CANOE, the name given to the boats and vessels of savage tribes. A particular account of the different canoes will be found in the description of the different countries where they are used. (w) CANON-Lsw, is that body of law which was at different times, and in different portions, promulgated under the authority of the see of Rome, for regulating the consciences, and fixing the property, as well civil as ecclesiastical, of all the inhabitants of popish Christen dom. It is composed partly of the justest principles of equity, and partly of absurd canons and rescripts on the subtlest points of casuistry, and the uncontroulable supremacy of the church over secular authority.
The collected form in which the canon-law now ap pears, under the title of Corpus furls canonici, consists, 1st, Of a selection, called the Dccretum, of the opinions of the fathers, popes, and church-councils, made by Gratian, a Benedictine monk, about the middle of the twelfth century, in imitation, as it would seem, of the Roman pandects, which arc a selection of the opinions of their most minent lawyers ; 2dly, Of the Drcretalia, or rescripts of the popes, collected by Gregory I X. nometime after Gratian's collection, and digested into five hooks ; 3dly, Of the other decretals collected by Boldface V1II. called the sixth book of Decretals ; 4thly, Of those of Pope Clement V. Pope John XXII. and of certain other popes, called Extravagantes, because they are over and besides the six books of the Dccretals. All
those different collections were revised by Pope Gregory X111., and published by him as the Corpus furls canonici, or body of the canon law.
Before the Relimnation, the authority of this body of law was, of course, very great in most countries Of Christendom. Sonic governments, however, especially those of France and England, appear to have always entertained a just spirit of jealousy against its encroach ing authority, in matters of civil property ; and, unless when the monarch happened to be more than usually bigotted and submissive, their resistance was not unsuc cessfid. In all other respects it appears, even in these countries, to have had all the authority of law. Since the Reformation, it has gradually fallen into neglect. Even among those nations who still adhere to the Romish persuasion, its authority is for the most part confined to questions of church doctrine and discipline ; while, in Protestant countries, it is only listened to as respectable argument on questions of tithes, patronages, and a few other points of ecclesiastical right, and only in so far as not inconsistent with Protestant principles. Sec Prafatio Greg. XIII. in Corp. Jur. Canon. ; Ancyc. Methodique, Art. JCr 1S PR I.' DENC E., voce, Droit Canonique ; Comm. &c. B.)