Memorial Exercises On Death Of Justice Campbell

APRIL 8, 1890

HON. JAMES V. CAMPBELL died suddenly at his residence in the city of Detroit, Wednesday morning, March 26, 1890. Upon receipt at the Capitol, of the intelligence of his death, Governor Luce immediately issued the following:


Executive Office
Lansing, Mich.

Judge JAMES V. CAMPBELL died at his home in Detroit on Wednesday morning, March 26. He was sixty-seven years of age; sixty-four years a resident of the city in which he died, and for thirty-three years, and since its organization, a member of the Supreme Court of this State.

Through more than seventy volumes of the reports of that distinguished body has he builded for himself a monument of the jurisprudence that shall abide and be read of men through the changing storms of passion and opinion.

His kindly, genial and honest face shall long remain with us, so fortunate as to have known him; but when our memory has gone out, others, less favored than we, will through the centuries gather inspiration and thought from his works and daily extol his wisdom.

Some time before his death, in writing of a deceased friend, he said: “He was pure, brave, tender, honest, faithful. He loved God and loved men.” So much, but not enough, do these words signify to convey the sentiments of love and respect that labor for expression in this bereavement.

So long has he walked among us, pleasant and obliging in manner, broad and unassuming in mind and exemplary in the virtues of noble Christian character, that without distinction a common people mourn a common loss.
In recognition of a general sentiment and as a slight but fitting tribute to the memory of a truly great and good man, I deem it proper that observance be made on the day of his funeral.

Therefore it is hereby directed that flags on the capitol building be placed at half mast until after his burial, and that on Friday, the 28 th day of March, the day appointed for the funeral, all ordinary business in the Executive Chamber and in the other Departments of State Government be suspended.

{SEAL} Given under my hand and the Great Seal of the State of Michigan at the capitol in the city of Lansing this 26th day of March, A. D. 1890.

By the Governor:
G. R. Osmun,
Secretary of State.

The April Term of the Supreme Court opened Tuesday, April 8, 1890. The Supreme Court Room was appropriately draped in mourning in memory of the distinguished jurist, who, for more than a quarter of a century, had never been absent at the convening of a term of Court. Standing room could not be obtained in the Court room for all those who desired, by their presence, to testify to their admiration, respect and love for the deceased judge.

Court was opened by the Crier in due form, and the Attorney General, with the other members of the Committee appointed by the Bench and Bar of the State, to attend the opening of Court, together with the Governor, and other State officers, and many distinguished citizens, came forward and took seats near the Bench.

After formal opening of the Court, Hon. B.W. Huston, Attorney General, arose and addressed the Court as follows:

May it please your Honors:

Since the last adjournment of this Court, it has pleased Divine Providence to remove by death your able and eminent associate, Judge James V. Campbell.

Judge Campbell died at his home in the city of Detroit, March 26th, 1890.

The first of January 1858, he assumed the duties of one of the Justices of this Honorable Court, and continued in the performance of the same until his death.

It was at the organization of this Court in its present form, that he first took a seat on the bench of this Court, and he was the last to retire from the same, and then only when summoned by the dark-winged messenger, “Death, great proprietor of us all.”

During the long period of over thirty years that he was a member of this Court, he performed the duties of his high office with pre-eminent ability, and to the entire satisfaction of the bar and the people of the State of Michigan. Surely it may be said of him “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Judge Campbell was born in Buffalo, New York, February 25, 1823, and came to Detroit with his father in 1826, and had been a resident of the metropolis of our State ever since.

In 1844 he was admitted to the Bar in the city of his adoption, and commencing the practice of his profession there, he soon became one of the leading members of the Bar of the State. At the early age of thirty-four, he was elected to the high office he held until, at the age of sixty-seven, he was called to take a seat in that, “House not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

Judge Campbell’s reputation as an able, and upright, and painstaking Judge is not confined to the boundaries of our State; his renown extends throughout the length and breadth of the government; his wisdom as a lawyer, and fame as a Judge, have an enduring monument in the printed records of the Court.

He was a man for whom I entertained the very highest regard for many years on account, not only of his distinguished abilities as a lawyer and Judge, but on account of his honorable life, his integrity of purpose, and his pure and spotless Christian character.

He was indeed an able, upright Judge, and a courteous Christian gentleman.

How much the State of Michigan owes to this noble life well spent, who can tell, it is beyond estimation. Well may this Honorable Court pause a short time to do honor to the name and memory of this good man. In doing so it honors itself.
What a priceless memento the example of our brother is to us if we will only imitate his virtues.

I will content myself with these few general remarks in regard to this great man, and leave the duty of doing honor to his great name and justice to his memory to the able gentlemen present, some of whom were his immediate neighbors and friends, and are better prepared to suitably perform this duty than I am.

May it please your Honors, I am commissioned by the Bar of the State with the honorable duty of presenting their resolutions of respect to the memory of this distinguished jurist, with a request that the same be entered on the records of this Court.
The Hon. James V. Campbell, for thirty-two years a Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of Michigan, and for many years of that period Chief Justice, departed this life in this city on the 26th day of March, inst., and the Bench and Bar of the city have assembled to express and record their deep sense of the public loss, and their appreciation of his public services and private character.
The deceased Judge was born in New York, in 1823, and removed to Michigan at an early age. He received the advantages of a careful literary education, and entered upon the practice of law in this city, which has always been his home. His great natural endowments, his unblemished integrity, his untiring industry, and his special aptitude for legal business, secured him a large practice. Elected to the Bench upon the reorganization of the Supreme Court in 1858, six successive re-elections testify with what learning, with what administrative ability, with what justice, with what satisfaction to the commonwealth, he discharged his high judicial duties. His name has become a household word in every city, town and hamlet in the State, and a respect and veneration have become attached to it such as attach to the names of Shaw and Marshall. His opinions are recorded in more than seventy volumes of the Michigan Reports, and are enduring monuments to his fame.
His long judicial career has left an ineffaceable impress not only upon the law of Michigan but upon the jurisprudence of the United States.
The State and the Federal judiciary, and the test writers of the country, have cited his judgments as high authority for more than a quarter of a century, and it may truly be said of him that he has led in placing the Michigan Supreme Court in the front rank of the appellate tribunals of the nation.
In addition to his unexampled career on the Bench, Judge CAMPBELL served the public for twenty-five years as a professor in the law school of the University. Thousands of students sat under his instruction, many of whom are now leaders of opinion in various parts of the Union, and perpetuate his fruitful influence.
Judge Campbell was of great value to the community not only as judge and professor but also as a scholar, an author, a promoter of all good learning, and as a wise counselor in the affairs of the State and the Nation.
In all the relations of life, as a son, husband, father, citizen and neighbor, he has been an example to all. He was an earnest Christian, without pretense and without bigotry.
Resolved, That we deeply sympathize with the several members of his family on their sudden bereavement, and that we will attend the funeral in a body.
Resolved, That a copy of the foregoing be presented at the opening of the Supreme Court on April 8 th , by a committee of ten members of the State Bar, to be appointed by the chair, of which the Attorney General shall be chairman, on behalf of the Bar of the State, with a request that the same be entered upon the record, and that a suitable engrossed copy be presented to the family of the deceased.
Committee on Resolutions.

After the reading of the resolutions, Hon. BENJAMIN F. GRAVES addressed the Court as follows:

May it please your Honors:

In concurring with the request so fittingly presented by the Attorney General, I desire to add a few words.

When in this room I last met Judge Campbell, I little imagined that my next visit would be connected with the sad duty in which we are now engaged.

But, so it is! One by one the actors on our public stage pass off, and one by one our dearest and most intimate friends are snatched from us.

It only remains for the survivors to be as ready to go.

Your Honors are as conversant as myself with the great qualities which marked our deceased brother. You could not go in and out with him and not feel the influence.

My first personal acquaintance was in 1857.

It became my duty to sit as a member of the old court at the July Session of that year at Adrian. Only a little business was done, and one of the few cases presented was argued on one side by our brother, Hon. C. L. Walker, and on the other by Judge Campbell.

Some weeks later I heard the same counsel in a chancery case of considerable importance, and I thus had a little opportunity to judge of our friend’ s powers and facility as an advocate. However, it was not till I came on this bench in January, 1868, that I was permitted to enjoy his confidence and his intimacy, and know him at his best. During the sixteen years that followed our association was close, confidential and fraternal.

We all know that his natural talents were high and commanding and happily set off by an affluence of varied and elegant learning. He was devoted to his profession, but only prized it as the handmaid of justice.

He had early bathed his mind in the well spring of the civil law, and absorbed no little measure of its wisdom.

But the essential doctrines of the common law were as the milk from a mother’s breast. So deep was the veneration they inspired that he sometimes paused before giving them up to the iconoclasm of the legislature, and was near wishing to enshrine them among the mandates of the Constitution.

The ease and quickness with which he could unravel a complicated record, and state an opinion in exquisite English, was remarkable. A complex idea never seemed to stay his pen. He had the gift of PATNESS of expression. This wondrous facility may sometimes mislead. The possessor of it being used to trust to it may be self-deceived. An engineer may be endowed by nature with an extraordinary ability to measure distance with his eye, and may come to confide in his talent; but he may chance to get an inaccurate result, where a common person with his foot rule would get a correct one.
I am sure that our lamented friend was exceptionally exempt from miscarriages in this direction.

He was very independent in the formation of his opinions, and very firm in his adherence to them. At the same time he was the soul of tolerance and magnanimity, and nothing could exceed the serenity and temperance of his bearing in the consideration of conflicting views.

We recognize the nobility of his example as a lawyer and a judge, and beyond all else the excellence of his manhood in all the relations of life.

I cannot close more fitly to my own feelings, than in the words I venture to quote:
“Green be the turf above thee,
Friend of my better days;
None knew thee but to love thee
Nor named thee but to praise.”

Judge HENRY B. BROWN, of Detroit, next addressed the Court in words and manner that made a deep impression.

He said:

For the first time in more than twenty years this Court is called upon to mourn the loss of one of its number. The sudden and wholly unexpected death of Mr. Justice CAMPBELL has removed its oldest member, both in years and in length of service, and one who has contributed as much as any other to establish its fame as the leading judicial tribunal of the west.

Judge Campbell came to Detroit in infancy, and it is scarcely too much to say that he had been with us from a time whence the memory of no living man runneth to the contrary. He found it a trading post of a few hundred inhabitants of French descent; he left it a growing and prosperous city, of over two hundred thousand souls.

He was admitted to the bar in 1844, was immediately taken into one of the leading firms, and soon established a successful and lucrative practice. Upon the reorganization of the Supreme Court in 1857— an act which was virtually the creation of a new court, he was, at the early age of thirty-four, elected one of its Justices, and was, by successive re-elections, continued upon the bench until his death.

He brought to the discharge of his new duties a complete equipment of judicial qualifications— as masterful a knowledge of the law as was possible in one of his years, a fixed habit of industry, an amiable temper, unblemished integrity, an innate love of justice and that delicate appreciation of what justice demands which we call the judicial temperament, and which is of more value upon the bench than brilliant parts or profound learning. He was conservative in his nature— a champion of whatever the experience of ages had shown to be safe and wise— and looked with distrust upon any change which savored of an encroachment upon time-honored principles of justice.

He loved the common law of England— the law as administered by Coke and Mansfield and Kenyon; he loved its principles, its pleadings, its practice, its juries, its judgments. He had a tender side even for its technicalities, especially when put forward in defense of the liberty of the citizen. He was a staunch defender of the sanctity of the person and his domicile, and was never so happy in his opinions as when vindicating his immunity from arrest without warrant, and his right to a trial according to the ancient forms of the law. He was even accused of an undue leaning toward the criminal, although his opinions went no farther than to insure him fair treatment and the unbiased judgment of his peers. Upon these points he was inflexible, and in one of his latest official utterances (People vs. McCord, 76 Mich., 200) he criticized with unexampled severity the conduct of the prosecution and the unfair methods used in the detection of crime. He had no sympathy with crime or criminals—his sole desire was to see that justice was done them.

He loved the rights of the people secured to them by the Constitution, and was quick to resent an invasion of its immunities. He loved its spirit as well as its letter— what it implied as well as what it expressed. He believed that back of all Constitutions there were immutable principles of justice, which Legislatures as well as individuals were bound to respect, and that enactments in violation of such principles were void.

He adhered firmly to the doctrine of local self-government. While he was attached to the Constitution of the United States and acknowledged its supremacy, he was a state rights man in the best sense of the word, and jealous of any interference of the federal government, its congress or its courts. Indeed, he was zealous in asserting the rights of the state against the general government, the rights of the municipality against the state and the individual against them all. In every conflict between a superior and an inferior power his sympathies instinctively went out to the weaker side.

His manner upon the bench was the perfection of judicial courtesy. He was a patient and attentive listener— deferential even to the youngest members of the bar, deliberate in his judgments, but inflexible in his opinions. Beneath his placid face and gracious demeanor lay an iron will— a resolution that knew no variableness or shadow of turning.

But it is not alone as a jurist that Judge Campbell was known to the people of this State. He was both a student and a teacher. He was a discriminating reader of the polite literature of the day. He was versed in the law of continental Europe, and particularly in that of France. He was more familiar with the pioneer life of the northwest and with the early history of the State of Michigan, than any man within its borden. Some of the fruits of his researches he gathered in book form under the modest title of the “Outlines of the Political History of Michigan.” He wrote with extraordinary ease, and graceful emanations from his pen occasionally found their way to the public prints. He was one of the founders of the law school of the University, and for twenty-five years lectured to its students upon equity, criminal law and federal jurisprudence. His lectures were distinguished for their learning and purity of style, while his kindly face and benignant smile won their way to the hearts of his hearers.

His private life was a model of purity. In short, he was a gentleman in every sense of the word—dignified in bearing, refined in language, genial and happy in disposition, faithful to his church, generous to charity, devoted to his family and friends, and punctual in the discharge of his pecuniary obligations. No untoward action ever marred the harmony of his character, no coarse or unseemly expression ever escaped his lips. His walk and conversation were known and observed of all men, and to no one was ever more applicable the familiar line of Horace, “Integer vitae, scelerisque purus.” When not engaged in Court, or in the preparation of opinions, his life was largely devoted to literary pursuits. He was attached to his own home, and seemed to take but little interest in the ordinary social entertainments. He rarely, left the State even for a summer vacation. He was delightfully entertaining and instructive in conversation, but appeared rather to shun than seek for opportunity of social intercourse.

His death seemed rather like the completion than the extinguishment of a noble life. His domestic bereavement in the loss of his wife had preyed upon his vitality as well as his spirits. He had aged perceptibly during the last year, and when the final summons came it found him seated peacefully in his chair, already prepared for that last great change which sooner or later comes to us all.

It came to him as it comes to the good man in the beautiful Thanatopsis:
“Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.”

May it please the Court:

When news of the death of Judge Campbell reached me, very soon after its occurrence, it was a shock to know that he was dead. I had seen him but a short time before in this city and conversed with him; and then he spoke concerning the state of his health, but there was nothing to give him or his friends any reason to then anticipate such an immediate or sudden termination of his life.

Following that shock came a feeling, not of regret, not of mourning, but rather of satisfaction, that so good a life, so useful a life, in the fullness of its days and its years had been terminated so peacefully—so free from pain to him, and so free from any of those cares or troubles which are incident to old age.

I had the pleasure of forming the acquaintance of Judge Campbell before he was elected, before he was nominated to the Supreme bench. We were associated together in an important case, which gave me an opportunity to know him well at that time; and the friendship and esteem which I then formed for him continued through his life.

As a judge his record is found in the reports of this State. Those who have known him and known him well have been made better by that knowledge and that acquaintance.

When a good man dies it seems proper that there should be some public recognition of the fact, and some public recognition of the qualities which entitle him to honor and respect. It is pre-eminently proper in a case of this kind.
Judge Campbell, as an instructor of young men in the law at the University, has left an impress upon the bar of this State which cannot be obliterated during the present generation. Not only was the influence which he exerted from the bench one worthy of all praise and all honor, but the influence which he exerted as a teacher upon young men in the susceptible condition of their minds must be far-reaching and extremely beneficial. When such a man dies we should honor his memory. He has honored himself. A good life is an honor to the man who lives it; it is an honor to those with whom he has associated. Judge Campbell’ s life was an honor to himself, an honor to his family, an honor to his state, an honor to his profession and an honor to humanity.

Remarks of Hon. A. L. MILLARD.
May it please the Court:

So much has been said and so well said, on this occasion, that it seems perhaps superfluous that I should add anything; but the long acquaintance I had with him, and my appreciation of his spotless character, both in public and private life, and of his distinguished ability as a lawyer and jurist, make me unwilling to let the occasion pass without adding, in a few words, my tribute also to his memory.

It was my privilege to know him, not only during the thirty years and over that he was on the bench, but, if I mistake not, during all the time he was at the bar.

It is seldom that any one occupies the bench of the highest court of a state or nation for so long a period as Judge Campbell did—over thirty years of continuous service— elected and re-elected as often as occasion occurred, — and during that long period it was seldom that his chair on the bench was vacant— he was rarely absent from his post of duty.

It is no fulsome eulogy when I say that he combined in a high degree the qualities that are of the highest value in a judge— distinguished legal ability, extensive and thorough knowledge of the law in its various departments, integrity, uprightness and fairness,— a conscientious desire to do right,— coupled with amenity, courtesy and kindness in his intercourse with all— with the youngest practitioner who appeared with diffidence at the bar, as well as the older and more experienced, — a rare combination to be found in a single individual. His presence always inspired confidence, and what counsel that practiced before him, or what party that had a case pending in his court, ever found him wanting or suspected him of being wanting in any of those elements that go to make up the highest type of judicial excellence?

It is for others to speak of what he was as a professor and instructor in the law school. Thousands of the young men who have enjoyed the advantages of his instruction in that capacity, in the University of our State, scattered over this and the other States of the Union and in other countries, are ready to bear testimony to his excellence in that field. It is for me to speak of him in the character and sphere in which I have known him best,— have known him long and known him well,— as a jurist and member of this Court.

