CHRISTOPHER ST. GERMAIN
BARRISTER OF THE INNER TEMPLE
OR, DIALOGUES BETWEEN A DOCTOR OF DIVINITY
AND A STUDENT IN THE LAWS OF ENGLAND
CONTAINING THE GROUNDS OF THOSE LAWS
TOGETHER WITH QUESTIONS AND CASES
CONCERNING THE EQUITY THEREOF
Based on the 1874 edition. Originally written in 1518.
Revised and corrected by William Muchall, Gent.
Muchall’s annotations have been omitted.
This electronic edition © Copyright 2006 Lonang Institute
IT is presumed that no particular apology is necessary to be made for introducing to the notice of the profession a new edition of the Doctor and Student; a book which has been considered of the first authority, not only by the best and most admired of our legal writers, but by the courts of Westminster-hall.
The species of composition in which it is written must likewise add to its value, and entitle it to approbation. Dialogue is universally allowed to be an agreeable method of writing, which never fails to instruct more than any other, by its peculiar tendency to make a more favorable and lasting impression upon the mind.
Perhaps the language is not so pure as might be expected from a modern author, nor so correct as altogether to adapt itself to the taste of the curious. But this is a defect (if a defect it can be called) which should be overlooked for the intrinsic merits of the book itself. Coke upon Littleton, and the ancient Reports, which contain such a variety of matter, and such a fund of legal information, are not perhaps superior in point of style to the Doctor and Student, and yet no one who is disposed to make a steady progress in his profession will object with any degree of seriousness to the quaintness of expression which he will find in those valuable repositories of ancient learning. On the contrary, he will perceive it to be his business to attend more to things than words, and that he is not to quarrel with his author, because his grammar may be false, or his diction unpolished.
For these reasons, and others that might be named, the Editor did not judge it prudent in him to alter the language, as some might expect, but has left it just in the same state in which it appeared in the last edition. He thinks nothing could have justified such an alteration. Were not the editors of Swinburne on Wills and Testaments justly censured for presuming to correct the style of that learned performance?
All that has been done therefore in the present edition of the Doctor and Student is merely an addition of some notes and references which have been inserted with a view to illustrate the subject matter, and to show how the law has been altered by acts of parliament and judicial decisions. In the execution of his plan it will be seen that the Editor has had much labor, and taken considerable pains. But these are circumstances which will be considered of no great moment with him, if his endeavors may in any measure contribute to ease the difficulties, to lessen the embarrassments, and to improve the mind of a young beginner in the study of our English jurisprudence.
William Muchall, 1874.