Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-559fc8cf4f-lzpzj Total loading time: 0.451 Render date: 2021-02-28T15:20:55.522Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true }

Milton and Legal Reform

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 November 2018

Alison A. Chapman
Affiliation:
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Abstract

The second half of the seventeenth century was the first great period of legal reform in England’s history. This article situates John Milton in relationship to this contemporary context, arguing that he comments frequently on the need to change England’s laws and displays a finely tuned awareness of some of the major legal debates of his time. This article surveys Milton’s writings about the law and legal education, and it concludes by examining his 1659–60 political pamphlets where he calls for reform of the judicial system and the establishment of local courts.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 Renaissance Society of America

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

References

Achinstein, Sharon Literature and Dissent in Milton’s England. Cambridge, 2003.Google Scholar
Arnold, Matthew “The Function of Criticism at the Present Time.” In Essays by Matthew Arnold, 9–36. London, 1910.Google Scholar
Bacon, Francis The Letters and the Life of Francis Bacon. Ed. James Spedding. 7 vols. London, 1868.Google Scholar
Berman, Harold J. Faith and Order: The Reconciliation of Law and Religion. Atlanta, 1993.Google Scholar
Berman, Harold J. “The Origins of Historical Jurisprudence: Coke, Selden, Hale.” Yale Law Journal 103.7 (1994): 1651–738.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Berman, Harold J. Law and Revolution II: The Impact of the Protestant Reformation on the Western Legal Tradition. Cambridge, MA, 2003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Blackstone, William Commentaries on the Laws of England. 4 vols. Oxford, 1766.Google Scholar
Brittan, Jillisa, and Posner, Richard A.. “Penal Theory in Paradise Lost.Michigan Law Review 105 (2007): 1049–66.Google Scholar
Brooks, Christopher W. Pettyfoggers and Vipers of the Commonwealth: The “Lower Branch” of the Legal Profession in Early Modern England. Cambridge, 1986.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brooks, Christopher W. “A Law-Abiding and Litigious Society.” In The Oxford Illustrated History of Tudor and Stuart Britain, ed. John Morrill, 139–55. Oxford, 1996.Google Scholar
Brooks, Christopher W. Lawyers, Litigation and English Society Since 1450. London, 1998.Google Scholar
Browne, Thomas Pseudodoxia epidemica, or, Enquiries into very many received tenents and commonly presumed truths. London, 1646.Google Scholar
Burgess, Glenn The Politics of the Ancient Constitution: An Introduction to English Political Thought, 1603–1642. University Park, 1992.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Busch, Allan J. “Bulstrode Whitelocke and Early Interregnum Chancery Reform.” Albion: A Quarterly Journal Concerned with British Studies 11.4 (1979): 317–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Campbell, Gordon “Milton, Sir Christopher (1615–1693).” In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford, 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/1879.Google Scholar
Chapman, Alison A.Satan’s Pardon: The Forms of Judicial Mercy in Paradise Lost.Milton Studies 55 (2014): 177206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
The Character of a solirefr, or, The Tricks and quillets of a pettyfogger. London, 1675.Google Scholar
Cockburn, J. S. A History of English Assizes 1558–1714. Cambridge, 1972.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cole, William A rod for the lawyers. London, 1659.Google Scholar
Conrad, Clay S. Jury Nullification: The Evolution of a Doctrine. Durham, 1998.Google Scholar
Cormack, Bradin A Power To Do Justice: Jurisdiction, English Literature, and the Rise of Common Law, 1509–1625. Chicago, 2007.Google Scholar
