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Excerpt from The Genius of the Common Law More than seven years have passed since I was invited to speak here in the name of our Common Law. The renewal of such an invitation is if possible more honourable than its first profler, and it would seem a simple matter to accept it with alacrity. But it comes from the young, nay from the immortals for are not incorporate universities immortal to a man who must soon be irrevocably called old if he is not already so; a man at whose age the lapse of days gives a little more warning of some kind at every solstice, and whom it tells among other things that his outlook on life and doctrine is pretty well fixed for better or worse. Such a man cannot expect to acquire fresh points of view or to f rame novel conceptions of any value. He may hope, at best, to keep an open mind for the merits of younger men's discoveries; to find in the store of his experience, now and then, something that may help them on the way; to sort out results of thought and observation not yet set in order, and make them of some little use, if it may be, to his fellow-stu dents perhaps even to bring home to some others the grounds of his f aith in the science of law, the faith that it has to do not with a mere intellectual craft but with a vital aspect of human and national history.
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