« ZurückWeiter »
sunshine almost everlasting, which are beaten by the terrible storms that sometimes gather around them, and in these valleys at the base of these mountains, there ought to be raised up a class of people who should be an ornament and the very pride of the bar of the United States of America. I do not know, gentlemen, why you should not think of this thing seriously. The hills that raise their heads towards heaven ought in some degree to inspire us and it ought to be possible that we should establish here such a system of jurisprudence as would make people glad to be here; not where the rights of any persons are sacrificed to corporate greed, not where corporate greed shall have the advantage of
any other person on earth; not where individuals who associate themselves as corporations shall not be assured of fullest protection, but where every right and every opportunity for the pursuit of that which is best under God's heavens shall be open to every one of us. And so that we may grow to be very proud of our associations as members of the bar of the state of Colorado.
Gentlemen, the day has not yet passed by in Colorado when man can, with perfect safety to life and limb, inquire into the antecedents of his associates and friends in this state. When I began to look over the ground here, I naturally wished to ascertain something of the past of the gentlemen who would have to respond to toasts. I did not mean to offend Judge Gunter at all by inquiring where he was born. I did not know what his name was back east, and I did not ask him, nor did I know that he was born in the state of Arkansas. I simply wanted to inform myself somewhat about him, and he answered me, when I asked him where he came from, that he had come direct from Virginia here; that he had abandoned Irkansas, the state of his birth, at an early day, and in order to ingratiate himself with me and lead me to say polite and courteous things of him, he said he had passed en route for Colorado through the state of Missouri. He put himself in the attitude in which Judge Gunnell found himself shortly after he landed in Leadville. Gunnell told me that some inquisitive fellow had asked him whence he hailed. He said, "I come from the Mississippi valley." He was crowded a little and then admitted that he had come from the state of Missouri, but he said, “I'll be damned if ever I confess that I came from Pike county.” Judge Gunter is a man of infinite humility of spirit. I asked him who, leaving out Northcutt, had been the district judges in the kingdom of Las Animas. He said, "Talbot, J. W. Ilenry filled the position after a fashion. Then Caldwell Yeaman rattled around in the chair, but the only man who really was judge there—his name my modesty forbids me to mention." Judge Gunter added that the exceedingly high reputation which he had won for himself among his Mexican constituents in Las Animas was largely attributable to his following Judge Yeaman, intimating that Yeaman's career upon the bench was such that any man could earn laurels for himself merely by being placed in juxtaposition to that distinguished jur. ist. Judge Gunter, aside from being a very profound lawyer and speaking the Mexican language with astounding accuracy, is a member in good standing of the Baptist Association, and, upon one occasion, presided as elder. He assigned to a gentleman there present, the duty of representing the church of Trinidad at La Junta. The gentleman assigned, Mr. Johnson, said: “I can not go there, Brother Gunter, because of the furness.” Judge Gunter replied: “They haven't a furnace in La Junta; they heat the houses entirely with wood stoves and ordinary fireplaces. There is not a furnace in La Junta, and your excuse is frivolous and trivial and is overruled.” Whereupon another brother rose to his feet and said: “Brother Gunter, you don't quite understand Brother Johnson. Brother Johnson ain't alludin' to that kind of a furnace. What he is alludin’to and at is the furness of the distance 'twixt here and thar."
Now, my brethren, Judge Gunter will respond to the toast of “John Marshall.” He lived-I mean Judge Gunter livedsufficiently long in Virginia to become somewhat familiar with "Minor's Institutes." He has worked those out almost to a finish in Las Inimas county. We shortly anticipate his advent in Denver. I trust Judge Gunter will forgive me for inquiring into his antecedents. I again assure him that no disrespect was meant him. I again assure him of my regret that these things were discovered, and having promised him that I would only communicate them in confidence, and recognizing this audience as a confidential one, I trust that you will preserve his incognito and let him pass hereafter as a Missourian pure and simple.
TOAST OF HON. JULIUS C. GUNTER.
Mr. Toastmaster and Gentlemen: As the convivial, goodnatured country gentleman, John Marshall, priding himself on dispensing the best glass of Madeira in Virginia, was ever a welcome guest at the banquet board; as the great chief justice ever found congeniality in a gathering of lawyers, I tender as an offering to your attention, his name.
Not that I shall dwell on the innocent, convivial scenes of the quoit club, where good fellowship reigned, porter flowed and mint-julep was served with old Virginia hospitality, none participating with more zeal and enthusiasm than Marshall; but shall speak to the labors of his life.
