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ought to take a four year's vacation, and recommends the water of Salt river as likely to be peculiarly beneficial in a case of what he regards as hypertrophied ambition. I judge from this morning's papers that the Ohio lawyer rather resents the suggestion and intends to make other arrangements. As I read the pronunciamento delivered from his porch yesterday, he is of the opinion that the Nebraska lawyer himself is suffering from almost every political ailment except, perhaps, fatty degeneration of the gall, and that nothing will be so healthful for him as a quiet and uninterrupted enjoyment of the balmy breezes of Nebraska. All of which shows the futility and absurdity of one man undertaking to regulate another man's vacation, and consequently of these remarks.
But the purpose of these few words is not to suggest to any individual that the speaker knows more about his business or pleasure than he himself does, but simply to emphasize the principle and necessity of maximizing the professional man's vacation. For his vacation, if wisely spent, means not only the new physical strength and vigor which are the nominal object of vacation, but fresh spiritual and intellectual force, broader horizons, an expanded world, a man of greater stature. It may indeed be that no man, by taking thought can add a cubit to his material stature. But by thought alone we add to our intellectual stature; and the first requisite of thought is leisure, and the second a stimulus—in other words, vacation wisely spent.
In order that this leisure may be spent to the best advantage, and these stimuli operate under the most favorable conditions, there is one general principle that I would lay down, leaving the particular application of it to the circumstances and opportunities of each individual. The principle is a simple and obvious one, but by losing sight of it the vacations of half the world are frittered away. It is this: Make your vacation as radically different from your accustomed life as may be and filled with something of absorbing interest.
Do not imagine that simply staying at home from the office is a vacation. Do something unheard of, go somewhere undreamed of, see something unthought of. Are you in the habit of being wakened in the morning by the rustling of the corn and the lowing of the kine? Substitute therefor in vacation the gong of the cable car and the rattle of the milk wagon on the pavement. Are you a cliff-dweller in the city (laughter), with a vision bounded by brick walls and a hearing deadened by the Babel of sounds arising from a city's reeking streets? Then from the deck of some fair ship see the red distorted sun linger upon the ocean's verge, and watch the darkness swallow up the deep. Are you a devotee of society, the slave of social functions and of fashionable attire? Take off your pumps and your white neck-tie and run barefoot under the starlight on the mesa while you listen to the conversations of the coyotes. Are you rich?
Are you rich? Go among the poor; poor, go among the rich. Are you a landsman? Go to sea; a sailor? go to the mountains; a good man, go among the wicked; wicked, go among the good; fastidious? go to the stock yards (laughter); a packer? go to the art institute; a coward? to the Rockies and kill grizzlies, or tell your enemy what you think of him (laughter); as bold as a lion, play tid. dlewinks and golf (laughter), or learn crocheting or enter society; are you a prohibitionist? get full. (Laughter and applause.)
I suppose there is not one of us who would not sell all that he has and give to the poor if he might be assured of a trips to Mars or belted Saturn or Jupiter; but this is a vnlgar ambition. There are right here within the seven seas marvels as great as there is any reason to suppose exist anywhere within the orbit of the farthest planet. And who of us has ever seen or heard or dreamed of more than the barest fraction of them? Let us take a vacation and find them out. We owe it to ourselves, and the debts we owe ourselves must be paid, unless we are to go into intellectual bankruptcy. My
word for it, we shall be better lawyers; but whether we are or no, we shall be better men, and we were men before we were lawyers. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT Wood: I now have the pleasure of presenting to you Mr. James M. Sheean, who will tell us something about “The Country Lawyer.”
MR. SHEEAN: Mr. Toastmaster, Ladies and Gentlemen: In attempting to respond to “The Country Lawyer," I feel that embarrassing perplexity to which a very eminent and distinguished lawyer once pleaded guilty. Upon being congratulated by the presiding judge upon the clearness and completeness of an alibi he had interposed for a client, he responded: “Yes, your Honor; and I had so many splendid alibis offered me in this case that it was very hard to decide which was the best. (Applause.)
