The Era of the Commercial Lawyer attacks, and have allowed their decisions to be influenced by what they believe to be public demand. When I was a beginner at Leaven worth, Kansas, I tried a replevin suit for a calf, before a justice of the peace in Tonganoxie, a village near Leaven worth. This case aroused intense public interest in Tonganoxie. Local feeling ran high. I felt greatly elated when I won the case. A few days later I met the justice on the streets of Leavenworth and he glumly said to me: "I reversed my decision in your case." I said: "You had no authority to do so. Why did you do it?" He said : "Well, I found that the public sentiment of Tonganoxie did not sustain my decision." That was painfully ludicrous in the Ton ganoxie squire, but when the same thing is done by the judge of a high court, it is dreadfully dangerous. If the public sentiment, which produced existing laws, has changed, let that change bring about the enactment of new laws in the proper way. This should be called the Legislative Age. Everybody wants everything done and everything changed by legislation. I venture the assertion that if all the constitutions, state and federal, required that. all legislative bills should be introduced one year and passed upon by legislative bodies the
next year, a small percentage of the bills now being enacted into laws would, after a year's thought, find their way on to the statute books. The legislative bodies of this country are active enough in making new laws and changing old ones. The courts should not try to encroach upon their territory. A judge should decide according to the law as it is, not in accordance with what he himself or anybody else thinks it ought to be. A judge should never care whether his decision will be popular or unpopular. Having thoroughly ex amined the facts and the law bearing thereon, having conscientiously deter mined on which side justice lies, and having decided according to the right as he sees it, he can rest easy in the knowledge that public opinion always rights itself, and that in the end the public will approve his course although he may at times be temporarily under a cloud of popular disapproval. If he is not brave enough to stand up against the public sentiment of the day or hour he isn't good enough, big enough, or strong enough to be a judge. The perpetuity of this Government, which is unique in the vast powers of its judi ciary, depends to a great extent on the strength and unyielding courage of its judges.
20 Broad Street, New York.
One Chancery cause in solid worth outweighs Dryden's good sense and Pope's harmonious lays. — Canning.