Home >> Chamber's Encyclopedia, Volume 4 >> Abraham Cowley to Cobra Da Capello >> Civilian

Civilian

civil, law and sense

CIVILIAN. This term has three meanings, which are distinct, though intimately related. 1. In a popular sense, it signifies a person whose pursuits arc civil; i.e., neither military nor clerical. 2. As a law.term, it means, either a person who is versed in the principles and rules in accordance with which civil rights may be freely, blamelessly. and successfully vindicated in society generally, or in the particular state in which ho belongs; or 3. One who has made a special study of these rules and principles as exhib ited in the laws and government of Rome (the Roman civil law). The civil law of Homo exercised such influence upon the formation of the municipal systems of almost all the states of modern Europe, that those who devoted themselves to its study were regarded as "civil" or municipal lawyers par excellence. From the more learned training which this study demanded, C. came often to be used as synonymous with professor or doctor, as opposed to practitioner of law; the former being generally more deeply versed in the Roman law than the latter; and this in its turn led to its being loosely applied to the international lawyers of the 17th c. (Grotius, Puffendorf, etc.), who generally belonged

to the class of civilians in the sense of Ronmnists, and who, though their subject was altogether different, quoted largely and derived many analogies from the Homan juris prudence. At present, from our having in Great Britain no class of persons who prosecute law as a science as opposed to an art, the term C. has reverted to its narrower mediaeval sense of student or teacher of the Roman civil law, and thus we speak of Savigny as a C., but not of Story. The special sense in which C. is understood in England will be explained under ECCLESIASTICAL COURTS. See also ADMIRALTY COURTS.