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by evidence of reason,” and in fact “to correct the law."1 This is a matter to be borne in mind, if any lawyer should think it worth while to examine the examples in detail with the authorities.
The Reading on the Statute of Uses has perhaps received more attention than the Maxims. It has always been cited with respect, and was edited in 1804, with notes far exceeding the text in length, by Mr. Rowe. It is however only a fragment of a course which Bacon was called upon to give in Gray's Inn as Double Reader in 1600. It is not mentioned in a list of MS. works on Professional Subjects, 2 which he made in 1608; and we do not know to whom we owe the preservation of what we now have, nor whether the rest of the course was ever extant in writing. It may have been delivered viva voce or from rough notes; nor would it be inconsistent with the common practice, as shown by the extant records of Gray's Inn, to conjecture that the course may never have been finished. It is however to be observed that the MSS. I have collated, besides breaking off at different points, vary in phraseology in a way hardly to be accounted for but upon the supposition that Bacon himself must have revised the text at least once.
1 I believe he might have added that in more cases he has attempted, as it were, to infuse a rational principle into decisions made at haphazard or on accidental grounds. 2 " July 25. 1608.
Continuatur series librorum cartaceorum. Libri professoris: vt. of the Laws of England. 1. Regulæ Juris cum limitationibus et casibus. This is merely a com.
position of mine own, and not a note-book. 2. Patrocinia et actiones causarum. Arguments in law by me made.
This is also a composition; being a book of pleadings; such as
Marions in French. 3. Observationes et commentationes in Jure, ex conceptu proprio spar
sim intratæ. 4. Observationes et annotationes in Jure, ex libris et Authoribus Juris
sparsim intratæ. 5. Digesta in Jure; hoc est, annotationes tam ex conceptu proprio
quam ex Authoribus Juris ordinatæ per titulos. A mere common
place book of Law. 6. Exempla Majorum in Jure: containing precedents and usages and
courses of Courts, and other matter of experience. 7. Lecta sive specialia in Jure; being notes and conceits of principal
use, and entered with choice, both for mine own help, and hereafter
per case to publish. 8. Diarium fori. The book I have with me to the Courts, to receive
such remembrances as fall out upon that I hear there. 9. Vulgaria in Jure; being the ordinary matters, rules and cases ad
mitted for law; to take away shew of being imperfect or unready in common matters; together with some abridgement of special cases for mine own memory, and all other points for shew and credit of readiness and reading.
The remainder, besides the additional pieces above mentioned, contains the Ordinances in Chancery, in which we may trace with certainty some part to Bacon's own hand, though the main body must be supposed to have previously existed in some shape or other, written or unwritten; and some miscellaneous matter which has been found by collectors and attributed to Bacon, but of which every one is at liberty to form his own judgment from internal evidence, and which I reprint (most of it) only because it has been heretofore printed. The original of this part of the collection, so far as it is genuine, was, I suppose, to be found in the common-place books of various kinds which Bacon kept and has catalogued in the Commentarius Solutus ; some of them, it is to be observed, containing notes of his own, and some, extracts from other
Libri concernentes Servitium Regis 4.
Lib. servitii reg. in Parlamento.
Commentarius Solutus (the whole of which will be printed
in its place among the Occasional Works).
writers. Some pages, it will be seen, have been thus taken and adapted, whether by Bacon or another, from a treatise by Sir John Doderidge, and I think the case must be the same with other fragments.
Besides the works here printed there are some others extant. Mr. Spedding found in the British Museum, Harl. MSS. 7017. No. 43., a MS. in Bacon's hand on the Prerogative. It appeared to me to be merely a common-place book after the fashion of the Cases of Treason, &c., setting down the ordinary Common Law Prerogatives, and not to contain anything interesting as regards Bacon's opinions on the Constitution. Mr. Spedding tells me there is in the Cambridge University Library an argument in Law French on the Sutton Hospital Case. The questions in controversy appearing to be of no permanent interest, and Bacon having argued on the losing side with (if Coke is to be trusted) a very weak case, it was not thought worth while to include it in the collection. I have not myself seen it.
There is also in the Stowe Collection, now the property of Lord Ashburnham, a Reading on Stat. West. 2nd C. 5. On Advowsons. Bacon's first reading at Gray's Inn was in 1587, not apparently in his regular term, but in the place of a defaulter. If this be the Reading of that period it would be the earliest extant of his legal works. I should have been glad to have been able to see and, if of sufficient importance, to publish it; and I tried, through several channels of communication and by personal application, to obtain access to the collection ; but his Lordship’s rule requiring an introduction by a personal acquaintance of his
1 See 10 Rep. 1.
own and of the applicant, being strictly enforced, has proved a bar.
In the same collection is a MS. of the Reading on the Statute of Uses, the character and completeness of which I have, for the same reason, had no opportunity of ascertaining. There is also a MS. of the Argument in Brownlow and Mitchell. It was from the printed catalogue of the Stowe MSS. that Mr. Spedding first learnt that this Argument was extant, and it was only after our failure to obtain access to it that we discovered it was already in print, - whether from this source or not we have no means of judging.
D. D. HEATH.