His opinions, contained in 70 volumes of our reports, have commanded a high degree of respect from the profession and the courts, not only in our own State but in other States and countries, and constitute an enduring monument to his memory.

He is gone. We shall miss him from his accustomed place on the bench, where his presence was, for so many years, so familiar to us, and which always gave us satisfaction and pleasure. It is fitting that we, members of the bar, should pay him this tributes of our esteem and appreciation of his worth and of our great loss, – loss, too, to the Court, to his associates on the bench, as I have reason to know your honors feel as such from what I have heard expressed in private conversation from some of you, but your honors will know best how this is and how to speak of it, loss to the city where his home was, and to the State at large. His character and renown as a jurist were the property not alone of his own city but of the State and the nation.

Address of ex-Gov. AUSTIN BLAIR:
May it please the Court:

It gives me great personal satisfaction to join in the support of the resolutions now proposed to be entered upon the records of the Court.

My acquaintance with Judge Campbell commenced at about the time of his first nomination for Justice of the Supreme Court at a popular convention at Ann Arbor in the year 1857.

I had occasion then to notice the great unanimity with which his neighbors supported him. He had the entire confidence of those who knew him then, and he retained it ever afterwards.

From that time until his death, during all those many years, I knew him well in his public career, as a judge, as a teacher of the law in the University, and as an eminent and exceedingly influential citizen.

He was one of the original organizers of this Court, under the law creating the Supreme Court from and after the first day of January, 1858, and he retained his office and the confidence of the people continuously thereafter until his career closed with his life. The length of his services was remarkable. It has no parallel in our State and very few in the country at large.

During all this time he has been a most conspicuous figure upon this bench. He was here at the first session of this Supreme Court, and we have rarely missed his genial face from any session since that time.

His performance of his duties was most painstaking and conscientious. He shrank from no labor and was guilty of no neglect whatever.

He was a model judge in every way and at all times. He recognized to its fullest degree the solemn obligation that rests upon every public man to fulfill faithfully every duty that belongs to his position. That he did this not for applause merely, but because it was his duty, was plainly apparent always, and he was no more eminent for his great abilities, which were recognized everywhere, than for his pre-eminent and unflinching integrity.

We look upon the character of this great figure, now that it has been taken away, with somewhat clearer perceptions of what it was. Like most men of great abilities and pure character, Judge Campbell was notably a modest man. In his high office “he vaunted not himself.”

His kindness and patience in the performance of his duties here we all remember. Yet he was a man of strong convictions and great firmness and resolution in adhering to them. He could listen without temper and still stand for the truth as he saw it, against all temptations of no matter what sort.

It may be said of him truly that as a judge he “stood four-square to all the winds that blew.”

His work is done and nobly done. We come not here to review or criticize it. There it stands in more than seventy volumes of the Michigan Reports. They contain almost the entire jurisprudence of the State, and everywhere in them appears largely the forming mind and dominating influence of Judge Campbell. No other judge runs through the whole body of our case law as he has done. It has been a Herculean work, and still speaks from the printed pages, and will continue to speak with added force in the years to come.

Judge Campbell has taken his place amongst the Marshalls, the Kents, and the Storys, in the history of the country.

His great career as a judge illustrates the character of our State, and as the Commonwealth herself rises in power and importance in the future she will add to his fame. The State will guard carefully this great reputation made in its service.
We shall see him no more in this place, but his great example remains to us for all time.

And is it not true that when a great man of upright life dies, it is just then that his character begins to brighten steadily, and his influence to extend as it never did before?

What would the world be without its dead heroes and sages? They constitute the force that lifts us up above the mire and dirt of this mortal life, and give us faith in the unseen.

We write the name of Judge Campbell to-day on our list of those that have gone before, and we know that it will grow brighter until we join him on the other side.

Mr. EDWIN F. UHL, of Grand Rapids, spoke as follows:

A Divine Providence seems to have raised up in several of the States of the Union some great man who, by his pre-eminent ability, deep learning and exalted character, was especially fitted and equipped to mold the unwritten law of a newly created State.

Massachusetts, in her early history, had her Chief Justice Parsons, who, by his rich stores of legal learning, laid the foundation of her common law with great accuracy and discrimination. But this Commonwealth derived far more benefit from the long and distinguished service of her Chief Justice Shaw, who, in addition to his profound knowledge of the law, had that rare faculty of clearly perceiving the needs of her people in the new conditions, and of making precedents hoary with age, under his guiding band serve as the basis of a new, liberal and more wholesome jurisprudence.
New York had her Chancellor Kent, who, as a writer and as Chancellor, so developed the jurisprudence of the Empire State with his almost incomparable wisdom that the fruits of his labors are now mingled with and become a part of the law of nearly every State in this great republic.

Immediately following the admission of Michigan into the Union, the conditions were not favorable for any judge, of however commanding parts, to lay broad and deep the foundations of her law. Her two Chancellors did much to develop her equity jurisprudence; but the inferior jurisdiction which they exercised, and the untoward circumstances which attended them, left unperformed the great work which was necessary for the true development of the State.
Though not a little was done by our first Supreme Court, still its existence was not of sufficient duration to develop and perfect the system of which I speak. It was not until this, our highest judicial tribunal, was organized as an independent Appellate Court that the great work of molding into an enduring form our unwritten law took clear and definite shape.
Mr. Justice Campbell was one of the first members of that Court; and all through his long judicial career those rules of law by which the private rights of the citizen are so sacredly protected and the public interest so securely guarded, were clearly enunciated.

For the good of his fellow-man and for his own enduring fame, he lived in a fortunate period in the history of the State. Ascending the bench upon the organization of the Court, he there held his place without break or interruption until his death, for thirty years and more. His first associates were strong men [one of whom, an illustrious figure in our judicial and political history, still survives]; and the people of the State somewhat later raised to the bench others of marked learning and ability. The Court soon came to be recognized throughout the Union as indeed a great Court, whose judgments are accepted everywhere as commanding authority, and have served to enrich the jurisprudence of our time.

As to the latter, however. the work of marking the lines upon which the jurisprudence of the State was to be reared had begun, before they shared his place; and as to the former, their term of service, though fruitful, was somewhat limited, while his judicial labors were those of all his maturer years— labors “such as produced the wisdom and won the fame of Shaw and Marshall, of Kent and Story, of Holt and Mansfield.”

He took his seat upon the bench with an extensive knowledge of our history, in the very strength and vigor of his manhood. His knowledge of English constitutional history and jurisprudence of Massachusetts and New York was exhaustive and profound. From these sources we draw the great body of our law, and to the judgments of the great courts of England and those two commonwealths he chiefly looked for light and guidance in the disposition of the complicated, perplexing and varied questions which came before him for determination in his long judicial career. From first to last he clung with tenacity to the systems from which ours was derived. And so for more than thirty years, thus grounded in the law, with his knowledge of our history, and with a clear perception of the necessities of the people in their peculiar circumstances, he was a most important factor in molding a body of law which, for freedom from technicalities, flexibility and adaptation to the wants of the people, has never been excelled. He was equally great whether engaged in the consideration of questions affecting private rights or safely guarding the public interests. The firm establishment in the law of the right of municipalities to regulate their own local affairs, was largely due to him. Indeed, all through his long public service, he maintained that our constitution could not be understood or carried out “except on the theory of local self-government.” One of his greatest judgments was pronounced in the last year of his life. The case involved the validity of a gift to a public use; and his wonderful knowledge of the rules applicable to a gift to a charitable trust, and his clear statement of the law in this case, entitle his opinion to rank with the historic judgment of Story in the case involving the validity of the will of Stephen Girard.

And so I would speak of him distinctively as a builder of the common law of our State.

He was also a builder of character. As Marshall Professor of Law in our State University for upwards of a quarter of a century, how he wrought upon and aided in building into noble characters and useful citizens thousands of young men who sat at his feet and from him received both instruction and inspiration to fight manfully for the high places in the profession and in the State. Separated into every unit of this republic of states, holding high rank at the bar and upon the bench, they are living witnesses of his benign influence upon his fellow man. Who can limit or measure the extent of such an influence which ceases not at death to energize, but lives on and on as it is woven into the “warp and woof” of countless other lives, even through generations yet to be. Truly his life to other lives gave greater value, and the effect upon those who felt its touch and are left behind, remains, “as the sun when set turns to vermillion and gold the clouds that have followed him to his grave of night.”

So long and so constantly had Judge Campbell served the people in various capacities that he seemed a part of the Commonwealth itself. The greater portion of the present bar of the State found him here upon their first appearance in this Court. He lived to welcome to a seat by his side upon the bench, now of equal voice and vote with him in counsel, more

than one who had learned of him as a student of the law. He was here when the Court adjourned at the close of its last term. His life work was an unselfish dedication to the public good. Through all these years he served with fidelity his State, his country and his God. With the purest hand he discharged every public trust. Neither selfishness nor unworthy ambition nor unmanly methods found a place in his exalted mind. “His life was gentle, and the elements so mixed in him, that Nature might stand up and say to all the world, ‘This was a man.’”