Corns, Thomas N. “Milton and the Characteristics of a Free Commonwealth.” In Milton and Republicanism, ed. David Armitage, Armand Himy, and Quentin Skinner, 25–42. Cambridge, 1995.Google Scholar
Cotterell, Mary “Interregnum Law Reform: The Hale Commission of 1652.” English Historical Review 83.329 (1968): 689–704.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cowell, John Institutiones Juris Anglicani. Cambridge, 1605.Google Scholar
Cromartie, Alan Sir Matthew Hale 1609–1676: Law, Religion and Natural Philosophy. Cambridge, 1995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
SirDodderidge, John. The English lawyer. London, 1631.Google Scholar
Dzelzainis, Martin “‘In These Western Parts of the Empire’: Milton and Roman Law.” In Milton and the Terms of Liberty (2002), 57–68.Google Scholar
Dzelzainis, Martin “History and Ideology: Milton, the Levellers, and the Council of State in 1649.” Huntington Library Quarterly 68.1/2 (2005): 269–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dzelzainis, Martin “Liberty and the Law.” In Milton, Rights, and Liberties, ed. Christophe Tournu and Neil Forsyth, 57–67. Bern, 2007.Google Scholar
Fenton, Mary C. Milton’s Places of Hope: Spiritual and Political Connections of Hope with Land. Burlington, 2006.Google Scholar
Fletcher, H. F. The Intellectual Development of John Milton. 2 vols. Urbana, 1956.Google Scholar
Freize, James A moderate inspection into the corruption of the pratique part of the common law. London, 1656.Google Scholar
French, Joseph Milton Milton in Chancery: New Chapters in the Lives of the Poet and His Father. New York, 1939.Google Scholar
French, Joseph Milton Life Records of John Milton. 5 vols. New Brunswick, 1949–58.Google Scholar
Fulbecke, William A parallele or conference of the civill law, the canon law, and the common law of this realme of England. London, 1601.Google Scholar
Fulbecke, William A direction, or preparative to the study of the law. London, 1620.Google Scholar
Fulton, Thomas Historical Milton: Manuscript, Print, and Political Culture in Revolutionary England. Amherst, 2010.Google Scholar
Gardiner, Samuel Rawson, ed. The Constitutional Documents of the Puritan Revolution. 3rd ed. Oxford, 1906.Google Scholar
Goodrich, Peter Languages of Law: From Logics of Memory to Nomadic Masks. London, 1990.Google Scholar
Gray, Charles M. The Writ of Prohibition: Jurisdiction in Early Modern English Law. 2 vols. New York, 1994.Google Scholar
Green, Thomas Andrew Verdict According to Conscience: Perspectives on the English Criminal Trial Jury 1200–1800. Chicago, 1985.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Greenberg, Lynne “A Preliminary Study of Informed Consent and Free Will in the Garden of Eden: John Milton’s Social Contract.” In Living Texts: Interpreting Milton, ed. Charles W. Durham and Kristin Pruitt, 99–117. Susquehanna, 2000.Google Scholar
Greenberg, Lynne “Dalila’s ‘Feminine Assauts’: The Gendering and Engendering of Crime in Samson Agonistes.” In Altering Eyes: New Perspectives of Samson Agonistes, ed. Mark R. Kelley and Joseph Wittreich, 192–218. Newark, 2002.Google Scholar
Greenberg, Lynne “‘A Peal of Words’: Criminal Speech in Samson Agonistes.” In Reassembling Truth: Twenty-First-Century Milton, ed. Charles W. Durham and Kristin Pruitt, 189–200. Susquehanna, 2003a.Google Scholar
Greenberg, Lynne “Paradise Enclosed and the Feme Covert.” In Milton and the Grounds of Contention, ed. Mark R. Kelley, Michael Lieb, and John Shawcross, 150–73. Pittsburgh, 2003b.Google Scholar
Greenberg, Lynne “Law.” In Milton in Context, ed. Stephen B. Dobranski, 328–37. Cambridge, 2010.Google Scholar
Hans, Valerie P., and Neil Vidmar. Judging the Jury. New York, 1986.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Havighurst, AlfredThe Judiciary and Politics in the Reign of Charles II.Law Quarterly Review 66 (1950): 6276 and 229–52.Google Scholar
Higinbotham, Sarah “Aesthetics of Justice in Early Modern England.” PhD diss., Georgia State University, 2013.Google Scholar
Hill, Christopher Milton and the English Revolution. New York, 1978.Google Scholar
