Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/14352
Title: The study of English national history by Sir Francis Palgrave: the original use of the national records in an imaginative historical narrative
Contributor(s): Stuckey, Michael  (author)
Publication Date: 2013
Handle Link: https://hdl.handle.net/1959.11/14352
Abstract: Francis Cohen was born in London in 1788. He was educated at home and was articled as a clerk to a London solicitor's firm in 1803. He remained there, rising to the position of managing clerk, until 1822 when he took chambers in the King's Bench Walk, Temple. In 1827 he was called to the bar at the Middle Temple, and for several years engaged in pedigree cases before the House of Lords. While a solicitor, and then while at the bar, Cohen was interested in literary and antiquarian studies; and around 1814, he began contributing to the 'Quarterly Review' and the 'Edinburgh Review' on such topics. He converted to Anglican Christianity before his marriage to Elizabeth Turner in 1823. Cohen also changed his surname to "Palgrave", close to the time of his marriage. This paper will briefly consider: Palgraves' early antiquarian contributions to the 'Quarterly Review' and the 'Edinburgh Review'; his early work in the public records from 1822 until 1835; his first major historical works, the 'History of the Anglo-Saxons' (1831) and 'The Rise and Progress of the English Commonwealth' (1832); Palgrave's 1838 appointment as the first Deputy Keeper of the reconstituted and reorganised Record Office, and his work in professionalising that organisation; and his principal historical work, 'The History of Normandy and of England' (the earlier volumes were published in 1851 and 1857 respectively, although the last two were not published until after Palgrave's death, which occurred in 1861). The paper will focus on the significance of Palgrave's work in terms of his methods and theories, and how Palgrave's interpretation of early English legal history was a vivid and innovative example of drawing conclusions from the analysis of the development of legal principles - specifically, those relating to the influences of the legal and institutional vestiges of the Roman empire on English law. Palgrave asserted that monarchical authority based on these (Roman) precepts underlined the development of the Germanic kingdoms. His interpretation, it will be argued, exemplified an inventiveness and insightfulness of theory, matched by scrupulous and methodical deployment of the archival evidence to which Palgrave had unprecedented access. In Palgrave we will see the imperial idea of "authority", before it was eclipsed by the ideas of the Germanist school, led by John Mitchell Kemble and advanced by F.W. Maitland and many others. The implications of Palgrave's work have long been underrated, so it is the purpose of this paper to adjust that underestimation.
Publication Type: Conference Publication
Conference Name: 21st British Legal History Conference: Law and Authority, Glasgow, United Kingdom, 10th - 13th July, 2013
Conference Details: 21st British Legal History Conference: Law and Authority, Glasgow, United Kingdom, 10th - 13th July, 2013
Source of Publication: 21st British Legal History Conference Final Programme, p. 51-51
Publisher: University of Glasgow
Place of Publication: Glasgow, United Kingdom
Field of Research (FOR): 180122 Legal Theory, Jurisprudence and Legal Interpretation
210305 British History
HERDC Category Description: E3 Extract of Scholarly Conference Publication
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School of Law

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