So to a country lawyer the temptation is almost irresistible, with an opportunity such as this toast affords, to launch forth into a eulogy of our craft, and to tell our brethren of the city how, between our semi-occasional terms of court, we sit upon the court house steps waiting for the next term, and cheer each other up with our mutual consciousness of superiority over our city brethren, with tales of how we conceive our cases in more careful logic and develop them in more perfect order and harmony; of how we revel in knowledge of roads and bridges, and township organization, and division fences, and breachy stock, that our city brethren never heard or dreamed of; and how, upon these occasions, we are mutually appreciative of the yearning and the yawning of the cities for our superior intellects to evolve order out of chaos and to try cases as they should be tried; and how only a complete appreciation of the impossibility of filling the aching void our departure would occasion causes us to turn a deaf ear to the cities' piteous appeal for succor. Now, as I say, in response to this toast, I might say all of these things about “The Country Lawyer," and I would not have to prove any of them.
I could admit them all in the pleadings. But if I should talk along that line every one of my country brethren here tonight would accuse me of plagiarism in making use of what he told me in confidence here during the meeting of this Association. And so it has occurred to me that I would better devote the very few minutes during which I propose to talk to a tribute to a type that is passing—the type that enunciated and established the principles that to us are simply precedents—the type to whom we owe the preservation of our common-law sys. tem in this State—the type which fathered this Bar Association, cradled its infancy anl gave to it its present strength and vigor—the type that existed in this wonderful city by the lake when every member of our profession west of the Alleghanies was classed as “a country lawyer.” We all know the type; we all revere its remaining representatives. To him the tainting of his profession by the rules and usages of vulgar trade was a profanation; to advertise his calling was a crime; to keep books of account a sacrilege; to present an itemized bill for services an unspeakable dishonor. He drew the people's deeds and made the people's wills; was guide, philosopher and friend to the living, and executor and trustee of the estates of the departed. He invested the money of the rich, and signed and paid the notes of the ne'er-do-wells. His guiding star in every litigation was to establish a legal principle where modern commercialism demands that we accomplish a certain result. His primary query was not: "How many dollars will my client gain or save," but rather: “Can my client's course be upheld by the rules and principles of law?" His client's troubles became his own; he took them to his bed and board; they were the subjects of his thoughts by day and his dreams by night. In every case he tried he unerringly detected and mercilessly exposed an effort on the part of his opponent to undermine the constitution, or the bill of rights, or possibly Magna Charta itself. To him a lawsuit was not a mere occur. rence-it was an event; and the people, believing as did he,
laid aside their ordinary cares and flocked to the temple of justice, not because of their interest in the cause of the litigants, but to hear an exposition of the principles which underlie our jurisprudence.
I believe each of us must honestly plead guilty to the charge that our first determination to become a lawyer was caused by an appreciation that to the lawyer was allotted by the people a place held by no other calling or professionthat to him was committed, as to no other man, the shaping of the temper, tastes and tendencies of the community in which he lived. And in our early days of practice (when we were engaged in practicing economy, you know, and waiting for an opportunity to practice law), what one of us was not supported and sustained by the hope and expectation that some day an expectant multitude would stand on tip-toe in a crowded court-room to catch each word of wisdom falling from our lips while we again made manifest, even as our predecessors, that "law is the perfection of human reason.”
But how different is the realization from our expectations. Clients cruelly insist upon our treating a law suit as if it were a mere matter of vulgar business; they do not enter into our enthusiasm over the novelty and beauty of the legal proposition involved, but meet our raptures with the query whether we think it will be cheaper to compromise or to fight. Courts tell you that principle was long ago embalmed and preserved as precedent; and when you suggest to a court that you have framed a bill undoubtedly sound in principle, but not modelled on any adjudicated case, the court will probably tell you that in order to help you all he can he'll just sustain a demurrer to your bill, without argument, so that you may get at once to the Supreme Court, where error does not exist.
Every day is bringing to us a fuller realization that we can never have and hold the place and power, with the people, that the old time country lawyer had and held; that the successful lawyer of today only follows through the wilder