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instances unnecessary. Take, then, for example, two litigations, one about the property of the living and the other about the property of the dead, and begin in the Supreme Court, as the highest court of original jurisdiction, and the one having the largest business, though it is but fair to say that in some respects it is not the most speedy. I can not, however, think the difference so great as to make it important to give the statistics of other courts.

We will, then, suppose a suit begun to-day respecting a disputed title to stock in a corporation. How soon will the suit be decided by the courts, including the last judgment in the Court of Appeals? From five to ten years. Follow step after step of the processes. The issue upon the written pleadings may be joined in twenty to forty days. Then what attendances from term to term, what vexatious delays, what sickness of hope deferred, before the trial is reached! And, when once begun, how it is dragged along, what long arguments on points of evidence, what badgering of witnesses, what insults to parties, what irrelevant testimony, what reams of short-hand notes long drawn out, till finally the case is given to the court! When will it decide? Who can tell? It may be in a month or three or six months. The decision is at last pronounced. Then comes an appeal to the General Term. It takes a month or several months to prepare for the appeal, the argument is had in three or six more, and the decision follows in another month or by the end of the next quarter or the next half year. Finally, the General Term decides, and in one instance out of every three reverses the trial judge, and sends the case back for a new trial. Suppose, however, the first judgment affirmed, the case goes then to the Court of Appeals, and such is the accumulation of arrears in that court, that it can hardly be reached in less than eighteen months, though when it is reached the judgment is speedy. We have now passed years since the beginning of the suit, and fortunate is the suitor if the litigation may be considered at an end. In one case out of every five the Court of Appeals reverses the lower court, and the cause goes back to begin about where it began before. Such is the wearisome process, when it is regular, without interlude. But how about the interludes, the affidavit interludes as we may call them, in matters of arrest, injunction, and receivers? What abuses. do they not give rise to? I will not enlarge upon them, and I dismiss them from consideration with the single observation that

government by injunction, as it has been called and is now practiced in this city, is in my judgment a gross and monstrous usurpation. Suppose now this litigation ended and the property of the living disposed of for the time, at last one of the parties dies, and a new litigation springs up about the property of the dead. If the probate of his will in the Surrogate's Court is disputed, the trial may not be reached in half a year, and it may last for six months or a year longer. It has been the practice to set down several trials for the same day, one at one hour, and another at another, both dragging their slow length along.

This is what I have to say about judicial administration in this city. I have not said half what I might say if the time permitted and the occasion required it. But have I not said enough to show what a duty is laid upon us lawyers, upon you young gentlemen, and upon all who are expecting soon to enter the profession of which we are so fond and so proud?

My purpose has been to state the present condition of litigation in the city, not to explain the causes of it, nor to impute blame to any.

Having made these observations concerning judicial administration, let us turn to what I may perhaps designate, by way of contrast, the popular administration of the law. I refer now to the substantive law, the counterpart of that which we call remedial. This is the law which more than the other guides the citizen in his daily transactions. He can not buy or sell land or chattel, he can not rest or travel, he can not marry or give in marriage, he can not bequeath or inherit without the presence of that power which though unseen is ever present, though silent is ever heard. It is this power, this law, at once preceptor and guide, which for his own ease and safety the State most needs to teach the citizen and which he most needs to know. It is therefore the duty of the lawyer with all his heart to help render this substantive law so accessible and so intelligible withal as to lessen the occasions for resorting to the courts. We have already done it in respect of crimes and punishments. The Penal Code, which went into effect two years ago, gives to the citizen, the lawyer, and the judge, in a narrow compass, a little pocket-volume indeed, the whole of our substantive penal law, saving a few special subjects. This little work, bitterly opposed at first, has proved to be so convenient, and labor-saving in practice, that nobody would repeal it. What has thus been done for the penal

law I would have done for the civil also, and the rather because this law is for the most part administered by the people themselves.

When they know the rules prescribed for their government they conform to them and keep away from the courts. Few persons go to law for the love of it. A better knowledge of the rights and the duties for which the law provides would have saved many a lawsuit, impoverishing to the parties and wearisome to the courts.

Let us consider, then, what can be done for our substantive civil law, to put it in a shape more accessible and a form more intelligible to the people. To this end, let us walk into our State Law Library. Here are our laws: how many volumes are there ?— 35,250. Are they the Statutes of the State of New York?-125 volumes are, the rest are not. What, then, are the other 35,125 ? -7,000 of them are filled with the decisions of the courts. And are these decisions laws in New York? Certainly. Do you mean that the decision of a court in Illinois, for example, is read in the courts of New York as a rule for decision there? Certainly I do. They call it by different names. Sometimes they say it is not exactly authoritative, but it is evidence of the common law. But suppose there is a decision in Ohio just the other way? That is cited also, and the New York court examines both, to see if it can then extract a rule for the decision of a controversy between two citizens of New York, on a question of New York law. We do the same with the decisions in other States than Illinois and Ohio. Open the pages of any of the New York Reports, and you will find citations of cases decided in the different courts of this country and of England, Ireland, and Scotland, to say nothing of the English colonies all over the world. The judges turn to these, weigh them, and at last give it as their opinion that the weight of authority is this way or that. And so a case goes to the General Term, where perhaps the judges give it as their opinion that the weight of authority is the other way; and finally in the Court of Appeals it may be found that the point upon which the judges below differed was not involved in the case, or that both the lower courts were partly right and partly wrong. And so it has come to pass that our reports are prefaced with long tables, first of cases decided, then of cases cited, then of cases criticised, approved, disapproved, affirmed or reserved. This may be--I do not say it is-sport for the lawyer, but it is anything but sport for the client. Is there no remedy?

Are we to go on forever in a hopeless search for something certain and something stable? Can we never give an opinion to a client, with any certainty that will prevail in the courts? Can we never expect the decisions of to-day to last for a lustrum?

The last volume of Supreme Court Reports (30th Hun) contains 169 cases reported in full or in part, of which 75 are reversals, while there is also a list of 464 other cases not reported, of which 127 are reversals. This volume shows the work of five months, May, June, August, September, and October, 1883. The last volume of the Court of Appeals Reports contains 154 cases, of which 32 are reversals, and the volume extends through the months of June, October, and November, 1883.

For these evils there is a remedy. It would be a reproach to our civilization to admit that there is not. Order can be brought out of this confusion. It is only our own profession that has hitherto prevented it.

Three hundred years ago, Bacon, Chancellor of England, greatest of all her chancellors through the ages, lawyer, philosopher, and teacher, at a time when the reports numbered only sixty volumes, proposed to James I that a digest of the laws of England should be compiled and that "those books" (the sixty volumes) "should be purged and revised, whereby they may be reduced to fewer volumes and clearer resolutions." It is one of the marvels of history that a single order of men should "so get the start of the majestic world" as to be able for a half-score of generations to fight off this purging, revising, and reducing process of Lord Bacon. Clearer resolutions indeed! What would he have said if he had foreseen the resolutions of these days? The accumulations are like the floods of the Western rivers preceding the vernal equinox, first a swelling of the current, then a rise higher and higher, then a torrent, and at last a rushing of great waters, sweeping and overwhelming as they sweep on.

Eleven years ago the Congressional Law Library held 26,000 volumes; it now holds more than 60,000. In the State of New York there are published on an average yearly four volumes of the decisions of the Court of Appeals, three of the Supreme Court, one of the New York Superior Court, and one of the New York Common Pleas, one of Surrogates' cases, two of Abbott's new cases, two of Howard's Practice cases, two of Civil Procedure cases, two of the Weekly Digest, one of New York criminal cases and one of the new City Court cases-twenty in all. The

number of decisions reported in each volume varies, of course, but they will certainly amount one with another to not less than one hundred and fifty in a volume, so that we have in this State alone 3,000 reported decisions every year. Taking the whole country, there are, it is estimated, one hundred volumes of reports yearly, and if each volume contains as many cases as the last volume of Massachusetts Reports, one hundred and sixty, there are published in each year 16,000 decisions. Every one of them is reported, that it may be cited and serve as a guide for the future. What a frightful admixture there must be here of blind guides, and what an illustration of the parable of the blind leading the blind, and the fate that befell them! Are we not approaching, if we have not already reached, the condition of Roman law in Justinian's time, as described by Gibbon, when "the infinite variety of laws and legal opinions had filled many thousand volumes which no fortune could purchase and no capacity could digest"? And if this inability to buy and digest be true of lawyers, much more is it true of those who are not lawyers, citizens who have other pursuits, and could not find time to read, if they could purchase, the books which contain that "wilderness of single instances," of which "the lawless science of our law" consists.

What, then, is the remedy? It is to reduce the bulk, clear out the refuse, condense and arrange the residuum, so that the people, and the lawyer and judge as well, may know what they have to practice and obey. This is codification; nothing more and nothing less. At this moment our substantive civil law is a conglomerate of most diverse material, gathered from many lands and many ages-Roman, Saxon, Norman, feudal, monarchical, and republican. Let us have instead, and in a single volume, not half so large as one of our books of reports, a code of the general rules of our American, our New York law, from whatever sources derived. To engage in the accomplishment of this noble task is the duty of the lawyers of this State, their too long neglected but their bounden duty. Our Anglo-Saxon race began its great career with a code, the gift of a sovereign king to a rude and subject people. What would he have thought if a seer of his time had foretold him that at the end of a thousand years, in a new world beyond the sea, then invisible to the eyes of Europe, the Code of Alfred would be expanded, with the enrichments of the intervening ages, into the code of the foremost of American commonwealths, the work and the guide of a free and sovereign people!

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