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-meet for discussion, meet for action. It ought not to do its business by correspondence. The standing committees of the Association are, all of them, if I recollect rightly, not exceeding five in number. Five men can be assembled without any very great expense, but if you have a committee of ten or fifteenand a special committee may be of any number—it costs something to bring that committee together.
The consequence is that special committees seldom meet, and important matters submitted to them are usually considered through the medium of correspondence between the members.
I believe the action of the Executive Committee was wise in looking towards the ipso facto abolition of every special committee failing to report and having no business to report on.
I trust the motion to continue the committee will not be pressed.
Rodney A. Mereur:
Mr. President, I withdraw my motion to continue the committee.
The report of the committee was presented by John Fletcher, of Arkansas.
(See the Report in the Appendix.) On motion the report was approved and ordered printed in the proceedings and the committee continued.
At the request of the President, Jacob Klein, of Missouri, took the Chair.
Jacob M. Dickinson:
The next report in order, gentlemen, is that of the Committee on Canons of Ethics. The Chairman of the committee, Mr. Henry St. George Tucker, of Virginia, has been unavoidably detained from attending this meeting, and I have received a request from him that I present this report. In doing so, I will make some preliminary remarks, not by way of disarming criticism, nor for obtaining for the report any greater consideration than its merits warrant. I beg to say that in considering a subject involving so many questions and so much detail, and especially where there may be differences of opinion upon mere questions of phraseology, it probably would be well to take into consideration at least the amount of work of this committee and the efforts that have been made to produce something that would be worthy of your consideration. Like every work of that character it embodies some compromises and changes and a yielding of individual views upon various questions. The committee went about this work, in what I take the liberty of saying, was a very comprehensive and thorough manner. It was based upon Sharswood's Legal Ethics. Through the generosity of General Hubbard, that work has been published as an appendix to our report, and I presume all of you have received copies of it. Judge Jones, of Alabama, drafted a code based largely upon that work, which was enacted into law by the State of Alabama, and in substance by several other states.
Our committee held its first meeting in the City of Washington. There were present at that meeting, which lasted three days--I submit that is a rather unusual time for gentlemen from various parts of the country to devote to a work of that character, but they felt that it was one of the most important works that the American Bar Association could ever undertake-Henry St. George Tucker, of Virginia, the Chairman; Lucien H. Alexander, of Pennsylvania, the very efficient Secretary of the committee; Mr. Justice David J. Brewer; Frederick V. Brown, of Minnesota ; J. M. Dickinson, of Illinois; Thomas H. Hubbard, of New York; Alton B. Parker, of New York; George R. Peck, of Illinois; Francis Lynde Stetson, of New York; and Ezra R. Thayer, of Massachusetts. So you see the entire committee was present with one or two exceptions. They made a draft, which they entitled a code, and also a draft of a form of oath. This was printed and sent out to all the members of the Association and criticisms were invited. Over a thousand letters were received in reply, and these were tabulated by the Secretary, Mr. Alexander, so that they could be easily accessible for the consideration of the committee. The committee then met in the City of New York and went over these canons in the light of the suggestions that had been received and made a number of changes in the way of simplification and reduction. The committee later, after considerable correspondence, met again in New York; and the report that I now present is the final work unanimously recommended by all the members of the committee.
Walter George Smith, of Pennsylvania :
I move that we proceed to the consideration of these canons, one at a time; the Secretary calling them off by number without reading unless the reading is called for especially, and a separate vote taken upon each canon.
The motion was seconded and adopted.
I have read this report with much care, and while I have no criticism to make upon it, yet I feel that it does not cover as much ground as it should. A committee of the Bar Association of Pennsylvania, of which committee I happen to be a member, has had this subject under consideration for two years, and its final report has not yet been made. The work we are doing there covers the ground very much more thoroughly, I believe, than does this report. This is a matter of so much importance that I doubt if we can arrive at a proper determination in a meeting as hurried as this of necessity is. It is, therefore, my suggestion, with all respect to the committee, that the subject be re-referred to them, and that correspondence be had with the members of the Association to a still greater extent and their views obtained. I do not object to discussion of this report now. I only say that I think we cannot properly act upon it at this time in any sort of an adequate way.
Walter George Smith:
I would ask my brother from Pennsylvania if the Bar Association of our state did not postpone consideration of the report to which he refers pending action by the American Bar Association upon the report of this committee at this time?
C. La Rue Munson:
Yes, that is true; and in the hope that the American Bar Association would adopt a canon of ethics very much in line with the one we are working upon, which will be very much fuller and more complete than I think this report is.
Charles Henry Butler, of New York:
I think we are prepared to act at this time. I think the personnel of this committee is almost a guarantee of the advisability of adopting the report as made. The appendix to the report has been placed in the hands of every member of the Association, a volume by itself, which enables every member to take up the subject and consider it; and copies of this report were printed and distributed long ago.
the members to act upon it now. Elmer E. Rogers, of Illinois:
I presume the members of the Association have observed that only a few states in the union have in their State Bar Association a Committee on Code of Professional Ethics. This
the Illinois State Bar Association, on my motion, changed its constitution so as to establish such a committee. Now, this committee in the American Bar Association has worked hard, and the result of its work has been published and distributed to every member of this Association, and every member has been invited to study it carefully in a spirit of criticism, and then to offer suggestions. This is a moral code only; an ethical code as it is described. Its purpose is to elevate the standing of the profession, and we ought to adopt it; then let the State Bar Associations follow our work, and, as they choose, adopt the code in full or with modifications. The public and the press expect that we shall formally promulgate some decalogue. The time is opportune, if we wish to maintain the traditional honor and dignity of our profession.
Francis Fisher Kane:
As a member from Pennsylvania, I dislike to disagree with my friend, Mr. Munson, but I am heartily in favor of the adoption of this code at this time.
Jacob M. Dickinson:
Let me say that we had before us the action of the Bar Association of Pennsylvania, and it was fully considered. Of course, we might have made this more elaborate; we might have written a book on the subject, but the idea was to condense and simplify, rather than elaborate. The only branch that we did not touch was those principles relating to the judiciary, but under the resolution that subject was not committed to us.
Amasa M. Eaton, of Rhode Island :
In view of the personnel of this committee, and in view of the time that its members have spent upon this matter, I think we ought to accord to their work immediate and careful consideration.
I hope we will proceed at once to consider the canons recommended for adoption by the committee.
W. 0. Hart, of Louisiana:
It is remarkable that whenever a report of a committee is made, it is at once followed by a proposition to postpone its consideration for another year. Why, gentlemen, the report of the Committee on Commercial Law, presented by our lamented brother, Mr. Logan, of New York, in 1903, was postponed so long that he died before it ever got before the Association. Let us consider this great work that this distinguished committee have done now, and put the stamp of our disapproval on this matter of procrastination.
Gentlemen, the motion before the house is, that made by the gentleman from Pennsylvania, that these canons be taken up one by one, and considered, and voted upon separately.
The motion was adopted.
On motion of Amasa M. Eaton, the preamble and the next paragraph entitled, “ The Canons of Ethics," down to the Canon No. 1, on page 9 of the printed report, were adopted.
Then by separate motions, Canons Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 were adopted.
Mr. President, looking upon Canon No. 5, from an ethical and moral standpoint, I cannot agree that it should be adopted. I am asked to undertake the defense of a criminal, notwithstanding I have the knowledge from his confession or otherwise of his guilt. How am I going to see that justice is done as the last