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Reeves' History of the English Law, Vol. 1 of 3

Excerpt from Reeves' History of the English Law, Vol. 1 of 3: From the Time of the Romans, to the End of the Reign of Elizabeth The History which I now presume to offer to the profession of the law, is an attempt to investigate and discover the first principles of that complicated system which we are daily discussing (a). It has happened to the law, as to other productions of human invention, particularly those which are closely connected with the transactions of mankind, that a series of years has gradually wrought such changes as to render many parts of it obsolete; so that the jurisprudence of one age has become the object of mere historic remembrance in another. Of the numerous volumes that compose a lawyer's library, how many are consigned to oblivion by the revolutions in opinions and practice! - and what a small part of those which are still considered as in use, is necessary for the purposes of common business! Notwithstanding, therefore, the multitude of books, the researches of a lawyer are confined to writers of a certain period. According to the present course of study, very few indeed look further than Coke and Plowden. Upon the same scale of inquiry, the Year-Books are considered rather in the light of antiquities; and Glanville, Bracton, and Fleta as no longer a part of our law. It is in such a state of our jurisprudence that a history of the causes and steps by which these revolutions in legal learning have been effected, becomes curious and useful. But, notwithstanding the inquisitive spirit of the present age has given birth to histories of various sciences, we have nothing of this kind upon our law, except Sir Matthew Hale's History of the Common Law, published from a posthumous manuscript at the beginning of the present century. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.
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