Page:English Law and the Renaissance.djvu/43

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31
and the Renaissance

seemed to confirm the suspicion that Roman law and absolute monarchy went hand in hand64.

The profit and loss account would be a long affair. I must make no attempt to state it. If there was the danger of barbarism and stupidity on the one side, there was the danger of pedantry on the other: the pedantry that endeavours to appropriate the law of another race and galvanizes a dead Corpus Juris into a semblance of life. Since the first of January 1900 the attempt to administer law out of Justinian's books has been abandoned in Germany. The so-called 'Roman-Dutch' law of certain outlying parts of the British Empire now stands alone65, and few, I imagine, would foretell for it a brilliant future, unless it passes into the hand of the codifier and frankly ceases to be nominally Roman. Let us observe, however, that much had been at stake in the little England of the sixteenth century.

In 1606 Coke was settling the first charter of Virginia66. In 1619 elected 'burgesses' from the