“And how unbecoming must it appear in a member of the legislature to vote for a new law, who is utterly ignorant of the old! What kind of interpretation can he be enable to give, who is a stranger to the text upon which he comments!

“Indeed it is perfectly amazing that there should be no other state of life, no other occupation, art, or science, in which some method of instruction is not looked upon as requisite, except only the science of legislation, the noblest and most difficult of any. Apprenticeships are held necessary to almost every art, commercial, or mechanical; a long course of reading and study must form the divine, the physician, and the practical professor of the laws; but every man of superior fortune thinks himself born a legislator. . . . ‘It is necessary . . . for a senator to be thorougly acquainted with the constitution; and this . . . is a knowledge of the most extensive nature; a matter of science, of diligence, of reflection; without which no senator can possibly be fit for his office.'”

“The mischiefs that have arisen to the public from inconsiderate alterations in our laws, are too obvious to be called in question; and how far they have been owing to the defective education of our senators , is a point well worthy the public attention.”

Blackstone, Sir William; Commentaries on the Laws of England (15th Edition); republished in Classic Reprint Series, Forgotten Books; pp 8-9. Read by the Author at Oxford University at the opening of the Vinerian lectures, 25 October 1758.