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principles. He pictured the law as a just and equitable science, and based its teachings upon principles of right and justice. He brought out with wonderful acumen the nicety of distinction that abounds in it, and in this displayed striking power, for these distinctions constitute to a great degree the fascination of the study of law, as they require the closest reasoning and the keenest attention on the part of the student, and always offer an opportunity for individual thought. To Professor Dwight this art of just discrimination seemed natural and simple; and he was ever delighted to trace the logical development of some nice distinction from the well-known principle underlying it. He thus impressed one with the reasonableness of the law, deprived it of its mysteries and technical absurdities and brought all its doctrines to the test of right. Abstruse questions of law in his hands resolved themselves into clear propositions of fairness, and passages in text-books that seemed to have been written for the purpose of terrorizing students, became strangely simple when illustrated by him. This power of a master mind could not but impress his pupils. They looked up to him then as they look back upon him now, as a model scholar and teacher. one who was both learned and lucid, both profound and simple.
While the class of 1877—the largest ever graduated-was under his instruction, the amount of college work done by Professor Dwight was astounding, especially when other work done by him is considered. At that time, each division of each class thought itself ill used if he did not conduct every recitation. It would be easy, if space allowed, to give the daily duties that he undertook; but as the memories of all those who attended the Law School at this time will recall his constant presence, there is no need to do this. His unremitting attendance in the lecture
. room must have put a most severe test upon his patience and energy ; but it was just at this time that he displayed fully his wonderful strength. All who then attended his recitations and lectures will remember the crowds that filled every available spot in the old lecture room, the students even sitting about on the edge of the Professor's platform. And this was the daily experience. The instance simply illustrates the desire that then existed to hear him expound the lesson of the day-a desire which has continued undiminished to the present time. And now, as Professor Dwight retires from active work in the Law School he has made famous, I am sure it is the hope of a host of his old pupils, that he may realize how widely he has impressed his powerful personal influence upon them, how greatly he has elevated the study of the law both for them and for all scholars, and how successfully he has set before them a living example of a calm, a wise, and a just man.
NEW YORK, April 24, 1891.
Tribute of Ethelbert D. warfield.
President Elect of Latayette College.
I suppose that it is the common sentiment of my contemporaries in the Law School that Professor Dwight was the law school. Certainly it was far truer of him than Louis le Grand's favorite saying, “L'état c'est moi,” was true of him. His personality pervaded it, his ideas dominated it, his will guided it; above all, love for him controlled it. Professor Chase, whom we admired and respected, was so completely a result of Professor Dwight's methods that we scarcely thought to distinguish him and his teaching from the elder and, for the time, dominant influence.
I came to Columbia, a Princeton graduate, from a period of special study in the University of Oxford, and in Germany, where I had laid a foundation in Constitutional History and Roman Law. My mind had been thoroughly liberalized and I was dead in earnest. It was, therefore, I think, a fair tribute to Professor Dwight as a teacher that I was entirely captivated, and I say, without hesitation or reserve, that he was, me judice, the best instructor I ever knew. As a teacher he compelled the students to work, he imparted information with ease and accuracy, and he stirred up those of scholarly instincts to independent investigation. In all his dealings with the students he had the happiest way of removing misconceptions, and opening up by a fine, incisive, critical method a way through the most tangled maze of conflicting decisions. In this there was none of that pyrotechnic display so common in brilliant men who are inferior teachers. It was simple in method, outspoken in manner, and bred a confidence in the students which has seemed to me to be the most marked characteristic of Columbia men at the bar. In a word, Professor Dwight made us all understand that the English Law was a SYSTEM, and that induction was not the sole logical method to be employed in its study or practice.
The school was meant to make lawyers, and it made them well. Professor Dwight taught practical law with a practical end to practical young men.
The end was ever in view, and the means were perfectly adapted to it. But in those who were fitted for more philosophical studies in connection with the law he awoke a love of scholarly treatment and pursuit which was a true example of the power of “influence" in teaching. I tried the School of Political Science, but had done the work of the courses offered there elsewhere, and pursued an independent course of research, in which the Warden was ever interested and ready to advise. In every relation, in public and private, there was the same unvarying genial, kindly, friendly way, often warming into humor, sometimes chilling into rebuke; but if there was anything in his class-room manner open to criticism, it was that he was too indulgent to that class of men who have neither self-respect enough to study themselves, nor to abstain from being a check and a nuisance to those who do study. These men often imposed on his good nature, and if any proof of its genuineness was required, they gave him “the concrete case on which to raise the issue."
I went to Columbia because I believed in the theory of the school, so my critical judgment has not been altered, though possibly strengthened, through admiration of the man who may be said to embody that theory. It is a singularly complete gratification to recall my law school days, since in theory and in personnel I was so entirely led by the right path to the desired goal. In the few years I passed at the bar, and have since passed as an instructor in Jurisprudence and the outlines of English and Roman Law, I have had nothing to regret in my training, and I shall hope that my alma mater shall at last find a man imbued with the ideas and methods so long so successful in Columbia. For our beloved and honored friend and preceptor I trust there may be a long and honorable repose in the midst of those for whom he has so faithfully labored.
MIAMI UNIVERSITY, April 17, 1891.
Letters of "Regret.
from Judge benry Bischoff, Jr.
Of tbe Court of common pleas of tbe City of New York,
DEAR SIR :—Answering yours of ad inst., which reached me day before yesterday, I beg to say that nothing would afford me more pleasure than to add my tribute of esteem and affection for Professor Dwight in the shape of an article for the “Dwight Tribute.” But the time allotted for the article is so short that it is doubtful whether I will be able to comply with your request. I shall endeavor to do so, but write this so that you may select another to write for the Class of 1871 and thus avoid a possible disappointment.
HENRY BISCHOFF, JR.
from Judge Le Baron B. Colt.
Circuit Judge of the United States for the First Judicial District.
MY DEAR SIR:- I very much regret that the condition of my health will not permit me to comply with the request contained in your letter. Did circumstances permit, it would give me great pleasure to bear testimony to the high character, ability, and worth of my dear friend and teacher, Professor Dwight, for whom I have always had the most affectionate regard.
LE BARON B. COLT.
from Judge Morgan 3. O'Brien.
of tbe Supreme Court of the State of New York.
DEAR SIR :I regret very much that I shall not be able to comply with your request to add my mite of praise to my old and esteemed law professor.
I have a feeling for Professor Dwight which is warm, deep, and personal. Since leaving the College I have met him but once or twice, but the kindly face, the genial manner, the earnest and sincere work performed by him have left an impression which can never be effaced.
I regret, therefore, that your letter reaches me at a time when it seems nearly, if not quite, impossible for me to comply with the request.
If you do not hear from me, therefore, you will understand that it is due to no want of sympathy in a movement intended to honor a man whom all who know him respect and revere. With respect I am,
MORGAN J. O'BRIEN.
from w. M. Ivins.
DEAR SIR:-I was ill and absent from my office when yours of April ad came, and now for the first time find opportunity to answer. I very much regret that I shall be unable to comply with your request. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to write an article on Professor Dwight's influence upon legal training in this country. Expressing my regret and thanking you heartily for the opportunity which you have offered, I am
W. M. IvINS.
Letters were also addressed, among others, to
Hon. W. H. H. Miller, Attorney-General United States, Judge Elliot Sanford, H. Walter Webb, Third Vice-President New York Central Railroad; and Aldace F. Walker, Chairman Western Traffic Association, all of whom had been students under Professor Dwight's instruction, who from want of time were unable to respond in time for the publication of their responses in the Dwight Tribute.