In Memoriam Charles D. Long

OCTOBER 7, 1902

 Upon the convening of court on the afternoon of Tuesday, October 7, 1902, Mr. JOHN J. CARTON, of Flint, addressed the court as follows:
May it Please the Court:
To me has been accorded the privilege of presenting to this court, on behalf of the bar of the State, this portrait of your late associate and co-worker, Judge CHARLES D. LONG.

It has fallen to the lot of few men to fill so large a place in the history of his State as has Judge LONG, and no eulogy which I might pronounce would be as fitting as a brief sketch of his eventful life.

CHARLES DEAN LONG was born on a farm in the township of Grand Blanc, Genesee county, Michigan, on June 14, 1841. He attended the district schools of his native town, and worked upon the farm, until he was 13 years old. He then went to the city of Flint, where he attended the high school with a view of preparing for the University of Michigan.

During the time he attended the high school he earned the money with which to pay his board and tuition by working for various persons in the city of Flint, and by teaching school in the district schools of the county. At the age of 20 he finished his preparatory course, and the vision of a university education began to loom up before him. Just at this time the great civil war began, and, prompted by a patriotic desire to serve his country, he relinquished his former plans, and on the 12th day of August, 1861, enlisted as a private in company A, 8th Michigan infantry. He went to the front with his company and regiment, and served in the various engagements in which they took part until the battle of Wilmington Island, Ga., on the 16th day of April, 1862, where he was twice wounded, one ball entering his left hip, penetrating the body and lodging in the right groin, where it remained until the time of his death, and from which he was a daily sufferer; the other causing the loss of his left arm. These wounds rendering him unfit for further service in the field, he returned to the city of Flint and commenced the study of law.

In the fall of 1864 he was elected to the office of county clerk of the county of Genesee, which office he held for four successive terms. He was admitted to the bar in the circuit court for the county of Genesee on the 25th day of May, 1870. He was elected prosecuting attorney of the county of Genesee in the fall of 1874, and was re-elected in 1876 and 1878, holding the office for six years. In 1880 he was one of the four supervisors of census for Michigan. In 1885 he served as department commander of the department of Michigan, G. A. R. In the spring of 1887 he was elected one of the justices of this court, and took his seat on January 1, 1888, which position he held to the time of his death.

Every position which Judge LONG has held, whether chosen by himself or called to it by the suffrages of his fellow citizens, he has filled with ability and distinction. As a student in school he was capable, and an earnest and indefatigable worker. As a soldier he was self-sacrificing and brave. As county clerk he discharged his duties with ability and fidelity. As a lawyer he was industrious, able, and zealous. From the time he was admitted to the bar he took a front rank among the members of his chosen profession, and during the years of his practice, before he was called to the bench, he ranked as one of the ablest practitioners of the State. As a citizen he was high-minded and patriotic.

As a friend he was generous, true, and loyal.

I need not in this presence speak of his work as one of the justices of this court. The opinions written by him, which are contained in the 60 or more volumes of Reports which have been published since he took his seat on the bench, speak in language more forceful, more enduring, than anything I might say. In any company, or in any ,community, Judge LONG’S presence was like a ray of sunshine, diffusing cheer and gladness to all who came within its radiance. Though a constant sufferer from the ravages of a wound received while fighting in defense of his country, he was an ardent student and an indefatigable worker in his profession to the time when, enfeebled by disease, he was compelled to desist. His life and achievements are an inspiration to every young man who aspires to attain eminence in any calling or profession, and typify in a marked degree the opportunities and the possibilities which the free institutions of this country afford to her people, rich and poor alike. This portrait upon these walls, beside those with whom he labored and whose labor he took up, will be a fitting sequel to his labors here, and a constant benediction to those who look upon it.

 MR. GEORGE E. TAYLOR, of Flint, on behalf of the Genessee county bar, then presented the following memorial, requesting that it be made of record in this court, as it had been at the circuit:

Judge CHARLES DEAN LONG having on the 27th day of June, 1902, departed this life, it is most proper that such action be taken as will, in a measure at least, express our deep sorrow for the loss which this bar, as well as the State at large, has sustained, and that we pay such tribute to his memory as is befitting his sterling worth as a man and citizen, his eminence as a lawyer and judge, and that we record a just appreciation of the great and valued public service which he rendered as a member of our Supreme Court.