A retrospective stride of a century and we stand amid the stirring and momentous events of his middle life. John Adams, president; Thomas Jefferson, vice-president; John Marshall, a member of the lower house of congress; the Jay treaty; our strained relations with the mother country; the alien and sedition laws; the extradition of Nash; the financial policy of Col. Hamilton; the threatened war with France; the bitter discords in the cabinet of Mr. Adams; the controverted powers of the gen. eral government intensely exciting the public mind.
But ere this much of interest had transpired in the life of Marshall. His life divides into three periods: From birth amid the beautiful hills and valleys of Virginia to his call to the bar, twenty-eight years; from this call to his appointment as chief justice, eighteen years; chief justice, thirty-four years.
Reared in rural simplicity with limited opportunities for book lore, young manhood found him with plain, open country manners, thoroughly read in a few choice English classics, without liberal education, with a strong, vigorous, manly mind, ravenously appropriating every available means of knowledge, inspired by paternal tutelage with a full sense of the cbligations of life, it found him further a fervid patriot enlisted in our army of independence.
After four years of military service his law studies, scarcely theretofore entered upon, are resumed, and after less than a year devoted to them his practice begun. During such army service is formed the strong, enduring friendship between Marshall, Washington and Hamilton. How far the friendship then formed, the great admiration then conceived of the political views of these distinguished men, so calculated by their characters, manners, official positions, to impress the young countryman from Fau. quier, affected his future political views, we can only conjecture. “So much a long communion tends to inake us what we are." With them and his brother officers, amid the distresses of Valley Forge, were discussed and keenly felt how far the impotency of the Colonial congress was responsible for the deprivations of the army. Doubtless in future years, when he eloquently pleaded for a ratification of the federal Constitution, when he judicially construed that compact, his mind recurred to the sufferings of the soldiery during this ghastly winter.
After brief practice in a country town he removes to the city of Richmond. If time permitted, it would entertain to linger over the personnel of its bar. t must suffice to say, here practiced Patrick Henry, full of fire, passion and impetuosity, with oratorical abilities almost unrivaled; bere practiced the accomplished James Innes, who spoke, says Mr. Henry, with an "eloquence splendid, magnificent and sufticient to shake the human mind.”
It was said of members of this bar: “If any one of them had spoken in Westminster Hall, he would have been honored with peerage.”
Marshall attained the largest practice in Virginia. This extraordinary man, without the graces of an orator, was one of the most eloquent of men. "All his eloquence consisted,” says Mr. Wirt, "in an apparently deep self-conviction and emphatic earnestness of manner, the correspondent simplicity and energy of his style, the close and logical connection of his thoughts, and the easy gradations with which he opens his lights on the attentive minds of his hearers."
He was further characterized as a lawyer by the intuitive rapidity, as easy as a vision, with which he saw the very point on which the controversy depended; his honorable relations with clients, members of the bar and the court. During this second period, and his membership late in life of the constitutional convention of Virginia, is his public service other than that judicial.
Several times a member of the state legislature, his earnest influence won favor for the federal Constitution. His greatest service of this character was as member of the ratification convention of Virginia, a majority of the best abilities of the state opposing the ratification. They feared a destruction of civil liberty more by centralization than by separation of the states. In this convention, with his usual directness and concentration, he singled out as his adversary the most formidable opponent of ratification, Mr. Henry. He selected points in the proposed Constitution most impressed upon him by the weakness of the Continental congress, and cast his whole powers earnestly in support of them.
His mission as envoy extraordinary to France was a delicate one; his the controlling spirit in the mission; the representative of France, the unscrupulous but most famous diplomatist of the age, Talleyrand. His letters to this minister are model state papers. His duties in this service were discharged with tact, ability and to the satisfaction of his country. Returning home, he enters congress. His first duty there, to him the truly sad one, the announcement that his old friend, General Washington, was no more; his most important service, the successful defense of the administration for the extradition of Nash. After less than a year of congressional service, he is secretary of state of Mr. Adams. The good nature and conservatism of the new secretary brought harmony to the discordant cabinet. His state papers as secretary deservedly rank higli. Mr. Adams says: “My minister, Mr. Marshall, did all to my entire satisfaction.”
With Marshall's ascension to the head of the national judiciary, Thomas Jefferson became president of the United States. The one, a pronounced Federalist; the other, the leader of Democracy.
Not uninteresting, a retrospective glance at the career of Jefferson. Twelve years the senior in age of Marshall; a Virginian and graduate of the old college at Williamsburg, where he mingled in the splendors and gayeties of the vice-regal court of the accomplished Colonial Governor Fauquier. In young manhood a gentleman, an elegant and profound general scholar, and well grounded in the law. After success at the bar; twice war governor of Virginia; minister to France; author of the Declaration of Independence; signer of the treaty effectuating that independence, and Washington's trusted secretary of state; devoted to simplicity of government; jealous of the encroachments of the federal government, his life, too, had been consecrated to the service of his country.