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between the law and the moral (or ethical) and political sciences. But that has not been done; nor has the necessity for doing it been acknowledged until the few years last past. The results of the recent change in this respect have not yet been seen; but I hope they will be good ones, and such as the introduction of a superior system into the universities would lead us to expect. But in London no provision whatever was made for the education of students. Let each of you call back to his mind how these matters stood in your time, and what you were then called on to do. The student went, untrained, unformed, uneducated, into the chambers of a special pleader or a conveyancer. What was the repulsive occupation there? Drudgery; the meaning of which it was impossible for him to understand. After following it for some time, certain practical modes of procedure, certain habits of thought, and the knowledge of a few established cases, formed the staple of what was done. If the chambers were those of a conveyancer, a great book was brought down, and the unfortunate alumnus compelled to copy it from week to week, until his very gorge rose at the task. Is that the way young men should be brought into a profession like ours? Will it be believed that for years an unavailing struggle was carried on to get the obligation of reforming that system discharged by those on whom, unfortunately, the duty lay? If it was discharged—if there were a proper course of education provided for the students, and a necessity imposed on them to attend to that course of education, many a young man would be rescued from the snares of the metropolis, his time would not be frittered away, and the number of good lawyers and legislators would be indefinitely increased. This is a plain, simple, and obvious duty, and yet, as is well known, it is for the most part secretly derided, often openly denied, and never faithfully discharged, or even the attempt made to discharge it.

I hope, therefore, that the two obligations I have pointed out to you this evening—the obligation on government to appoint a body of men to codify our existing laws and watch over the progress of our legislation; and the obligation which lies

on those public bodies to whom the constitution has delegated the power of prescribing and regulating the course of education for intended professors of the law-will be kept in view by this Society. I humbly hope and trust that you will agree with me in my views on these subjects, and that you will do all in your power to ensure the performance of those obligations. Should this attempt be successful, it will in due time come to pass that, eminent as our lawyers now are in practical ability, and conspicuous as they are for integrity, they will become equally eminent for their scientific knowledge of the law, and the law itself will become equally great in its rules.

These are the only topics to which time will permit me to advert at present. There are many others to which I should like to direct your attention; but I hope I shall have many opportunities, in my character of Vice-President of the Society, of seeing you in the course of the year. I will therefore here conclude by once more thanking you most sincerely for the honours you have done, and the kindness you have always shown me, and also for the additional kindness with which you have listened to me this evening.




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[Read 18th April, 1859.] The subject of the transfer of land, and of registration as applied to land, is one quite, as our neighbours would say, “à l'ordre du jour” amongst us; and even the turmoil of a general election will hardly bear completely out of sight the two bills introduced this year by the Solicitor-general, to “simplify the title to landed estates," and to “establish a registry of landed estates." Those measures, however, as substantive attempts at legislation, are already no more ; and, under any circumstances, I take it that it would have been foreign to the purposes of the Society to which I offer these pages, to have discussed them in detail whilst merely inchoate. I cannot help thinking, however, that many who do discuss the subjects of those measures, have not always before their minds the principles involved in the discussion—the conditions of the problem to be solved. It may be neither useless nor uninteresting to try to bring these clearly out, even at the risk of saying much that is absolutely common-place. For common-places are perhaps what in our days we are most apt to forget, what we most need to remember (a).

(a) Professing to be common-place, I trust I shall avoid the charge of pla. giarism, so far as I may express the same ideas as other people. I may, however, refer to some papers on the transfer of land, by Mr. E. T. Wakefield, read before the Law Amendment Society (one especially of the 8th March, 1858), as containing a clear indication of the characteristic difference between stock and land; to the evidence before the Registration of Titles Commission of Mr. W. Williams (app. p. 266), and to the communication of Mr J. E. Walters (ibid. p. 392), as bearing on the same point, and to Mr. Williams' evidence before the select committee on the Registration of Assurances bill, 1853 (app. p. 28), as indicating the defects of Mr. Wilson's system. If Mr. Wakefield, in particular, had not preached to deaf ears, I should have nothing now to say. It is but right, however, to state, that my own ideas on the subject hare been made up for years.