As an individual, Judge LONG, although a constant sufferer from a painful and unhealing wound received while fighting for his country, was possessed of a kindly, genial nature, which, like sunshine, made his presence ever welcome to all who knew him. He was not only held in the highest esteem, but no man was ever more honored and loved by all who were fortunate enough to gain his acquaintance; so much so that his death is a personal bereavement to a large and extended circle of friends and admirers. Unaided by the potential power of a collegiate education, with nothing but the force of an energetic mind and patient industry, he rose from the humble practitioner to the highest judicial position in the State. As a lawyer, the faithful, energetic, and able manner in which he discharged his duties not only gained the entire trust and confidence of a large and important clientage, but soon won for him a place in the front ranks of the profession, and paved the way for his elevation to the Supreme Court of the State.

Judge LONG brought to the discharge of his duties as a member of the highest judicial tribunal of this State, not only a profound knowledge of the law, a high regard for its standards, and a sincere love for its principles, but was otherwise equipped with that calm, judicial temperament and intellectual equipoise, that broad-minded sympathy and kindly feeling for all classes and conditions of men, which make as near an approach to the ideal judge as human nature will permit. The qualities with which nature had thus richly endowed him were exercised with great intelligence, perfect impartiality of spirit, and unswerving integrity of purpose. In reaching his conclusions he was unmoved by the voice of class prejudice, never inclined his ear to public clamor, or sought to curry popular favor at the expense of sound principles of law. No matter who might approve or who might frown, to pronounce the law as he found it to be was his highest ambition.
We greatly deplore his loss, and sincerely sympathize with his bereaved family; but trust that they, as well as all others who mourn his death, will find consolation in the knowledge that he left behind the influence of a spotless character, an honored name, and an example that will be a source of inspiration to others for all time.

We also request that this memorial be spread at length upon the records of this court, which he adorned with the best efforts of his life, and to the enduring honor and renown of which his years of able and conscientious service have so greatly contributed. We further request that a copy hereof be transmitted to his family and given to the public press.

Mr. TAYLOR further spoke as follows:
May it Please the Court:

On June 29th last, on a Sabbath day, in the presence of a large concourse of sorrowing friends, loving hands laid all that was mortal of CHARLES D. LONG at rest in one of the beautiful cemeteries situate in the county of his birth, where for the greater part of his life he had lived. Time has lessened in some degree the keen sorrow then shown, but, so long as the memory of his acquaintances lasts, so long will he be mourned.

For upward of a third of a century, in various ways, I was intimately associated with Justice LONG, and a more intelligent, genial, and companionable man it has never been my fortune to meet. He was a stalwart youth, a perfect specimen of physical manhood, an athlete, fond of all the manly sports into which healthful and spirited youth enters. Even then he was an acknowledged leader. When 21 years of age the channel of his life was changed by reason of the war of the rebellion. Though then ready to enter college, he enlisted in the 8th Michigan infantry to defend the flag of his country. On April 16, 1862, in battle at Wilmington Island, Ga., he was twice wounded and carried from the field. The result of those wounds was the loss of his left arm and a wound in the side that never healed, and from which he was an hourly sufferer for 40 years, or until the hour of his death. Thus handicapped with impaired health and a mutilated body, Mr. LONG began the study of law, which he pursued for ten years, eight years of which time he served his county as clerk of the circuit court. Admitted to the bar as an attorney-at-law in 1872, he at once became prominent in his profession, and from 1875 to 1881 was prosecuting attorney of Genessee county. His profound knowledge of the law and skill as a trial lawyer, coupled with his judicial mind and eloquence as an advocate, soon won for him more than a local fame, and at the early age of 45, only 15 years after his admission to the bar, he was elected a member of this high court. His services as a justice of the Supreme Court are well known by the profession, and, I believe, appreciated by his associates on the bench. This appreciation has suffered no diminution because of the several changes in the personnel of this court. His grandest works are interwoven with those of his associates in 60 volumes of the State Reports.

Nothing was more observable in Justice LONG than the manner in which he kept distinct in his own person the characters of the judge and the lawyer. It was always observed of him by members of the bar that his modes of reasoning and kinds of eloquence which he used as advocate were entirely changed in analysis, reasoning, and proof shown in his judicial decisions.

