Page:English Law and the Renaissance.djvu/38

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26
English Law

ties was a voice that for centuries cried in the wilderness. It was 1679 before French law obtained admission into the French universities57. It was 1709 before Georg Beyer, a pandectist at Wittenberg, set a precedent for lectures on German law in a German university58 It was 1758 before Blackstone began his ever famous course at Oxford. The chair that I cannot fill was not established until the transatlantic Cambridge was setting an example to her elderly mother59. But then, throughout the later middle age English law had been academically taught.

No English institutions are more distinctively English than the Inns of Court; of none is the origin more obscure. We are only now coming into possession of the documents whence their history must be gathered, and apparently we shall never know much of their first days60. Unchartered, unprivileged, unendowed, without remembered founders, these groups of lawyers formed themselves and in course of time evolved a scheme of legal education: an academic scheme