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SECTION THE FIRST.
ON THE STUDY OF THE LAW*,
AND GENTLEMEN OF THE UNIVERSITY,
I HE general expectation of so numerous and respectable an audience, the novelty, and (I may add) the importance of the duty required from this chair, must unavoidably be productive of great diffidence and apprehensions in him who has the honour to be placed in it. He must be sen. sible how much will depend upon his conduct in the infancy of a study, which is now first adopted by public academical authority ; which has generally been reputed (however unjustly) of a dry and unfruitful nature; and of which the theoretical, elementary parts have hitherto received a very moderate share of cultivation. He cannot but reflect that, if either his plan of instruction be crude and injudicious, or the execution of it lame and superficial, it will cast a damp upon the farther progress of this most useful and most · rational branch of learning; and may defeat for a time the public-spirited design of our wise and munificent benefac
* Read in Oxford at the opening of the Vinerian lectares; 25 Oct. 1753. VOL. I.