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of competent advice, there is no reason that a lawyer should be considered a public officer in any such sense as not to be able to pick and choose his business. But it is undoubtedly better for a lawyer to decline to have any thing to do with a particular class cases than to refuse an individual case; for if he is a man of character and reputation, such refusal, if known, can hardly fail to in jure the cause of the man who applies to him.
Judge Sharswood has dealt mainly with the questions of morality involved in particular acts, and has touched more slightly on the general influence of the profession of the law on the intellects and morals of those who practise it.
The consciences of all men are artificial; there is an irresistible tendency in feeling, if not in reason, to substitute the arbitrary rules made by the individual or by a class for the dictates of absolute morality; and it is commonly believed that the practice of the law has a peculiar force in thus perverting the sense of right. Even Judge Sharswood says, “ There is certainly, without any exception, no profession in which so many temptations beset the path to swerve from the line of strict integrity; in which so many delicate and difficult questions of duty are continually arising." We greatly doubt the truth of this. Archbishop Whately, with his accustomed good sense, has observed how much greater is the temptation to deceive themselves and others by sophistry for members of the clerical than of the legal profession. The influence of a profession on general character is best shown in matters arising outside of the profession, and we do not think that any candid observer will say that lawyers in these are any less honest than other men.
The practice of the law is, we believe, singularly favorable to the develop ment of character, as compared with most of the other occupations of mankind. As compared with trade, it is far more intellectual; and it has, too, this advantage, that a lawyer is constantly working for objects in the attainment of which he himself has only a secondary interest. That a suit should be gained, is vastly more important to the client than to the counsel ; and this work for the interests of others, even though it be for a fee, does keep a man more in sympathy with his kind than work which has for its sole object the heaping up of money for himself.
On the other hand, the law has a marked advantage over the other two socalled learned professions, medicine and the church, - in the nature of the subjects out of which those who practise it earn their livelihood. According to some writers, the chief occupations of lawyers would seem to be the hunting down or the defending the lives and reputations of oppressed innocents; but, practically, nine-tenths of law work concerns questions of property, and the more material and coarser interests of mankind. In the most private matters, in those which touch the bodies and souls of men the nearest; it is not the lawyer's trade continually to intermeddle, and he may be thankful that it is not. The temptation to be unctuous outside and callous within, which comes from the constant professional dealing with the deepest sufferings and feelings of mankind, though it be one which so many good men have been able to overcome, is yet stronger than any that besets the ordinary path of the lawyer. The pettifogger is a bad man and a dangerous man, but he is not so bad nor so dangerous as the revivalist or the quack.
back of the common law. Yet this is most ungrateful. It is easy to groan at the United States Digest, but where should we be without it? It is that alone that enables us even to stagger under the burden of accumulated reports.
A Digest of the Reports of the United States Courts, and of the Acts of Congress,
from the Organization of the Government to July, 1868. Comprising the Reports of the United States Supreme Court, those of the Circuit and District Courts, and of the various Territorial and Local Courts established by the United States; together with the leading provisions of the Statutes at Large, and important Auxiliary Information upon the National Jurisprudence. Vol. IV. In which Titles of Importance or Special Character have been edited or revised by Hon. SAMUEL BLATCHFORD, Hon. CHARLES L. BENEDICT, Hon. GEORGE SHARSWOOD. The whole compiled by BENJAMIN VAUGHAN ABBOTT and Austin ABBOTT. New York: Diossy & Company. 1869.
This volume contains the Titles from Privateers to Wrongs, and a table of cases, and closes this important work. We have noticed the preceding three volumes as they appeared (1 Am. Law Rev. 732; 2 Am. Law Rev. 534; 3 Am. Law Rev. 352), and there is little that we can profitably add to what has been already said on those occasions. We think the editors would have done better to have included cases reversed, affirmed, and overruled in the general table, instead of placing them in a separate list of “Cases Criticised," especially as that list is in the first volume and the general table is in the last.
The business of the United States Circuit and District Courts has largely increased within the last few years, and as a natural consequence the reports of cases in those courts are much more in request. Those reports were at one time a drug in the market, but are now in great demand, and the need of a digest was becoming very pressing, and from the Constitution of the Federal and State courts, these volumes of the Messrs. Abbott contain a digest of substantially all the law in the American books on several branches of jurisprudence; such, for instance, as Admiralty and Patent Law.
Digest of California Reports and Statutes, from the Organization of the State to
the Present Time. Comprising the Adjudications of the Supreme Court of the State, as contained in Thirty-four volumes of the published Reports; together with references to and Digest of the most important Statutes, as embodied in the published volumes, from the First to the Seventeenth Session, inclusive; preceded by a Table of Constitutional and Statutory Provisions referred to in the California Reports, with full references to the Reports; and followed by a Table of Cases, and Cases Criticised; and a copious Index. By CHARLES H. PARKER. In Two Volumes. San Francisco: H. H. Bancroft & Company. 1869.
This digest contains all that digests should, but often do not, contain. The index and the table of cases, which includes notes giving all the places where each case is criticised or is referred to, leave nothing to be desired. And it is with justifiable pride that Mr. Parker calls attention to the table of those Statutes of the State and of the United States which have been commented on by the