"A lawyer must first get on, then get honor, and then get honest” is an old legal saying, usually given “anonymous” authorship. The saying has been recorded in print by at least 1853, described then as a “pun of the orator of the day.” In 1857, the saying was credited to Judge Hoar of Massachusetts—probably Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar (1816-1895).
Lawyer Quotes and Quotations
A lawyer must first get on, then get honor, and then get honest.
Wikipedia: Ebenezer R. Hoar
Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar (February 21, 1816 – January 31, 1895) was an influential American politician and lawyer from Massachusetts.
Born in Concord, Massachusetts, he graduated from Harvard University in 1835 and became a lawyer. Beginning in 1840 he practiced in Concord and Boston, Massachusetts. That same year he married Caroline Downes Brooks (1820-1892), of Concord.
Political and legal career
In 1846 Hoar was elected to the Massachusetts Senate as an anti-slavery Whig. He was a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Boston from 1849 until 1855 and then an Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court from 1859 to 1869.
He was appointed 31st Attorney General of the United States by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1869 and served for a little over a year. The US Department of Justice was created during his term. During the same period, he was nominated by Grant to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court but was not confirmed by the United States Senate.
October 1853, Yale Literary Magazine, pg. 29:
You attended the Linonian Centennial and heard some good things, we dare say, especially that stupendous triangular pun, which reminds one of Midshipman Easy’s duel, and the comparative pun of the orator of the day, of Americans’ first desire to get on, the second to get honor, and their third to get honest.
June 1857, The R. I. Schoolmaster, vol. III, no. 4, pg. 125, col. 2:
An excellent turn was made a few days since, at dinner table, by Judge Hoar, of Massachusetts—altogether too good to be lost. A gentleman remarked that ----, who used to be given to sharp practice, was getting more circumspect! “Yes,” replied Hoar, “he has reached the superlative of live—he began by seeking to get on—then he sought to get honor, and now he is trying to get honest.”
Papers Past (New Zealand
3 January 1872, Bruce Herald, Varieties, pg. 7:
Long ago, at a dinner-table in Massachusetts, a gentleman remarked that A---, who used to be given to sharp practice, was getting more circumspect. “Yes,” replied Judge Hoare, “he has reached the superlative of life. He began by seeking to get on; then he sought to get honor; and now he is trying to get honest.”
papers Past (New Zealand)
26 September 1873, Bruce Herald, Facetiae, pg. 7:
Judge Hoar said of a lawyer: “He has reached the superlative life; at first he sought to get on, and then sought to get honor, and now he is trying to get honest.”
Google News Archive
21 May 1892, Boston (MA) Evening Transcript, pg. 19, col. 2:
All honorable citizens who have at heart the integrity and welfare of our State, with her magnificent though undeveloped resources and her scanty population, deeply regret that our people are so divided, so busied in looking each one after his own interests, striving first to get on, next to get honor, then to get honest, so forgetful of the fact that two wrongs can never make one right, that progress seems at present well-nigh impossible.
28 July 1934, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Political Honesty” bry Frank. A. Garbutt, pg. A4:
“Get on, get honor, get honest” is an old saying.
The devil learns to vote:
The story of Montana
By Christopher Powell Connolly
New York, NY: Covici, Friede
Struggling professional men stepped into positions commanding large salaries; with many of the lawyers, it was the usual chicken today and feathers tomorrow, and they remembered the adage of the old lawyer who said: “First get on, then get honor, then get honest.”
Google News Archive
16 September 1947, Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette, pg. ?, col. 4:
But actually, from Biblical times onward, there seems to be a general habit of reviling those who practice the law — “A lawyer must first get on, then get honor, and then get honest,” is only one of the cracks aimed at them. It happens to be anonymous; I wonder if that means anything.
New York City • Government/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Wednesday, October 27, 2010 • Permalink