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I have found it difficult to limit myself in this paper, to the few points heretofore presented, as there are so many others which may seem to you of equally grave importance. I trust, however, that this effort may be productive of some good in bringing about the true legal view applicable to the questions here discussed.
The community system, as a department of jurisprudence opens a field of inexhaustible study and research; and our courts, while to some extent, have been ploughing in new fields in which they, without precedent, could run their furrows in any direction their judgment dictated; we should congratulate ourselves that they have thus far given us such clear and regular courses for future guidance, which to a great extent, have lightened our labors. Unmistakably, proper legislation could simplify our present system without impairing its symmetry or endangering the rights acquired or to be acquired thereunder.
The community system, in its purity, presents, without question, the fairest and most equitable status by which the property rights of married persons may be governed, which the genius of either ancient or modern legislation has devised, and, when not too rigidly construed, as in the light of the common law, but with liberality, and in unison with the fundamental principles of the law itself, it produces an adjustment of property rights between the spouses which is in perfect accord with that harmony necessary in domestic relations. I trust it may never cease to be a part of our laws, until a better system may be devised than that offered by the common law of England, or of any state following its jurisprudence.
Address of John Arthur, of Seattle, President of the Washington State Bar Association.
Subject: LAWYERS IN THEIR RELATIONS WITH THE STATE.
Gentlemen of the Washington State Bar Association:
Sir William Blackstone tells us that in knowledge of the laws and constitution of their country "the gentlemen of England have been more remarkably deficient than those of all Europe besides. In most of the nations on the continent, where the civil or imperial law, under different modifications, is closely interwoven with the municipal laws of the land, no gentleman, or at least, no scholar," he says, "thinks his education is completed till he has attended a course or two of lectures, both upon the Institutes of Justinian and the local constitutions of his native soil, under the very eminent professors that abound in their several universities. And in the northern parts of our own island, where, also, the municipal laws are frequently connected with the civil, it is difficult to meet with a person of liberal education who is destitute of a competent knowledge in that science which is to be the guardian of his natural rights and the rule of his civil conduct."
"I think it," says the great commentator, "an undeniable position, that a competent knowledge of the laws of that society in which we live is the proper accomplishment of every gentleman and scholar; a highly useful, I had al. most said essential, part of a liberal and polite education. And in this I am warranted by the example of ancient Rome, where, as Cicero informs us, the very boys were obliged to learn the twelve tables by heart, as a carmen
necessarium, or indispensable lesson, to imprint on their tender minds an early knowledge of the laws and constitution of their country."
After demonstrating the utility of some general acquaintance with the law of the land, by pointing out its particular uses in various relations of life, Blackstone proceeds:
"Yet, further: most gentlemen of considerable property, at some period or other in their lives, are ambitious of representing their county in Parliament; and those who are ambitious of receiving so high a trust would also do well to remember its nature and importance. They are not thus honorably distinguished from the rest of their fellow subjects merely that they may privilege their persons, their estates or their domestics; that they may list under party banners; may grant or withhold supplies; may vote with or against a popular or unpopular administration; but upon considerations far more interesting and important. They are the guardians of the English Constitution; the makers, repealers and interpreters of the English laws; delegates to watch, to check and to avert every dangerous innovation; to propose, to adopt and to cherish any solid and well-weighed improvement; bound by every tie of nature; of honor and of religion, to transmit that Constitution and those laws to their posterity, amended, if possible, at least, without any derrogation. And how unbecoming must it appear in a member of the legislature to vote for a new law who is utterly ignorant of the old? what kind of interpretation can he be enabled to give who is a stranger to the text upon which he comments!
"Indeed, it is perfectly amazing that there should be no other state of life, no other occupation, art or science in which some method of instruction is not looked upon as requisite, except only the science of legislation, the noblest and most difficult of any. Apprenticeships are held necessary to almost every art, commercial or mechanical; a long course of reading and study must form the divine, the physician and the practical professors of the laws; but every
man of superior fortune thinks himself born a legislator. Yet Tully was of a different opinion: 'It is necessary,' says he, 'for a senator to be thoroughly acquainted with the constitution; and this,' he declares, is a knowledge of the most extensive nature, a matter of science, of diligence, of reflection, without which no senator can possibly be fit for his office.""
My attention was, within the past month, forcibly recalled to these observations of Blackstone by an account of the doings of a political convention held at the capital of this state for the selection of delegates to a state convention called to nominate candidates for judges of the Supreme Court and representatives in Congress. The convention adopted a resolution instructing its delegates to oppose the nomination of any lawyer for Congress. The state convention, evidently in sympathy and close touch with the proscriptive spirit of the resolution, placed in nomination for Congress men who are not lawyers and who belong to organizations avowedly antagonistic to the legal profession.
All the legislative powers of the government of the United States are vested in a body to which it is proposed to send these men. It is the duty of Congress "to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution" the varied and extensive powers, purposes and duties of the government of the Republic. The organizations and the political party referred to take the ground that the proper men to make such laws are men ignorant of the existing laws and incompetent to draft a new law upon any subject. They feel that in their warfare upon all these institutions of society which are the product of the experience, evolution and development of ages, it is incumbent upon them to discredit the character and judgment of every man and profession given to the study of the origin and growth of such institutions. The legal profession pursues this study more intelligently, steadily and systematically than any other body of men in the world. For this reason it is viewed with especial disfavor by those
who are engaged in a war of destruction upon the settled order of things, and who are fired with fanatical zeal against a state of society which they claim to be the culmination and crown of centuries of oppression, injustice and wrong-doing.
Fanaticism of every kind develops strong hostility to the legal profession. The Puritans in England, like the populists of the United States, manifested a strong antipathy to lawyers, whom they bitterly reviled as "the sons of Zeruiah." They were opposed to lawyers sitting in Parliament, except such as had borne arms for the Commonwealth.
The furious and fanatical Lord George Gordon rioters, a little over a century ago, laid siege to the Temple for the avowed purpose of "killing the lawyers." The Puritans of New England were inflamed with like hostility to the lawyers. In 1663 the colony of Massachusetts Bay enacted a law disqualifying them for membership in the colonial legislature. In Rhode Island, even after establishment of the Republic, it was proposed in constitutional convention to disqualify them for membership in either house of the state legislature.
The large landholders of England. to whom Blackstone especially directed the words I have quoted, have always shown dislike of the lawyers, as well as indifference to the study of the law; a dislike caused in large measure, perhaps, by the superior learning and ability of the lawyers, which enabled them, in spite of comparative poverty and humble lineage, to forge to the front as leaders. After Lord Thurlow had, by sheer force of aggressive ability, attained the woolsack, he was on one occasion taunted by the Duke of Grafton with his plebeian origin. Thurlow fixed his "terrible black eyes" upon the insolent aristocrat, surveyed him deliberately from head to foot, and in a grand voice said: "I am amazed." There ensued a fearful pause during which the hereditary possessor of many acres shuddered at his own meanness and at his antagonist's revenge, and then, in a louder tone, Thurlow went on: "Yes, my