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AVID DUDLEY FIELD, one of the greatest lawyers that America has

produced, was the son of the Rev. D. D. Field, a Congregational clergyman of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and was born at Haddam, Connecticut, February 13, 1805. He was educated at Williams College, and after studying law and being admitted to the bar in 1828, began the practice of his profession in New York city, where he soon gained for himself a foremost place in the legal ranks. He early took an interest in the subject of law reform, and being appointed in 1847 one of a commission to reform legal practice in New York State, at once began the preparation of a civil and a criminal code of procedure. The civil code, when completed, was adopted in the main not only by his own State, but by nearly thirty other States, and it now forms the basis of practice in several English colonies. In 1857 he was placed at the head of a commission to codify the whole law of his State, and in 1865 this commission reported civil, penal, and political codes, which were almost wholly the work of Field, and these ive codes of his cover the entire practice of common and statute law in the United States. At the meeting of the British Association in Manchester, England, in 1866, Field brought forth a proposition to frame an international code. Six years later, in 1873, he published " Outlines of an International Code," which has been widely circulated and has been translated into French and Italian. In 1877 Field was a representative in Congress, and in 1890 he presided over a peace convention in London. His death occurred in New York city April 13, 1894. His writings include “What Shall be Done with the Practice of the Courts ” (1847); “The Electoral Votes of New York" (1870); Speeches, Arguments, and Miscellaneous Papers (1890).






for the first time before the members of this associa

tion I must begin by making my acknowledgments for the honor which you conferred upon me some years ago by electing me a corresponding member. Though I have not been able to take part in your meetings I have felt scarcely less interest in them than if I were present and even take to

myself a share of the self-congratulation which the actual participators must have felt. If I have not contributed to your transactions I have been a humble sharer in the fame which the contributions of others have won.

The distinction which your association has earned is, however, the least of its honors.

The good which it has done in stimulating inquiry, concentrating opinion and combining efforts toward the improvement of the law and the education and health of the people would be a sufficient reward for all your

labors even if no distinction had been obtained.


labors is not confined to your own country; it extends to every part of Christendom. So intimate is now the connection between all Christian nations that the social progress of one is sure to be felt more or less in the others. More especially is this true of your country and mine. We are bound together by so many ties that, forgetting for the present all things else, I will only think of the good we may do each other and the spirit of kindliness we may both promote.

The particular subject to which I am to bespeak your attention is international law. In discoursing of it my purpose will be to answer, so far as I may be able, these questions:

1. What is that which is called international law? 2. Who made it? 3. Who enforce it? 4. Are any changes in it desirable? 5. If so, how can they be effected?

Law is a rule of property and of conduct prescribed by sovereign power.

In strictness, therefore, there is no such thing as a human law binding the nations, since they have no human superior. They may however, as they have in part done, agree among themselves upon certain rules, both of property and of conduct, by which they will pledge themselves to regulate their own conduct toward each other and the conduct of their

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