to resist this public protest, thereupon informed Mr. Pentecost that he could not be permitted to enter upon the office for which he had been named. This conclusion has been accepted by Mr. Pentecost, who, in a letter given to Col. Fellows, frankly states the intellectual process by which he became a religious enthusiast and finally a crank on social questions.

For fifteen years Mr. Pentecost was a minister, at a meeting of the joint executive and law re-republican in politics. The self-renunciation of form committees and have been forwarded to members of the association in advance of the meeting.

The action of the democratic caucus of the Virginia Legislature assures an able bench for the Supreme Court of Appeals of that State. The five gentlemen nominated are all men of distinguished legal ability and high personal character. The nominees are Hon. John A. Buchanan, of Washington county, who recently declined a re-election to Congress in order to resume the practice of his profession; Mr. George M. Harrison, of Staunton, a leader at the Augusta,bar, which is one of the strongest in the State; Judge James Keith, the present able judge of the Fauquier circuit, who was prominently mentioned as Judge Bond's successor as United States circuit judge; Hon. R. No. 2.

VOL. 49

-

Christ, His love of others, His sympathy for the Christ, His love of others, His sympathy for the poor and sinful, His willing submission to injury, His delicacy and gentleness "touched, charmed, and subdued me," says Pentecost in his letter, "into devotion to Him and His cause. He was to me an ideal reality. It seemed to me that what He wanted should be done; that as He had lived so should we all live. My heart burned and impelled me to be in some

small measure to others what He had been."

While in this highly wrought state of mind, he read Henry George's "Progress and Poverty," and became a sympathizer with the teeming millions of poor people suffering miseries which had been unjustly inflicted upon them.

At this time in his mental development, the bomb which shocked the world was thrown at Chicago, and, in the belief that the anarchists

the throwing of the bomb he preached a sermon in which he expressed this belief and declared his aversion to capital punishment. It is charged that he sympathized with them, but this he denies. "It is true however," he says, "that under the influence of the teachings of Jesus Christ, as I understand them, I did arrive at what seemed to me a logical conclusion from those teachings, that all governments established and maintained by force of arms were contrary to the idea of 'peace on earth and good will toward men.''

who were arrested, had had nothing to do with cently, was seventy-three years old, but he was in full possession of his mental faculties up to the time of his death. Chief Justice Waite, who died five years ago, remained on the Supreme bench to the last, though he was seventytwo years old when he died. Justice Strong, who is still living in Washington, retired from the Supreme bench in 1880 at the age of seventytwo. Noah H. Swayne, who died in 1884, retired from the Supreme bench in 1881 at the age of seventy-seven. Only one of the present members of the Supreme Court is more than seventy years old. This one is Justice Field, who has reached the age of seventy-seven years.

Roger B. Taney, chief justice of the Supreme Court, remained on the bench until he was eighty-eight years old. He was appointed chief justice at the age of fifty-eight. He began an autobiography at the age of seventy-seven, but did not finish it. Chief Justice Marshall, who served from 1800 to 1835 on the Supreme bench, was eighty years old when ill health compelled him to leave Washington. He died in that year (1835). He was a delegate to the convention for revising the State Constitution of Virginia when he was seventy-four years old, and it is said that though he did not speak often in the convention, when he did speak he showed that his mind was clear and his reasoning as solid as in his younger days.

Eventually it dawned upon Mr. Pentecost that this is not a world of dreams, but one of practical realities, and he ceased to indulge in his utopian imaginings, gave up his Sunday lectureship and began to study Blackstone, who effectually dragged him from the clouds. He studied law. He studied the science of government in standard works. He studied the "Federalist." He re-studied the planting and making of the United States government. He re-read the lives of Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Adams, Madison and the other great actors in the early history of this country. He was admitted to the bar, passing the regular examination in the legal manner. He prac tised law. He joined the democratic party, having been a believer in democratic principles for about eight years, during which time he frequently voted the democratic ticket. He mingled with practical men. He saw things as they are, and learned that we have to accept them as they are. He became calm and sane, but not having done work enough meet for repentance, he has not been permitted to take office under a democratic administration. "I think Mr. Pentecost is sincere," said Col. Fel-years on the bench. He has written the opinlows. "He is out of the clouds. Well, it's about time. That's all I have to say about it." Mr. Pentecost's story of his evolution from a sentimental minister to a logical lawyer recalls the name that an old friend and subsequent enemy of his applied to him. That name was "the phonograph," "because," said the inventor of the title, "he always gives forth the sound that was talked into him."

