« PreviousContinue »
signed both the plan and execution of these his publicspirited designs to the wisdom of his parent university. Resolving to dedicate his learned labours “ to the benefit of posterity and the perpetual service of his country,” he was sensible he could not perform his resolution in a better and more effectual manner, than by extending to the youth of this place, those assistances of which he so well remembered and so heartily regretted the want. And the sense, which the university has entertained of this ample and most useful benefaction, must appear beyond a doubt, from their gratitude in receiving it with all possible marks of esteem & ; from their alacrity and unexampled despatch in carrying it into execution h ; and, above all, from the laws and constitutions by which they have effectually guarded it from the neglect and abuse to which such institutions are liablei. We have seen an universal emulation, who best should understand, or most faithfully pursue, the designs of our generous patron : and with pleasure we recollect, that those who are most distinguished by their quality, their fortune, their station, their learning, or their experience, have appeared the most
f See the preface to the eighteenth volume probably be sufficient hereafter to found of his abridgment.
another fellowship and scholarship, or three g Mr. Viner is enrolled among the public more scholarships, as shall be thought most benefactors of the university by decree of con- expedient. vocation.
i The statutes are in substance as folh Mr. Viner died June 5, 1756. His
lows. effeets were collected and settled, near a 1. Tha accounts of thi enefacvolume of his work printed, alınost the whole tion be separately kept, and annually audisposed of, and the accounts made up, dited by the delegates of accounts and in a year and a half from his decease, by professor, and afterwards reported to convon the very diligent and wortby administrators cation. with the will annexed, (Dr. West and Dr. 2 Tunt a professorship of the laws of EngGood of Magdalene, Dr. Whalley of Oriel land be established, with a salary of two hun. Mr. Buckler of All Souls, and Mr. Betts of dred pounds per annum ; the professor to be University college,) to whom that care was elected by convocation, and to be at the consigned by the university. Another half time of his election at least a master of arts year was employed in considering and set- or bachelor of civil law in the university of tling a plan of the proposed institution, and Oxford, of ten years standing from his matriin framing the statutes thereupon, which culation; and also a barrister at law of four were finally confirmed by convocation on years standing at the bar. the 3d of July 1758. The professor was 3. That such professor (by himself, or by elected on the 20th of October following, deputy to be previously approved by convo. and two scholars on the succeeding day. cation) do read one solemn public lecture on And, lastly, it was agreed at the annual audit the laws of England, and in the English lan. in 1761, to establish a fellowship; and a fellow guage, in every academical term, at certain was accordingly elected in January follow- stated times previous to the commencement ing. The residue of this fund, arising of the common law term; or forfeit twenty bom the sale of Ms. Viner's alridgment, will pounds for every omission to Mr. Viner's
general fund: and also (by himself, or by time to time ordain, according to the state of deputy to be approved if occasional, by the Mr. Viner's revenues. vice-chancellor and proctors; or, if perma- 6. That every fellow be elected by connent, both the cause and the deputy to be vocation, and at the time of election be annually approved by convocation) do yearly unmarried, and at least a master of arts or read one complete course of lectures on the bachelor of civil law, and a member of some laws of England, and in the English lan. college or hall in the university of Oxford; guage, consisting of sixty lectures at the the scholars of this foundation, or such as have least; to be read during the university term been scholars, (if qualified and approved of by time, with such proper intervals that not convocation) to have the preference: that if more than four lectures may fall within not a barrister when chosen, he be called to any single week : that the professor do the bar within one year after his election ; but give a month's notice of the time when the do reside in the university two months in course is to begin, and do read gratis to the every year, or in case of non-residence do forscholars of Mr. Viner's foundation ; but may seit the stipend of that year to Mr. Viner's demand of other auditors such gratuity as general fund. shall be settled from time to time by de- 7. That every scholar be elected by coneree of convocation, and that for every of the vocation, and at the time of election be unsaid sixty lectures omitted, the professor, on married, and a member of some college or hall complaint made to the vice-chancellor within in the university of Oxford, who shall have the year, do forfeit forty shillings to Mr. been matriculated twenty-four calender Viner's general fund; the proof of having months at the least; that he do take the degree performed his duty to lie upon the said pro- of bachelor of civil law with all convenient fessor,
speed (either proceeding in arts or otherwise); 4. That every professor do continue in and previous to his taking the same, between his office during life, unless in case of such the second and eighth year from his matricumisbehaviour as shall amount to bannition by latic, be bound to attend two courses of the the university statutes; or unless he deserts professor's lectures, to be certified under the the profession of the law by betaking him- professor's hand; and w thin one year after self to another profession; or unless, after taking the same to be called to the bar; that one admonition by the vice-chancellor and he do annually reside six months till he is of proctors for notorious neglect, he is guil- four years standing, and four months fiom that ty of another flagrant omission ; in any of time till he is master of arts or bachelor of civil which cases he be deprived by the vice-chan. law; after which he be bound to reside two cellor, with consent of the house of convoca- months in every year; or in case of non-resition.
denee, do forfeit the stipend of that year to 5. That such a number of fellowships with Mr. Viner's general fund. a stipend of fifty pounds per annum, and 8. That the scholarships do become void scholarships with a stipend of thirty pounds, in case of non-attendance on the professor, be established, as the convocation shall from
or not taking the degree of bachelor of civil
zealous to promote the success of Mr. Viner's establishment.
The advantages that might result to the science of the law itself, when a little more attended to in these seats of knowledge, perhaps, would be very considerable. The leisure and abilities of the learned in these retirements might either suggest expedients, or execute those dictated by wiser headsk, for improving its method, retrenching its superfluities, and reconciling the little contrarieties, which the practice of many centuries will necessarily create in any human system: a task, which those, who are deeply employed in business and the more active scenes of the profession, can hardly condescend to engage in. And as to the interest, or (which is the same) the reputation of the universities themselves, I may venture to pronounce, that if ever this study should arrive to any tolerable perfection either here or at Cambridge, the nobility and gentry of this kingdom would not shorten their residence upon this account, nor perhaps entertain a worse opinion of the benefits of academical education. Neither should it be considered as a matter of light importance, that while we thus extend the pomoeria of uni
law, being duly admonished so to do by the profits of the current year be rateably divivice-chancellor and proctors; and that both ded between the predecessor, or his reprefellowships and scholarships do expire at the sentatives, and the successor; and that a new end of ten years after each respective elec- election be had within one month after tion; and become void in case of gross mis- wards, unless by that means the time of elee. behaviour, non-residence for two years toge- tion shall fall within any vacation, in which ther, marriage, not being called to the bar case it be deferred to the first week in the within the time before limited, (being duly next full term. And that before any convoadmonished so to be by the vice-chancellor cation shall be held for such election, or for and proctors,) or deserting the profession of any other matter relating to Mr. Viner's bethe law by following any other profession: nefaction, ten days public notice be given and that in any of these cases the vice-chan- to each college and hall of the convocation, cellor, with consent of convocation, do declare and the cause of convoking it. the place actually void.
9. That in case of any vacancy of the pro- k See lord Bacon's proposals and offer of fessorship, fellowships, or scholarships, the a digest.
versity learning, and adopt a new tribe of citizens  within these philosophical walls, we interest a very
numerous and very powerful profession in the preservation of our rights and revenues.
For I think it past dispute that those gentlemen, who resort to the inns of court with a view to pursue the profession, will find it expedient (whenever it is practicable) to lay the previous foundations of this, as well as every other science, in one of our learned universities. We may appeal to the experience of every sensible lawyer, whether any thing can be more hazardous or discouraging than the usual entrance on the study of the law. ' A raw and unexperienced youth, in the most dangerous season of life, is transplanted on a sudden into the midst of allurements to pleasure, without any restraint or check but what his own prudence can suggest; with no public direction in what course to pursue his inquiries; no private assistance to remove the distresses and difficulties which will always embarrass a beginner. In this situation he is expected to sequester himself from the world, and by a tedious lonely process to extract the theory of law from a mass of undigested learning; or else by an assiduous attendance on the courts to pick up theory and practice together, sufficient to qualify him for the ordinary run of business. How little therefore is it to be wondered at, that we hear of so frequent miscarriages; that so many gentlemen of bright imaginations grow weary of so unpromising a search', and addict themselves wholly to amusements, or other less innocent pursuits; and that so many persons of moderate capacity confuse themselves at first setting out, and conti
i Sir Henry Spelman in the preface to his “ reperissemque linguam peregrinamn, dialec. glossary, has given us a very lively picture of “ tum barbaram, methodum inconcinnam, his own distress upon this occasion. “ Emesit “ molem non ingentem solum sed perpetuis
me mater Londinum, juris nostri capessendi “humeris sustinendam, excidit mihi (futeor) " gratia; cujus cum vestibulum salutassem, "animus, etc."
nue ever dark and puzzled during the remainder of their lives !
The evident want of some assistance in the rudiments of legal knowledge has given birth to a practice, which, if ever it had grown to be general, must have proved of extremely pernicious consequence. I mean the custom by  some so very warmly recommended, of dropping all liberal education, as of no use to students in the law: and placing them, in its stead, at the desk of some skilful attorney; in order to initiate them early in all the depths of practice, and render them more dextrous in the mechanical part of business. A few instances of particular persons, (men of excellent learning, and unblemished integrity,) who, in spite of this method of education, have shone in the foremost ranks of the bar, have afforded some kind of sanction to this illiberal path to the profession, and biassed many parents, of shortsighted judgment, in its favour: not considering that there are some geniuses, formed to overcome all disadvantages, and that from such particular instances no general rules can be formed; nor observing, that those very persons have frequently recommended, by the most forcible of all examples, the disposal of their own offspring, a very different foundation of legal studies, a regular academical education. Perhaps too, in return, I could now direct their eyes to our principal seats of justice, and suggest a few hints, in favour of university learning m: but in these all who hear me, I know have already prevented me.
MAKING therefore due allowance for one or two shining exceptions, experience may teach us to foretell that a lawyer
m The four highest judicial offices were another, student of Christ Church; and the at that time filled by gentlemen, two of fourth a fellow of Trinity college, Carr whom had been fellows of All Souls college; bridge (4).
(4) The two first were, Lord Northington and Lord Chief Justice Willes; the third, Lord Mansfield; and the fourth, Sir Thomas Clarke, Master of the Rolls..