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Meeting at Dalhousie Library, 11 a.m. 1. Discussion on uniformity in registration and indexing of titles to land. 2. General business.
3. Afternoon, at 3 o'clock, meeting at Studley quoit grounds, as guests of Studley Quoit Club.
After the reading of the minutes and the Treasurer's report, the President delivered his annual address as follows :
GENTLEMEN,—This is the first time, since its foundation, that the Canadian Bar Association meets in regular convention, and its history is brief.
During the course of the Summer of 1896 the members of the association gathered together in the city of Montreal for the purpose of discussing the project and laying the foundations of our society. Representatives came from every part of Canada, and the bars of every province were, I may be allowed to say, brilliantly represented. The idea of forming one grand association of the members of all the bars in Canada was not a new one. For several years this idea had taken hold in the minds of a large number, but, until then, circumstances had not arisen to bring about the accomplishment of the project.
The bar of the United States had just met in Saratoga. The importance of the labors of their convention, the weighty questions which were then discussed, while adding new lustre to the American bar, attracted public attention, not only on this continent, but also in the countries of Europe. The bar on that occasion had fully demonstrated its power and its worth. England did not disdain to be represented at that meeting by a man who has no superior in the ranks of the English bar, the distinguished lawyer, and now an eminent Judge, Lord Russell.
The renown of that meeting, and the example given, there can be no doubt, contributed a good deal to determine the initiative taken by the leading lawyers of Canada of inviting the members of all the bars to a general convention in Montreal.
The idea of forming our association was not, however, carried out without meeting obstacles on the part of certain lawyers A fear existed in the minds of some of the lawyers of the Quebec bar that our association would ultimately undertake to impose uniformity of legislation on the people of Canada, and that the old French laws, to which the bar and the people of the province of Quebec are so profoundly attached, would be wiped out. Our friends of Quebec did not conceal their fears. The result was that our first convention was the witness of a long and animated discussion on the subject. This discussion, however, clearly proved that there was no intention anywhere to abolish our laws, and that, in any case, if our association desired to do so, it would be unable to succeed.
The question once settled, the members of the bar joined the movement, and applauded the creation of our association. To-day from one end of Canada to the other, the bar fully recognizes the need of such an association, and finds in its object nothing but that is praiseworthy ; nothing but that deserves the approbation and the encouragement of all.
What is, indeed, the object of our association ? It is to make of our bar a bar still greater. It is to create among all its members, whose minds have been given to the same studies, whose tastes are similar, whose education has been directed on the same lines, whose intellectual culture has brought together in the same world of ideas, it is, I repeat, to create between them, instead of purely professional relations, strong bonds of warm friendship. Our aim, then, can be resumed in one thought, which is altogether in the interest of civil society, and of agreeable social relations.
Our society has not only received the approbation of the militant portion of the bar, but also commands the sympathy and good wishes of the bench. Of this we have already had ample proofs, for, last year, when, on the eve of separating, the judges of Montreal considered it a duty, and did us the honor, to grace our last meeting with their presence, Sir Alexandre Lacoste, Chief Justice of the highest court in the province of Quebec, voicing the sentiments of all, in an address admirable for its lofty ideas and its eloquence, offered us the felicitations, and gave us a masterly description of the grandeur and nobleness of our enterprise. This sympathy from the bench is still fresh and active.
This need of large associations among the members of the same profession and of the classes whose career is devoted to the acquisition of knowledge, seems in our day to be universally admitted. The human mind is too limited and the field of study too vast to permit any single individual, without the aid of associates in the same science, to master it in its entirety.
This remark is to be applied more especially to the callings in which science makes new conquests every day, determines and settles principles, where our acquired experience is limited, and our notions crude and imperfect. Who can fully appreciate the results of this collaboration on an extensive basis as a means of penetrating further into the arena of nature and science? And to give you an actual instance of the value and importance attached to such collaboration, it suffices to mention the fact that we have on our shores at the present moment a distinguished body of men representing two of the greatest scientific associations of England. I allude to the British Medical Association and the British Association for the Advancement of Science, which have not feared to cross the ocean and visit Canada to pursue their labors among us. They come here to meet and mingle with our men of art and science, and to make those interchanges of thought which are invaluable, and of which the learned men of the world alone can enjoy the luxury and the glory. (Applause.)
The science of law is undoubtedly positive in its nature. Law is a work of the will, pure and simple, whose interpretation is kept within narrow limits. But to have this interpretation wisely effected is it not necessary that the intellect should be well supplied by the study of the fundamental principles of ethics and fortified by the close reading of the works of our great legists and jurisconsults ? If an association like ours cannot follow these studies in common, at least we can by our moral influence and action induce the bars of the different provinces to exact higher qualifications at the hands of those who seek to become members thereof. And in this way our association becomes useful in contributing to raise the standard of our profession.
