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I shall now observe some of those boxes or repositories where they may be found, which are of the following kinds, viz.:

'First, the Acts of Parliament in the time of this king; which are full of excellent wisdom and perspicuity, yet brevity. But of this enough before is said.

'Secondly, the judicial records in the time of this king. I shall not mention those of the Chancery, the Closepatent, and Charter-rolls, which yet will very much evidence the learning and judgment of that time; but I shall mention the Rolls of judicial proceedings, especially those in the King's Bench and Common Pleas, and in the Eyres. I have read over many of them, and do generally observe,

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1. That they are written in an excellent hand.

2. That the pleading is very short, but very clear and perspicuous; neither loose nor uncertain, nor perplexing the matter either with impropriety, obscurity, or multiplicity of words. They are clearly and orderly digested, effectually representing the business that they intend.

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3. That the title and the reason of the law upon which they proceed (which many times is expressly delivered upon the record itself) is perspicuous, clear, and rational. So that their short and pithy pleadings and judgments do far better render the sense of the business, and the reasons thereof, than those long, intricate, perplexed, and formal pleadings that oftentimes, of late, are unnecessarily used.

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Thirdly, the reports of the terms and years of this King's time, a few broken cases whereof are in Fitzherbert's Abridgment. But we have no successive terms or years thereof, but only ancient manu

scripts, perchance, not running through the whole time of this King. Yet they are very good, but very brief. Either the Judges then spoke less, or the reporters were not so ready-handed as to take all they said. Hence this brevity makes them the more obscure. But yet in those brief interlocutions between the Judge and the pleaders, and in their definitions, there appears a great deal of learning and judgment. Some of these reports, though broken, yet the best of their kind, are in Lincoln's-Inn Library.

Fourthly, the tracts written or collected in the time of this wise and excellent prince, which seem to be of two kinds; viz., such as were only the tractates of private men, and therefore had no greater authority than private collections, yet contain much of the law then in use, as Fleta, the Mirror, Britton, and Thornton; or else, secondly, they were sums, or abstracts of some particular parts of the law, as Nova Narrationes, Magna et Parva, Cadit Assisa summa, De Bastardiá summá; by all which, compared even with Bracton, there appears a growth and a perfecting of the law into a greater regularity and order.

And thus much shall serve for the several periods, or growths, of the Common Law, until the time of Edward I. inclusively. Wherein having been somewhat prolix, I shall be the briefer in what follows, especially seeing that, from this time downwards, the books and reports printed give a full account of the ensuing progress of the law.'1

This high and perhaps just encomium, inserted here instead of in the chapter on Municipal Law, as assisting

1 Hale, p. 190 et seq

to throw great light upon this period of our political and social as well as legal history, must not however be suffered to divert attention from the fact that Edward was himself guilty of many arbitrary and violent measures, and that he was far from scrupulous as to the means by which he secured the funds required for his wars. The details of his doings in this respect will be found in Guizot's "History of Representative Government," and in Blackstone's "Introduction to the Charter," as well as in our ordinary histories. There is also no doubt that some of the most important of his measures, so far from originating with, were forced upon, the King. He has been called the English Justinian: it may perhaps with equal fairness be said of him, as of his namesake, that the credit of the good measures of his reign is mainly due to the wisdom, the justice, and the patriotism of the leading men of the period.

We may appropriately dismiss this important century with the following quotation from Hallam :-'From the reign of Henry III., at least, the legal equality of all ranks of freemen below the peerage was, for every essential purpose, as complete as at present. What is most particular is that the peerage itself imparts no privilege except to its actual possessor. The sons of peers are commoners, aud totally destitute of any legal right beyond a barren precedence.'1

1 Middle Ages, vol. ii. p. 346.



Edward I., 1272 to 1307.

Edward II., 1307 to 1327.

Edward III., 1327 to 1377.

Richard II., 1377 to 1399.


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Separate Houses. Parliament consists of the King; the Lords-Temporal and Spiritual; and the Commons-Knights of Shires and Burgesses. Do the Commons sit with the Lords ?1 Hitherto, the usual object of calling a Parliament was to impose taxes; and these, for many years after the introduction of the Commons, were laid in different proportions upon the three estates of the realm. Thus, in the 23rd Edward I., the earls, barons, and knights gave the King an eleventh, the clergy a tenth; while he obtained a seventh from the citizens and burgesses. In the twentyfourth year of the same reign, the two former of these orders gave a twelfth, the last an eighth. These distinct grants imply distinct grantors; for it is not to be imagined that the Commons intermeddled in those affecting the Lords, or the Lords in those of the Commons. Carte2 fixes the 17th of Edward III. as the date of the separate existence of the two Houses. Hallam, however, gives as proof of a prior separate existence, the fact, amongst others, that in the 11th Edward I., while the Upper House sat at Shrewsbury, the Lower sat at Acton Burnell; he is also of opinion that

1 "The principle of Two Houses," or the "Bicameral System," as it has been phrased by Jeremy Bentham, has been exhaustively argued by Kent, Story, Lieber, Bowyer, and others, who prove it to be the essential guarantee for orderly and permanent liberty. See Creasy, p. 198.

2 Parliamentary History, vol. i. p. 234.

the Rolls of Parliament of the 8th, 9th, and 19th years of Edward II. furnish evidence that the Houses were then divided as at present. It is generally admitted that such was the case, at least in 1343.

De tallagio non concedendo.-In 1305, the "Statutum de tallagio non concedendo" was enacted. It provides that no tallage or aid shall be laid or levied by the King or his heirs in this realm without the goodwill and assent of the archbishops, bishops, earls, barons, knights, and other the freemen of the commonalty of this realm.

Notwithstanding this enactment, it is clear, from the petition3 addressed by the Commons to Edward II. in 1309, that the people were still subject to serious grievances. From the fact, however, that the Commons granted the King the twenty-fifth penny of their goods upon this condition, that the King should take advice, and grant redress upon certain articles, wherein they were

1 Middle Ages, iii. p. 37.

2 Blackstone, in his work on the Charters, says this statute was originally nothing more than an intended compendium of the Confirmatio Chartarum.

3 "The good people of the kingdom who are come hither to Parliament, pray our lord the King, that he will, if it please him, have regard to his poor subjects, who are much aggrieved by reason that they are not governed as they should be, especially as to the articles of the Great Charter; and for this, if it please him, they pray remedy. Besides which, they pray their lord the King to hear what has long aggrieved his people, and still does so from day to day, on the part of those who call themselves his officers, and to amend it, if he pleases." The articles, eleven in number, are to the following purport: -1. That the King's purveyors seize great quantities of victuals without payment. 2. That new customs are set on wine, cloth, and other imports. 3. That the current coin is not so good as formerly. 4, 5. That the steward and marshal enlarge their jurisdiction beyond measure, to the oppression of the people. 6. That the Commons find none to receive petitions addressed to the Council. 7. That the collectors of the King's dues (pernours des prises) in towns and at fairs take more than is lawful. 8. That men are delayed in their civil suits by writs of protection. 9. That felons escape punishment by procuring charters of pardon. 10. That the constables of the King's castles take cognizance

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