Lapas attēli

children, to ameliorate the condition of prisoners, to abate the spread of tuberculosis and other diseases and promote education. One who rises from the review of all the legislation of a year without a sense of general satisfaction and stimulated hope, and impressed, not by all the good that is manifest, but mainly by the crudities, the blemishes and the wrongs, and with a feeling of despondency for the future of the country, must be a hopeless pessimist.

The President of the United States in October, 1906, said:

“The instinct for self-government among the people of the United States is too strong to permit them long to respect any one's rights to exercise a power which he fails to exercise. The governmental control which they deem just and necessary they will have. It may be that such control would better be exercised in particular instances by the government of the states, but th people will have the control they need either from the states or from the national government, and if the states fail to furnish it in due measure sooner or later constructions of the Constitution will be found to vest the power where it will be exercised in the national government.”

While the constitutional doctrine thus promulgated, so shocking to any one who holds that the states have the right to exercise or not exercise without danger of losing them, powers which under the Constitution of the United States belong to the states, independently of whether they exercise them or not, did not arouse any serious apprehension on the part of the states, it came at a time when the inaction and apparent indifference of many of the states to the welfare of their helpless citizens, and their own future dependent upon the character of their citizenship, was painfully manifest.

Senator Beveridge introduced a bill putting a prohibition upon interstate commerce in products manufactured by labor of children under a specified age. This bill was reported as unconstitutional

The subject attracted wide attention. The generous, the patriotic and the altruistic enlisted in the cause and supplemented the work of the national association organized for the purpose of securing state legislation limiting child labor within proper bounds.

New laws regulating child labor or amending existing laws were passed in 1907 in twelve states, and since our last meeting, Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Virginia have passed like statutes.

We can bear with much equanimity constitutional heresies which if they do no real harm are in their indirect result so beneficent.

On May 13, 1908, at the request of the President of the United States, there assembled at the White House the governors of many of the states, experts in natural resources, representatives of national organizations concerned in the development and use of these resources, senators and representatives in Congress, the Supreme Court, the cabinet and the Inland Waterways Commission.

Having been present upon an invitation extended to me as President of your Association, it is proper, on account of this appeal to you for co-operation in a national movement involving such vast interests, that I should bring the purposes of the meeting formally to your attention. The result will depend directly upon prompt and enlightened legislation. Some statutes looking to re-forestation and the conservation of natural resources have been passed since the meeting at Washington. Much legislation on this subject will be brought forward in the near future. There is no body of men that can so well promote it and give it wise direction as the lawyers of America.

The facts revealed by those most competent to speak were startling. It was shown that our coal supplies, so far from being inexhaustible, would at the rate which has been going on for the last seventy-five years, be consumed by the end of the present century, and that this is largely due to the fact that under the system which has prevailed, mines are hopelessly destroyed for all future use with only one-half of the available coal extracted. The actual consumption, in proportion to the potentiality evolved, showed a prodigality which finds no parallel, except in the reckless way in which we have destroyed our forests and wasted our soil. It is estimated that only about five per cent of the power of coal burned on the railways of the United States is actually

used in traction. While there may be re-forestation, and restoration after a time of soil waste, there are no known ways of replacing our mineral resources. Professor Shaler, the highest authority on the subject, estimated in 1896 that in the uplands of the states south of Pennsylvania soil wastage had taken place to the extent of three thousand square miles on account of the destruction of forests, and that this process was going on at the rate of one hundred square miles of fertile soil each year. Professor Thomas Chrowder Chamberlain stated that 1,000,000,000 or more tons of richest soil matter is annually carried into the sea by our rivers. At the present annual rate of consumption, there is not more than thirty-three years of timber supply in the United States. Unless the criminal waste is checked, the most deplorable consequences are certain to ensue in the near future. Mr. Gifford Pinchot, whose services to the people of the United States are inestimable, and who is of all best qualified to speak on this subject, thus depicts them: (p. 293.)

