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War Risk Insurance
On October 6, 1917, Congress passed a law providing for insurance for the enlisted men, and for allotment and family allowance to dependent families of soldiers and sailors. At a cost less than that at which any other insurance was ever offered, the Government has provided full indemnity up to ten thousand dollars for every enlisted, enrolled or drafted man.
In order that all the enlisted men and their families should fully understand and avail themselves of the law, all the Legal Advisory Boards stood ready to aid and advise all persons interested.
Legal Committee of Council of National Defense
In March, 1918, the Government requested the Legal Advisory Boards to render further service as Legal Committees of the Council of National Defense. The Boards readily accepted the new duties.
They were requested to aid registrants in adjusting their business matters preparatory to entering the service, such as drawing powers of attorney, preparing wills, closing partnerships, arranging leases or mortgages, and seeing after any other matter requiring legal advice, and also during the absence of the soldier to give any legal advice or aid necessary to the members of his family respecting their insurance, allotments and allowances. All this they gladly performed.
April 1, 1918, was declared by the Government to be "Patriotic Day," and all County Courts were requested to celebrate it by public meetings with patriotic addresses.
The various Legal Boards co-operated with their County officials to make this day a great patriotic one, and in many counties furnished the speakers for the occasion.
Home Defense Leagues
Home Defense Leagues have been organized in a number of the counties. In Hamilton practically the entire Bar belongs to the Home Defense League. Davidson has a League of over
1,500 members, of whom a number are lawyers. The League includes two complete military companies, fully uniformed, equipped and officered; each Company has a lawyer for its Captain. The members are assigned to guard the reservoir, the largest flouring mills and lumber yards and other strategic industries. Each member serves about one night in two weeks. More than 600 of these have been appointed and qualified as voluntary police.
In about a dozen counties the Home Defense Leagues have been organized, and the lawyers are taking an active part. All counties that have not organized Home Defense Leagues might well do so. The League renders valuable service in guarding against seditious and unpatriotic conduct and in reporting any such to the proper authority. They also aid in discovering deserters and those who have avoided the draft.
Four-Minute Men and Making Patriotic Addresses
In nearly all the counties the lawyers have been rendering valuable assistance as Four-Minute Men, and in making patriotic addresses. Many counties have a complete organization. In Davidson there are 59 Four-Minute Men, 24 of them being lawyers, and, in addition, about 20 other lawyers who are engaged in making patriotic addresses.
In Knox County there are 11 lawyers as Four-Minute Men, and nearly the entire Bar make patriotic addresses when called upon to serve. Hamilton has 15 Four-Minute Men, and the Bar at large make patriotic addresses when called upon. Similar proportions apply to Shelby County.
In more than two-thirds of the counties reports show that practically the entire Bar are Four-Minute Men and make patriotic addresses when called upon.
Red Cross, Liberty Loan and War Savings Campaigns In all these campaigns for war purposes, the entire Bar of the State has engaged with great fervor.
In nearly all the reports, in answer to the question: How many lawyers assisted in these campaigns? the reply is, "The entire Bar."
Lawyers in Red Cross Military Service
No lawyers in this State have entered the Red Cross military service. In this respect, we are not quite up to the patriotic level of some of our sister States. In New York, for example, quite a number of lawyers have entered the Red Cross service and gone to France. But while they have not volunteered for this part of the Red Cross work, a survey shows that they have, with unanimity throughout the State, aided all forms of Red Cross effort. In many of the counties a lawyer is Chairman of the Chapter. In others, a lawyer is Secretary, and in each of the Red Cross campaigns the lawyers actively solicited funds.
In Davidson County a lawyer was Chairman of the first Red Cross campaign. In Gibson a lawyer was Chairman of the second campaign; in Bradley one is Chairman of the Chapter; in Giles one is Secretary; in Macon one is Chairman, and in Perry one is Chairman.
