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fully ; held, that, there being no charge of dishonesty, the publication was not libellous."
Mr. Townshend's work is comprised in seventeen chapters, in which the following subjects are successively treated : language as a means of effecting injury; how one may affect another by language; a description of rights and duties, of wrongs and their remedies; the gist of an action for slander or libel; wrongsul acts, and the elements of a wrong; publication and the publisher, the construction of language, and what language is actionable. There is then a chapter devoted to the defences which may be made ; another on corporations in connection with this branch of law; one on proceedings and one on parties in an action; three on pleading, and two on evidence. All that is essential to a knowledge of the law of slander and libel, seems to be contained in this comparatively small volume. The reader will find in it a vast storehouse of learning easily accessible, owing to a very comprehensive index, and several useful tables of reference.
A Treatise on the Constitutional Limitations which rest upon the Legislative Power
of the States of the American Union. By Thomas W. COOLEY, one of the Justices of the Supreme Court of Michigan; and Jay Professor of Law in the University of Michigan. Boston: Little, Brown, & Company. 1868.
It is not often, even in these days of multiplied text books, that we find a judge of a Supreme Court, while occupied to the full with the high duties of his office, willing to discharge the debt he owes to his profession, by the laborious preparation of a legal treatise. We heartily wish that the same zeal which has produced the work before us, would animate others of that large class whose experience and various learning are exhibited only in the court room and the reports. The greater part of our text books are composed by young practitioners; and though among these are some of the best books that we possess, yet it is too often the case that the writer's chief qualifications for his task are industry and carefulness. These are good, in fact, indispensable; but they are not every thing. When we find, as we often do, evidences of the immaturity of what may be called the legal mind, we find ourselves reading what is in fact little better than a digest. When, on the other hand, there is, from the begining to the end, the mark of a familiarity with the subject matter, existing in the mind of the writer, previously to and altogether independent of the special acquisitions necessary for the proper production of a good text book, we are no longer, as it were, jumping from stepping stone to stepping stone, making our way over the disjointed cases as best we may, but we are marching on a regularly made highway; and, if the road be rough in places, we at least have the comfort of knowing that it is the best that can be made. .
Such a work is this treatise of Judge Cooley's. It is a purely legal work. No political objects lure the writer from the sober business of expounding the law. He devotes himself principally to an examination of those questions of constitutional law which arise under the Constitutions of the various States, – not under that of the United States, — consequently, this book is by no means a new edition of Judge Story's work; and though it is more akin in its plan to the treatises of Mr. Sedgwick, yet it covers more ground than these books,
besides containing, of course, the recent cases, of which there have been a great many.
After a general view of the Constitution of the United States, and two valuable chapters on the formation and amendment of State Constitutions, and on their construction, Judge Cooley discusses, under the general head of the powers of the Legislative Department, the important questions arising under declaratory statutes, and under statutes which assume to render irregular judicial proceedings valid, to grant divorces, to give trustees the power to sell real estate, &c.
The duty of the courts in reference to declaring statutes unconstitutional is treated with much thoroughness. Another important chapter is that on Municipal Government, the powers of towns and cities, their contracts, their legislation, their charters.
Three chapters — the 9th, 10th, and 11th — relate to the protection to person and property, under the Constitution of the United States, and by the ** law of the land.” Then follow chapters on the power of taxation, the right of eminent domain, and the police power of the States. Some questions would admit with advantage of a fuller discussion; for example, the constitutionality of what are popularly called “Betterment Laws” (p. 505, et seq.) receives a somewhat meagre treatment..
Besides the foregoing matters, which constitute the bulk of the work, we find a great deal of useful law in the chapter treating of the mode of enacting laws, and in that treating of elections, with all their incidents. This last mentioned chapter is by far the best statement now extant of the questions which not infrequently arise out of the provisions regarding the suffrage. There is also a somewhat extended discussion of liberty of speech and of the press, and of religious liberty, subjects necessarily coming within the scope of the author's project.
