« PreviousContinue »
The Albany Law Journal. tion which prohibits the newspaper discussion
of cases before the courts for solution, it would A Monthly Record of the Law and the Lawyers.
seem that there can be no impropriety in statPublished by THE ALBANY LAW JOURNAL COMPANY, Albany, N Y.
ing the contentions of the opposing sides. Contributions, items of news about courts, judges and lawyers' The main question seems to be "whether that queries or comments, criticisms on various law questions, addresses on legal topics, or discussions on questions of timely interest, are
sovereign nation shall, in the language of the solicited from members of the bar and those interested in legal Declaration of Independence, take that 'sepaproceedings.
rate and equal station among the powers of (All communications intended for the Editor should be addressed simply to the Editor of THE ALBANY LAW JOURNAL. All letters the earth to which the laws of nature and of relating to advertisements, subscriptions or other business matters nature's god entitle it,' or whether in adopting should be addressed to The Albany Law JOURNAL COMPANY.] a Constitution for its own government it put
Subscription price, Three Dollars per annum, in advance. Single upon itself shackles which prevent the exernumber, Twenty-five Cents.
cise of some of the most important functions ALBANY, N. Y., JANUARY, 1901. of national sovereignty."
The attorney-general, in presenting the case Current Topics,
for the government, contended that the power
to acquire territory and provide for its governBut life shall on and upward go:
ment in any way that its condition may seem Th' eternal step of Progress beats
to require, is explicitly vested in congress by To that great anthem, calm and slow, Which God repeats.
the Constitution itself, and is to be freely exerGod works in all things; all obey
cised. Like any other power, it may be His first propulsion from the night:
abused, but congress embodies the legislative Wake thou and watch! — the world is gray
authority of the people of the nation and is With morning light!
controlled in its composition and its conduct Whittier.
by them, and the people rely upon their own
capacity and disposition to prevent their repThe ALBANY LAW JOURNAL makes its bow resentatives from abusing the power intrusted to the new century in a somewhat new guise. to them. It will come to the office and study less fre- Counsel for the plaintiffs in these cases, on quently than heretofore, but in larger and the other hand, took the ground that the nafuller proportions, better than before in the tional government not only has limited value, extent and variety of its contents, and powers, so far as it touches the jurisdiction rewe hope more than ever a welcome friend and served to the States which established that helper to the busy lawyer, whose time is so government, and insisted upon safeguards for fully occupied that he can find time only for themselves, but that the limitations and the the best, and for whom the best is none too safeguards extend of their own innate force good. Performance is better than promise. and by virtue of their existence in the ConThe JOURNAL will speak for itself.
tution to any territory that the nation may acquire in the exercise of its sovereignty.
We are not going to argue the great question. The arguments before the Supreme Court of
The time for that has now passed, as we shall the United States in what are known as the Porto Rico and Philippine cases
soon have the decision of the highest court in
the land. closed, and the weighty matter which involves the most important question of constitutional construction since it was settled that this na- Governor Odell seems to have landed a vertion is “an indissoluble union of indestructible itable bombshell in the camps of the chronic States," not a federation of independent sov- officeholders and officeseekers of both parties. ereignties to be dissolved at the will of its Annual messages, especially when the maiden members, is now before that august body for efforts of new and untried statesmen, are ordifinal action. Without any intention to pre- narily about as dry as a Kentucky colonel, but judge the case and fully respecting that tradi- the newly-inaugurated chief executive of New
Vol. 63.- No. 1.
