The Elements of the Common Lawes of England
Bacon, Sir Francis. The Elements of the Common Laws of England, Branched into a Double Tract: The One Contayning A Collection of Some Principal Rules and Maxims of the Common Law, With Their Latitude and Extent. Explicated for the More Facile Introduction of Such as are Studiously Addicted to That Noble Profession. [With] The Other: The Use of the Common Law, for the Preservation of our Persons, Goods, and Good Names. According to the Laws and Customs of this Land. London: Printed by the assignes of I. More Esq., 1630. xix, 104, vii, 84 pp. Reprinted 2003 by The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. LCCN 2002025942. ISBN 1-58477-248-4. Cloth. $85. * Bacon [1561-1626], one of the great intellectuals of the age, held the posts of Solicitor General, Attorney General and Lord Chancellor during the reign of James I. The Elements of the Common Laws of England is the general title for a work that is comprised of two different treatises: A Collection of Some Principall Rules and Maximes of the Common Lawes of England and The Use of the Law, Provided for the Preservation of Our Persons, Goods and Good Names. The first contains twenty-five maxims, or regulae. They are remarkable for their stylistic vigor, intellectual rigor, meticulousness and clarity. It was the first part of De Regulis Juris, a codification of English law that Bacon never completed. This is quite unfortunate, observes Holdsworth, because "he alone had the philosophical capacity, the historical knowledge and the literary taste needed to select the subject matter and shape the form of the books. (...) [Had he completed the book] there would be many who would question whether, as a lawyer, he was not Coke's superior." The second treatise is a review of the history and practical application of criminal law, estate law, personal property law and the law of slander (i.e. "the preservation of our good names from shame and infamy"). Holdsworth, A History of English Law V:498-499.
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