prevailed upon to study reports in this way; but all who have ever done it, within my knowledge, have reaped ample benefit therefrom. In this connection, let me renew my advice that you should diligently study the characters of reporters and judges. It may seem a hard task at first blush, but I assure you it is of comparatively easy accomplishment to familiarize yourself with the character of every reporter and of all the important judges in English history. To this end read legal biography, wherever you can lay your hands upon it,—Roscoe's ‘Lives,’ the collection in the ‘London Law Magazine,’ ‘American Jurist,’ &c. Study legal bibliography; acquaint yourself with the time of publication of every legal work, and the repute in which it has been held; examine its preface and look at the book itself, so that you may have it bodily before you whenever you see it referred to. I hope you will not consider me as suggesting too much when I add, Study the Norman or Law French. A few hours a day for a few weeks will give you a competent knowledge of it. There is a dictionary of the language by Kelham, but it is very poor, and you must rely upon your good wits to assist you. At the beginning of the ‘Instructor Clericalis,’ you will find a list of the principal abbreviations which prevail in the black-letter. Commence studying Norman by reading Littleton in an old copy of Coke-Littleton. There the translation will serve for a dictionary. Then attempt ‘The Mirror’ or Britton, and a few pages of the ‘Year-Books.’ Do not consider that you will never have any use for this learning, and therefore that it is not worth the time it costs to obtain it. A few weeks will suffice to make you such a proficient in it that you will never again be obliged to study it. I assure you that I have found occasion for my scanty knowledge of this; and that, slight as it is, at two different times it has given me opportunities of no little value. I need hardly add to these desultory recommendations that you cannot read history too much, particularly that of England and the United States. History is the record of human conduct and experience; and it is to this that jurisprudence is applied. Moreover, in the English history is to be found the gradual development of that portion of the common law which is called the Constitution,—for the British Constitution stands chiefly on the common law. The history of legislation in England contains the origin, also, of portions of the Constitution. History is of itself such a fascinating study that it can need to your mind no such feeble recommendation as mine. But, above all, love and honor your profession. If you become attached to it, all that you read will make a lively impression on your mind, as the countenance of his mistress upon a lover. You cannot forget it. And here let me say that you can make yourself love the law, proverbially dry as it is, or any other study. Here is an opportunity for the exercise of the will. Determine that you will love it, and devote yourself to it as to a bride. Adopt the Horatian declaration,—Among the old English ballads is one which I read a long time ago, the
Quid verum atque decens curo et rogo, et omnis in hoc sum.Epis. I. i. 11.
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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