It has been written of the fathers of a great republic which long ago passed into history, that their private estates were small, the property of the state in their lives was great. When we consider the precedents and principles which in his wondrous life work he has wrought for us and all who shall come after us, and which have become securely fixed in our law for all coming time, we may truly say of him that whether his private estate were great or small, the property of the state in him is great indeed.

His death, as his life, was an enviable one. He lingered not, after the days of  his usefulness were past, in “unregarded age,” but growing weary in the midst of the dust and din and smoke of the world’s great conflict, he, for a moment, paused by the wayside, and laying his burden down, in a twinkling he heard the joyous summons from that land beyond the sun to enter into the Paradise of the Master whom he had faithfully served all the years of his mortal life.

“To live with Fame

The gods allow to many; but to die

With equal luster is a blessing Heaven

Selects from all the choicest boons of Fate

And with a sparing hand on few bestows.”


In beautiful Elmwood the last solemn words “ashes to ashes” have been spoken above his sacred dust. And here to-day, as the Court convenes for the first time after his sudden taking off, the bench and bar of the State unite to pay the last tribute of affectionate regard.

They mourn not alone the loss of the eminent jurist, whose name as such is linked with imperishable fame; not alone of the sage instructor in our chief institution of learning; not alone of the ripe and finished scholar, an ornament in the republic of letters; not alone of an exemplary and pure life now gone out; not alone of the devoted and consistent Christian gentleman; but also of one whom each and all held as a valued friend.

“Speech cannot contain our love.

There was, there is, no gentler, stronger, manlier man.”

Hon. Isaac Marston, of


, said:

May it please the Court:

At the opening of the Law Department of the



, in October 1859, James V. Campbell, then one of the Justices of the Supreme Court, was appointed Marshall Professor, and I then first made his acquaintance. Never having looked in a law book, and possessing but a limited education, I had everything to learn, and it was necessary for me to ask many question, which, to the professors, must have seemed unnecessary. At the same time I was law librarian, and this brought me into close relations with the professors. As this was over thirty-one years ago, Professor Campbell must have been about thirty-six years of age. He had a pleasant, ruddy countenance; his hair then slightly tinged with gray—a dark steel gray; his eye was bright, clear and penetrating, and his voice smooth and limpid. He was easily approached and always ready to impart information. In the lecture room, the old chapel, he entered promptly on time, and at once commenced  his lecture, and when completed, before commencing the second (we had two each day, occupying one hour each), during a short intermission he would be surrounded by students, joking and laughing in a hearty, contagious way. In the delivery of his lectures, he did not, like the others, state a legal proposition and then seek to illustrate or explain, but from the commencement to the end, he talked in that easy, flowing strain which all who heard him can remember so well, and which made it so difficult to take notes. I think every student entertained for him the very highest respect. That he was jealous of their rights, many instances might be given to establish.

In 1875 I took my seat upon the Supreme Bench, two of the professors from whom, fourteen years previously I had received instructions, being members of this Court. In view of this fact, and of my age, being about thirty-five, I naturally feared that should I attempt to express freely my views in the consultation room, especially if running counter to those of my former preceptors, I might justly by them be considered and perhaps treated as presumptuous. I soon became convinced of my error, as not the slightest indication of any such feeling was ever shown by word or manner.

Judge Campbell was an indefatigable worker. Winter and summer he entered the hotel dining room as soon as the doors were opened for breakfast, and would be in the Judges’ rooms in the capitol building before eight every morning. From this time until

ten o’clock

or later in the evening, except two short intermissions at


and for tea, he worked incessantly. Occasionally in pleasant weather he would indulge in a walk, but this was the exception.

His first desire was to understand the record in each case before it came up for argument. This he would do by reading or by listening to a statement from one of his associates who had read it. With the voluminous records, this could not always be done, and he had to be content with the pleadings and decree, or assignments of error. If he at times apparently lost patience, it was because of a record so made up as to hide or obscure the controversy and merits of the case.

Upon the bench, all remember with what undivided attention he listened to the arguments. It mattered not whether the advocate was youthful and inexperienced, or older and more learned; whether the argument was clear, convincing and entertaining, or dull, involved and obscure, the same close attention was given. Others might become drowsy and nod, but he was always wide awake, and what was passing in the judicial mind none could tell. He quickly grasped the merits of a cause, and was not easily led astray by a mere citation or criticism of cases. He had not that profound respect which many have for decided cases. He did not believe that an election to a judicial position, even in a court of last resort, necessarily converted a lawyer of ordinary legal ability into a Mansfield or a Marshall. He had, however, a profound respect for the writings of Lords Coke and Hale, for the decisions delivered by the best English and American judges, as a reference to his opinions will readily show.

In the consultation room, his long experience on the bench and his profound knowledge of the law made him invaluable. The oral arguments usually enabled him, at the close thereof, to present the turning points in a case, and to indicate what, in his opinion, the judgment of the Court should be. He would listen attentively to the views of his associates, and would usually change or modify his views in accordance therewith. At times he would be so firmly convinced of the correctness of his own views, that he could not concur in the opinions of his brethren, but when such was the case, it was done with such apparent regret that none could doubt the honesty and sincerity of his convictions.

He wielded the pen of a ready writer. When once he had made up his mind as to the disposition to be made of a cause submitted and the questions to be discussed in the opinion, on taking up his pen his thoughts seemed to come so easily there was no stopping to think for the proper word, or how to construct a sentence. If interrupted, he would lay down his pen, and on taking it up again it would at once proceed, as if by magic, to complete its master’s thought. His writings, like his lectures and his conversation, flowed in a continuously smooth and graceful manner, and are models of English composition.

To the members of this Court and to the bar of this State, I need not speak of the uprightness of his character—this was known to all men—or  his ability as a jurist. No words of mine could add to the enduring monuments he has left in his opinions, delivered during a period of thirty-two years, and recorded in over seventy volumes of our State Reports. Not all of these, perhaps, will stand the test and scrutiny of time, but this and coming generations will look to his opinions, and the student, lawyer and judge will find therein rich mines of thought, and guides which may be safely followed.

Mr. Justice Campbell was the ideal judge in appearance and in fact, and his clear, sturdy mind more, perhaps, than that of any other man, has moulded and given form to the jurisprudence under which we live. Great indeed is our loss in his death, but great also has been our gain in his life.

Remarks of Hon. Hugh McCurdy, of Corunna:

May it please your Honors:

With feelings of profoundest sorrow and deep grief, I join in paying the last official tribute of respect, honor and love to the memory of the late distinguished judge, James V. Campbell.

It is right that we should pause in our order of business, and while placing garlands on his tomb give fitting expression to the feelings which well up in our hearts. It is also eminently proper, that in this Court room where we have met so often, and in the mute presence of  his vacant chair we should bear our testimony to his virtues and manly qualities which commanded for him the admiration and love of Bench and Bar. But, with all his admirable qualities of head and heart, he has departed from among us forever, leaving a bright example for us to follow, and his memory will be kept bright by all who knew him.

In July, 1859, I argued my first case in this Court, in this city; and since that time have always been on familiar and friendly terms with Judge Campbell. He was a kindly and lovable man, his countenance always beaming with a benignant expression that made the young practitioner feel easy in his presence, and he knit you to him as with hooks of steel, infusing courage and inspiring confidence. He was truly a kind man, and in all his life, conduct and actions he fully exemplified the best ideal of what a true and honest man should be. Lofty and pure in character, brilliant in intellect, rich in culture, and full of generous impulses; with him

“Life’s labor done,

Serenely to his final rest he passed;

While the soft memories of his virtues yet

Linger, like sunlit hues when that bright orb has set.”

As a judge, he was painstaking and diligent in the investigation and examination of the questions involved, and when he arrived at a conclusion he always rendered such a decision as the facts and the law demanded. He believed the law to be made for the protection of the just and well-disposed, and he never descended from this lofty standard to the use of cunning technicalities to shield the guilty. As an administrative officer of the law, with him it could not be said, that

“Offence’s gilded hand may shove by justice.”

To him duty was the sublimest object of life; all the aspirations of his heart, and the severest study and labor of his life was to perform his duty with fidelity. He was pre-eminently a non-partisan judge. The case of Twitchell v. Blodgett, 13 Mich.127, probably put the severest test of partisanship to this Court, which has ever been presented for adjudication. The question involved was the constitutionality of the soldiers’ voting law, passed by a Republican Legislature in 1864. Upon the decision of the case depended the unseating of republican members of the Legislature, and many county officers all over the State. The case was brought on for argument in this city, January 26, 1865, before a full Bench, all the members of which had been elected on the Republican ticket. The city was crowded with the leading politicians of the State, and the excitement ran high on the fate of the issue involved, and everything was done that could be to induce the Supreme Court to sustain the law and save the party.

At this time I was State Senator and boarded at the American Hotel, where nearly all the Judges also stopped while here holding Court. On the morning of the twenty-eighth of January it was well understood that the Court would that morning decide the case.

