Page:Blackstone Commentaries Book 1.djvu/47
§. 1. 31
of the Law.
very numerous and very powerful profeſſion in the preſervation of our rights and revenues.
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 enquiries; no private aſſiſtance to remove the diſtreſſes and difficulties, which will always embaraſs a beginner. In this ſituation he his 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 imaginations grow weary of ſo unpromiſing a ſearch, and addict themſelves wholly to amuſements, or other leſs innocent purſuits; and that ſo many perſons 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 knowlege has given birth to a practice, which, if ever it had grown to be general, muſt have proved of extremely perni-
- Sir Henry Spelman, in the preface to his gloſſary, has given us a very lively picture of his own diſtreſs upon this occaſion. “Emiſit me mater Londinum, juris noſtri capeſſendi gratia; cujus cum veſtibulum ſalutaſſem, reperiſſemque linguam peregrinam, dialectum barbaram, methodum inconcinnam, molem non ingentem ſolum ſed perpetuis humeris ſuſtinendam, excidit mihi (fateor) animus, &c.”