William Lambarde and Local Government: His "Ephemeris" and Twenty-Nine Charges to Juries and Commissions

William Lambarde and Local Government: His "Ephemeris" and Twenty-Nine Charges to Juries and Commissions

William Lambarde and Local Government: His "Ephemeris" and Twenty-Nine Charges to Juries and Commissions

William Lambarde and Local Government: His "Ephemeris" and Twenty-Nine Charges to Juries and Commissions

Excerpt

Of the two pieces here presented, the late Conyers Read printed the "Ephemeris," with an introduction and notes, in the Huntington Library Quarterly in 1952 (XV, 123-158). Later, when the Folger series of historical and literary documents was planned, he proposed that the "Ephemeris," together with the charges to juries, form a volume in it, and at the time of his death in 1959 he had virtually finished his work on the text, notes, and introduction of the charges.

The importance of these manuscripts lies in the nature of William Lambarde's activities and abilities. He was one of the foremost expositors of the Elizabethan judicial system, and for this task he was admirably fitted by training, by the scholarly bent of his mind, perhaps also by his social status among the new gentry sprung from London trade. Even as a young man he must have acquired something of the passionate devotion to good order and of the belief in the dependence of good order upon sound judicial proceedings that is so conspicuous in his later utterances.

It may well have been this devotion that drove him to abandon antiquarian pursuits in favor of a close study of the judicial and law-enforcement systems. His Duties of Constables, his Eirenarcha, and his Archion cover the whole range from . . .

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