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A COURSE OF LEGAL STUDY, addressed to STUDENTS
and the PROFESSION generally, by David HOFFMAN, in two volumes, royal octavo, paged through, pp. 876.
RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE FIRST EDITION. As this is the first work of the kind published in the United States, and as the subject is treated in a very different manner from any other work on the study of the law, the publisher deems it expedient to submit to the gentlemen of the bar, and particularly to those residing at a distance, some of the opinions, (as to the first edition, of distinguished men, eminently qualified to form a correct judgment on its merits.
Chief Justice MARSHALL 'considers the course recommended as undoubtedly calculated to elevate and dignify the profession, by filling it with men of much and valuable learning, whose minds are disciplined to useful labour. It is calculated to make, statesmen as well as lawyers.'
The honourable Judge DUVALL, of the Supreme Court of the United States, 'is of opinion, that the Course of Legal Study is a valuable production. The course of reading,' says he, 'is judiciously selected, and well calculated to attract and preserve the attention of the student. By pursuing the course opened to his view, he will not only qualify himself for the bar, but the fault will be his, if he should not become the civilian, the politician, and the statesman.' Judge Duvall considers it as “a valuable acquisition to the practitioner; and to the student,' says he, “it is inestimable.'
The author of "The Course of Legal Study' has politely yielded to the solicitation of the Publisher, and permitted him to make the following extracts of letters he received from distinguished law characters.
The Hon. Judge STORY, of the Supreme Court of the United States, thus expresses his opinion.
*Owing to the pressing business of the Court, I have had time only to glance over it with a hasty and imperfect eye. My examination of it has, however, abundantly satisfied me of its utility, not merely for students, but for all professional gentlemen, who intend to lay a deep and solid foundation for juridical fame. It is truly delightful to me also to perceive that
you do not confine the student to the mere walks of the common law; you have drawn him to the noble studies of the admiralty, maritime, and civil law, which cannot fail to open sources of knowledge of the most profound and important nature. No present could be more acceptable than a work which enables young men to see the paths of legal science, and points out so many excellent instructors to guide and cheer them on their journey.
"The work is an honour to our country, and if its precepts are steadily pursued by the profession, I think it will not be rashness to declare, that the next age will exhibit an American Bar not excelled by any in Europe.'
•I return you my sincere thanks for the volume, and at my first moments of leisure I shall give it a thorough perusal, which I cannot doubt will be highly instructive to me.'
The Hon. Chancellor Kent considers this work as a valuable outline of a course of study in which great attention has been bestowed on the sources of legal learning-whoever follows your directions will be a well read and accomplished lawyer. Many of the departments of the science, to which you have pointed the student, suit exactly my taste.'
The Hon. Judge SPENCER thinks the 'Course of Legal Study' learned and able, and remarks that it is almost superfluous to say that if it be adopted by the legal student, and pursued with zeal and diligence, it must render him an accomplished lawyer.
The Hon. De Witt Clinton says that he has read the work with attention and with pleasure. The design is judicious, and the execution felicitous: It contains a mass of information and learning seldom equalled, and is an invaluable guide to legal knowledge.'
ASAHEL Stearns, esq. Professor of Law, Harvard University, is of opinion that 'the selection and arrangement of the Course' display an elevated and comprehensive view of the noble science of jurisprudence. And the judicious notes which are subjoined, evince an extensive acquaintance with the principal works in all its departments, and a just discrimination of their particular merit and character, highly interesting to the young jurist.
In addition to these, the publisher has the opinions of a number of other eminent legal characters, not less favourable to this work, written or personally communicated by the Hon. Chancellor Kılty, the Hon. Chief Justice TilgHMAN, the Hon. Judge Washington, the Hon. ROBERT SMITH, Robert Walsh, John PURVIANCE, John Bristed, esq. and the Hon. Mr. WEBSTER, of Congress, the Hon. George SULLIVAN, of Mas. sachusetts, and the Hon. GEORGE WINCHESTER, of Maryland.
The publisher begs leave to add an extract from the review of the work, published in the Analectic Magazine for March, 1817, written by a gentleman of the Philadelphia bar, who, as a lawyer and a gentleman of splendid talents, ranks among the first in bis profession:
“This is an ingenious and successful effort to demonstrate the importance, and to designate the means, of introducing system and method into the prosecution of studies, preparatory to the profession of the law. Two causes have existed in this country to interfere with the objects which the author has in view;—first, an ambition of early distinction, which leads the
youth of America, more than those of any other country, to place themselves in responsible situations, before their understandings are matured, or their memories properly stored with knowledge. This leads to what my Lord Coke calls proe propera praxis. And secondly, the frequency of assuming the labours of the profession, by those whose education and habits have been foreign from science and system; and who, if they have studied at all, have been content with what my Lord Coke calls prepostera lectio. Mr. HOFFMAN will essentially promote the interests of the community, and redeem the credit of a most honourable profession, if he can inscribe his principles upon the minds of all who intend to enrol themselves among its members.
“Without attempting to give lessons himself, the author of this work has undertaken to point out the sources from which instruction may be acquired; to arrange the various books which he deems worthy of perusal in a clear and comprehensive order; to designate such parts as merit or require particular attention; to point out the prevailing beauties and prominent defects of the many others he enumerates; to suggest the means which have been discovered by reflection and experience, of acquiring and using the knowledge they contain; and, finally, to exhibit what is generally considered as a chaos of science, in a lucid and intelligible form. All this is done with industry and judgment.'
The Reviewer closes with the following observation on this work:
'It is,' says he, 'calculated, we think, to stimulate the idle; to encourage the ambitious, and to console the industrious. It may be read with advantage by the man of experience; and certainly cannot fail to prove to the pupil a key by which he will readily open the doors of science, and discover its most secret and valuable stores.'
In a number of the 'North AMERICAN Review,' (one of the most respectable literary works published in this country) is a Review of Mr. Hoffinan's ‘Course,' which occupies thirty-three pages, from the pen of one of the most distinguished civilians and public law characters in the United States. From this review the following extracts are made.
“Mr. Hoffman has published a Course of Legal Study, which he modestly addresses to students, but which is well worthy the perusal of every gentleman of the bar. Many works have been heretofore written, professedly for the direction of persons engaged in the study of the law; but, for the most part, these works have, in a didactic form, laid down elementary precepts for the moral conduct, the preparatory attainments, or the style of elocution and oratory proper for an eminent advocate. Some, indeed, are little more than a distillation from Quinctilian's Institutes and Cicero's Orator, without preserving the pungent essence or eloquence of the originals. Mr. Hoffinan's work, on the contrary, is almost entirely practical; and it contains a complete course of legal study with a catalogue of the principal books to be consulted or read under all the titles of the law. The introduction is written with a good deal of force and good taste, and in a tone of strong and sensible argumentation. In point both of matter and manner, it is highly creditable to the talents and acquirements of the author.'