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COLUMBIA LAW TIMES.
ADDRESS DELIVERED BY PROFESSOR DWIGHT TO THE GRADUATING CLASS IN COLUMBIA COLLEGE LAW SCHOOL AT THE METROPOLITAN
OPERA HOUSE, NEW YORK, ON THE EVENING OF JUNE 13th.
GENTLEMEN OF THE GRADUATING Class, 1888: lasting, so defiant of the ravages of time
In a few days the city of Bologna in as its university. Old as it is, it still has Italy will celebrate with appropriate cere- a vigorous life, and now, in the early monies the foundation of its great univer- weeks of 1888, it is sending out to our sity, established, as 'tis said, eight hun- youthful Columbia a hearty invitation to dred years ago. There are many things come over to Italy and partake of a genabout this ancient city of Northern Italy erous literary hospitality. Columbia has to make it famous. Its location in a vast joyfully accepted and will be represented and fertile plain crowned with magnifi- there. cent mountains, its noble arcades, its Bologna is a conspicuous instance of splendid library, and its collection of the
obedience to the Scripture rule of followmaster pieces of art-among them the ing the better part. She chose immaterial wonderful Saint Cecilia of Raphael, at instead of material things. She chose once the delight and despair of artists – learning, culture, art instead of mere magive it a just celebrity. It does not de- terial wealth. It is for this reason that tract from its dignity that it is near the she is still alive and bids fair to be implace where the second Roman triumvi- mortal, and is able to send us to-day her rate met to murder liberty, and to divide university birthday greetings of eight hunthe civilized world among them as plun- dred summers, more or less, for no one derers of the human race, nor that the knows exactly how old her university is. great Charles V. there received the crown Her character has been well summed up by of the Roman Empire and of Italy.
a noted writer. “The two grand features Among all the possessions and claims of the Bolognese character are formed by of this old and historic city, none is so the two most honorable passions that can
animate the human soul—the love of finds its true basis in the school of Bologna. knowledge and the love of liberty--pas There was a very remarkable peculiarity sions which, predominate through the in this school, or university-for it dewhole series of their history, and are justly veloped into a university-distinguishing expressed on their standard, where lib it from other universities. The students erty' blazes in golden letters in the cen formed the governing body. It was by tre, while the phrase 'Bologna teaches' their votes determined who should teach (Bononia docet) waves in embroidery down them. Here was a true educational dethe borders”—a beautiful tribute indeed to mocracy. If a man had a vocation to the principle that while liberty is the cen teach and the requisite ability, he awaktre of all things in its state, nothing can ened respect and affection in students who so fitly accompany it as learning and a were dead in earnest, and who thronged true theory and practice of the art of edu his lecture room, while voices resounded cation.
in his favor in all languages known to The thing which most concerns us to
civilized man. night is that Bologna was the first of all It would not be just to say that there the cities of modern Europe to teach law was always plain sailing. The untamed in her great law school, opening up the spirits of the youth of that day, when they treasures of the Roman law to ten thou were excited, were something appalling. sand students at one time. Here they Liberty and law constantly met face to came from all parts of Europe, and were face, but not always with a loving eminstructed without regard to race or na brace. The students and the city aution. Only one question was asked of thorities were in a frequent state of warany stranger : “Would you like to study fare. At times the whole body of students law ? if so, enter in and be welcome.” would leave the city, taking, en masse, a The professors might not only be chosen solemn oath that they would never return. from the class of strong men, but from that Then there would come a reaction of feelof beautiful and accomplished women ing, followed by reconciliation. But the one of them so beautiful and charming oath stood in the way of their coming that she lectured behind a curtain, in or back, for to wilfully break an oath was der to avoid any disturbing influence upon then a mortal sin. But the professors were the crowds who attend her from her fertile in expedients and called in the Pope smiles or frowns, and so she became the to grant a dispensation from the oath. This model “curtain lecturer " of all time.
he graciously bestowed, and all was well much the worse for us of modern times again. The Bolognese were in such cases for all her lectures have disappeared, and in a truly unhappy state of mind. They only her name and fame survive.
could not bear to keep the students; to This famous law school is no doubt a part with them was still more unendurdirect descendent from one at Rome, and able. thus connects the legal teaching of the This law school was so full of life and Romans with our own, for many a law vigor that it—as I have said-blossomed school in other parts of Europe is distinctly out into a university. The doctors came founded upon that at Bologna. No jurist and established a school of medicine. can fail to remember with gratitude that The theologians added to its numbers, the modern scientific treatment of law having, however, a kind of separate ex
istence, so that, in one sense, there came The life of the university was the centre to be four universities—two of law, one of and sun of the whole civic life. Bologna medicine and one of theology.
existed for the sake of the university, and All the time the students formed the the thoughts of all men were occupied university and governed the professors. with the best mode of developing its reThis was rare sport, and university life sources and adorning it. A few of the was truly pleasant. They met in great regulations in its behalf are truly signifiassemblies, voting with black and white
cant. beans, and were required by ordinances
The rector held a high rank among the to attend such assemblies at least three citizens. He had precedence over the times a year, or suffer forfeiture of rights. highest of the city clergy, including even
The foreign students, after a time, were archbishops, and was called by the proud so numerous that they formed a class by title of magnificus. Every year the men themselves, being divided into nations, of wealth were required to provide a according to the place of their birth. round sum to entertain the jurists at a Thirty-five nations were represented at splendid banquet. Again, when the first one time, including among others, France, snow fell (and the law required legal eviPortugal, Spain, Germany, England, Po- dence to show that the snow had fallen) land, Hungary and Bohemia.
commissioners went about collecting In 1595 there must have come from money from the men of wealth to pay for across the seas, impelled by a thirst for portraits or statutes of the most distinlegal knowledge, some wandering student guished teachers of law to adorn the walls from America. And so there came a new of the university, at once a source of stimnation into the old university, having a ulus and delight to the crowds of students counsellor to represent it. This wild-eyed who thronged the public halls. son of the then untrodden West must have may fairly say that if the students had a made a good impression, for a few years good time, the experience of the profeslater, the university, open to all good sors was more than good; it was glorious. things, was the proud possessor of a beau- When the period of preliminary study tiful map of America, which was ordered was passed, the time came for examinato be kept in the archives for ever. It is tion for the degree, which was two-fold to be hoped that some of our pilgrims of first, that of licentiate; afterwards, that this year, 1888, will rediscover this map
of doctor. In examining the licentiate the
utmost fairness must be observed. The and touch the point where the oldest civil
examiner must treat him in as friendly ization of Europe first reached out its hand
manner as if he were his own son. If to the unknown men and country of the
not, he was unworthy of his position, and West, and bid them share in and in time
would be suspended for a year. develop the course of even handed justice.
To become a Doctor of Laws was someAnd so we are justified in saying that thing of the highest importance. There while the roots of the university were in was a public examination held in the cathe heart of Italy, its branches extended thedral to which all went in a solemn throughout the civilized world, grateful procession. The candidate read a paper for shade and for hardy and wholesome on a legal subject, and was proclaimed fruit.
doctor. Then there were symbolic gifts,
a book, a ring and a doctor's hat, and he his own residence, but after a time public was seated among other dignitaries of audience rooms were required. his class, and soon all left the cathedral The teachers were permitted to take in the same solemn procession. The re- private pupils for a compensation, and ceipt of the degree was accompanied by were accustomed to make bargains to this gifts from the recipient; new clothing effect through the medium of other stuof beauty and value was presented to dents. Some of the evilly disposed men many persons. The city was not yet after enjoying the instruction would requite done with the matter, for so eager pudiate the contract on an assumed legal was it to keep all the benefits and glory of ground that such a personal contract made this great school to themselves that they by an agent in the absence of the princimade every doctor swear that he would pal was not binding. When a lecturer not teach law outside of Bologna, and was not popular, and failed to get an auwould in every possible way discourage dience, he would sometimes pay or lend legal instruction elsewhere. This high money to students to come and attend. protective tariff upon local education did Even distinguished Americans in our day, not last very long, the students paying the it is said, knew how to make up an audicity a sum of money to abrogate it. ence by hiring modern Italians of a more
Every doctor, by force of his degree, degenerate type to be present to lustily had a right to lecture if he could only get
cheer in an unknown tongue. students to hear him. All was voluntary The relation between scholar and and without compensation. The students teacher was not so complicated and tranmade the first contract to pay a jurist to sient as now.
A student connected himteach them in 1279. Afterwards they in- self largely with one teaching jurist, whom duced the city to pay them while they he called affectionately his teacher (domimade the selection of the teachers.
nus meus). The relation brought him unThe required course of study was brief. der the civil as well as criminal jurisdicIn it there were many holidays. There tion of his professor, who was not merely were no lectures on any Thursday, which guide, philosopher and friend, but also was devoted to the care of the person, be- judge, and I might almost say sheriff as ing called “bath day"-a day which, well. though the delight of Englishmen, per
Let us draw aside the veil of antiquity haps needed to be made compulsory in which shroud these relations, and listen Italy. The morning lecture commenced
for a moment to an old law professor, lecat daybreak, or, if the parties concerned turing at Bologna six hundred years ago, pleased, earlier, but not later. The teacher
while the great poet, Dante, was still a who commenced late was fined, and so
youth, who may have seen him in cap
and gown, with venerable locks. The was the student who tarried in the lecture
professor is just closing his course, and room after the lecture was over. Military
winds up thus : "Now, gentlemen, we rules ós to punctuality prerailed, for the
have just finished the book, for which we rector at least was entitled to wear arms. have to thank God, the Virgin Mary and Every teacher must give his lectures in
all the Saints. It has long been the cusperson and not allow others to read them
tom in this university when a book is on his behalf. Each man at first read at finished to chant a high choral service in