David Hoffman and the Science of Jurisprudence


A Course of Legal Study, 1836

1836 - Although he had ceased to teach at the University Hoffman continued to develop and add to his "science of jurisprudence." Unfortunately, these additions only made the work larger than it already was and, in an age when the educational requirements for lawyers were increasingly being down played, even less attractive. In addition to the added readings, which Hoffman admitted would take a lifetime to master, the 1836 work included an essay on appropriate student behavior, recommendations on how to study, and a reprint of Samuel Johnson's "Prayer for Law Students." In 1836 Hoffman also prepared an edition for British law students that was published in England.

A contemporarydiscussion of this edition and its value for students of theology can be found on the Making of America Internet site.

Title Page of the 1836 edition


A Course of Legal Study,

Addressed to Students and the Profession Generally

1836

A COURSE

OF

LEGAL STUDY

(pp. 55 - 63 of original document)

Qui studet optatam cursu contingere metam, Multa tulit, fecitque puer, sudavit et alsit.
Hor. Epis. Ad. Pison.

Method is the light and life of study: without it the simplest subject is dark, and with it the most abstruse is often easy, and even pleasing.


LAW, in its most comprehensive signification, is that system of rules to which the intellectual and physical worlds are subjected; either by God their creator or by man; by which the existence, rest, motion, and conduct of all created and uncreated entities are regulated, and on the due observance of which their being or happiness depends.

Law, as applied to human conduct generally, signifies that body of rules established for the regulation of human economy, whether national or individual; dictated to us by the light of nature, or by revelation; or prescribed by human superiors for individual observance; or ordained by the consent, express or implied, of sovereign states, for the guidance of international conduct; and to which those respectively, to whom the rules are directed, are obliged to make their actions conformable.

Law or (The Law) is an abstract term and as a genus means nothing more than the totality of individual laws contemplated as one body, without reference either to their origin or application. In this point of view it is a mere fictitious entity.

Law, in the concrete, signifies a rule of action and: according to the subject of its application, admits of numerous divisions.

Law in the concrete as it prescribes rules of human conduct may be advantageously studied under the following titles or divisions which we presume will be found to embrace as much of this widely extended science as an individual should aspire to attain; and in its prosecution we would advise the student to take Up the subjects in the order in which we have arranged them both in the general and particular syllabus subjects however, to the qualifications contained in our introduction.

GENERAL SYLLABUS.

Titles.

I. MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.

II. THE ELEMENTARY AND CONSTITUTIONAL PRINCIPLES OF THE MUNICIPAL LAW OF ENGLAND; OF THE UNITED STATES, AND OF THE ROMAN OR CIVIL LAW: AND HEREIN,

 1ST. OF THE FEUDAL LAW.

2ND. OF THE ORIGIN AND PROGRESS Of THE COMMON LAW.

3D. OF THE INSTITUTES OF THE MUNICIPAL LAW OF ENGLAND.

 4TH. OF THE INSTITUTES OF THE AMERICAN LAW.

5TH. OF THE INSTITUTES OF THE ROMAN, OR CIVIL LAW.

III. THE LAW OF REAL RIGHTS AND REAL REMEDIES.

IV. THE LAW OF PERSONAL RIGHTS AND PERSONAL REMEDIES.

V. THE LAW OF EQUITY.

VI. THE LEX MERCATORIA.

VII. THE LAW OF CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS.

VIII. THE LAW OF NATIONS.

IX. THE MARITIME AND ADMIRALTY LAW.

X. THE CIVIL OR ROMAN LAW.

XI. THE CONSTITUTION AND LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

XII. THE CONSTITUTION AND LAWS OF THE SEVERAL STATES OF THE UNION.

XIII. POLITICAL ECONOMY

AUXILIARY SUBJECTS.

Divisions

1ST. THE GEOGRAPHY, AND CIVIL, STATISTICAL, AND POLITICAL HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES.

2D. FORENSIC ELOQUENCE AND ORATORY.

3D. LEGAL BIOGRAPHY AND BIBLIOGRAPHY.

4TH. LEGAL REVIEWS, ESSAYS, JOURNALS MAGAZINES & C. -BRITISH FRENCH, GERMAN, AND AMERICAN.

5TH. CODIFICATION, AND PROPOSED AMENDMENTS OF THE LAW.

6TH. MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE.

7TH. MILITARY AND NAVAL LAW.

8TH. LOGIC.

9TH. PROFESSIONAL DEPORTMENT.

APPENDIX

1ST. OF NOTE BOOKS.

2D. OF DEBATING SOCIETIES, AND OF MOOT COURTS.

NOTE.

The Syllabuses into which our work is divided, are made the foundation of a series of notes. In the former the student will find the works which constitute his regular course of studies; and in the latter are enumerated many productions of various degrees of merit, proper to be known by students, as well as lawyers, and some of which will, of course, be carefully read in after life. In each Syllabus, we have been careful to designate those leading works most likely to be accessible to students and in the notes many volumes of distinguished excellence, but which are little known to the profession generally, are now brought to their notice:

So that the whole, if collected, would form a tolerably extensive library of the most select and approved works known to the law, in all its branches. The numerous other works found in still more extensive law libraries, may be gradually added through the entire period of the lawyer's professional life.

In the Arts, he is most likely to be thoroughly skilled in every nice and curious manipulation, who possesses the greatest variety of fit and perfect instruments so in the law, or other sciences, those who have collected around them the largest library of well selected books, are likely, caeteris paribus, to bc the most learned-as every want may be immediately gratified, and as these are sure to beget others more refined and curious.

As the lawyer's home should be his study (and the remark applies to every profession) let it be graced, not only with every convince but as far as practicable with every work, of any merit, known to his science. Not that the most elevated attainments have not, and may not be acquired with much less means, but that their possession (with even a tolerably well regulated mind) is the surest stimulant to industrious and persevering enterprises into the depths of the science to which he is dedicated.

PARTICULAR SYLLABUS.

Natura enim juris explicanda est nobis, eaque ab hominis repetenda natura.
Cic. De Leg. Lib. i. c. v

MORAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

1st. The Bible. (Note 1.)

2d. Cicero's Offices. (Note 2.)

3d. Seneca's Morals. (Note 3.)

4th. Aristotle's Ethics, Gillies' translation. (Note 4.)

5th. Xenophon's Memorabilia Socratis. (Note 5.)

6th. Beattie's Elements of Moral Science,
[the following titles only:]
1st. Psychology. 2d. Natural Theology. 3d. Moral Philosophy.

7th. Paley's Moral and Political Philosophy [the first five Books only.] (Note 7.)

8th. Locke's Essay concerning Human Understanding [Especial attention to be paid to the following chapters.]

  • Of Identity and Diversity.
  • Of Moral relations.
  • of Words. Book iii.
  • Of Maxims. chap. 7th
  • of Probability. chap. 15th
  • Of the Degrees of Assent. chap. 16th.
  • Of Reason.' chap. 17th.
  • Of Error.' chap. 20th.

9th. Cogan's Ethical Questions- (Note 8)

10th. Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments; [Particular attention to be paid to part iv. 'Of the systems of Moral Philosophy]. (Note 9.)

11th. Reid's Essays on the Powers of the Human Mind [Particular attention to be paid to the following essays]

Essay i. 'Preliminary.' Vol- 1st
Essay vi. 'Of Judgment.' Vol. 2d.
Essay vii. 'Of Reasoning.' Vol 2d.
Essay iii. 'Of the Rational Principles of Action.' Vol. 3d. Part 3d.
Essay iv. 'Of the Liberty of Moral Agents. Vol. 3.
Essay v. 'Of Morals.' Vol 3. Part 3. (Note 10.)

12th. Hedge's Abridgment of Brown's Philosophy. (Note ll.)

l3th. Paley's Philosophy, (the sixth Book.)

14th. Beattie's Elements of Moral Science, 'Of Politics.

15th. Burlamaqui's Institutes of Natural and Political Law. (Note 12.)

16th. Rutherforth's Institutes. (Note 13.)

17th. Bentham's Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation; [the first eleven chapters.]

l8th. Aristotle's Politics.(Gullies' translation) (Note 14.)

19th. Montesquieu's Spirit of Laws; (Note l5.)

[Particular attention to be paid to the 28th,
30th, and 31st books, for the reasons assigned in Note
5, to Title I. of this work.]

20th. Cataneo's Source, Strength, and True Spirit of Laws, in which the errors and defects of M. de Montesquieu, are pointed out and considered. (Note 16.)

21st. Grotius, on the Rights of War and Peace; (Note 17.)

[ The following select chapters only:]
1st. 'The Preliminary Discourse.'
2d 'Of the Original Acquisition
'of a right over Persons.'
'Of the right of Parents.'
'Of Marriage's Of Societies.'
'Of the right over subjects.'
'Of Slaves.
[The 5th chapter of the 2d book.]

3d. Of Acquisitions by virtue of some Law.' 'Of succession to the Estate and Effects of an Intestate.'
[The 7th chapter of the 2nd Book]

4th. 'When Jurisdiction and Property cease.' [The 9th chap.]

5th. 'Of Promises.' [The 11th chap.]

6th. 'Of Contracts.' [The 12th chap.]

7th . 'Of Interpretation.' [ The 16th chap.]

22d. Puffendorf, on the Law of Nature and Nations. (Note 17.)
[The following select chapters only]:

1st. 'Of the Certainty of Moral Science.' ch. vii.
2d. 'Of Law in general.' ch. vi.
3d. 'Of the Qualities of Actions.' ch. vii.
4th. 'Of the Law of Nature in general.' ch. iii- BOOK 11. 'Of Self-Defence.' ch.v.
5th. 'Of an Oath. ch. ii.
6th. 'Of Price.' ch. i.
7th. 'Of Bartering, Buying, and selling.' ch. v.
8th. 'Of Renting and Hiring,' ch. vi.
9th. 'Of Partnership.' ch. viii.
10th. 'Of the Master's Authority, &c. ch. iii.
11th. 'Of the Parts of Sovereignty,' &c. ch. iv.
12th. 'Of the Forms of commonwealths,' &c. ch. v.
13th. 'Of the Power to direct the Actions of the subject.' ch. i.
14th. 'How Subjection ceases.' ch. ix

23d. Hoffman's Legal Outlines. Vol. 1.

[ The 10th Lecture to be omitted at this time.]


*[It will not be premature for the student at this time to read the celebrated case of Omicund v. Barker. 1 Atkyn's Reports, p.21].

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