Page:English Law and the Renaissance.djvu/30

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English Law

served our lawyers as French. Pole and Smith might well call it barbarous; that it was fast becoming English was its one redeeming feature. You are likely to know what I must not call the classical passage: it comes from the seventeenth century. In all the Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum there is nothing better than the report which tells how one of Sir Robert Rede's successors was assaulted by a prisoner 'que puis son condemnation ject un brickbat a le dit justice que narrowly mist40.' It is as instructive as it is surprising that this jargon should have been written in a country where Frenchmen had long been regarded as hereditary foes. This prepares us for the remark that taught law is tough law. But when 'Dunce' had been set in Bocardo (and it was a doctor of the civil law who set him there41), why should the old law books be spared? They also were barbarous; they also were sufficiently papistical.

Turning to a more serious aspect of affairs, it would not I think be difficult to show that