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WILLIAM STUBBS Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects

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WILLIAM STUBBS
Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects
page 365



THE HISTOBT OP THE CAHON LA W TN ENGLAND. (April 20, 1882.) I N the first of these two public lectures I attempted to give a sketch of the growth of the Canon Law ; its origin and materials, its introduction into England and the limits of authority which it attained here, its relation to the civil law of Rome, and the distinction between the scientific study of the Decretals in the Universities and the professional use of the Provinciale in the Ecclesiastical Courts. The second branch of the subject, as I proposed to treat it in opening the lecture, is the history of its working in competition with and in general relations to other systems of law : a branch of the discussion which compels us at once to go back to the very root of the subject. Canon law as a code, and the civil law of Rome as a treasury of procedure, working together in the hands of ecclesiastical lawyers, may be for the moment looked at together ; and the first aspect which our subject then takes is the attitude of the system towards theology on the one side and to the national, or, as lawyers would perhaps call it, municipal law on the other. From the Conquest to the Reformation canon law, proceeding by civilian method and being able to call on the municipal executive to put its sentences in force, is a strong link between theology and national discipline ; but a link with so much intricate workmanship employed upon it as to be offensive in many ways both to theology and to the common law. The theologian saw the great commandments of God, and the statutes of the Church, and the voice of conscience, lowered by being made dependent for their cogency on an elaborate system of human invention which fettered freedom of action, and in some


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