24 APRIL 1886, Page 24

The Influence of the Roman Law on the Late of

England (Cam- bridge University Press) is an extremely interesting essay by Pro- fessor Scrutton, of University College, London, which gained the

Yorke Prize in 1884. The inquiry is attended with very great diffi- culty at every stage ; for in the earliest periods the evidence is dis- hearteningly scanty, and the principal sources for late times are unaccountably inaccessible. Professor Scrutton deserves credit for his serious attempt to deal with a subject so ardor= and so little profitable in immediate results. " I wish," said Sir Henry Spelman,

I wish some worthy lawyer would read the law diligently, and show the several heads from which these laws of ours are taken. They beyond seas are not only diligent, but very curious in this kind ; but we are all for profit and Lucrando pane, taking what we find at market, without inquiring whence it comes." Professor Scrntton has done something to remove this just reproach from English scholarship, and we trust be will be able at some future time to go into the whole of this large question uncontrolled by the limits of a University essay. For the investigation is one that essentially involves detail, and free space for criticism. The most striking part of the present little volume is the very careful examination of Bracton's indebtedness to Roman Law, which Mr. Scrutton has worked out independently, although with Gfiterbock's volume at his elbow. Of coarse, the author casts a stone at the miserable Rolls edition. The only express reference to the Roman Law which Mr. Scrntton finds in Britton contains a very ludicrous curiosity, " herciscunda," of the " actio families herciscundes," being taken as a proper name ; Nicholls's reading being, "unclean de la meanee dame de Heroiscunde" ! The essay is a most conscientious and successful piece of work.