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History of Trial by Jury
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Origins of the English Jury. Originally published: Jersey City: Frederick D. Linn, [1875]. x, 388 pp. First published in England in 1852, Forsyth's History of Trial by Jury is the first full-scale historical account of the rise and growth of the jury system in England. Highly regarded, this book went through 37 editions. The first American edition, the source of this reprint, adds a number of notes and corrections to American references in previous editions. "An excellent summary of the opinions of leading legal writers as well as conventional historians regarding the origins of trial by jury was set forth by an Englishman, William Forsyth, in his excellent book entitled History of Trial by Jury. (. . .) Various writers, according to Forsyth, attribute the origin of the English jury to a recognition of the principle that no man ought to be condemned except by the voice of his fellow citizens. Forsyth committed himself to the belief that trial by jury did not owe its existence to any positive law, that it was not created by any Act of Parliament, but grew out of usages and customs of society that eventually passed away. Forsyth concluded his observations by saying that "the jury does not owe its existence to any preconceived theory of jurisprudence, but that it gradually grew out of forms previously in use and was composed of elements long familiar to the people in general." -- Robert H. White, 29 Tennessee Law Review 29 (1961-1962) 14 William Forsyth [1812-1899] was an English lawyer and author of many works on law and literature, including The History of Lawyers (1849).
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