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state as were not comprised in the codes of civil and criminal procedure already completed.
The laws of the state have been arranged under two great general heads, namely, substantive and remedial laws; or, those which define the rules relative to property and conduct, and those which prescribe the modes of enforcing such rules. The latter are comprised in the Codes of Civil and Criminal Procedure, and the codification of the former has been committed to the present commissioners, Messrs. David Dudley Field, William Curtis Noyes, and Alexander W. Bradford, of whom one at least is well known in this country. They are directed to divide their work into three portions: one containing the political code, another the civil code, and a third the penal code. The political code is to embrace the laws respecting the government of the state, its civil polity, the functions of its public officers, and the political rights and duties of its citizens. The civil code is to embrace the laws of personal rights and relations, of property, and of obligations. The penal code is to define all the crimes for which persons can be punished, and the punishment for the same. three codes are not to include the laws relating to courts of justice, or the functions or duties of judicial officers, or any provisions concerning civil or criminal actions, or special proceedings, or the law of evidence, all of which are comprised in the codes of Civil and Criminal Procedure.
The present report, made in February, 1858, is accompanied, as ordered by the act, by a general analysis of the projected codes. This analysis, though it is but a mere dry list of the heads of law, clearly shows that those who compiled it have set not only earnestly, but also scientifically, to work.
Hasty and undigested legislation, morever, is not contemplated by the commissioners; for they say, that while they "are duly sensible of the importance of having the work done with all reasonable despatch, and of the pressing need of some portions of it at the present time, they are also aware of the necessity of proceeding with deliberation, and submitting no portion of the code till it has been carefully considered. Not only must each part be prepared with care, but its relations to the other parts must be examined, before it can prudently be admitted."
The propriety of introducing changes in our statute law simultaneously with the consolidation of that law, has, of late years, been much discussed in this country: the opinion of great American jurists on the subject will, we think, be read with interest, and as the following passages apply equally as well to a system of consolidation as to one of codification, we extract them from the report : "How far," say the commissioners, "in the preparation of a code changes should be recommended, is a question of much delicacy. They should, without doubt, be cautiously admitted. Law is the growth of time and circumstance. An original system of jurisprudence, founded upon mere theory, without reference to national characteristics, habits, traditions, and usages, would be a failure. The science of government and law is progressive; new regulations spring from necessity, or are
suggested by experience, and the application of the rules of justice to human affairs is constantly modified by the changing circumstances of society. The process is easily understood. In the earlier stages of civilization, when communities are small and isolated, local customs are more distinct, in conformity with local character; but as cultivation and intercourse gradually break down provincial peculiarities, and eradicate partial customs, the tendency to assimilation enables the legislator to disregard inconvenient rules, venerable only from age and habit, and gradually to introduce changes, which have the experience of other communities to recommend them, and which seem better adapted to an advanced civilization. We thus reach a stage in which valuable improvements may be borrowed from other systems and engrafted into our own, without impairing the harmony of our laws by the introduction of unsuitable elements. For example, the law of special or limited partnerships, the offspring of the commerce of the middle ages, unknown to the common law, has within a recent period been adopted into our own legislation with manifest advantage. So we have also seen the influence of our jurisprudence reflected back upon the country from which we derived our language and our laws; and reforms, readily admitted by our plastic legislation, slowly adopted there, after having been tested by our experience; though the settled constitution and the fixed habits of England might have prevented their origination in that country. Thus, two great purposes are to be subserved in revising the jurisprudence of a nation; one, the reduction of existing laws into a more accessible form, resolving doubts, removing vexed questions, and abolishing useless distinctions; the other, the introduction of such modifications as are plainly indicated by our own judgment, or the experience of others. We are satisfied that this work should be performed with delicacy, caution, and discrimination, that nothing should be touched, from the mere desire of change, or without great probability of solid advantage."
We anxiously await the completion of these codes. The jurists of America have already taken a high position in respect of the science of jurisprudence; and as the codes, before being presented to the legislature, are to be distributed for examination among the experts of the state, and after being subjected to their criticisms, are to be reexamined and reconsidered by the commissioners, we believe a code of laws will be produced, which will not only prove a lasting honour to the state itself, but may, we hope, rank along with that of Justinian or Napoleon, and be a benefit as an example to the mother country.
We must not close this notice without mentioning that the services of the commissioners are gratuitous. Not even one of the three receives a salary of £1000 a-year.
Courts of Requests.
A Practical Treatise on their Constitution and Procedure, &c. By Louis Nell: Colombo, 1858.
By looking at the bottom of the title-page of the above-named work, we perceive that the Court of Requests treated of therein are those of Ceylon, some of which are situated in the districts of
Ondorowe (which is in the southern division of Nuwerakalawiya) of Oodiyancoolam, Akerapatoo and Tittewelgandohaye Corle, Valyelademben, and other places, whose names are as well known as they are easy to read and pronounce.
The procedure in the Courts of Request, and the practice followed in the places which sound so curious to the European ears, and which we have as a curiosity given above, are not likely to be of great interest to our English readers; nor is the case of Appoohamy v. Punchyhamy likely to be cited to the astonished Barons of the Exchequer.