Judge Campbell’s room was across the hall from me, and as he started for Court that morning I met him in the hall with a bundle of papers, and remarked to him jocosely, “Now, Judge, comes the tug of war,” and he replied, “Yes, Senator, and I am going to do what I believe is right, and let the consequences take care of themselves.” Judges Campbell, Christiancy and Cooley rendered decisions declaring the law unconstitutional. In closing his opinion Judge Campbell uses this clear and emphatic language, “And I am, therefore, compelled to declare that in my opinion the act of the Legislature authorizing voting on a different basis is invalid.”

“Public duty will not permit me, as a magistrate, to offer excuses for performing an unavoidable office. If our constitution deprives of the privilege of voting a class of men to whom we are largely indebted for having the right preserved to ourselves, the only remedy is to invoke the people to amend a restriction which has become too narrow for complete justice.”

It would have been as easy to swerve the sun in its diurnal course as to move him from the faithful discharge of the trust confided in him. No taint or suspicion ever attached to his name while living—no stain can ever disfigure the bright escutcheon of his memory now that he is gone.

Memorials may be raised to him, the record of his public life written in granite or bronze, yet he needs them not; for his history is written in the hearts of a grateful people, where they will be forever fragrant and forever cherished.

He should have died hereafter, but

“He gave his honors to the world again,

His blessed part to Heaven, and slept in peace.”

Judge J. B. Moore, of Lapeer, said:

May it please the Court:

I count it one of the most profitable and pleasant things of my life that I had the acquaintance of this great man. When I entered the Law Department of the

University of Michigan twenty-one years ago he was a lecturer there; and while the students respected all of the learned and able instructors in that department I think we regarded Judge Campbell as the most lovable man of them all.

I never shall think of this man as dead and gone, but I shall remember him as I last saw him a few days before his death; and I think I shall like best to remember him that way. I think it may be said of him that “though dead he yet speaketh.”

At the first session, after his death, of the Court (over which I have the honor to preside), one of our ablest and most learned lawyers had occasion to address a law argument to the Court, and when he opened a volume of the Michigan reports and his eye fell upon the printed page and he read there “Opinion by Campbell, J.,” a flood of recollection came over him, and brusque man though he was his voice broke, and tears came into his eyes, as they did also in those of most of the lawyers present. When he had recovered himself a little and proceeded to read this opinion it seemed to me that the benign countenance of this great jurist looked down upon us, and that the clear, musical tone of his voice was declaring the law which, as long as the opinions of courts shall be cited in the courts of record, and as long as the courts shall have deference for well-reasoned opinions, so long shall this man be an authority, and a direction in shaping the effect and the character of the law.

I doubt if any man, and especially any young man, can have a nobler aspiration than to lead such a life as this man led—discharging every duty that came to him, and to meet death as he met it, ready to cast all responsibilities and enjoyments on the infinite beyond.

Address of Hon. Isaac P. Christiancy:

May it please the Court:

I feel my incompetence, in the few words I have strength to utter or you the time to hear, adequately to express the deep sadness I have felt and feel, and which I have no doubt you also have felt and feel, for the death of our friend, Judge Campbell, and a still greater incompetency to give any adequate idea of the many excellent traits of mind and character which endeared him to us all, and I may safely say to all who personally knew him. All who thus knew him, but especially the Bar of the State, must feel his death as a great public loss. But you who so long sat with him, as one of your number, must feel it, not only as a public loss but as a great personal loss and affliction.

I do not go beyond your own feelings and sentiments in saying this, because I know from years of personal experience, that no man could occupy a place with him upon the same Bench, even for a single term, without high admiration for him as a Judge, and a strong personal attachment to him as an amiable, highly intellectual and pure minded man; whose principles of action towards his fellow men were such that, if the like principles of action had equal control over all other men, there would be little need of human laws, or of courts to administer them. These were the principles of conduct taught by Christ, the purest and best ever given to men, and which have done more to humanize, civilize and refine mankind than any other teachings or all of them combined. And few men, if any, of my acquaintance more nearly reached the high standard fixed by these teachings than Judge Campbell.

At the first organization of this Court in January, 1858, I went onto the Bench, as one of its members, with Judge Campbell, and remained there for seventeen years and two months, when I entered upon another sphere of action. He was, at the time of his death, the only one of the original Judges who remained continuously upon the Bench to that time. I am the last member (and in view of my infirmities of age) I may justly say, the remnant of that Court. But while I live I shall congratulate myself and be thankful that during my continuance there I had the good fortune to be associated with such able and pure minded men as Judge Manning, Judge Campbell, Judge Cooley and Judge Graves. And when I left that Court, at the end of February, 1875, I felt that I could never again become so strongly attached to any other three men. And time has shown me that I was not mistaken. The latter two are still living, and it might be out of place for me to speak of them here as they well deserve. (Though the former of them is known and admired wherever English laws, or systems derived from it, are known; and the latter is well known to, and highly appreciated by the Bar and Bench of the Union, as an able and upright judge. But I must speak here only of the dead.)

Perhaps I ought to express here some of what I deem the leading characteristics of Judge Campbell’s mind. I will say first, generally, that he was a good classical scholar, and fully appreciated the Greek and Latin classics as well as the English classics, both poetry and prose, and was a general reader of the best literature of modern times; that he was a general reader of the best literature of modern times; that he was especially familiar with the history and the laws of England, as well as those of the United States, and he had mastered the leading principles of most modern sciences.

But, coming now to the consideration of the peculiar characteristics of his mind, we at once encounter one apparent, but only an apparent difficulty.

Was he a genius? Certainly not, in the general, though quite narrow sense in which that term is often used, which implies that some special faculties or qualities of the mind have been abnormally developed and have produced special exhibitions of great brilliancy and momentary wonder and admiration. Judge Campbell’s mind showed none of these temporary coruscations of brilliancy; but it was distinguished by the happy combination, simultaneous development and the harmonious, combined action of all his mental faculties, under the control of cool reason, which brought about great results. This is the genius of common sense, the highest form of human genius, and almost the only form which produces permanently useful results. The sudden rush of a picket line upon the enemy, or the desperate charge of a squad of cavalry, may, for the moment, be brilliant in the extreme, and excite the admiration of all beholders. But it is the serried ranks of infantry, the massing of batteries and the co-operation of all the arms of the service, that gain great battles, and decide the fate of nations. Judge Campbell had few of those sudden flashes of fragmentary outbursts, which distinguish erratic genius. His only single faculty which approached the abnormal was his wonderfully capacious and accurate memory, which enabled him to recall everything he had ever read or learned, to which perhaps I ought to add, a more than usual power of properly arranging the various items of knowledge which he acquired, so as to readily recall them when needed. His reasoning powers were strong, his judgment good, his love of justice indomitable. He had great facility in writing, knowing when he commenced what he intended to say, and saying it in the plainest and simplest language, seldom having to go back to correct a word; and the first draft of his opinions generally went into the Reports without erasure or interlineations.

And yet no matter how much labor he had upon his hands, he never seemed to feel the pressure or to be in haste, and would stop and converse with the other Judges, or other persons having anything to say worth hearing, as pleasantly as if wholly at leisure. (This was also characteristic of Judge Cooley who wrote more than he did.) Judge Campbell was a living and speaking encyclopedia of the law; and as such a great assistance to his associates.

But our friend, whom we all loved, has passed “that bourne whence no traveller returns” and however severely we may feel his loss, our reason teaches us that death is just as natural as birth and as certainly the result of infinite wisdom—if we could only see it.

We may, at least (I think), safely conclude that the God of the Universe, who knows all, while we know so little, and who governs all by His laws, will do right whatever man may do. And the hope is still left us that we may yet rejoin our friend in a better state of existence.

And yet when the sun of our lives begins to approach the western horizon, and one after another of the ties which bind us to life are sundered—when “Memory brings the light of other days around us,” there looms up through the mists of the past, the once familiar face, and we seem to hear again the loved voice.

“When I remember all

The friends, so linked together,

I’ve seen around me fall,

Like leaves in wintry weather;

I feel like one

Who treads alone

Some banquet-hall deserted,

Whose lights are fled,

Whose garlands dead,

And all but he departed.”

Such moments are often moments of deep sorrow and anguish. But, though we can see but a small part of the design of Infinite Wisdom, I persuade myself that I can see in this arrangement, in these operations and emotions of the mind, strong evidence of a benevolent design, to chasten and refine the mind and gradually to wean us from an undue attachment to life, till we cease to look upon death as an enemy and begin to recognize it as a friend, a relief rather than a curse, which makes us willing, without horror, but with a sober cheerfulness and resignation to submit to the will of the Infinite.

Mr. S. L. Kilbourne said,

May it please the Court:

The bar of the Ingham county and the city of Lansing, to whose members Judge Campbell was for a long series of years a familiar figure, should not be silent during these ceremonies, and bid me speak for them.

