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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

§ 16. Sir Matthew Hale

In vain did Matthew Hale, one of the ablest of English lawyers, in conjunction with a select committee, draft not less than nineteen bills embodying practicable improvements. Not one was carried into effect, and, before long, the establishment in the country of a military despotism, with the enforcement of martial law, threw into the background the whole problem of legal reform. Apart, then, from translations, there are few works in legal literature to chronicle during the commonwealth period. The most important were numerous volumes of Reports—very poor in quality—mainly of cases of the reigns of James I and Charles I; Matthew Hale’s London’s Liberties (1650); Thomas Hobbes’s Elements of Law (1640); and, finally, William Prynne’s Collection of Fundamental Liberties and Laws (1634–5).