But the work deserves to be noticed, first, because it exhibits the scope and operation of small debts court in Ceylon, and secondly, as affording an example of the very careful and praiseworthy labour of its author; and lastly, as being a specimen of admirable printing and getting up. In this latter point, indeed, we are astonished to see so good an example issuing from a colonial press.
Recueil Général de Traités, Conventions, et autres Transactions remarquables, servant à la connaissance des Relations étrangères des Puissances et États dans leurs rapports mutuels. Continuation du grand recueil de G. F. de Martens, par Charles Samwer. Tome XVI. Partie lère. Gottingue, Dieterich, 1858. (D. Nutt,
MARTENS'S collection of treaties, &c., is well known all over the continent. There are thirteen volumes of the work which bear his name, and the part now before us is the first part of the third volume of Samwer's continuation. It contains a collection of treaties, conventions, and mutual regulations made and agreed upon between various nations from September 1846 to June 1857. We cannot say that it is a complete collection, for there are some treaties which have found no place in it, and we may instance, among others, the treaty of 1849, between Austria, Modena, and Parma, agreed to by the Pope in 1850, relative to the free navigation of the river Po; the convention of 1854, between Great Britain and Sardinia, for the reciprocal opening of the coasting trade; a similar convention of the same year between Great Britain and Tuscany; and the copyright convention of 1854, between Great Britain and Belgium.
There is also a defect in the collection which requires notice; namely, that, with few exceptions, one text only of the treaties is given; the French text, in cases where there was one, being usually selected. In the construction of treaties reference to more than one text is frequently necessary, and the omission of the various texts somewhat detracts, we think, from the usefulness as well as the completeness of the work.
In the part now published there are several treaties of considerable interest, e. g. :—the treaties entered into in the years 1850-52, between Sardinia, and Austria, Great Britain, France, Belgium, Holland, Portugal, Greece, Switzerland, Bremen, Lubeck, Hamburg, &c., which
are evidence of the vast efforts at that time made by Sardinia for the extension of her commerce; the treaty of 1854, between Japan and the United States; the treaty of 1854, between the United States and Russia, relative to the rights of neutrals on the sea; the treaty of commerce entered into in 1857, between France and Russia, &c. &c.
As regards treaties in which Great Britain is directly concerned, this collection is not, and it cannot be expected that it should be, nearly so complete as Mr. Hertslet's invaluable collection of treaties subsisting between Great Britain and foreign powers, but as it comprises treaties between all nations, it supplies much information which Mr. Hertslet's work does not afford, and may be consulted with advantage by those desirous of tracing the progress of other nations besides our own, and of learning something of the relations of foreign states amongst one another.
Amongst the publications notice whereof we must defer, are the following:-Mr. T. S. Paton's treatise on Stoppage in transitu; and a Manual of the Roman Civil Law, by George Leapingwell, Esq., LL.D., &c. Two pamphlets on Trial by Jury are also before us. The one entitled, "Unanimity on Trial by Jury Defended," is by Mr. G. Rochfort Clarke. The other entitled, "The Dark Side of Trial by Jury," is by Mr. Joseph Brown. The former supports the institution with undoubting and undoubted orthodoxy. The latter assaults it with unshrinking courage and vigour. We purpose to deal with these learned pleaders and experienced counsel according to law, on another occasion.
Events of the Quarter.
OUR Parliamentary "events of the quarter," regarded as to the amount of business done, and not the quantity of verbiage reported, will be very brief-The proceedings were inaugurated by flags waving and by the ministers' own trumpets blowing. But the unhealthy breath and wheezing bellows of faction have puffed, or are trying to puff out, the government rushlight. At all events, the flickering night-lamp of parliament has been extinguished, and much that threatened to be the most disastrous and sham legislation on important subjects, has for the present been dropped.
On March 29, a debate on the second reading of Lord Campbell's bill to regulate the verdicts given by juries on civil causes, took place in the House of Lords. The result is, that the legislature has refused for the present to alter the law as it now exists in England. With the arguments on both sides our readers are now familiar, and we need not here repeat them. No one, however, although his opinion may be strong in favour of abolishing forced unanimity, after reading Lord Lyndhurst's speech on the occasion referred to, can fail to recognise, in common candour, that "much may be said on both sides." The speech referred to is among other things interesting, as showing the vigour of the "old man eloquent," and the zest with which he still points his shafts and plants his blows.
Another debate in the House of Lords, on April 8, should be mentioned, in which also Lord Lyndhurst took a prominent part. It arose on the Lord Chancellor moving the third reading of the "Indictable offences (Metropolitan) bill ”—the object of which is to enact that no criminal charge shall be preferred or tried in the central criminal court or sessions, within the metropolitan police district, unless such charge shall have been previously made and investigated before a justice of the peace. We will only offer one word of comment upon the debate raised on this question. Our ancestors and our successors seem to be, among other inconveniences, very great obstacles to practical legislation. A proved evil is put before the legislature. A remedy is suggested, whereupon the constitutional historian, with uplifted voice and deprecatory gesture, asks the Reformer-Did our fathers thus think? what was good for them must be suited to us; whilst the prophet of the future, on the other hand, bids us ponder on posterity, and what we owe to our children's children; "what has been useful," he sings, "though it be now injurious, may be again essential for unborn generations."
Now our fathers, when they did make good laws, made them, we believe, for their own use and behoof, and because they knew what