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THIRTY-SECOND ANNUAL MEETING
American Bar Association
August 24, 25, 26, 27, 1909.
Tuesday, August 24, 1909, 10 A. M. The Thirty-second Annual Meeting of the American Bar Association convened in the City Hall, Detroit, Michigan, on Tuesday, August 24, 1909, at 10 o'clock A. M., President Frederick W. Lehmann, of Missouri, in the Chair.
The Association will come to order. I take pleasure in introducing Mr. Samuel T. Douglas, President of the Detroit Bar Association.
Samuel T. Douglas, of Michigan:
Mr. President and gentlemen of the American Bar Association: It is my pleasant duty on behalf of the Michigan Bar Association to bid you a hearty welcome to the City of the Straits and the State of Michigan, and to express to you the extreme gratification felt not only by the members of the Bar, but by our citizens generally, that you have favored us by again selecting Detroit for your meeting.
It is now fourteen years since Detroit was honored by the assembling of this body. Those of us who were fortunate enough to have participated in that gathering, remember the event with pleasure and pride. Pleasure in the privilege that was accorded us of coming into better fellowship with so many distinguished men of our profession from all parts of the union, and pride in the fact that that was the first time that Detroit had been favored by such a gathering.
For two hundred years and more this city, owing to its geographical situation, has obtained some note as a convention city, for here came for consultation the Indian Delawares, the Wyandottes, the Hurons, the Ottawas, the Foxes and Algonquins.
It is but a few years ago that gatherings of trades became so frequent that our enthusiastic local authorities decorated one of our public buildings with a perpetual and resplendent“ welcome” sign, with a convenient space to add some word designating the particular guests for the day.
Taste and time have, however, obliterated this custom, and it is now our personal privilege to make this welcome more hearty and sincere, to make you at home with us, to give to each of you the warm grip of friendship that you may not regret again coming within our midst.
In no country of the world does the Bar wield a greater influence than in ours. To your noble profession do all classes turn, not only as the interpreters of their rights, but as the champions of justice.
It is but natural, therefore, that the deliberations of such a body as is here gathered should command the greatest respect and attention throughout the world, and your expressions are sure to make a deep impression, and have a lasting influence upon our national affairs.
Michigan is a large state. Its shores are washed by the Great Lakes, those beautiful inland seas which with their connecting rivers and inflowing streams represent about forty per cent of the fresh water of the globe. In the richness of its products, its educational facilities, its commerce and in its historical interest it occupies an enviable position.
It presents many favorite spots to the weary professional man, and an abundance of interesting material to those of you who will extend your vacation within its borders, and I bespeak the sentiment of the many members of the Bar assembled here from throughout the state, that you will find a hearty welcome wherever our profession is represented, if you will but make yourselves known.
Being in a direct line of travel between the East and the great unknown West, the history of Michigan and Detroit is inseparably connected with Canada, with Quebec, with Ticonderoga and indeed with the entire Northwest.
We of Detroit are wont to believe that the daring Cadillac showed a remarkable foresight when landing with his followers in 1701 on the banks of this river, he characterized the village which he founded as "the open port on this continent through which the King might go in and out, and trade with his allies."
How well Detroit has fulfilled this prophecy will be apparent, if one will but for a time watch the life on our lakes and connecting rivers, for every year there passes a tonnage represented by grandly constructed ships, equal probably to that of any other port in the world.
It will be our pleasure to entertain you, I trust, by a boat ride, when you will then realize this fact.
Strangely enough, as one of our writers has said, our grand national air, America, represents in music the history of our city. It was the air that the soldiers of Cadillac sang, when in triumph they landed on these shores, and set up the standard of France, for it was the national air of their mother country, composed in honor of Louis XIV.
From France it was appropriated by the music-loving German, and by the great Händel adapted to become the national air of Great Britain, “God Save the King.” So we today having adopted the air from our mother country, proclaim our patriotism through its beautiful notes. Thus this grand hymn represents the history of Detroit and Michigan, under the fleur-de-lis of France, the standard of St. George and our own stars and stripes.
Those of you who strolling through our streets care to look for them, will find still remaining some landmarks of this interesting past.
Our postoffice marks the spot of Fort Lernoult, where on July 11, 1796, the stars and stripes were first raised in this territory, as the symbol of the United States control.
The building on the southwest corner of Griswold Street and Jefferson Avenue, represents in concrete form the history of Detroit, for it marks the spot where Cadillac and his men landed, and on this very spot was the gateway through which Pontiac and his braves entered to find that his plot had been discovered.
Our old pear trees, still bearing delicious fruit, are the living evidence of the old French regime.
The laying out of our streets, the work of the governor and judges after the fire which destroyed the city in 1805, marks the rule of a form of government which for eleven years controlled the territory of Michigan, a form of government absolutely unique in the history of the federal union, the strongest and probably longest lived autocracy that ever existed on this continent.
Though it abounds with interest, I will not weary you with references to the history of the state and city. While we have absorbed much that has influenced our development, yet Michigan has given in return. If you will journey a few miles to the west, to the attractive city of Ann Arbor, you will find our State University, the pioneer of much of our present system of American education, an institution in which we in Michigan take the deepest pride, and whose sons, numbered by the thousands, have been a most potent force in the building up of the great West.
In such a community of such rugged growth, and under the influence of such an educational system, the lawyer must naturally be a prominent factor in its development, and I believe that all within my hearing will accord a high place to our judiciary, and the decisions of that immortal quartet of judges which so long constituted our Supreme Bench, Campbell, Cooley, Christiancy and Graves, will always be cited with respect throughout the English-speaking world.