Page images
PDF
EPUB

how the Assises de Jérusalem, and the only recently known Assises d'Antioche,* throw a wonderful light on the state of Mediæval Society. Again we must regret that the Hebdomadal Council has not eo nomine adopted the proposal of a Professor of Foreign History, any more than it has the less formidable suggestion of an “Occasional Lecturer on Foreign Law.”

In 1873, Profesor Burrows took a somewhat gloomy view of the position and prospects of the Oxford Professoriate in Modern History, and thought that the rise of the Combined Colleges Lecture System, though in itself good, and “ meeting a real want of the School,” yet had evil effects in diminishing the attendance on Professorial Lectures. But we are not sure that a reason for the comparative slimness of the audiences of some Oxford Professors might not be found in a cause to which Professor Burrows does not advert, and it is a singular one in these days of “Scholares non-ascripti," and Economical Colleges and Halls, viz. : the re-imposition of Statutable Fees which had gone out of use. This fresh tax has been levied both on Historical and Linguistic Studies, and must be expected to produce a certain effect. Professor Burrows thinks “it would be unwise to limit the Professors of History as to period, country, or department of subject.” The Board of Historical Studies, in their Report of 1876, seem likewise to be of this opinion, but provide for contingencies by suggesting the limitations they would recommend, if any are adopted. Should any limitations be thought wise, there seems no valid reason why those of the Board should not be taken. They would

* Of this valuable work, recently published by the Mekhitarist Society of S. Lazzaro in Venice, a brief but interesting account has been given by M. Joseph Lefort, in the “Revue Générale du Droit” (Paris, E. Thorin), for March-April, 1877. And the light shed on Mediæval Life by the Customs of Cities is exemplified in the “ Coutumes et Règlements de la République d'Avignon,” still in course of publication in the “ Nouvelle Revue Historique de Droit” (Paris, Larose), as a contribution to the History of Municipal Institu. tions in the Thirteenth Century.

leave the Regius Professor of Modern History entirely free; the Chichele Professor they would have to Lecture on the more modern period, from 1485; the Ford Professor (not yet in existence) to take Middle English History, 1066-1547; and the Professor (to be reconstructed) of Anglo-Saxon and Early English Languages, Literature, and History, the more distinctively Early Period down to 1272. Under this scheme, as perhaps under any other, certain Professors would overlap each other in their courses, but it would not follow that they should do so contemporaneously. The work of the proposed Professor of Foreign History would run parallel, as we have already urged, to that of a Lecturer (who might just as well be a Professor) on Foreign Law, and similarly with the Professor of Indian History. It seems unnecessary to create a Professor of “ English Literature in its Historical Aspect, say from 1272," if the Chichele Professor of Modern History is to be limited to the later period. Or again, the reconstructed Professor of Anglo-Saxon and Early English Languages, Literature and History, might carry on his prelections to a later date. The suggestion of a “ Professor of Modern Church History, who may be a layman,” seems scarcely to fall within our scope, save in so far as the phrase “Modern ” may, and probably does mean “Mediæval,” in which case he would, to that extent, be the complement of the suggested Professor of Canon Law. But we may be permitted in the course of these remarks on the Reports of the Professors and Boards contained in the “Statement of Requirements,” to observe that, some of the Professors seem to have strange canons of interpretation of the Statutes by which their Chairs are governed. Professor Bright, for instance, in this very matter of a Professor of Modern Church History, which seems to have arisen out of his peculiar interpretation of the nature of his own Chair, displays a very singular state of mind. After giving us the information that his Professorship, which is endowed with

