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The Spirit of the Common Law

This book covers the following topics: The Feudal Element, Puritanism and the Law, The Courts and the Crown, The Rights of Englishmen and the Rights of Man, The Pioneers and the Law, The Philosophy of Law in the Nineteenth Century, Judicial Empiricism and Legal Reason.


THE DARTMOUTH ALUMNI LECTURESHIPS have been established upon the theory that the influence of the intellectual life of the Col- lege ought to be available, in some degree at least, to others than those who are in residence as students,-as for example, to graduates who are solicitous for some contact with the College which will help to maintain the breadth of their scholarship; or to friends who are interested in the kinds of intellectual interest for which the College wishes to stand. The suggestion of the particular form which the project of these lectureships has taken was made in my inaugural address in 1916 when statement was made as follows: “I am very sure that the contribution of the College to its graduates ought to be continued in some more tangible way than exists at present. The tendency of college men to seek careers out- side the professions, the tendencies of the professions themselves to become so highly specialized as to necessitate the complete engrossment of thought of the men who follow them, and the ever increasing demand of the age on all, requiring constantly greater intensity of effort and more exclusive utilization of time in men who wish to do their respective shares of the world’s work, impose a duty upon the college which formerly belonged to it in no such degree, if at all. Contacts with what we broadly classify as the arts and sciences are less and less possible for men of affairs. In many a graduate the inter- est in or enthusiasm for these which the college arouses is, therefore, altogether likely to languish, or even die, for lack of sustenance. If the College, then, has conviction that its influence is worth seeking at the expense of four vital years in the formative period of life, is it not logically compelled to search for some method of giving access to this influence to its graduates in their subsequent years! The growing practice of retiring men from active work at ages from sixty-five to seventy, and the not infrequent tragedy of the man who has no resources for interesting himself outside the routine of which he has been relieved, make it seem that the College has no less an opportunity to be of service to its men in their old age than in their youth, if only it can establish the procedure by which it can periodically throughout their lives give them opportunity to replenish their intellectual reserves. It is possible that something in the way of courses of lectures by certain recognized leaders of the world’s thought, made available for alumni and friends of the College during a brief period immediately following the Commencement season, would be a step in this direction. Or it may be that some other device would more completely realize the possibilities. It at least seems clear that the formal educational con- tacts between the College and its graduates should not stop at the end of four years, never in any form to be renewed.” The carrying out of the plan, with such purpose in view, was made possible by the hearty endorsement of Mr. Henry Lynn Moore of the class of 1877-and a Trustee of Dartmouth College and by his promise of generous financial assistance to establish in this form a memorial, to keep alive the memory of his beloved son, Guernsey Center Moore, of the class of 1904, who died early in his college course. The completion of the plans for the lecture- ships was originally set for an earlier time, but the World War interrupted. It was, therefore, not until the summer of 1921 that the experiment was finally undertaken with Professor Roscoe Pound, the brilliant and scholarly Dean of Harvard Law School, and Mr. Ralph Adams Cram, noted architect and original thinker, as lecturers upon this Foundation. It has, of course, been recognized from the beginning that the extension of the influence of these lectures would be largely increased by publication, which should make the mental stimulation in them available to wider groups than, under any circumstances, could be expected to be in attendance as auditors during any course. It is, therefore, with much satisfaction that there is presented herewith the lectures of Dean Pound for the consideration, on the one hand, of the considerable group who heard him and have since been desirous of the lectures in printed form as well as, on the other hand, that far greater constituency to whom attendance was not possible to hear the spoken word, but whose interest in the speaker and the subject has been keen. To all of these this book on, “The Spirit of the Common Law” from the hands of Dean Pound will be of major interest.

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