Page images
PDF
EPUB

Primitive And Ancient Legal Institutions. Compiled by Alrert KocouRek and John H. Wigmore. Boston: Little, Brown & Co. 1915.

In a recent number of this review, the first book of the series, Sources of Ancient and Primitive Law, was discussed. The preface of the volume before us assures us that "the first two volumes should be used together. The selection of materials is such that they are intended to complement each other." Then we are urged to read first the Sources "in analogy to the case-method." Thus the two volumes demand discussion together.

In one important respect, the two are identical in plan. Each is a compilation of more or less unrelated extracts. In a source book, this is a virtue, but it is a serious question whether the same can be said of a book professing to give a picture of current opinions on early law. At the first glance, we note that a good portion is not up to date. Several of the articles were written before the discovery of the Code of Hammurapi and the publication of the enormous number of Babylonian business documents, and therefore the proportion suffers. A large part of the book is made up of selections from Maine and Fustel de Coulanges. Now the "Ancient Law" and "Ancient City" are most important works and deserve our greatest reverence as marking a stage in the development of our study. But we have already advanced much beyond their point of view and much of what they present is inevitably out of date.

A serious point of difference between the two books is the fact that in the source book the arrangement is by geography while in the other it is by subject. Exceptions are found in the sections dealing with Roman Law, whose author, Sohm, is a sufficient guarantee of their value, in an excellent study of the Greek ordeal by Glotz, and in the decidedly inadequate study of Semitic Procedure extracted from Cook's comparison of the Mosaic Laws and the Hammurapi Code. While the first volume simply lists the Mosaic Laws in the orthodox order, the second, it is a pleasure to note, regularly assumes the modern division into codes of varying dates. The reading of these articles would have been made much easier had the modern arrangement been given in the source book.

Undoubtedly the best feature of the book is the long series of translations from foreign authorities, French and German, with one lone Italian. Whatever one may think of his "Necessity knows no law" in international relations, there is no doubt that Kohler of Berlin University stands at the very head of German investigators in legal history. It is therefore deserving only of commendation that his sketch on the Evolution of Law opens the volume and that extracts from his "Philosophy of Law" form a sort of skeleton for the book, though it is to be feared that many will find them somewhat uninteresting. The tone of the book is rather set by the article on Ethnological Jurisprudence by Post, who, though but this single article is found under his,name, frequently appears in the footnotes. Ethnological Jurisprudence, to be sure, is only Comparative Law with greater stress on the non-historical peoples. Indeed, a distinct defect of many of the articles is a failure to distinguish sharply enough between the customs of primitive peoples and the formal law of the culture nations of antiquity.

This tendency is shown in the large number of articles, notably by Powell and Lang, written from the standpoint of anthropology rather than of law. To the professional lawyer, this may have a certain advantage in broadening his view, but it is difficult to see why, for example, details of general village life have here a place. On the other hand, the extracts from Hobhouse's "Morals in Evolution" ought to make the serious student desire to read the entire book.

It is naturally out of place to discuss all the sections in this review. Particularly attractive are the studies in commercial law by Goldschmidt, Koehne, and Somlo. The junior editor has reprinted a clever presentation of the forfeit theory of pledge, though one must regret that he has not given that part which deals with non-Teutonic law.

We must not close without drawing attention to the instructive contrast in the method and point of view in the different national schools. Paricularly interesting is it to observe how sharply Post attacks that individualism which we have considered fundamental in our conceptions of law and politics. Strikingly indicitive of present German attitudes is the following statement of Kohler on slavery: "Human rights are not advantageous to every development: technical arts must advance, humanity must make progress in industrial life, and for centuries this goes on with the sacrifice of human life. The sacrifice to culture is the highest sacrifice that the individual can make, but it is also otie that he must make." The whole tone of the German group reminds one of the eminent but reactionary Russian lawyer-statesman Pobiedonostsev.

Taken as a whole, the book is most praiseworthy. It gives an anthology of extracts from the most prominent legal writers of our time and furnishes an excellent Introduction to legal problems. It ought to inspire many to the further study of legal history. Nevertheless, it does not give us a clear picture of early jurisprudence, such as we. have, for instance, in Kohler and Wenger's Allgemeine Rechtsgeschichte. May the day not be far distant when American scholars will produce a similar work for the law'of the ancient world.

Pathological Lying, Accusation And Swindling. By William Healy and Mary Tenney Healy. Boston: Little, Brown & Co. 1915. This book, as well as Dr. Healy's earlier one on the "Individual Delinquent," should be familiar to every lawyer with a criminal practice. It is a study of 19 cases personally and carefully studied by the authors. An analysis of their physical, mental and environmental conditions discloses these offenses as connected with a transitory instability of the nervous system undergone by these young people because of defective heredity, defective physical condition and a defective environment giving rise to bad habits. Unlike most criminologists, Dr. Healy knows how to keep the balance between these factors and how to assign a causative influence to the cumulative but incalculable coincidences of minor environmental and habitual factors as well as to the fleeting and faintly palpable passenger elements of psychic disturbances and instabilities. To the lawyer who is confronted with unaccountable cases of lying, accusation and swindling, this book will offer some very valuable suggestions. Dr. and Mrs. Healy promise us a study of the Psychology of Testimony. We are ready and waiting for it.

BOOKS RECEIVED.

Proceedings Of The Fourteenth Annual Meeting Of The Kentucky Bar AssoCiation. Westerfleld-Bonte Co., Louisville, Ky. 1915.

Retort Of The Tenth Annual Meeting of The Mississippi Bar Association. Hederman Bros., Jackson, Miss. 1915.

American Annotated Cases. 1915. D. Bancroft-Whitney Co., San Francisco; Edward Thompson Co., Northport, L. I. 1915.

Digest Of Workmen's Compensation Laws In The United States And TerriTories, With Annotations. 4th Ed. Revised to Dec. 7, 1915. Workman's Compensation Publicity Bureau, New York. 1915.

Watson (R. F.). Notes to Statutes of Indiana, Complete Volume, 1913. National Annotating Co., Crawfordsville, Ind. 1915.

Stone (H. F.). Law and Its Administration. Columbia University Press. 1915.

Lawson (J. D.). American State Trials. Vol. V. F. H. Thomas Law Book Co., St . Louis. 1916.

Compensation Legislation Of 1914 And 1915. Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C 1915.

Hart (A. B.). The Monroe Doctrine: An Interpretation. Boston: Little, Brown & Co. 1915.

All communications for the editor should be sent to

John D. Lawson,

14 South Broadway,

St. Louis, Mo.

[graphic][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »