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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VIII. The Age of Dryden.

XIII. Legal Literature

§ 12. Law Reports

Of the new works which issued from the press during this century perhaps the most important—or least unimportant—was Saint German’s Doctor and Student (1523–30), a dialogue between a doctor of the civil and canon law and a student of the common law, composed with the main object of contrasting the relations between equity and common law, but incidentally affording a good introduction to the principles of both. It passed through twenty-two editions before, in the eighteenth century, it was superseded by Blackstone’s Commentaries. Mention should also be made of Perkins’s Profitable Book (1532), a treatise on conveyancing, “acceptable and preciouse to young students”; of two Abridgments of the Year Books, prepared, the one by Sir Anthony Fitzherbert (1516), the other by Sir Robert Brooke (1568); and of Lambarde’s Eirenarcha (1581), a manual for justices of the peace, written in a style which, says a contemporary, “runneth like a temperat stream.” The same writer’s Archeion (1591) and Archaionomia (1568) are valuable, the one as showing the Tudor view of the relation between the common law courts and their various rivals, the other as a treatise on legal antiquities. Gentili’s De Jure Belli (1588–9) was a pioneer work in international law, to which, a generation later, Grotius was much indebted in the compilation of his more famous book with a similar title. Finally, we note three great collections of Law Reports, the successors of the Year Books, and, like the Year Books, in French, namely, those of Plowden (1571), Dyer (1585) and Coke (1600).