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that time, and he said, I commend the wisdom of the ladies that are heri:, and they are here for the purpose of taking care of their lords and seeing that they get home safely. (Laughter.) Now this occasion of a bar banquet, a state bar banquet is important, because if I believe anything and am to be believed as to what I said this morning, it is a belief in the indestructibility of the states, and therefore, I believe in the importance of the state bar banyuets. And the bar banquets of a great state like Illinois bring to mind the greatness of the state itself. As I canne over the plains of Illinois the other day and saw its rich fields, some in the sere and yellow leaf, and others in the green, I could not but think that it was the great central state of this Union. And wisely guided by its men and women it is destined in a large degree to control the thought of the people of the country and to guide them in the right direction towards the administration of good government. In the solution of the question of good government the lawyers are to take an important part. They are the soldiers in time of peace. Whatever may be the controlling force in time of war, it is true and always will be true, in times of peace, that the bench and the bar together, the one fighting the battles of society and the other deciding the controversies right, are the controlling forces of our civilization. (Applause.)
I can not let this occasion pass without again thanking you for your kindness in extending to me the invitation to be present with you at this time. The obligation, I can assure you, is all on my own part, for I know that in all Illinois the best company is that of the lawyers. (Applause.) PRESIDENT PAGE: Ladies and Gentlemen :
I am sorry that Col. Hagerman fell down on a half truth, because when he said that a man going from the east to the west to get to Missouri had to cross Illinois, he only told half the truth, for every sane man that goes from the east to the west to Missouri not only crosses Illinois, but he crosses himself before he gets there. (Laughter and applause.)
It has been the practice of this Association to have the
Supreme Court represented by a speaker at the banquet, and I had noticed that it has been the practice also of the Chairman of the Banquet Committee to select the youngest member of the Court: I do not know whether it is the youngest in years or the youngest in service; I have often wondered why this has been, but supposed it due to the fact that they want a man to speak for the Supreme Court while he is yet somewhat of a lawyer and before he becomes too much of a Judge. I want to introduce Judge Carter, who will respond to the toast, “The Supreme Court.” (Applause.)
JUDGE CARTER: Mr. Toastmaster, Ladies and Gentlemen: I have no doubt that the toastmaster has solved the problem why I am here; either the committee chose me because they could not get any other Judge of the Supreme Court or because by the rules of that august body I happen to be the junior in service. Possibly I am selected because I am the only member or that Court from Chicago,—they thought I would be handy. If that be true, the Chicago members of the committee must have dominated, for we have an idea that the people down in the State do not always have the most friendly feeling for Chicago. You may have heard possibly of the Chicago and Boston ladies who were visiting together, and the Chicago lady was telling how in the early history of this city there were so many pronunciations for Chicago. This Chicago lady said to the Boston lady, “We have a great deal of trouble in pronouncing the name of our city, some pronounce it ‘Shecago,' some 'Chicago,' and some 'Shicago,' and many other ways. Now, of course, you people in Boston know the correct way, how do you pronounce it?' “Oh," said the Boston lady, “we never mention it." (Laughter.) Perhaps that is the way they do down in St. Louis, judging by what our friend Hagerman said, they may feel that way about us.
Having sat just four days on the Supreme Court bench of the State I know all about it, or think I do, which amounts to the same thing. (Laughter.) I am not speaking from experience. I have a theory now, two years from now I will have
experience, and you may have the theory. Somewhere I have read that Sheridan in parliament many years ago charged an opponent with relying on his imagination for his facts." My associates from this Court may think before I have finished that I have done the same thing. I ought to be in shape to make a model speech, after serving such a great length of time in my present position. I hope at least it will be a fair illustration of that story which has been going the rounds for the last few months. The first time I heard it it was applied to me by a iriend just after I had been elected Chairman of the Chicago Charter Convention. If you have heard it possibly it will bear repeating, because it is so forceful an application of the point I want to make. A man was coming down town looking very happy one morning and was stopped by a friend who said, “Jim, what's the matter?'' “Oh," he said, “my wife has been wanting me to do something for her for a long time and I finally succeeded. When I left home this morning she kissed me and said, “Jim, you are a model husband.'” His friend asked, “Do you understand the meaning of the word 'model?' "'
He said he thought he did. His friend told him he had better look up the definition in the Century Dictionary. Since hearing the story I have taken the pains to look up the definition. I do not find it exactly as the story claims it to be. Jim looked in the Century Dictionary and this is what it is said he found: Model,-a small imitation of the real thing." (Laughter and applause.) Now, my brother Judges will understand my speech tonight.