My acquaintance with your late distinguished associate began, like that of my brother Marston, at the opening of the Law Schoolof the University, and continued unbroken down to the day of his death. The favorable impression he then made on the boys and myself, long since deepened by the flight of years into profound esteem for the splendid abilities and spotless character of him who was one of Michigan’s most illustrious citizens. We find it difficult to console ourselves for the loss of such a man at so early an age when compared with the years of many others of the world’s great men. The last time I saw him was a recent social gathering in this city, which your honors will recall, when it seemed as though his physical and mental faculties were in their happiest mood and fullest sway. His response before that company bubbled over with joy, and charmed all by its mirth, wit and wisdom. Little did we then dream that the cruel scythe was so near that should cut him off from us forever. His unexpected death is a blow from which we can scarcely recover, and to which we cannot reconcile ourselves; and yet it is possible that to him it was the happiest termination of his long, eventful and grand public life. During all his outgoing and incoming among us we shall not find one unkind just criticism of this man. He was one of the chiefest of that galaxy of great men who have made this Commonwealth conspicuous among the States of the nation as the seat of broad learning; one of the men whose labors have made the judicial history of Michiganthe pride of our people.

I shall not undertake here to speak of the wealth of his powers; they are known to all men. He needs neither eulogy nor monument at our hands, and our words of praise can only wreathe the enduring shaft he has reared for himself. His life work is ended; the book of his years is closed, and, though rich is the binding, this memorial gathering lovingly puts about it to-day, richer far are the contents of its luminous pages, from which not only this but coming generations will draw lessons of statesmanship, wisdom and purity.

As he sat in this Court the impressions of  him which we will not forget are of the kindly judge who recognized the bar as an assistant to the Court, and whose encouraging look and patient attention invited the best effort of the pleader, that the truth and nothing but the truth might be brought to light in determining the contests between men. He was an inspiration for good to every man who appeared before him, as a judge; and his example in private life was no less an encouragement to all who met him to walk only in the way of well-doing.

But that life has closed, and as we who at this bar have seen him as he looked down on us from his now vacant chair beside you, so you who sit on the Bench he made illustrious, and those who shall follow you, will be in the gaze of that benign countenance as he looks on you from the canvas, inviting to painstaking labor that right may always prevail. There let him ever remain, as the artist has placed him, fit representative of the intelligence and grandeur of Michigan’s sturdy manhood, a type of the brightest and best of those of her sons whose lives have made glorious the history of this, his loved and beautiful Commonwealth.

Remarks of Mr. Justice Morse:

The life and character of Judge Campbell has been well and eloquently described here to-day, by those who knew him best from youth to manhood and ripened age.

And while the language of eulogy, in speaking of a dead friend, is often extravagant, it may well be said that in his case there can be no extravagance in portraying his virtues, for who can “paint the lily” or “throw a perfume on a violet.”

The universal respect and love here manifested by the bar of this State is shared by all, in every walk of life, who knew him.

As a jurist his work is here in the records and opinions of this Court, where he has been a master spirit for more than thirty years. It will live as long as the State shall stand. His fame is not ours alone; it has passed beyond the boundaries of our State, and become the property of the Nation.

Upon all the great themes of law and equity, his views have been clearly, strongly and concisely stated, and are now interwoven into the entire fabric of our jurisprudence, the warp or woof of every separate subject.

His like will never be seen in this Court again. He will ever be to the jurisprudence of Michiganwhat Shakespeare is to English literature, unrivaled, pre-eminent. His was the great opportunity; and his the marvelous knowledge and skill in the law to improve the opportunity.

No man was more conversant with the history of our State and its polity than he, and no one has done more than he to secure and preserve the structure of our State government in its original purity, purpose and design. No citizen loved the State better than did James V. Campbell, and, as a judge, no one ever guarded more zealously or jealously the interests of all its people.

He was always persistent and stubborn in his defense of the rights of the individual, even as against the State itself, when the life, the person or the homestead of the citizen was in issue; and the Constitution was to him a great charter, ever to be respected, and to be always strictly construed when the liberty or the home of the citizen was assailed.

The genius and spirit of our free institutions found in him an able and eloquent expounder, a courageous defender, a judicial preserver. He believed in the largest freedom to all, consistent with the public good; and neither the excitement of the hour, nor the clamor of the people, nor expediency in time of great public peril, could move him one hair’s-breadth from his determination to save to each and all, the humblest and the greatest alike, the rights and privileges that belong to the citizen under our government.

He had faith in the people, and never doubted their ability to govern themselves in every community of our great State. He loved the old New England town meeting, and revered it as the corner stone of our State government, and the foundation of our prosperity as a Commonwealth. His opinions, in every case touching the question of local self-government, are full of the central idea that the nearer to the people governed, are the officers in authority over them, and the sooner such officers can be reached by the people, the better for all concerned in the interest of pure and stable government.

He believed that each locality should choose its own local officers, and that the elective term of such officers should be short.

The township system of our State was his pride, and he had supreme confidence in the ability of the people, under that system, by the potent power of the ballot, to establish and hold a good and honest government in every community.

His faith and confidence in the goodness of the mass of the people was unlimited, and it never wearied; and no more ardent defender of the right of the people to rule, within the bounds of their own written limits, the Federal and State constitutions, ever proclaimed the law.

He will be missed upon this bench as no man will ever be missed again. His knowledge of the statutes, of the legislation of this State from its first organization as a territory, was marvelous, and his historical researches went back to the entry of the first white man into Michigan. His learning in and memory of the unwritten law was equally wonderful, and to him we all looked for guidance in cases of perplexity or doubt. Differ as we might, and as we sometimes did, with him upon questions of the law or principles of equity, as applied to the facts in hand in a particular case, it was natural for every one of us, instinctively, to turn to him for counsel and advice; and to listen to him, even when we differed with him, as one possessing superior knowledge and wider experience.

And yet, such was the kindly nature of the man, that never, in more than four years of association with him, did I notice an act, hint or indication, upon his part, that any one of us was not his equal in every respect, however earnest the discussion or decided the difference between us.

“And surely never did there live on earth

A man of kindlier nature.”

I am glad that it was my good fortune to associate with him thus long, to enjoy his friendship, to drink from the clear, deep fountain of his learning, to know the rare loveliness of the man.

Pure as a woman, simple as a child, and yet with that true dignity of manhood, born of worth and nobility of mind—a dignity which cannot be assumed or counterfeited—no one could know him but to love him; and none could meet him in daily, friendly intercourse without becoming insensibly purer and better; and the memory of his virtues must stimulate us all to a grander and nobler use of the opportunities of this life.

Judge Campbell was a great jurist. His ability and character as such, has been fittingly portrayed her to-day.

His fame shall not perish while our race survives. He was a great man, but best of all he was a good man. As Wordsworth said of another:

“His youth was innocent; his riper age

Marked with some act of goodness every day.”

In him, the State has lost a good and great citizen and officer, unrivaled in the faithful performance of duty, and in his love and devotion to the public weal.

In him, the people have lost a friend, watchful as a sentinel, and firm as adamant, in the defense of constitutional liberty.

To those who have been near to him remains the memory of the sweetness of his disposition; the unfailing courtesy of his ways; the indescribable charm of his manner; the little unassuming acts of kindness, blossoming every hour; the purity of his thought and word; the absence of envy, the love of his fellows, the noble elevation of his life. These remain to bless, to brighten, to benefit our lives.

“Peace to the just man’s memory; let it grow

Greener with years, and blossom through the flight

Of ages; let the mimic canvas show

His calm, benevolent features; let the light

Stream on his deeds of love, that shunned the sight

Of all but heaven, and, in the book of fame,

The glorious record of his virtues write;

And hold it up to men, and bid them claim

A palm like his, and catch from him the hallowed flame.”

Remarks of Mr. Justice Long

We stand with bowed heads in the august presence of our great sorrow, to pay our respects to the memory of the grand man, the eminent citizen, the distinguished judge, who has just stepped from his high place among the living, to take a last long sleep in the bosom of the State he loved, honored and served, during a long and eventful life.

The words we may utter upon this solemn occasion can add nothing to the luster of his great name, for the voice of eloquence loses its cunning in the presence of such a life as his. We need not try to picture his conquests, or with earthly voices to sing flattering songs of his victories, for his life is a grander picture than artists can paint, and from his grave come diviner symphonies than we can create, and which are more in accordance with the solemnities that fill our hearts as we wait in this temple of justice to pay our last public tribute to the memory of him who was so long a prominent and familiar figure within it.

It is well for us that we pause in our duties, and give expression to our thoughts, when a good man dies; and it is especially fit and proper on this occasion to give utterance to our feelings and sentiments upon the character, worth and virtues of Mr. Justice Campbell, whose face we shall see no more forever. He lived the life of a good man, and has gone to his reward.

His character is written in the solid material progress of this State, and her political history is luminous of his great learning, his exhaustless knowledge of men and things, his limitless patience in searching out the right, and that wonderful grasp of law and equity which enabled him to enunciate those principles which have been accepted as the safeguards of lives, property, and the dearest interests of the people of a great State.

It is almost impossible to estimate the value of such a life as his. While most of the treasures of this world have a price, no one can fully measure the value of a grand character, or estimate the effect that it has upon the world.

It not only blesses homes, but its influence extends through all social, political and business interests, and imparts strength, intelligence, virtue and solidity to the State.

My first acquaintance with him commenced about the year 1868, when, as one of the younger members of our profession, I began to argue cases in this Court. I well remember with what kindly interest he gave attention to arguments, and how closely he seemed to follow every line of thought presented.

