IN 1898 I accepted an invitation to deliver to the students of the Harvard Law School a short course of lectures on the History of English Law during the last century. It occurred to me that this duty might best be performed by tracing out the relation during the last hundred ears between the progress of English law and the course of public opinion in England. This treatment of my subject possessed two recommendations. It enabled me to survey the law of England as a whole, without any attempt to go through the whole of the law; it opened, as I hoped, to my hearers a novel and interesting view of modern legislation; a mass of irregular, fragmentary, ill expressed, and, as it might seem, illogical or purposeless enactments, gains a new meaning and obtains a kind of consistency when seen to be the work of permanent currents of opinion.
The lectures delivered at Harvard were the basis of courses of lectures which, after having undergone sometimes expansion and sometimes curtailment, have