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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

§ 18. Sir William Dugdale and William Prynne

A much more thorough survey, however, of the field of early law and the institutions connected with it was made by Sir William Dugdale in his Origines Juridicales (1666). This valuable work was all but lost to the world; for the whole of the first edition perished in the fire of London. Fortunately, however, a few presentation copies had been sent out beforehand, and, from these, a second edition was prepared. The zeal for the study of antiquity may, in some measure, account for the issue of a collected edition of the Year Books in 1679—the largest edition of the Year Books that has yet appeared, and still the standard edition. But this was more than an enterprise of antiquarian zeal, for the Year Books were still in constant demand on the part of practising lawyers, and many of the volumes had attained to scarcity prices. The old law, in fact, had come back in force at the restoration. But it did not remain without its critics and assailants. Prominent among these was the irreconcilable William Prynne. We read in Pepys’s diary (25 April, 1666): “Mr. Prin … did discourse with me a good while in the garden about the laws of England, telling me the main faults in them.” In 1669, Prynne published his Animadversions on the Fourth Part of Coke’s Institutes; and these, perhaps, include some of the remarks which their author made to Pepys in the garden.