We feel that we can commend Judge Cooley's book to the profession as a contribution of real value to constitutional law. The subject is well worked up in the author's mind, the arrangement of topics orderly and natural, the style simple and easy. There is no hesitation about the expression of opinions when they are called for; there is no running off into useless speculations. The writer has produced a book the merits of which cannot fail to receive a general acknowledgment.
The Law of Vendors and Purchasers of Real Property. By FRANCIS HILLIARD.
Second Edition. Revised, and greatly enlarged. Boston: Little, Brown, & Company. 1868.
This is a new edition of one of Mr. Hilliard's convenient treatises. The Law of Vendors and Purchasers of Real Estate, meaning thereby the law relating to executory contracts of sale and purchase, has place as a distinct title in our legal system. The scope of Mr. Hilliard's book is well stated in the following extract from the preface:
“The present work is designed to occupy the same ground in American law which has been so successfully occupied in the English law by Sugden on Vendors and Purchasers, and by the later work of Mr. Dart on the same subject. I mean the same ground for mere practical use; for, as I shall presently explain, this is the prevailing purpose of the book; and I do not profess to have imitated the free discussion, criticism, and comparison of authorities, which are so characteristic of the well-known work of Mr. Sugden (or, as he is now better known, Lord St. Leonards). Without, for the most part, undertaking to weigh and balance conflicting decisions, or to pursue the fine threads of distinction which run through opposing cases and judgments, I have endeavored to present in a compact form the law as it is, in the shape of the English and American authorities: usually accompanied, where there is a serious conflict in the cases, with a general expression of opinion as to the prevailing rule upon the particular topic of discussion. It has always seemed to me peculiarly impracticable, in an American text book, for the writer to advance any proposition of his own as the nature of the responsa prudentum' of the Roman law, or, in other words, as the law, authoritatively eliminated from the opposing cases ; because, in each of the United States of America, the decisions of its own court are the controlling rule; and if, in a treatise designed for national use, the author should deduce an oracular conclusion from the concurring cases in a majority of the States on one side, that conclusion would not be law in the minority of States, whose courts agree on the other side. While, therefore, the highest respect is due to the private opinion of such a writer as Lord St. Leonards, and many of our American commentators, upon any controverted point, it is, after all, but an opinion, the value of which, in any particular locality, is best tested by a summary statement of the decided cases upon which it rests."
Many important additions have been made to this edition, but there is yet some lack of thoroughness in the collection of authorities, and some inaccuracy in citation. For instance, we have taken down a couple of volumes of the recent reports of Mr. Hilliard's own State, the 10th and 11th of Allen. On the 239th page of the 10th volume we find the highly important case of Goldsmith v. Guild, on time's being of the essence of a contract. This case is not cited in Mr. Hilliard's volume; and, by the way, the earlier case of Richmond v. Gray, 3 Allen, 25, which bears on the same question, though cited in the present volume, is cited to another point. Opening now the 11th of Allen, we find on page 342, in Teaffe v. Simmons, a valuable discussion on payment to an auctioneer. No trace of this case is to be found in these pages.
Again, let us look at the late English cases, for instance the first volume of the Chancery Appeals, and the first volume of the Equity Cases in the Law Reports for 1866. Mr. Hilliard does not seem to be aware that each monthly part of the Equity Series of the Law Reports contains portions of two separate volumes, one called Chancery Appeals, cited Ch., and another Equity Cases, cited Eq., and he cites cases by the parts, which are always to be separated and bound in different volumes. Thus on p. 222, we have Hume v. Pocock, Law Rep. (Eng.) Eq. March, 1866, p. 422; ib. July, 1866, p. 378, when it ought to be, Law Rep. 1 Eq. 423 ; s.c. Law Rep. 1 Ch. 379. So on p. 78, Mortimer v. Bell, Law Rep. (Eng.) Jan. 1866, p. 9, should be Law Rep. 1 Ch. 10; so, also, on p. 302, Moore v. Marrable, Law Rep. (Eng.) Eq. March, 1866, p. 216, instead of Law Rep. 1 Ch. 217. It will be observed, too, that in all these cases the page is given one out of the way; a trifle, but a trifle which shows carelessness. In spite of these blemishes, which a little attention and system would rectify, Mr.