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TWENTY-NINTH ANNUAL MEETING
WILL BE HELD AT
ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA,
On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday,
August 29, 30 and 31, 1906.
TWENTY-EIGHTH ANNUAL MEETING
American Bar Association,
NARRAGANSETT PIER, RHODE ISLAND,
AUGUST 23, 24 AND 25, 1905.
Wednesday, August 23, 1905. The Twenty-eighth Annual Meeting of the American Bar Association convened at the Hotel Mathewson, Narragansett Pier, Rhode Island, Wednesday, August 23, 1905, at 10.30 A. M.
The meeting was called to order by James Hagerman, of Missouri, the last President, who introduced the President, Henry St. George Tucker, of Virginia, who then took the chair.
Gentlemen of the American Bar Association: I am very glad that my first official act in this position gives me the pleasure of presenting to you a distinguished jurist of the gallant little State of Rhode Island, Judge William H. Sweetland, who desires to say a word to the Association.
William H. Sweetland, of Rhode Island:
Mr. President and gentlemen of the American Bar Association: In behalf of the Rhode Island Bar Association, I wish to welcome you to our state and to express to you the pleasure, not only of the members of the Bar, but also of the
people of this state, that you have honored us by selecting Rhode Island as the place for this annual meeting. We are very glad that you are here. We appreciate the importance and the absorbing nature of your deliberations, but we sincerely trust that before you leave us we will have the opportunity and be permitted to become acquainted personally with your distinguished membership, and we also trust that you will find time before you go to see something of us, to consider our history, the kind of our people and to see some of those physical characteristics of our state which we think cannot fail to interest the discriminating stranger within our gates.
We are a small state, and we make but a very small spot upon a quite large map. It is the custom of our neighbors, facetiously and in patronage, to refer to the very limited number of our square miles, but there are favored spots within this state where, as far as the naked eye can reach, one can see nothing but Rhode Island. Those are particularly favored points of survey. Before you go, we trust that you will feel, as we do, that we are not small, but rather that we are compact, easily accessible to each other and that without very much traveling one can get together the numerous data of the problem of what Rhode Island is, which we think will prove interesting to you and is very dear to us.
About six or seven miles northwest of us is the birthplace of Gilbert Stuart, the great portrayer of Washington, and in the old State House at Newport and in the State House at Providence are two examples of his work upon his immortal subject. A little farther west of us is the scene of the Great Swamp fight, an incident so momentous in early New England colonial history. A little farther west still are the tribal remains of the once powerful and numerous Narragansetts. On this water in front of us, in 1775, sailed the fleet of the Rhode Island navy, the first naval force in our history, and from Providence came Esek Hopkins, the first commodore and commander-in-chief of the Continental navy. Across this water, and easily reached from here, is Newport, so full of natural attractions, historic interest
and many exhibitions of the changing of modern wealth into material beauty; the home of Oliver Hazard Perry, the hero of Lake Erie, and of Commodore Matthew Perry, who opened Japan to that career of modern progress of which we hear so much today. A little farther upon the island upon which Newport is situated is the field of the battle of Rhode Island, one of the few pitched battles of the Revolution fought on New England soil. A little farther up on one side of the bay is the harbor of the ancient town of Bristol made famous in recent years by the ship-building skill of the Herreshoffs. Across the bay is the beautiful town of Warwick, the birthplace of General Nathaniel Greene, the second soldier of the Revolution. Above is the location where the men of Rhode Island, in the destruction of the British “Gaspee,” entered into the first armed conflict with English authority in all the colonies. At the head of the bay lies Providence, to us the beautiful city of historic association, of wealth, of culture, of commerce and of industry, the seat of Brown University, that ancient foundation of learning, the city of Roger Williams.
These and many other things of natural scenery, of historic interest, of populous city and town, of workshop and factory, Rhode Island presents to the eye of the traveler. All these things we prize. But it is not alone of sea or shore; it is not alone of our wealth that we are proud, but rather of our history and of what we think is the character of our people. Rhode Island is a state founded upon an idea. And ideas and principles have continued to be vital forces in our development. It was not for any commercial or industrial advantage or for any material benefit that Roger Williams came to Rhode Island, but to make here what he expressed as a “lively experiment" of his then novel doctrine of religious freedom, the separation of church and state, and the men who followed him were men of the same character, men of ideas, men of advanced political and religious thought, men with the steadfast and uncompromising courage of their convictions. Those who have come to us later have brought maybe more of material
enterprise; but they, in their turn, have been affected by the character of our founders, and there has gone along with great advance in wealth, great independence, great individuality in our citizens.
In such a community as this, the lawyer must take a high place, and throughout all our history lawyers have been leaders in the political, the intellectual and the social life of our state. It is, therefore, with particular pleasure that a community such as ours, a state founded upon ideas, bids welcome to such a body of men as yourselves, whose avocation is ideas and the consideration of principles rather than compromises, and I feel sure that we will understand each other.
It was the hope of the Rhode Island Bar Association that the length of your meeting here would permit you to be our guests for a sail on Narragansett Bay, and also to partake with us of a Rhode Island clam-bake, that great gastronomic festival indigenous to these shores which, in its best estate, is more than a feast and partakes somewhat of the nature of a rite, but
say that it is not possible and, therefore, we have been obliged to curtail our plans for your entertainment.
And now, in behalf of the Rhode Island Bar Association, I want to invite you and the ladies who accompany you here to sail with us tomorrow afternoon and to take luncheon on board. We sincerely trust that all of you may be with us on that occasion.
In the past it has been the privilege of others of our sister commonwealths to welcome this Association and to have this annual meeting of yours within their borders, and though, as compared with them, Rhode Island may be restricted in population and in area, yet in the heartiness of the welcome that it extends to you today Rhode Island stands as imperial as any other.
On behalf of the American Bar Association, Judge Sweetland, I desire to return thanks for your kind words of welcome, and to say that we have already enjoyed the warm grip