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their work has our hearty commendation, and deserves to be widely known in these days of increased study of Roman
In A Minute Digest of Important Decisions of the English A pfieal Courts, 1877-8 (Law Times Ofiice), we have the contribution of a solicitor towards the embodying, in a handy form for ready reference, of many important points decided on Appeal between August, 1877, and August, 1878. It would have been more satisfactory on the whole had the “ Minute Digest " embraced all the Appeal Cases, instead of only a selection, and in the Table of Cases cited, we should have preferred to find “ The AttorneyGeneral v. Floyer ” under A, and “ The Franconia " under F, rather than under T, where they actually appear.
Mr. E. Preston publishes the “Third Thousand" of his Unclaimed Money, a Handy Book for Heirs-at-Law and Next-of Kin (Allen, and Reeves and Turner, 1878), which contains many curious, and some rather startling, facts in the history of Unclaimed Property.
Of recent years considerable interest has been excited with reference to ancient records, both public and private. It is to be feared, however, that much valuable matter has from neglect been allowed to perish. On a recent appointment to the office of Sheriff Clerk of the County of Renfrew, the new incumbent, Mr. VV. Hector, described the County Record Room as “ a place in confusion ; the fioor strewed with heaps of disarranged papers, which, with others in closed presses, were covered with dust, and in a state of decay from damp and want of ventilation." Mr. Hector, with praiseworthy enterprise and industry, has succeeded in rescuing many important writings from oblivion, and has arranged them as far back as the middle of the seventeenth century. In 1876, Mr. Hector published a volume of“ Selections from the judicial Records of Renfrewshire," and he has since added another volume, including many facsimiles of ancient writings. Much of the matter thus recovered is of general interest to the legal student, as well as the genealogist and antiquary. \Ve select a few specimens, illustrating judicial procedure in Scotland in the seventeenth century. In 1694, a merchant in Paisley was convicted of the crime of wife-beating. The Libel, or Indictment, is such a curiosity of its kind that we are induced to give an extract in a somewhat modernised form. It sets forth that the accused, “ in contempt of the laws of this kingdom and the perpetual practice thereof, and casting off all fear of God, dread, or regard of said laws, most unchristianly and inhumanly did fall upon the person of his spouse, and with his fists gave her many blue strokes, and did ding (knock) her to the ground, and drag her alongst the same, and, not being satisfied therewith, he did proceed to a higher degree of inhumanity and unnaturality—-to wit, he (lid thrust and ding (knock) her forth of his house door, over a high stone, in falling over of which she was most dangerously hurt, blooded, and bruised, and by all which violence he exceeded the due moderation of correction towards his said sjwnse, and has most nncivilly gone beyond the bounds thereof, thereby transgressing the laws, and has incurred the pains thereof." Renfrewshire and the ancient town of Paisley were famous for swarms of witches, and, accordingly, for their prosecution. On 8th April, 1692, a criminal case
is reported against certain persons who had defamed others by stating they were in use to “ drink the health of the Devil." The Judicial Records of Renfrewshire give evidence of the extreme severity of thelaws against vagrancy. In 1700, a poor wanderer was ordered to be tied to a pillar on the prison stair of Paisley and burned in the face with a burning iron, then to be taken to certain points in the town and whipped, and thereafter to be banished the shire, and not to return thereto under the fiain of death. The Game Laws were most stringent at this period, and their administration very severe. The whole of the inhabitants of a parish were brought up on one occasion and made to purge themselves on oath of contravention of the Game Laws. In 1716, fifty-four tenant-farmers of one parish, and fifty-two from another, were thus called on to justify themselves on oath. Those who refused to swear were convicted ; those who admitted on oath, to any extent, shared the same fate, but those who swore in the negative escaped. The admissions are sometimes of strange import, such as “ Confessed to shooting a duke (sic) and drake, a hare and two doves, a woodcock, a small teal; shot a dove, but does not know whether he killed." The Renfrewshire Records show how limited was the extent of the franchise in olden days. In 1748 the Freeholders in the large county of Renfrew numbered only 39, but at the passing of the Reform Act of 1833 they had increased to 132. In 1874 they amounted to 4.839
ln the varied enumeration of prosecution for crimes there is reported one in 1721, for murder—of a horse. The major proposition of the indictment is as follows: “ That where any person doth wilfully and of set purpose stick, butt, or stabb ane other person’s horse, without the owner's consent, with ane knife,~ sword, or other invasive weapon, especially where the wound given thereby proveth mortall, and the horse dyeth within a little time thereafter, the actor becometh guilty of the murder of the said horse, and is liable in condign punishment in his person and goods, being ane crime of ane high nature." The minor proposition in this logical document is worthy of its major, setting forth the particulars of the murder, even to the accused having been seen “dighting the foresaid knife."
VVe will only give one other instance of the curiosities of Sheriffs [ustice in Scotland in former times. In 1685, a party, with concurrence of the Procurator-Fiscal, charged two men with an assault before the Sheriff. The Sheriff found the assault the only charge not proved, but nevertheless he convicted not only the accused parties but the complainer himself, as all three guilty of a breach of the peace (not charged), and imposed upon each of them a heavy fine, ordering that they should remain in prison until the fines were paid.
The well-known and highly-esteemed American jurist, Mr. VV. Beach Lawrence, sends us an interesting and judicially impartial paper on the International Obligations of the United States, reprinted from the “ North American Review," july— August, 1878. These Obligations are regarded chiefly from the point of view of neutrality, and Mr. Lawrence deals with various questions of lively interest in Public International Law, such as the Declaration of Paris, the Three Rules of \Vashington, the Captures of British Vessels effected during the \Var of Secession, and the, at one time, threatening question of the Cimbria. Mr. Beach Lawrence indicates that he shares generally the views of Sir Travers Twiss in regard to the powers left to the signataries of the Declaration which abolished “ La Course." He points out how entirely the doctrine of “continuous voyages" is opposed to the terms of that Declaration, as well as to the previous Treaty obligations, and the contention and practice of the United States. \/Vith regard to the vessels which entered U.S.A. ports under the German flag, with oflicers and men destined, it was averred, for Russian cruisers, to be purchased and fitted out in the United States, we may do well to bear in mind Mr. Beach Lawrence's just observation that “ Neutrality ex vi termini implies belligerency; and a breach of neutrality can only occur with regard to a matter arising during a war."
\/Ve are glad to observe that the necessity for taking steps for the preservation of our old Parish Registers has not escaped the notice of perhaps the most important of provincial Law Societies. The Committee of the Incorporated Law Society of Liverpool, in their Report, presented to the fifty-first annual general meeting of the Society on the 6th November last, call special attention to the “ Preservation of Parochial Registers and Ecclesiastical Documents," and announce that they “ supported Mr. V\~"hitwell‘s motion in the House of Commons for a Select Committee to inquire into this subject, which is one of considerable moment to the profession and their clients." Solicitors, much more frequently than barristers, are brought by their professional avocations into actual contact with the original Registers, and thus acquire a personal knowledge of that destruction, mutilation, and interpolation so graphically described by Mr. Taswell-Langmead in our number for May last. It is to be hoped that other Provincial Law Societies, and also the Incorporated Law Society of the United Kingdom, will follow the good example set by their Liverpool corzfrérzs; and that in the new Session of Parliament the legal members of both branches of the profession will heartily support Mr. \Vhitwell‘s motion for a Select Committee, should that gentleman again bring it forward, as we trust he will, or, in default, themselves call the attention of the House to this important and urgent subject.
The International Literary Congress, held in Paris in june last, under the auspices of the “ Société des Gens de Lettres de France,” and under the Presidency of Victor Hugo and Edmond About, has had for its first practical result the foundation of an International Literary Association. \Vith the general object of this Association, viz., the International Protection of the Rights of Authors, we have every sympathy. VVith its desire to procure the Amendment of the National Copyright Laws of the several countries of the civilised world, so as to secure to authors their just rights, we must needs also heartily sympathise. But we must take exception, in limine, to the extreme views with which the Association has quite unnecessarily, and therefore, to our mind, wrongly, identified itself. There was no necessity for the Association to commit itself to the speculative view that Copyright is antecedent to Law, and not created by it (Le Droit de l'auteur sur son oeuvre constitue, non une concession de la loi, mais une des formes de la propriété, que le Législateur doit garantir), when, according to the juridical Doctrine of most ofthe countries represented in the body of the Association, the reverse is the doctrine of the Courts. \Ve fear that this will impede the prospect of utility to a really good cause which the Association would otherwise have before it. And along with our objection to the adoption, as a basis of action, of the theory that Copyright is antecedent to Law and not created by it, we must mention another objection, viz., to the adoption, also as a basis of action, of the theory of the perpetuity of Copyright. This is contrary to the existing Legislations of, we believe, every European country, and we think places the Association in a position of needless antagonism. VVe shall be curious to see