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


Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

Chronicles of Enguerrand De Monstrelet (Sir John Froissart's Chronicles continuation) in 13 volumes 

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Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects
page 387

XIV.] CONCLUSIONS AND WARNINGS. 381 changes have forced themselves in ; and where the lawyers could find it their policy to acquiesce in the consolidation of the common law and chancery, they could without the slightest reluctance throw the ecclesiastical and admiralty law into the same cauldron. Out of that cauldron arises a new supreme judicature, which requires, every two or three years, to be amended and strengthened. It is supposed that thereby justice is quickened and law made so cheap, that any man, poor or rich, may ruin himself with a light heart. It yet remains to be seen whether this amended system, easier and less intricate than the old, supplies as good material for training or provides as sound schools of lawyers. It is no doubt philosophically more capable of perfection. The lore of Coke and Selden, like the lore of Eldon and Stowell, is for the present at a discount. Of course looking on all this with a historical eye, one is apt to be a little disconsolate ; but time will avenge them, and the neo-legal jurisprudence will soon have an array of reports and decisions that will outweigh, physically at least, the Year-books and Institutes. As for the ecclesiastical law, which by its very nature, if it loses continuity, loses identity, in the present changing aspect of the world's politics, I for my part do not intend to prophesy. No one can investigate the letter and working of the canon law without being struck by the marvellous mixture of lofty and eternal principles of right, with arbitrary and disingenuous evasions of obligation : it reads as if the jurists, finding that the Church could not be ruled by the true principles, were determined to rule by special pleadings and artful circumventions. For the future the theologians must look to the true principles, and let the canonists and civilians pass with their evasions and circumventions into the twilight of archaeology. Whether that will be so or not, or how soon, we may some of us live to see.

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