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Edward Jenks (1861 – 1939)


Jurist and noted writer on law and its place in history.
Edward Jenks
The feudal warranty is, doubtless derived from the ancient duty of the feudal lord to protect his liege man 'with fire and sword against all deadly'. It was of the essence of the feudal bond, that the vassal should be under his lord's protection.
Jenks quotes
The progress of the nation in wealth and refinement, however, naturally brought with it an increase in the number of crimes, as the old definition of offences became inadequate.
Jenks
It is true, that a Law of Contract based on causae will always be an arbitrary and inelastic law; but it is a kind of law with which some great nations are satisfied at the present day.




Jenks Edward quotes
The thegn who deems an unjust doom is to lose his thegnship. It is a principle which can be widely applied
Jenks Edward
It is the glory of English Law, that its roots are sunk deep into the soil of national history; that it is the slow product of the age long growth of the national life.
Edward Jenks quotes
Perhaps the best testimony to the effectiveness of the reforms of 1852 is the fact, that men of a slightly later generation, familiar with the working of the courts half a century after, find it difficult to believe that such abuses as are plainly described by the legislation of that year, should really have existed in the middle of the nineteenth century.
Edward Jenks
We regard an action of Contract as an action to prevent or compensate for a breach of a promise; an action of Tort as an action to to punish or compensate for a wrong, such as assault or defamation, which has not any necessary connection with a promise.
Jenks Edward quotes
The 'inquests' which resulted in the compilation of the Domesday Book made a vivid and unfavorable impression on the country. A similar effect was produced by the inquests of 1166 and 1170, before alluded to. Even to this day, the word 'inquisitorial' bears the burden of historical unpopularity.
Jenks
Every man, noble and simple alike, should hold his land as a pledge of god behaviour. His duties, to King, lord, and neighbour, should be settled once and for all; and, if he failed in them, he should be turned out of his home and left to starve. It was a drastic scheme; but a conqueror holding a conquered country by the force of the sword cannot afford to be squeamish.
Jenks Edward
What is technically called the 'fungibility' of money, is its chief value as an article of commerce; and this fact could not long remain recognized, even by such a conservative class as legal officials.
Edward Jenks
Thus the period we are studying is remarkable for achieving, not merely the right of free alienation of land, but also the right of alienation by secret conveyance. The latter achievement we may sometimes regret; but it was, probably, necessary for the complete emancipation of land from its its ancient tribal and feudal bonds.




Edward Jenks quotes
But we remember that it was just precisely in the reign of Richard II that the Peasants' War, following upon the changes wrought by the visitations of the Great Plague, virtually destroyed serfdom as a personal status.
Edward Jenks
It was not long before English Law took the one step needed to produce the modern scheme of legal remedies. And when it did, it used the Writ of Trespass as the starting point.
Jenks quotes
In the Laws of Cnut, it was formally laid down that no one is to bother the King with his complaints, so long as he can get Justice in the Hundred.
Jenks Edward
This again, led judges and lawyers to insist on the importance of possession, or seisin, as evidence and presumptions of title, and thus to give to the seisin of land that unique importance in English land law which it has ever been held.
Jenks Edward quotes
Only when a disputed point has long caused bloodshed and disturbance, or when a successful invader (military or theological) insists on a change, is it necessary to draw up a code.
Edward Jenks
A statute of 1344 shows some weakness; but the statute of 1391 is memorable, not merely as being the Mortmain Code of three centuries, but as extending the rule of mortmain to all bodies, religious and secular alike, having perpetual succession. For this extension marks the definite recognition by English Law of the corporation, or, as it is sometimes called, the 'fictitious person' - the legal personality which is not restricted to the limits of individual life. The gradual evolution of this institution is one of the most fascinating chapters in legal history...
Edward Jenks quotes
But then a daring evasion by a leading conveyancer, known as the Lease and Release, received judicial sanction; and commenced a successful career of more than 200 years. The Lease and Release, attributed to Serjeant Moore, was based on the fact that the Statute of Inrolments did not apply to terms of years.
Edward Jenks
It was natural that the direct wielders of the royal prerogative, men who sat in the Star Chamber and the Privy Council, who knew the secrets of the State and the necessity for prompt action, should despise the merely declaratory character of a good deal of Common Law process. To them we doubtless owe those four great pillars of Chancery jurisdiction, the injunction, the decree, the sequestration, and the commission of rebellion.
Jenks Edward
The 'Little' or 'Barebones' Parliament, summoned by Oliver Cromwell to meet at Westminster on 4th July, 1653, after the dissolution of the remains of the Long Parliament, may have been an unpractical body, so far as the task of administration in troublous times was concerned. But it seems quite possible that the wealth of contumely and scorn which has been poured upon it was, originally, due quite as much to the fierce anger of vested interests against outspoken criticism, as to any real vagueness or want of practical wisdom in the plans of the House itself.


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