In Davidson, in the last Red Cross campaign, the entire Bar volunteered to assist, and were appointed to visit various industrial plants, make speeches to the employees and solicit subseriptions. Each employee was asked to donate one day's wages to the Red Cross. The Bar of Nashville, working through the Lawyers' War Service League, took charge of 217 plants, visiting them and making patriotic addresses. In one week they turned in $59,000.00 in cash, as the result of their efforts.
Y. M. C. A. Military Work
The lawyers engaged in Y. M. C. A. military work are:
McMinn County-Randolph St. John.
Maury County-S. E. Stevens.
Madison County-L. L. Fonville. Now in France.
Putnam County-J. W. Cooper. Now in France.
War Work of Colored Lawyers
As far as I can learn there are no negro lawyers in the State that have entered the military service of the country. In fact, there are very few negro lawyers in the State, and these are found in the four largest cities. Nashville has nine, of these five were appointed associate members of the various Legal Advisory Boards, and rendered satisfactory service; four were appointed as Four-Minute Men, and gave constant service in making addresses at colored theaters and on various public occasions. On Patriotic Day, April 1, one of these delivered a patriotic oration, which was well received. All the negro lawyers assisted in the Liberty Loan Campaign, and in the Red Cross and War Savings Stamp Campaigns, serving as solicitors and speakers.
In Hamilton County there are three negro lawyers, all of them rendering satisfactory service as associate members of the Legal Advisory Boards. They also engaged in the Red Cross and War Savings Stamp Campaign, and made many public speeches.
Knox County has, I believe, only one negro lawyer, and he acted as associate member of the Legal Advisory Board and rendered considerable assistance in the Liberty Loan, Red Cross and War Savings Stamp Campaign.
My information is that the negro lawyers in Shelby County were equally patriotic.
If there are any negro lawyers in any other part of the state, my investigation fails to disclose them.
No Fees Charged
The S. S. R., Sections 45 and 46, and the proclamation of the President all show that fees are not charged for the services we render. Section 203 expressly provides that the services of Medical Advisory Boards and Legal Advisory Boards shall be uncompensated.
In only a few cases have any of the Tennessee lawyers charged fees to registrants, soldiers, or their families. In practically every case when their attention was called to it they returned the fee collected.
The soldier leaves his home and his business and his familyperhaps gives up his life-and surely no fee should be charged against him by any lawyer or by any doctor for any service to him or his family while he is gone. Our contribution in service is insignificant in comparison with his.
In this connection I wish to pay special tribute to the other branches of the selective service organization. The Local Boards, the District Boards, Government appeal agents, and the Legal and Medical Advisory Boards have devoted themselves constantly to this work. The greatest burden has fallen on the Local and District Boards and the Government appeal agents. These Boards for fourteen months have labored unceasingly, and Major Rutledge Smith, the executive head of the selective service organization in the State, has given his entire time and energy and splendid talent to the work.
But our labors have not ended. They have just begun. We must prepare an army of at least 4,000,000 men. The draft age will soon be lowered to 18 and raised to 45. This will require the registration of at least 13,500,000 additional men.
All of the work of the past year must be duplicated on a larger scale. It is another and better opportunity for service, and it will bring a new joy to each of us to undertake it.
The heart of every American thrillls when he considers the wonderful accomplishments of our soldiers. Only a few days ago the Germans had driven their salient from the Aisne to the Marne. They were gradually but surely forcing it deeper and deeper towards the heart of France. Thousands of square miles of the fairest territory of our Ally were in the hands of the enemy, and while from time to time his progress was checked, yet at every thrust more ground was gained, until it seemed only a question of a few more days or a few more efforts and Paris would be in the hands of the German Emperor. But our President and the War Department were straining every nerve to send more men to France, and more, and yet more. But one day the Germans made a drive on the American forces, and succeeded in forcing them back several miles. The American commander, Gen. Busby, at once prepared for a counter-attack; he was ad