York seems to have broken all traditions in that official might be empowered to appoint a the matter of first communications, showing limited number of additional assistants and an astonishingly powerful grasp of the lever of still the public treasury would be a gainer by government and a wholly unexpected capacity many thousands of dollars. The new governin one who had been known principally as a or's announcement also that he should not practical politician.” The cry of retrench-avail himself of the authority granted by the ment and reform in gubernatorial messages is last legislature to appoint a law adviser at a about as old as State government; all of Gov- salary of $5,000, with an allowance of $4,000
Odell's predecessors made similar, for clerk and stenographer hire, but would though perhaps not so sweeping, recommen- call upon the attorney-general for such legal dations, but, having“ put themselves on advice as he might be in need of, shows good record,” they seem to have lost interest in their " horse sense.” The State's legal adviser can own plans for lopping off the useless and in- designate one of his assistants to act in this cumbering branches of the governmental capacity for the three or four months he may tree. With wliat amazing rapidity and luxuri- be needed, instead of paying $9,000 a year for ance these have grown in recent years would a gubernatorial legal bureau, year in and year startle the average taxpayer and citizen, could out. The governor also favors the consolihe have the facts presented in succinct form. dation of numerous boards and bureaus and If eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, so is would make the State Board of Charities, the it of economical and efficient government, for Prison Commission and the Board of Health the officeholders seem to grow fatter and single-headed. Another excellent suggestion more insatiable with every addition to the pat-, for the saving of expense is that the official ronage trough. It has come to be the usual appraisers for the "transfer" or collateral inthing for governors, on entering upon their heritance tax be dispensed with, that the apduties, to urge the use of the pruning-knife praisals be made by the comptroller and the and then forget all about it. Whether this county treasurers and that extravagant fees be will be the result of Governor Odell's admin- cut off. The reason for this recommendation istration remains for the future to disclose. is better appreciated when it is known that He has made so many excellent recommen-, more than ten per cent of the tax last year, dations in his first communication to the leg- , was swallowed up in administration purposes. islature that the reviewer is embarrassed to On the subject of taxation a number of impick out any particular one for commendation. portant recommendations are made. He recWhat he says about special attorneys seems to ognizes the need of more liberal legislation in us peculiarly apt. That the attorney-general's regard to incorporations which shall invite office should do the work now done by the capital into the State instead of driving it special counsel for the different departments away, and an adjustment of the taxation of seems self-evident, otherwise one might well corporations to their earning capacity. While inquire: “Why not abolish the State's legal accepting the principle of an extra tax upon department and have done with it?” What is special franchises, he is convinced that the the attorney-general's office for, but to attend present method of applying it is crude and to the legal business of the State? Last year should be more clearly defined. He is apthat office cost the taxpayers nearly a round parently not fully in favor of the plan of the $100,000, or to be exact, $93,384. There is Stranahan bill of last year for providing suffino question that Governor Odell is quite cient revenue for the State without levying a within bounds when he says the abuses direct tax for the purpose, though anxious, as that have grown up under the attorney system 'every one is, to see that an accomplished fact. are such as to call for correction. The obvi- ; He commends the uniform tax of one per cent ous remedy seems to be to prevent by law the on the capital of banks and trust companies, employment of special counsel and compel the but would include the surplus of savings and attorney-general's office to look after all the insurance institutions and relieve mortgages legal business of the State; for this purpose ' altogether. It must be said, in justice to the new governor, that he has, to all appearances, fuency, the occasion cannot fail to be one of succeeded in impressing himself upon both the extraordinary interest and the production one people and the politicians as a man who means of more than ordinary value. Wu Ting-fang exactly what he says, with the courage and is undoubtedly one of the most prominent men energy to put his words into deeds. That is in the public eye to-day, by reason largely of no easy thing, especially for a “practical poli- the recent events in the ancient kingdom of tician.” The counting of chickens before they which he is the representative, and his conemerge from the shell is notoriously unsafe ceded ability in the art of diplomacy, as well as and liable to lead to bitter regrets. Similarly, his deep learning in the domain of law. He the counting of governmental reforms as ac- is an English barrister, of Lincoln's Inn, Loncomplished facts just because a governor has don. Arriving in Albany on the fifteenth inadvised them, would be the height of folly. stant, clad in his full robes of office and atWhat seems to have stirred the popular pulse tended by his retinue of servants, he will be and curiosity is the fact that a “practical poli- entertained by members of the association, tician” like Governor Odell should have and on the evening of the fifteenth, previous started right in with rolled-up sleeves to lay to the address, he will be the guest of the Hon. bare the many abuses of power that have been Simon W. Rosendale at an informal dinner. perpetrated by his own party and the opposi- After the address the distinguished visitor will tion for partisan ends. To quote the New be given a reception at the Fort Orange Club; York Times, “the vicious and contaminating on the evening of the sixteenth he will be presRepublican practice of creating needless offi-ent at the association's annual banquet and ces and authorizing the payment of large sums will respond to a toast. Thus the annual in fees to persons hired to do the work for do- meeting for 1901, both by reason of Mr. Wu ing which other persons draw liberal salaries, Ting-fang's presence and of the many importis the parent of the vices against which his cru- ant topics to be discussed at the formal sessade is directed. In that way the machine sions promises to exceed in interest any formakes the treasury pay the living expenses of mer annual gathering. its workers and heelers. It is that that stirs the public indignation, even more than the evident waste of money." The proof of the pud
The notorious Cudahy affair at Omaha, ding is in the eating of it. The proof of the Neb., and other similar but less spectacular value of a legislative session is in the wise acts crimes, perpetrated by weak imitators who passed and signed by the executive. The sought to reap harvest of ill-gotten public is expectantly waiting.