Hoxby, BlairAreopagitica and Liberty.” In The Oxford Handbook of Milton, ed. Nicholas McDowell and Nigel Smith, 218–40. Oxford, 2009.Google Scholar
Jones, J. Judges judged out of their own mouths. London, 1650.Google Scholar
Jones, John Every mans case, or, Lawyers routed. London, 1652.Google Scholar
Keeble, N. H. The Literary Culture of Nonconformity in Later Seventeenth-Century England. Athens, GA, 1987.Google Scholar
Lawson, P. G. “Lawless Juries: The Composition and Behavior of Hertfordshire Juries, 1573–1624.” In Twelve Good Men and True: The Criminal Trial Jury in England, 1200–1800, ed. J. S. Cockburn and Thomas A. Green, 117–57. Princeton, 1988.Google Scholar
The lawyers last farewell, or, The poor mans freedome enlargd. London, 1652.Google Scholar
Lewalski, Barbara K. “Milton on Liberty, Servility, and the Paradise Within.” In Milton, Rights, and Liberties, ed. Christophe Tournu and Neil Forsyth, 31–53. Bern, 2007.Google Scholar
A looking-glasse for all proud, ambitious, covetous and corrupt lawyers. London, 1646.Google Scholar
Marvell, Andrew “An Account of the Growth of Popery and Arbitrary Government in England.” In The Complete Prose Works of Andrew Marvell, ed. Alexander Grosart, 245–424. New York, 1966.Google Scholar
Masson, David The Life of John Milton. 7 vols. New York, 1946.Google Scholar
Matthews, Nancy L. William Sheppard, Cromwell’s Law Reformer. Cambridge, 1984.Google Scholar
Milton and the Terms of Liberty. Ed. Graham Parry and Joad Raymond. Cambridge, 2002.Google Scholar
Milton, John Complete Prose Works of John Milton. 8 vols. Ed. John Wolfe. New Haven, 1953–82.Google Scholar
Milton, John Complete Poetry and Essential Prose. Ed. William Kerrigan, John Rumrich, and Stephen M. Fallon. New York, 2007.Google Scholar
Peters, Julie Stone “A ‘Bridge over Chaos’: De Jure Belli, Paradise Lost, Terror, Sovereignty, Globalism, and the Modern Law of Nations.” Comparative Literature 57.4 (2005): 273–93.Google Scholar
Pocock, J. G. A. The Ancient Constitution and the Feudal Law: A Study of English Historical Thought in the Seventeenth Century. Cambridge, 1987.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pollock, Frederick A First Book of Jurisprudence for Students of the Common Law. London, 1896.Google Scholar
Prall, Stuart E. The Agitation for Law Reform during the Puritan Revolution, 1640–1660. The Hague, 1966.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Prest, Wilfrid The Inns of Court under Elizabeth I and the Early Stuarts, 1590–1640. Totowa, NJ, 1972.Google Scholar
Prest, Wilfrid “Law Reform and Legal Education in Interregnum England.” Historical Research 75.187 (2002): 112–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ram, Robert The souldiers catechisme. London, 1645.Google Scholar
Ridley, Sir Thomas A view of the civile and ecclesiastical law. London, 1607.Google Scholar
Roberts, Stephen K. “Juries and the Middling Sort: Recruitment and Performance at Devon Quarter Sessions.” In Twelve Good Men and True: The Criminal Trial Jury in England, 1200–1800, ed. J. S. Cockburn and Thomas A. Green, 182–213. Princeton, 1988.Google Scholar
Robinson, Henry Certaine Proposalls in order to a new modelling of the Lawes and Law-Proceedings. London, 1653.Google Scholar
Rogers, John Sagrir, Or, Doomes-day drawing nigh. London, 1654.Google Scholar
Rogers, John The Matter of Revolution: Science, Poetry, and Politics in the Age of Milton. Ithaca, 1996.Google Scholar
Sagafi-Nejad, Nancy Black. Friends at the Bar: A Quaker View of Law, Conflict Resolution, and Legal Reform. Albany, 2011.Google Scholar
Sauer, Elizabeth “Paper Contestations” and Textual Communities in England, 1640–1675. Toronto, 2005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sauer, Elizabeth Milton, Toleration, and Nationhood. Cambridge, 2014.Google Scholar
