actually exist. The students almost invariably take notes, and for this purpose have portfolios containing an inkstand and paper which they bring into the lecture room. I have seen them very often taking down what I did not think was worth noting, and which they would have known, if they had read faithfully the codes, even without the assistance of the commentators. Some of the students are attentive; others again are quite indifferent. There seems to be about the same proportion of black and white sheep that you find in your fold. The professors are all, or nearly all (there are fifteen), authors, and some of them rather celebrated; but no man among them has struck me as a distinguished jurist. One of the most eminent —perhaps the most eminent—is the Baron de Gerando, whom I know personally very well; but he does not appear to take any interest in his place, though he takes a deep and lively interest in all the great causes of humanity and virtue. Of all, I prefer M. Rossi, who lectures on constitutional law; he is a man of broad and liberal views, and of more various studies, I suspect, than the others. I have heard him quote Blackstone in his lectures, and I can assure you it sounded at once ridiculous and agreeable. The horizon of the French lawyer is extremely limited. Foreign nations, with their various laws, are nothing to him. Strong in the Chinese conceit that France is the celestial nation, he neglects with a truly Mohammedan indifference all but his own peculiar jurisprudence; and in the study of this I am strongly inclined to believe that he generally bounds his labors by the perusal of the codes, and some few of the commentators. I write this with some hesitation, —not however because what I have seen has left any doubt upon my mind, but because I am reluctant to judge foreigners. But one of the most distinguished of their professors (M. Bravard, Professor of Commercial Law) made a confession to me, similar to what I have stated above. The manner of lecturing in the departments of belles-lettres and of philosophy is similar to that I have already described. The most eminent men, —Biot, whose works are used at Cambridge, and Baron Poisson,—take the chalk and sponge and stand for an hour at the blackboard; and other eminent professors expound a section of Sallust or of Herodotus to perhaps a dozen young men, who, with the classics in their hands, sit round a table of the size of those in our rooms at Cambridge. And yet these manipulations at the blackboard, and these familiar expositions of a classic (often made at eight o'clock of the morning), are called lectures. You will see, therefore, that you were never wrong in styling the exercises at the law school lectures: according to the vocabulary in use here, they are such without doubt. I have much to say with regard to this subject, but cannot compass it within the bounds of a letter. At present, another subject of even greater importance is engrossing my mind,—I mean the courts, and the operation of the codes. I have only time to say that I have been most agreeably disappointed in the penal code. There is much in it which we must adopt. Would that I could draw a sponge over all our criminal law, whether by statute, custom, precedent, or however otherwise evidenced! When I see the simplicity, neatness, and common sense of the procedure here, I sigh over the cumbrous, antiquated forms and vocabulary which we persist in retaining. But this is not
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Chapter 2 : Parentage and Family.—the father.
Chapter 3 : birth and early Education.— 1811 - 26 .
Chapter 4 : College Life.— September , 1826 , to September , 1830 .—age, 15 - 19 .
Chapter 5 : year after College.— September , 1830 , to September , 1831 .—Age, 19 - 20 .
Chapter 6 : Law School .— September , 1831 , to December , 1833 .—Age, 20 - 22 .
Chapter 7 : study in a law office .—Visit to Washington .— January , 1854 , to September , 1834 .—Age, 23 .
Chapter 8 : early professional life.— September , 1834 , to December , 1837 .—Age, 23 - 26 .
Chapter 9 : going to Europe .— December , 1837 .—Age, 26 .
Chapter 10 : the voyage and Arrival.— December , 1837 , to January , 1838 — age, 26 - 27 .
Chapter 11 : Paris .—its schools.— January and February , 1838 .—Age, 27 .
Chapter 12 : Paris .—Society and the courts.— March to May , 1838 .—Age, 27 .
Chapter 13 : England .— June , 1838 , to March , 1839 .—Age, 27 - 28 .
Chapter 14 : first weeks in London .— June and July , 1838 .—Age, 27 .
Chapter 15 : the Circuits .—Visits in England and Scotland .— August to October , 1838 .—age, 27 .
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