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a year, the whole revenue of that year, with that of the last three years which has not been already thrown away, would place our University in readiness to start with a better organization of primary schools, and both may then go on, hand in hand, forever. No diminution of the capital will in this way have been incurred; a principle which ought to be deemed sacred. A relinquishment of interest on the late loan of sixty thousand dollars, would so far, also, forward the University without lessening the capital.

But what may be best done I leave with entire confidence to yourself and your colleagues in legislation, who know better than I do the conditions of the literary fund and its wisest arplication; and I shall acquiesce with perfect resignation to their will. I have brooded, perhaps with fondness, over this establishment, as it held up to me the hope of continuing to be useful while I continued to live. I had believed that the course and circumstances of

my life had placed within my power some services favorable to the outset of the institution. But this may be egotism ; pardonable, perhaps, when I express a consciousness that my colleagues and successors will do as well, whatever the legislature shall enable them to do.

I have thus, my dear Sir, opened my bosom, with all its anxieties, freely to you. I blame nobody for seeing things in a different light. I am sure that all act conscientiously, and that all will be done honestly and wisely which can be done. I yield the concerns of the world with cheerfulness to those who are appointed in the order of nature to succeed to them; and for yourself, for our colleagues, and for all in charge of our country's future fame and fortune, I offer up sincere prayers.


MONTICELLO, February 26, 1821. DEAR SIR,—While you were in this neighborhood, you mentioned to me your intention of studying the law, and asked my opinion as to the sufficient course of reading. I gave it to you, ore tenus, and with so little consideration that I do not remember what it was; but I have since recollected that I once wrote a letter to Dr. Cooper,* on good consideration of the subject. He was then law-lecturer, I believe, at Carlisle. My stiffening wrist makes writing now a slow and painful operation, but my granddaughter Ellen undertakes to copy the letter, which I shall enclose herein.

I notice in that letter four distinct epochs at which the English laws have been reviewed, and their whole body, as existing at each epoch, well digested into a code. These digests were by Bracton, Coke, Matthew Bacon and Blackstone. Bracton having written about the commencement of the extant statutes, may be considered as having given a digest of the laws then in being, written and unwritten, and forming, therefore, the textual code of what is called the common law, just at the period too when it begins to be altered by statutes to which we can appeal. But so much of his matter is become obsolete by change of circumstances or altered by statute, that the student may omit him for the present, and

1st. Begin with tCoke's four Institutes. These give a complete body of the law as it stood in the reign of the first James, an epoch the more interesting to us, as we separated at that point from English legislation, and acknowledge no subsequent statutary alterations.

January 16, 1814. + Since the date of this letter, a most important and valuable edition has been published of Coke's First Institute. The editor, Thomas, has analyzed the whole work, and re-composed its matter in the order of Blackstone's Commentaries, not omitting a sentence of Lord Coke's text, nor inserting one not his. In notes, under the text, he has given the modern decisions relating to the same subjects, rendering it thus as methodical, lucid, easy and agreeable to the reader as Blackstone, and more precise and profound. It can now be no longer doubted that this is the very best elementary work for a beginner in the study of the law. It is not, I suppose, to be had in this State, and questionable if in the North, as yet, and it is dear, costing in England four guineas or nineteen dollars, to which add the duty here on imported books, which, on the three volumes 8vo, is something more than three dollars, or one dollar the 8vo volume. This is a tax on learned readers to support printers for the readers of “The Delicate Distress, and The Wild Irish Boy."

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2. Then passing over (for occasional reading as hereafter proposed) all the reports and treatises to the time of Matthew Bacon, read his abridgment, compiled about one hundred years after Coke's, in which they are all embodied. This gives numerous applications of the old principles to new cases, and gives the general state of the English law at that period.

Here, too, the student should take up the chancery branch of the law, by reading the first and second abridgments of the cases in Equity. The second is by the same Matthew Bacon, the first having been published some time before. The alphabetical order adopted by Bacon, is certainly not as satisfactory as the systematic. But the arrangement is under very general and leading heads, and these, indeed, with very little difficulty, might be systematically instead of alphabetically arranged and read.

