« PreviousContinue »
Probably not, so we may as well record gratefully the good work which Gentili did in his day, and be thankful that it has lasted, and that the seed which he sowed has taken root in all lands where Western culture and Western law prevail. The Old and the New World seem to meet when we recall the fact that it is to a former Triumvir of Rome that our thanks are due for setting these thoughts before us in flowing language which we can here but faintly reproduce, and for whose full enjoyment our readers must be referred to Count Saffi's own eloquent pages.
British India would appear to be a very paradise for moneylenders, at least in their dealings with the ryots. When we read of a man who borrowed seventeen rupees “maund” of grain twenty years ago, and who has in the interval paid for this accommodation no less than five hundred and sixty-seven rupees, with bonds for other three hundred and seventy-five rupees still outstanding, we incline to fear that doubts may spring up whether it be worth while paying so high a price for the title of subject of the Empress of India. Part of these preposterous sums is made up, we are informed, of charges incurred through the ryot's inability to attend personally at distant Courts. Cannot the number of the Courts be increased, or would it not be possible for the cognisant magistrates to go" in itinere through their districts, to avoid as much as possible giving cause for such imposition ? Last, but not least, might not Sir James Stephen's Insolvency Bill, which is said to have been misunderstood, like so many good things that are condemned simply on account of their novelty of principle, be taken out of its official pigeon-hole, and dusted, and applied to the present emergency?
University Reform seems to be progressing but languidly, whether at the old English Universities or at Trinity College, Dublin. It is to be feared that not a few of the College authorities at Oxford and Cambridge look upon the Royal Commission as a bore, which obliges them to devise some scheme-good, bad, or indifferent-which they may call their Collegiate plan of reform, simply to play it off against the Commission, and not from any deep-seated conviction of the need for some reform, still less as the carefully-considered result of their corporate deliberations. We do not as yet see any signs of such thoughtful weighing of important questions of University extension and discipline as was exhibited by the Collegiate and University
authorities at Oxford on the occasion of the Royal Commission of 1852, and which took a shape of permanent utility in the volume containing the “ Report and Evidence
the Recommendations of Her Majesty's Commissioners," presented to the Board of Heads of Houses and Proctors, December 1, 1853 (Oxford : University Press. 1853). With much that is said in the Report so published we are unable to agree, and the objections made to several of the reforms recommended by the Commissioners have vanished before the practical carrying out of the suggested alterations. But the volume as a whole is satisfactory evidence of the keen interest taken in the general question of reform, even by those who were opposed to the recommendations of the Commissioners, and who thought that the University and Collegiate authorities had received scant measure of courtesy from Her Majesty's representatives. We should like to see even the interest necessary for a sharp opposition manifested on the present occasion. Several of the communications published in this volume deserve to be re-read at the present moment, both on account of the subjects treated, and of the eminence of the writers. We have noticed with special interest a letter on Law Studies at Oxford, by the late Sir John Taylor Coleridge, who was so felicitously described in the memoir furnished to our pages by Sir Laurence Peel, as " in the world, of the world, moving with the world, not spoiled by the world.” Mr. Justice Coleridge advocated a course substantially identical with that which we have ourselves urgedviz., the strengthening of the Law Professoriate at Oxford, for the purpose of giving a really wide and sound knowledge of the Principles of Law at the University.
" You must not expect,” said Sir John Coleridge, “to make complete lawyers, ready for the Courts of Justice, by your unaided Lectures and Lessons; this is as certain in regard to the Law as it is in regard to Medicine, and for much the same obvious reasons. But I think you may give, even to students intended for professional practice, such an amount of elementary legal and cognate information as will be found extremely useful to them when they enter on their directly professional course, and which will be absolutely invaluable to them in their after professional practice, and support and adorn them in their career, however far they may advance in it. . Such an elementary course as I speak of should comprise instruction in the Roman Law and the principles of our own Municipal Law, Civil and Criminal; it should be imparted in the Pupil room, book in hand, and in Professorial Lectures, which should be catechetical,
as well as general and popular.* This sort of education, in my own day, could be had nowhere in England, neither at the University nor in London. .. I feel very sure that a course of this sort, so far from being thought to delay the young lawyer in his progress, would have the effect of removing an objection which many Utilitarians now have to an Academical education, and therefore be likely to attract young men intended for lawyers to the University. . . There are some branches of Law which are so made up of principle, and some not very numerous historic or antiquarian precedents, that even for the lawyer they may be as thoroughly learnt, or nearly so, at the University as elsewhere.
I consider, however, that what I propose will not have a fair chance unless it be made compulsory on all. . . I am sure I shall not be thought to make any reflection personally on the distinguished persons who now fill the legal chairs at Oxford when I say that their position as teachers must be very unsatisfactory to them, because it is very unfruitful to the University. As things have been, it could scarcely be otherwise ; let Oxford be necessarily to all a School of Elementary Roman and English Law, there would be a constant, a gratifying, even an exciting call on them, which I am sure would be satisfactorily answered. .. I confess I think it of great importance to attract to the Universities those who are to be lawyers. It would be absurd to deny, in the face of such splendid instances, the possibility of men becoming not only accurate but splendid Lawyers without an Academical education ; and certainly men may, perhaps even earlier, without it become astute, money-making practitioners; but I am inclined to think, and I judge from a pretty long experience, that the former are exceptional cases-cases of men who are so gifted that they overcome every disadvantage, and the latter are a class who do us no honour, and may be left to themselves. For the interests of the Profession at large (and therein, we should always remember, necessarily for the benefit of the Public), it is most desirable that men should come to the Law with all the training and mental discipline and accomplishment and associations which the Academical course alone can give. And speaking of the generality of men, I am 'sure they succeed best, and do the Public most service, while the most eminent men always add by it a grace and perfection to their excellence." We refrain from adding anything of our own to the “grace” and “perfection" of the views so clearly stated by such an eminent member alike of the University of Oxford and of the Legal Profession.
* The italics here are our own; elsewhere they are those of Sir John Coleridge.
The cry for good and cheap Justice is being echoed in Egypt, where the establishment of the International Courts has worked so well as to make those who did not come within the jurisdiction of those Tribunals manifest their desire to be brought within it. There was probably never any reason to doubt that the native-born subjects of the Khedive would welcome a strong and impartial Administration of Justice as readily in conflicts among themselves, as between themselves and Europeans. And the Khedive appears to have seen this, and met the feeling of his people half-way, by inviting the opinion of the Judges of the International Tribunals on this extension of their powers. It is stated that they are unanimously in favour of taking in causes between native parties, and differ only as to the means by which this would best be effected, whether by an increased European Bench more widely spread through the country, or by utilisation of the native element in the Judicature. It is not improbable that native feeling would be in favour of a European rather than a native magistracy. The existing staff of Judges is, no doubt, overworked, not only for want of numbers, but also, as is shown by M. Jozon, in an interesting essay on the Egyptian Courts (Bulletin de la Société de Législation Comparée, Paris. Juillet, 1877), from want of practice in the French and Italian languages and laws. About half of the magistrates, it would seem, are too little versed in those languages to be able to render the same amount of services as their colleagues. This want is felt most in the drawing up of judgments, and the giving of audiences. The same, of course, may to a great extent be said of the native members of the Courts, though they are acknowledged to be picked men, and are of use in affording a means of checking interpreters in Court, and also in giving information as to local customs. It appears from M. Jozon's account that the Court of Alexandria is ambitious of creating a Jurisprudence of its own, and that its elements are taken from the principal Supreme Courts of Europe, with a special leaning towards giving authority to the judgments of the French Court of Cassation. M. Jozon's testimony is most emphatic on the point of the value set by the natives upon the International Courts, before which, he says, they more and more endeavour to bring their cases. The truth of this statement is amply borne out by the news we give of the proposed extension of jurisdiction, and it is not without bearing on the solution of the interminable " Eastern Question."
1.-CYPRUS AND THE CAPITULATIONS. OME of the difficulties which we had foreseen as likely
to present themselves before the British Administration of the Government of Cyprus have arisen since our last issue. As the subject is one of considerable importance alike to British interests and to the interests of Powers hitherto our friends, necessarily our neighbours, in the Levant, and is also one intimately connected with the preservation of harmonious International relations between our own country and the other Western Powers, we propose taking up the thread of our discussion at the new point of departure afforded by the Capitulations. During the sitting of Thursday, 12th December, 1878, Sir Charles Dilke asked a question concerning an act of seeming high-handedness on the part of the Courts in Cyprus, to which we had referred in a note to our article on Law in Cyprus in the November issue of this Review. Sir Charles enquired, * “whether, in October last, Mr. di Cesnola, an American citizen, was tried for an offence against Turkish law in digging up objects of antiquarian interest without a firman, by the district Court of Larnaca in Cyprus; whether the Court was presided over by a Turkish Cadi, assisted by an English assessor; whether Mr. di Cesnola was sentenced to a fine, afterwards remitted by Sir Garnet Wolseley, and the confiscation of
* Daily News, Summary of Parliament, Friday, 13th December, 1878.