Friday, December 10, 2010

"the man rather than his message"

- - P O S T S C R I P T - -                                p. 15

It has been the purpose of this paper to present the man rather than his message. For those who care for a simple supplement to this presentation the following references are listed:

1. "Kierkegaard" by Walter Laurie. Seven hundred pages for seven dollars. Two-fifths of the book are direct quotations from S.K.'s writings. Published in 1938 by Oxford University Press.

2. "Lectures on the Religious Thoughts of Soren Kierkegarrd" delivered at Princeton Theological Seminary by Dr. Eduard Geismar, Professor of Theology at the University of Copenhagen. Published by the Augsburg Publishing House in 1937. ($2.00)

3. "Philosophical Fragments" by Soren Kierkegaard. Translated by Dr. David F. Swenson, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Minnesota. Published by the Princeton University Press in 1938. ($2.00)

4. Harpers has just published a translation of S.K.'s "Discourse" on "The Sun Heart."

American History Pop Quiz

I imagine my great-grandfather administering this quiz to his assembled children in the breakfast room of the manse in Cincinnati. It is three type written pages, undated, but marked with the Cleinview address. Here's a sample: 
  • I was called "the incarnate of the peddling penny Yankee," by Jefferson Davis.
  • "Antiquity would have raised altars to this genius who was able alike to restrain thunderbolts and tyrants," said Mirabeau about me.
  • I was called the "high priest of prudence" by Robert Louis Stevenson.
  • A printer, I wrote my own epitaph . . . "The body of A B Printer (the contents torn out and stripped of its lettering and gilding) lies here; but the work shall not be lost, for it will (as he believed) appear once more in a new and elegant edition, revised and corrected by the Author."
  • "He snatched the thunderbolts from heaven, the sceptre from tyrants," was said of me, at which I replied, "Notwithstanding, the thunderbolt continues to fall under our noses."  (Benjamin Franklin)
 And then this one:
  • Though I said, "I would rather be right than be President." a modern historian says, "He was neither." 
  • I was called the "Mill Boy of the Slashes" and the Great Pacificator. (Henry Clay)
And this:
  • "The boy orator of the Platte," I gained the Democratic nomination in 1896 by saying "I shall not help crucify mankind upon a cross of gold."
  • My support of Woodrow Wilson won for him the Democratic nomination in 1910, though in 1907 he said he wished to "do something both dignified and effective to knock me into a cocked hat."
  • My last efforts were made to defeat the teaching of evolution in schools and I engaged in a trial at Dayton, Tenn., when Clarence Darrow was counsel for the defense. "I have seventeen LL.D's, but they will call me an ignorant man." (William J. Bryan)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

"Valuable as is legal aid for the poor, the prevention, so far as possible of the necessity for it, is of even greater worth."

Causes of Legal Aid Need Should Be Attacked* by Murray Seasongood

With all the changes that have come about since my apprenticeship in legal aid in 1902, one wonders why the Cincinnati Legal Aid Society should still be running through the mill, each year, its six thousand or more civil cases and the several hundred criminal cases of its voluntary defender. Since the turn of the century we have acquired social security laws, old age pensions, unemployment insurance, the NLRB and, to do away with the horrors of the "fellow servant rule" and "assumption of risk" workmen's compensation laws. We have acquired also through WPA and PWA relief even to the extent of providing clothing; transportation in some cities (New York e.g.) at far less than cost; blue sky laws to prevent investment in unsound securities; declaratory judgments and arbitration and small claims courts; and teachers' and employees' credit companies. And yet the grind of cases seems to continue unabated and, indeed, to increase.

Must not, then, the legal aid enthusiast look to the causes of the cases coming in and seek to remedy those causes, rather than only to apply the palliative of help for the clients? The ideal legal aid society, or to be specific, the National Association of Legal Aid organizations, should, in my opinion, seek to diminish the causes of controversies in which legal aid organizations are asked to act. I present some subjects which are worthy of study and possibly, action:

First: Sickness insurance and insurance for hospital care. The question of socialized or cooperative medicine is too large a subject for discussion here. But, I became convinced, while one of the trustees of the Julius Rosenwald Fund, of the value of properly managed insurance for sickness and hospital care; especially after visiting the Negro hospital in New Orleans, entirely staffed by Negroes. That system is followed there with the greatest of success and childbirth is handled under the best and most sanitary methods, with instruction to the mother which benefits her and her child throughout life.

Second: The same for dental treatment and general adoption of rulings and legislation intended to curb the injury and awful expense incident to the activities of disreputable practitioners. . . .

Third: Constant and more searching investigation of all kinds of insurance than is afforded by state authorities, is necessary. . . .

Fourth: Loan companies, pawn brokers and professional bondsmen are common causes of financial distress.  . . .

Fifth: What shall be said of installment buying? It stimulates demand by making possible the purchase of numerous articles that would be impossible to acquire otherwise; but it is a frequent cause of distress. . . But not only are the  older kinds of purchases, such as furniture, houses and jewelry, still bought by the installment method, but there are radios, automobiles, watches and clocks, dress suits, dresses, cloaks and furs, and even razors so purchasable. . . .

