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tures, by some general rule which further investigation would serve to prove wholly inapplicable; for crude and hasty generalization offer a perpetual snare to the indolent and unwary. Perhaps I can best illustrate the profit of close discrimination by reference to an incident in the life of John Scott, afterwards Lord Eldon, in connection with the case of Akroyd vs. Smithson, which is now considered as a leading case on the subject of the law of real estate in England.
Scott, soon after his admission to the bar, being then a very young man, was retained in the cause by a solicitor for one of the defendants, merely for the purpose of entering an appearance and assenting to a decree as prayed by the plaintiffs. Having examined the case very thoroughly, he concluded that it did not fall within the rule commonly applied to cases that were in many respects similar, and suggested that a defense should be made. His client, having communicated this recommendation to an old lawyer of established reputation, who had the control of the defense, the latter said, "Do not send good money after bad; let Mr. Scott have a guinea to give consent; and if he will argue, why let him do so; but give him no more." Young Scott, therefore, did argue the case, upon a well founded distinction that had never been suggested or passed on by the courts, and gained it before Lord Chancellor Thurlow, thereby acquiring an established reputation at the bar, and paving the way to that success which eventually made him Chief Justice and twice Lord Chancellor of England, and a peer of the realm. You will find the case of Akroyd vs. Smithson, reported in Smith's Leading Cases, and by reading it you will discover how it was differentiated from previous decisions.
How was this victory achieved? Certainly not wholly by native intellect; for Lord Eldon afterwards told that in those days of his early struggles he read so late at night that he often had to tie a wet towel around his head in order to keep from going to sleep; and if he had not industriously cultivated his discriminating faculties, he never could have discovered the difference that existed between cases that at first sight were seemingly alike. To the average traveler, Nature may present a succession of unvarying and monotonous landscapes; but to the cultivated eye of the artist, each will be instinct with individual qualities, and will be endowed with beauties peculiarly its own. The monotonous click of the telegraph instrument conveys to you no information, but for the skillful operator, it is gifted with the powers of intelligent speech. So it is in the law. Distinctions that really exist, and that in the interest of justice ought not to be overlooked, are only visible to the eye of the well trained lawyer. This faculty of seeing all the details of every problem in their true light, so as to define accurately the question to be solved, can only be created and developed by much reading and study. The word “contemplation” is said to be derived from the Latin word “templum," "temple,” because in ancient times wise and learned men who had to perform severe intellectual tasks, or to ponder questions of great difficulty often repaired to the temples, in whose quiet seclusion, far from the noise of the maddening crowd, they could devote the interval to profound and continued thought; and hence the very word is suggestive of that mental abstraction and labor which are indispensable to the comprehension of any subject so exacting as that of the law. In one of his plays, Plautus likens a young man to a ship that has just left the docks. The sails are new, the woodwork is freshly painted, it has an appearance of great strength and solidity, so that it seems to put to shame older vessels that have buffeted many a storm. But in point of fact, its timbers are green, and its different parts have not yet adjusted themselves to each other so as to develop the highest degree of endurance and efficiency. It has not yet been tempered by long contact with tempest and wave, it has not yet been thoroughly saturated with the salt air of the sea, it has not acquired that elasticity and dexterity which enable older ships to outweather the most terrible storms; and thus it may chance that the new and untried vessel may go to pieces and founder in the quiet harbor, or may disappear at the first breath of the tornado.
It may, no doubt, be regarded as one of the misfortunes of life that we are called upon to make the most momentous decisions at that period of our career when passion is strongest, and when our judgments are most immature. So great is the facility of youth for making mistakes that it is said of life that youth is a blunder, manhood a struggle and old age a regret. The struggle of manhood to repair the thoughtless errors of youth are often harrowing and intense; and the evening of life is clouded with vain regrets for abject failures or for victories that are far from complete. Had the first steps been ordered aright, the struggle would have been needless, and the regrets would have been replaced by a comforting sense of duties performed and a triumph achieved. A few very great and wise men have escaped errors, and have avoided the toil and humiliation that inevitably follow in their train; and they are held up as bright examples to be imitated by those who are capable of learning from the experience of men who have successfully overcome, by a timely exercise of wisdom, the many difficulties that never fail to accumulate in the pathway of life. Every victory that comes late is only partial victory, and hardly deserves the name; but every victory in early life brings with it a new sense of strength and confidence that lightens the burdens and lessens the dangers of all future contests.
The first few years of your professional career will probably be decisive of all the rest. In our calling it is not the readiest or even the most eloquent young man that gives the highest promise of success; but that place is reserved for the youth that gives his days and nights to diligent labor, who nourishes his lonely heart with study. Whoever would accomplish great and worthy things must arm himself with patience and self denial, must choose his path with discretion, and must, avoiding all temptations, resolutely pursue it to the end. My Lord Coke says that law is a deep well from which every man draweth according to his strength. What you need is an intimate knowledge of the great principles of jurisprudence, a knowledge of the jurisdiction of the courts, of the methods of procedure, of the laws of evidence, and of every detail that you may, with the aid of a trained intellect, and the help of a memory subjected to patient discipline, be able to acquire. There is no royal road to learning, and youth is the time to lay up that knowledge upon which the future will make repeated and unexpected demands, and without which you had as well trust yourself to vexed and stormy seas without chart and without compass or rudder. The habit of serious, earnest and manly study, early begun, and prosecuted with undeviating fidelity, affords a guaranty of success with which nothing else can compare. In preparing for the professional conflicts and duties upon which you must soon enter, no time is to be lost; for if once lost it can never be recovered. The vast volumes of the law are open before you; their abounding contents cannot be mastered in a day or year; but by diligent attention, day by day, you may hope in time, to attain to such a knowledge of the law as will enable you to take a high rank in your profession.
There has always been a controversy among lawyers as to the amount of reading outside of his professional duties, that the practicing lawyer may safely permit himself to indulge in. This is a subject upon which it is perhaps impossible to lay down any rule for universal application. Some will say that as the most of a lawyer's time is necessarily taken up with labor in his office and in the courts, he can have but little or no time for general reading; that the law is a jealous mistress and will not tolerate a divided worship. On the other hand, it is said that the lawyer who does not court the refining influences of polite literature, must always appear rude and uncouth; that as all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy a proper measure of attention to the great models of literary style has the effect, not only to cultivate the critical faculties, and to improve the taste, but that by affording a variety of pleasing subjects to the mind it gives to it a healthier tone, and will better enable it to deal with the more intricate and abstruse problems of the law; that in the varied emergencies of practice, the lawyer needs to know not only the law, but the details of the wonderful science of the human heart, which is nowhere so well or so impressively taught as in the works of the great poets, dramatists, essayists, novelists and historians.
On this subject it would seem that the rule should vary according to individual temperament. The man who naturally possesses literary tastes, will have to repress the temptation to stray too often, and to linger too long outside the legal fold; while he whose tastes in that respect are less, seductive, may develop a greater mental symmetry by filling in odd intervals of time with literary studies that others differently constituted would deem nothing more than agreeable distractions from the severe strain of long continued legal studies. Moreover, it may be remembered that there are but few