« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
MY SON AND DAUGHTER.
FOR FREEDOM'S BATTLE ONCE BEGUN,
“WHENCE DID THIS HAPPY ORGANISATION FIRST COME? WAS IT A TREE TRANSPLANTED FROM PARADISE, WITH ALL ITS BRANCHES IN FULL FRUITAGE? OR WAS IT SOWED IN SUNSHINE ? WAS IT IN VERNAL BREEZES AND GENTLE RAINS THAT IT FIXED ITS ROOTS, AND GREW AND STRENGTHENED ? LET HISTORY ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS. WITH BLOOD WAS IT PLANTED ; IT WAS ROCKED IN TEMPESTS; THE GOAT, THE ASS, AND THE STAG GNAWED IT; THE WILD BOAR HAS WHETTED HIS TUSKS ON ITS BARK. THE DEEP SCARS ARE STILL EXTANT ON ITS TRUNK, AND THE PATH OF THE LIGHTNING MAY BE TRACED AMONG ITS HIGHER BRANCHES. AND EVEN AFTER ITS FULL GROWTH, IN THE SEASON OF ITS STRENGTH, WHEN ITS HEIGHT REACHED TO HEAVEN, AND THE SIGHT THEREOF TO ALL THE EARTH, THE WHIRLWIND HAS MORE THAN ONCE FORCED ITS STATELY TOP TO TOUCH THE GROUND; IT HAS BEEN BENT LIKE A BOW, AND SPRANG BACK LIKE A SHAFT. MIGHTIER POWERS WERE AT WORK THAN EXPEDIENCY EVER YET CALLED UP; YEA, MIGHTIER THAN THE MERE UNDERSTANDING CAN COMPREHEND.'
COLERIDGE'S Lay Sermons.
On the foundation of University College, London, my Father, the first Professor of English Law, had a class of law students the formation of which, on many grounds, constitutes one of the most memorable incidents in the history of the College. The class numbered from one hundred to two hundred students, and included the most promising among the aspirants in both branches of the legal profession, and many whose later career in the political world, as well as at the Bar and on the Bench, has fully confirmed their early promise. The experiment of giving Law Lectures to a promiscuous class of students not necessarily intending to pursue a professional life was unprecedented ; and I have no hesitation in recalling the fact, that my Father's qualifications and success were almost equally unprecedented in the history of public teaching in this country. The Lectures were delivered continuously from the session of 1828–1829 to that of 1835-1836. Among the Lectures was a course on the English Constitution and Constitutional Law. These Lectures, which were published at the time, but have not yet been republished, brought the record of the Constitution, as it mirrored itself to my Father,—whose incomparable eminence as a constitutional lawyer has never been disputed,-down to the period just preceding that of the present reign. I have been happy enough to feel that I could comply with the suggestions of a filial loyalty, while discharging a useful public duty, in continuing the record of the movements of the Constitution down to the present day.
In the body of this work I have shown that the apparently fragmentary or partial character of my method of selecting a period is inherent in what I believe to be the only sound mode of treating of the Constitution at all. My Father's Lectures were de. livered at the moment when the structure of Blackstone was still quivering under the assaults of Bentham. Later experience has shown that neither Blackstone, nor Bentham, nor even Austin and Mill, could, by any of their compact theories or legally circumscribed logic, compass the length, and breadth, and depth, and height of the Constitution they criticised or