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course unnecessary to say that, of the scores of English cases on copyright which Mr. Kerr's diligence has collected, and the majority of which are as valuable here as in England, Mr Hilliard has not a tithe. We will not go further into detail. We have examined sixteen pages, and we know no reason to suppose that we might not examine any other sixteen pages in the three volumes with a like result. We have not taken unfamiliar topics, nor have we made curious research, but have compared these volumes with the reports and text-books nearest at hand. We have avoided expressions of opinion, and have endeavored to confine ourselves to facts and figures which any one can easily test for themselves. We hope we have made obvious wherein Mr. Hilliard's weakness as a law writer lies. His works are in the nature of digests; we have no fault to find with this, but they should have the merits of digests; and while we do not charge him with sins of commission, his sins of omission are too grave to be passed over in silence. If he will pardon the suggestion, he has attempted to cover too much ground; let him take one of his books, this book on injunctions, for instance, and work it up to an exhaustive treatise - such a one is much needed — which shall be an honor to him, and a benefit to the profession.
Principles of the Law of Stoppage in Transitu, Retention, and Delivery. By JOHN
HOUSTON. London: Stevens & Haynes. 1866.
Mr. Houston, as we learn from the Preface, writes with the usual charitable desire to satisfy a want which is, or ought to be, felt by the legal and mercantile public, for a “ distinct compilation and digest of the leading decisions of English law upon the subject of Stoppage in Transitu.” There can be no doubt that this work of Mr. Houston's meets this want in a thorough and satisfactory manner. It is intended for the edification and use of both lawyers and merchants, and it is so carefully executed, and the points of law are so clearly and amply expressed, and yet so simply withal, that it seems fully able to supply to the lawyer that accurate information of the fact and critical treatment of the principle which he looks for in a really useful text-book, and at the same time to enable a merchant to gain sufficient acquaintance with the law upon the subject, to render himself fully competent to deal with the ordinary emergencies of trade.
We have, indeed, met with few works which so successfully surmount the difficulties in the way of this arduous undertaking as the one before us; for the language is well chosen, it is exhaustive of the law, and is systematized with great method. The subject, too, is one unusually suited to publication as a separate treatise, for its lines of demarcation and separation are as clearly defined, and the entire topic stands out by itself among the many cloudy theories and practices of business law, as distinctly as a fly in amber.
Mr. Houston modestly disclaims originality, but his division and arrangement are masterly and complete. The book is divided into six chapters, and an introduction on the “nature and history of the right;” and each of these chapters is devoted to the consideration of the right from a different standpoint. In them, also, are skilfully arranged the leading cases with the principles under which they fall, stated with clearness and decision. The only criticism which we can fairly make upon this arrangement, is, that it sometimes narrowly escapes being too diffuse,
The only subject in the treatment of which he betrays indecision and feebleness is the question of the degree of insolvency in the vendee which will justify the vendor in exercising his right of stoppage. On page 35, he says that actual insolvency is requisite, but elsewhere he qualifies this statement very much, and thinks that such embarrassment as to render payment doubtful on the part of vendee, is quite sufficient. In this country, a man must be sufficiently insolvent to be unable to pay his debts, and not merely “ embarrassed,” and we think the majority of the English cases, notwithstanding Mr. Houston's hesitation, have decided that mere danger of failure to pay his debts on part of the vendee is not enough, and that the “ embarrassment, or failure, or insolvency" must be evidenced by some overt act; and Blackburn on Contract of Sale, page 130, fully substantiates this view.
On the whole, we think Mr. Houston has been successful, though we think the use of his work among merchants will be limited; and will finish by quoting Judge Redfield's parting advice to his readers in his work on Carriers, that the best thing which his non-professional reader can do in cases of difficulty, is to consult a professional man.
Treatise on Admiralty and Prize : together with some Suggestions for the Guide and Government of United States Naval Commanders in Maritime Wars. By David ROBERTS. New York: Published by Hurd & Houghton. 1869.
We believe that this is the first attempt of Mr. Roberts as a law writer, and some allowance should, perhaps, be made for the want of that experience in the art of writing a law book which can only be acquired by practice. But when every allowance of this sort is made, we can only wonder that a lawyer should be found willing to risk his reputation by publishing such a book.
