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As regards title (c), acquiescence in the treaties between England and other States recognizing the Nile as the British sphere of influence, this rests on a principle well established in international law, namely, that a State is presumed to have acquiesced in arrangements between other States, which may affect rights of hers if she makes no protest against them, or expresses no dissent from them either by word or deed in a reasonable time (Phillimore, International Law, i. 334, quoting Grotius and Heineccius). This principle is also one which would have a special application to Africa, in regard to which the European Powers interested agreed at the Berlin Conference in 1885 that occupations of territory on the coast by a signatory Power in order to be effective, must be notified to the other signatory Powers; and any such Power which made no protest on such an occasion would be taken to acquiesce. The treaty between England and Germany (of 1890), in which the Upper Nile valley was recognized as within the British sphere of influence, was brought formally to the notice of the French Government, which made no protest, and France was also cognizant of the Anglo-Italian Convention of 1891, and the Convention of 1894 between England and the King of the Belgians as sovereign of the Congo State, which contained similar recognitions. To the last-named agreement France objected, on the ground of the lease being virtually a cession of territory still belonging to Egypt and being beyond the powers of the Congo Free State to accept, but she recognized its existence and effect by obtaining from the Free State a renunciation by the King of any rights of occupation, or exercise of any future political action over the northern part of the territory so leased. A nation is fairly entitled to consider it a breach of international comity if, while she is acquiring rights over territories from other Powers conterminous there with herself, another nation who has “lain by” suddenly sets up a counterclaim thereto which she has not before asserted either by words or actions on her part.
G. G. P.
IX.—NOTES ON RECENT CASES (ENGLISH). Blake & Co. v. Woolf (42 S.J. 688) was an appeal to the Divisional Court from the City of London Court. An important question of law, heard before a deputy of the County Court judge. The defendant was landlord of a house : the plaintiffs rented the basement. The water for the whole house was supplied from the defendant's cistern. The cistern leaked, and the plaintiffs requested the defendant to have it repaired. The defendant called in a plumber, who did his work so badly that the last state of the house became worse than the first. The deputy-judge thought that the defendant was liable; this the Divisional Court promptly overruled. It is clear that apart from contractual liability (which was not suggested in the County Court), the rule of common law, as laid down in Rylands v. Fletcher (L.R. 3 H.L. 330), is that if a person bring a dangerous thing upon his premises he is bound to keep it there at his own peril. But then there is this important exception to the above rule, viz. that where a man uses his land in an ordinary and reasonable manner, and damage ensues to his neighbour without wilfulness or negligence, no action lies. Further, there is another important exception, that where a party has consented to any dangerous matter being brought upon premises, he cannot recover damages. Instances of these principles will be found in Carstairs v. Taylor (L.R. 6 Ex. 217), Ross v. Fedden (L.R. 7 Q.B. 661), and Gill v. Edouin (71 L.J. 762 and 72 L.J. 579). The Divisional Court was unquestionably right.
It is well known that a married woman being incapable of contracting as a feme sole cannot be made a bankrupt unless she be carrying on a trade separately from her husband, and then only in respect of her separate property. The Court of Appeal had a legal nut to crack in In re a debtor (33 L.J. 369), in which case the petition had been presented against
her when a spinster ; but the lady had entered into the bonds of marriage before the receiving order was made against her. The Court discharged the order on the ground that she was not trading separately from her husband. This decision appears to be concomitant with In re Helsby (1 Man. 12), and is in every way consistent with the other cases on the rights of married women.
Fielden v. Mayor of Morley (33 L.J. 416) is a useful decision of the Court of Appeal on the application of the Public Authorities Protection Act, 1893. It affirms, Harrop v. Mayor of Osset (33 L.J. 157), where the dismissal of an injunction to restrain a local authority was held to entitle the local authority to costs as between solicitor and client. In Fones v. Clacton Council the Council were held to be acting in pursuance of a public duty, and gained the same costs; while in Holford v. The Acton Urban District Council (33 L.J. 345) the same good fortune befell the local authority. These cases now have the imprimatur of the Court of Appeal.