Shapiro, Alexander H. “Political Theory and the Growth of Defensive Safeguards in Criminal Procedure: The Origins of the Treason Trials Act of 1696.” Law and History Review 11.2 (1993): 215–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shapiro, Barbara “Law Reform in Seventeenth-Century England.” American Journal of Legal History 19.4 (1975): 280–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shapiro, Barbara “Sir Francis Bacon and the Mid-Seventeenth Century Movement for Law Reform.” American Journal of Legal History 24.4 (1980): 331–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shapiro, Barbara A Culture of Fact: England, 1550–1720. Ithaca, 2000.Google Scholar
Sharpe, Kevin The Personal Rule of Charles I. New Haven, 1992.Google Scholar
Shawcross, John T. The Arms of the Family: The Significance of John Milton’s Relatives and Associates. Lexington, 2004.Google Scholar
Shawcross, John T. The Development of Milton’s Thought: Law, Government, and Religion. Pittsburgh, 2008.Google Scholar
Shuger, Debora The Renaissance Bible: Scholarship, Sacrifice and Subjectivity. Berkeley, 1994.Google Scholar
Silver, Victoria “‘A Taken Scandal Not a Given’: Milton’s Equitable Grounds of Toleration.” In Milton and Toleration, ed. Sharon Achinstein and Elizabeth Sauer, 203–23. Oxford, 2007.Google Scholar
Skinner, Quentin “Milton and the Politics of Slavery.” In Milton and the Terms of Liberty (2002), 1–22.Google Scholar
Smith, NigelAreopagitica: Voicing Contexts, 1643–5.” In Politics, Poetics, and Hermeneutics in Milton’s Prose, ed. David Loewenstein and James Grantham Turner, 103–22. Cambridge, 1990.Google Scholar
Smith, Thomas De Republica Anglorum: A Discourse on the Commonwealth of England. Ed. L. Alston. Shannon, 1972.Google Scholar
Sommerville, J. P. Politics and Ideology in England 1603–1640. London, 1986.Google Scholar
Tubbs, J. W. The Common Law Mind: Medieval and Early Modern Conceptions. Baltimore, 2000.Google Scholar
Underdown, David Revel, Riot, and Rebellion: Popular Politics and Culture in England, 1603–1660. Oxford, 1985.Google Scholar
Veall, Donald The Popular Movement for Law Reform 1640–1660. Oxford, 1970.Google Scholar
Visconsi, Elliott Lines of Equity: Literature and the Origins of Law in Later Stuart England. Ithaca, 2008.Google Scholar
Waddell, Brodie “Governing England through the Manor Courts, 1550–1850.” Historical Journal 55.2 (2012): 279–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Walker, WilliamRhetoric, Passion, and Belief in The Readie and Easie Way.Milton Studies 52 (2011): 2357.Google Scholar
Warren, Christopher N. “Milton and the Epochs of International Law.” European Journal of International Law 24.2 (2013): 557–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Warr, John The corruption and deficiency of the lawes of England soberly discovered. London, 1649.Google Scholar
White, R. S. Natural Law in English Renaissance Literature. Cambridge, 1996.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Witte, John Law and Protestantism: The Legal Teachings of the Lutheran Reformation. Cambridge, 2002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Witte, John The Reformation of Rights: Law, Religion, and Human Rights in Early Modern Calvinism. Cambridge, 2008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Worden, Blair “Milton’s Republicanism and the Tyranny of Heaven.” In Machiavelli and Republicanism, ed. Gisela Bock, Quentin Skinner, and Maurizio Viroli, 225–45. Cambridge, 1990.Google Scholar
Worden, Blair “John Milton and Oliver Cromwell.” In Soldiers, Writers and Statesmen of the English Revolution, ed. Ian Gentles, John Morrill, and Blair Worden, 243–64. Cambridge, 1998.Google Scholar
Zaller, Robert “Robinson, Henry (bap. 1605, d. 1673).” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford, 2004. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/23841.Google Scholar

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 13
Total number of PDF views: 26 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 20th November 2018 - 28th February 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Milton and Legal Reform
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Milton and Legal Reform
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Milton and Legal Reform
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *