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Author: George Sharswood




The following Essay was originally published under the title of "A

Compend of Lectures on the Aims and Duties of the Profession of the Law,

delivered before the Law Class of the University of Pennsylvania." A

portion of it had been read by the author as an Introductory Lecture at

the opening of the Fifth Session of the Law Department of that

Institution, October 2d, 1854. The young gentlemen, alumni, and students

of the school, who were present on that occasion, requested a copy for

publication, in order that each of them might possess a memento of their

connection with the Institution. The author preferred to publish the

entire Compend than merely a part of it. He hesitated much in doing so,

because the questions discussed are difficult, and opinions upon them

variant, and he could scarcely hope that he had in every case succeeded

in just discrimination. A review of the matter now, when a second

edition has been called for, has suggested, however, no important change

in the principles advanced, though a few additions have been made, some

inaccuracies corrected, and an introduction upon the importance of the

profession, in a public point of view, prefixed.

G. S.


The dignity and importance of the Profession of the Law, in a public

point of view, can hardly be over-estimated. It is in its relation to

society at large that it is proposed to consider it. This may be done by

showing its influence upon legislation and jurisprudence. These are the

right and left hands of government in carrying out the great purposes of

society. By legislation is meant the making of law--its primary

enactment or subsequent alteration. Jurisprudence is the science of what

the law is or means, and its practical application to cases as they

arise. The province of legislation is _jus...