… is from page 53 of the published version of James Coolidge Carter’s brilliant speech delivered on July 25th, 1889, to the annual meeting of the Virginia State Bar Association – a speech titled The Provinces of the Written and the Unwritten Law:
[O]ur unwritten jurisprudence, by its inherent flexibility and capacity for gradual change and growth, naturally accommodates itself, by insensible gradations, to the corresponding insensible gradation in the progress and changes of human affairs.
DBx: The more I study the works of Carter (1827-1905), the more I come to regard him as being not only one of the greatest legal minds ever to write in the English language, but also as one of history’s most astute social philosophers. It’s a shame that he is today almost completely forgotten. The man was a font of impressive learning and of deep wisdom. In some important ways, Carter was F.A. Hayek before F.A. Hayek, and Bruno Leoni before Bruno Leoni.