memoir has been prepared. Before leaving this subject, it is a curious coincidence to note that the first important copyright case in this country was in 1831, by Mr. Wheaton against Richard Peters, Jr., of this city, for reprinting his reports of the Supreme Court decisions, and that the next should arise, also, out of one of Mr. Wheaton's works.

Another cause in which Governor Lawrence was personally interested, has become of public note, and must be mentioned here on account of an important and erudite treatise it called forth from his pen. He filed a bill against one Staigg for the recession of a contract for the sale of a small portion of the Ochre Point property, owing to the mutual mistake of the contracting parties. This litigation began in September, 1863, and is also unfinished, owing to the remarkable and anomalous action of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island, in making a decree and then refusing to enforce it. This called forth a caveat from Governor Lawrence, which was filed in February, 1874, and entitled The Administration of Equity Jurisprudence. It contains one hundred and seventy-six printed pages, and gives a complete history of the relations of equity to common law in England and in the United States.

Governor Lawrence made a fourth visit to Europe in the fall of 1868, remaining until the spring of 1870. While abroad, he attended the Social Science Congress held at Bristol, England, in October, 1869, when he had the gratification of renewing his former acquaintance with Sir John Bowring. The British Social Science Association had, three years before, named him as a member of the commission to prepare a code of international law. The winter of 1869-70 he passed in Paris, at work upon the third volume of the Commentaire, and immediately upon his return home he addressed himself to the preparation of an elaborate brochure on the Disabilities of American Women Marricd Abroad. Subsequently his attention was engaged by the meeting of the Joint High Commission at Washington, which resulted in the Treaty of May 8, 1871. Within a fortnight of its adjournment, he published an exhaustive examination of the Treaty of Washington, in which its different articles were taken up and explained. Later, when the presentation of what were known as the Indirect Claims was pressed by our Government upon the arbitrators at Geneva, and which threatened for a time to imperil the successful issue of their determination, he came forward with an elaborate argument to show the impropriety of their presentation. Immediately upon the selection of the Mixed Commission on British and American Claims under the XIIth Article of the Treaty, for the consideration of all those other than the Alabama Claims, Governor Lawrence was solicited by many claimants to act as counsel, and in the most important one that came before the Commission, the case of the Circassian, he succeeded in reversing a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, and obtained an award for bis clients of $225.264 in gold. His brief in this case was printed with the title Billigercnt and Sovereign Rights as Regards Neutrals during the War of Secession, 1873, and the fee he received for arguing the cause was $40,000 in gold.

For several years, Mr. Lawrence passed his winters in Washington, enjoying the society of the foreign diplomats gathered there, and during the season of 1872-73 gave, at Columbian University, a series of lectures upon his favorite theme. He wrote me, January 8, 1873, “ I delivered, on Monday evening, the first of my course of lectures, before the Law School of the college here. I was honored by the presence of the Chief Justice and other Judges of the Supreme Court.” Upon the formation at Ghent, in September, 1873, of L'Institut de Droit International, he was selected as one of the thirty-seven members to compose it. His minor contributions to the law of nations will be found distributed through the London Low Magazine, La Revue de Droit International, Trensactions of the British Social Science Association, and the Albany Law Journal. His last article appeared in the North American Revice for November, 1880, on The Monarchical Principle in our Constitution, which is a presentation of the subject, of remarkable vigor, coming from a man of four-score years.

Governor Lawrence held many positions of a quasi public character. He was in his early days a Counsellor of the Literary and Philosophical Society of New York, over which De Witt Clinton presided. He was Vice-President of the New York Historical Society, 1836-1945; Trustee of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, 1837-1855; and the last surviving founder of the Union Club, formed in 1836 by Philip Hone, Charles King, Ogden Hoffman, Mr. Lawrence, and a fewothers. He was elected a corresponding member of the Numismaticand Antiquarian Society of Philadelphia, November 5, 1868, and chosen Honorary Vice-President for the State of Rhode Island, 1869,-an honor he fully appreciated. He was much interested in our pursuits, and on two occasions was present at our meetings, and I have every reason to believe that, had he recovered from the illness which proved his last, he would have presented to our library his copy of Lord Kingsborough's superb work on Mexican antiquities. In 1826, Yale College conferred upon him the honorary degree of A. M. ; in 1869, Brown University the degree of LL. D.; and, in 1873, the Regents of the University of the State of New York, the first degree of D. C. L. ever granted in the United States.

