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Looking out there at the ocean I am reminded of something. When talking into the ear of one of those delightful sirens up there, I thought of how much a shell was like the ear of woman. It never occurred to me why until I picked up one one day and noticed the similarity between the pink of a woman's ear and the color of the shell whose ceaseless whisper is the eternal gossip of the sea. You can whisper into either and hear the endless answer of the shell. There is no limit in time or eternity to the faculty of either for gossip.
It is hard to ramble along without saying something foolish. If I had the capacity of my friend, Cozart; and if I had the lack of terminal facilities of my friend Park, I could go on endlessly in this fasion. If I had the fatal beauty of my friend, Rosser, I could charm by keeping quiet; but somehow you feel like you ought to say something worth while before you sit down, and before these people publish what you have said, because they print these things. My friend from Harvard knows that and he delivered his to the Secretary and said, “You print nothing but this.” I hope he cuts all of that natural law out of that thing. My friend, Judge Adams, knows it because, when he comes, he always brings his, too.
But, seriously, it is a fact that we are living in a right strange time. I don't blame this learned professor of the law for telling you about these new systems of laws, because he doesn't know where he is, or where we are. We have more government and courts and legislation, than the wildest maniac in the Stone Age ever dreamed of. But I say to you seriously, now, at the meridian of my life, having lived and loved my profession in my humble way, that I would despair, if I thought we had to rely upon the scientific capacity of mere man, to evolve order from this chaos. Not noted for being a churchman, I tell you that I look to a Supreme Power, and that alone, to save this country, its organized government and the world. I believe that that Supreme Power has got to lead us, where our lawmakers fail, and where our solons are help
less. It must come from that source. I walked out one time upon a trip to the New Hampshire Mountains to see the sun rise. On all sides the mountains lifted their majestic heads, some tinged with gray like human hate, some blue like bruises, some yellow like the miser's gold, and some scarlet like new spilled blood; and in the tragedy of the varied hues that were in that panorama before my eyes I thought; “These peaks point straight up to God. They are part of nature and they look up to nature's God. And nature's God is man's God, and the God who must be the salvation of our governments and of our civilization in this hour of stress and trouble.” (Applause.)
THE LAWYER AS A LAY STATESMAN.
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen:
This is a talk about politics. But be of good cheer; for it is not a political speech. I am not going to advocate any political proposition. I am not going to advocate anybody. I am going to advocate only politics. The main reason I selected this subject is that I have never had any experience with it and I don't know anything about it. The impelling force of that reason may not be self evident; for, by the same token, there are many other subjects upon which I am fully qualified to speak. “. But on this subject I feel that I will be more nearly on a level with most of my audience.
I read in a history book when I was a boy that the great city of Rome was once saved by the cackling of a flock of geese. I have forgotten all the details. It seems that the enemy had scaled some height that was left undefended and unguarded because it was supposed to be impassable, when the querulous, slumberous cackling of the geese aroused the sentinels and they aroused the soldiery and the city was saved. Surely it takes no great amount of experience-surely it requires no high degree of skill—to perform a public service equivalent to that. We may not know what is the matter. We might not know what was the remedy if we knew what was the matter. We may not be able even to render first aid to the injured. But we can call a doctor.
Again I bid you cheer up; for this is not a Jeremiad. I don't think we are on the brink of the “demnition bowwows.” Not by a long jump. But I do think it is time for the people worth while in this country to take more interest in politics. I am not going to try to tell you anything new; I am not going to undertake to tell you anything you don't know, because I don't know anything of that kind myself. But I would like to refresh your recollections on some things that may have fallen a little dim therein; and one is that "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty”.
A prominent gentleman in an important town, that calls itself a city, was approached with something like this: “We are going to have an election soon. We think that election involves a moral issue and a business issue, and we want you to be one of six to get together to consider what had better be done. We know you are not a politician; we know you shrink from publicity; we are not going to put you on a committee; we are not going to advertise you. But won't you get with us some night behind closed doors and talk this thing over ?” In the course of that short speech that man went through all the stages of neurosis—excitement, agitation, hysteria, "caniptions”—and verged nearly on apoplexy. Now, if you were inclined to be harsh or intemperate of speech, you might say that man is as arrant and craven a coward as ever turned a back or a heel on a line of battle. But he is not a coward.
He is only a conscientious objector. He is just ignorant. He follows his conscience; but his conscience is crooked—not from wickedness, but from ignorance. He has a diploma from a great university; he is president of a great corporation and a director in several others; nevertheless that man ought to be sent to a kindergarten, and the teacher ought to be instructed not to spare the rod. That's the kind of man who will tell you of many public institutions which ought to be kept out of politics, though he won't even try to help you do even that. I actually hear some of our fine lawyers talking about keeping the judiciary out of politics. You might as well talk about taking the curve out of a circle or the sides away from a square. There are two ways to keep those things out of politics. One is to revert to absolutism and lei somebody else run the whole thing. Another is to r.: ert to barbarism and let every man be his own surgecn, policeman, school teacher and judge. Unless we are to do something like that—if we are to maintain our demcrratic civilization-our affairs must be run by politics. Politics is public affairs. Public affairs are politics. What those dear fellows mean—if they mean anythingis that things ought to be put into a different kind of politics. That is what I am trying to tell you how to do, to-wit: by the simple process of changing the kind of politics we've got. And that is the thing our good friends: are so loath to try to help us do.
“Oh," they say, "politics is so dirty.” I won't plead to that; I demur. Suppose it is, what are you going to do about it? What do you do with your clothes when they are dirty? Do you leave them to cleanse themselves ? They say "there can't be any politics worth the while of a man worth while, because the politicians won't stand for anything worth while.” Well, I enter a nullo contendere to that, because I have heard it said—I don't vouch for it, but I have heard it said—that there is a vacant space in the Hall of Fame dedicated and reserved for the man who can wrest from a Georgia statesman an expression of opinion about any public matter. Indeed, the apotheosis of the statesman is that he can walk on eggs from Rabun Gap to Tybee Light and never crack a shell. Do you expect me to be able to persuade a real man to get into politics of that kind? Some job, I admit!
When the average middle-aged lawyer of today was a boy the great lawyers, the real lawyers, advised the boys in our colleges, individually and collectively, to stay out of politics—to eschew politics, as the mad dog panteth for the water brooks. From a personal standpoint they were right. From the public standpoint-from the standpoint of duty—they proved to be wrong. It was a perfectly