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The advantages that might result to the science of the law itself, when a littlo more attended to in these seats of knowledge, perhaps, would be very
consider able. The leisure and abilities of the learned in these retirements might either suggest expedients, or execute those dictated by wiser heads,(k) for improving its method, retrenching its superfluities, and reconciling the little contrarieties, which the practice of many centuries will necessarily create in any tem; 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
life, unless in case of such misbehaviour as shall amount to be certified under the professor's hand; and within ono baonition by the university statutes, or unless he deserts year after taking the same to be called to the bar; that the profession of the law by betaking himself to another he do annually reside six months, till he is of four years' profession; or unless, after one admonition by the vice standing, and four months from that time till he is master chancellor and proctors for notorious neglect, he is guilty of arts or bachelor of civil law; after which he be bound to of another flagrant omission; in any of which cases he bo reside two months in every year; or, in case of non-resideprived by the vice-chancellor, with consent of the house dence, do forfeit the stipend of that year to Mr. Viner's of convocation.
general fund 5. That such a number of fellowships, with a stipend of 8. That the scholarships do become void in case of nonafty pounds per annum, and scholarships with a stipend of attendance on the professor, or not taking the degree of thirty pounds, be established, as the convocation shall from bachelor of civil law, being duly admonished so to do by time to time ordain, according to the state of Mr. Viner's the vice-chancellor and proctors; and th both fellowships revenues.
and scholarships do expire at the end of ten years after 6 That every fellow be elected by convocation, and at each respective election; and become void in case of gross the time of election be unmarried, and at least a master of misbehaviour, non-residence for two years together, mar. arts or a bacbelor of civil law, and a member of some col riage, not being called to the bar within the time before lege or hall in the university of Oxford; the scholars of this limited, (being duly admonished so to be by the vico Bundation, or such as have been scholars, (if qualified and chancellor and proctors, or deserting the profession of the approved of by convocation,) to have the preference: that law by following any other profession; and that in any of if not a barrister when chosen, he be called to the bar these cases the vice-chancellor, with consent of convocation, vithin one year after his election; but do reside in the do declare the place actually void. Gniversity two months in every year, or, in case of non 9. That in case of any vacancy of the professorship, fel. residence, do forfeit the stipend of that year to Mr. Viner's lowships, or scholarships, the profits of the current year be Federal fund.
ratably divided between the predecessor, or his representa7. That every scholar be elected by convocation, and at tives, and the successor; and that a new election be had the time of election be unmarried, and a member of some within one month afterwards, unless by that means tho college er hall in the university of Oxford, who shall have time of election shall fall within any vacation, in which been matricnlated twenty-four calendar months at the case it be deferred to the first week in the next full term. Irast; that he do take the degree of bachelor of civil law And that before any convocation shall be held for such with all convenient speed (either proceeding in arts or election, or for any other matter relating to Mr. Viner's otherwise); and previons to his taking the same, between benefaction, ten days' public notice be given to each collego the second and eighth year from his matriculation, be and hall of the convocation, and the cause of convoking it. bend to attend two courses of the professor's lectures, to () See Lord Bacon's proposals and offer of a digest.
svarice, and till men find leisure and encouragement to prepare themselves for the exercise of this profession by climbing up to the vantage-ground-so my Lord Bacon calls it-of science, instead of grovelling all their lives below in a mean but gainful application to all the little arts of chicane. Till this happen, the profession of the law will scarce deserve to be ranked among the learned professions; and, whenever it happens, one of the vantage-grounds to which men must climb is metaphysical, and the other historical, kracledge. They must pry into the secret recesses of the human heart and become well acquainted with the whole moral world, that they may discover the abstract reason of all laws; and they must trace the laws of particular states—especially of their own—from the first rough sketches to the more perfect draughts,—from the first causes or occasions that produced them, through all the effects, good and bad, that they produced.”BOLINGBROKE: Study of History.
“Law,” said Dr. Johnson, “is the science in which the greatest powers of the understanding are applied to the greatest number of facts.” “And no one,” said Sir James Mackintosh, “who is acquainted with the variety and multiplicity of the subjects of jurisprudence, and with the prodigious powers of discrimination employed upon them, can doubt the truth of this observation."
