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AUSTIN

distinguish law from morals; to explain the notions which have been entertained of duty, right, liberty, injury, punishment and redress; and their connexion with, and relations to, sovereignty; to examine the distinction between rights in rem and rights in personam, and between rights ex contractu and rights ex delicto; and further to determine the meaning of such terms as right, obligation, injury, sanction, person, thing, act and forbearance. These are some of the terms, notions and distinctions which Austin endeavoured to explain. They are daily in the mouth of every practising lawyer. The only portion of Austin’s work which has attracted much attention of recent years is his conception of sovereignty, and his dictum that all laws properly so called must be considered as sanctioned expressly or tacitly by the sovereign. This has been indignantly denied. It has been considered enough to justify this denial to point out that there are in existence states where the seat of sovereignty, and the ultimate source of law, cannot be accurately indicated. But this criticism is entirely misplaced; for as pointed out by Maine (Early History of Institutions, Lecture xii.), in an elaborate discussion of Austin’s views, which in the main he accepts, what Austin was engaged upon was not an inquiry into the nature of sovereignty as it is found to exist, but an inquiry into what was the connexion between the various forms of political superiority. And this inquiry was undertaken in order to enable him to distinguish the province of jurisprudence properly so called from the province of morality; an inquiry which was hopeless unless the connexion just stated was clearly conceived. Austin’s views of sovereignty, therefore, was an abstraction, useless it is true for some purposes, but by no means useless for others. “There is,” as Maine says, “not the smallest necessity for accepting all the conclusions of these great writers (i.e. Bentham and Austin) with implicit deference, but there is the strongest necessity for knowing what these conclusions are. They are indispensable, if for no other object, for the purpose of clearing the head.” These last words exactly express the work which Austin set himself to do. It was to clear his own head, and the heads of his hearers, that he laboured so hard. As Austin once said of himself, his special vocation was that of untying intellectual knots. The disentangling of classifications and distinctions, the separation of real from accidental distinctions, the analysis of ideas confusedly apprehended, these (as has been truly said) were the characteristics of Austin’s work which specially distinguished him. Austin thought that this somewhat irksome task was a necessary preliminary both to the study of law as a science, and to the production of a code. It is a curious reflection that whilst the lectures in which these inquiries were begun (though not completed) excited the admiration of his contemporaries, hardly any one now thinks such inquiries worth pursuing.

The Lectures on Jurisprudence were reviewed by J. S. Mill in the Edinburgh Review of October 1863, and this review is republished in Mill’s Dissertations and Discussions, vol. 3, p. 206. Professor Jethro Brown has published (1906) an edition of Austin’s earlier lectures, in which they are stated in an abbreviated form. There is a sketch of his life by his widow in the preface to the Lectures on Jurisprudence, which she published after his death.

 (W. Ma.) 

AUSTIN, SARAH (1793–1867), English author, was born in 1793, the daughter of John Taylor (d. 1826), a wool-stapler and a member of the well-known Taylor family of Norwich. Her great grandfather, Dr John Taylor (1694-1761), had been pastor of the Presbyterian church there, and wrote a once famous polemical work on The Scripture Doctrine of Original Sin (1738), which called forth celebrated treatises by Jonathan Edwards on Original Sin. Her mother, Susannah Cook, was an exceedingly clever woman who transmitted both her beauty and her talent to her daughter. Their friends included Dr Alderson and his daughter Mrs Opie, Henry Crabbe Robinson, the Gurneys and Sir James Mackintosh. Sarah Taylor married in 1820 John Austin (q.v.). They lived in Queen Square, Westminster, where Mrs. Austin, whose tastes, unlike her husband’s, were extremely sociable, gathered round her a large circle, Jeremy Bentham, James Mill and the Grotes being especially intimate. She received many Italian exiles, who found a real friend in her. In 1821 was born her only child, Lucie, afterwards Lady Duff-Gordon. Mrs. Austin never attempted any considerable original work, contenting herself chiefly with translations, of which the most important are the History of the Reformation in Germany and the History of the Popes (1840), from the German of Leopold von Ranke, Report on the State of Public Instruction in Prussia (1834) from the French of V. Cousin, and F. W. Carove’s The Story without an End (1864). After her husband’s death in 1859 she edited his Lectures on Jurisprudence. She also edited the Memoirs of Sydney Smith (1855) and Lady Duff-Gordon’s Letters from Egypt (1865). She died at Weybridge on the 8th of August 1867.

See Three Generations of Englishwomen (1888), by her grand-daughter, Mrs Janet Ross.

AUSTIN, STEPHEN FULLER (1793-1836), American pioneer, was born in Austinville, Wythe county, Virginia, on the 3rd of November 1793. He was the son of Moses Austin (1767-1821), a native of Durham, Connecticut, who in 1820 obtained from Mexico a grant of land for an American colony in Texas, but died before he could carry out his project. The son was educated in New London, Connecticut, and at Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky, and settled in Missouri, where he was a member of the territorial legislature from 1813 to 1819. In 1819 he removed to Arkansas Territory, where he was appointed a circuit judge. After his father’s death he obtained a confirmation of the Texas grants from the newly established Mexican government, and in 1821-1823 he established a colony of several hundred American families on the Brazos river, the principal town being named, in his honour, San Felipe de Austin. He was a firm defender of the rights of the Americans in Texas, and in 1833 he was sent to the city of Mexico to present a petition from a convention in Texas praying for the erection of a separate state government. While there, despairing of success for his petition, he wrote home recommending the organization of a state without waiting for the consent of the Mexican congress. This letter falling into the hands of the Mexican government, Austin, while returning home, was arrested at Saltillo, carried as a prisoner back to Mexico, and imprisoned for a year without trial. Returning to Texas in 1835, he found the Texans in armed revolt against Mexican rule, and was chosen commander-in-chief of the revolutionary forces, but after failing to take San Antonio he resigned the command, for which he had never considered himself fitted, and in November 1835 went to the United States as a commissioner to secure loans and supplies, and to learn the position the United States authorities would be likely to take in the event of a declaration of Texan independence. He succeeded in raising large sums, and received assurances that satisfied him that Americans would look with great favour on an independent Texas. Returning to Texas in the summer of 1836, he became a candidate, rather reluctantly, for the presidency of the newly established republic of Texas, but was defeated by Samuel Houston, under whom he was secretary of state until his sudden death on the 7th of December 1836.

See A Comprehensive History of Texas, edited by D. G. Wooten (2 vols., Dallas, 1898).

AUSTIN, a city and the county-seat of Mower county, Minnesota, U.S.A., on the Red Cedar river and Turtle creek, (by rail) 105 m. S. of Minneapolis and 100 m. from St Paul. Pop. (1900) 5474; (1905, state census) 6489 (913 foreign-born); (1910, U.S. census) 6960. It is served by the Chicago Great Western and the Chicago, Milwaukee & St Paul railways. Austin is the seat of the Southern Minnesota Normal College and Austin School of Commerce (1896), and has a Carnegie library, court house and city hall. It is a market for livestock, and for dairy and farm products, and has slaughtering and packing establishments, flour mills, creameries and cheese factories, canning and preserving factories, carriage works, a flax fibre mill and grain elevators. Brick, tile, sewer-pipe, and hydraulic cement are manufactured, and there are railway repair shops. A valuable water-power is utilized for manufacturing purposes. Fresh-water pearls of considerable value