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the Supreme Court of the United States in this litigation. He was counsel in the celebrated Halley and Kallaher will cases. A list of the important cases in which he was employed as counsel would be a repetition of the list of important cases pending in the Memphis courts. His connection with these, and many other 'causes celebre' stamps him as a great lawyer.
He was honored by his fellow lawyers. He delivered the annual address before the Texas Bar Association in 1912, and also one before the Missouri Bar Association the same year. He also, by special invitation, delivered an address before the Omaha, Nebraska City Club. He was president of the Tennessee Bar Association in 1912-1913, and the address which he delivered in Memphis at the annual meeting was a model of elevated thought and literary taste.
He was an active and honored member of the American Bar Association, and at the time of his death was a member of the Executive Committee of that Association and Chairman of the Committee on Taxation.
As a lawyer, he had so advanced that he could look about him and see none above him. His alert and active mind penetrated the prodoundest depths of every question presented to him and his mastery of expression rescued his labors from futility.
But above and beyond it all was his unfailing courtesy. His triumphs in the forum were unmarred by the bitterness of the vanquished, and when he succeeded, he in some way made his adversary feel that he had not wholly failed.
He was aggressive, but only as the good and the great are aggressive. He assailed that which he believed was unsound. in principle or unrighteous in fact, and yet the attack was not as though he would unhorse any and every adversary, but rather the onward march of a man of high purpose. It was the holding steadfast to his conception of the right and a seeming inability to understand that the right should ever fear or recede from the wrong.
He would have scorned to regard his profession as a mere means of livelihood. He loved the law because it protects and preserves the rights of man and maintains the stability of society, saving it from the dark abyss of disorder. He believed
in simplifying legal procedure so that the ends of justice might always be subserved.
He favored laws for the amelioration of the conditions of the poor, the promotion of health and social purity, and maintenance of high moral standards, both in public and private life; laws which are surcharged with dynamic humanizing influences and recognize the great brotherhood of man. He took especial pride in the fact that the highest judicial tribunals have declared that Christianity is a part of the law of the land, and he has more than once quoted from the opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States in the Holy Trinity Church case (143 U. S.) that "no purpose of action against religion can be imputed to any legislation, state or nation, for this is a religious people."
He was familiar with and loyal to those fundamental laws of nature and of revelation, on which all human laws must depend for their obligatory forces, and he ever carried in his heart the rapture of a high resolve to live in harmony with the law of his being, and thus perform his part in God's great economy.
Judge Tim E. Cooper, formerly, and for many years, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Mississippi, once said of him that he regarded Mr. Biggs as the best trial lawyer he had ever heard try a case.
Bishop E. E. Hoss, one of the Board of Bishops of the M. E. Church, South, profoundly interested in the Vanderbilt University litigation, and thoroughly familiar with Mr. Biggs' professional services in this litigation, in one of the most beautiful and touching orations ever delivered over the bier of mortals, said:
"When I heard yesterday at noon, in the mountains of East Tennessee, that my dear friend and brother, Mr. Biggs, had gone away, I felt a sense of loss and pain so deep I could scarcely bear it. As a matter of course, I immediately determined to be present this morning and show my appreciation of him, and affection toward him. And yet I do not think it appropriate that there should be much speech on an occasion of this kind. There are times when silence is the best tribute. The kindest thing that Job's friends did for him was to come and sit down by him and remain speech
less for seven days. Nevertheless, there are a few things that I ought to say, and I trust that I may be able to say them with sufficient gentleness not to disturb the proprieties of the occasion.
"This is no ordinary man whom we are about to lay away in his last resting place. I do not use the language of exaggeration when I say, to begin with, that he a great lawyer. He revered and loved the noble profession to which he belonged. He studied law and its science and understood it in its principles, and had reached such emimence in his profession as comes to very few men at his time of life. Certainly in this, his native state, and far beyond Tennessee, there had come warm and generous recognition of his capacity and ability as a lawyer.
"A few weeks ago my friend and colleague, Bishop Collins Denny, was talking to President Wilson, and said to him, as he could say intimately, as they had been classmates in college, 'Mr. Wilson, if you should at any time want a man for a vacant place on the Supreme Bench of the United States, you could not find a better man than he, search the country over.
He possessed great felicity of speech, but his strength was not alone in oratory, or any other single excellence, but was a composite of many essentials of the successful lawyer.
