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This treatise argues that a proper understanding of English law and jurisprudence in the period 1760 to 1850 is needed to clarify the nature of common-law practice and the way in which it was envisaged by its practitioners. The author questions some commonly accepted views of the nature of the common law itself and argues that attempts - notably those by Blackstone and Bentham - to expound or to criticize common law in essentially theoretical terms were mistaken. The author's approach is not a philosophically based one, but he is concerned with the evolution and spread of judicial ideas which were grounded upon the work of moral and political philosophers. This work thus makes a contribution to our historical understanding of a critically important period in legal history.