Page images

is advisable to dispense this year with a banquet. They have determined that it is advisable to have a banquet every other year, and as we had one last year, we will not have another until next year.

The Committee attended to the publication of the various papers which were produced at the last meeting of the Association, and through the Secretary distributed three thousand copies of Judge Bleckley's address, and fifteen hundred copies of President Cumming's address.

The Committee begs leave to report the names of the following gentlemen who have been elected as members of this Association:

Benjamin P. Hollis, Americus, Ga.; Robert Hodges, Macon, Ga.; W. A. Wimbish, Atlanta ; W. S. Thomson, Atlanta; J. T. Holleman, Atlanta; James T. Nisbet, Macon: Charles Z. Blalock, Atlanta ; Charles D. Hill, Atlanta ; J. C. Jenkins, Atlanta ; W. N. Spence, Camilla ; W. W. Fraser, Savannah ; L. Z. Rosser, Atlanta ; F. R. Walker, Atlanta.

That is all, sir, that the Committee has to report.

Mr. Bigham: Mr. President, am I in order to ask a question of the Executive Committee ?

The President: Yes, sir.

Mr. Bigham: I would like to inquire of the Committee if any arrangements have been made looking to an interchange of our proceedings with the Bar Associations of other States—if that subject has been considered by them.

The Secretary: Mr. President, in reply, as a member of the Executive Committee and as Secretary, I will say that, although the Executive Committee have taken no action, as a committee, upon it, I have endeavored to establish such an interchange with all publications, and regret to report that, to my surprise, I have met with very little success. It seems that most all the other state associations change their secretaries every year, and

the addresses which have been furnished me from time to time have often been misleading, and replies would come to my letters that the gentleman to whom I had written had resigned, but he would forward my letter to the Secretary, and that would be the last I would hear of it. In fact, there are only four or five associations in the country that publish annual reports. The reports of the states of New York, Alabama and Ohio are the only ones that I have received, and although there are quite a number of them that nominally have bar associations, I believe they are the only three that are so successfully operating their associations as to get out every year a respectable volume of proceedings. We recognize the value of this interchange to which Judge Bigham calls attention, and realize, if it could be done, a library might be accumulated that would be of use to the Association. I have endeavored to bring it about, as I have written a great many letters trying to bring it about, but with only the partial success I have mentioned.

The President: I will state in that connection that I received a letter a few days ago from a member of the bar of Florida, desiring to be furnished a copy of our Constitution, with a view to the organization of a State Association in Florida. I will turn it over to the Secretary during the day. The next business in order is the report of the Treasurer.

Mr. Barnett, the Treasurer, read his report. (See Appendix.)

The President: Is any action proposed on that report? If not, it will be considered as received for information. The next business, according to the order of business, is the election of members.

Mr. Dessau: Mr. President, the names have been reported, and under the rule adopted by the committee, no election is necessary. The committee has the

power, under the Constitution and By-Laws, to take these gentlemen in as members; they are all properly vouched for.

The President: A paper will now be read before the Association by John W. Akin, Esq. Subject: The Circuit Judge. Mr. Aiken will please take the stand.

(Mr. Aikin read a paper, which will be found in the Appendix.)

The President: The next business in order will be the reports of standing committees.

Mr. Bacon: Mr. President, before that is done, I am instructed by the committee appointed by this Association to wait upon Judge Cooley, that we obeyed the command of the Association, but that Judge Cooley was not at the hotel. We reduced the invitation to writing and left it for him, and hope that he will honor us with his presence.

The President: The first standing committee on the list is the Committee on Jurisprudence and Law Reform, of which Judge Wm. M. Reese is chairman. Is that committee ready to report? (A pause.) There seems to be no response. I do not observe Judge Reese in the room. I will call therefore for a report from the Committee on Legal Administration, of which the Hon. J. C. C. Black is chairman. (A pause.) Mr. Black is not present. If any member of that committee is prepared to report, we shall be glad to hear from him.

Mr. Geo. Hillyer: Mr. President, perhaps it will be proper to remind the Association that, owing to difficulties in transportation east of the city, it is likely that gentlemen coming from the direction of Washington or Augusta may arrive at i o'clock or at some later hour during the day, and that may be the cause of neither of those gentlemen being here, so that, if the opportunity be offered, possibly those committees may report later in the session.

The President: Is there any report from the committee on legal education, of which the Hon. Geo. A. Mercer is chairman ?

Mr. Mercer: Yes, that committee has a report.

[blocks in formation]

Mr. Mercer: Mr. President, I want to state to the Association that Gen. Lawton is chairman of the committee, but his absence from the country has devolved the chairmanship upon me, and I have been instructed to make a report in behalf of him. (See Appendix.)

The President: The next committee on the list is the Committee on Grievances, the Hon. L. F. Garrard, chairman. Is that committee ready to report? (A pause.) There being no response from that committee, the next committee in order will be the Committee on Memorials, of which the Hon. J. H. Lumpkin is chairman.

Mr. Lumpkin: Mr. President, I shall be compelled to crave the indulgence of the Association on the report. Some time since, anticipating that I would be called away from the State at this time, I reported the fact to the Secretary, and requested that another member of the committee should be appointed chairman. Mr. Collier has died during the current year, and under my suggestion to the Secretary, arrangements have been made for another member to prepare a memorial. It has not arrived yet, so far as I have been able to ascertain, and I will beg leave, when it arrives, to have it printed with the proceedings of the Association.

The President: Unless objection is made, it will be considered in order to print that memorial, when it comes, in the records of the Association. That exhausts the list of business for the morning session, unless it is the pleasure of the Association to take some action upon the reports that have been presented at this time.

(The report referred to subsequently arrived, and is printed in the Appendix.)

The Secretary: Mr. President, as the hour of adjournment has not yet arrived, the usual hour being one o'clock. I rise to offer a resolution for the purpose of bringing before the Association the very admirable report of the Committee on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar. The Association will remember that this report indorses all that was contained in a report made at the last session, that is, the requirement of a written examination. It goes, however, beyond the provisions of the former report, and I confess that it seems to me that all of its suggestions are admirable and tenable, and I do not believe that there is any subject that will come before this Association that at all compares with the importance of this question. It does not seem to me, Mr. President, that this Association can justify its existence unless it does promote some reform in admission to the bar. Only a week or two ago the foreman of a grand jury of a county near Bibb stated to me this fact: that at a previous term of the court an applicant for admission to the bar applied to him for the loan of ten dollars with which to pay his license fee. This gentleman, having the money, loaned it to him, and the successful candidate for admission to the bar sat down to write a receipt for the ten dollars, and when he got through, he signed it with his mark. Now, sir, I do not mean that the applicant could not write his name; the applicant was able to write his name, but he had a father who could not, and who was accustomed to having his name written and having his mark added to it; and this man was so deficient in the elementary principles of education as to believe it was necessary to sign his name, and then to put his mark to it. I say that unless this Association makes some reform in a system of things that renders such scandalous transactions as that possible, we will not be able to justify our existence.

I very well remember the discussions that have taken place on this subject at previous meetings, and I wish to

« PreviousContinue »