In our day the bar deserves more than ever the attention and solicitude o the people. It has become a powerful factor in the accomplishment of the destinies of nations. Modern civilization has substituted new ideas for notions of the past. Among the civilized nations of the present century the tendency is to settle differences, not by force of arms, but by arbitration. The world seems at last to understand that if difficulties between individuals can be settled without recourse to physical force, but by the free and conscientious exercise of the judgment of a fellow man, the differences between nations should also be settled by tribunals, that they, themselves, may select. We may, perhaps witness revolutions among civilized nations, but our hope is great that the twentieth century will see no more of these disastroụs wars, which have caused so much blood to flow during the course of this century. And to-day these words of the poet are truer than ever : “Cedant arina togae”
In these arbitrations the rights of nations will be upheld and defended, not by soldiers and bayonets, but by the champions of thought and the sturdy advocates of justice. What is now actually happening in your city of Halifax is sufficient indication of the truth of my contention. A hundred years ago the Behring Sea difficulty would have brought about a conflict between two of the greatest nations in the world. In our day the same two nations have handed over the settlement of their difficulty to the forces of the human mind, and justice will be done in a greater degree than if the matter was left to the hazard of war or the unforeseen result of a battle.
And in passing allow me here to recall the fact that our Canadian bar won for itself, in the Behring Sea arbitration, a distinction and fame of which we may all well be proud. Among those who took part in that arbitration there were to be found members of our Canadian Bar Association, just as among those who are now engaged in bringing this matter to a final and friendly settlement, are also to be found members of our association.
The members of the bar are, moreover, called upon to play another important role in society. Politics seem to have for them an irresistible attraction. In the Legislature of the provinces and in the Federal Parliament of Canada it is, especially, lawyers who are to be seen in the first rank, and they are in their place. It is in order that those who are called upon to enact laws should be exercised beforehand in the study of law, and the more their mind and intelligence will have been formed by this study the better prepared they will be to fill the role of legislators.
Our association will afford the opportunity of becoming a public man of a more universal knowledge, and thereby fitting himself for the fulfilment of the weighty and responsible duties which are assigned to him by the confidence of his fellow citizens. Indeed, it is not to be expected that a lawyer who is in contact exclusively with the confreres of his own bar should become acquainted with the laws of the other provinces, or that he should scrutinize their statutes ; he has neither the occasion nor the need to do so.
This work, which a lawyer would not undertake alone, he will do in our association, where committees are especially charged with studying the laws of the different provinces, so as to have the association as a whole benefit by the fruit of these labors. Our annual meeting will afford us a field where we will be able to reap, in a short time, an abundant harvest of knowledge that will be useful to all, and useful in the highest degree to the lawyer who is called upon to take part in the councils of the nation.
I have already said that the object of our association is to make our bar a still greater bar. Is that not, indeed, the result of our meeting, when the most distinguished members of our profession participate in its proceedings ? The junior bar will find therein a subject of rivalry and good example to follow. The more numerous these meetings the greater the opportunity and incentive for them to put forth their best efforts and labors to secure a prominent position in their profession.
The horizon of the bar has therefore widened very much. It is only in our century, we may say, as least in certain countries, that they have attained this higher plane; but it is worthy of remark, as far as our own country is concerned, that there has been no important work, no remarkable progress accomplished without the lawyers taking an eminent part in them. And if we are allowed to assemble here, as representatives of the different bars of Canada, we are compelled to admit that the project of the Canadian confederation was, in a large measure, conceived and executed by the lawyers of the various provinces.
Even quite recently Canada has figured largely on the scene of Europe through the personality of her Prime Minister. If Canada during the historic events of the past few months has occupied the first place among the colonies of the British empire, and also in the mind, not only of the British, but foreign statesmen, to whom can be attributed the honor and glory of her position if not to our distinguished confrere, the Right Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier ? I make this statement knowing and feeling full well that even his political opponents would not pardon me if I were to overlook Mr. Laurier's name, when I am speaking of the mission accomplished by members of the Canadian bar for the advantage of our country. (Applause.)
If the bar has filled an important role in our country, if on another continent, and on more than one occasion, it has drawn to Canada the attention and admiration of the old nations of Europe, how much should we have at: heart the ambition of continuing its proud traditions ?
Our country, although holding a colonial position, is no longer a passive portion of the empire, but it has been given a voice, and has become an influence in the framing of the imperial policy, and the position which we have assumed alongside the other colonies makes it our duty to ascend the path of progress and not remain stationary thereon.
Among the different classes of society whose duty it is to build up our country, there are none who should hold that duty more sacred than the members of the legal profession. And if we should fail in the accomplishment of that duty we would cease to be worthy of the eminent position in society so freely accorded to us by our fellow citizens.
Let us, then, like our predecessors in the profession, contribute our share to make the annals of our country honourable and glorious. Our country is a prosperous one. Those who live here are satisfied with their condition. We love to dwell in a country where fortune smiles on us, but we love our fatherland, not for its wealth, but for the glory which covers it.