This State has long been fruitful in great men among its eminent jurists, the natural consequence of tireless energy, devotion to study, love of calling, and of honorable lives. And we this day pay tribute to the memory of one who, by his life work, has gained an undoubted and peculiar title to our regard.

It is not needful to ask the judgment of mankind as to Judge LONG’S character as a politician. Conventions, ballots, and parties of this and every other period of his life are among the dead things of his past. His character as a citizen, as a profound lawyer, and as a wise and impartial judge remains a great and imperishable treasure, to which we point as a proof that free America often produces men who can act with dignity, fairness, and impartiality in every station in life.
The last words of the celebrated Charles Wesley were, “The workmen die, but the work goes on.” The workmen who framed the Constitution and laws of our State have passed away, but their work lives after them, has been upheld by those who followed, and, I trust, will be sustained by our children forever.

We cannot scan the future; to some degree the past may interpret it, but in its whole length it lies far beyond our vision. The history or the lives of such men as CAMPBELL, COOLEY, CHRISTIANCY, CHAMPLIN, SHERWOOD, MARSTON and LONG is a living example of what my be accomplished by the ambitious under the institutions guaranteed by the laws of a free republic, and holds out to youth, struggling against adverse environments, the hope of ultimate success.

To those who knew Judge LONG, who knew of his charities, of his courteous and sympathetic nature, his ever bright and genial intercourse with all, his death will be a personal loss, and thousands will mourn his untimely end. I can point to no one whose daily life and character afford a better and more commendable example for all men to emulate than his.

I am not advised as to his profession of faith regarding a future life. I do not know as he believed in any creed as a saving ordinance. But I do believe judging from human intelligence, because of his works and his charities, he is entitled to a crown; for I feel that the impartial man who rests in the awful majesty of death carries with him credentials of good deeds done in the body which far outweigh his shortcomings, and which insure to him all the happiness that pertains to mortals after death. We who knew him, treasure his memory.

 Remarks by the Honorable ALLEN B. MORSE:
May it Please the Court:
I knew the late CHARLES D. LONG years before his highest honors awaited him. I knew him when he and I were both practitioners before this court. I knew him for two and a half years while I was a judge of this court and he was a practitioner before it. I knew him for nearly four and a half years in my association with him upon the bench. I loved him as well as I ever loved any man in my life.

As far as his services as a jurist are concerned, I do not care to speak. His services upon this bench are recorded in the written Reports of this court, and they will live, long after we are dead, to his enduring honor.

He was a soldier in the service of his country when his country needed men, in such a time of peril as this nation never knew before, and, God grant, will never know again. When but a mere youth he stood under the flag of his country, defending your homes and mine, on an island in the South, and he left that island with the loss of an arm, and with another ever-bleeding wound that remained with him until his death,—a wound, as you, his associates, know, the pain of which was so patiently and so cheerfully borne that but few knew he had it, and fewer yet knew how he suffered with it.
He was a man born to love and be loved by his fellow men. Every element and instinct of his nature was kindly. He was the most unselfish man, I think, that I ever knew. He was a good citizen, a true friend, a faithful public servant, and a lovable man.

I am not old as years go, but it seems to me that death is busy among my friends, and there is hardly a week in my life of late years but some man whom I know and love passes away, and I have felt within the last month the near touch of death in my own household. It will be but a few years when we who are here today will be gone from this world. I only hope that the memory of all of us will be revered and loved as the people of this State will revere and love CHARLES D. LONG. Happy will it be for us if we will be remembered as he is remembered.

He was a man to be loved, as I have said, a man whose work on this bench was true to every instinct and feeling of good. He was a human being; he may have had his faults, but I never saw them. I believe, may it please the court, that he who serves his fellow men best serves God best; and if God loves CHARLES D. LONG as Judge LONG loved his fellow men, the life of our friend in the world to come is well and happily assured.

I am glad that I have been able to be here today to pay this little tribute to his memory and to his worth.

