« PreviousContinue »
the construction 272, and elsewhere, and have be
out. His system of annotation remains fuller than that of most of his contemporaries, and rises not unfrequently to the rank of an Excursus on a branch of Law. And in this exhaustive treatment of questions, Mr. Griffith continues to make suggestive remarks on difficulties which still appear to await solution in the construction and practical working of the Acts, as on s. 77 of the Act of 1873, and elsewhere. His references to decided cases continue to be extremely full, and have been carried in, together with all the Rules and Orders, down to October, 1877, a feature which cannot fail to give Mr. Griffith's book a great advantage in the eyes of the practitioner, coupled as it is with a well-deserved reputation for clearness and accuracy. We must confess, however, that we should have been glad if Mr. Griffith had used as his running marginal reference the convenient title, Act, 1873, or 1875, &c., like Mr. Locock Webb and Mr. Charley, instead of adhering to the perhaps more orthodox, but certainly more cumbrous, method of using the Regnal Year, which always involves an uncomfortable process of mental arithemetic.
Essays in Anglo-Saxon Law. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co. London: Macmillan & Co. 1876.
It is sometimes said that among the things of which our American cousins most envy us the possession are the picturesque ruins of the castles and abbeys of England, the outward and visible tokens of our links with the past, and of the continuity of our history. Now, we cannot transplant our ivycovered ruins from the regions of the morning to the land of the Dacotahs, but we can, and we must, share with them the history of the English people, and we are glad to hail so interesting and unmistakeable a proof that they are awake to this fact of a common inheritance as is presented by the goodly volume now before us. That such a subject as Anglo-Saxon Law should be seriously studied in the United States ought to be welcome news, alike to the English and Continental writers whose works have afforded to this zealous band of American Jurists at once a subject for criticism and an incentive to study.
Our authors, it should be observed, are perfectly independent, alike of each other, and of the English and Continental historians whose works they chiefly quote. In this fact, indeed, lies a considerable portion of the interest we feel in their book, and of its value as a commentary.
Mr. Adams, in the Essay with which the volume opens, shows that he has closely grasped some of those features of the AngloSaxon character which necessarily influenced Anglo-Saxon Law, and which by a species of atavism are apt to re-appear in the present day. Tenacity of adherence to ancient forms and conceptions of Law, though valuable at times as a barrier against needless innovation, is too apt to degenerate into Chinese rigidity. In Law, as in politics, it appears to us evident from the records of history that, when uncorrected by the wholesome though severe remedy of foreign domination, the Anglo-Saxon tendency was towards crystallization. Without any system of Appeals, and without any recognition of Equity, the out-look was not a cheerful one for Anglo-Saxon Law. That Frankish Kings should have enjoyed an equitable jurisdiction while Anglo-Saxon Kings had none, seems to surprise Mr. Adams. The difference, however, is clearly due to the perpetuation of the power and influence of Roman Jurisprudence in the WestFrankish Kingdom, alike through the clergy, through the Municipalities, and through the fusion of Roman and Teutonic notions of Law in the codes of the barbarian settlers within the limits of what became, in A.D. 800, the revived Western Empire.
Mr. Cabot Lodge, in his “ Essay on the Anglo-Saxon Land Law," discusses at some length questions of great interest in relation to the history of the English People, which Mr. J. R. Green, from considerations of space, has been obliged to dismiss with brief notice. Mr. Lodge, quoting a grant in 880 by Æthelred Dux (whom he rather quaintly calls Duke Æthelred, a formula reminding one of the Dukes of Edom in the Authorised Version) of lands to the Church, “with six men and their families," seems uncertain about the class to which those men belonged. Is it not most probable that they were ceorls, members of a class of which Mr. Taswell-Langmead shows in his English Constitutional History (London, 1875), that the “landless" members were “practically little better off than the slave?” Mr. Lodge enlarges upon the gradual substitution of the Lord for the community. This was one of those alterations of the old Teutonic system which spread the germs of Feudalism among the Anglo-Saxons. But it seems to us that it followed as a logical sequence from the substitution of the King and his Thegns for the War-band Chief and his gesiths. And the equally gradual passing of “Folc-land" into “Terra Regis" is but another phase of the alterations which slowly but surely undermined the “beau système trouvé dans les bois.” Mr. Lodge does not work out all these causes of alteration, but his conclusion is the same. “If the course of native development had not been changed,” he says, “Feudalism would have followed sooner or later in England, as a natural out-growth, just as surely as night follows day.” From the consideration of the Land Law of the Anglo-Saxons we pass to a subject of even wider interest in Comparative Jurisprudence, viz., their Family Law. Under this head we find Mr. Young's views often somewhat peculiar, and in opposition to received theories. He appears, at p. 150, to deny the existence of Law under the Patriarchal System, which would cut out an entire stage in the legal history of the Aryan nations. He speaks, in a note at p. 151, of the American Indians as seeming “to have reached a stage of social development as nearly resembling that immediately preceding the Aryan as anything we are likely to discover.” We should very much like to know where we could find a trustworthy account of this “social stage immediately preceding the Aryan.” The cave-dwellers of Périgord were doubtless pre-Aryan inhabitants of Europe, but where are the records of their “social stage,” and is it the one to which Mr. Young alludes ? Perhaps the forthcoming work of Mr. Lewis H. Morgan on “ Ancient Society,” which is mentioned by Mr. Young in this connection, may enlighten us on the point. If the Patriarchal system was a stage through which all the Aryan races passed, there must have been a time when it prevailed among the Teutonic tribes.
