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tion that the Chaplain of the Inn should celebrate every Friday for ever a Requiem Mass for the soul of the said John Nethersale and before the lavabo at every such Mass should say the Psalm De Profundis for the repose of his soul. Books accumulated by purchase and gift. In 1566 a sum of 535. 4d. is paid to one of the butlers for writing a catalogue of the books. But it is not until the beginning of the next century that we find entries indicating that the Library is becoming a place of general resort for the purpose of study and work. At a Council held in November 1629, a petition from the barristers and students of Lincoln's Inn, touching the Library, is read, in which they offer, after convenient seats and presses both for books and study shall have been framed and set up, to contribute books towards the furnishing of the Library, and such annual stipend towards the keeping of it as to the Masters of the Bench may seem most meet. This offer, which is said to have been taken in good part by the Benchers, is referred by them to a committee for consideration; and in the January of the following year, 1630, it is ordered by the Bench that a Common Library shall be made for the use of the Society, and a committee of Benchers and Barristers is desired to arrange for carrying out the work, and also to consider what orders shall be fit to be observed in the Library after the same shall be finished and furnished. About a year later, on the 3rd February, 1631, it is ordered that the Library shall now be opened to the gentlemen of the Society who are to have their admittance according to the Orders of the Library.
The printing presses were busy. They were multiplying copies of the Year Books, of the reports of Dyer and Plowden and Coke, of treatises, such as Lyttelton's Tenures, Fitzherbert's Abridgement, the Doctor and Student, Perkyn's Profitable Book, Rastell's Abridge
ment and the like, works which dealt not very much with abstract principles or theories of jurisprudence, but set forth and explained those rules of practical law with which the barrister had to make himself familiar if he was to practise his profession with success. There is no doubt the printed book, soon after the middle of the 16th century, began to supersede the old system of oral teaching. The interest in Readings and Mootings naturally flagged. The Records show the increasing difficulty of maintaining the old exercises of learning and especially the Readings. The material for Institutionary Lectures on the Common Law, such as those of Sir William Blackstone, scarcely existed in the 16th century. It was only in the course of this century that the Courts, by a bolder use of the writ in consimili casul, and with the aid of a curious apparatus of fictions freed themselves from the restraints and inconveniences of the ancient forms of action, and by permitting the development of more elastic remedies made it possible for the great judges of the following three centuries to build up the singularly inartificial and rational system of our modern English law. Thus the action of Ejectment, originally a form of Trespass in which damages only could be recovered, was allowed gradually to take the place of the ancient and cumbrous procedure of the real action, and became the urdinary and convenient means of trying questions of title and of recovering possession of land. Thus again, the action of Trover or Conversion grew out of the ancient action of Detinue, and was found to afford a very useful remedy in cases of infringement of the rights of personal property.
But the most important addition to the machinery of the law was the action of Assumpsit, most singular of all the developments of the writ of Trespass, which became a recognised form of action in the second half of the 16th century, and gradually brought within the jurisdiction of the courts the
whole of that great class of claims arising out of contract or quasi-contract, which was and is ever growing in importance and complexity with the growth of the commerce and prosperity of the country.
Whilst the student was being drawn away from the Readings and Moots to the Library, there to study the rapidly accumulating volumes of treatises, and the still more important reports of cases decided by the courts in the exercise of their ever developing and enlarging jurisdiction, at the same time the business of the Courts, increasing with the prosperity of the country, was making it more and more difficult for the leaders of the Bar to give their time and attention to Readings, Moots, and other exercises of learning at the Inns of Court. It was no light task for a hard-worked bencher to give three weeks of the Lent or Autumn Vacation to a Reading, especially as it was at these times of the year that the Assize Courts were busy in the county towns. And the office of Reader was not rendered more attractive by the increasing cost and extravagance of the feasts which it was becoming the custom for the Readers to give during the period of their Reading. Orders for the government of the Inns of Court were made by command of the Queen, with the advice of Her Privy Council and the Justices of Her Bench and of the Common Pleas at Westminster, in Easter Term of the 16th year of Queen Elizabeth, A.D. 1574. Somewhat similar Orders were repeated from time to time during the following hundred years.
