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tially due to environment. A lawyer finds himself surrounded by all manner of conflicting and contending influences which it is his business and his duty to take in hand and subdue, to meet the legal requirements, to meet existing conditions, to bring them into unison and harmony with the law. The lawyer is a man who has to dig out what he knows, has to follow it up, and follow it up persistently, insistently, all the time. He calculates chances, he counts cause and effect, he considers the present, the past and the future. He is conservative. A lawyer is constructive by his business, his very application, and he is conservative by his experience. It is said the American lawyer is the conservative element in American society, and he takes the place among the influences which go to make up and control the sentiment of the nation that the mobility take in the old country. Then the lawyer has a purpose.
I see before me men whom I have for years honored as grand and noble searchers after the science of the law. The true lawyer sometimes is misled by the influences which pertain only to the obtaining of money, but seldom; the true lawyer follows out his ideas, he presses forward to overcome the difficulties and to master the science of the law, and while it is a pleasure to see the material results of thrift in the profession, it is as nothing to that grand distinction which enters into the mind and heart and soul of a man when he feels as some of you have the right to feel, that he is at the head of his profession, that he has mastered the science, and with a little diligence he can hold his own. Evolutionist, he goes into things, and when they develop he goes further, cautiously, but further; the lawyer is a progressive man and a constructive man, and yet conservative.
This is a marvelous country when you consider all its diverse influences, the difference in nationality, the difference in individuality, the difference in sentiment, the difference in communities, the differences north and south and east and west, and the wonder is that the people on the far Atlantic
and the people on the far Pacific and on the lakes and on the Gulf, with all these diverse tendencies can be made one people. There is every tendency to carry out individual and local prejudices, and yet when you see it all, you are brought back to the truth that after all, take it from east to west, and north to south, from south-east to north-west, and north-east to southwest, all through this great country, speaking every language on the face of the earth, having every outside influence and attachment, having all those tendencies which move upon the great mass of people, it is yet essentially one in heart and one in purpose in national affairs. Is it not wonderful? What is it that holds a great people like this together? When it is reduced to its last analysis, when you have found the ultimate reason, the centering force, the centering power, is it not the cohesive, steady-going constructive conservatism and progres. sive power which dwells in this legal instinct?
Gentlemen of the bar, there is no class of people in all this country who owe more to the country than we do. We owe every opportunity, we owe life and its hopes, we owe everything that we have to it, and we should pay in return with the best service of our lives, the best efforts of our beings. There are great questions before this country to be settled; there are questions which must come to the lawyers; you are able and ready and willing oftentimes; you must be willing to grapple with them and to reduce them to uniformity and to bring them into line with those principles which have hitherto controlled this government. Gentlemen of the bar, there never were such responsibilities resting upon any one class in this country as now rest upon you.
You must unfold and shape and mold, you must help this country, you must guide it through.
If I had one fault above another to find with the lawyer it would be that he is naturally a coward morally in govern. mental affairs. He makes a poor reformer, but once the reform is assured he will saddle and bridle it and ride it and it
will not be lost sight of. Whatever goes wrong in this country will be because the lawyer goes wrong. The lawyer will not be lost sight of; he is in the legislature, he is in the executive halls, in the judicial departments. He is in control. We must not seek selfish ends or the justification of our predictions or our hopes, but we must cast ourselves with all our legal acumen, with all our intelligence and our ability to point the way and to mould affairs on our country's altar. We owe it to her, gentlemen, and if she shall not survive, if through our want of effort and assistance she shall ever suffer, we shall suffer most of all. And so I say the legal instinct applied is a saving grace in the administration of the atlairs of this great country. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT Wood: "The Lawyer as a Financier-Generally a Theory, not a Condition.” I know but one member of the profession who is qualified to speak on this subject, he is here and I present him to you, the Hon. James H. Eckels.
MR. ECKELS: Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen: 1 confess to much more than ordinary pleasure in undertaking to speak this evening, for I recall that the first time I was ever invited to make an after dinner speech beyond the precincts of my own home, was to speak at the annual dinner of the Illinois State Bar Association, an invitation which came to me through the goodness of one who was the friend of all the lawyers of this State, admired and loved by all for his kindly disposition and his ability, Mr. Norman L. Freeman. He did me the honor, as a very young man, to have me speak at the State Bar Association dinner held at Springfield some sixteen years since. Since that time I have had the honor of addressing not a few gatherings, but I confess that none of the invitations gave me such a flush of pride as the invitation which came upon that occasion from the State Bar Association of Illinois.
It has been said by my distinguished friend, Judge Kohlsaat, that the theme which I am to discuss is an exceedingly
dry one. I confess to that because I think, in the general mind, the lawyer is not associated in any great degree with the successful financier. I know it is generally said that the lawyer who becomes rich himself, either goes out of his profession in doing so or acquires his riches through his prac. tices, rather than through his practice, but yet, in the great financial events of this country I take it that a study of the history of their movements will develop that somehow and somewhere were invoked the critical abilities, the constructive abilities and the thoughtful abilities of some good lawyer. Why, the very system of railways which runs by this hotel, than which there is no greater in all this Union of ours, first originated in the brains of two lawyers who did honor to the Supreme Bench of the State of Illinois, Stephen A. Douglas and Sidney Breese, who thought out the system in such a way as to not only secure its success as a system, but to make it a contributing factor to the financial success of the State of Illinois.
I remember that when, much to my surprise and to the disgust of a great many of the people, the President of the United States did me the honor to nominate me to an important office, the question was raised as to the possibility of a lawyer filling such an office, I had not much difficulty in demonstrating, before my confirmation by the United States Senate, that I was not very much of a lawyer, and I found it equally difficult to demonstrate that I was much of a financier. But somehow, I obtained the office, and while at Washington in the Treasury Department, I found nothing of more interest than to learn of the history of the men who, at critical times in the history of the country, had conducted its great financial undertakings, and among them all I found that two, at least, stood high in the legal profession, and than whom no greater ever undertook to administer the finances of a great nation.
The first sat in the cabinet of Washington as the first Secretary of the Treasury, a great lawyer, a profound student,
a great and profound financier. He organized the Treasury Department immediately after a condition of financial confusion and general disturbance than which there has been no greater in the history of the country. I refer to Alexander Hamilton, the greatest constructive statesman who has ever occupied a place in the national affairs of the United States. (Applause.) And there was another high in his profession as a lawyer, who, when the country found itself in the throes of a great civil war, when extraordinary measures were presented, when extraordinary conditions confronted the country, administered the financial affairs of the government in such a way as to reflect credit upon himself and upon his country. I refer to Salmon P. Chase. (Applause). I confess that there is an interest attaching to the history of Chase, Secretary of the Treasury, and afterwards Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, which is of itself interesting. As Secretary of the Treasury, viewing the threatening conditions which surrounded the finances of the government, though against his own judgment he found himself dragooned into sanctioning the legal tender quality of paper issued by the government, yet, when as a lawyer, judging by the legal instinct, following the legal construction of law, that question
, presented itself, he had the legal ability, the moral courage, and the profound knowledge of the law to know that there was nowhere within the pale of the constitution or elsewhere, power inherent in any government to attach a legal tender effect to any paper issued by the edict of law on the part of the government of the United States. As a lawyer he stood for the law, and neither circumstances nor situation could change his opinion. Hamilton and Chase, great as lawyers, were not less great as financiers.
Though the legal profession may not be regarded as great in the affairs of finance, yet I venture the opinion that no financial difficulty ever presents itself either to the individual or to the nation, but that the first whose opinion is sought, and