 Mr. DE VERE HALL spoke as follows: I feel, may it please the court, that it is almost a duty resting upon me to say something at this time, although I did not expect to when I came into the court-room this afternoon. It would seem almost impossible to add to the things that have been said regarding the late Judge LONG. Personally I recall him in two capacities,–the one as the judge and the other as the friend. It seemed almost impossible to distinguish, as he sat on the bench, whether he was a judge or a friend, because his feelings were always so kindly, as I thought, to the one who stood before the bar, that I do not believe he ever divorced the feeling of keen sympathy with the members of the bar from his position on the bench. I have felt at times, in the embarrassments that surround the argument of a case, that, by looking at his kindly face, I could find relieve, and I have done that many times. I think it was a marked characteristic of his that, as you looked at him at such a time, you seemed to feel his sympathy,—that there was a sympathy with that which you were trying to evolve.

I think, if I may speak of the benefit of Judge LONG’S services to this State, that it may be said that it appears upon one-half of the adjudicated law of this State,– one-half of the volumes that have been pronounced by this court; that he came upon the bench at a time when new questions were being presented,–questions that are presented to your honors every day now, practically, but which, prior to the time that he became one of your associates, did not engage the attention of the court as they do today. They were the great questions that arise as between the man who labors and the man who employs labor; and I believe that no one has ever sat on this bench who has so thoroughly appreciated the correlative rights of the two as the late departed Judge LONG. I think it will stand as a monument to his memory that in all cases of that character he has gone even to the extent of changing his mind when it was necessary in order to reach a more fitting conclusion, as he determined it. I believe that it will stand as a monument to his memory that he never allowed that pride of personal opinion to prevent him from changing from that which he first said was the law, when more light disclosed something else as his judgment of the law.

I recall him last as he appeared in his ordinary condition of health. I did not see him after sickness had made its ravages felt upon him. When I saw in one of the Detroit papers that he had been down to the Russell House, I could not resist the temptation of writing him a letter, expressing my hope that I would see him again here performing the duties of his office. But my letter was, unanswered and I realized at that time that the hope was in vain. I believe that no citizen of the State has better earned that emancipation from pain and from labor which we believe he has secured.

 Remarks by Mr. Justice MOORE: Thirty-three years ago I formed the acquaintance of CHARLES D. LONG. He was then clerk of Genesee, county. I was deputy clerk of the adjoining county of Lapeer. We were both reading law as opportunity offered. At about the same time we were admitted to practice by the venerable Josiah Turner, who is still living. We were early associated as counsel in important litigation, and interested in the success of the same aspirants for political honors. The friendship then formed steadily grew with the passing years, until I cam to love this lovable man as a brother is loved.

When I had the honor to be elected a member of this court, he wrote me, asking me to occupy a room opening into his own until I could move my family to Lansing, and volunteered to aid me what he could in my new duties. It is needless to say I was only too glad to accept the proffered courtesy. During the four months we were so intimately associated, I came to know, as I could not in any other way, the wonderful industry of the man, and his cheerful courage in the almost constant presence of death. After one of the visits of the surgeon, who was compelled to use the probe so frequently, that the wound received in honorable service should not be allowed to heal and cause his death, Justice LONG told me of the mental contest he had after his arm had been amputated, and the efforts to locate and remove the bullet in his body had failed. He said he knew that death might come to him at any time, but he determined that each day should be a cheerful day, and that he would take up life’s duties courageously. We all know how well he carried out that determination; how his presence was like a flood of sunshine. He did not fear death, but, though he did not fear it, he expected to recover from his illness. Upon his last visit to Lansing, when he was about to return to Detroit, he took me by the hand and said, “Don’t you worry about me; I am getting better; I shall be back in October, prepared to take up my full share of the work.” Alas, how little we know what the future has in store for us! Instead of his seat upon this bench being occupied with his gracious presence, it is draped in mourning, and, with words which seem too inadequate, we are attempting to express the great respect in which we held him. Two weeks after the conversation of which I have spoken, the door we call death swung upon its noiseless hinges, and ushered the great soul of Justice LONG into the eternal peace.