Sixth: Automobile insurance should everywhere be compulsory, and not to have driving tests and licensing of drivers is really outrageous. How many times has it happened that a wage earner, through no fault of his own, is deprived of his means of livelihood temporarily or permanently, by a wholly irresponsible moron using an automobile. . . .

Seventh: The whole system of treatment of crime is hopelessly archaic. There is very little sensible attempt to rehabilitate the criminal and to allow him to re-adjust himself as a wage earner and supporter of a family.

Eighth: What shall we say of gambling, now largely utilized for "religious" and kindred purposes. Whether, and to what extent, this natural proclivity should be allowed is a subject for more consideration than it is receiving. But, certainly, if it is allowed, it should be under government supervision as is the case of European countries. Anything is better than non-enforcement and the collusion between criminals and low political gangs.

Ninth: More education and much more adult education is needed. Prevalence of existing crime has often been found due to malefactors having no skills for legitimate employment. Prostitution is an example. With better education, too, there would be better government and there is no doubt that the defective local government that pervades most of the United States results in non-use of public resources for the benefit of the localities and of those in them most in need.

Tenth: Finally, there should be a steady effort to reduce the cost of funerals and burials. Cities may conduct cemeteries  (e.g. Ohio General Code Sec. 4154--et sq.). I remember one of my first cases was for the widow of an engineer who was killed by the escape of ammonia fumes. She had an infant child and he left her $500.00, $495.00 of which was used for his funeral. Burial insurance, carried by many, is unduly expensive and results in extravagance in death out of all relation to the customary expenditures during life. Many cemetery associations also degenerate into rackets.

You may feel all this is a very ambitious program that, as some one said of Edward Everett Hale, "His specialty is the universe." My much esteemed friend, Reginald H. Smith of Boston (almost the embodiment of legal aid) said at the 1916 meeting of the Legal Aid Societies in Cincinnati, "The legal aid society cannot undertake to reform the world." While I differ with him on legal aid or any other matter with trepidation, still I make bold to ask, "Why not?" or at least why should not legal aid societies do something of the kind, instead of merely attending to the cases that come before them. Valuable as is legal aid for the poor, the prevention, so far as possible of the necessity for it, is of even greater worth.

Murray Seasongood (Oct. 27, 1878 - Feb. 21, 1983) served as the Mayor of Cincinnati from 1926-1930.

*From an address delivered at a meeting (July 25, 1938) of the Legal Aid Section of the American Bar Association. "The author's first experience with legal aid, in New York, in 1902, made him enthusiastic for this work. From 1930 to 1938 he was President of the Cincinnati Legal Aid Society; he was chairman for some time of the committee on Legal Aid of the Cincinnati Bar Association, during which period the Association made two contributions of $500 each. In 1932 a resolution offered by Mr. Seasongood concerning legal aid study was adopted by the International Congress of Comparative Law, meeting at The Hague, and another concerning the matter of the public defender at the Congress of 1937."

Reprinted from the Journal of the American Judicature Society. c. 1939

A Missionary View of the World

The following recently appeared in the Missionary Review of the World:

Total national income . . . $40,000,000,000
For all church work                 793,000,000
For roads and improving     1,432,000,000
For education                       2,174,650,000
For corn, wheat, cotton
    oats, etc.                           2,460,000,000
For automobiles                   2,769,000,000
For tobacco                          3,500,000,000
For alcoholic drinks             4,000,000,000

When the liquor traffic gets one-tenth of the income of the nation and the churches less than two percent, we see the lines of the forces engaged. There can be no solution until the power of greedy liquor forces has been taken away and they are put out of that destructive business.

The Missionary Review of the World, Vol. 61, Missionary Review Publishing Co., Inc., 1938. 

[Ed note: This is a typed carbon copy on Jesse Halsey's personal 7th Presbyterian Church stationery. The Missionary Review of the World was: "A monthly periodical that documented the great missionary outreach of the late 1800s and early 1900s," and contained "numerous articles and news items of inspirational and historical value."]

'prisoners of hope"

"We Believe" by Francis B. Sayre

In this faithless and materialistic age, those who believe in Christ's way of life must rekindle and strengthen their faith. We live in an age beset with discouragement and despair. The Christian cannot despair. We Christians are prisoners of hope.

We believe that the last word lies with God.

We believe, as Christ believed, that God is the supreme goodness. And we also dare to believe with Christ that God is supreme power. Therefore, we dare to believe in the ultimate and inevitable triumph of goodness.

Those who respond to God's advance by obedience and trust form the society of His children. To that society its members owe an allegiance above every other allegiance. By it all other loyalties are conditioned. Membership in the church of Christ demands specific action in life here and now.

For Christianity is not a dream. It is God's revelation of the only way of life that is finally practical, the only way that can satisfy the insistent needs of human nature. Above all else Christ was a realist. His way actually works. It solves and it heals. Such is the testimony of millions who have tried it. The world cannot function effectively until we learn to put Christ at the center of our lives.

[Ed note: Circa 1938. These paragraphs exist as a carbon copy typed on Jesse Halsey's personal 7th Presbyterian Church of Cincinnati stationery.  Generationally, it would seem the author is this Francis B. Sayre, although from an occupational standpoint the writing seems more aptly attributed to his son, the Very Rev. Francis B. Sayre, Jr. Authorship unresolved.]