wealth, has directed public attention to the fact that in few of the States are there in
force laws which provide adequate punishment The very interesting announcement is made for this class of crimes. It would be difficult that at the coming annual meeting of the New to name a species of criminality more despicYork State Bar Association in this city this able, deliberate and inherently wicked than month, one of the most brilliant representa-kidnapping, for no torture can be more extives of foreign nations in this country, "his quisite than that endured by fond parents excellency Wu Ting-fang, LL. D., minister whose child has been deliberately stolen and plenipotentiary and envoy extraordinary from held for ransom. The villains who could the emperor of China to the United States, plan and carry out such a bold crime must be Spain and Peru," will be its guest and will ad- capable of any depths of iniquity. Since the dress the members and their guests on the Cudahy case and the publicity given thereto, evening of the fifteenth inst., in the assembly the fact that existing penalties in many of the chamber of the capitol. The distinguished States are wholly inadequate has been emphavisitor's topic will be “ Chinese Jurisprudence," sized, and public sentiment has been stirred to and as he is not only a man of letters, a learned the point of demanding legislation that will lawyer and an accomplished diplomat, but provide a more fitting punishment for those speaks and writes the English language with who may hereafter be convicted of the crime
of kidnapping At the same time there is move of its own accord in the matter, the several danger of permitting the pendulum to swing medical societies, in concert for their own and the too far, for we observe that in several of the general protection, can easily force it to action.
The fact that the Christian Science' leaders habitStates there is a sentiment in favor of making ually commit this obvious fraud shows exactly how death the punishment for the crime. In North much of sincerity there is in their sickening proDakota, for example, a leading member of the fessions of superior piety and virtue. Some legislature is quoted as saying: "The statutes patients they kill, others they allow to die needof North Dakota provide only a penitentiary fees and keep out of jail, they are perfectly content.
lessly, but so long as they get their extortionate sentence ranging from one to ten years, as a All means to those ends are good to them, and the punishment for kidnapping, at the discretion mere filing of a deceptive death certificate is a trifle of the trial judge. I favor the death penalty too slight to get a moment's consideration." for the offense. There is no punishment too severe for such crimes.” In Iowa and Wyom
The statistics of executions and lynchings ing also there appears to be a similar sentiment. From this notion we beg to record our which the Chicago Tribune has kept for the strong dissent. Attempts to provide too se- past sixteen years, make interesting reading to vere a penalty are likely, in our opinion, to re
the penologist. It appears that, since 1885, sult on no legislation at all. If the death pen
2,583 persons have been lynched in the United alty is to be retained, and we believe it should States, and that during the year just past the be, it ought to be reserved for those malefac- number was 115, an increase of eight over the tors who have been convicted of murder in the record of the year 1899. Of these 115 mob first degree. Life imprisonment would fit the murders, 107 occurred in the South and eight
in the North; of the victims, 107 were negroes. case exactly.
The northern States in which the lynchings
occurred were Indiana, three colored men, As a result of the Brush will contest in the Kansas, two white men, and Colorado, two city of New York, something definite in the colored men. In the South, Louisiana and way of evidence as to how the Christian Scien- Missouri head the list, each with a lynching tists cover up their failures has been obtained. record of twenty victims during the year 1900. It appears they have usually at hand some The legal executions during the year 1900 broken-down regular physician who is will-numbered 119, a decrease of twenty compared ing to sign any death certificate that is pre- with those of the year 1899. At the same time sented to him by a “healer” who has at- the number of crimes punishable with death or tempted to cure somebody afflicted with a real imprisonment for life have increased by over malady, and has failed. Thus, while the letter 2,000. Eighty of the legal executions were in of the law is observed, its spirit and intention the South and thirty-nine were in the North. is shamelessly violated, to the infinite danger Of the total of 119 executed, sixty were white, of the public. The apathy with which the fifty-eight negroes, and one a Chinaman. No doings of this dangerous cult is regarded is woman was put to death under the law in the one of the strangest things in the closing days United States in the year 1900. of the century, and if the public is so blind and credulous that it will not protect itself from this sort of imposition, then the law
The past century has been one of mechanism —
indeed, the world seems to have gone patent mad. should step in and render the continuance of In the United States alone there were 623,535 patthese wretched practices in the name of re-ents granted in the sixty-two years from 1837 to ligion, impossible. We heartily indorse the 1898. During its existence the patent office has following from the New York Times of recent received more than $40,000,000 in fees. On car
riages' and wagons more than 20,000 patents have date:
been granted; on stoves and furnaces, 18,000; on “ The trick is simple, but it is also abominable, lamps, gas fittings, harvesters, boots and shoes and and now that its practice has been put beyond receptacles for storing, 10,000 each. The total of doubt or question, steps should instantly be taken patents for the civilized world is easily twice that to make it of no utility. If the legislature will not of the United States.