The Supreme Court of the United States furnishes some interesting instances of active longevity. Justice Blatchford, who died re

Justice Elisha Carpenter of the Connecticut Supreme Court of Errors retires January 14, on account of age limitation, and will be succeeded by Justice William Hamersley, promoted from the Superior Court bench. Judge Carpenter was born at Eastford, Ct., January 14, 1824, and has served nearly thirty-three

ions of the Supreme Court of Connecticut, on some of the most important cases presented to that court for decision, among them being the boycott opinion and the opinion relative to the forfeiture of wages in case of violation of contract. He has also written innumerable opinions on subjects of less general interest. Frequently differing from his associates in interpretation of the statutes as applied to specific cases, his dissenting opinions have always been clearly expressed and have commanded the highest respect of his associates. Judge Carpenter has always been considered an authority

in will cases and his opinion in such actions has been considered of the highest value. Although now seventy years old, he has already made arrangements to resume the active practice of his profession, as soon as he retires from the bench.

Judge Carpenter seems a comparatively young man to the Hon. Martin I. Townsend, of Troy, N. Y., who, at the age of eighty-four, is in vigorous health, and within a few weeks has argued two important cases before the Court of Appeals.

possible to comply with these terms, and Mr. Putnam, though he does not counsel any attempt to amend the copyright act at present, holds that the demand of the typographical unions forbidding the importation of foreign type or of plates for copyrighted books should be abandoned. The typographers do not need that amount of protection for their business. On the whole, the copyright law has not secured all the results that were anticipated, and is not perfect in its action, but it has too many advantages to make it desirable to attempt in the present Congress to remove its defects.

In

The new international copyright law has been in operation over two years, and in some reThe charter of the Louisiana Lottery Comspects it is possible to judge of its operation within that time. Mr. G. Haven Putnam, who pany expired on the 31st of December, 1893, is well informed on this subject, treats it briefly after a quarter of a century of such prosperity in the January Forum, as it affects American as would strain the imagination of Croesus himand foreign authors, American readers and self. Its offices in New Orleans were promptly American publishers. American authors have closed, its signs taken down, and, like some been disappointed in its results. They have vision of the night, it vanished with the daybreak of the new year. For more than twenty years not obtained the English returns which they expected from the protection of their works by the Louisiana lottery has had a foothold and an influence in every city, town, and village an English copyright, and though the sales of their books in foreign countries are on the in- throughout the land. Metropolis and hamlet alike have paid it tribute. The rich, the poor, crease, they are hardly yet what might be expected. On the other hand, English authors the independent, and the needy have poured have been also disappointed in the sale of their into its treasury the careless fragment of their books in America. The demand for English surplus or the hard-earned product of their toil. fiction has greatly fallen off, and the result is Its ramifications were everywhere. Its agents that the English have not gained at all what were legion; its transactions gigantic. they expected when they could control their twenty years it paid out more than two thousand own books. In neither case has the inter- per cent of its capital stock in dividends, and national copyright law done for authors what it that represented less than half its earnings. was hoped that it might do. They are not The lottery was the legacy of reconstruction. much better off than they were before. But It was born of a Legislature made up of ignorant there has been eliminated from the book pub-freedmen, who had not yet had time to learn lishing trade a great deal of fiction which was the rudiments of citizenship, and whose white worthless in itself, and for which there was no leaders found profit in their ignorance. Hon. legitimate demand. American readers have H. C. Warmoth, then governor of Louisiana, not been deluged with cheap fiction. At the and called a "carpet-bagger" by his political same time the new law has increased the numadversaries, vetoed the bill, but the General ber of international undertakings, or works, or Assembly passed it over his head with a rush. series, in which the best men in Europe and It became a law and the lottery was born. That America are needed to take a part. was in 1868. Twenty-five years later the erty has been better protected, and the pub- charter expired by limitation. Of the tremenlishers have been able to pay writers much bet- dous struggle for a renewal we need not speak. ter than ever before. The new law however The events are too fresh in the country's memworks unfavorably for French and German ory to require repetition. authors, because it requires of them the issue of their books in this country simultaneously with their publication abroad. It is almost im