It was an inspiration to look upon his benevolent face, and into his eyes, which always seemed to lead one on with perfect ease, and gave confidence that every word and every sentence was being weighed and considered. I believe every member of the bar has felt this influence. It was not, however, until called to the bench that I came to know him and appreciate his great mind, his learning and ability, and the purity of his character.

In striving to place an estimate upon his character and worth, it is difficult to speak with the moderation he would desire were he still in the world. That he possessed a mind of natural power, matured and strengthened by the study of the law, is manifest to all who have the slightest acquaintance with our Reports; that he was a writer of singular clearness and force, every well-read lawyer will testify; that he possessed a wealth of learning concerning the law as a science, and also as applied to the general affairs of life, is within the common knowledge of us all, and that his requirements were varied and his general knowledge was broad and accurate, is known to all who were so fortunate as to know him.

But how can we speak of his gentleness, his courage, his helpfulness, his unvarying kindness, his sense of justice, the singular serenity of his manner, the unsullied purity of his life?

Doubtless he had the inherent infirmity that belongs to human nature; but what one that survives him can say that he was ever moved by a base or unworthy motive? Surely the presence of such men in the world is almost as rare as the visits of an angel, and those men may well deem themselves fortunate who have lived in the immediate sphere of his influence, for few men ever departed from his presence without the feeling that they had met a good man.

Having lived the life of a clean, pure man for sixty-seven years, upon the morning that he passed from this life into the one that lies before us all, eh could have said as truly as was ever said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” The world has been made the better and wiser that he has lived. We who survive him upon this bench will feel his loss almost as keenly as his immediate family. We shall miss him in our daily social intercourse; and, when gathered around our board in the discussion of intricate and delicate questions of law so often presented for consideration, we shall feel the loss of his keen, quick perception of the questions involved and his great knowledge of those principles of the law which for the last thirty-three years he has done so much to settle.

Personally, I feel the loss of a dear, good friend, whose face was a benediction and the clasp of whose hand always warmed the heart.

He lived in the warm affections of the people, until, in the fullness of his years,

“Like a shadow, thrown

Softly and sweetly from a passing cloud

Death fell upon him.”

Remarks of Mr. Justice Grant

In the death of Justice Campbell the people of the State have lost an able and careful protector and expounder of their rights of both person and property. Wherever he detected fraud or deceit he attacked it in unsparing terms. Some have criticised his opinions in criminal cases as construing the law too liberally in favor of the criminal. If he erred sometimes in this respect, it was owing to his innate desire to protect the personal liberty of the citizen. His vision was not confined to the individual case but took in the whole field of humanity with its frailties and imperfections. His sole aim was to establish principles under which no person could be deprived of his liberty without due process of law. The merits of the case in hand were to him of small importance compared with the necessity of establishing correct legal principles.

His ability as a lawyer, his power and integrity as an advocate and his character as a man were early recognized both by the legal profession and by the people. For these he was called thirty-three years ago to fill the highest judicial position in the State, at the age of thirty-four years. He enjoyed the rare distinction of an election five consecutive times to the same high office. The reason of this is not far to find. He had confidence in the people, and the people had confidence in him. He fearlessly did his duty, uninfluenced by party passion or prejudice of any kind. His own conscience and his keen sense of right and wrong formed the basis of his judgments. It is not too much to say that in no case did he ever consider for a moment the effect which a decision might have upon himself personally or upon his election or upon the political party to which he belonged.

His career is an illustration of the fact, too often overlooked, that the people will sustain the fearless, honest and incorruptible man who has the courage of his convictions.

He interpreted and applied the common law as did Chief Justice Waite, who said: “The common law is reason, dealing by the light of experience with human affairs. One of its merits is that it has the capacity to reach the ends of justice by the shortest paths.” Justice Campbell ever took the short and direct path to justice, being careful to observe well-established rules and precedents.

The State found him and left him poor in this world’s goods. He left the State a rich legacy of wise and sound law and a stainless Christian character. Such men are the real and permanent wealth of a State. Princely fortunes will disappear and with their owners be soon forgotten, but the characters of such men will live, a powerful influence to young men of the generations yet to come.

Those of us who were his pupils in the law school of our University and who argued our first cases in this Court before him, will never forget the kindness, courtesy and patience with which he heard us and the encouragement his treatment gave us.

While all, who knew him, will miss him, his loss will be felt the most keenly by us who were his associates upon the bench and in the consultation room. His mind was a storehouse of jurisprudence, to which we had access without the asking. We prized his companionship, his friendship and his kindliness beyond measure.

A friend writes me that Daniel Webster constantly wrote and spoke of Judge Story as the “good judge” and that the phrase is no less applicable to Justice Campbell than to Judge story. The comparison is just. The tribute richly deserved.

From conversations with him during the last term of Court I am satisfied that the final summons came to him no unexpected nor unwelcome. He feared not to enter the portals of the unknown country. He lived in the simple, undoubting faith of Christianity. He went from us with the peace that comes only from a conscience void of offense. He needed no warning of the approach of the grim messenger. His life was a constant preparation for death.

In the presence of such a character all doubt as to the immortality of the soul vanishes. He has left for us and for posterity the record of a Christian lawyer, jurist and man.

Remarks of Chief Justice Champlin:

It has been remarked by Mr. Bryce, in his justly celebrated work upon the American Commonwealth, that an elective judiciary is a source of weakness in the American system. That the fact that the tenure of office depends upon a popular election must necessarily affect the independence of a judge. While this may be true of some men it cannot be asserted truthfully of Judge Campbell. Although in full accord with the principles of the party to which he adhered, yet his reason was never blinded by his regard for the party which elevated him to office; and in the very few questions of a political nature which have been brought before the Court while he was a member he guarded himself with the most scrupulous exactness from all influence which party feeling might exert.

He knew the extreme difficulty while living amidst the agitations, contests, and discussions of a free people, of keeping the mind tranquil and the judgment unaffected by the excitement which surrounds us. He appreciated the  high position which he held, and he regarded it as a pledge which as a judge he had given to the people that he should discharge the great responsibilities entrusted to him without favor or bias and in accordance with the constitution and laws which he had sworn to support and administer. It requires moral courage of a high order to run counter to the temper, disposition and clamor of a political party. That courage was his whose memory we revere. If to preserve judicial calmness under trying circumstances be difficult, it is no less honorable to the man, and the people turn to  him with renewed confidence, because all feel that there must be somewhere a check upon human passions; and we al know there is no better check than the law, wisely expounded and impartially administered. Judge Campbell was a man whose mind was not easily affected by popular clamor. The motives which actuated  him were the preservation of the Constitution of the State unimpaired and the no less sacred right of the people to the enjoyment of those principles of freedom and liberty in their individual spheres which underlie all government and which written constitutions were designed to protect. These have been summarized as the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the right to the equal protection of the laws, and that no man shall be condemned in person or estate other than by due process of law.

Judge Campbell’s love for personal liberty was strong, and he was inclined to look upon the frailties of human nature with true Christian charity and benevolence. In the administration of the criminal law, he accorded to the accused all the rights which the presumption of innocence entitled him to. He insisted that both the form and substance of all rights which guaranteed a fair and impartial trial as recognized and established by law should be observed.

This he considered necessary to protect the innocent as well as to legally convict the guilty. If a person is convicted in violation of the settled course of legal procedure, violence is done to individual rights, the temple of justice is profaned and the judgment pronounced is not that of the law, but of violence, of force, or of fraud. If such convictions were allowed to stand in times of tranquility, they would become precedents in times of turmoil and excitement, and no citizen would be safe. In the opinions of Judge Campbell there is a jealous regard manifested for the rights of persons accused of the commission of crime, not on account of any sympathy with the criminal classes, but because of the cardinal maxim that no person should be condemned except by due process of law.

If the people of this State owe to Judge Campbell and his associates upon the bench a debt of gratitude for one thing more than another, it is for their attachment to the principles of local self-government. These principles were examined and discussed with rare ability in People v. Hurlburt, 24 Mich.44, by Mr. Campbell, who was then Chief Justice, and by Justices Cooley, Christiancy and Graves, and were by their decision firmly established in our jurisprudence. The legislature had assumed to fill by appointment offices in a board of a local character, which to a casual observer might not be thought to be an act of much importance, but it infringed the right of local self-government; the greatest bulwark of free institutions; a right inherent of the people and underlying our form of government; a right which could not be surrendered to a legislature, or to any body, or person without express grant from the people to be affected by it.

The careful student of our political and constitutional history will learn that the framework of our State government does not rest alone upon the rigid letter of a written constitution; but also upon the right of local self-government as it existed and was exercised when the Constitution was adopted.

When Judge Campbell entered upon the duties of the office of a Justice of this Court “he took into his hands a splendid gem, good and glorious, perfect and pure.” When he laid down the burden of his judicial life, he had in now ay mutilated or marred it. He had preserved it in all its purity and added new luster to its brilliancy. When he took his seat upon the bench the entire compass of the reported decisions were comprised in eight volumes.

The field of jurisprudence in the new State was not extensive, but was open to the husbandry of judicial tillage as the State advanced in population and material progress.

