St. German, Christopher

, an English lawyer and law-writer of the sixteenth century, is supposed to have been born at Skilton, near Coventry, in Warwickshire, and educated for some time at Oxford, whence he removed to the Inner Temple for the study of the law. After being admitted to the bar, he became an eminent counsellor, and we should suppose a very popular one, as he frequently refused or returned his fees. What he got by honourable practice and some paternal estate, he expended in the purchase of books, and gathered a very fine library, which was all the property he left to his heirs. Besides his legal knowledge, he was conversant in philosophy and the divinity of the times, and wrote on the latter subject with so much freedom as to render his sentiments suspected, for which reason Bale has given him a very advantageous character. He is commended too for his piety, and pious ordering of his family, to whom he read every night a chapter in the Bible, and expounded it. He died Sept. 28, 1540, and not 1539, as Bale states. He was buried in the church of St. Alphage, within CrL’pp legate, London. It appears by his will that he was a considerable benefactor to Skiiton church, where his father sir Henry St. German, knt. and his mother lie buried, and to that of Laleford. St. German has immortalized his name by his valuable and well-known work, which bears the title of “The Doctor and Student, or Dialogues between a doctor of divinity, and a student in the laws of England, | concerning the grounds of those laws,” first printed by Rastell, in Latin, 1523, 12mo, and reprinted in 1528. Mr. Bridgman enumerates above twenty editions which followed, the last in 1787, 8vo, with questions and cases concerning the equity of the law, corrected and improved by William Muchall, or Murchall. On the subject of this celebrated work, Mr. Hargrave (in his Law Tracts, 32 I), has published from a ms. in the Cotton library, “A Replication of a Serjaunte at the Laws of England, to certayne pointes alleaged by a student of the said lawes of England, in a Dialogue in Englishe, between a doctor of divinity and the said student;” and a little “Treatise concerning writs of Subpoena.” Two other tracts are attributed by Ames to St. German, though they bear the name of Thomas Godfrey, viz. “A Treatise concerning the power of the Clergy and of the lawes of the Realme,” 12mo, no date and “A Treatise concernynge divers of the Constitucyons provyncyall and legantines,” 12mo, no date. Tanner attributes to him “A Treatise concerning the division between the Spiritualitie and the Temporaltie,” printed by Redman without date; and this seems to be the same work as “The Pacyfyer of the division between the Spiritualitie aod Temporaltie,” printed by Berthelet, which being remarkable for impartiality and temperate language, was pointed out to sir Thomas More, as an example for him to follow in his controversial writings. This incited sir Thomas to publish “An Apologye made by him, anno 1533, after he had gevhi over th' office of lord chancellor of Englande,” printed by Rastell, 1533, 12mo. St. German was also probably the author of “Newe addicions treating most specially of the power of the Parlyament concernynge the Spiritualitie and the Spiritual Jurisdiction,1531, 12mo, now reprinted in all the modern editions of the “Doctor and Student.” He had a controversy with sir Thomas More, which produced “Salem and Bizance, being a dialogue between two Englishmen, one called Salem, and the other Bizance,1533, 8vo. This was written in answer to More’s “Apologye” above mentioned and sir Thomas replied in the “Debellation of Salem and Bizance,” by Rastell, in 1533, 8vo. 1


Tanner. Bale. —Ath. Ox. vol. I. BiHjman’s Legal Bibliography.