Page:English Law and the Renaissance.djvu/35

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23
and the Renaissance

And now we may ask what opposing force, what conservative principle was there in England? National character, the genius of a people, is a wonder-working spirit which stands at the beck and call of every historian. But before we invoke it on the present occasion we might prudently ask our books whether in the sixteenth century the bulk of our German cousins inherited an innate bias towards what they would have called a Welsh jurisprudence. There seems to be plentiful evidence that the learned doctores iuris who counselled the German princes and obtained seats in the courts were cordially detested by the multitude. In modern times they often have to bear much blame for that terrible revolt which we know as the Peasants' War54. No doubt there were many differences between England and Germany, between England and France, between England and Scotland55. Let us notice one difference which, if I am not mistaken, marked off England from the rest of the world. Medieval England had schools of national law.