He brought to the discharge of the duties of his high position a mind ripe with the fruits of learning. He was thoroughly versed in the science of the law, and was master of the principles upon which it was founded. His knowledge was varied and extensive; and in his reading he kept abreast of the times. He was not antiquated in his notions, but progressed with the times and march of events. This enabled him to comprehend the wants of a progressive community—a new State developing into a great Commonwealth, —and to appreciate and apply the principles of law to new questions which arose out of the callings and necessities of such a community. His opinions embraced in the volumes of reports during the thirty-two years and over he sat upon this bench attest his learning and ability, his wisdom and justice, and form a monument which shall perpetuate his memory so long as law is reverenced or justice revered. It is said that patience and gravity is an essential part of justice. In this he excelled beyond any jurist of my acquaintance. He was a patient listener and a keen observer. No one who presented a case while he was sitting upon the bench could say that he was not accorded a patient hearing by him.

By an almost constant association with him for more than six years I am enabled to form a just estimate of his character. I can say without reserve that he exhibited less of the frailties of our human nature than any many I ever knew. I have often thought that he was as nearly perfect as any man I ever met. Lovely in disposition, pure in thought and purpose, high and noble in all his aims, firm in his friendships, kind in his manner, affable in his intercourse, benevolent in his sentiments, a true Christian in heart and life, it is not surprising that these generous traits of character should stamp themselves upon his outward appearance and his countenance should indicate the pureness of his life, and should give to it that benignity of expression which limners are wont to give to the beloved disciple. The charm of his manner drew all men to him instinctively, and made them feel that he was their friend.

When the appointed time came in which he should lay down the burden of life, he was not weighted with years for he had not yet reached the time allotted of three score and ten, but judged of by its usefulness and by results his life was full of years.

The death of his wife two years ago was a great blow to him. He felt it keenly, and while making no complaints we could see that it produced an effect upon his health and temperament. It seemed to loosen his hold upon life, and although he was ever ready to discharge the duties of his office yet it could be observed that they were done in a measure mechanically, and not with his former zest, but as one who awaits a message; I do not think that “he mourned for the end that must be, neither do I think he had a wish to have one minute added to the uncertain date of his years.” His death was befitting his great life. He passed away peacefully and painlessly, mind and body together; and escaped that dreaded experience which many endure who reach the evening of their age when the mind dies often and the body once.

What end can be more glorious or more befitting than after having lived an honorable and useful life with a conscience void of offense, at peace with God and man, to pass into his eternal rest, “spoken of well upon earth, by those that are just and of the family of virtue.” His loss, nevertheless, is irreparable to the public whom he served so well, and especially to his associates upon the bench. We shall miss the wisdom of his counsel, but more than all the good friend and genial companion. Words fail to express my feelings. The saddest moment of our lives is when we stand by the grave of one we have loved and lost. Death severs all ties whether of kindred or friendship, and strews our affections upon the barren sands of an irretrievable sorrow.

The Court will make order that the sentiments expressed on this occasion be entered at large upon the Journal of the court, and be published with the reports, and as a further mark of respect the Court will now adjourn until tomorrow.

Action of the Senate of the University of Michigan:

Judge Campbell having been connected for a full quarter of a century with the University of Michigan, it has been deemed proper to close this brief memorial with the action taken by the University Senate on the death of one who was so long the beloved and honored Marshall Professor of Law in that institution:

The Senate of the University of Michiganis again in mourning. It has learned with sorrowful emotion of the death of one of its former members, Mr. Justice James V. Campbell, of the Supreme Court. Death came to him without warning on the morning March the twenty-sixth, and in a moment the silver cord of life was loosed and its golden bowl was broken.

Believing profoundly in the truth of his own words that “there are few more profitable possessions for any learned institution than the memories of those who have made their lives a part of its history,” we desire to place this memorial on the records of the Senate, as an expression of the esteem we entertain for one of the most distinguished names connected with the University of Michigan. Although the veil of death has been drawn between him and the living, and we shall not look on his face again, yet his fame and honor remain an inheritance of which this University is proud. We enroll  his name in that catalogue of names that in future years shall serve to make the annals of the University resplendent. For while he rests from his labors, his works do follow him.

James Valentine Campbell was born on February 25, 1823, in Buffalo, New York. His parents removed to Michiganand settled in Detroit when he was about three years of age, and that city continued uninterruptedly to be his home from that time to the date of his death. As a boy he attended school at Flushing, Long Island, and later on matriculated at St. Paul’s College, in the same place, from which he was graduated in 1841. Returning to Detroit, he at once entered on the study of the law, and in October, 1844, was admitted to the bar. His practice extended over a period of only thirteen years, but in that time he distinguished himself for acuteness of intellect as well as for accurate and comprehensive knowledge, and so won the respect and confidence of his fellow-citizens that they bestowed on him at the early age of thirty-five the judicial ermine.

He became a member of the Supreme Court of Michigan in 1858, and by successive re-elections was continued in his high office to the day of his death. His judicial opinions are recorded in seventy valumes of the Michigan Reports, which will ever remain an enduring monument to his great learning. He enjoyed a longer judicial career than has fallen to the lot of any other man in the history of the Commonwealth, and his labors served in large degree to cause the Court to take high rank among the judicial tribunals of our country. He was one of those magistrates who care it was “when he went up to the judgment seat to put on righteousness as a glorious and beautiful robe, and to render his tribunal a fit emblem of that eternal throne of which justice and judgment are the habitation.” His very look and stately bearing indicated the judge. He was born to wear the ermine, and we may say of him, as was said of Sir Matthew Hale, that if he had entered unheralded the court-room of the unjust judge, robed only in a miller’s coat and hat, all heads would bow and all tongues exclaim “this is a judge.”

In 1859, the Law Department of this University was opened and Judge Campbell was made Marshall Professor of Law. On Monday, October 3, 1859, the work of the law school began, the opening address being delivered by Judge Campbell, in the Presbyterian church, before the law class and the public generally, his theme being “The Study of the Law.” His associates in the faculty at that time, and for many years thereafter, were Thomas M. Cooley and Charles I. Walker, and together they constituted a splendid triumvirate. Under their guidance the school grew and prospered, and its fame spread throughout this and other lands. Thousands of students during the quarter of a century that Judge Campbell continued connected with the school, have sat under his instructions, been impressed by the profundity of his knowledge, charmed by the grace of his diction, ennobled by the purity of his life, and blessed by the benediction of his countenance. The news of his death will carry sorrow to the bar of every State and Territory in our country. In 1885, Judge Campbell reluctantly resigned his professorship in the law school, being compelled so to do by his advancing years, and the pressure of his judicial duties, which were each year becoming more exacting.

There is but one man living today whose connection with the University antedates that of Judge Campbell, and his does but by a single year. In 1845-46 Judge Campbell was Secretary of the Board of Regents.

In 1886, the University, recognizing his distinguished merit, conferred on him its highest honor, the degree of Doctor of Laws.

In 1881, upon the invitation of the Senate, he delivered in University hall a memorial discourse on the Life and Services of Professor George P. Williams. It was a most fitting and beautiful tribute to a noble man who for forty years had filled a professor’s chair in this University.

The most of Judge Campbell’s time was given to the discharge of his duties in the law school and on the bench. He might easily have attained distinction in the republic of letters had he turned his attention in that direction, and it must remain a matter of regret that he did not more frequently turn aside from professional duties and give wider scope to his most graceful pen.

Judge Campbell was a gentleman of the old school. Indeed, so gracious was his urbanity, so suave his courtesy, so gentle and considerate his nature, that he might well be styled an ideal gentleman. He was as polite to the man of low estate and humble station as to the man of large means and official rank. He was as ready to converse with the humblest artisan, whom chance had thrown into his company, as with the most accomplished man of letters. He learned something from every one, and to every one he had something to impart.

He was a man of accomplishments and of comprehensive learning in many fields. He was especially fond of historical studies and is the author of a political history of the State. He was probably better versed in the early history of Michiganthan any man, living or dead. He was a fine French scholar, and investigated with all the zeal of an antiquarian the early French records of this region. He was possessed of a memory that may well be called astonishing, so remarkable was it for extent, exactness, and promptitude. We may say of him, as has been said of another, that “his memory was a natural hive for learning, and he stored and filled it up with the busy industry and cunning architecture of the bee.”

Judge Campbell was a man of reverent spirit and of unquestioning faith. All his life long he was a devout member of the Protestant Episcopal church, was prominent in its councils, and took a deep interest in all that pertained to its welfare. Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely and of good report—he not only thought on these things, but made them a part of “the warp and woof” of his daily life. His soul was upright within him. The stain of dishonor never soiled his escutcheon. He never took unfair advantage, dealt no foul blows, schemed for no place, bore himself always as became one of the true nobility. He cherished that “chastity of honor which feels a stain like a wound.” His life was a beautiful fulfillment of his Lord’s requirement “to do justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.”

This University will ever honor the memory of Mr. Justice Campbell and while it mourns his death with deep sensibility, it is thankful that in the providence of God he was enabled to achieve so much.

The Senate most deeply sympathizes with the family, so greatly bereaved, and implores for them the consolation that comes from knowing that it has been divinely written—Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord.