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By Charles B. Seymour.
Ladies and Gentlemen :
John Marshall was Chief Justice of the United States from the 4th day of February, 1801, until his death, on July 6, 1835. We celebrate to-day the centennial anniversary of his entrance upon the duties of Chief Justice. Of him personally no words will be spoken to-day but words of eulogy. He did a great work, and he did it well. That work was to weld into one nation the states of the American Union. He was one of those who are called,
“ The applause of listening senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise ;
And read their history in a nation's eyes."
If you seek his monument, look around you. But the purpose of the address to-day is not mere personal eulogy. As he stood on the threshold of the nineteenth century, so we stand on the threshold of the twentieth. And the question comes to us: What is the basis of the things we hope for? By what is the age before us to be shaped ?
In my remarks I shall have occasion to refer to divers opinions on great questions of public policy, opinions to a large extent conflicting with one another, and should I express opinions of my own, they need not concur with those of all the members of this association, for it has never been the rule among lawyers that the speaker is the mere reflection of his audience. I shall not hesitate, from any affectation of originality of thought or expression, to make free use of quotation, allusion and reference to elucidate my subject.
It is fitting that we celebrate those who have gone before us.
I am glad of the daily, the yearly commemoration of all the kind and good people who have ever lived and died. Most of them are mere unknown and unnamed heroes.
" Their swords are rust,
Their bones are dust,
And even if a man has been a prominent man and has done great and thorough work locally, and has exercised a commanding influence in his own community,
“A simple stone
In our own profession the memory of men rapidly falls into oblivion; and no lawyer can hope to be remembered through the ages unless he be either a statesman or a judge. John Marshall was both a statesman and a judge.
This celebration is not merely nor mainly a gratification of the craving after posthumous fame, that “fancied