32 L. Q. Rev. 352 (1916)
Thomas Madox as Constitutional and Legal Historian II

handle is hein.journals/lqr32 and id is 362 raw text is: THOMAS MADOX AS CONSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL
T HE emphasis which Madox has thus placed upon his 'method
of vouching testimonies', as a ' pattern for the antiquaries to
follow', draws our attention to two important questions: (i) what
materials did Madox employ? (a) what methods did he adopt in
collecting and in using these materials in the writing out of his
historical conclusions?    In trying to answer these questions we
should devote our attention not only to the History of the Exchequer,
but also to his other writings.
In the first place, it is to be observed that Madox was thoroughly
familiar with the literature of English constitutional and legal
development, and that he had also a considerable acquaintance with
foreign historical and juridical writings. He held that it was
necessary for a writer upon any subject to acquire a knowledge of
all that other men had already written about it; 1 and this doctrine
he applied to the antiquarians, including himself.     He studied the
year books and works of the lawyers and historians, and he fre-
quently made use of them in the composition of his own writings.
The great authorities of the past-Hoveden, Richard son of Nigel,
Glanvill, Bracton,2 Fleta, Britton, Littleton, Coke, Spelman, Selden,
Camden, Prynne, Dugdale, Hale, and others as well-all find their
1 F.B., preface, § I: ' He that would write a book useful to the publick should
be duely apprized of the state of that part of learning to which his subject relates.
He should know all that others have written concerning it; and how to amend
supply and improve what they have delivered. But it is absolutely necessary that
he should be furnished with solidity of judgment, at least to such a degree as may
enable him to produce something worthy to be regarded by intelligent persons.
Book-learning is of low use in human life, unless it helpeth to make men prudent
and judicious.'
H.E., p. iii: 'And having consulted as well the books that seemed necessary to
be looked into upon this occasion, as also a very great number of records and
manuscripts, I have endeavoured all along to confirm what I offer, by proper
vouchers fetched from thence . . . I have also made it my choice to take my
memorials, rather from records and manuscripts not hitherto published, than from
printed books; that the reader may be entertained with something new, which he
had not before in his study in printed books, and with something (I hope) equally
curious with what he had there of this sort. Upon which ground, I have taken as
much care as I well could, not to reprint things that have been already printed in
other books.'
2 Braeton's name was of course not Bracton, but Henry of Bratton (Maitland,
Bracton's Note Book, vol. i, p. 14). Madox, knowing most things, knew this. In
the History of the Exchequer (p. 366) he speaks of ' Henry de Bratton ', and his
'Commentary of the Old law'. Many other passages in the antiquary's works
attest the value he placed on the work of the great mediaeval lawyer.

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