“The science of jurisprudence is the pride of the human intellect, which, with all its defects, redundancies, and errors, is the collected reason of ages, combining the principles of original justice with the infinite variety of human concerns. One of the first and noblest of human sciences,-a science which does more to quicken and invigorate the human understanding than all other kinds of human learning put together; but it is not apt, except in persons very happily born, to open and liberalize the mind exactly in the same proportion.”—EDMUND BURKE.
" There is not, in my opinion, in the whole compass of human affairs so noble a speatacle as that which is displayed in the progress of jurisprudence; where we may contemplate the cautious and unwearied exertions of wise men through a long course of ages, withdrawing every case, as it arises, from the dangerous power of discretion and subjecting it to inflexible rules, extenaing the dominion of justice and reason, and gradually contracting within the narrowest possible limits the domain of brutal force and arbitrary will."-(SIR JAMES MACKINTOSH.) SAARSWOOD. VOLIM
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 tolerablo 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 pomæria *31]
of university 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.10
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
10 Hitherto, however, the study of the law at the English universities has not been cultivated with much success, even where facilities have been afforded to it. In 1758 a professorship of law was founded under the will of Mr. Viner, and Blackstone was the first Vinerian professor. The professorship, although commenced under such brilliant auspices, has, according to Mr. Christian, long sunk into the inglorious duty of receiving the stipend. But the report of the Oxford University commission gives strong reason for expecting, not only an active revival of the duties of that learned professor, but also the establishment of a law school in the University, on the very principles contended for by Blackstone. From the Downing professorship of law at Cambridge, founded in 1800, results equally beneficial may be expected. In the latter university, also, the civil law classes in which English and international law also find place) have for some years past been working with good results. The evidence taken by the university commissioners is much in favour of the present system; but they recommend a complete fusion of the studies of English civil and international law with a board of legal studies. “The faculty of law,” they say, “should embrace an examination of the principles upon which existing systems of laws are founded, and investigations of the principles on which all laws ought to be founded.” And they are of opinion that the foundation of professional education should be laid at the university. Within the last few years some additional facilities for this study have been afforded in the metropolis. Two professorships of law have been established,—the one at King's College, the other at the London University, where courses of lectures on various branches of the law are delivered. Law lectures are also regularly given at the Incorporated Law Society.
It has long been much regretted that no part of the resources of the Inns of Court should be devoted to the endowment of lectureships on the various branches of the law, and to a general scheme of legal education. It is to the honour of the present rulers of these institutions that they have at length, and after much deliberation, taken steps to wipe off this stain on the character of the Inns of Court as seminaries of legal learning. A scheme, which, if not so comprehensive as the subject would admit, is an admirable commencement, has been adopted by the Inns of Court, whereby readerships have been established on-1. Constitutional law and legal history; 2. Jurisprudence and the civil law; 3. The law of real property ; 4. The common law; and 5. Equity. A year's attendance at the lectures of the readers is now compulsory on all candidates for the bar who had not, by the first day of Trinity Term, 1852, kept twelve terms. Examinations are held on the subjects lectured upon, and studentships and certificates of merit are con ferred. It is to be maturely considered, however, whether these examinations should rint he made compulsory before any law degree is conferred.-STEWART.
imaginations grow weary of so unpromising a search,(1) and addict themselves wholly to amusements, or other less innocent pursuits; and that so many persone of moderate capacity confuse themselves at first setting out, and continue 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,
[*32 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 dexterous 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, afforded some kind of sanction to this illiberal path to the profession, and biassed many parents, of short-sighted 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 lines 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, thus educated to the bar, in subservience to attorneys and solicitors,(n) will find he has begun at the wrong end. If practice be the whole he is taught, practice must also be the whole he will ever know: if he be not instructed in the elements and first principles upon which the rule of practice is founded, the least variation from established precedents will totally distract and bewilder him: ita lex scripta est() is the utmost his knowledge will arrive at; he must never aspire to form, and seldom expect to comprehend, any arguments drawn, a priori, from the spirit of the laws and the natural foundations of justice.
* Nor is this all; for (as few persons of birth or fortune, or even of scholastic education, will submit to the drudgery of servitude, and the
[*33 manual labour of copying the trash of an office,) should this infatuation prevail to any considerable degree, we must rarely expect to see a gentleman of distinction or learning at the bar. And what the consequence may be, to have tho interpretation and enforcement of the laws (which include the entire disposal of our properties, liberties, and lives) fall wholly into the hands of obscure or illiterate men, is matter of very public concern.
The inconveniences here pointed out can never be effectually prevented, but by making academical education a previous step to the profession of the common law, and at the same time making the rudiments of the law a part of academical education. For sciences are of a sociable disposition, and flourish best in the neighbourhood of each other; nor is there any branch of learning but may be helped and improved by assistances drawn from other arts. If, therefore, the student in our laws hath formed both his sentiments and style by perusal and imitation of the purest classical writers, among whom the historians and orators
Sir llenry Spelman, in the preface to his glossary, has (m) The four highest judicial offices were at that tinis given us a very lively picture of his own distress upon this filled by gentlemen, two of whom had been fellows of All pocasion : * Emisit me mater Londinum, juris nostri capes Souls College; another, student of Christ Church; and the sendi gratia; cujus cum vestibulum salutassem, reperissem- fourth, a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. que linguam peregrinam, dialectum barbarum, methodum (n) See Kennet's Life of Somner, p. 67. inconcinnam, molem non ingentem solum sed perpetuis (0) FS. 40, 9, 12. kuneris sustinendam, excidit mihi (fateor) animus, &c."
11 Lord Northington and Lord Chief-Justice Willes, of All Souls College, Lord Mansfield, of Christ Church, and Sir Thomas Sewall, Master of the Rolls, of Trinity College. Cambridge, then occupied the highest judicial offices.-SHARSWOOD.
will best deserve his regard; if he can reason with precision, and separate argument from fallacy, by the clear simple rules of pure unsophisticated logic; if he can fix his attention, and steadily pursue truth through any the most intricate deduction, by the use of mathematical demonstrations; if he has enlarged his conceptions of nature and art, by a view of the several branches of genuine experimental philosophy; if he has impressed on his mind the sound maxims of the law of nature, the best and most authentic foundation of human laws; if, lastly, he has contemplated those maxims reduced to a practical system in the laws of imperial Rome; if he has done this, or any part of it, (though all may be easily done under as able instructors as ever graced any seats of learning,) a student thus qualified may enter upon the study of the law with incredible advantage *34]
and reputation. And if, at the conclusion, or during * the acquisition of
these accomplishments, he will afford himself here a year or two's further leisure, to lay the foundation of his future labours in a solid scientifical method, without thirsting too early to attend that practice which it is impossible he should rightly comprehend, he will afterwards proceed with the greatest ease, and will unfold the most intricate points with an intuitive rapidity and clearness.
I shall not insist upon such motives as might be drawn from principles of economy, and are applicable to particulars only: I reason upon more general topics. And therefore to the qualities of the head, which I have just enumerated, I cannot but add those of the heart; affectionate loyalty to the king, a zeal for liberty and the constitution, a sense of real honour, and well-grounded principles of religion, as necessary to form a truly valuable English lawyer, a Hyde, a Hale, or a Talbot. And, whatever the ignorance of some, or unkindness of others, may have heretofore untruly suggested, experience will warrant us to affirm, that these endowments of loyalty and public spirit, of honour and religion, are nowhere to be found in more high perfection than in the two universities of this kingdom.
Before I conclude, it may perhaps be expected that I lay before you a short and general account of the method I propose to follow, in endeavouring to execute the trust you have been pleased to repose in my hands. And in these solemn lectures, which are ordained to be read at the entrance of every term, (more perhaps to do public honour to this laudable institution, than for the private instruction of individuals,)(P) I presume it will best answer the intent of our benefactor, and the expectation of this learned body, if I attempt to illustrate at times such detached titles of the law as are the most easy to be understood, and most capable of historical or critical ornament. But in reading the complete course, which is annually consigned to my care, a more regular
method will be necessary; and, till a better is proposed, I *shall take the
liberty to follow the same that I have already submitted to the public,(9) to fill
ир and finish that outline with propriety and correctness, and to render the whole intelligible to the uninformed minds of beginnners, (whom we are too apt to suppose acquainted with terms and ideas, which they never had opportunity to learn,) this must be my ardent endeavour, though by no means my promise, to accomplish. You will permit me, however, very briefly to describe rather what I conceive an academical expounder of the laws should do, than what I wave ever known to be done.
He should consider his course as a general map of the law, marking out tho shape of the country, its connections and boundaries, its greater divisions and principal cities : it is not his business to describe minutely the subordinate limits, or to fix the longitude and latitude of every inconsiderable hamlet. His attention should be engaged, like that of the readers in Fortescue's inns of chancery, “ in tracing out the originals, and as it were the elements, of the law.” For if, as Justinian(r) has observed, the tender understanding of the student be loaded
(?) See Lowth's Oratio Crewiana, p. 365.
(*) Incipientibus nobis exponere jura populi Romani, ita 3) The Analysis of the Laws of England, first published videntur tradi posse commodissime, si primo leri ac simplici A.D 1756, and exhibiting the order and principal divisions via singula tradantur : alioqui, si statim ab initio rudem of the ensning Commentaries, which were originally sub adhuc et infirmum animum studiosi multitudine ac varietate mitted to the university in a private course of lectures rerum oneravimus, duorum alterum, aut desertorem studio A.D. 1753.
rum efficiemus, aut cum magno labore, sæpe etiam cum dift.
at the first with a multitude and variety of matter, it will either occasion him to desert his studies, or will carry him heavily through them, with much labour delay, and despondence. These originals should be traced to their fountains, as well as our distance will permit; to the customs of the Britons and Germans, as recorded by Cæsar and Tacitus; to the codes of the northern nations on the continent, and more especially to those of our own Saxon princes; to the rules of the Roman law either left here in the days of Papinian, or imported by Vàcarius and his *followers; but above all, to that inexhaustible reservoir of legal antiquities and learning, the feodal law, or, as Spelman(s) has entitled it, the law of nations in our western orb. These primary rules and-funditmental principles should be weighed and compared with the precepts of the law of nature, and the practice of other countries; should be explained by reasons. illustrated by examples, and confirmed by undoubted authorities; their history should be deduced, their changes and revolutions observed, and it should be shown how far they are connected with, or have at any time been affected by, the civil transactions of the kingdom.
A plan of this nature, if executed with care and ability, cannot fail of administering a most useful and rational entertainment to students of all ranks and professions; and yet it must be confessed that the study of the laws is not merely a matter of amusement; for, as a very judicious writer(t) has observed upon a similar occasion, the learner will be considerably disappointed, if he looks for entertainment without the expense of attention.” An attention, however, not greater than is usually bestowed in mastering the rudiments of other sciences, or sometimes pursuing a favourite recreation or exercise. And this attention is not equally necessary to be exerted by every student upon every occasion. Some branches of the law, as the formal process of civil suits, and the subtle distinctions incident to landed property, which are the most difficult to bo thoroughly understood, are the least worth the pains of understanding, except to such gentlemen as intend to pursue the profession. To others I may venture to apply, with a slight alteration, the words of Sir John Fortescue(u) when first his royal pupil determines to engage in this study: “ It will not be necessary for a gentleman, as such, to examine with a close application the critical niceties of the law. It will fully be sufficient, and he may well enough be denominated a lawyer, if under the instruction of a master he traces up the principles and grounds of the *law, even to their original elements. Therefore, in a very short period, and with very little labour, he may be sufficiently informed
[*37 in the laws of his country, if he will but apply his mind in good earnest to receive and apprehend them. For, though such knowledge as is necessary for a judge is hardly to be acquired by the lucubrations of twenty years, yet, with a genius of tolerable perspicacity, that knowledge which is fit for a person of birth or condition may be learned in a single year, without neglecting his other improvements."
To the few therefore (the very few I am persuaded) that entertain such un. worthy notions of an university, as to suppose it intended for mere dissipation of thought; to such as mean only to while away the awkward interval from childhood to twenty-one, between the restraints of the school and the licentiousness of politer life, in a calm middle state of mental and of moral inactivity; to these Ifr. Viner gives no invitation to an entertainment which they never can relish. But to the long and illustrious train of noble and ingenuous youth, who are not more distinguished among us by their birth and possessions, than by the regularity of their conduct and their thirst after useful knowledge, to these our benefactor has consecrated the fruits of a long and laborious life, worn out in the duties of his calling; and will joyfully reflect (if such reflections can be now the employment of his thoughts) that he could not more effectually have benefited posterity, or contributed to the service of the public, than by founding an insti. tution which may instruct the rising generation in the wisdom of our civil polity,
dertia (que plerumque juvenes apertit) serius ad id perducemax. ad qua, leriore via ductus, sine magno labore, et sine ulla dimdentic matur ius perduci potuisset. Inst. I. 1, 2.
(1) Of parliaments. 57.
) Dr. Taylor's Pref. to Elem. of Civil Law. (u) De Laud. Leg. c. 8.