« PreviousContinue »
without preamble, without prelude, the hour's work begins. Meine Herren—Thomas von Aquina sah in der vernünftigen Seele den höchsten Grad der weltlichen Dinge (Thomas Aquinas regarded the rational soul as the climax of things earthly.) The lecturer has simply resumed where he had broken off the day before. I have listened to lectures by many different professors, in different universities, but I cannot truthfully say that I have ever heard one that could be called brilliant. The aim of a German professor is not so much to arouse or interest or even persuade his hearers, as to teach them. The substance of his discourse is the unfolding of truth, grave, solid truth.
But by far the ablest lecture that I have ever heard, in Germany or at home, was one delivered by Vangerow. Happening to be in Heidelberg on a visit in October, 1864, I profited by the occasion to hospitiren with the then most prominent jurist in Germany. The subject was thoroughly familiar to me, as I was at the time in full preparation for my examination at Göttingen, which came off a few weeks later. The auditorium was crowded—there could not have been much less than two hundred students present—but the silence and attention were profound. Seated on a small raised platform near the center of the room, the lecturer spoke for an hour and a half in an easy, clear, sustained voice, without pause and without break, on one of the most complicated points in Roman Law. He had no notes, not even a schedule, only a slip of paper, on which were written one or two references to passages to be cited from the Digest; yet the ideas and words came forth as clear and logical and well placed as if the lecturer were reading from a printed book. The subject was one which the German spirit delights to develop after the I, A, I, a, a, B. q . . . style, in all sorts of main and subsidiary paragraphs, with minor and modifying clauses, exceptions, qualifications, and reservations, references to foot-notes and the like. But the lecturer had such an insight into and such a grasp of his subject that his discourse seemed to be nothing else than the easy, spontaneous process of organic evolution; it seemed to grow of itself out of his brain. There was no brilliancy, no flight of eloquence, no outburst of humor or sarcasm; the lecture would scarcely have been intelligible to one not familiar with the study. But it was a masterly, didactic statement of the clear, crystalline truths of the la v, introducing nothing superfluous, omitting nothing necessary, and putting everything in the right place.
The paper used for taking notes is of a peculiar kind. A German student rarely if ever has what we call a notebook or a copy-book. He uses those called Pandecten or Collegienpapier, plain, white writing-pa per, unruled; the page varies in size, but is generally what book. publishers designate as lexicon-octavo untrimmed. Six or eight sheets (twelve or sixteen pages) are stitched together at the back, making a Heft. The Heft, before it is sold, is put under a press of which the face is smaller than the face of the page. This blocks out by
indentation a sort of inner page, leaving a wide margin. The inner page alone is used for writing in the lecture-bour; the margin is rea served for subsequent corrections and additions. At the end of the semester, the llefte of any one course can be bound up in a volume for preservation. The advantages of this paper are that it enables the student to dispense with an armful of cumbersome note-books. he has only to carry as many Hefte at a time as he has separate lectures to attend--and prevents the waste of paper. In buying a note-book, the student runs the risk of getting one either too small or too large; but with the Pandectenpapier, he has only to add a Hleft from time to time, and he can also intercalate as long as the Hefte are unbound. It has always been a matter of surprise to me that the Pandecten papier has not been introduced into our American colleges. It is by far the most practical method of taking notes. The Hefte are carried in a small black leather portfolio Mappe), just large cnough to hold three or four at a time, and flexible enough to be rolled up and carried conveniently under the arm. The notes are always written in ink. The inkstand generally used is not flat bottomed, as with us, but terminates in a sharp point of iron, which can be thrust into the desk. When carried in the pocket, the point is protected by a capsule of horn that screws over it.
The conduct of the students during the lecture-hour is propriety itself. One might attend hundreds of lectures in different universities, without witnessing any disorder or whispering. The first attempt to create such disturbances as disgrace the halls of our colleges would be punished by the summary expulsion of all the offenders. To an American faculty, the discipline in the German universities will appear lax in more than one respect. There are no chapel-services, no marks, no tutorial supervision. The student is free to live where: and as he pleases, his movements are unfettered. But whatever else the University may wink at, it never tolerates disorder and disrespect in the lecture-room. The student is treated as & man having a sense of propriety and duty. If he does not like a particular professor, he can hear another; if he does not like a particular university, he can go elsewhere. If he does not feel disposod to attend on a particular day he can stay away. But if he attends, he is expected to conduct himself as in all respects a man.
The German student, however, has one privilege which the Amercan has not: he can manifest his wishes by scraping his feet on the floor. If a professor lectures too fast or fails to explain a point to the complete satisfaction of his hearers, or if he lectures over the hour, instantly you will hear three or four pairs of shoes at work. This hint is always taken by the professor in good part. With regard to lecturing over the hour, the practice varies. Where the students know that the course is a heavy one, in which the professor has need of all the time he can get, they are not so apt to interrupt, unless the time of “grace" should exceed five minutes.
A PRINCETON GRADUATE AT GÖTTINGEN.
STUDY OF LAW AT BERLIN AND GÖTTINGEN. [At the close of the Winter semester (the middle of March, 1863), and a season, it proved, of sickness and low spirits, our Student makes a trip to Berlin, where he was struck "with the energy, I might almost say the agony of preparation, " "in which the city rescmbled a liuge camp,” two or three years before the formal declaration of war. IIerc he decided to remain for the Summer semester, and enter on study for the degrce of Doctor in Law.]
Brief Exp rience of Student Life in Berlin. I obtained from the University secretary the necessary Abgang8zeugniss (honorable dismissal), and removed to Berlin about the middle of April. The ceremony of re-matriculation was very simple. Coming as a regular student from another German university, I had only to deposit the Abgangszeugniss with the Berlin secretary, pay a small fce, and give the customary pledge, the hand-shake, to the Rector. I then matriculated in the legal faculty. This transferring one's self from one faculty to another is called expressively by the students, Umsatteln, changing saddles. Onc can mect students who have performed the operation three or four times; failing in every attempt at a degree, they are content to drift along from semester to semester and bear the title of bemooste Häupter, moss-grown heads.
The Berlin University at that time was in its glory. The medical faculty was uncommonly strong. In theology there were such men as Dorner, Hengstenberg, Niedner, and Twesden, in philosophy Trendelenburg, Helfferich, Michelet, in the natural sciences Dore, Rose, Braun, in political economy IIelwing and Hanssen, in history Droysen, Ranke, Jaffé, Kopke, Kiepert, in philology Steinthal, Bopp, Bockh, Bekker, Haupt, Weber. Many of these illustrious men have been called to their rest; their places have been taken, we can scarcely say filled, by their successors. In law there were Bruns, Gneist, IIoltzendorff, Rudorff, Richter, Beseler, Homeyer, leffter, and many others; I have named only the most illustrious. Gneist is the well-known politician and leading debater in the Prussian Parliament and the Imperial Diet. Holtzendorff is now professor in Munich; Rudolff, and, I believe, Homeyer and Richter are deceascd. The brightest stars of the Berlin legal faculty-Savigny and Puchta —had already set; in fact, as I afterwards discovered, I might have done better for the first semester or two by going to Heidelberg, w bere Vangerow was then in his primc. Yet the loss was not great.
In fact, I may say, once for all, that a student cannot go very far out
& of bis vay in selecting any one of the leading universities. Two of the most delightful and most profitable months of my life were once passed in even a very small university, the name and fame of which have scarcely reached America. I mean Marburg, about half way between Frankfort and Cassel. The number of students, all told, did not exceed four hundred, and the professors were correspondingly few. Yet I was surprised at the comparatively large number of eminent men and the general breadth of culture. The reader may be assured that the smaller universitics, such as Marburg, Rostock, Greifswald, Tübingen, differ from the larger ones in extent, in quantity, rather than in quality. Unless the student be engaged in some very limited specialty, he can do well almost anywhere.
To decide upon the study of the law is one thing; to carry out the decision is another. By consulting the list-still in my possessionof Berlin lectures for the summer of 1863, I find that there were Announced no less than 59 courses of lectures on legal topics, covering 183 hours per week! That the reader, if of a legal turn of mind, may form some idea of what a legal faculty in Germany is, and what it accomplishes, I give the list entire:
Encyclopedy and Methodology of the Science of Law, by Professors Heydemann and Holtzendorff, and Dr. Schmidt.
Naturrecht, or Philosophy of Law, by Professor Heydemann. Institutes, by Professors Bruns and Gneist. History and Archæology of the Roman Lar, the same. History of Ciril Procedure among the Romans, the same. Institutex. by Drs. Rivier and Degenkolb. Select Cases in Roman Law, explained by Dr. Degenkolb. Pandects, by Professor Rudorff. Erbrecht (Doctrine of Inheritance), by Dr. Baron. Pandects and Trbrecht. by Dr. Witte. Select Passages from the Pandects, explained by Professor Rudolff and Dr. Witte. De Solutionibus. (D. xlvi. 3), explained by Dr. Schmidt. Practical Exercises in Roman Law (a sort of Moot Court), by Dr. Baron. Ecclesiastical Law, Catholic and Protestant, by Professor Richter and Drs. Friedberg and Hinschius.
Law of Matrimony, by Dr. Friedberg. Practical Exercises in Ecclesiaslical Law, by Professor Richter, and Drs. Friedberg and Jlinschius.
History of German Constitutional Law, by Professors Beseler Daniels, and Dr. Kühns.
History of the Decline of the Roman-German Empire, by Professor Lancizolle.
Public and Private Rights of German Sovereigas, by Professors Beseler and Holtzendorff.
German Constitutional Law, by Professor Daniels.
Ciril Procedure, according to the Common Law of Germany and the Prussian Code, by Professors Heffrer and Bruns.
The same, induding also the Code Napoléon (for the Rhine provinces), by Dr.
Franco-Rhenish Rights o Real Property between Husband and Wife, by Professor
The total number of professors and doctors (Privat-docenten) on the list is twenty-one.
A few qualifying and explanatory remarks will not be superfluous. In the first place, not all the lectures announced, especially at a university like Berlin, are actually .ead. The professor, or Privatdocent, upon whom has been conferred the venige docendi, the privilege of lecturing, is held to announce at least one publice each' semester. But if auditors fail to present themselves in sufficient numbers, as not infrequently happens, the course is not delivered, the lecturer is exonerated. This may seem an odd procedure, but the explanation is not remote. A German university faculty consists of professors (either regular or extraordinary), and Privat-docenten, who are nothing more than candidates for professorships. The university looks to its professors for bearing the burden of instruction; the Privat-docenten keep the professors up to the mark by competing with them. A Privat-docent is free to lecture on any topic connected with his department, even although a course of lectures on that same topic may have been announced by a professor. The reader will observe that the above list contains several instances of such direct competition. But ordinarily the Privat-docent prefers to compete indirectly, as it were, by reading on some special topic that is not taken up by any of the professors. These special-topic lectures are the germs of future essays and monographs; after the Privat-docent has worked his lectures into the proper shape by repeated readings, he publishes them in book-form, with a view to wider reputation, and a “call." But if the topic is too remote, too special, the lecturer will not find hearers. In fact, a professor, or even a Privatdocent, whose reputation is already established, and whose time is occupied with privatim lectures, will purposely select a very special topic, so as not to attract hearers and yet comply with the regulations. On general principles, then, I should say that twenty per cent. of the lectures announced in the above list were not read. On the other hand, the reader should bear in mind that it was the summer semester, which is always and everywhere “lighter” than the winter. I am inclined to believe that we should get the actual amount of winter work by restoring the twenty per cent. ·
Legal Profession in Germany. The study of law in Germany is treated seriously. No one is admitted to the bar or to the bench who has not been through the full university course. This of itself presupposes the gymnasial course. The consequence is that every practitioner and every judge, down to the humblest justice of the peace, has had a thorough classical and legal ełucation. Can we wonder, then, at the pride with which Germany points to her judicial system, and the scarcely concealed disdain