I.— The questions referred to—that of registry in particular The new point - are now discussed from a totally different point of view to gistration. that of five-and-twenty or thirty years ago, of the days of the Real Property Commission. Scarcely any one now advocates the elaborate full-length registry of assurances devised by the late Mr. Duval, with its ingenious symbols and indexes.* Chiefly through the exertions of a very able and acute writer, whose family name alone commands respect,Mr. Robert Wilson, brother of the Wilsons of Belmont,-a new idea, that of the registry of "title," has taken hold of the public mind to a great extent. Now, although Mr. Wilson himself, in his printed forms, followed another model than the Bank of England entries, although the more recent attempts at reform have done the same, I think it may fairly be admitted, that the strength of the reformers of the new school lies in the comparison between the ownership of stock in the funds and the ownership of land, between the registry of stock-holders in the books of the Bank of England, and whatever of registration or non-regi-tration may prevail, or may have been suggested, in respect to the titles of the holders of land; that the former registry is the ideal, however distant and unattainable, which their schemes would fain endeavour to approach. And although no practical man has ever, that I am aware of, proposed the actual, complete application of the stock-registry system to land, I think we shall best clear our minds by taking ourselves the same comparison as a starting-point, so as to examine whether the stock-registry system can be so applied; if it can be, to what extent; if not, why not. We shall then be better able to estimate the degrees of applicability of any middle systems which are, or may be, proposed for immediato use.

II.-I suppose, indeed, that there is none of us who is not Comparison befamiliar with the comparison, who at least has not heard some fer of land and of the arguments founded on it, from legal lips or lay; and, stock. from the point of view which offers itself so naturally to our mercantile age, that of the cheapening of land in the market, I suppose there is no one to whom those arguments have not

* See Second Report on Law of Real Property, 1830.

tween the trans

sounded now and then irresistible. Why, it is asked, should
the man who has £1000 worth of Consols in his name, be
able to call on his broker at eleven o'clock in the morning,
and walk away twenty minutes after with his money, minus
1-8th per cent. commission; whilst, if he has an estate worth
£1000, he must go to his solicitor, through him prepare
abstracts, generally particulars and conditions of sale, execute
at least a contract and a conveyance, almost invariably con-
sult counsel, and generally more than once —not to speak of
interviews, letters, answers to requisitions, and the whole
tedious routine of an investigation of title-in order to receive
his purchase-money, generally after the lapse of several months,
often more, at a cost, in lieu of brokerage, amounting, it may
be said, seldom to less than 2 per cent., often to considerably
more, upon the sum realized. Under the most favourable
circumstances, of say completion in six weeks, and 1 per cent.
expenses, does not his £1000 cost him thus eight times the
money, and more than six hundred times the time to obtain,
in the one case than in the other ? either minimum being
moreover capable of almost indefinite increase.
is it that, after all, the purchase-money realized is in ordinary
cases proportionately less than for stock? Why is it that
Consols bear at the present day, at a period of disquietude, a
value of more than thirty years' purchase, whilst land so often

fails to obtain that value ? Assimilation of

III.-Clever men who put this “why” to themselves, find, Stock and land if they wish it, a very obvious “because." They see that

the title to a given sum of stock lies in certain entries, ten or twelve lines long, made in a certain book, kept in one particular place by one particular body, and is, for all practical purposes, confined to the last entry. They see that the title to land is spread over huge unwieldy sheets of more or less greasy parchment, which may be scattered from one end of England to the other, which should represent in theory sixty years of dealings with the property-which often represent a much longer period—which may be burnt, lost, secreted, tampered with; which bear with them, singly or collectively, no absolute evidence of the certainty of the title to which they refer;

And why

title between

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