« PreviousContinue »
same kind of money or currency received by such person."
.” We should be glad to see such a provision in the laws of all the States, unless indeed, the Supreme Court of the United States, by deciding the Legal Tender Act unconstitutional, should render such a law unnecessary. A Digest of the Decisions of the Federal Courts, from the Organization of the
Government to the Present Time. By FREDERICK C. BRIGHTLY, Esq.
This is a large volume of nearly a thousand pages, but each page is compact of sound and solid matter. The preface says, “Great care has been taken to make the Digest as complete and perfect as possible. Every authority has been examined; in no case has the syllabus of a reporter been implicitly relied on, but the case itself has been collated, and the result given in the author's own language.
“ In addition to the regular reports of the Supreme Court of the United States, from Dallas to 5th Wallace, inclusive. (with some cases in the 6th volume), of the Circuit and District Courts, and of the Court of Claims, with many cases scattered throughout the earlier State Reports, (the writer] has, at great expense and trouble, collected upwards of two hundred volumes of law periodicals and magazines (many of them extremely rare), containing decisions of the various Federal courts, not elsewhere reported, all of which he has incorporated in his work." The author goes on to explain the reasons which have induced him to include this last class of cases. We assure him no apology is necessary; it is this very class of cases which, from their difficulty of access, ought to be the most carefully gleaned for insertion in such a digest.
Mr. Brightly has long been favorably known to the profession by his excellent Digest of the United States Statutes, upon which the only criticism we ever heard passed, was that it was too good, as it tempted the lawyer to rely upon it too exclusively, without having recourse to the statutes themselves.
There are two methods, two good methods, in either of which a case may be inserted in a digest: either the facts of the case may be succinctly stated, and the decision of the court appended, or the proposition of law which is the ratio decidendi may be extracted. There is no absolute rule for the use of the one method or of the other; but a good reporter will use either or both, according to the case with which he has to deal. Yet it is impossible that the natural bent of the digester should not incline him to the one rather than to the other, and it is the second method that Mr. Brightly evidently prefers; and we confess that we share his preference. The gist of a case is much more readily caught by the reader in this way than when he has to extract it from a statement of facts; this method does, in short, for the reader, what he would otherwise have to do for himself; and again, it insures a great diminution of bulk. It is only thus that Mr. Brightly has been enabled to compress his work into one volume, — an immense convenience. The learned author has evidently a great gift at extracting the real point of a case, as any one may see who will compare one of his neat and pithy statements of law with, for example, the irrelevant and rambling sentences which stand for head notes in the late Mr. Howard's Reports.
This taste, however, for generalizing, this preference for broad propositions of law, rather than for particular statements, though it marks a higher order of
of action would have been barred by an act of limitation of this state, if such suit had been brought therein," is unconstitutional. This case is perfectly consistent with the previous cases. In those, it was decided that a State might impose a Statute of Limitations on all suits in its own courts; in this, that it cannot insist on having its Statute of Limitations regarded by the courts of other States. Here Mr. Brightly's love of brevity has led him into a palpable mistake.
We make these remarks in no spirit of fault finding. Mr. Brightly's reputation is strong enough to bear criticism.
One word more: we do not suppose that Mr. Brightly has been able, in so large a book, to avoid all errors of the press; but we have referred to its pages from the table of cases, and from the reports, backwards and forwards, for some hours, and we have not detected a single misprint, or one wrong citation.
A Digest of the Reports of the United States Courts, and of the acts of Congress,
from the Organization of the Government to July, 1868. Comprising the Reports of the United States Supreme Court, those of the Circuit and District Courts, and of the various Territorial and Local Courts established by the United States; together with the leading provisions of the Statutes at Large, and important Auxiliary Information upon the National Jurisprudence. Vol. III. In which titles of importance or special character have been edited or revised by Hon. David McDonald, Hon. N. K. HALL, HENRY Dutton, LL.D., GEORGE GIFFORD, Esq. The whole compiled by BENJAMIN VAUGHAN ABBOTT and AUSTIN ABBOTT. New York: Diossy & Company. 1868.
Tuis third volume of Abbott's United States Digest has come to our hands too late for us to make that thorough examination of it which we could wish, and to compare it carefully with Mr. Brightly's similar work. We have spoken of the two former volumes (1 Am. Law Rev. 732, and 2 Am. Law Rev. 534); one more will apparently complete the work.
Mr. Brightly's Digest has the advantage of being comprised in one volume, and of being the work of one mind; the Digest of the Messrs. Abbott, on the other hand, states the cases with more fulness. We should be inclined to recommend the former to those who have the reports themselves at hand, the latter to those who have not. The typographical devices by which Messrs. Abbott's Digest is distinguished are very ugly, but very convenient. The plan, too, of noting the date at which, and the circuit in which, a case was decided, thus : 3rd Circ. (Pa.) 1821, Griffith v. Bradshaw, 4 Wash. C. Ct., 171, is good, and the brief statements of the Acts of Congress, though hardly amounting to " leading provisions of the statutes,” have a greater value than we at first gave them credit for; so, too, the plan of giving the chief authorities relied upon by the courts in giving their decisions. In short, this work is as full and complete as it could be made, and yet retain its character as a digest. Digest of Fire Insurance Decisions in the Courts of Great Britain and North
America. By H. A. LITTLETON and J. S. BLATCHLEY. Second Edition. Revised and Enlarged. By STEPHEN G. CLARKE, Counsellor at Law. New York: Baker, Voorhis, & Company. 1868.
In the preface to the first edition of this work, which was published in 1862, the authors say they have attempted to include "all the decisions on the subject