A work on Admiralty should properly treat separately of the jurisdiction of the court of Admiralty, of the practice, and of the different subjects which come before such court. This distinction is utterly ignored by Mr. Roberts. For instance, the chapter on collision treats of the jurisdiction of the Admiralty over marine torts, the limitation of the liability of ship-owners, rules of navigation, and matters of pleading and practice. These are matters about which it is highly important for a lawyer, who has a collision case, to know; but they are all entirely distinct subjects, having but an incidental connection with each other. If each chapter on any given subject should embrace every thing important for a lawyer to know on that subject, each chapter would make a volume of itself. The author has, indeed, not attempted to carry out such a plan, and the result is that the only reference we have been able to find to the important subject of the limitation of the liability of ship-owners is in the chapter on collision.
Mr. Roberts has also discovered a new way of writing a law book, which is certainly ingenious, and which is admirably adapted to save the author the labor which writers of law books generally have to undergo. This plan is to give the general views of the writer covering several pages, and then to cite one or two hundred cases, as having more or less bearing on the one or two hundred points previously considered ; — an arrangement which is similar to that of the
man who wrote a book without punctuation, and then put the stops altogether at the end, that his readers might punctuate at their pleasure.
We naturally expect, in a recent book on Admiralty, to find some discussion of the doctrine of the case of Pratt v. Reed, 19 How. 359. On turning to the list of cases, p. 397 is given as the only reference. On turning to this page, we find that the case is cited as an authority for a point, which in fact it did not decide. On p. 216, we accidentally discovered the case of Pratt v. Reed, cited under the name of The Sultana, as an authority for the extraordinary proposition that “ coal was not deemed necessaries, and so conferred no lien." These are the only references to this case. Nor have we been able to find any reference to the question whether Admiralty has jurisdiction over a contract of affreightment where the voyage is between ports of the same state.
On p. 78, the author seems to be laboring under the impression that there are no rules in this country, made by Congress, in regard to collision. As if doubtful on the point, he says, “But vide Appendix G.” On turning to this we find the rules of 1864, but no reference to the Amendatory Act of 1866. The Admiralty rules, which went into effect in 1845, are given in the Appendix; but the author seems to be entirely ignorant that the twelfth rule was changed in 1859, the twenty-first in 1862, and that additional rules were made in 1850, in 1851, and in 1854.
The Practice in Courts of Justice in England and the United States. By CoN
WAY ROBINSON. Volume V. As to the Grounds and Form of Defence in Personal Actions. Richmond: Woodhouse & Parham. Baltimore: Cushings & Bailey. Philadelphia : T. & J. W. Johnson & Co. 1868. pp. 1053.
The first volume of this able and elaborate work, alike creditable to the profession and its author, was published in 1854, and then grew out of a demand, made by the bar of the Southern States, for a new edition of a smaller and more local work published by Mr. Robinson in 1832 and 1835, both editions of which had been long exhausted. The first volume was devoted to the place and time of a transaction or proceeding treating chiefly of the Conflict of Laws and the Statutes of Limitation."
The second volume appeared in 1855, treating of “the Subject-matter of Personal Actions, or the Right of Action.”
In 1858 the third volume was published, treating of “ Personal Actions with respect to parties who may sue and be sued; the form of action, and the frame of the Pleadings."
This was followed two years later, in 1860, by the fourth volume, “As to Pleadings in Personal Actions ;” and this again, after a lapse of eight years, by the volume whose title we have given at length above. Another volume is now in preparation.
The work will thus, when completed, comprise six volumes, averaging more than eight hundred closely printed pages each, and occupying in their preparation the leisure of no inconsiderable part of the author's active professional life. And we hazard nothing in saying that we do not know, within the scope of its subjectmatter, a work more accurate and able, or one more useful to the lawyer in full and active practice.
The title is unfortunate, in that it gives no adequate idea of the scope, extent, or general character of these volumes. In the language of a most eminent English judge: “We hardly do it justice in calling it a Practice merely. It is to a great extent a Nisi Prius Manual.”
In the six volumes, under the title of “Practice of Law in Courts of Justice in England and the United States," Mr. Robinson treats, with great ability, accuracy, and conciseness, of the whole subject-matter of personal actions at law, whether in contract or tort, and their remedies and defences ; embracing a view of the whole law, by which the existence of rights and defences are ascertained. The word “ Practice,” in its general and technical acceptance, carries with it a much more limited idea, - that of a work treating merely of the details of forms of actions, and the courts and modes for their prosecution, but excluding all discussion of their causes and subject-matter. Hence its inadequacy as a title to these volumes. We suspect it is only a kind of paternal attachment to it, as the title of his earlier and local work, that has induced Mr. Robinson to retain it in this.
We have no space to enter into an analysis or upon an elaborate criticism of this work or of its last volume. In the language of the writer we have already quoted, “ there is probably no book now in use by American lawyers so capable of affording aid in the commencement and prosecution of suits, and the discussions of issues of law before courts, as this book of Mr. Robinson's. And this is just as true of it in one State of the Union as in another; for although there is not a uniformity of decision, or of statute law, or of forms of practice and remedy, in the different States, it is the peculiar excellence of this work, that it takes notice of and states with accuracy and fulness the law of England and the law of each State of the Union on the subjects on which it treats ; points out the diversity of decision or legisladon, and puts the reader in possession of the past and present state of the law, and the modes of remedy throughout the United States."
We are inclined to believe that, if a practising lawyer could have in his general practice access to but a single work, this would be the best he could select.
In the recent case of The City Discount Co. v. Berger, in the Exchequer Court, the following colloquy occurred:
BARON BRAMWELL. You will find, Mr. Powell, the law on this head well stated in the 5th volume of Mr. Conway Robinson's Practice.
MR. POWELL. But shall I find any thing there that will help me, my Lord ? BARON BRAMWELL. No, it is too well done.
That this work is well done, a mere cursory examination will assure any one. And such a work we should expect from the character of its author. He has been for years a leader at the Virginia bar, and is a thorough and eminent lawyer, with no ambition or inclination for other pursuits, if we except an occasional literary or historical production, into which his scholarly tastes have led him. He is not only a practitioner, but a jurist, and alike eminent as both; as this work, in which are embodied the results of the study, experience, and labor of so much of the twenty best years of his life as could be spared from active practice, amply demonstrates.
This book is not in so general use at the North as it ought to be, and will be, when its sterling merits are known and appreciated. At the South, it has long been in general use, and is regarded as high authority by court and bar. We feel that we shall do the profession a favor by calling their attention to it. The Chief Justice of one of the courts of England has recently said, “ It seems a most comprehensive and valuable work upon the subjects which it embraces, likely to be quite as useful in this country as in America,” — an opinion in which any one who has occasion to consult it will readily concur.
The Jurisprudence of Medicine in its relations to the Law of Contracts, Torts, and
Evidence, with a Supplement on the Liabilities of Vendors of Drugs. By John ORDRONAUX, LL.B., M.D. Philadelphia : T. & J. W. Johnson & Co. 1869.
This is a very different book from the ordinary Treatises on Medical Jurisprudence: they are medical books for the use of lawyers; this is a law-book for the use of doctors. The bulk of works on Medical Jurisprudence is devoted to a discussion of those facts and theories connected with medical art and science, concerning which testimony in courts of law is most frequently offered: such as the effects of poison, the signs of pregnancy, the symptoms of insanity. This present work states the general rules of law which govern in the professional relations of physicians to their patients, to each other, and to the community, and of the nature of the testimony of medical experts. We have never seen a book of the kind which we liked better; partly, perhaps, because the learned author remembers that he is a bachelor of laws as well as a doctor of medicine. Sometimes, in truth, he holds his medical brethren to an almost too severe legal liability.
The matter of the book we can heartily praise; we cannot say as much for the style. Where Dr. Ordronaux forgets himself in his interest for the subject he writes as well as need be, but as soon as he begins to think of his words, he becomes cumbersome and pedantic, thus:
“The duties arising from consensual obligations are not exclusively private in their nature, and limited ex vi termini to the contracting parties alone, but postulate to this fact are the exoteric duties," &c. One is tempted to exclaim with Vittoria, in Webster's White Devil: “Surely, this lawyer here hath swallowed some pothicaries' bills.” It is a pity that such good sense should be clad in so ungraceful a garb.
The Bankrupt Law of the United States, with the Rules and Forms in Bankruptcy
and Notes of Decisions. By FREDERICK C. BRIGHTLY, Esq., Philadelphia : Kay & Brother. 1869.
This is one of those manuals of which several have appeared since the passage of the Bankrupt Act, containing the text of the law with the cases which have been decided under it in the district courts collected in notes at the foot of the pages. Each new one surpasses its predecessors by containing more cases, and each runs the risk of being superseded by some later rival. Mr. Brightly brings a skill and a vast experience to the task of condensing the decided cases into the notes. We can speak with confidence as to his success, for we have recently had occasion to go over the same ground in preparing the Bankruptcy Digest for publication in the American Law Review last April. The work has unusual difficulties, for many of the decisions, especially the earlier ones, were hastily given