Page images
PDF
EPUB

a

at in punishment by way of example is to inspire aversion to crime and belief in its being surely chastised. That effect of punishment is purely preventive. Punishment ought to affect the moral sentiments, and the imagination of men, by directing the mind to the facts (1.) that certain acts are unlawful and will be punished, and (2.) that offenders will be punished for the doing of such acts. The Legislator should labour to rule the moral sentiments rather than to affect the imagination ; because the moral sentiments are far more powerful in governing men in their daily lives than the imagination is. But we ought not to forget that it is the dread of punishment which arrests the hand of very great criminals. Their moral sentiments are thoroughly depraved, and virtue seems to them as vice, and vice as virtue. They, therefore, must be affected by the certainty of the durability and the constancy of punishment.

Great Criminals and majority of Criminals.—Here I need scarcely point out to the reader that the vast majority of criminals in all countries are not great criminals; but great unfortunates, who, by poverty, idleness, or drunkenness, have missed the way of succeeding in the world, and that all these three vices are habits which are capable of moral or economical treatment by the State. With regard to great criminals, I do not greatly believe in the preventive efficacy of any punishment whatever. The moral nature of such persons is thoroughly corrupt; their feelings are perverted; and the confirmed obstinacy of their character makes them oppose a strong resistance to every idea of morality. If they ever arrive at a knowledge of the wrongfulness of some prevailing crime, or the idea of duty in regard to it, it is by the lapse of time, and by following out a thoroughly reformative system.

Changes in Moral Sentiments.-As a general rule, great criminals, persons guilty of very grave and serious offences,

and all persons habitually guilty of crime, should be imprisoned for life, and not allowed to be a continual source of contamination and danger to the community. How strangely perverted are the opinions of different ages and different countries ! Formerly. in the Feudal ages, the soldier of fortune was a gentleman, but now he would be looked upon as a robber. War was his education and delight, but now the arts of peace are held in the highest esteem amongst men. Formerly a great General was the beau idéal of life, but now the prudent and honourable capitalist, or the great instructor of men in morality, science, or art, or the wise and peaceful statesman carries off the palm of glory.

Thus much must suffice for what I have to say here as to Crimes. In the next division of this Article, I propose to deal with Punishments.

ALEXANDER ROBERTSON.

V.-CURRENT NOTES ON INTERNATIONAL

LAW.

[ocr errors]

The Pan-American Congress.
O the perhaps unappreciative mind of the European

observer, Mr. Blaine's recent Conference of Delegates from all the States of both of the American Continents seemed likely, at one time, to degenerate into a big International Pic-nic. As it is, the astute Statesman with whom the idea originated, must feel that, from a purely selfish point of view, the U.S. Government has scarcely received adequate compensation for the public money lavished on the reception and entertainment of its guests.

Those who are interested in the preservation of the world's Peace, however, will not fail to note with satisfaction

the praiseworthy Resolution adopted by the Congress in favour of submitting to Arbitration all differences between their respective Governments and other States when not adjustable by Diplomatic means.* The Resolution appears to have been agreed to by all the Governments with the exception of Chili. The principle had been previously embodied in a motion adopted by the U.S. Congress a few weeks before.t Although there certainly seems to be very good reason (especially in view of the incessant quarrels of some of the South American Republics) for the adoption of this principle by the States of the New World, it is only fair to add that they have always been the readiest to assent to it. In 1888 several South American States agreed to mutual submission of differences to Arbitration, and in the same year a Treaty to a similar effect was entered into between the United States and Switzerland.

It is a strange irony of Fate that has dragged Central America into a sanguinary quarrel within six months of its solemn resolution in favour of a peaceful settlement of disputes. It is, moreover, somewhat painful to find that Mr. Blaine himself has hardly acted up to the lofty Diplomatic ideal which he extolled so loudly to the assembled Congress. In reviewing the recently published correspondence on the Behring Sea dispute, the comments of the New York Press are scarcely laudatory. One important organ of public opinion suggests that “Mr. Blaine's part in the correspondence will hardly add to his diplomatic laurels,” while another representative paper charges him with having “almost exceeded the bounds of diplomatic courtesy.” This is strong language, but it is American, not English.

* Times, 28th April, 1890.

+ Times, 4th April, 1890. [The principle of Arbitration had already been adopted both by the House of Representatives and by the Senate of the United States as far back as 17th June, 1874, as is shewn by Pierantoni, Storia del Diritto Internazionale del xixo. Secolo. Naples. Marghieri. 1876. p. 556.–Ed.]

Private International Law.

The Court of Appeal has very recently affirmed the decision of Mr. Justice Day (Times L.R., VI., 408) to the effect that a Power of Attorney executed abroad in foreign form, but authorising the performance of acts in this country, must

be construed, as to the extent of the authority given, according to the law of England and not of the lex loci celebrati (Chatenay v. Brazilian Submarine Telegraph Co., Lim., Times L.R. VII., 1. Cf. Story's Conflict of Laws, 7th ed., p. 337).

A point of some interest as to the power of an English Court to vary a Scotch Settlement under 22 & 23 Vict., c. 61, s. 5, was decided by the President of the Divorce Court in Nunneley v. Nunneley & Marrian, 15 P.D. 186. Noteworthy also is the case of In the goods of De la Rue, Ibid., 185, as to probate of English will where Testator also left a will of Swiss property in Swiss form.

In Shepherd v. Hirsch & Co., 45 Ch.D. 231, Chitty, J., recently held that service of a writ on one partner within the jurisdiction is good service on all the partners, although the partnership is a foreign one, and all the members reside and are domiciled outside the jurisdiction.

J. M. Gover.

Quarterly

Notes.

The London County Council and the Housing of the

Working Classes. The powers already possessed by the County Council for the Administrative County of London are sufficiently considerable to enable that body to do much good, and probably also as much harm. It wants, no doubt, to have

these powers extended, for that is a craving naturally existing, apparently, in all Bodies. The purchase of the Water and Gas Supply of London is an undertaking not too large for the aspirations of the Council ; but it is at least possible, if not probable, that it might do more good by using its present powers for the Housing of the Working Classes, to which Mr. Chance draws our attention in his handy little work (The Powers of the London County Council in regard to the Housing of the Working Classes. By WILLIAM CHANCE, M.A., Barrister-at-Law. Whiting & Co. 1889). That it is highly expedient to have some Public Body armed with authority in this matter, and that such Body should exercise its powers systematically and judiciously, cannot for a moment be doubted. A case in the East End of London quite recently came before one of our Magistrates, which the Magistrate, whose experience is unquestionably wide and varied, described, after a personal visit, as a disgrace to Civilisation and to Bethnal Green. Perhaps the latter portion of the dictum was almost unnecessary. The facts are fairly well known: the remedy which it may be best to apply is perhaps not so easy to hit upon. Houses may go great lengths towards being “ dangerous to health,” or “unfit for human habitation," and yet may just fall short of coming technically within either category. There can be no doubt that cellars ought not to be inhabited ; but there is equally no doubt that large parts of London are, so to speak, honeycombed with cellar dwellings. And the neighbourhood of the Houses of Parliament is itself, perhaps, as salient an example of this as any part within the jurisdiction of the London County Council. Westminster is in many respects, we believe, quite as bad as the East End, if not worse, for the various philanthropic agencies have been led to devote their energies mainly to the region favoured by the Dock labourer, and the West End has been tacitly supposed to be an altogether aristocratic district,

« PreviousContinue »