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THIS was Bacon's Double Reading' in Gray's Inn, in the Lent vacation, A.D. 1600. Coke had read to crowded audiences in the Inner Temple on the same subject in 15922, and Bacon had argued for the defendants in the great Chudleigh case in 1594; so that we can readily imagine motives for this choice of subject. We have, however, no indication of his having taken any care of his work after the delivery.3

It was first published very incorrectly and evidently from a bad MS., in 1642. Better MSS. have been used and more pains taken by subsequent editors. I have used the common editions and three MSS. in the Harleian collection, Nos. 1858, 6688, and 829, (whereof the second ends abruptly in the middle, and the latter only embraces the last part or "division,”) taking indiscriminately what appeared to me the best reading from each. Any merely conjectural emendations of my own I have always noticed as such, as also those various readings which make a serious difference in meaning, but not generally those which are mere matters of style, or which make a clear sense where the common reading was obviously corrupt.

Mr. Rowe, in his elaborately annotated edition of 1804, has divided the treatise into three discourses, corresponding to the portions to which I have affixed separate headings. He has not, however, taken any notice of the plan of the work as indicated by Bacon himself, nor at all adequately pointed out how much is missing of what that plan embraced.

1 One of the Ancients that had formerly read reads in Lent vacation, and is called Double Reader. Preface to 3 Rep. From several entries in the books of Gray's Inn, to which I have had access by the kindness of the treasurer, Mr. Broderip, it seems there was some difficulty in getting the office well filled. In 36 Eliz, the Judges made an order giving them audience next after serjeants.

Article Coke in Penny Cyclopædia.

But see infra, p. 402. note 3.

The reading was to extend over six days 1, and on each day there was to be provided an introductory discourse on matter without the statute, a division on the statute, and a few cases for exercise and argument.

The subjects of the six introductions are set forth, and it is very clear that the first part of our treatise exactly corresponds with the first day's matter. The only deficiency I can conjecture is in the recapitulation at the close, which stops short with the "nature and definition of an use," and omits "its inception and progress," which are fully discoursed upon in the body of the lecture.

But it seems equally clear that we have no fragment of any of the other five intended introductions. The remainder of our treatise is entirely on "the law itself;" and besides, the subject of the second day's introduction was to be "the second spring of this tree of uses since the statute," which naturally required the exposition of the statute itself to have gone before.

Bacon not having laid out his six days' divisions as he has his introductions, we can only infer or conjecture the proportion in length of what we have of them to what is missing. Although, guided by MS. authority and the indications of the text, I have separated the general view of the statute from the detailed exposition of the law which follows, yet I incline to think that we have but the first day's work altogether; though it must be admitted that to master the whole of the existing treatise in one day was a hard task for students even in that much listening generation. My reason is, that in page 423., in the opening of the statute, he promises to handle, "in the next day's discourse," the question whether uses shall be executed out of the possession of a disseisor, or other possessions out of privity; and in page 437., in the division on the actors to the conveyance, he refers the subject of the occupant, the disseisor, the lord by escheat, and the feoffee upon consideration without notice, (which seems to be the same question as before, only set out in more detail,) to a division still

to come.

What is more material to observe is, that of the three heads on which he was to lecture, viz. the raising, the interruption, and the executing of uses, we have nothing at all of the last

In the books of Gray's Inn is copied an order of the Judges that each double reader should give at least nine readings.

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