The House of Lords, in Hope v. Campbell (42 S.J. 700), have held that it is evidence of insanity in a testator to believe himself to have been the recipient of direct Divine commands as to the disposition he should make of his property. The Scotch Courts did not consider this to be insanity; nor did Lord Davey, forming the sole minority in the House of Lords. “In fact,” said Lord Davey, “such delusions have been shared by some of the greatest benefactors of mankind.” Hallucinations have served to influence the history of all nations in a very remarkable manner. Now that their true nature is better understood in civilized countries, their influence is limited ; but it cannot be said that they have ceased to be regarded as objective realties, or that they are powerless to affect the lives of individuals.
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A Treatise on the Law of the Contract of Pledge as governed by both the Common Law and the Civil Law. By HENRY DENNIS. New Orleans : F. F. Hansell & Bro., Ltd. 1898.
Mr. Dennis has written a very valuable and suggestive book. He has examined the Law of the Contract of Pledge under both the Common Law and the Civil Law, exhaustively and critically, pointing out the frequent and important differences in the two systems, and expressing his opinion as to the merits of each. Perhaps we should be more correct if we said as to the merits of the Civil Law, for Mr. Dennis not unnaturally prefers the law which rules in his own state of Louisiana to the law of the Common Law States. He commences by discriminating clearly between a Pledge and a Mortgage, and shows how the two are often confused, and that even so great a jurist as Story has fallen into errors on the subject in respect to the Civil Law, and considers him not the safe guide in such matters that he is in the Common Law. Some of the leading distinctions between the Civil and Common Law are, that by the Civil Law there must be a written act in all cases except those of commercial pledge, whereas by the Common Law the contract need not be in writing. In the case of the pledge of incorporeal things, such as credits or claims, to make it binding against third parties the Civil Law requires notice to be given to the debtors, whereas the Common Law does not. There is also an interesting dissertation on the differences of the two laws in relation to the Prescription, both of the debts and of the ownership of the pledge; the Common Law allows the debt to be extinguished by the lapse of time, although the right of the pledgee to the article pledged is still alive, and the Civil Law treats the fact of the pledge remaining in the hands of the creditor as a continuous acknowledgment of indebtedness on the part of the debtor. Another important difference cannot be better described than in the words of Mr. Dennis (see p. 507). “We see, therefore, on one hand that the whole tendency of the Common Law, and of its jurisprudence, is
to protect the owner of personal property against even an honest transferee, whether vendor or pledgee, if the owner has been fraudulently deprived of his property by his agents. And we see, on the other hand, that the legislation and jurisprudence of the Civil Law, on the contrary, are equally bent upon protecting the honest vendee or pledgee without notice, even against the true owner of the property, who has been fraudulently deprived of it by his agent.” For Mr. Dennis's forcible arguments in favour of the Civil Law on this and other important questions we refer our readers to the pages of his book, feeling confident that they will not be disappointed.
A Memoir of Lord Bramwell. BY CHARLES FAIRFIELD. London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd. 1898.
Lord Bramwell was a great lawyer, and a great judge, and a study of his career in these capacities would have proved a very interesting book to all lawyers. Mr. Fairfield, however, is not, we believe, a lawyer, and he takes too little interest in the subject of this memoir as a lawyer. Lord Bramwell's legal eminence is, so to speak, utilized, to give extra weight to his utterances on those economic and social subjects in which Mr. Fairfield does take an interest. The account given of both the forensic and judicial life of Lord Bramwell is far too short, and in one instance, at least, very inexact. On page 17, we read, “In 1841, three years after being called, he is described as one of the leaders of the Home Circuit, with Shee, Channell, and Lush, rising men being Hengman, Parry, and Hawkins.” Now it is improbable that any man should become one of the leaders of a Circuit like the old Home in three years from his call, and the dates of call of some of the other men mentioned show that the statement is equally inaccurate as regards them.
Lord Justice Lush was called to the bar in 1840; Chief Justice Bovill in 1841; Sergeant Parry and Lord Brampton both in 1843 ; and Mr. Justice Mathew not till 1854. The reason given for dealing so shortly with his legal life is rather a curious one. “ In order that a detailed account of the work and career of a barrister in good practice should be interesting, special talents are required-on the part of the reader.”
The greater part of the book is devoted to an account, with copious extracts, of Lord Bramwell's published letters and pamphlets. He was a keen political economist of the laisser faire school, and believed firmly in the sanctity of contract and of vested interests,