Last July, I was in Newport for a day, and saw Governor Lawrence for the last time, when I congratulated him upon his robust appearance ;-- it struck me that I had not seen him appearing so well for years. But the dread conqueror must even then have been at work. He left Ochre Point for his native city in November, and gradually failed until he died, as has been stated, on Saturday, March 26th, from a general breaking up of the system. His funeral took place at St. Mark's Church, and the body was taken to the family ground, on Long Island, for interment.

Governor Lawrence will long be remembered for his frank and cordial manners, his princely hospitality, and that courtly bearing which so pre-eminently distinguished him. His reputation abroad as a writer on public law is unquestionably higher than any other American, only excepting Mr. Wheaton, and he is looked upon as the peer of any of his European contemporaries. In a country where diplomacy is a profession, as it should be under all enlightened Governments, Mr. Lawrence would ever have been employed in the public service. As a writer, his style was rather diffuse, and some of his later essays seem to suffer from an overcrowding of ideas, as if his thoughts out-ran his pen, as they most probably did. He was always a voracious reader, and, when first journeying abroad, carried with him a travelling library of books for study. He then began, also, the collection of that library which to-day stards unequalled, in this country, for works in English, French, Italian, Spanish and German, bearing upon the subjects he so loved to study. He leaves five children to survive him, Mrs. Lawrence having died in 1858, shortly previous to his third visit to Europe. I cannot bring this memorial of his life and labors to a more fitting end than by transcribing the closing item of his will,-a warning valuable

enough to be universally employed by all testators,—“ Aware of the ruinous consequences of litigation to all concerned in the case of wills, I do hereby declare it to be my will that, in case any child or descendant of a child, who may claim any share in my estate, shall oppose the probate of this, my last will and testament, or take any legal proceedings to impeach the validity of any of its provisions, the said child or other descendant shall be debarred from all participation in my property, real and personal, and the share of such child or descendant shall descend to and be possessed by the person or persons who would have been entitled thereto had said child or descendant of child died in my lifetime."





UDGE ALBION W. TOURGEE, who has made some literary

reputation by writing an effective political pamphlet, under the guise of a novel, has published, in the North American Review for April, an article, in which he states, with more plausibility than fairness, certain objections to civil service reform.

The article is entitled “ Reform vs. Reformation," and it opens with a comment upon the meaning of, and the assertion of a supposed antagonism between, these words. It is true that reform implies amendment and improvement. It is also true that reformation means, literally, a making over, a forming anew ; but it is not true that, either in its popular or philosophical sense, reformation includes all change, whether for good or for ill, nor that it means any change which is not for the better. There is no real conflict between the signification of the two words. They are almost synonymous, and, if there be any possible distinction between them, it is in this, that reform is more generally applied to politics, and reformation to an amendment in the morals of an individual, or to a great advance in the religious life of a nation or a race. We speak of the reform in Parliamentary representation, the reformation of a criminal, the

reformation in Germany, and of a reform in the management of a business; and in each case we mean, not merely a change, but a change for the better.

“Reformation” is the process of re-forming; reform is the result, the state of being re-formed. A reformation is commenced; if it succeed, it ends in a reform accomplished.

There is, therefore, no “ambiguity” in the meaning of either reform or reformation. There is no possible “ duplicity” or “subterfuge" in the use of either one word or the other.

When Judge Tourgee speaks of the “duplicity” of the reformers in selecting the “ambiguous term,” reformation, “ for the very purpose of making capital out of its adjustable import,” he says that which is neither true in fact nor sound in sense.

It is true that the zeal of the reformer sometimes outruns his discretion. It is also true that reformers, earnest in the accomplishment of that which they believe to be a great good, are sometimes uncharitable in their judgment of those who may differ with them as to the expediency of their proposed means of accomplishing the end in view. It is also true that all reformers are not disinterested.

These truisms, of which Judge Tourgee was not the original discoverer, but which he presses as earnestly as if they were both novel and pertinent, may be granted, and yet his argument against the proposed reform of the civil service is not one whit advanced.

I shall endeavor to avoid the pitfalls which other and abler advocates of reform have digged for themselves, and I shall try, while doing full justice to Judge Tourgee's zeal for a reform which shall be theoretically perfect, but have no practical application, to answer his arguments fully and fairly.

The civil service of the United States includes all of the Federal Government's employes who are not in the army or navy. By civil service reform, is meant a reform in the mode of appointment to, and tenure of, those offices whose incumbents transact the business of the Government, who collect its revenues and disburse its expenditures, and whose duties are ministerial and have no representative political character.

Under the present system, employes may be, and mainly are, appointed to these offices, “ not from any test of fitness or ability, but solely as a reward for personal or partisan services, and

« VorigeDoorgaan »