Abbildungen der Seite
[blocks in formation]

The report of the Executive Committee will now be presented.

The report was read by the Secretary.

(See the Report at the end of Minutes.)

The President:

What is the pleasure of the meeting in regard to this report? There are several recommendations contained in it, and I presume they should be voted upen separately.

Simeon E. Baldwin, of Connecticut:

I move that the report be approved and the recommendations of the committee adopted.

The motion was seconded by Everett P. Wheeler, of New York, and was adopted.

Joseph R. Edson, of the District of Columbia:

I ask unanimous consent to introduce without reading a resolution and have it referred to the Committee on Patent, TradeMark and Copyright Law.

The President:

Unless there is objection the resolution will be so referred. There being no objection, the gentleman may pass up to the Secretary his resolution and it will be turned over to the committee on Patent, Trade-Mark and Copyright Law. A recess was taken until 8 P. M.


Tuesday, August 25, 1908, 8 P. M.

The President called the meeting to order.

New members were then elected.

(See List of New Members.)

The President:

I now have the honor to introduce the Honorable Cornelius H. Hanford, United States District Judge for the Western District of Washington, who will address the Association upon the subject of "National Progression and the Increasing Responsibilities of Our National Judiciary."

Cornelius H. Hanford, of Washington, then read his paper. (See the Appendix.)

The President:

I next have the honor of introducing Edgar H. Farrar, of Louisiana, who will read a paper on "The Extension of Admiralty Jurisdiction by Judicial Interpretation."

Edgar H. Farrar then read his paper.

(See the Appendix.)

The President:

Discussion upon the papers to which we have listened is now in


Everett P. Wheeler, of New York:

I should like to say a word upon the extremely learned and interesting paper read by the gentleman from Louisiana. The underlying principle of construction, which is contended for in that paper, is vital. It applies not merely to the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, but to every clause of the Constitution, and the sentence with which our learned friend concluded his paper brings that to the test. Is it a test of the soundness of the construction of any article of the Constitution to ask whether the framers of that instrument had that particular thing in mind? The author of the paper assumes that to be the test. That, I beg respectfully to controvert. For example, when the fathers granted jurisdiction to maintain a navy they had not iron-clads in mind. When they granted jurisdiction to maintain the carriage of the mails they knew nothing about steam engines or railways; there were no such things in existence at that time. And to give another and perhaps more familiar illustration, when they provided for the election of the President by electors it is matter of history that it was their intention that those electors should exercise a discretion in the matter of the selection of the President, and that our modern theory that it is the people who vote for President through the instrumentality of electors was not in the minds of the fathers at all. Yet the growth of the nation, the requirements of the Constitution, have brought the American people to the unanimous conclusion that the electors must obey the will of the people as expressed in their ballots and vote (whatever their individual judgment may be) for the candidates nominated by their party. So in respect of the mails, Congress without objection from anybody, makes provision for their carriage by rail. So you can go through the whole range of governmental powers, and I venture to say that there is not one of them to which we can safely apply the test, that the power is limited to that which was in the minds of the framers of the Constitution.

Then let us go a step further. If that were the rule the government would never have lasted to this present time. You cannot make any constitution which would suit a growing nation unless the constitution itself were capable of growth. As well might you say that the suit of clothes adequate for the boy of ten years would fit him when he got to manhood and the full use of his powers and faculties.

Edgar H. Farrar, of Louisiana:

He does not stretch the same suit. He gets a new one.

Everett P. Wheeler:

That is true, but the distinction in this present case is that it is not possible for us to get a new suit with every decade. We have a Constitution which was wisely drafted in such a form by the men who made it that it was stated in general terms. It was in the minds of the framers of the Constitution to draw it in such general language that it would have application to exigencies that might arise in the future. In that respect it was, as Mr. Gladstone said, the most wonderful instrument that ever sprang from the mind of man. Compare it with any state constitution, beginning with the last, that of Oklahoma, and you will find that most of them are ten times as long, or even more, and that they deal with the greatest variety of detail and endless minutiæ, whereas the Constitution of the United States deals with all subjects in broad and general language.

One word more in regard to this particular subject of maritime and admiralty jurisdiction. We know as an historical fact that the framers of the Constitution were familiar with the public law of continental Europe. Montesquieu in particular, influenced their judgment. Our doctrine, referred to by the President in his address this morning, the separation of the judicial and executive and legislative powers, was not an English doctrine. It was a doctrine of Montesquieu. This is undoubtedly a fundamental idea of the Constitution. So it has been held by the Supreme Court. It seems to me that when we come to study the history of the time, and of the Constitution, we cannot fail to observe that while it is true, as Mr. Farrar has pointed out,

that some of the earlier authorities did not advert to the continental rule, yet it is also true that later authorities stood on solid ground when they held that it was not the purpose of the Constitution, nor within its scope to limit the power of the Admiralty Court within the limits of the English Admiralty, but that the framers of the Constitution had in mind the broader jurisdiction of the Admiralty Courts of the continent of Europe. Emory Speer, of Georgia:

It occurs to me that the cardinal difference upon this interesting topic between the very distinguished speakers, who have addressed us this evening, is that one interpretation of the evolution of our admiralty law is strictly theoretical, while the other is practical. Our courts and our government have extended the jurisdiction in admiralty to the inland waters of our country, because of the obvious necessity, the blessings to our vast internal commerce, and because it is in no sense inimical to the letter or spirit of the Constitution. The organic law provides that the judicial power shall extend" to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction." The English rivers are short, and most of them probably are affected to their full navigable extent by the rise and fall of the tide. Hence, the old rule. How impotent would have been jurisdiction, thus created, to protect the enormous values carried on our gigantic rivers, and that succession of mighty lakes, extending from Duluth, which Proctor Knott termed "The Zenith City of the Unsalted Seas," to the upper sources of the St. Lawrence. How unprotected would have been our people, whose wealth was embarked on the "Father of Waters" and its gigantic tributaries, if every admiralty tort and every admiralty lien had been left to the determination of the devious opinions of each justice of the peace, whose local jurisdiction comprehended the swamp lands in the many states along that mighty stream.

It was inevitable, therefore, that the practical jurists of this country should extend the elastic language of the Constitution, not only to that river, but to all the navigable rivers of the United States. While recently passing through the City of Chicago, I learned that there is a tonnage there superior to that

« ZurückWeiter »