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PRESIDENT PAGE: I want to make this announcement before the adjournment: In order that this room may be prepared for the banquet to be held this evening, a matter we are all interested in, the afternoon session will be held in the cafe on this side of the dining room, and will convene at two o'clock, to which time a recess will now be taken.
The Association reconvened at two o'clock P. M.
MR. MATHENY: Mr. Richberg is expected; he telephoned that he would be here.
MR. WILLARD: He came in on the two o'clock train from the city.
MR. WILLIAMS: It seems to me almost as though you ought to ring the school bell.
PRESIDENT PAGE: I don't know but they do need a school bell; but I appreciate a disposition to play hookey when you get into the month of July. Is Mr. Gresham here with the report on Legal History and Biography ?
MR. BENNETT: Mr. President, Mr. Richberg is here and I will see if I can find him.
PRESIDENT PAGE: Call him in, and we will have his report.
MR. RICHBERG: The Committee on Uniform Laws and Negotiable Instruments Law has a short report, and I desire to state that this question of uniform laws has taken quite a hold; and originally that question was considered by the American Bar Association, which meets at St. Paul this year, commencing on the 29th of August, and at the same time there will also be a meeting of representatives of the different states of the union and territories, consisting of Commissioners of Insurance and Attorneys General and Governors of the different states of the Union, for the purpose of considering and drafting a uniform
law an insurance, especially with reference to life insurance, that is cne of the subjects that they will take into consideration there. In fact, they have had it under consideration before, and will then hear the report of the Legislative Committee and draft a uniform law on insurance.
The Congress of State Commissioners on Uniform Laws, an official body in which almost all the states of the Union are represented, also have their session at St. Paul, commencing a couple of days before the meeting of the American Bar Association, and they will again consider the drafting of uniform laws upon various subjects.
There is also a meeting at about the same time at St. Paul of the Congress on Uniform Divorce Laws. There is also an official body which met lasi year at Washington and there were forty-four states officially represented out of the forty-five, delegates being appointed by the Governors of the different states, and they also have lay delegates which represented some twenty million communicants of the Protestant churches of the United States; that delegation was headed by Bishop Doane of Albany, and John Parsons and William L. Stinson of New York; they were admitted to the discussions in that body, but did not have a vote. That body appointed a committee of twenty-one to draft a uniform divorce law, and that committee meets also at St. Paul. Having delegated their powers to a sub-committee, whatever the sub-committee reports they will adopt, after which the Congress will again assemble. I simply mention this in order to show the interest that has been taken in the question of attempting to get uniform laws so far as may be possible in the United States by the action of the different states, as that is the only way in which uniformity upon those subjects can be accomplished. Of course, the congressional action that has been taken occasionally, the action recently upon railroad rate regulation, and the pure food bills and inspection bills, are all in the line of uniformity. Of course those things have been taken into consideration in a national way by the Congress
wherever they come within the province of the Interstate Commission.
The Negotiable Instruments Law, which is a matter more particularly at home, the movement toward which was first inaugurated by the American Bar Association, was then delegated to the Committee on Uniform Laws, and they employed experts to draft a law of this character at considerable expense, by the best in that line, and the entire act, however, was modeled on the English Bill of Exchange Act, which was passed by Parliament in 1886, was then adopted and has been adopted by all of the British Colonies and is and has been in force during that entire time, giving universal satisfaction, requiring but slight modifications and amendments. The negotiable instruments bill that we have in this country, so far as the states have adopted this uniform bill, is modeled upon the British Bill with such modifications as would make it more practical for our own use. The first state to adopt this uniform bill was Connecticut, in 1897, followed by New York shortly after, and five states adopted it last year, so that progress has been made, and there are now thirty states of the Union which have this uniform negotiable instruments law; these thirty different states have adopted it without any amendment. So that, so far as the law is concerned, it is quite voluminous; the object sought is to give the courts to do as little as possible in the interpretation of it, and there have been but few, hardly any, modifications, I may say decisions, of the court upon it. It has been before the legisiature of Illinois, passed the senate twice, but, as we thought rather unfortunately, failed in the house. It was impcssible to take any action by your committee last year owing to the fact that the legislature was not in session, but an effort should be made at the coming legislature, when the Association is committed to the adoption of that bill and appointed a committee for that purpose. The report in that connection, which I have the honor to present from the committee, signed by the entire committee, is as follows:
To the Illinois State Bar Association:
The Committee on Uniform Laws and Negotiable Instruments law beg leave to report that since the last session of this Association and the appointment of your committee no session of the General Assembly of the State has been held at which the subject matter could be considered.
The Uniform Negotiable Instruments law, to the adoption of which in this state this Association is committed, is in force in twenty-eight States, one Territory and the District of Columbia, namely: New York, Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, Rhode Island, Tennessee, North Carolina, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Utah, Oregon, Washington, District of Columbia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, New Jersey, Montana, Idaho. Kentucky Louisiana, Kansas, Wyoming, Missouri, Michigan and Nebraska. The law has not been repealed or amended in any state that has ever adopted it, the first State to adopt it being New York in 1897.
It should be further borne in mind that this law has, with slight changes to meet local conditions, been in force in Great Britain and all of her colories for upwards of twenty years and given universal and exceptional satisfaction.
It is to be hoped that at the next session of our General Assembly it may not be misled in the belief that it possesses more wisdom than the General Assemblies of thirty jurisdictions by refusing to enact this measure. This applies especially to the House, as the Senate at three separate sessions passed the measure, but each time it failed in the House; once owing to hostility of the Chairman of the Committee on Judiciary, and the other time owing to the hostility of the Speaker.
A determined effort should be made at the next session of the General Assembly to have this measure enacted into a law, and it is believed the favorable co-operation of the Governor can be obtained, in view of which it is recommended that the committee be continued.
JOHN C. RICHBERG, Chairman,
WILLIAM ELIOT FURNESS,
MR. RICHBERG: I ask that the report may be received, that it may be adopted, and the Committee continued.
MR. WILLARD : I so move.
plemental report from the Committee on Admissions which it is desired to present.
MR. MATHENY: On behalf of the Committee I present two names, that of Leslie J. Taylor of Taylorville, recommended by William M. Provine, and T. F. Donovan of Joliet, recommended by W. R. Hunter; and on behalf of the Committee I move that they be received.
PRESIDENT PAGE: We will now be pleased to listen to an address by Mr. Robert McMurdy, upon “The Municipal Courts of Chicago. (Applause.)
(The address will be found in Part II.)
MR. WILLIAMS: I move not only the acceptanee of this address, but the special thanks of the Association.
The motion was seconded and carried.
PRESIDENT PAGE: Is there any further buinsess before the meeting?
MR. MATHENY: I would suggest that the meeting hold together for a little while, even if the business is concluded, as I am anticipating a further report from the Committee on Admissions.
MR. PENDARVIS: I desire to take advantage of the time that you are waiting for the report to call up the report of the Committee on Law Reform, that was presented yesterday, with particular reference to the recommendations regarding the bill known as the Practice Commission Bill, which has been pending in our legislature for the past two or three sessions, and which was known during the Forty-fourth General Assembly as House Bill No. 31.
I was not present yesterday morning when that report was submitted, but I have examined the report and the recommendations niade therein, and it seems to me that some definite action ought to be taken by this Association upon that report and with reference to that bill. I therefore move, Mr. Chairman, that a special committee of five, or a different number if the Associa