Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

purposes. It will, of course, be readily understood that the tentative decision is of immense advantage to the party in whose favor it is made. It is, therefore, of first importance that the brief be so written and arranged as to give the court a comprehensive view of the case in as small a compass as is consistent with completeness.

I have endeavored to cover as briefly as I might the general work of the court in connection with the disposition of cases from start to finish. I have only to add that every change in our procedure is directed to added thoroughness of work. Every effort is being made to bring about what may be termed more complete team work on the part of the court. The co-operation of the State Bar Association in all measures looking to that end cannot fail to be of great advantage to the court, to the members of the profession, to litigants, and to the state.

PROBLEMS OF REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT

Hon. Charles Henry Carey, Portland, Oregon. Mr. President and Members of the Washington State Bar Association:

Washington and Oregon have much in common. The hardy and adventurous pioneers who first laid claim to these domains for the United States knew no line of division, but made their settlements and built their school houses on both sides of the Columbia River. The provisional government, which later was erected into regular territorial organizations, embraced what is now included in both of the commonwealths. Their people treasure the same heritage of local and national history and of law. Separated as these states were for many years from the older communities, and isolated by natural barriers and by difficult means of communication from the great centers of culture and from the immediate political and social influence of the eastern states, the settlers learned self-reliance, and here in this farthest corner of the far west they founded their empire, and reared the system of law under which they have prospered and become great. “Bound in with the triumphant sea, whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege of watery Neptune," these states face toward the west rather than toward the east and have a common aspiration and a common destiny.

It is with a feeling of kinship to you and your people that I accept your invitation to address you. I feel that I am upon no foreign soil, but that I am in the house of my friends; and particularly so since during my

years of residence in Portland I have times had the privilege and the honor of being associated in the practice of my profession with gentlemen of the Washington Bar, and of appearing occasionally before the courts of your state.

Washington and Oregon have emerged from the pioneer period and now look forward with confidence to a new future. We are fortunate in having a homogeneous population, above the average in education and intelligence, backed by the traditions of the loyal and capable earlier generation, and well trained in the duties of citizenship. Our cities have no plague spots, or black districts, where filth, and disease, and poverty, and crime, fester and breed hatred toward society and government. We have no great factory districts where miserable, weak and sickly women and children are human sacrifice to the extortionate demands of modern industrial conditions.

some

A Period Of Unrest and Change But a calm survey of social and political conditions the world over shows that all civilized governments are now in process of profound change, and in the eddy of this mighty current we are to be more or less involved. I do not refer to the awful cataclysm of war

that has so suddenly involved the principal European nations. This cannot be viewed otherwise than as a tremendous misfortune, unless, out of the very magnitude of the conflict hope may be indulged that the cause of universal peace may be ultimately promoted. Out of the ashes of devastation, white-winged peace may, phoenix-like, rise toward the heavens. Rulers and parliaments may, perhaps, at some future day, when contemplating the fearful cost, and when surveying the havoc and ruin wrought by the mistaken policy of maintaining their countries in time of peace fully armed for war, finally agree upon limiting armament, and consent to a general mode of submitting international disputes to the arbitrament of a judicial tribunal. If such is the final result, it may be that even the price of the blood and tears and treasure of this contest of arms is not too dear, however much the war is to be deplored.

But it is too soon to speculate upon the consequences of the war. My subject deals with social and political conditions in foreign countries as well as our own, but I prefer to confine myself to domestic, rather than international relations, and to conditions that prevailed prior to the first day of this current month, rather than to conditions complicated by this great internecine struggle. That the internal political institutions of each of the great nations now at war will ultimately be profoundly affected by the war itself goes without saying. But the principles to which I wish to attract your attention may best be considered in simpler relations. After all, the progress of events, whether in times of war or times of peace, but marks an evolution toward higher civilization.

The popular view of evolution is that it is a process that results in a continuous, or at least progressive, advance. From the lower to the higher, and from the simple form to the highly complex and efcient, is the generally accepted course of progress. While this conception may be true in the main, it, manifestly, leaves out of consideration the degeneration and backward movement that is inseparable from evolutionary advance. It is the survival of the fittest that brings progress upward, but this presupposes the retrogression and inal elimination of the weak and the unfit. And it is upon its mistakes and discouragements, its struggles and defeats, that the race develops and that the survival of the better, and the final triumph of the higher over the lower, becomes possible. The evil is necessary for the good. The very failures of life underlie its successes.

That the theory of evolution affords a working hypothesis for the understanding of the events of history and the progress of govern. mental institutions, as well as of the animal and vegetable kingdoms, is no new doctrine. It was most elaborately presented hy Herbert Spencer a generation ago, and, while it has been sometimes denied, it furnishes a suggestive basis for the consideration of the development of civilization. It is refreshing now and then to turn from the near

[ocr errors]

1

view of local and contemporary political controversies to take a wider outlook, to use the telescope instead of the microscope, and to endeavor to understand the underlying philosophy of political change. So viewed, the turmoil of men and parties, the vivid and intense heat of political campaigns, the debates of legislatures, the adoption or defeat of proposed laws, the outpouring of oratory and wasteful use of printer's ink, the personal element in matters of state, are all to be appraised and estimated in their relationship to the progress of mankind to better social and political conditions.

The Wider View of History and Politics Governments move. They cannot remain stationary. They may appear to be at a standstill for a time, but their apparent stability is but a step in the course upward or downward. And in the downfall and disintegration of states, comes new impetus toward higher development.

As compared with the famous great nations of ancient and modern times the United States has as yet covered but a short span of time. But with reference to the development of its system of jurisprudence, we may already recognize three distinct periods.

Prior to the Civil War the United States sought to adapt itself to its constitution. Great decisions by great judges were based upon a consideration of general principles rather than upon precedent, and through the interpretation of the constitution and the adoption of those elements of the common law that seemed to accord with the new plan of representative government, the foundation was laid broad and deep. Then came the Civil War and the reconstruction questions, and the exposition of the principles underlying the new amendments to the constitution. Civil rights, interstate commerce relations, the limits of police power, and the meaning of the due process of law, became the questions for judicial consideration. This second period may be said to have ended at the close of the century. Then with the great commercial expansion and with the intensified economic and social conditions, due to the enlarged use of machinery, and the development of transportation and increase of wealth, came the more recent problems of constitutional law, complicated and difficult as were the questions that required solution at the beginning of the government. These questions have their roots in fundamental causes that affect all civilized countries.

Easy as it now seems to outline these general periods of American history, and then to group the events of the past with an eye to these divisions, to do so successfully requires a certain aloofness, a certain distant and philosophical attitude of the observer, a certain impartiality, not easy

to attain in viewing and appraising nearer events. Nor, is it easy to visualize local happenings in their more cosmopolitan relationships, and to see them as a manifestation of conditions affecting other nations. Yet, if we are to be

« ZurückWeiter »