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commerce, at every vantage ground of opportunity, at every storehouse of natural wealth which should be common.
I do not undertake to say how much of this is true, how much mere slander and how much based upon a misapprehension of the real situation. It is evident enough that there is a danger here, and, in my judgment, the law schools have not done their duty if they do not instill in the minds of their students such notions of the dignity of their calling, of their relations to the law and to the public, and of their duty to truth and honor and right conduct as will enable them to withstand the temptation, if it does come, to prostitute their talents to ignoble ends and to sell their birthright for a mess of pottage.
These, then, as I have briefly outlined them, seem to me to be the opportunities and responsibilities of the American law school. The realization of them would seem to be ample reward for the best effort of any association of men. If they can be actually realized, then, in my judgment, the practice of the law will fulfill its appropriate mission and the profession of law teaching will attain its proper dignity and importance.
COMMITTEE ON THE STUDY OF LEGAL HISTORY.1
Your Committee on the Study of Legal History, including a bibliography of essays on legal history and the publication of a select list, beg to report the following resolutions, with the recommendation that this Association do now approve them :
Resolved, 1. That the Association of American Law Schools approves and recommends the publication, by reprinting, of a select list of essays and chapters on the various topics of AngloAmerican legal history; the selections to be not less than sixty and not more than one hundred in number, and the series to form not less than three and not more than five volumes of six hundred pages each ; the volumes to be published at the rate of two in the first year, and thereafter one or more in each ensuing year as may be determined by a committee of the Association; the series to be entitled “ Select Essays in Anglo-American Legal History.”
2. That this publication be made without pecuniary responsibility to the Association and at the entire responsibility and profit of such publisher as may be authorized thereto by a committee of the Association; but that the Association sanction the work as a publication under its auspices and by its direction, and that the members of the Association recommend to the respective faculties of law to purchase and use as many copies of the series as may be suitable for carrying on the work of the schools in the study of legal history in the various branches of the law.
3. That a committee of three be appointed by the President (a) to make an agreement with a publisher for the above purpose; (b) to make the selections for publication as provided in paragraph 1, supra, (c) to secure by correspondence the written consent of the authors or other copyright holders for the reprinting of the various selections; (d) to edit the selections for publication; and (e) before making the final selection, to obtain from the respective faculties a recommendation of the best sixty titles, to guide the committee in its selection.
1 Appointed August 22, 1905. See A. B. A. Report for 1905, pages 679 and 703.
Your committee will now (a) state the reasons for the above recommendations, and (6) explain the mode of preparation of the accompanying preliminary list.
A. REASONS FOR THE RECOMMENDATIONS.
The prime reasons are that the study of the history of the various branches of law is now much obstructed by the virtual inaccessibility of a great amount of important material, which exists in print, but is through several circumstances practically going to waste. The chief circumstance is that it consists of articles scattered through serial journals of from twenty to forty volumes of which only one or two sets are usually kept in any library. The result is that when a class of fifty or a hundred students is set to read an article of prime value in some subject, one of two things happens : either the bulk of the class become discouraged at finding the volume already taken out by some enterprising student; or, if they persist, and the bulk of the class manage to read the article, it is worn out and becomes illegible in a year or two, and is thereby useless unless the set to which it belongs is entirely or partly replaced at great expense. Between these two dilemmas, very little of such reading comes actually to be done. In short, what is needed is a handy and inexpensive series of selected essays, which shall do for this part of legal study exactly what the case book has done for the study of cases. The same exigency leads to the same remedy. Almost the same obstacles prevent the use of single chapters of history in special treatises. A further reason for reprinting a select series of essays is that the easy access of such a set will stimulate instructors to send their students oftener to the parts which are important to their respective subjects. If each school would have from two to
. ten copies ready on the library shelves, the amount of voluntary reading by the students, when reference was made by the instructors, would be many times what it now is. We add that these volumes would also find a good demand in the private libraries of studious practitioners, who do not possess sets of all the journals, and do not know where to dig out the useful and interesting articles from the back volumes on the Bar Association library shelves. From the publisher's point of view, this will greatly encourage the prospect of marketing the series ; from our point of view, it is a further reason for thus helping to stimulate the wide study of legal history.
We therefore earnestly recommend that the Association sanction this enterprise by the above resolutions; and we can state that with this sanction a publisher will easily be found.
B. MODE OF PREPARATION OF THE PRELIMINARY LIST.
In preparing the list, the materials of search were assigned by the committee into three parts. Jones's Index to Legal Periodicals was equally divided ; and the catalogue of a large law library was equally divided. Each member then prepared a list of his part, by perusing the titles of articles in Jones's Index (verifying when needed), and by examining the treatises on the library shelves. Then two members, taking the ten leading law reviews, went through them volume by volume to date, thus covering that part of the ground a second time. Then one member looked through the treatises on the shelves of a library of fifty thousand volumes, thus covering that part of the ground a second time. The resulting three lists were then consolidated by the Chairman of the committee, and reduced to one hundred and fifty titles. These titles were then roughly classified, and appear as a preliminary list, appended hereto. From this a further selection will have to be made, reducing the total to not less than sixty and not more than one hundred, averaging thirty pages each.
This list, therefore, represents the following features :
(1.) It is based on a survey of practically all the printed material.
(2.) It includes only the modern scholarly researches of readable interest and of general reference value to students ; though we must here apologize to those few scholars whose articles have undoubtedly lurked somewhere unnoticed in the mass of material examined.
(3.) It does not attempt (with rare exceptions) to include anything from the few professed treatises on the history of the law (such as Pollock & Maitland, Bigelow on Procedure, Digby on Real Property); the reasons being, first, that several copies of these can easily be provided, and secondly, that extracts of single chapters would usually be of no service from works which treat the subject in such detail,
(4.) It includes essays on almost all the main subjects of law, from corporations to wills, and covers also the general field of sources of the law, law reform in the nineteenth century, and colonial law.
(5.) It forms substantially a supplement to Pollock & Maitland's “ History of the English Law Before the Time of Edward I." As American scholars are now aware, no comprehensive and final work on the intervening period to 1900 can be attempted or expected until the year books are re-edited, which will take another generation. In the mean. while, this series will collate in serviceable form the most useful and essential parts of our knowledge now extant. It will serve to keep the rising generation familiar with what is thus far attained. It is because this part of our history is likely otherwise to be buried from general professional knowledge that we earnestly desire to re-present it to the profession in this accessible form.
John H. WIGMORE,
Chairman, WILLIAM E. MIKELL.