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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/482

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468
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

not very encouraging. Let us take those law schools which are of most importance, either by reason of their curriculum or of their attendance. Harvard, with a three years' course, devotes two hours a week for one year to criminal law (including criminal procedure). Allowing nine months of four weeks each to the scholastic year, and a weekly average of eighteen hours, it will be found that the time devoted to the study of criminal law (including procedure) is a little over three per cent of the entire course. By a similar computation we find that Columbia devotes to criminal law (and procedure) a little over four per cent of the entire course, which is about the percentage given by Yale and a little lower than that of the Universities of Michigan, Cornell, and New York respectively.

These computations are based upon figures given in the catalogues of those universities, or kindly furnished by the deans. Nothing more eloquent of the decline of the study of criminal jurisprudence in our country could be cited. But the catalogues of these law schools add further proof. At none of them is there a professor whose instruction is confined solely to criminal law. Nearly all the instructors in criminal law devote but a small part of their time (and probably of their study) to the teaching of this subject. In Columbia the instructor in criminal law is professor of international law and diplomacy;[1] at Harvard the incumbent of the chair of criminal law teaches the law of carriers; that of Michigan teaches the law of bills and notes and of public corporations; that of the New York University the law of sales and wills. It is, moreover, a significant fact that the faculties of the above-named institutions, while recommending to law students the optional study of political economy, constitutional history, taxation, physical science, English literature, and modern languages as conducive to a higher standard of legal culture, utterly fail to advise them to pursue courses in criminal anthropology, criminology, or penology. In other words, it is deemed advisable that the future lawyer should bring to the aid of his civil practice the complementary knowledge of French and history, for instance, but it is of no importance that he should be acquainted with the results of modern criminologic and penologic research. Thus the conclusion is forced upon us that the study of criminal law, whose importance I have endeavored to set forth, has become a subject at sufferance in our universities, a practically optional course


  1. This has since been changed; but the change makes the case worse, as the new instructor in criminal law teaches not only two branches of the law (as under last year's course), but five—viz., Criminal Law, Wills and Administration, Common-Law Practice and Pleading Bankruptcy, and Bailments and Carriers.