a Canonry of Christ Church, is “ by the terms of its Foundation, devoted to Ecclesiastical History and the study of the Ancient Fathers," he proceeds, with the most sancta simplicitas, to tell us that he has “ practically interpreted the words · Ecclesiastical History' in connexion with the words which immediately follow, and has been in the habit of taking periods of Ancient Church History—those which are covered by Eusebius and Socrates-together with the early period of British Church History, to the close of the History of Venerable Bede—as the subjects of his ordinary Lectures." His extra Lectures, he further informs us, have also been restricted to “ Text-books prescribed in the department of Historia Ecclesiastica et Patristica.He admits that this leaves " a large portion of the field of Church History which is not provided for," viz. : “the General Mediæval, and the Modern, History of the Church.” These periods were not, it appears, practically recognised in the School of Theology in 1873, when Canon Bright wrote on the subject. If they have not yet been introduced they ought to be, and then Mediæval Church History will be, as it should be, a sister-study to Mediæval Law and Mediæval History. We have not dealt with more than a small portion of the topics suggested by so fertile a subject as the " Requirements of the University of Oxford.” We have only attempted to awaken attention to some points more or less directly bearing upon the subject with which we are specially concerned. We leave the consideration of the kindred questions raised by the General School of Law Bill to another occasion; but we earnestly request all who feel an interest in the sound development of Legal studies to think seriously over the changes and reforms that are necessary both at the Universities and the Inns of Court.

453

III.–CESSER OF CHARTERER'S LIABILITY.

TT has become a matter of common occurrence for a 1 charterer, whether acting as agent or principal, before entering into a charter-party, to procure the insertion of a clause providing that the liability of the charterer shall cease when the cargo is shipped. The words of immunity are generally, although not always, qualified by a proviso “that the same is worth the freight on arrival at the port of discharge,” and accompanied by a provision giving the captain “ a lien on the cargo for freight, dead-freight, and demurrage.” At first sight these words may not appear difficult of construction, but, when more closely examined, it will be found that the intention of the parties as deducible from them is capable of more than one interpretation, and this view is fully borne out by a comparison of the opinions of two learned Judges upon their original meaning. In Gray v. Carr, (L.R. 6, Q.B. 548),Bramwell, L. J., observes: I do not think that the parties intended, nor that they have expressed an intention, that the charterer's responsibilities for causes of action then accrued should be extinguished on shipment. Agreements should be construed on the principle that parties when making, intended keeping, not breaking them ;” and in Christoffersen v. Hansen, (L.R. 7, Q.B. 514), Lord Blackburn said: “We must interpret this charter-party without reference to whether the ship was British or foreign; and there would, à priori, as it seems to me, be some difficulty in saying that

all liability shall cease' was not a condition subsequent, meaning that all liability, ab initio, shall cease on shipment of the cargo." The rule of construction that general words must be limited in their operation if from other words in the document it is to be inferred that the words were not intended to be used in the general sense, coupled with the rule founded on the maxim“ Verba fortius accipiuntur contra proferentem,” applied in cases of ambiguity, may possibly have been, in some cases, of undeserved service to the shipowner. We find decisions on similar clauses a considerable way back, and, on a comparison of the clauses then used with those in use among merchants at the present day, it may be thought that the difference is merely due to the mercantile habit of making use of the fewest possible words to express the same meaning. Whether this be or be not the reason accounting for the absence of clear words of intention in the clauses now used, the Courts must, of course, construe them as they stand, and, by looking at all the terms, choose the most reasonable hypothesis of intention of which the document on its true construction is capable.

A review of the course of decisions upon the effect of these clauses furnishes a not uninteresting study, as well as an illustration of the growth of a branch of the Law Merchant.

The first decision necessary to refer to is the case of Oglesby v. Yglesias (E. Bl. and E. 930). The action was brought against the charterer for demurrage at the port of discharge upon a charter-party containing the clause: “It is further agreed that this charter being concluded by J. R. Yglesias for another party, the liability of the former in every respect, and as to all matters and things as well before as after the shipping of the said cargo, shall cease as soon as they have shipped the cargo.” The Court affirmed the judgment of the Court below in favour of the Defendant, Erle, J., observing : “ It may seem improbable that the owner would leave himself without a remedy at the port of discharge ; still, if he chooses so to contract, it is not our office to interfere. It is impossible to construe the charterparty otherwise than as exempting the Defendant from all liability after shipment of the cargo.” In Milvain v. Perez

« PreviousContinue »