I cannot trust myself to speak of this dear friend, but content myself with reading a communication from a young lawyer, now a resident of Chicago, who for several years was intimately connected with the members of this court. Marquis Eaton wrote:
“CHARLES D. LONG was the most lovable man we knew. He combined in his character all the force of manhood, earnest, effective, and determined, with all the faith of womanhood, trustful, sweet, and sympathetic. His heart was as tender as the heart of a child. He was sensitive to a degree; yet hurt rather than offended, grieved rather than disturbed. He forgave at the first sign of remorse, and the thing forgiven was blotted out forever. He loved the pure, the tender, and the true. He hated the coarse, the harsh, the insincere. His gospel was that of helpfulness and charity. He did more things for more men than any we can name. He gave generously, ungrudgingly, without thought or suggestion of reward. He found his supremest happiness in doing good; not spectacularly, but quietly, with modesty and gentleness. He was charitable, but he tempered his charity with justice. He was always fair. He permitted no rights to be disregarded, not even his own. He guarded these as jealously as he did the rights of others, but not more jealously. He loved his neighbor as himself, but he loved himself; he respected himself; he had confidence in himself; he trusted himself. We trusted him, confided in him, respected him, and loved him as our own.
“If the young men whose lives were touched by his are ever coarse or faithless or unjust, it shall not be for want of an example of true graciousness and goodness, of real purity and peace. We shall dedicate to his sweet memory the best we have or shall achieve, and hold him guiltless for our failures and our insufficiencies. He was the young man’ s friend and choice ensample, and youth is everywhere the richer for his life and the poorer for his death.”

 By Mr. Justice GRANT:
I first met Judge LONG in one of the other rooms of this court, in October, 1889. He had then been upon the bench nearly two years, and I had just been elected as a member. We met by appointment in that room, and as I grasped his hand and he grasped mine, and we looked for the first time in one another’s faces, I felt that I had met an old and true friend. The frankness with which he greeted me was an assurance that here was a man in whom there was no guile, and I read then for the first time in his countenance a man whose sole desire it was to be true to his friends, true to his manhood, and true to the office to which he was elected. I was not disappointed in the estimate I had then formed of him. For 12 years I sat around the consultation table with him, and sat upon this bench with him. It seemed as if his sole purpose was to fulfill the high office which the people had entrusted to him. He had no desire to change the rules of law to meet a particular case. He recognized, as much as any man I ever knew, that hard cases make bad law, and that stable law was the one which would bring the greatest justice and prosperity to the people, and his sole object was in view of cases to attain that end. And in cases of equity, it would be difficult to find a man whose sole object was so great to attain the end of justice.

His career as a soldier has been spoken of. It was my privilege to talk with the physician who attended him on the field of battle, and he told me that, as he was taken to the hospital, it was then thought that he was beyond recall. Thousands of men died with wounds less serious than his. It was his indomitable pluck, his courage, and his energy that saved him from the fearful wounds which he then received. And as my brother, Mr. MONTGOMERY, has just said, we who have sat around the table with him so long have seen the expression of pain come over his face as he suffered from the wound he had received, and he would be obliged to ask one of his associates to go with him to his room, to open up the wound, which was covered up, the covering up of which for any length of time meant certain death.

It was his indomitable courage that kept him up so long during his fatal illness. I saw him for the last time at his own home in Detroit. I had not seen him for a long time. As I entered his room he lay upon a couch, and I was shocked as I looked at his features and regarded the immediate presence of death. But the smile of old greeted me, and he tried to rise from his couch. He spoke with feeling and kindness of the sympathy and respect of his associates, and of what they had done for him; but there was the same indomitable energy that carried him through the battle field, and through his somewhat stormy and hard life, as he then spoke of the time when he expected to be back with us and resume his duties upon the bench.

Judge LONG, as has already been remarked, was an amiable and kindly gentleman; he was the truest friend that man ever had; he was a good citizen; he was a good and incorruptible judge. And one of the greatest and highest encomiums that can be pronounced upon any man in the position of judge is that he was a good one. I believe, in consideration of the good qualities and characteristics of the late Judge LONG as a citizen, as a man, and as a judge, that his place in the world to come is assured him.

Chief Justice HOOKER spoke as follows:
My Brethren:
For nearly a year prior to the present term of court, as you have come before us to present your causes, you have been confronted by an empty chair. Today its sable draperies proclaim the victory of death. They speak of a soul that has fled.

