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[290] is a simple affair; but I believe that this man met it with as great anxiety as a friend of mine on the other side of the salt sea. The students here form such a numerous and powerful body, and are under so little restraint, that a professor feels much solicitude with regard to his reception until he has actually met them face to face. You see, from this account, that there is no solemnity, no squeezing out of reluctant Latin; but the Latin must be exhibited before. In order to be chosen professor, one must contest before certain judges certain topics of law in Latin! The judges, after this concours, as it is called, make the election.

In a bundle of books which I shall send home will be a letter, written by a friend of mine, the Professor of Commercial Law, to the Minister of Instruction, making fun of this old usage, and asking for its abolition. I got the author to give me some copies, for I thought it might do good in helping to explode the practice among us of using Latin at inaugurations.

I find much more to interest me at Paris than I expected. I have been here four months; but I leave much unseen, and many pursuits neglected. I wish that I were able to spend three or four more months here, immediately before my return. I am excessively anxious to make myself master of the operation of the code and of the system of legal instruction. The last I think I have done pretty well; but the first is a great work which it would take months, perhaps years, to accomplish. I shall be in England soon,— the great theatre of a different jurisprudence. You shall hear how that affects me. This is a dull letter for Mrs. G.; but my recollections are not the less affectionate on this account.

Yours as ever,


To George S. Hillard.

Paris, May 11, 1838.
my dear Hillard,—After repeated efforts, during which we have exchanged cards several times, I have seen Sismondi,1 who is now in Paris to superintend the publication of a new book. He received me almost like an old friend, with great ardor and simplicity of manner, at once speaking English, and not allowing me to speak French. He is a stout person, of about fifty-five, perhaps sixty; of great vivacity and cheerfulness, and without the least affectation. His countenance does not denote the student, but there is in it that quickness of motion and peculiar brightness of expression which rather mark the man of affairs: I might take him for the steward or manager of a large concern in the country. His wife has much more the air of society; she is as graceful as simple, and both exhibited towards each other a loverlike attachment. She speaks English very prettily. I spoke of Mr. Prescott's book, which I have had an opportunity of reading cursorily at


1 Sismondi was born at Geneva, May 9, 1773, and died in that city in 1842. He is best known by his two works, the ‘History of the Italian Republics’ and the ‘History of the French.’ His wife was an English lady, and a sister-in-law of Sir James Mackintosh.

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