Eulogy for Murray Floyd Tuley, January 18, 1906 Also known as: Address of Miss Jane Addams, January 18, 1906

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Perhaps what we need above all things in this huge incoherent town of ours, always on the verge of lawlessness, is men who will rigidly enforce the existing laws, while, at the same time, they will frankly admit the inadequacy of these laws, and work without stint for progressive regulations better fitted to the newer issues among which our lot is cast. We need to learn that we cannot enforce the laws of a community, nor even elevate its ethical standards, save by a quickening of its moral sensibilities and by increasing its sensitiveness to wrong, and that unless the growing conscience is successfully embodied in legal enactments, men lose the habit of turning to the law for guidance and redress. As the generations before us tore justice from the skies and set it in the midst of laws and tribunals which men made for themselves, so generations to come, beginning even with our own, are making the first tentative effort to establish justice in men's social and industrial relations, to set up a court anew in the moral consciousness of their contemporaries.

Perhaps no man upon the Cook County Bench was so ready to turn his serious and disciplined mind to finding out how the legal machinery might more closely fit existing conditions, and the much needed reforms be embodied in laws and ordinances, than Judge Tuley, whom we have come here today to honor. I recall, in illustration of this, an instance which took place fifteen years ago. I had newly come to Chicago, fresh from the country, and had little idea of the social and industrial conditions in which I found myself, on Halsted street, when a dozen girls came from a neighboring factory with a grievance in regard to their wages. The affair could hardly have been called a labor difficulty, the girls had never heard of a trades union, and were totally unaccustomed to acting together. It was more in the nature of a scrap between themselves and their foreman. In the effort toward adjustment, arbitration was suggested and the one name in the world outside with which the girls were familiar was Judge Tuley's. When the difficulty was placed before him he suggested that the matter be tried in his chambers, under the Tuley law, which was then new and which required that both litigants agree to accept the decision of the judge without appeal to a higher court, and then to appear before him without attorneys. I have never forgotten the care and consideration, the courtesy and deference with which Judge Tuley gave himself to this trivial matter, for the wages concerned for all the girls counted but a few cents a week. His painstaking and just decision pleased both sides, a thing unique in my experience in labor adjudication, and there remains vividly in my memory a conversation I held with him after the litigants were gone. He spoke of his belief in the capacity of the common law to meet all legitimate labor difficulties which may arise; of its remarkable adaptability to changing conditions under the decision of wise and progressive judges, but that in order to adjust it to our industrial affairs it must be interpreted, not so much in relation to precedents established under an industrial order which belongs to the past, but in reference to that newer sense of justice which this generation is seeking to embody in industrial relations. He foresaw something of the stress and storm of the industrial conflicts which have occurred in Chicago since then, and he expressed the hope that the Bench of Cook County might rise to the opportunity in this new and difficult situation of dealing with labor difficulties in a judicial spirit. What a difference it would have made in the history of Chicago during the last fifteen years if more men had been possessed of this temper and wisdom!

It is said that no man on the Cook County Bench had so few of his decisions reversed by the superior courts. May not this illustrate the fact that no man can interpret the laws we have, unless at the same time he sees the inadequacy of those laws and the need of progressive legislation? We count it high praise of most men to say that they held fast to the ideals of their youth, meaning that they did not become sordid and spotted by the world. Yet this would have been meager praise for Judge Tuley, for he advanced his ideals with the growing demands of his time and was ever in the vanguard of the community's progress. He had one of those rare minds, capable of vigorous growth and of effective use to the very end.

Perhaps no one was more jealous of the prerogative and dignities of the bench than this venerable judge, this Nestor of the Bar, and yet he was willing to sacrifice, on occasion, his possible duty as a judge in order to exercise his citizen. He was willing to publicly discuss matters which might otherwise have been brought before him to adjudicate, because he so clearly saw that trained public opinion is quite as necessary to social progress, as are judicial decisions. It is easy for all of us to shirk the discussion of current issues under the plea of remaining impartial; it is a temptation to remain a silent coward and to think oneself a tolerant spectator. And yet, in spite of Judge Tuley's open-minded policy, it is said by the legal profession of Chicago that, of all the judges of this community, he held the reputation of being the most non-partisan and impartial. May not this perhaps illustrate that most mysterious of all hard sayings, that he alone saves his life who is ready to lose it, and that he alone can be impartial who has the courage of his convictions.

Judge Tuley had learned much of life and, above all, had come not to be afraid of the desires and demands of the people. He knew that every reform, however drastic, when put into operation is bound to disappoint the flaming hopes of its advocates, and that it will also invariably fail to overturn the existing order of society, as the opponents and conservatives eternally predict. He knew that there is a self-regulating element in society itself, a common sense in the mass of men which may be forever trusted, that history can point to no community which has rushed into excesses upon the acquisition of new found power, save those communities which have been unduly repressed, and which have received their new liberties without a previous period of discussion and adjustment, of slow trial and gradual preparation. Therefore, he was all for free discussion, for "new experiments in living," for enlarging the functions of municipal government and for extending the franchise. Many of us recall that some years ago, when it was considered most [page 2] important that women should use their vote for the trustee of the State University, in order to demonstrate their desire for fuller suffrage, that Judge Tuley accompanied his invalid wife to the polling booth and fairly carried her into it from the carriage that he might make with her this demonstration in favor of woman suffrage, which he had advocated all his life.

In this generation of ours, when the belief in immortality seems to have become so elusive, when it is discussed pro and con in fashionable books of essays, and in the most respectable and conservative of magazines, nothing serves so well to reestablish it for us as the life and death of a righteous man, he who has fulfilled the measure of his years upon earth, and during all those years has become identified with the powers which stand for integrity, with the causes which make for progress, who has given of his strength to establish justice between man and man, and has ever plead the cause of the people. If we are bereft of all other sanction for our belief, in a moment such as this we would, perforce, be driven back to the old statement of Plato that, though all else may be transitory in human affairs, the excellent must become the permanent.


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