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than in the preceding year, — a fact which finds a sufficient explanation in the relatively large number of entries in the preceding year.

“In the year now under review (1886–87) the evidence of improvement was so decisive that the success of the three-years’ course, and of the examination for admission, no longer remained a question; for the number of new entries rose to one hundred and thirteen, a gain of twenty-five, while the number of names on the catalogue rose to one hundred and eighty, a gain of twenty-six. Nor was this large increase in numbers due to an unusual proportion of Harvard graduates; for, of the one hundred and thirteen who entered during the year, only forty-six were Harvard graduates, — ten less than in 1884–85, and thirteen less than 1879–80. Moreover, the experience of the now current year makes it clear that the increase in numbers in 1886–87 was a genuine and regular growth; for the number of new entries in the current year already amounts to one hundred and twenty-four, a gain of eleven over the whole number of new entries in the preceding year, and a gain of twenty over the new entries up to the corresponding date in the preceding year. Nor is this number swollen by an unusual proportion of Harvard graduates, the number of Harvard graduates who have entered thus far being only fifty. The names on the catalogue for the current year number two hundred and fifteen, a gain of thirty-five over the preceding year, and a gain of twenty-six over the largest number on any preceding annual catalogue. . . . The present third-year class, which numbers thirty, numbered only fifty-five in its first year; and it happens, oddly enough, that it was the smallest first-year class that we have had since the three-years’ course has been established. That a class which numbered only fifty-five when it entered should now, in its third year, number thirty, may well be pronounced remarkable. If the present first-year class, which numbers eighty-nine, holds out proportionally well, it will give us a third-year class of forty-eight.

“As to the causes of the prosperity which the School has enjoyed since the beginning of the year 1886–87, I have nothing new to suggest. Doubtless the increase in the amount of instruction in the second and third years, and the making of all the instruction in those years elective — measures which went into effect at the beginning of the year 1886–87, — have had something to do with it; but I think the Harvard Law School Association, especially through the celebration which it held a year ago, has had more to do with it.”


The February “Atlantic[1] contains an interesting article by F. G. Cook, a graduate of the Harvard Law School in the class of ’85, describing the progress of the recent movement in European legislation to make marriage no longer a mere religious rite, but a compulsory civil ceremony. We give an outline of its main points.

During the latter part of the middle ages marriage was regarded on the Continent as primarily a civil contract, which, although it was generally publicly solemnized by the priests, depended for its validity simply on the consent of the parties.

In the middle of the sixteenth century the Council of Trent affirmed marriage to be a religious sacrament. The Catholic countries on the Continent quickly promulgated this decree as law. Its influence


  1. “The Marriage Celebration in Europe.” The Atlantic Monthly, vol. ⅼⅹⅰ, p. 245.