There are two classes of advocates-one having the genius of oratory-that Promethian fire, aptly termed "The Daughters of the Skies" that addresses itself to the fancy and the passions of men, sweeping them along with the rush of a mountain torrent-the other addressing the reason, compels alone through this most Godlike attribute.
Instances of these two classes will best portray the subject of this tribute; for from the little that has been writ, and the more that we have from tradition of others, we can best produce similar characters of later speakers:
The House of Burgesses of Virginia-1765-1780-an era the most fecund of political progress in the history of nations and the perfection of human government-an era that witnessed the first rebellion, and the birth of a nation; the establishment of a government based upon the natural rights of man, guaranteed by a written constitution-a period in human stress and upheaval that quickened supremest intellectual effort-furnished
the most conspicuous examples of these two classes, including Patrick Henry, the very embodiment of the genius of eloquence, and then Edmund Pendleton and others, exemplars of the finished and forceful reasoner.
Tennessee has since furnished many representative lawyers of these two classes: Felix Grundy, possibly the greatest orator that Tennessee has ever produced, with John Netherland, Andrew Eqing, A. O. P. Nicholson, and others we might mention of the second class. We name none of Memphis' great lawyers because the selection of individuals might suggest exclusion of others equally appropriate for illustration.
William Wirt, himself one of the most finished speakers of the Bar, after contrasting Galba and Laelius, Cicero with Demosthenes, compared Patrick Henry and Edmund Pendleton, and concluded with this pen portrait of Edmund Pendleton, which might be used as a faithful picture of Mr. Biggs. He
"His person was spare, but well-proportioned; and his countenance one of the finest in the world; serene-contemplative, benignant, with that expression of unclouded intelligence and extensive research, which seemed to denote him capable of any thing that could be effected by the power of human mind. His mind itself was of a very fine order. It was clear, comprehensive, sagacious and correct; with a most acute and subtile faculty of discrimination; a fertility of expedient which could never be exhausted; a dexterity of address which never lost an advantage and never gave one; and a capacity for continued and unremitting application, which was perfectly invincible. * * * He had that silver voice, vox argentae, of which Cicero makes such frequent and honorable mention-an articulation uncommonly distinct a perennial stream of transparent, cool, and sweet elocution; and the power of presenting his arguments with great simplicity and striking effect. He was always graceful, argumentative, persuasive; never vehement, rapid or abrupt. He could instruct and delight; but he had no pretentions to those higher powers which are calculated to shake the human soul."
But it is of Albert Biggs as a citizen, a son, a husband, a father and a gentleman, and of his kindredship to all humanity we would most delight to speak, and upon which we would most
lingeringly and lovingly dwell. In the beautiful tribute of Bishop Hoss, he said: "He was a great gentleman." Every man, woman and child who knew Albert W. Biggs felt the fitness of the phrase. He was great in his gentleness; he was gentle in his greatness. He filled the full measure of Paul's ideal: "And the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient."
Just as the risen sun was casting its slanting rays over his wasted features, he died as he had lived-calmly, peacefully, and in the knowledge that at the bar of high Heaven he could stand upright and feel no fear.
He was "touched to tears" with every story of unmerited misfortune and no vain appeal was ever made to him by those who were bent under life's weight of woe. He was an alien to every sordid thought, and from the altitude to which his clean, clear conscience bore him, he looked down upon the bickerings of this little hour and all ignoble men felt in his presence the unconscious rebuke a great nature administers to those who live for self alone.
Thoughtful, considerate, kindly, he endeared himself alike to those of high and low degree and his benign influence fell like a benediction on all who came within the reach or radius of his beautiful life.
He was the rival of every compassionate, gentle-hearted man, competing with his colleagues in all the sweeter virtues and in strifes with none over the coarser conquests of life. From his every word and act radiated a beautiful belief in the power and purpose of the Saviour of the world. He did not stop to inquire whether beyond the grave there was another life, but accepted as free from debate that a place had been prepared for him in a house not built with hands; that Gethsemane's awful hour was not a brutal error; that Calvary's tragic hill was not a wanton waste; that the resurrection was but typical of man's entry, after the storm of life was stilled, into a day of eternal peace and fadeless glory. He so thought, and believed, and loved, and died.
The spirit of commercialism did not dwarf his soul or canker his heart. He was a builder of character and permitted nothing to interfere with his far-reaching life plans. He laid his foundations deep and broad and then erected a superstructure which will be a beautiful and lasting monument.