THE EARLY BENCH
Judge Dunlevy served ably and faithfully until 1817, when he was succeeded by Joseph H. Crane, always regarded as the father of the Dayton bar. He served with distinction for eleven years, and until he was elected to congress. He was succeeded by George B. Holt, who was followed by John Beers and William L. Helfenstein; and they by Ralph S. Hart, Ebenezer Parsons, John C. McKemy, Henderson Elliott, Dennis Dwyer, and the present incumbents. The superior court was established in 1856 for Daniel A. Haynes, and he fully met public expectations by fourteen years of splendid service. He was succeeded by Jackson A. Jordan, Thomas 0. Lowe and Dennis Dwyer, all of whom did good and faithful service.
I knew all these judges, except Dunlevy and Helfenstein, and I am glad to bear testimony to their learning, integrity and faithfulness and to the able, impartial and satisfactory manner in which they performed the high duties which devolved upon them. Indeed, the records of our local courts for a hundred years have been especially clean and notably creditable to both bench and bar. While all these judges deserve honorable mention, three of them. Crane, Haynes and Elliott became conspicuous by long service and marked judicial ability, and left a distinctive impress upon the Dayton bar. The first time I entered a court room, I was struck by the dignified, venerable appearance of
JOSEPH H. CRANE
As a boy, I had often heard him described, so I recognized him at once. Indeed, I might have known him by the marked deference paid him by both bench and bar. I saw him frequently, and with increased admiration, while I was a student-at-law; but as he died before I was admitted, I will leave others to speak his merits. Gen. Schenck says he was "a lawyer of ripe and profound learning," and "outside of mere professional and technical learning, a man of wide and varied reading and prodigious memory, especially familiar with English history and the English classics and poets." Robert W. Steele speaks of his "profound learning, courteous and commanding bearing, simple life, and kind and helpful friendliness." George W. Houk tells of his "superior ability, exalted merit, pre-eminent purity of character, and adds, "to the end of his illustrious and blameless life, he was universally venerated."
Such were the sterling qualities which secured prominence and leadership sixty years ago, and such are the qualities that will always and everywhere, slowly, but surely, command success.
was on the bench fourteen years, and was distinguished for his learning, industry and impartiality, for his unblemished character, purity of life and long and valuable service as a citizen. He served the county faithfully and well in the legislature and in the constitution-al convention of 1851. He also aided largely in establishing our common school system. After serving the people in public capacities with little pay for twenty years, he was compelled in his old age to come back to the practice, where I found him when I came to the bar. He died as did Judge Crane, a poor man—the highest evidence of the honesty of his public, and the purity of his private life.
DANIEL A. HAYNES
was one of the most prominent of the younger lawyers, when I came to the bar. He was so capable and lovable, I soon learned to admire him, and go to him for advice and help. He was a born judge; that is, he was peculiarly fitted by nature, in mind, body and temperament for the bench. He had a trained logical mind, well grounded in the principles of the law and coupled with strong, common sense, quick sympathy for the right and intuitive aversion to wrong. He had a natural dignity of manner that gave dignity to his court. And yet he was of kindly disposition, and showed wonderful patience and kindness to the younger members of the bar. He never passed a dog without stopping to pat him on the head. Nobody ever questioned his fairness or honesty. Of all the lawyers, he loved his old partner, John Howard, the most, and if partial to any one, it would have been to him; yet, we almost tired of hearing Howard complain. "It is all well enough to stand straight," he would say, "but Haynes, damn him, leans way over to the other side, and decides against me every time." While unlike in many respects, he and
had some points of resemblance. Both served long and honorably; both were distinguished for high character, great ability, strict integrity, unquestioned purity of life and absolute impartiality; both enjoyed to an unusual degree the confidence, not only of the bar, but of the entire community. Judge Elliott had less natural capacity, less legal training, less evenness of temper, less dignity of manner, but he made up for these deficiencies by greater application, greater perseverance, greater industry. Each did honor to both bench and bar; each furnished a noble example, well worthy of study and imitation, by the worthy young men who now occupy their places.
The early bar—In the local newspapers of 1818, we hear of Stephen Fales and Henry Stoddard, but not even then as lawyers. In 1826, we hear of Henry Bacon and Peter P. Lowe. General Schenck says that when he came to the bar in 1831, the prominent lawyers of Dayton were: Joseph H. Crane, Henry Bacon, Henry Stoddard, Peter P. Lowe, George B. Holt, Edward W. Davies, Thomas J. S. Smith and Robert A. Thruston. I knew all these but two— Bacon and Thruston; both of whom were by common report remarkable for great capacity and brilliant eloquence.
In 1840, there were twenty-five lawyers living in Dayton—not one of them is now living—and of one hundred and eleven who were admitted and practiced after 1840 and up to 1860, only twenty-two are living; and of these, fourteen have retired or gone into other business so that of the whole number, only eight are still at bar, and but three actively in practice! How sadly true is Dr. Young's reflection: "Soon as man, expert from time, has found the key of life, it opens the gates of death."
In General Schenck's list the name of
stands third. He was the attorney of my father and grandfather, and his name was a household word. Often as a boy, I heard people say, "What does Henry Stoddard say?" or "We had best consult Henry Stoddard." Our probate records show that he was the adviser in almost every estate and professionally connected with almost every family. And he seems to have well deserved such universal confidence. Gen. Sehenck says: "Henry Stoddard, without special brilliancy, was a most industrious, methodical painstaking and successful practitioner."
The old files of the "Dayton Watch-man" show that the orator at the fourth of July celebration in 1826 was
PETER P. LOWE,
who had been admitted to the bar the year before, and who, in after years, gained the front rank in the profession, and became one of the most prominent and successful men at the Dayton bar.
Young men are disposed to use big words and fine language, and if they keep out of print and out of politics, their sophomoric weakness is soon for-gotten. But Peter P. Lowe went into print and fiercely into politics, and his fourth of July oration pestered him for the rest of his life. It was thrown at him in almost every contest in court or upon the stump, and republished by the opposition whenever he was a candidate for office. And yet it made him famous. It was republished in the Knickerbocker magazine, and pronounced by Washington Irving the best burlesque fourth of July oration ever written. And yet it was written, delivered and printed in sober earnest.
His fourth of July oration—As the oration has passed into history and carries with it a lesson that young lawyers should heed, I quote a few sentences. The opening was: "Albeit, I have been appointed by the honorable committee of arrangements to perform the duties of orator of this day, being the 50th anniversary of our national independence, it meaneth, not my adequacy to be satisfactory." Speaking of the grievances of the colonies against the mother country, he said "Avarice strain-ed the parental connection" and "the promised vein of faith was violated by covinous acts of the particularization" ** * this "galded the pigmy and made it cry aloud as the heated members were rolling a volcanic combustion from the edicts of the Judas parent," but "a voice heard the necessitous call of the chill worn inhabitants of the new world and transmitted into them the translucent garb of equality." Expansionism must not have been as rampant seventy years ago, as now, for he said, "the epithalamium of territorial acquisition has become a proverbial song; the redolent breeze wafts his penants on the surface of all waters." "Washington," he said, "was the jenio of selection" and "became the polar beacon to the distressed Columbian," *** "his pellucid shape is symmetrised in the annals of the faithful histiographer * * * his story must cheer the lowest degraded nature in the indefinable labyrinths of wonder * * * for he colluded with no party, but collated fate with liberty * * * Morpheus' embrace never complained of his lethargy * * * his presidential career was as unspotted as the vestal gleam that glittered from the sun and dances upon the horizon." I have time for only one more quotation, and that upon the Indians: "They are gone, going, and still to go, * * * however, they seem happy in their lambenth pathway of atteuation * * * as they invoke their arconski whiff the calumet of peace, and on denovo ouster, mingle their dithyrambic requium with the bland breeze that sifts itself through the rush and supple-jack of the woods."
But time cured Peter P. Lowe of any disposition for further attempts at fine writing. He settled down to hard work and it told. He grew slowly, but surely and strongly. In after years, his opponents found him formidable before a jury; and the people—especially those living in the country—came to believe him invincible. Gen. Schenck, says: "He was remarkable for shrewdness and pertinacity; he knew men better than book, and went for winning and generally did win."
When I knew him, he had E. J. Forsyth and Ely Booth—two good office lawyers—for his working aides, and they made a strong firm. While belligerent, professionally and politically, Mr. Lowe was kindly in disposition, and possessed of many lovable qualities.
His younger brother.
JOHN G. LOWE,
had a finer mental organization, and was favored with a better education. He was a good speaker, and a graceful writer; and altogether, a man of decided capacity. While in the active practice he command-ed the respect and confidence of the bar, and gave promise of great professional success, but business called him off, and into quieter walks, and possibly, a hap-pier life. Few men were better entitled to what Tennyson called "the grand old name of gentleman."
THOMAS J. S. SMITH
came from Troy, where he had earned a good reputation and a good practice. He sustained both in Dayton. He was moderate in opinion, charitable in judgment, refined in taste, kind and gentle in manner, and greatly esteemed by men of all parties and conditions of life. I knew
well. We practiced together for more than twenty years, and served together in the legislature, he in the house, and I in the senate, during the memorable sessions of 1861-1865, and I bear cheerful, loving testimony to his exalted character as a man, his ability as a lawyer, his faithfulness as a legislator, and his usefulness as a citizen. He was the tallest and slimmest man ever at the Dayton bar, and one of the ablest, both as speaker and writer. As chairman of the finance committee of the Ohio house of representatives, he did the state valuable service in revising the tax laws and pro-viding revenues for the extraordinary expenses of the state during the war of the rebellion.
In his later life (he practiced law until he was 80) ill health and financial troubles made him somewhat dilatory, so that he became noted for the frequency of his motions for the continuance of his cases. One day, his opponent in a case called for trial, James Manning Smith, who although eccentric, was never known to say anything smart or funny, brought down the house by saying: "If it please the court, when upon the last day, the Angel Gabriel shall blow his trumpet, and the small and great stand before the judgment seat and the books are opened, and the name of Peter Odlin is called, he will answer, "Please Good Lord, I am not quite ready; I pray you grant me a continuance."
EDWARD W. DAVIES
Once, while I was a student at Miami University (that was several years ago), I was coming home in a stage coach. The weather had suddenly changed, and while shivering with cold, I was surprised to hear a dignified old gentleman on the back seat say to me: "My son, you look cold; come and sit with me and share my cloak and blanket." I afterward learned that my kind friend was Edward W. Davies. In after years I learned to know him well, and to appreciate his lofty character, great capacity and kindly disposition. He was a splendid specimen of the old-time gentleman; fine looking, dignified, scrupulously neat in attire; somewhat austere in manner, but wonder-fully kind at heart, uniformly courteous, and never failing in his generosity to the poor and the unfortunate. He was a good lawyer, careful, industrious, persevering. In the examination and cross examination of witnesses, he has never had his equal at the Dayton bar. Once when he was assisting me in a case and I was pressing my own witness, he whispered: "Don't cross-examine your own witness." I never forgot the lesson. He had entire charge of the Cooper Will case, and the lawyers engaged knew that it was his careful, thorough preparation and judicious management, rather than the eloquence of General Schenck and Judge Johnson that gained the verdict, sustaining the will.
was the only Dayton lawyer who ever became governor of Ohio, and one of the few who ever commanded a regiment. He practiced law in Dayton for some thirteen years, and then accepted a partnership with Rufus King, and for some years was the advocate of one of the most prominent law firms in Cincinnati. Although a brilliant orator, and effective before a jury he was not a profound lawyer. While in the firm of King, Anderson & Sage, Nicholas Longworth, the one millionaire then in Cincinnati, sought advice in an important matter, and not finding King in, consulted Anderson. When through, Longworth pulled out his check book, and said: "I always pay as I go, what is your charge?" "Nothing," said Anderson. "I always charge what I think my service is worth. I don't consider my advice worth a damn."
He had no taste for the contentions and squabbles of the practice and no inclination for the labor and drudgery of every day office work. When in Dayton, he had many clients, but they often found his office closed, and "Charley" as everybody called him—under the sycamores upon the river bank, fishing, not for men or money, but for the fine bass that then abounded in the Miami. He had a fondness for snakes, which he would take in his hands and play with, claiming that with a few exceptions, they were harmless, and better pets than most of the domestic animals.
I served in the senate, when, as lieu-tenant governor, he was its presiding officer, and I learned to know him well, and love him as a brother. He was one of the most agreeable and companion-able men that ever blessed a social circle. As a conversationalist and after dinner speaker he was unequalled. But he was more; he was a gentleman of the highest character and strictest integrity, a faithful public officer, a brave soldier and a good citizen.
Of the second generation of lawyers, two attained national reputation:
ROBERT C. SCHENCK AND CLEMENT L. VALLANDIGHAM
We who knew them both, loved one and hated the other; but as that "cruel war" is long over and time has softened, if not wholly removed, its animosities, we should now be able to do justice to both of them. Although radically, bitterly opposed to each other, politically, they were much alike in several respects. Both were well fitted by nature and education to be first-class lawyers, and both could easily have reached the head of the local and state bar. But the times were peculiar, and they naturally drifted into politics, for which they were also well equipped. For both were men of decided ability; both well educated; both industrious and persevering; both ambitious, self-confident; courageous; both radical, enthusiastic, belligerent. Both were eloquent speakers and vigorous writers; both noted for clear, terse, forcible statement; quick at repartee and too much inclined to bitter invective, unsparing sarcasm and merciless vituperation. Both were conscientious, honest, honorable and incapable of meanness. Neither was really sociable; neither was what, in modern political parlance, is called a "mixer".
Schenck had the more cheerful disposition, more graceful manners, and greater versatility. Vallandigham was more rugged, more single-minded, more intense, more pessimistic, more misanthropic. In the light of history and the matured judgment of the world, Schenck was right —Vallandigham was wrong. Schenck represented the winning, Vallandigham the losing and finally the lost cause. Schenck lived longer and achieved political, military and diplomatic success, and gained many distinguished honors; Vallandigham's life was a short and sad one, enlivened by few victories, darkened by many disappointments and failures.
They were born leaders: called to lead by special gifts, special ability and special intensity of conviction and feeling. Such were Hamilton and Jefferson, Webster and Calhoun, Lincoln and Doug-lass—leaders as far separated from the modern, self-constituted bosses, as is heaven from hell.
Although not exactly in the line of my subject, I can not refrain from reminding the public that to General Schenck the disabled soldiers are largely indebted for the establishment of the National Homes, and the people of Dayton for the location of the principal branch west of this city, and its adornment with the warble column in the cemetery and the cannon upon the foregrounds. And yet, the authorities of the home took no note of his death and have never taken any step toward honoring his memory!
Perhaps the most successful practitioner ever at the Dayton bar was John Howard. And yet he was rather awkward in manner and slow of speech; but a man of considerable capacity, excellent judgment, great shrewdness and wonderful industry and tenacity of purpose. He had a familiar way of talking to a jury that was singularly effective.
He disparaged himself to gain sympathy for his client. I remember an important case, in which he stood close to the jury, with one foot in a chair, and commenced his argument by saying: "Now, Gentlemen of the Jury, you must pity my client as you have seen how poorly I have managed his case; but, the fact is, he hadn't money enough to get one of the best lawyers; he had to take me. I know I can't present his case to you as it should be done, but I feel sure, that as fair men, which I know you to be, you will not punish him for the weakness of his attorney." And they didn't. They found —as they almost always did—for Howard's client.
Had a stranger visited Dayton during the political campaigns of 1856, 1860, 1864 and 1868, and attended one of the great meetings that were then held in front of the court house, he would have found that the speaker most loudly called for and applauded was Samuel Craighead—then a handsome man of considerable capacity, with a good voice, engaging manners, great earnestness, and a talent for enlivening his argument with humorous and often times sarcastic remarks. These qualities made him an effective advocate—especially in criminal cases. His argument in the Huffman will case was regarded as one of the best ever made in the old court house.
But the lawyer of the well-known firm of Conover & Craighead was
He was one of the best lawyers in the state, and one of the noblest, truest and best men that ever lived. And yet, he was but little known in his own county, and hardly popular among his own acquaintances. This was because he was so very modest and unassuming, and because he had strong convictions, moral, religious and political, and had the courage to speak them, fight for them, and carry them into his daily life.
He did not confine his studies to the law, but carried them into literature, science and metaphysics. While always interested in politics, and ready to fight for his principles and work to help his friends, he could not be induced to accept office.
When the Know-Nothings swallowed the Whig party, he refused to be transferred, and was out-spoken in his opposition to the narrow creed of the new party. An old client, Abner Harris, came to expostulate with him, and after exhausting argument sought to intimidate him by threatening to scratch his name when he ran for office. Conover said: "Abner, I don't think I will ever be fool enough to run for an office, but if I do, scratch and be damned."
Few men at the Dayton bar achieved so much distinction as
MOSES B. WALKER
By honorable service in the war of the Rebellion, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. At its close, he located in Texas, and was there honored with a seat upon the supreme bench. While here, he had for his partner, H. V. R. Lord, a New England man, of great law learning but slow of speech and unattractive in manner. Walker was not a great lawyer, but an attractive speaker and successful advocate. They made a strong firm and commanded a large and lucrative practice. I read law in their office, and have a pleasant recollection of them as cultivated gentlemen, generous friends, and honorable practitioners.
In my first case both of my preceptors appeared against me. Some of the boys got me employed as a sort of a joke. I was so scared I hardly knew what I did, but fortunately, I had the right side of the case, and the sympathy of the jury and by-standers, so I won, much to my gratification, and their discomfiture.
GEORGE W. HOUK
was the Adonis of the Dayton bar, and by universal demand, its trusted biographer. He was easily the readiest and best writer. Although fairly successful as a lawyer, he had no special taste or fitness for the contentions and drudgery of actual practice. His real field was literature, and had he chosen it at an earlier day, and devoted himself to it, he would have achieved a national reputation.
He was always greatly interested in politics, and did much by speaking and writing for his chosen party. He was rewarded by several official positions, and died while a member of congress, and in the very beginning of useful service in our national councils.
Who that ever heard his loud, merry laugh, will ever forget.
He lacked early education and proper mental training, but made up for the deficiency by severe application and hard work. The Dayton bar has had abler lawyers, but none more faithful; few more successful, and fewer still more generally respected, more universally beloved.
Most men think too well of themselves. Judge Boltin had too little self-esteem. Once, he was called as an expert to prove by one learned in the law, that a stated proposition was well settled, and un-doubted law. But when interrogated, the judge said: "I'm not learned in the law; I used to think I was, but after thirty years' study, I begin to think I don't know a darned thing, and further, I don't think that a feller can be cock sure on any proposition of law."
E. STAFFORD YOUNG
was a big man, big physically, big intellectually. He was a lawyer, pure and simple; he had no ambition for anything else—and so, easily put him self near the head of the Dayton bar. Under a rough exterior, gruff manner, and somewhat irritable disposition, he hid a big heart, full of sympathy and kindness for the unfortunate, and the poor and the suffering. He was an ardent patriot, and during the war of the Rebellion, did valuable service to the city and state.
Staff Young and I were at college together, and came to the bar about the same time. While we were always warm personal friends, we sometimes had differences—professional or political. Once in a public meeting, he criticised me, with great severity, but afterward, without a word from me, or any one, he took occasion, publicly, to admit that he was mistaken, and to ask my pardon for the wrong he had unintentionally done me. It takes a big man to do so courageous and noble an act, and few there be, that are equal to it.
came from good stock; his father was a good lawyer and a noble man. Warren was a prince of good fellows, and more, a good lawyer, an honest, high-minded, honorable practitioner. He was free from what Sir Matthew Hale regarded as too common faults, "Misrepresenting evidence, quoting precedents or books falsely, or asserting anything confidently, by which ignorant juries or weak judges are too often wrought upon." I have never known a gentleman so entirely "free from envy, hatred and malice, and all uncharitableness." His early death was a real loss to the bar and the entire community.
IDDINGS, CAHILL, WOOD, NEAD, LYMAN AND NOLAN
Daniel W. Iddings was a good corporation lawyer—one of the best in Dayton at that time, and besides a graceful, witty writer, who did some excellent work on the local press.
Abraham Cahill was one of the best of the younger lawyers at the bar, and as Peter Odlin's partner, was engaged in important litigation, and always sustained himself creditably. Youngs V. Wood and Daniel P. Nead composed a well known and successful firm, but they followed William Wirt's advice too rigidly; they lived in their offices, and literally killed themselves by overwork. They were true men, honest lawyers and left stainless reputations. John R. Knox and Osman A. Lyman, two reputable and well-equipped lawyers from Greenville, removed to Dayton in 1864. Knox returned in a few years, but Lyman remained until he quit the law to enter the ministry. He left a successful business and a brilliant future from a high sense of duty. He was not only a capable lawyer, but one of the best advocates and public speakers at the bar. Everybody liked him, and he really deserved everybody's good opinion. I have known many men in my time, but I never knew a truer man or a more perfect gentleman. He accompanied the 93d regiment as chaplain, and did faithful service during the war of the Rebellion. He died while pastor of the largest Presbyterian church in Cleveland, and his death was regarded not only by his own church, but people generally, as a public calamity.
Col. Michael P. Nolan was a conspicuous figure at the bar, and in local politics twenty years ago. He lacked mental training and knowledge of law, but made up for it, in part, by mother wit and a smooth tongue. Few lawyers were more successful before a jury, but, unfortunately for him, his verdicts were generally set aside.
I intended, and much desire to speak of William J. McKinney, John J. Ackerman, Josiah Lovell, Adam Clay, William C. Bartlett and Joseph G. Crane, all good lawyers, and honorable practitioners; and also of Luther Giddings and Gates P. Thurston, who gained, and deserved renown in the military service; and of J. W. McCorkle, Marcus J. Parrott and E. Jeffords, who served creditably in congress and other official places; but I have almost reached the reasonable limit assigned me, and must content myself with a brief sketch of one of the younger group, as a typical lawyer of the second generation of the early bar of Dayton.
In 1847, there came to Dayton from a country village, a tall, slim, ungainly youth. He was awkward, bashful, slow and hesitating in speech, and without any of the special graces and talent that were and are still supposed to constitute the necessary qualifications of a successful lawyer. People wondered that he should attempt the law; but he studied diligently, perseveringly, and after admission, opened an office. Slowly clients came to him, but it was noticed that when they came, they came to stay. He soon gained the confidence of the bench and bar, and he retained it to the end of his life.
In ten years he reached the front rank, and gained a large and lucrative practice—probably the largest and most lucrative of the younger practitioners. After his death, his associates were wont to speak of him as a model lawyer, and one of the very few who deserved and gained the full measure of professional success.
Who, without any taste for military life or ambition looking to the pomp and circumstance of war, volunteered in the war of the Rebellion, and died from a wound received while leading the regiment at Chickamauga. It is not my purpose to speak of his military career, much as I would love to tell of his ability, courage and patriotism as a soldier, but to inquire how he came to be regarded as a model lawyer, and what gave him his phenomenal success at the bar. As his partner for nine years, I think myself competent to answer, and in doing so, I will quote freely from a paper I read before the bar association some twenty years ago.
First: Although a graduate of Miami University, he recognized the necessity for continued application and study. He knew success depended upon work—hard work, and he learned to enjoy it. He resisted the temptations which so easily beset both young and old lawyers; he kept out of politics, sought no office, engaged in no outside business or speculation. He gave his whole mind—his undivided attention to the law. When he took hold of a question, whether it involved little or much money, or was likely to bring little or nothing in fees, he never let go until he mastered it. Although a student always, he did not confine himself to the law. He found recreation in literature.
Second: He was honest in the fullest and broadest sense of the term; in the sense in which Shakespeare used the word when he said: "To be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of 2,000."
He was honest, not in money matters only, but honest in all things; honest under all circumstances, and under all temptations. He was honest with his client, and brave as well; honest and brave enough to advise him against his wishes, and to tell him the truth whether he desired it or not; and honest and brave enough to stand by and fight for his client regardless of public opinion, personal interest and money considerations. He was honest with the court; he never forgot that he was an assistant of the court, and bound to aid in the administration of justice.
Third: He was a man of exemplary habits. He loved and practiced virtue, detested and shunned vulgarity, profanity and vice in whatsoever form it presented itself. He hated with a holy hatred, three classes, which, unfortunately, existed then, but less numerously, it seems to me, than now; the pettifogger in practice, the demagogue in politics, the hypocrite in religion.
He was a peacemaker.
Fourth: Although dependent on his practice for his living, he was pre-eminently a peacemaker. Great as was the temptation to please a client and get a case, he habitually discouraged litigation and exerted his influence to the utmost to bring about amicable settlements, especially in matters of family dispute. As a result many more cases were settled in his office than were brought into court. Sensible people saw and recognized the justice, propriety and policy of such principles, and practice, and showed their appreciation of such courage and honesty by not only bringing him all their own business, but using their influence with others in his behalf. Blessed indeed is the lawyer who proves himself a peacemaker.
Fifth: He had a high opinion of the dignity of the legal profession—a keen sense of the responsibilities it imposed. Hence, he was incapable of doing a low or mean thing. He looked to his practice for bread and butter, and for the bread and butter of his wife and children, but no necessity could have tempted him to solicit business, or use unprofessional means of obtaining it. No money could have induced him to accept employment that was not honorable. He drew a broad line between the personal and professional. Always glad to gain new clients or new cases, no price could buy his political opinions, or preferences, or his personal or social influence. In his day, the employment of a lawyer to get a client an office, or lobby a measure through council or legislature was unknown; but if it had been as fashionable then, as it would seem now, no one who knew him would have had the hardihood to approach him for such an employment.
Like Lord Bacon, he regarded a court of justice, as "a hallowed place," and although not at all formal or dignified himself, like the older lawyers—Crane, Davies, Odlin, Conover—he was always careful to maintain a dignified bearing and appearance in court, and to show by every act and word, his profound respect for the judge of the court.
He was equally punctilious in observing the rule then deemed imperative never to speak to a judge of a pending case, except in open court, and in the presence of opposing counsel.
I closed my former paper with these words: In conclusion, I will presume to say of my friend, Hiram Strong, what Thomas Carlyle said of his friend, Edward Irving: "He was the freest, brother-Host, bravest human soul mine ever came in contact with. I call him, on the whole, the best man I have ever, after trial enough, found in this world, or now hope to find!"
Before closing, I wish to call the attention of the bar to some interesting figures.
Dayton, between 1805 and 1816 had but one lawyer; between 1815 and 1830— so nearly as I can ascertain—there were ten lawyers; in 1840, Dayton seems to have had thirty lawyers—trebling the number in ten years; in 1850, there were thirty-seven, an increase of only seven in ten years; in 1860, there were forty-two and in 1870, forty-seven, an increase of only twelve in twenty years; but in 1880, there were eighty-six—almost doubling the number in ten years. In 1890, there were ninety-eight, an increase of only twelve in ten years not withstanding the growth of the city during that period-but in 1900, according to the best information obtainable, there are two hundred and six lawyers in Dayton, which is more than double the large number enrolled ten years before. Thirty years ago, Dayton had one lawyer for each 655 of its population; twenty years ago, one lawyer for each 455 population; ten years ago, one lawyer for each 500 population; and in this year of our Lord, 1900, assuming that Dayton has 75,000 inhabitants, we have one lawyer for each 388 population. No other American city has so many and no European, Asiatic or African City half so many lawyers in proportion to the population. And this at a time, when, for reasons I cannot now stop to detail, law business has decreased, and is likely to continue to decrease. I am pained to say the supply is in excess of a healthy demand. In plainer words, there are too many lawyers, too many in Dayton; too many everywhere. They can not all live at the law; some must go down and out; only the fittest can survive.
These ugly facts bring me squarely to the question, I have had constantly in mind in writing this paper: What constitutes fitness for the bar, and what leads to professional success? I have sought to answer it in describing the characteristic qualities of a typical lawyer of the old school, Hiram Strong, and of the great men who have followed Joseph H. Crane in the leadership of the Dayton bar. But if you go further, and investigate the professional lives of the great lawyers of the state and the nation, will find that they relied for success, not upon a glib tongue, or some supposed talent; not upon sharp methods or dubious conduct; not upon political advancement or other adventitious circumstance; but upon character, study, work, high character, close study—hard work. They became great by thorough education, profound knowledge of the law, undivided application, untiring industry, strict integrity, high sense of honor, entire truthfulness, religious fidelity to client, steady habits and pure life.
Such equipment made the fittest lawyer sixty years ago; such equipment made the fittest lawyer forty years ago; such equipment will make the fittest lawyer today. Such character and such qualities insured professional success in 1840, 1860, 1880; such character and qualities will just as surely make for and insure success in 1900.
Will our young lawyers heed the warning? Will they learn the lesson so clearly taught by the early bench and bar of Dayton?
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