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inspectors, but by special legislation. Acts 1891-'92, Chap. CCLXLVII, p. 483.

By the common law right of occupancy, the water front of this hotel, where we have had the pleasure of beholding from a distance the mermaids, nymphs and naiads disporting in the invigorating waves, had been used for years as a place for bathing. This occupancy added many thousands to the value of the property. It was recognized by law as property, and could not legally be taken for public uses without compensation; but an enterprising citizen, not having the fear of God before his eyes, but being instigated, etc., discovered in it a big bonanza, and being anxious of acquiring a share of the vast wealth depicted by His Excellency, Governor McKinney, in his message to the Legislature last winter, selected for his plantation, in preference to all the other places in the State, a few acres of this immediate water front. He paid to an autocrat, called an inspector, twentyfive cents an acre, and was proceeding to deposit vessel loads of shells, any one of which might have caused us more pain than the dethroning of a dynasty or the subverting of a kingdom, when he was bought off by the owners of the hotel. They paid him ten times as many dollars as he had paid cents to the State. But for this fortunate circumstance, we might well crave that patience which enabled Sir Isaac Newton to exclaim on a memorable occasion, when tears suffused his cheeks, "Oh, Fido! thou little knowest the mischief thou hast done." Heed, I pray you, gentlemen, the words of Solomon: "Remove not the ancient landmark which thy fathers have set."

The claim that the beds of the bays, rivers and creeks are the property of the Commonwealth is so subversive of natural justice and so shocks the moral sense, that neither the Legislature nor the most zealous advocate of the doctrine, has ever attempted to enforce it. The revenue expected to be raised by the act of 1873 was intended to support a miniature navy, to aid in the enforcement of the law, principally to prevent unlawful dredging. The objectionable features of that act were repealed by the next Legislature, and an act passed authorizing the sale of the three small tug-boats belonging to the State. (Acts 1874, p. 447.) In 1884, it was proposed to equip another navy, mainly to capture viola


tors of law in Chesapeake Bay, where but few of the occupants of the fundum had any direct interest. Yet they generally consented to a nominal rent of twenty-five cents per acre. We lawyers have long been accustomed to a tax of twenty-five dollars a year, for our oppression, but I am not aware of any other industry which is especially taxed for its protection. If the occupants have no rights, why have they been permitted to retain the best portions of this property of the State, which they had held for years, rent free, by paying twenty-five cents or a dollar an acre, when there are many others, who have had no portion, that would gladly pay for it twenty-five dollars an acre. If the soil under the tidal-waters is the absolute property of the State, it should be disposed of to the best advantage, by getting the most money for it, with which to pay the public debt and defray the expenses of government. It is most remarkable that the many statesmen in this Commonwealth have permitted her to sleep so long upon her rights. The whole policy of the State for more than a century is a recognition of the validity of my contention. Even in the last Legislature no one proposed to rent or sell the natural beds, by far the most valuable portions of the public bottoms, but they were left for the use of the people, though it was said "the shells and even the broken pieces of the natural rock" were carried away, and that if not protected, "all the experience of the past shows that in a few years they will be destroyed, like the buffalo on the western plains."

A venerable old man once said to me, "God bless the women! We can't get along with them, nor without them." This echoes the sentiment of the people towards lawyers. We know that without us the ship of state would be adrift on a vast unknown sea, without compass, helm, chart or pilot, exposed to every gale. There is no body of men more anxious to know the right, or more eager to do it. You are the educators of the people as to what is the right. The Legislature is the grand depository of the constitution and the custodian and guardian of the rights of all the people. This is neither the proper time nor place to discuss the power of the Legislature over this subject. The right seems to me settled by the considerations I have presented; the extent of the power is undetermined. It is most unfortunate that we ever

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have to discuss the extent of legislative power; but it is fortunate that bounds have been established which it cannot pass. It behooves us to always keep conscientiously a safe distance within those bounds. The State holds this valuable property in trust for the common use and benefit of people as loyal in peace and in war as any in the Commonwealth. When she converts it to her private uses she is guilty of a breach of trust unworthy of her ancient prestige. A festering sore upon any part of the body politic affects the whole system. When oppression first stalks abroad it selects the weakest for its victims. Emboldened by success, it entrenches itself, and seeks other victims. Might does not make right. By might, the combined powers dismembered Poland,

"And freedom shrieked when Kosciusko fell."

By might, the Emerald Isle, the gem of the ocean, the birth-place
of rhyme and the land of orators and heroes, has groaned for ages
under British rule. By right, this once glorious Commonwealth,
the mother of States and of statesmen, was accorded a most honor-
able place in a voluntary Union of sister States, in which she was
⚫ pinned with a star. By might, she was baptized with blood, sev-
ered in twain, labeled District No. 1, dragooned into a forced
Union, and spiked with a bayonet. There is no tyranny more
galling than that of the many over the few. Let, I beseech you,
these beautiful, bright and sparkling waters roll on, to gladden
eye of a freeman in the future as in the past, ebbing and flow-
ing, like human life, a memento of the generations of men who
have risen and passed away. And remember that the blessings
of peace, happiness and constitutional liberty cannot be long
maintained without moderation, justice, and a frequent recurrence
to fundamental principles.






[Article in the North American Review.]

The present is eminently a practical age; active, earnest and unremitting in its investigations. Aggressive and bold, it questions, without apology, theories, principles and pretensions, and demands to know by what right they exist and claim the approval of mankind. It has, therefore, relegated to the realm of the purely ideal and fanciful much that once appeared to be a fixed reality. But amid the march of ideas, the clash of creeds, the endless conflict between conservatism and ultraism, that mark a progressive civilization, there is one sentiment or principle that has been kept to the forefront by arbitrary demand, and that is the principle of Honor; and this is true, whether it be predicated of individual men, or professions, or nations; and in no case can a prompt and vigorous defense of honor, when assailed, be neglected, with any more propriety or safety than can the principle itself be wholly dispensed with.

Not many months ago there appeared an article in the North American Review, whose author sought to demonstrate that lawyers, as a class, are not possessed of a high sense of honor and honesty, and are so regarded by the world at large.

While the article is quite bright and readable, still, had it appeared in a common place, it might not have been noticed and certainly would have merited no reply; but it occupied a prominent place in the publication which contained it, and we all recognize the fact that the North American Review wields a pro

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