One word more and I conclude. The year in which we now meet is one that will leave in the history of the empire an ineffaceable imprint. For this is the year in which all the subjects of the British Empire rejoice over the sixtieth anniversary of the reign of Her Gracious Majesty the Queen. The sixtieth year of a reign marked by the example of all the virtues which honor a woman, a reign rendered illustrious by the wisdom of a Queen, made dear to her subjects by the respect of the rights of her people and her goodness toward them. And I echo the sentiments of all, I am sure, in giving expression to the admiration, respect and love which the bar of Canada entertains for our gracious sovereign.
I have said that one of the aims of our association was to create among the members more intimate relations and stronger bonds of friendship. This object is already attained, for the reception which has been extended to us by our friends of Halifax has been most cordial, and the pleasure we feel in meeting one another is most keen.
For my part I am especially gratified that the officers of our association decided to hold this convention in the city of Halifax, so attractive by its historical souvenirs and so charming by its progressive modernism. (Applause.)
The Secretary's report was then read, and following it a committee consisting of Messrs. C. B. Carter, Q.C., F. L. Beique, Q.C., G. F. Gregory, Q.C., O. A. Howland, D. A. Mackinnon, B. Russell, Q.C., and R. L. Borden, Q.C., was appointed to nominate special committees.
The meeting adjourned at i p.m.
At 2 p.m. the members of the Association met at the Legislative Council Chambers, where an address of welcome was given by His Honor the Lieutenant-Governor to the Association and to the members of the Behring Sea Commission.
This address was followed by an address from the Hon. Don M. Dickenson, leading counsel for the United States before the kehring Sea Commission, President of the Bar Association of Michigan, and a member and delegate from the American Bar Association.
At 3 o'clock an adjournment was had to the Government steamer “ Newfield,” which had been placed at the disposal of the Bar of Halifax for the occasion. A very enjoyable excursion was then had round Bedford Basin and up the North-West Arm, concluding with a luncheon at Lawlor's Island, as guests of the Bar of Halifax.
SECOND DAY'S PROCEEDINGS
At il a.m. the Association re-assembled in the library of Dalhousie University. The President in the chair.
Routine business was proceeded with, and recommendations made to the council with regard to the annual fee, the next meeting, and proceedings to be had thereat.
A resolution was then passed by which the number of the council, exclusive of the officers, was increased from 8 to 21.
It was then decided to postpone the reading of Mr. Howland's paper to the next morning at 11 a.m.
The meeting adjourned at i p.m.
At 3 o'clock the visiting members of the Association assembled at the Halifax Hotel, where carriages were in waiting. They were driven through the park, and suburbs, and public gardens, and afterwards were entertained at a reception by Mr. R. L. Borden, Q.C., and Mrs. Borden, at their residence, on the North-West Arm.
THIRD DAY'S PROCEEDINGS The Association assembled at 10 o'clock in the library of Dalhousie University. The President in the chair.
After routine business, the Executive reported a by-law fixing the annual fee at $3, which was adopted.
Mr. O. A. Howland, of Toronto, then read his paper on “ An International Court.” On its conclusion, the thanks of the meeting were tendered to him for his valuable paper.
A committee for the nomination of officers for the ensuing year was then · appointed, and a short adjournment took place in order to enable them to make their report.
Upon re-assembling this Committee and the Committee to nominate Special Committees reported, and the following officers and special committees were elected :
HONORARY PRESIDENT. — Hon. Sir Oliver Mowat, K.C.M.G., Q.C., Ottawa, Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario.
PRESIDENT.—Hon. J. E. Robidoux, Q.C., Montreal.
VICE-PRESIDENTS.—Hon. F. Langelier, Quebec; 0. A. Howland, Toronto; C. S. Harrington, Q.C., Halifax ; G. F. Gregory, Q.C., Fredericton ; Hon. Fred. Peters, Q.C., Victoria ; Auláy Morrison, M.P., New Westminster, B.C. ; J. S. Ewart, Q.C., Winnipeg ; Hon. F. W. G. Haultain, Q.C., Regina, N.W.T.
COUNCIL.-Honorary Members—Hon. David Mills, Q.C., Ottawa ; Hon. Chas. Fitzpatrick, Q.C., M.P., Sol.-Gen., Ottawa.
Elected—Sir C. H. Tupper, Q.C., Victoria ; Æmilius Irving, Q.C., Toronto; Hon. J. R. Gowan, Q.C., C.M.G., Barrie, Ont. ; F. H. Chrysler, Q.C., Ottawa ; Matthew Wilson, Q.C., Chatham, Ont. ; D'Alton McCarthy, Q.C., Toronto; D. Macmaster, Q.C., Montreal ; F. L. Beique, Q.C., Montreal ; P. N. Martel, Q.C., Three Rivers ; W. C. Languedoc, Q.C., Quebec ; J. C.