Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

statute for holding triennial parliaments, the test and corporation acts, which secure our civil and religious liberties, the abolition of the writ de heretico comburendo, the statute of frauds and perjuries, a necessary security to private property, the statute for distribution of intestates' estates, and that of amendments and jeofails, which cut off those superfluous niceties which had disgraced the courts, together also with acts benefitting commerce ; all which statutes established the constitution in full vigor.

Power of the People. While there were many iniquitous proceedings in the reign of Charles II, which were contrary to all law; yet the people had as large a portion of real liberty, as was consistent with a state of society; and sufficient power to preserve that liberty, if invaded by the royal prerogative. But when his deluded brother, James II, attempted to enslave the nation, he found it was beyond his power; and as a result of the people's resistance, he lost his throne.

VI. SINCE THE REVOLUTION OF 1688.

Beneficent Acts, In this period many laws have been passed; as the bill of rights, the toleration act, the act of settlement, the act uniting England with Scotland; which have asserted our liberties in clear terms, have regulated the succession of the crown by parliament, as the exigencies of civil and religious freedom required, have confirmed the doctrine of resistance to attempts to subvert the constitution, have maintained the superiority of the laws above the king, have established religious liberty, have set bounds to the civil list, and have made the judges independent of the king and his ministers. Though these provisions have apparently reduced the strength of the executive power; yet in reality, the crown has gradually gained as much in influence, as it has apparently lost in prerogative.

Alterations in the Administration of Justice. The chief alterations in the administration of justice during this period are the recognition of the rights of ambassadors; the cutting off by statute of many excrescences; the protection of corporate rights by improvements in writs of mandamus, and informations quo warranto; the regulation of trials by jury, and the admitting witnesses for prisoners upon oath; the further restraints upon alienation of lands in mortmain ; the annihilation of the terrible judgment of peine fort et dure: the extension of the benefit of clergy; new methods for the recovery of rents ; improvements in

ejectments for trying titles, the introduction of paper credits, by endorsements upon bills and notes, which have shown the possibility of assigning a chose in action; the translation of all legal proceedings into the English language; the reformation of county courts; the great system of marine jurisprudence; and lastly, the liberal spirit of our courts of law, in introducing the same principles of redress, as prevail in our courts of equity.

BIOGRAPHY OF LAWGIVERS AND WRITERS

REFERRED TO BY BLACKSTONE.

ALFRED THE GREAT. King of England, 871-901. One of the most perfect char.

acters in history. Having expelled the invading Danes, he organized a thorough administration of justice within his dominions, and contributed

greatly to the intellectual improvement of his people. ARISTOTLE. Greatest of Greek Philosophers. Fourth century B. C. Aulus Gelius. Roman judge and writer. Second century.

BACON, LORD FRANCIS. High chancellor of England, and one of the most illus

trious philosophers of modern times. A biographer terms him “the wisest, brightest, meanest of mankind.” Lord Campbell asserts, that he was a complete master of the common law. His career as a jurist was terminated

by his conviction for receiving bribes. 1561-1626. Bacon, Sir NICHOLAS. An eminent statesman during a portion of Elizabeth's

reign, who contributed much to the prevalence of the reformed religion. He

was the father of Lord Francis Bacon. BARBEYRAO, JEAN. A prominent French jurist and law writer. 1674-1744. BECCARIA. Eminent Italian political writer. Author of a treatise on crimes and

punishments. BLACKSTONE, SIR WILLIAM. Son of a London silk mercer. He was a professor

at Oxford for seven years. Subsequently, after a term in parliament, he

became a judge of the king's bench, and of the common pleas. 1723-1780. BRACTON, HENRY DE. One of the earliest English writers of law. He wrote

under Henry III a complete treatise on legislation and jurisprudence, which

was freely cited by Blackstone in his Commentaries. BRITTON, John. Bishop of Hereford, who wrote a digest of the laws of England,

in the reign of Edward I. BROOKE, SIR ROBERT. An English magistrate and legal writer. Died 1558.

CAMDEN, CHARLES Pratt, Earl of. Chancellor of England. He was a powerful

champion of constitutional liberty, and was termed the right arm of William

Pitt, Lord Chatham. 1714-1794. Cicero. Illustrious Roman orator and statesman. First century B. C. CLARENDON, EDWARD HYDE, Earl of, Chancellor and prime minister of Eng.

land under Charles II. He was impeached and exiled. Two of his granddaughters, Mary and Anne Stuart, became queens of England. He was

eminent both as a historian and as a statesman. 1608–1674. COKE, SIR EDWARD. One of the most eminent of English jurists and writers of

law. He was a leader in parliament of the popular party, and suffered a

brief imprisonment in the tower for his opinions. 1552–1633. COMyns, Sir John. A British jurist, and author of an excellent digest of the

laws of England. Died, 1740.

COWELL, JOHN. An English jurist, and author of "The Interpreter.” Died, 1611. COWPER, LORD WILLIAM. Chancellor of England, and chief adviser of George I.

He attained great distinction in parliament as a debater on the side of the

Whigs. He was a great urfcle of the poet Cowper. 1644-1723. CROKE, SIR GEORGE. A justice of the king's bench, and the author of "Reports

of Select Cases." 1539-1641.

DIODORUS, SICULUS. Eminent Sicilian historian in the first century B. C. DODDRIDGE, SIR JOHN. An English lawyer, jurist and author. 1555–1628. Draco. An Athenian legislator, whose penal code was so severe. that his laws

were said to have been written in blood. Lived in the seventh century

B. C. DUNSTAN, Archbishop. An ambitious and eminent British prelate, who attained

great power under Edgar, the Saxon monarch. 925-988. Dyer, Sir James. A jurist, and a writer of authoritative reports. 1511-1582. EDWARD THE CONFESSOR. A Saxon king of England, who republished the laws

of Alfred. On an invasion by the Danes, he took refuge in Normandy.

1040-1066. EDWARD I. King of England ; nicknamed Longshanks, from the length of his

limbs. Blackstone terms him the English Justinian. He was an able, ambitious and politic prince. He participated in one of the crusades, and on his return to England subjugated Wales and invaded Scotland. In his reign, the house of commons was instituted, and great improvements were made in the common law. 1239-1307.

FINCH, HENEAGE, Earl of Nottingham. Chancellor of England and writer of re

ports. 1621-1682. FITZHERBERT, SIR ANTHONY. A distinguished English lawyer in the reign of

Henry VIII, and a justice of the court of common pleas. He was the writer

of several able legal works, including a digest of the cases in the year books. FLEETWOOD, WILLIAM. An eminent bishop and chaplain of William III. He

was the most prominent preacher of his age and country, and a writer of

marked ability. FLETA. This work was written in the Fleet prison by some learned lawyer or

jurist, in the reign of Edward I, under this assumed name. FORTESQUE, Sir John. Chancellor under Henry VI, whose adverse fortunes he

shared, as he was a zealous Lancastrian. He fled to the continent with queen Margaret and her son, and on his return became the prisoner of Edward IV, after the battle of Tewksbury. The most celebrated of his works is his treatise De Laudibus Legum Angliae, written in the form of a

dialogue. Died, 1485. FOSTER, SIR MICHAEL. Judge of the court of king's bench. Blackstone termed

him a great master of the crown law. 1689–1763.

GERVASE. A historian of the thirteenth century, who wrote a history of the

kings of England. Gilbert, Sir GEOFFREY. Chief baron of the exchequer. Author of the "Forum

Romanum” and the “History and Practice of Chancery.” 1674-1726.

« AnteriorContinuar »