“What will happen when the forests fail? In the first place the business of lumbering will disappear. It is now the fourth greatest industry in the United States. All forms of building industries will suffer with it, and the occupants of houses, offices and stores must pay the added cost. Mining will become vastly more expensive; and with the rise in the cost of mining there must follow a corresponding rise in the price of coal, iron and other minerals. The railways, which have as yet failed entirely to develop a satisfactory substitute for the wooden tie (and must, in the opinion of their best engineers, continue to fail), will be profoundly affected, and the cost of transportation will suffer a corresponding increase. Water power for lighting, manufacturing and transportation, and the movement of freight and passengers by inland waterways, will be affected still more directly than the steam railways. The cultivation of the soil, with or without irrigation, will be hampered by the increased cost of agricultural tools, fencing and the wood needed for other purposes about a farm. Irrigated agriculture will suffer most of all, for the destruction of the forests means the loss of the waters as surely as night follows day. With the rise in the cost of producing food, the cost of food itself will rise. Commerce in general will necessarily be affected by the difficulties of the primary industries upon which it depends. In a word, when the forests fail, the daily life of the average citizen will inevitably feel the pinch on every side."

The governors who were present adopted, without dissent, a declaration reciting the necessity for a more careful conservation of the foundations of our national prosperity, and recommending a more effective co-operation to this end among the states and between the states and the nation.

The President of the United States, by authority conferred at the meeting, has appointed a “ Commission on the Conservation of National Resources.” This commission has been organized. Steps have been taken to bring about co-operation between this commission and the executive departments of the government. The governors of six states, to-wit: Alabama, Delaware, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey and Oregon have named Conservation Commissioners. Louisiana has by statute provided for the appointment of such a commission. The governors of other states have announced their intention to take similar action in the near future, and others have declared their purpose to bring the matter to the consideration of the legislatures of their respective states during the coming winter. This seems to have been accepted as the most beneficent movement for the general material welfare that has ever been inaugurated. Various national organizations have become actively interested. The American Academy of Political and Social Science has appointed a special committee “to offer suggestions and to be of service wherever and whenever possible.”

It is announced that it will engage the attention in the near future of the National Academy of Sciences. I submit that it would not be foreign to the purposes of our Association if we should in some way, at least in the framing of proper laws, aid in a work of such beneficence. If it shall not be considered within the sphere of our activities to appoint a committee for direct co-operation, I yet feel confident that it will have the earnest and patriotic support of our individual members.

Having conferred with several members of the Association whom you have honored with your confidence, I submit for your consideration some suggestions as to the Association acquiring and exerting greater strength. We have a membership of 3376, which is small in comparison

with the number of those who are eligible. The census shows that in 1900 there were 114,460 lawyers in the United States. Allowing for deaths, retirement and the further fact that many by courtesy are enumerated as lawyers who are not in the practice, we may, considering the normal increase of eight years, fairly estimate that there are not less than 80,000 in the United States engaged in the practice of the law.

While many of them bring dishonor to the profession, and are a public nuisance that should be abated, the vast majority are worthy of admission to our Association. Our Constitution provides that any person to be eligible to membership shall be, and shall for five years next preceding have been, a member in good standing of the Bar of any state. This was fixed as a sufficient safeguard by the founders of the Association, and nothing in our experience has demonstrated the necessity for more rigid requirements. While we have at our annual meetings an attendance of a few hundred, there were present at the recent reunion of the American Medical Association more than 8000. There are about 130,000 legally qualified physicians in the United States. The membership of the American Medical Association is 32,000, but through its system of organization it, by direct representation through allied state and county bodies, is the recognized head of nearly 80,000 physicians and surgeons.

We would be loath to adnit it, if it were a fact, and happily we know that it is not, that there is a higher social or ethical standard in other professions than there is in the law. It should not be more desirable to members of any profession to unite with their national association, either looking to the pleasures derivable from social intercourse, or the benefits that are conferred by co-operation. Can it be that the companionship of lawyers, who are usually accounted by others as the princes of good fellows, is duller, or that their interchange of professional ideas and experiences is less instructive? It is certain that either our reunions are in themselves less attractive, or we have taken less pains to enlist the interest of our brethren. The very profession of the law is coy, at least with those who maintain a proper ideal. In our practice we are like the maiden who, however expectant

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »