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willing and able to impart. The stately column is brokenthe beacon fire is extinct.
In the republication of the volume Mr. Austin himself gave us, now so many years ago, Mrs. Austin was kind enough to present some particulars of her husband's life and struggles. When first perused they must have produced in many minds the deepest regret. A brief review of this sketch will refresh the memories of those who read the narrative at the time, and prepare us for the perusal of the recent volumes.
Mrs. Austin tells us that: "At a very early age our author entered the army, in which he served for five years." This imprinted permanent traces in his character and sentiments. Though he quitted it for a profession for which his talents appeared more peculiarly to fit him, he retained to the end of his life a strong sympathy with, and respect for, the military character, as he conceived it. The high and punctilious sense of honour, the chivalrous tenderness for the weak, the generous ardour mixed with reverence for authority and discipline, the frankness and loyalty which were, he thought, the distinguishing characteristics of a true soldier, were also his own; perhaps even more pre-eminently than the intellectual gifts for which he was so remarkable."
Mr. Austin was called to the Bar by the honourable Society of the Inner Temple in 1818. He was himself never sanguine; but "the eminent lawyers in whose several chambers he had studied, spoke of his talents and his application as unequalled, and confidently predicted for him the highest honours of his profession." Four years before his marriage, he concluded a letter addressed to the lady who was to be his future wife in the following desponding tone:-" and may God, above all, strengthen us to bear up under those privations and disappointments with which it is but too probable we are destined to contend."
Mrs. Austin informs us that it was not long before one who watched him with the keenest anxiety, detected that he would not succeed at the Bar. "His health was delicate: he was subject to feverish attacks which left him in a state of extreme
debility and prostration; and as these attacks were brought on by either physical or moral causes, nothing could be worse for him than the hurry of practice, or the close air and continuous excitement of a court of law." And then Mrs. Austin adds: "He was more disqualified by the constitution of his mind. Nervous and sensitive in the highest degree, he was totally deficient in readiness, in audacity, in self-complacency, and in reliance on the superiority of which he was conscious, but which oppressed rather than animated him. He felt that the weapons with which he was armed, though of the highest possible temper, were inapplicable to the warfare in which he was engaged, and he gradually grew more and more self-exacting and self-distrusting." These habits of mind were fatal to his success in business. Before he was called to the Bar, in a letter addressed to his future wife, dated 1817, when he was in the chambers of an equity draftsman, he himself detected the peculiar characteristics of his mind, and wrote to his future wife as follows:-" I almost apprehend that the habit of drawing will in no short time give me so exclusive and intolerant a taste (as far, I mean, as relates to my own productions) for perspicuity and precision, that I shall hardly venture on sending a letter of much purpose even to you, unless it be laboured with the accuracy and circumspection which are requisite in a deed of conveyance." Such was the habit and disposition of Mr. Austin's mind, and we are not surprised to find that his conflict for forensic honours was of short duration. In one short sentence his widow tells us of the advent of the anticipated result. "After a vain struggle, in which his health and spirits suffered severely, he gave up practice in the year 1825. He entered now upon a new epoch of his life. The building in Gower Street, now known as University College, had been reared, and in 1826 the University of London was established within its walls. The title was subsequently ceded to that universitas juris composed of a number of affiliated institutions, of which the original institution, to use the phase of the German civilians, is a "civis."
A Professorship of Jurisprudence was founded, and Mr. Austin was chosen to fill the chair. He resolved to go to Germany to study under the great jurists of the Fatherland. He at once set about learning the language. No mean task this, as all know who have attempted it late in life. "In the autumn of 1827, after visiting Heidelberg, he established himself with his wife and child at Bonn, which was then the residence of Niebuhr, Brandis, Schlegel, Arndt, Welcker, Mackeldey, Heffter, and other eminent men, from whose society he received equal pleasure and instruction." Mr. Austin secured the assistance of a tutor or Privatdocent, and combined the study of the German language and of law in one process. His stay in Germany was but short, for Mrs. Austin tells us that "He left Bonn in the spring of 1828, master of the German language, and of a number of the greatest works which it contains." There can be no doubt of Mr. Austin having made the most of the time he spent in the interesting Rhenish town over against the "Liebengebirge," but that he could have mastered the language and the jurisprudence of the country in so short a period was not to be expected. Fidelity compels one to say that his knowledge of the Roman law, though considerable for the period he spent in Bonn, is neither sharply defined nor exact. It is impossible that it could be otherwise. There is a certain confusion and want of clearness at times pervading this part of his writings which a longer study of the Roman law would have dissipated and removed. It is exceedingly difficult to master the elements of a language and any great branch of its literature at the same time. He returned to London the subject of those peculiar feelings which many have experienced upon first entering upon a professorship. He left Germany with that regret which those who have gone there to drink of its fountains of learning, upon leaving its land and its professors, have perhaps always experienced. Spite of the hopes," says Mrs. Austin, "the profits, and the acquirements with which he entered upon his new functions, it was not without much
regret and some forebodings, that he quitted a life so full of interest and so free from care, for the restraints and privations which London imposes on poor people, and for the anxieties of a laborious and untried career.' His health, always feeble, had been but partially restored by the comparative tranquillity of mind which followed his appointment, and by his solitary and agreeable residence on the Rhine. "His lectures opened with a class which exceeded his expectations. It included several men who are now most eminent in law, politics, or philosophy. He was much impressed and excited by the spectacle of this noble band of young men, and he felt with a sort of awe the responsibility attaching to his office. He had the highest possible conception of the importance of clear notions on the foundations of law and morals to the welfare of the human race; the thought of being the medium through which these were to be conveyed into so many of the minds destined to exercise a powerful influence in England, filled him with ardour and enthusiasm. As might be expected from his susceptible nature and delicate conscience, these were not unmixed with anxiety too intense for his bodily health." The position for which he was richly endowed had been reached. He was eminently qualified to discharge the duties of a teacher; but his chair was unendowed, and the first flush of success was followed by that disappointment which might certainly have been anticipated. "In spite," says the illustrious writer of a notice of Mr. Austin's death in the LAW MAGAZINE," of the brilliant commencement of his career, as a Professor, it soon became evident that this country would not afford such a succession of students of Jurisprudence as would suffice to maintain a chair, and as there was no other provision for the teachers than the student's fees, it followed of necessity that no man could continue to hold that office unless he had a private fortune, or combined some gainful occupation with his professorship. Mr. Austin, who had no fortune, and who regarded the study and exposition of his science as more than sufficient to occupy his whole life, and
who knew that it would never be in demand amongst that immense majority of law students who regard their profession only as a means of making money, found himself under the necessity of resigning his chair."
"Such," says Mrs. Austin, was the end of his exertions in a cause to which he had devoted himself with an ardour and singleness of purpose of which few men are capable. This was the real and irremediable calamity of his life-the blow from which he never recovered."
It was in the month of June, 1832, that he gave his last lecture. In the same year he was enabled by the assistance of the late Mr. Murray to publish that which now constitutes the first volume of his lectures. The book attracted but little attention at the time. Neither of the Reviews which profess to guide public opinion on serious subjects took the slightest notice of it. The volume, however, won its way to fame by its sterling merit. In the year, 1833, Mr. Austin was appointed by Lord Brougham, then Lord Chancellor, a member of the Criminal Law Commission. According to
Mr. Austin's views the proceedings of the Commission were of so unsatisfactory a nature that he even felt repugnance at receiving the public money for work from which he thought the public would derive little or no advantage. His next brief employment was in consequence of the determination of the honourable Society of the Inner Temple to make some attempt to teach the principles and history of jurisprudence. Mr. Bickersteth, afterwards Lord Langdale, was one of the most earnest promoters of this scheme. In the year 1834, Mr. Austin was engaged to deliver a course of Lectures on Jurisprudence at the Inner Temple. Law students have a morbid objection to lectures. Forms and office-cram are deemed of more importance by them than the science of law. The latter may make a jurist, but the former pays best. Even at the present time when what may be denominated a legal university exists in connexion with the Inns of Court, now that learned and labourious men have been appointed to