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lived within a few fingers' breadth of death : “digitis a morte remoti, aut quatuor aut septem, si sit latissima tæda.” It should be the triumph of modern science to make the iron ship safer than the wooden ship. The chances are at present that an iron ship, not built in water-tight compartments, will prove to be little more than an iron coffin for her passengers, if she comes into collision with another iron vessel and receives the blow anywhere else than on her stem.
II.-LAW IN CYPRUS.
E have gained a new acquisition.
generally, and writers of the usual flow of “ad captandum” publications and articles, have rung the changes on the phrases “our new colony,” “our new dependency,” neither of which appears to us to be either an adequate or an accurate description of the nature of our new acquisition. It is easier indeed to say what Cyprus is not, than what Cyprus is, in its new relation to the Crown of Great Britain and Ireland. It is not a fresh gem added to the Imperial Crown, for in so far as it may be worthy of being counted a gem, it is still a gem of the Padishah's Crown. The allegiance of the Cypriots has not been transferred to us, but we have, out of our benevolent interest in alleviating the difficulties of our Ottoman brother and ally, undertaken to lighten his burden of Administrative Reform by relieving him of the labour of administering the Government and collecting the revenue of the island. We have started a newspaper, and are organising a body of native police, two palladia of the British Constitution
without which our rule would not be perfect. The new policemen, it appears, are “Turkish,” whatever that phrase may mean in the hands of Our Special Correspondent in Cyprus, and they take an oath to be “ faithful to the Queen of England in Cyprus.” If any members of the force were to take a vacation and go to Rhodes, it is to be presumed that they might conspire against the “Queen of England in Cyprus ” without breaking their Cypriot oath. What would happen if the Shadow of God upon Earth, the Commander of the Faithful, were to order these “ Turkish " policemen in Cyprus to break the oath which the British High Commissioner has administered to them, on their superior allegiance to him as alike their Spiritual and Temporal Lord, is a question which those who know Turkish policemen in Turkey proper may be left to solve for themselves. Meanwhile, British traders, British merchants and bankers, and British speculators, are each and all anxious to share in the spoils of this gem of the Levantine Sea. They have hastened to the spot, regardless of possible malaria, ready with many a plan for dredging this harbour, rebuilding that mole, and reviving the long extinct commerce of the island. They have also had an eye to bringing its ancient repute for mineral wealth once more to the front. But their ardour is abated, their zealous self-devotion is cooled by the unpleasant fact which stares them in the face, that they do not know under what law they are living, and they do not know who may claim to be lord of the mineral treasures which they had proposed to unlock from the mountain fastnesses of Cyprus for the benefit of Great Britain and themselves. This is reasonably felt as a serious drawback, and it must act as a material check upon the prosperity of our new acquisition. We have little doubt that the majority of those who either went in person or sent representatives to open branch houses in Cyprus, assumed that where the British flag had been hoisted with so much of religious and political ceremony,
guarded by Goorkhas from the Himalayas, and blessed by picturesque Greek priests, there British law would hold undisputed sway. But it is not so, as the would-be.commercial benefactors of Cyprus have discovered, to their no small dismay. And as they cannot have what they would, they must be content with what they can get, only they may be excused if they press for the earliest possible settlement of their present most undesirable state of suspense and blank ignorance as
to what is law in Cyprus. It was doubtless an unpleasant surprise to many of them to learn that they were under Turkish law; as to what that Turkish law might have in store for them, they have, perhaps, preferred not to enquire too closely. On paper, we believe, it will be found that our would-be colonists might have fared worse. But the difficulty which we shall inevitably experience in bringing practice into the necessary conformity with theory, is strikingly exemplified by the fact, that even under the so recently hoisted and profusely blessed British ensign, the old inveterate, apparently ineradicable, Turkish rejection of Christian evidence has caused trouble in Cypriot Courts of Law. Will it be possible, with these warnings sounding in our ears, to entrust any part of the administration of the law to Mohammedan Moollahs and Cadis ? Or will it not be found more expedient to constitute Courts modelled somewhat after the Egyptian plan, consisting of a British judge with native Christian assessors acquainted with the text of the Ottoman Code? For this it is, no doubt, which alone has the force of law in Cyprus, and this it is which our Commissioners and Judges will have to put in practice. The law itself appears to have obtained the general approbation of Sir Adrian Dingli, who was sent for from Malta to come and investigate the subject. It has since been reported that he was to proceed to Constantinople to lay certain suggestions before the Porte, calculated to render our enforcement of the law more beneficial to the people for whom we are to administer it. In
truth, Ottoman Law, in its modern codified shape, is an outcome of the veneer of European polish which the Turk has been unwillingly obliged to accept by way of sop to the Western Powers. It is, as far as it goes, a good thing that any such codification should have taken place, just as it is a good thing, as far as it goes, that an Ottoman Constitution should have been devised, and that an Ottoman Parliament should have sat, however limited and ineffectual its attempts at reform. For no student of the Constitutional Law and History of Western Europe would imagine for a moment, that any people, or agglomeration of peoples, long accustomed to despotic and theocratic government, could all at once develop into constitutionally governed states, with a Western respect for law and order. These things have been amongst ourselves the silent growth of centuries; it is impossible to suppose that a happy family of Levantine Greeks, Phanariots, Armenians, and Ottoman Turks, can suddenly become truth-telling, law-abiding citizens, either in Eastern Roumelia, Constantinople, Asia Minor, or Cyprus. But they will, we may well believe, have the best chance of settling down smoothly and rapidly into orderliness where the law is administered and the taxes are collected by a Government at once firm and impartial, which can be trusted to do justice between Mohammedan and Christian as well as between Mohammedans in their litigation among themselves. Such we earnestly hope will be the character of the Governments to be formed in Bulgaria and Eastern Roumelia, and such certainly must be the character of our own administration of Cyprus, if we are not to forfeit our self-respect, and deny the traditions of our past. It is obvious that in undertaking to enforce Turkish law, though we shall be sitting as Turkish judges, we could yet not be called upon to adjudicate between European litigants, or to punish European criminals, on principles repugnant to European law and Christian morals. Any such tares must be at once sifted and
laid aside, as far as Cyprus is concerned. Fortunately we are not altogether without the means of estimating the nature of the law which we are thus suddenly called upon
to administer. In the last “Annuaire de Législation Etrangère," published by the Society of Comparative Legislation in Paris, whose valuable works we so often have occasion to cite, M. Vitchen Servicen, an advocate practising at Constantinople, has given the two books of the Civil Code published in the course of 1876, and the Constitution of the same year. The two Books which appeared in 1876, deal, the one with Confession (Aveu, Icrar), i.e., the declaration by which a person recognises that a third party has rights as against himself; and the other with Actions. Another Book, of which a brief but interesting account is given by M. Georges Dubois, Substitut du Procureur Général près la Cour d'Appel de Paris, in one of the Bulletins of the Society (July, 1876), deals with the important contract of hiring, one likely to be of considerable practical interest to our immigrants in Cyprus. That the subject is a complicated one, may be judged from the fact that it is spread over no less than two hundred and eight articles (404 to 611) of the Civil Code, of which it forms the Second Book. It is divided into eight chapters, comprising, respectively, the general dispositions of the law, the conclusion of the contract, the price, the duration of the contract, the right of dissolution (résolution), the subject-matter of the contract, the rights and duties of the contracting parties after the contract, and the damages to which it may give rise.
This portion of the Ottoman Code will, to all appearance, require some slight modification for the purposes of our administration in Cyprus, inasmuch as it is drawn up on the basis of the Capitulations. It will probably be thought best that the powers and privileges thereby accorded to the Embassies, should, for Cyprus, be transferred to the British High Commissioner, or his repre