3. Passing now in like manner over all intervening reports and tracts, the student may take up Blackstone's Commentaries, published about twenty-five years later than Bacon's abridgment, and giving the substance of these new reports and tracts. This review is not so full as that of Bacon, by any means, but better digested. Here, too, Woodeson should be read as supplementary to Blackstone, under heads too shortly treated by him. Foublanque's edition of Francis' Maxims of Equity, and Bridgman's digested Index, into which the latter cases are incorporated, are also supplementary in the chancery branch, in which Blackstone is very short.

This course comprehends about twenty-six 8vo volumes, and reading four or five hours a day would employ about two years.

After these, the best of the reporters since Blackstone should be read for the new cases which have occurred since his time. Which they are I know not, as all of them are since my time.

By way of change and relief for another hour or two in the day, should be read the law-tracts of merit which are many, and among them all those of Baron Gilbert are of the first order. In these hours, too, may be read Bracton, (now translated,) and Justinian's Institute. The method of these two last works is very much the same, and their language often quite so. Justinian is very illustrative of the doctrines of equity, and is often appealed to, and Cooper's edition is the best on account of the analogies and contrasts he has given of the Roman and English law. After Bracton, Reeves' History of the English Law may be read to advantage. During this same hour or two of lighter law reading, select and leading cases of the reporters may be successively read, which the several digests will have pointed out and referred to.

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I have here sketched the reading in common law and chancery which I suppose necessary for a reputable practitioner in those courts. But there are other branches of law in which, although it is not expected he should be an adept, yet when it occurs to speak of them, it should be understandingly to a decent degree. There are the Admiralty law, Ecclesiastical law, and the Law of Nations. I would name as elementary books in these branches, Molloy de Jure Maritimo. Brown's Compend of the Civil and Admiralty Law, 2 vols. 8vo. The Jura Ecclesiastica, 2 vols. 8vo. And Les Institutions du droit de la Nature et des Gens de Reyneval, 1 vol. 8vo.

Besides these six hours of law reading, light and heavy, and those necessary for the repasts of the day, for exercise and sleep, which suppose to be ten or twelve, there will still be six or eight hours for reading history, politics, ethics, physics, oratory, poetry, criticism, &c., as necessary as law to form an accomplished lawyer.

The letter to Dr. Cooper, with this as a supplement, will give you those ideas on a sufficient course of law reading which I ought to have done with more consideration at the moment of your first request. Accept them now as a testimony of my esteem, and of sincere wishes for your success; and the family, unâ voce, desires me to convey theirs with my own affectionate salutations.




MONTICELLO, February 27, 1821. I have received, Sir, your favor of the 12th, and I assure you I received it with pleasure. It is true, as you say, that we have differed in political opinions; but I can say with equal truth, that I never suffered a political to become a personal difference. I have been left on this ground by some friends whom I dearly loved, but I was never the first to separate. With some others, of politics different from mine, I have continued in the warmest friendship to this day, and to all, and to yourself particularly, I have ever done moral justice.

I thank you for Mr. Channing's discourse, which you have been so kind as to forward me. It is not yet at hand, but is doubtless on its way. I had received it through another channel, and read it with high satisfaction. No one sees with greater pleasure than myself the progress of reason in its advances towards rational Christianity. When we shall have done away the incomprehensible jargon of the Trinitarian arithmetic, that three are one, and one is three; when we shall have knocked down the artificial scaffolding, reared to mask from view the simple structure of Jesus; when, in short, we shall have unlearned everything which has been taught since his day, and got back to the pure and simple doctrines he inculcated, we shall then be truly and worthily his disciples; and my opinion is that if nothing had ever been added to what flowed purely from his lips, the whole world would at this day have been Christian. I know that the case you cite, of Dr. Drake, has been a common one,

The religion-builders have so distorted and deformed the doctrines of Jesus, so muffled them in mysticisms, fancies and falsehoods, have caricatured them into forms so monstrous and inconceivable, as to shock reasonable thinkers, to revolt them against the whole, and drive them rashly to pronounee its founder an impostor. Had there never been a commentator, there never would have been an infidel. In the present advance of truth, which we both approve, I do not know that you and I may think alike on all

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