I thought when I found myself the first of this week suffering from a severe cold that I might not be able to speak; that I should have to call on some of the Judges to read my speech, but I was unable to get four votes from the bench in favor of it. When I failed in that I did not know but I would ask our learned and accomplished reporter who is sitting over here, who furnishes our rhetoric, punctuation and poetry for the decisions. He said it might do to edit the opinions because nobody ever
read them, but he said he did not care to be responsible for any “mushroom toast” prepared by one of the new Judges. I am not speaking for any other member of the Supreme bench. I bear no brief from them. I have found in my short experience on the bench that every one of them is able to speak for himself.
I have not the slightest doubt that if they disagree with me you will find some dissenting opinions before we close the session tonight.
Every lawyer who has given the subject any thought must realize that if the Court keeps abreast of its work it cannot give as much time to its decisions as was given to the early decisions of the State and of the nation. The work of all the Courts of the country is increasing with great rapidity. The volume of business has grown, not only keeping pace with the increase in population, but has been added to very largely by the necessity of construing the great mass of legislation that is being continually enacted. A recent article by Sir John MacDonald, of Canada, on the law-making mania, says that during the first three years of this century in each year the state legislatures in the United States enacted between fourteen and fifteen thousand different laws. Erasmus Darwin, I believe it was, said that the definition of a fool was a man who never experimented. Under that definition the legislatures would never be called foolish. In the old days we talked much of the equality of the law; now we are talking more about restrictive laws. Let me say in passing that I am not discussing whether such laws are right or wrong; I am simply calling attention to them. In the last eight years we have had laws for Juvenile Courts to look after the children enacted in more than one-half of the States. You cannot make a bill of sale without trying to protect some one. The iarnier must be protected against himself, the factory laborer, the miner. We are entering into new fields, but there are no land marks for the Courts to follow; this necessarily creates more work and a greater number of decisions, because no one is willing to accept new laws until each of them has been passed upon by the highest Court.
The Judges of today cannot write the same careful, exhaustive, polished opinions that were written in the early days of the Republic. I used to wonder how Justice Story had time to teach in a law school and write his great text books while he was on the bench, but the wonder is not so great when you read that during the year 1801, when Chief Justice Marshall went on the Supreme Court bench of the United States, that Court only handed down ten opinions; the next five years they averaged only twenty-four opinions a year; between 1826 and 1830 the average for each year was 58. During the time that Marshall was in the Supreme Court, from 1801 to 1835, 1,106 opinions were filed in that Court, of which Marshall himself wrote 519, an average of about fifteen per year. The number written by the other Judges was much smaller. In 1890 there were over 2,500 cases in that Court demanding attention and no hearing could be had for three or four years after the case had been placed upon the calendar. By the system of the new Appellate Courts the business of the United States Supreme Court has been restricted, but there are said to be 680 cases on the present docket, and this Court has rarely been able to dispose of more than 400 cases in a year. Now, if you will pardon me for reading, in order to be absolutely accurate, while I am on the subject, I am going to read a few figures. I am not going to read them all, but ask leave to print.
PRESIDENT PAGE: Granted.
JUDGE CARTER: I will take advantage of the permission of the President and insert more of these figures in my printed speech than I read.
During the first ten years of the existence of the Supreme Court of this State, the Judges of that Court decided less than an average of fifteen cases a year. In 1870, when the present constitution was adopted, 587 opinions by the Supreme Court were published in the Illinois Reports. The number reached high water mark in 1874, when 674 cases were decided, in which opinions were published. In 1877, the year the Appellate Court was established, the Supreme Court announced 503 opinions.