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HENRY W. BLODGETT.

the court undoubtedly gave the State better trial Judges than those who had been displaced for political reasons.

It is also worthy of mention that all the four Judges on the Bench, when the case was first before the court, wrote opinions on the final hearing in favor of the Democratic construction of the Constitution, Judge Lockwood, although a pronounced Whig in his political faith, saying in his opinion: “There is no ambiguity in the word 'resident. Every man is a ‘resident who has taken up his permanent abode in the State." And none of the newly made Judges wrote opinions in the case.

This episode in the history of the court demonstrating what we lawyers have often noticed, that with a clear minded, honest jurist, political considerations have very little influence -the only thought being the principle of law involved rather than the political effect of the decision.

It may, therefore, I think, be fairly said that while the Democratic Party gained nothing by its high-handed re-construction of the Supreme Court for political purposes, the people of the State were the gainers by a better quality of men who held the trial courts and sat in banc as a Court of Review.

The Convention that framed the Constitution of 1848, adopted the new principle of an elective judiciary. (If I remember aright, this is the first time any State had adopted that mode of selecting Judges).

By this Constitution the Supreme Court was reduced to three members, and the State divided into three grand divisions, in each of which the Judges were to hold one or more terms of the Supreme Court, and the term of office of the Judges was made nine years.

This mode of selecting the Judges continued in force until the adoption of the Constitution of 1870, by which the Supreme Court was re-constructed and made to consist of seven Judges, one of whom should be Chief Justice, and four should constitute a quorum; and the State was divided, as

REPORT OF COMMITTEE ON LEGAL HISTORY AND BIOGRAPAY.

under the Constitution of 1848, into three grand divisions, and also into seven judicial districts, each of which districts should elect a Justice of the Supreme Court, and we are now working under this Constitution.

It was also provided that the terms of the Supreme Court should be held in each of the three grand divisions as the same had been held under the Constitution of 1848; but power was given the legislature to change the place of holding the terms of the court, and in the exercise of this power the legislature, in January, 1897, provided a single place for the holding of the Supreme Court, which is at Springfield, the Capital of the State—and this change had been for many years a "consummation devoutly wished for."

Before the increase of the present facilities for travel there was some reason for providing these different places for the meeting of the court, but now Springfield is so accessible from all parts of the State that the reason for holding the sessions of the court in several places no longer exists, and all considerations of public policy seem to dictate that the court have but one local habitation and that at the Capital of the State.

The tendency of the old plan was to sectionalize the Bar and people of the State. The lawyers residing in, and whose business before the Court of last resort took them only into one of the grand divisions, naturally came to consider their Bar and their grand division as embodying the bulk of the learning, intelligence and integrity of the State, and led to a disposition to underrate the other sections of the State; while bringing the members of the Bar of the entire State to one common center tends to make the Bar more homogeneous, more liberal, and I might say, intelligent, with broader views of the law and of their own relations to our system of . administering justice.

It will be seen from what I have said that our State from the beginning had its own peculiar methods of selecting the

HENRY W. BLODGETT.

Judges of both its Supreme and trial Courts. Until the adoption of the Constitution of 1848 the two houses of the legislature by joint ballot elected the Judges, and since then the method of election by popular vote has been the rule-and from the study of the subject I have been able to make my conclusion, that election of Judges by the people themselves is far preferable to the method first adopted of election by the legislature; although my private preference is for the appointment of Judges by the Executive, and confirmation by the Senate—the Senate being sufficiently in touch with the people to give the people a representative voice in the selection of Judges.

Still there has so far, in our experience, been no reason for fault-finding with our Judges elected by popular vote. Our Supreme Court has always been an able and independent branch of our state government. Its decisions are respected and held in high esteem both by the Supreme Court of the United States, and by the Courts of other States; and it seems to me that, in the light of our experience so far, no one can fairly say that an elective judiciary has been a failure, or in any respect furnishes a sound argument in favor of going back to the appointive system.

No court in any other State, in my estimation, stands higher, or is a sounder exponent of the principles of our State and National Constitutions than that of Illinois, and the wonder is, when we consider the beggarly compensation paid them, that so able lawyers have been obtained to do the work of our courts when the Judges could earn so much more by the practice of their profession at the Bar.

SPECIAL ADDRESS.

SPECIAL ADDRESS.

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EARL CAMDEN.

S. S. GREGORY, OF CHICAGO.

It sometimes seems as if one called upon to read before this organization, ought to select for his theme some question of the hour, of present interest, with which we are, in a measure, immediately concerned, and such has, in general, been the custom here observed.

But it is not altogether unprofitable to take occasional glimpses of the past, to scrutinize the page of history or of biography, in some respects its most attractive department, and to seek what is there permanent and great and true, undistorted by that very personal factor which, in a measure, lends interest to the things of here and now.

Great events and great characters, like majestic mountain peaks, can only be rightly viewed in considerable perspective; a closer view is obstructed by the intervening foot-hills which exclude the greater prospect.

So I have thought it might not be wholly without interest, to briefly review the life and character of one of the most attractive figures in English jurisprudence; a great judge, a devoted friend of liberty, a just, humane, and merci. ful man.

Nor is the subject less interesting to the American lawyer when it is remembered that though this man was an English judge and statesman, he yet championed with abso

S. S. GREGORY.

lute fearlessness and unyielding conviction the essential rights of the American colonies when they were threatened and trampled upon by the crown of England.

Charles Pratt, afterward Earl Camden and Lord Chancellor of England, was born in Devonshire in 1713. I have been unable to ascertain the exact date of his birth. He was the younger son of Sir John Pratt, who, having been a puisne judge in the Court of King's Bench, in 1718 succeeded Lord Macclesfield as chief justice of that court.

At the age of ten he lost his father, who left but little property; however, his mother determined that he should have the education demanded by his birth and station, and soon after his father's death sent him to Eton.

He there formed a friendship with William Pitt, destined to be the greatest of English statesmen, which lasted through life. Among his other companions were Lyttleton and Horace Walpole. True to the traditions of Eton, he became deeply imbued with a love for the classics and a diligent student of Latin and Greek. He afterward entered Cambridge and took his degree of A. B. in 1735 and formally entered upon his studies for the bar in the Inner Temple. He was admitted in 1738. He had studied faithfully and was well qualified to enter upon the practice of his profession; but, as so frequently happens, others, less gifted, but better equipped with self-assurance and self-assertiveness, met with much greater success in securing employment. Then, as now, people delighted to be humbugged; and a shallow brained, loud talking fellow, ever ready to sound his own praises, could secure clients, while poor Pratt went absolutely briefless. After some years of this experience he undertook to ride the western circuit, where his father had practiced. For some years he tried this with no better success. In 1741 his horse died, and he was so poor he could with difficulty raise money to buy another and very inferior animal. After eight or nine years of such experience, than which nothing

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