The Doctor and Student (1518)

Christopher St. Germain

The fifth question of the student whether conscience is ordered after the law

Stud. If a fine with proclamation be levied according to the statute, and no claim made within five years, etc., whether is the right of a stranger extincted thereby in conscience, as it is in the law?

Doct. Upon what consideration was that statute made?

Stud. That the right of lands and tenements might be the more certainly known, and not to be so uncertain as they were before that statute.

Doct. And when any law of man is made for a commonwealth, or for the good peace and quietness of the people, or for any inconvenience or hurt to be saved from them, that law is good; though percase it extinct the right of a stranger, and must be kept in the court of conscience for, as it is said before in chap, 4, by laws right wisely made by man, it appeareth who hash right to the lands and goods for whatsoever a man hath by such a law, he hath it right wisely; and whatsoever he holdeth against such a law, he holdeth unrightwisely. And furthermore it is said there, all the laws made by man, which be not contrary to the law of God, must be observed and kept, and that in conscience, and he that despiseth them despiseth God, and he that resisteth them resisteth God. Also it is to be understood, that possessions and the right thereof are subject to the laws, so that they therefore with a cause reasonable may be translated and altered from one man to another by act of the law. And of this consideration that law is grounded, that by a contract made in fairs and markets the property is altered, except the property be to the king, so that the buyer pay toll, or do such other things as is accustomed there to be done upon such contracts, and that the buyer knoweth not the former property. And in the law civil there is a like law, that if a man have another man’s goods with a title three years, thinking that he hath right to it, he hath the very right unto the thing; and that was made for a law, to the intent that the property and right of things should not be uncertain, and that variance and strife should not be among. the people. And forasmuch as the said statute was ordained to give a certainty of title in the lands and tenements comprised in the fine, it seemeth that that fine extincteth the title of all other, as well in conscience, as it doth in the law. And sith I have answered to thy question, I pray thee let me know thy mind in one question concerning tailed lands, and then I will trouble thee no farther at this time.