Mr. Young thinks that the German household must be looked upon as something radically different from the Roman, and the German family system as something entirely different from anything resembling a Patriarchal system.” But when M. Guizot and M. Passy were taking part in the discussion at the French Academy on a paper by M. Geffroy, embodied in his subsequent work, “ Rome et les Barbares” (Paris, Didier, 1874), both those eminent authorities considered the manners and customs of the German tribes to differ in no essential respect from those common to all peoples passing out of the Nomad into the agricultural condition. The social state of the Germans, said M. Guizot, was wanting in that fixity which constitutes landed property. It was the social state belonging to the nomad, unstable, life of a people which has not yet found its anchorage (la vie instable d'un peuple qui n'a pas encore trouvé son assiette. Geffroy, ut sup. p. 238). In his account of AngloSaxon Legal Procedure, which is constantly illustrated by reference to the “Select Cases in Anglo-Saxon Law" given in the Appendix, Mr. Laughlin shows the same conscientious working out of details as his fellow-essayists. But why does he speak in English of the Ripuarian Franks, and quote their law in Latin as the “ Lex Ribuaria ?” And when we read in his pages of the “Carbonaria Forest," we scarcely realised that what was meant was the “ Silva Carbonaria," which once covered a great portion of modern Belgium.
We cannot discuss all the questions which this interesting volume raises, but we can recommend it as one alike pleasurable and profitable to all students of the early history and constitution of the Anglo-Saxon ancestors of the English and American peoples.
Smith's Compendium of Mercantile Law. Ninth Edition. By GEORGE MORLEY Dowdeswell, of the Inner Temple, Esq., Q.C., and one of the Official Referees of the Supreme Court of Judicature. Stevens & Sons; H. Sweet; Maxwell & Son. 1877.
This well-known text-book has long enjoyed a high reputation among practitioners as a clear, brief, and accurate compendium of the various and important branches of Jurisprudence comprised under the comprehensive title of “ Mercantile Law.” Carefully and conscientiously designed and executed by its author, Mr. J. W. Smith, nearly half a century ago, it has in successive editions been kept au courant with the many changes in the Law, which have arisen from either direct legislation or judicial decisions. The present and three preceding editions have been produced under the generally careful editorship of Mr. Dowdeswell, and leave little to be desired if only it be remembered that the work is professedly a Compendium merely, and is not intended to obviate the necessity of referring in many cases to the various existing Treatises separately devoted to the exposition of the Law on such subjects as “ Partnership,” " Joint-Stock Companies," “ Bills of Exchange," “ Contracts," " Bankruptcy,” &c.
We find no list of "errata," but this is not owing to the absence of errors of the Press, the correction of which seems to have been somewhat perfunctorily performed. So early as page 7 of the Introduction, we find “law” for “lay," and “ consistent” for “ inconsistent,” in both cases making nonsense of the passages in which they occur. Notwithstanding, however, these and some other blemishes, we can safely say that, to the practising Solicitor, few books will be found more useful than the gth Edition of “Smith's Mercantile Law.”
Arnould on Marine Insurance. Fifth Edition. By DAVID MACLACHLAN, Esq., M.A., of the Middle Temple, Barristerat-Law. 1877. Stevens and Sons; H. Sweet; and W. Maxwell and Son.
This new edition of a standard work, brought out like the two immediately preceding issues, under so competent a supervision as that of Mr. Maclachlan, cannot but prove extremely useful both to the Legal Profession and to the large class interested in the subject with which it deals. The work of Sir Joseph Arnould has been carried down to the present day both by revision of the text, and the addition of Appendices, one of which gives the official translation of the Russian Proclamation of May, 1877, laying down rules for neutral commerce during the existing war. This Proclamation professes to apply the doctrines of the Declaration of Paris even to those States (naming the United States of America and Spain) which have not adhered to it. In the portion of the work relating to violation of blockade and contraband of war, the rules considered as obtaining among nations are very clearly laid down, and they seem absolutely to exclude such a case as that of the Springbok. If it had been contended that the ship was going to make a second " iter" from Nassau to a specified blockaded port, something might have been said in its favour, as it is admitted by Casaregis that one “ Viaggium" may embrace several “ itinera.” But such an idea as that of several “itinera” for freight in different ships, and between different ports, finds no warranty here. General average, which formed a very important feature of the discussions at the recent Antwerp Conference of the Association for Reform and Codification of the Law of Nations, deservedly receives a considerable share of Mr. Maclachlan's attention. We believe that the decisions arrived at in the Antwerp Conference are about to be officially communicated to Lloyd's, and they are of a nature to revolutionise the existing system, if the large shipping and insuring interests represented at Antwerp prove strong enough to counteract the influence of the “establishment or society, formerly held at Lloyd's Coffee-house in the Royal Exchange, in the City of London, for the effecting of marine insurance." Mr. Maclachlan's knowledge of foreign