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during his banishment, and when he was in the service of a Lancastrian King, he asserted them again in his work upon Political Monarchy, after he was restored to his Country, and his allegiance was plighted to a Prince of the House of York: and it will be seen in the course of the ensuing pages, that the spirit of the ancient government of England, as pourtrayed in this treatise, derives ample confirmation both from domestic authorities, and from foreign testimony. It may not appear a useless or unimportant task to have labored for the preservation of this early record of those simple and intelligible truths, which ought to form the basis of every rational government; and the importance of which is manifested by the fatal consequences arising from the neglect of them that are legible in our national history.
The remarks of Fortescue upon the legal institutions which are the subject of his panegyric, may be productive of other beneficial effects, if they satisfy the reader, that much of the ancient part of our law requires a serious revisal and amendment. It is impossible to peruse the Chancellor's observations in the course of the present treatise, without perceiving the extraordinary change which time has occasioned in the circumstances, the manners and the opinions of the English People. This obvious reflection may tend to confirm an impression, that the intricacy and want of rationality,
which are justly imputed to a considerable portion of the Law of England, arise from an adherence to antiquated forms and maxims, adapted to a state of society totally different from our The institutions of the past generation have been moulded to supply the wants of the succeeding one, until the Law of the Country has become disfigured by a variety of fictions and subterfuges, scarcely intelligible even to lawyers, and highly oppressive to the community, by their prolixity and liability to error. It may be advisable in the present day to 'retrace the interval of some centuries, and to survey the provisions of our municipal law, with the light afforded by an ancient encomiast. It may be expedient to sift and examine the reasons which our forefathers assigned in support of what they have established. The mind will thus be enabled, by a more close observation, to distinguish between those parts of our system of jurisprudence, whose estimation has survived the period during which they were useful and appropriate, and such as retain an essential connection with the tranquillity and freedom of the Country.
TEMPLE, Feb. 1, 1825.
The Syndics of the University Press, always conspicuous for their anxiety to promote the cultivation of every branch of human knowledge, have defrayed out of the funds at their disposal the whole erpence of publishing this Work.
CHAP. XL. The Reasons why Base-born Children are not in
CHAP. L. Of the Stale, Degree and Creation of a Serjeant