Such prop

In the University Law Review for December, some interesting figures are collected as to the

Here is a true and singular story of contemporaneous human interest. A young man in a village near Utrecht, in Holland, kissed a young woman whom he did not know, in the street, and against her wish. She complained to the burgomaster. He fined the offender one florin or imprisonment for one day. There an appeal, and the "Appeal Court" at Amsterdam dismissed the case. The judges declared that to kiss a person cannot be an offense, as it is in the nature of a warm mark of sympathy." This decision recalls curious customs that long prevailed in the Netherlands as well as in other countries. It was a universal habit for years for strangers to kiss "other men's wives, widows and maidens, when they made them ceremonious visits;" although there were ancient sages who condemned it. Kornmanus assures us that there were many places in Germany " where it would be looked upon as great unpoliteness for a young man to meet with a maiden without embracing and kissing her." Erasmus was delighted with a similar English custom: "Whithersoever you come, they all receive you with kisses; and whenever you go away, you are dismissed in the same manner. Do you meet with them anywhere you feast upon kisses." But let us ponder the reasonable words of the philosopher De Saint Evremont. "See how the manner of saluting,

pecuniary value of life and limb as estimated in the courts within the last five years. The value of a life is in some States fixed by law, and New York is one of the States which does not allow the recovery of more than $5,000 for the loss of a life in a suit against the person or corporation through whose negligence the loss occurred. This figure seems strangely low, since five times that amount has been allowed in this State as compensation for the loss of a limb. Fifteen thousand dollars has been held not excessive for the life of an intelligent young man in Kentucky, and a verdict for a like amount has been sustained in Tennessee when the life was that of a postman and express agent thirty-three years old, though a verdict for $12,000 was held excessive in the same State where the life lost was that of a weak man fiftyseven years old. The courts allow less for the loss of a drunkard's life and more for the life of an industrious and steady man. The lives of children are usually valued at from $3,000 to $1,500. In Illinois the loss of an eye has been compensated for by $5,000, and of two eyes by $9,000. In New York a verdict of $14,000 for the loss of an eye and disfigurement of the face has been sustained. In this State, also, it has been held that $6,500 for the loss of a hand is not excessive. Two thousand dollars was held to be the proper amount for the impairment of the use of a hand in Louisiana. The New York courts have usually been liberal in allow-which is peculiar to our nation, lessens the ing verdicts for damages. A verdict for $10,000 pleasure of kissing, by making it too common. for the loss of the arm of an eight-year-old boy Nor do we men get much by it, has been held proper. Texas juries are even for as the world stands divided, we must kiss more liberal and the courts in that State have fifty old and ugly women, if we have a mind to upheld a verdict for $15,000 for injury to one kiss two or three who are handsome. And to arm and other wounds. An allowance of a weak stomach, as those of my age generally $11,500 for the loss of the leg of a man eighty have, one disagreeable kiss overpays a delicious years old was held not excessive in this State, one." and one of $15,000 for an injury to the leg of a woman of twenty-seven was also held not excessive. A verdict of $12,000 for the loss of a leg by a boy five years old was also approved in this State, and one of $25,000 for a similar injury was not disturbed. In Wisconsin a verdict of $30,000 for the loss of both legs of a boy was reduced to $18,000, and a verdict of $20,750 was reduced to $10,750 for an injury to a man's leg in a Western State. The loss of the leg of a boy was regarded as worth $15,000 in the Illinois courts.

*

*

Foreigners residing in France cannot be too careful as regards complying with the French laws regulating the registration of the birth of their children. The registration of such births at the American Consulate, for instance, is insufficient. Unless the birth of the children of foreign parents is registered at the mayor's office of the district in which they reside, they incur a penalty of either a fine of three hundred francs or six months' imprisonment, or both. Moreover, the French law considers

all children of foreigners born in France as French citizens, unless before coming of age they decline French citizenship by making a proper declaration to that effect and producing their certificate of birth at the Mairie. Otherwise they are amenable to obligatory military service and punishment as deserters if they endeavor to evade it.

REPORT FROM THE COMMITTEE ON LAW

REFORM.

THE following is the report of committee of the New York State Bar Association on president's address, law reporting, legislative counsel and statutory enactment of common-law rules, which was ordered printed and distributed to members of the association by joint executive and law reform committees:

To the New York State Bar Association:

The committee of nine from the committee on law reform respectfully reports:

At the annual meeting in 1893 the following resolution was adopted:

"Resolved, That the recommendations in the president's address upon law reporting, legislative counsel and the statutory enactment of common-law rules, and the recommendations of Justice Parker in his address, be adopted and referred to a subcommittee of the committee on law reform, to consist of eight members and the president of the association."

Subsequently, the president appointed the following committee: First district, William B. Hornblower; second district, Hamilton Fish, Jr.; third district, John J. Linson; fourth district, Zerah S. Westbrook; fifth district, Frank Hiscock; sixth district, Charles A. Collin; seventh district, Martin W. Cooke; eighth district, Adelbert Moot.

At the call of the president of the association the committee met at the rooms of the association for action with reference to the matters referred to it, and after full discussion sub-committees were appointed to inquire into and report upon the different subjects submitted.

The sub-committee upon law reporting, consisting of the president, Mr. Westbrook and Mr. Cooke, interested itself in the arrangement subsequently carried out by Messrs. Banks and Lyon, for the purpose of obtaining a uniform system of reporting in accordance with the views of the association. The plan originally proposed by the association contemplated the passage of an act by the Legislature constituting a council of law reporting to consist of the reporter of the Court of Appeals, reporter of the Supreme Court and reporter of Miscellaneous Decisions, and providing for the publication of the

reports under the control and management of such council, in connection with the publication of the Session Laws as part of the same plan, the reports and statutes to be published in parts as early as possible, and subsequently furnished the profession, in permanent form, as an official series. It was found impracticable to organize a council of law reporting and charge it with the full powers and duties as recommended by the association, by reason of the different methods of publication of the different series of reports, the New York Reports and Miscellaneous Reports being in charge of a reporter compensated by the State, while the Supreme Court re

porter must look to the income from the sale of reports for compensation; and also, owing to the fact that the contract for publishing and printing the different series of reports and the Session Laws were different in character and method of letting, some of the contracts being in force for a term of years. In view of this situation of affairs the work of the committee was directed to procuring the publication of the reports and statutes in substantially the same manner, under the direction and management of the official reporters by voluntary action on the part of the publishers. The result of the labors of the committee in that direction is shown in the publication of the official series of reports, including the statutes, now issued at a subscription price of $30 per year, in weekly parts, substantially conforming to the plan presented to the association two years ago and actively urged by the profession upon the Legislature.

In deference to the suggestions of the committee, slight improvements have been made from time to time in the method of issuing the weekly parts, as in the recent indorsement of the volume and page of each report contained in each separate monthly part, and in placing upon each page the series and volumes of the series to which it belongs. Also, in the way of indexes and other matters tending to make the official series more convenient and valuable. The reporters and publishers have devoted and are giving much time and attention to this matter and deserve the practical encouragement of the bar. The work of this sub-committee has been passed upon and adopted by your committee.

The recommendations contained in the address of Judge Parker that the association should take such action with reference to amendments to the Code as should enable it, through a proper committee, to exercise some degree of supervision over such enactments, was referred to a sub-committee consisting of the president, Mr. Moot, Mr. Fish, Mr. Hornblower and Mr. Hiscock.

Steps were immediately taken on behalf of the sub-committee to procure files of all bills presented to the Legislature. A request to Clerks Dunning of the Senate and De Freest of the Assembly met with ready response, and measures were at once taken by

« AnteriorContinuar »