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which last power, in spiritual or eleemosynary corporations, may be executed by the king or the founder

479

Page 475-479 6. The duty of corporations is to answer the ends of their institution 7. To enforce this duty, all corporations may be visited: spiritual corporations by the ordinary; lay corporations by the founder, or his representatives; viz., the civil, by the king (who is the fundator incipiens of all), represented in his Court of King's Bench; the eleemosynary, by the endower (who is the fundator perficiens of such), or by his heirs or assigns

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480-484

8. Corporations may be dissolved, I. By act of Parliament. II. By the natural death of all their members. III. By surrender of their franchises. IV. By forfeiture of their charter

484-485

COMMENTARIES

ON

THE LAWS OF ENGLAND:

IN FOUR BOOKS;

WITH AN ANALYSIS OF THE WORK.

BY

SIR WILLIAM BLACKSTONE, KNT,

ONE OF THE JUSTICES OF THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS.

3

INTRODUCTION.

SECTION I.

ON THE STUDY OF THE LAW.*

Mr. Vice-Chancellor, and Gentlemen of the University,

THE general expectation of so numerous and respectable an Prefatory audience, the novelty, and (I may add) the importance of the remarks. duty required from this chair, must unavoidably be productive of great diffidence and apprehensions in him who has the honor to be placed in it. He must be sensible how much will depend upon his conduct in the infancy of a study which is now first adopted by public academical authority; which has generally been reputed (however unjustly) of a dry and unfruitful nature; and of which the theoretical, elementary parts, have hitherto received a very moderate share of cultivation. He can not but reflect, that, if either his plan of instruction be crude and injudicious, or the execution of it lame and superficial, it will cast a damp upon the further progress of this most useful and most rational branch of learning; and may defeat, for a time, the public-spirited design of our wise and munificent benefactor. And this he must more especially dread, [4] when he feels by experience how unequal his abilities are (unassisted by preceding examples) to complete, in the manner he could wish, so extensive and arduous a task; since he freely confesses that his former more private attempts have fallen very short of his own ideas of perfection. And yet the candor he has already experienced, and this last transcendent mark of regard, his present nomination by the free and unanimous suffrage of a great and learned university (an honor to be ever remembered with the deepest and most affectionate gratitude)-these testimonies of your public judgment must entirely supersede his own, and forbid him to believe himself totally insufficient for the labor, at least, of this employment. One thing he will venture to hope for, and it certainly shall be his constant aim, by diligence and attention to atone for his other defects; esteeming that the best return

Read in Oxford at the opening of the Vinerian Lectures, 25th Oct., 1758.

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