These Orders have two main objects; to put some check upon what was regarded as the undue increase in the number of barristers, and to maintain or restore the ancient discipline, training, and qualifications for the Bar. By the Orders of 1574, it was directed that no more fellows were to be admitted to any Inn of Court than the chambers in the Inn would receive, counting two to a chamber; and (with a certain exception
in favour of the Middle Temple) that no more chambers were to be built. It was provided that none were to have chambers but such as exercised moots and other exercises of learning within three years after admission; and, further, that no Utter Barrister should be qualified to plead in Court, or to subscribe any bill or plea, unless he had been a Reader at an Inn of Court, or a Reader for two years at an Inn of Chancery, or had continued the exercises of learning for five years after call.
It is not quite clear what the qualification for call to the bar was in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. At Lincoln's Inn, in the year 1568, it had been ordered that no one should be called except upon the report of the Readers in the Inns of Chancery and two barristers “of the best lerned and discretest." They were to present their report before the term in which there was likely to be a call, and submit the names of half-a-dozen fit men or thereabouts. In 1594, certain rules for the Government of the Inns of Court were proposed by the Judges for the consideration of the Benchers, and the first of such rules was that no one should be called to the Bar but such as “ have used the exercises of the House, as in arguing of cases, putting at bolts and keeping of the moots and exercises there three years in the least before they be called." To which the Benchers of Lincoln's Inn replied that there were “orders already taken by the Council within our House heretofore tending to the effect of the same article, which order we have observed and do purpose to continue the same.” And with regard to the suggestion of the Judges that not more than three or four at the most should be called to the Bar at any reading, the Benchers made a statement which throws some light upon the kind of preparation for the Bar required at that time. “ Touching a call of Utter Barristers at this time," they say, “it may please your Lordships to understand the state of our House, as now
it standeth, is that almost for this three years there hath been call to the Bar, and our order is not to call at every Reading but once a year or in two years; and now there are many good students of nine years and ten years continuance, who, by reason of their study, their exercises and good behaviour by all that time are thought fit to be called.” There had, in fact, been no call since the 2nd November, 1591, but at this council, on the 5th February, 1594, at which the Judges' proposals were considered, twelve students were called, four of these calls to be published at the next moot of the same term, four at the first moot during the Lent Reading, and four at the first moot in the following Easter Term. And in the June following a still larger number of students were called, amongst whom we may notice the name of Thomas Richardson,* who became Speaker in the Parliament which condemned Bacon, and Chief Justice, first of the Common Pleas, and afterwards of the King's Bench. The number of years "continuance” required of students before call, fluctuated somewhat in the 16th and 17th centuries, and may at times have differed at different Inns. It was seven years in 1596; during the early part of the 17th century it became eight years, and in 1661 it was reduced again to seven years. Finally in 1762, by agreement between the four Inns of Court, it was fixed at five years. A sufficient idea of the general qualifications for call to the bar may be gathered from an order made by the
* See Dyer's Reports, p. 188. b. “Richardson C. J. de C. B., at Assizes at Salis. bury in Summer 1631, fuit assault per Prisoner la condemne pur Felony; que puis son condemnation ject un Brickbat a le dit Justice, que narrowly mist. Et pur ceo immediately fuit indictment drawn pur Noy envers le Prisoner, et son dexter manus ampute et fix al Gibbet, sur que lay mesme immediatement hange in presence de Court.” The Chief Justice stooped, and the brickbat knocked off his hat. To a friend who congratulated him on his escape, he said,
" You see dow, if I had been an upright judge, I had been slain.” Evelyn called him “ that jeering judge." (Foss.)