 Judge LONG entered upon the battle of professional life under adverse circumstances. He had sacrificed, upon the altar of his country, time, health, and vitality, all of which were essential to success, and lacking which his achievements would have been impossible but for extraordinary energy and perseverence. From his success we may learn the value of courage, industry, perseverence, self-denial. Being deprived of the opportunity of learning the rudiments of his profession in a law school, he absorbed them through association with courts and lawyers, in the performance of his duties as county clerk, and hard study in private, and, before the expiration of his term of office, was admitted to the bar. After a comparatively short period of practice he was elected a member of this court, of which he has for 15 years been an honored and most useful member. He was the senior justice of the present bench in length of service. He was an associate of the late Mr. Justice CAMPBELL for about two years; and his death leaves Mr. Justice GRANT the last connecting link between the bench as originally constituted and as it exists today. Of his original associates but one is living, Mr. Justice MORSE, who is present with us upon this occasion.

It is not my purpose to dwell upon the early life of our distinguished dead. His early neighbors and friends are here, and have done that; and it is fitting they should, for it is no disparagement to say that the tried and true friends of youth are a little nearer and dearer to us all than are the acquaintances of later life. They speak from knowledge and from the heart that which would be but hearsay from me, when they tell us of the early struggles of our mutual friend.

It is impossible for me to associate with another as the members of this bench have done with Judge LONG for a decade, without forming an accurate estimate of the man, and, with such a man as Judge LONG, without coming very close to him. There was a free, generous openheartedness about him that invited confidence, an ever-ready sympathy for his friends, which did not find its limit in empty words, but which aspired to helpfulness. He always had time to devote to the affairs of others, and procrastination was a word not found in his vocabulary. He was as ready to aid a needy and uninfluential man to secure or hold a place where he could obtain a living, as to support the cause of the most influential; as many men and women who daily come and go within these walls will testify. It falls to the lot of few men to be so widely known, and so universally beloved, as was Judge LONG. A more agreeable, companionable, and chivalrous associate than Mr. Justice LONG could not be found or desired. He had strong convictions, but was in no sense unyielding. He appreciated the full force of an argument, although in opposition to his expressed views, or an opinion that he had written. He was always cheerful, considerate, kind, and tolerant. He had no false pride of opinion. He was not partisan, nor was he biased.

Over two years ago premonitory symptoms of a breaking down were seen. He took an ocean trip, hoping to benefit therefrom; but this was a disappointment. He had periods of encouragement, but the obvious trend was toward the worse. He finished the cases assigned to him at the June, 1901, term, and attempted to sit through the October term of that year; but he was forced to yield, and after the second week he never sat with us again. Of the cases assigned to him he dictated about a dozen. Late last spring, and after his failing health made it clear that he would be unable to correct the original draughts, they were examined, and, without other change than typographical corrections, were copied and filed. They will appear in the Reports as his opinions, but without his signature. They close his judicial work, which will be found reported in 63 volumes of our Reports, viz., from volume 68 to volume 130, inclusive.

It is unnecessary for me to say much of his opinions; they speak for themselves.

They are perspicuous, logical and convincing, while running through them all, whether discussions of fact or abstruse questions of law, like a thread of gold, there are to be seen the human sympathy and strong sense of justice which were the predominating traits of the man’s character. When we reflect upon the painful nature of his physical injuries, and the permanent disabilities under which he constantly labored, we are amazed that he accomplished so much and did his work so well.

We are here to pay a loving tribute to one of the warmest and truest hearts that it is the fortune of man to meet,–a melancholy privilege, from which we instinctively shrink, and for which we as instinctively yearn, with a feeling akin to that of one who looks upon the cold face of a venerated father. He would turn away in sorrow, but a force, before unknown, impels him to linger, and return again and yet again. So it is with, our deceased brother, of whom we today take our official leave, by consigning his well-earned fame to the mausoleum of our records and Reports, there to be preserved and perpetuated with those of his predecessors, and his portrait to a place upon our walls, where it will look down upon the scene of his labors and the friends of other days. But it is in the innermost recesses of our hearts that his living memory will be embalmed.

The request of the Genesee county bar will be granted, the resolutions and a report of these proceedings will be entered in the journal of the court and published in our Reports, and a copy will be sent to his widow. His portrait will be accepted and placed upon the walls of this room; and, out of respect for his memory, the court will adjourn for the day.
Remarks appropriate to the occasion were also made by others, among them Mr. Justice MONTGOMERY, which, unfortunately, were not preserved.