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to abolish a custom which served only to obscure the operations of justice and to confound the illiterate was hailed by the more intelligent purchasers of law as a notable step in the right direction. But the reform was by no means acceptable to the majority of the bar, who did not hesitate to stigmatize the measure as a dangerous innovation-which would prove injurious to learned lawyers and peace-loving citizens, although it might possibly serve the purposes of ignorant counsel and litigious 'lay gents.'* The legal literature of three generations following Charles I.'s execution abounds with contemptuous allusions to the 'English times' of Cromwell; the old-fashioned reporters, hugging their Norman-French and looking with suspicion on popular intelligence, were vehement in expressing their contempt for the prevalent misuse of the mother tongue. "I have," observes Styles, in the preface to his reports, "made these reports speak English; not that I believe that they will be thereby more generally useful, for I have always been and yet am of opinion, that that part of the Common Law which is in the English hath only occasioned the making of unquiet spirits contentiously knowing, and more apt to of fend others than to defend themselves; but I have done it in obedience to authority, and to stop the mouths of such of this English age, who, though they be confessedly different in their minds and judgments, as the builders of Babel were in their language, yet do think it vain, if not impious, to speak or understand more than their own mother tongue." In like manner, Whitelock's uncle Bulstrode, the celebrated reporter, says of the second part of his reports, "that he had manny years since perfected the words in French, in which language


*In the seventeenth century, lawyers usually called their clients and the nonlegal public 'Lay Gents.'

he had desired it might have seen the light, being most proper for it, and most convenient for the professors of the law."

The restorers who raised Charles II. to his father's throne, lost no time in recalling Latin to the records and writs; and so gladly did the reporters and the practising counsel avail themselves of the reaction in favor of discarded usages, that more Law-French was written and talked in Westminster Hall during the time of the restored king, than had been penned and spoken throughout the first fifty years of the seventeenth century.

The vexatious, and indescribably absurd use of LawLatin in records, writs, and written pleadings, was finally put an end to by statute 4 George II. c. 26; but this bill, which discarded for legal processes a cumbrous and harsh language, that was alike unmusical and inexact, and would have been utterly unintelligible to a Roman gentleman of the Augustan period, did not become law without much opposition from some of the authorities of Westminster Hall. Lord Raymond, Chief Justice of the King's Bench, spoke in accordance with opinions that had many supporters on the bench and at the bar, when he expressed his warm disapprobation of the proposed measure, and sarcastically observed "that if the bill passed, the law might likewise be translated into Welsh, since many in Wales understood not English." In the same

spirit Sir Willian Blackstone and more recent authorities have lamented the loss of Law-Latin. Lord Campbell, in the 'Chancellors,' records that he "heard the late Lord Ellenborough from the bench regret the change, on the ground that it had had the tendency to make attorneys illiterate.”

The sneer by which Lord Raymond endeavored to cast discredit on the proposal to abolish Law-Latin, was recalled after the lapse of many years by Sergeant Hey

wood, who forthwith acted upon it as though it originated in serious thought. Whilst acting as Chief Justice of the Carmarthen Circuit, the sergeant was presiding over a trial of murder, when it was discovered that neither the prisoner, nor any member of the jury, could understand a word of English; under these circumstances it was suggested that the evidence and the charge should be explained verbatim to the prisoner and his twelve triers by an interpreter. To this reasonable petition that the testimony should be presented in a Welsh dress, the judge replied that," to accede to the request would be to repeal the act of parliament, which required that all proceedings in courts of justice should be in the English tongue, and that the case of a trial in Wales, in which the prisoner and jury should not understand English, was a case not provided for, although the attention of the legislature had been called to it by that great judge Lord Raymond." The judge having thus decided, the inquiry proceededwithout the help of an interpreter-the counsel for the prosecution favoring the jury with an eloquent harangue, no single sentence of which was intelligible to them; a series of witnesses proving to English auditors, beyond reach of doubt, that the prisoner had deliberately' murdered his wife; and finally the judge instructing the jury, in language which was as insignificant to their minds as the same quantity of obsolete Law-French would have been, that it was their duty to return a verdict of ‘Guilty.' Throwing themselves into the humor of the business, the Welsh jurymen, although they were quite familiar with the facts of the case, acquitted the murderer, much to the encouragement of many wretched Welsh husbands anxious for a termination of their matrimonial sufferings.



ROM statements made in previous chapters, it may

FROM statements macient times the Law University

was a far more conspicuous feature of the metropolis than it has been in more modern generations. In the fifteenth century the law students of the town numbered about two thousand; in Elizabethan London their number fluctuated between one thousand and two thousand; towards the close of Charles II.'s reign they were probably much less than fifteen hundred; in the middle of the eighteenth century they do not seem to have much exceeded one thousand. Thus at a time when the entire population of the capital was considerably less than the population of a third-rate provincial town of modern England, the Inns of Court and Chancery contained more undergraduates than would be found on the books of the Oxford Colleges at the present time.

Henry VIII.'s London looked to the University for mirth, news, trade. During vacations there was but little stir in the taverns and shops of Fleet Street; haberdashers and vintners sate idle; musicians starved; and the streets of the capital were comparatively empty when the students had withdrawn to spend their holidays in the country. As soon as the gentlemen of the robe returned to town all was brisk and merry again. As the town grew in extent and population, the social influence of the university gradually decreased; but in Elizabethan London the éclat of the, inns was at its brightest, and during the reigns of Elizabeth's two nearest successors London submitted to the Inns-ofCourt men as arbiters of all matters pertaining to taste --copying their dress, slang, amusements, and vices. The

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same may be said, with less emphasis, of Charles II.'s London. Under the 'Merry Monarch' theatrical managers were especially anxious to please the inns, for they knew that no play would succeed which the lawyers had resolved to damn-that no actor could achieve popularity if the gallants of the Temple combined to laugh him down-that no company of performers could retain public favor when they had lost the countenance of law-colleges. Something of this power the young lawyers retained beyond the middle of the last century. Fielding and Addison caught with nervous eagerness the critical gossip of the Temple and Chancery Lane, just as Congreve and Wycherly, Dryden and Cowley had caught it in previous generations. Fashionable tradesmen and caterers for the amusement of the public made their engagements and speculations with reference to the opening of term. New plays, new books, new toys were never offered for the first time to London purchasers when the lawyers were away. All that the 'season' is to modern London, the 'term' was to old London, from the accession of Henry VIII. to the death of George II., and many of the existing commercial and fashionable arrangements of a London 'season' may be traced to the old-world term.'

In olden time the influence of the law-colleges was as great upon politics as upon fashion. Sheltering members of every powerful family in the country they were centres of political agitation, and places for the secret discussion of public affairs. Whatever plot was in course of incubation, the inns invariably harbored persons who were cognisant of the conspiracy. When faction decided on open rebellion or hidden treason, the agents of the malcontent leaders gathered together in the inns, where, so long as they did not rouse the suspicions of the authorities and maintained the bearing of studious men,

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