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A Treatise on the Law of Watercourses. With an Appendix, containing Statutes
of Flowing, and Forms of Declarations. By Joseph K. ANGELL. Sixth Edition, revised, and very much enlarged by the addition of new matter to the Text and Notes. By J. C. PERKINS. Boston: Little, Brown, & Com
Tue preface tells us that the last edition of this book was published fifteen years ago; and this, independent of the fact that that edition has long been out of print, is sufficient justification of the present revision. The law of watercourses, particularly that very large part of it which treats of easements, has, like the whole law of incorporeal hereditaments, increased enormously in volume during the last few years.
The present editor has done his work very thoroughly, adding largely both to the text and to the notes, so that the volume has increased to a size of nine hundred pages, and contains nearly double the number of cases cited in the last edition.
The sections on “Surface Water and Drainage,” and on “Eaves Drip," are entirely new; and the treatise in its present form comprises not only the Law of Watercourses, but the whole Law of Fresh Water.
The cases have been well brought down to the present time, and the editor is in all respects competent for the task he has undertaken; yet we cannot approve the manner in which he has intermingled the new matter with the original text and notes, without any mark of distinction. The book of so accomplished a lawyer as Mr. Angell ought to be kept intact after his death, and the separate statement of the later cases would often be of great practical convenience in consulting the work.
The Law of Contracts. By John WILLIAM SMITH, Esq. Fifth American from
the Fourth London Edition, by John GEORGE MALCOLM, Esq., with Notes and References to both English and American Decisions, by WILLIAM HENRY RAWLE; and with additional Notes and References to recent American cases, by GEORGE SHARSWOOD. Philadelphia : T. & J. W. Johnson & Company. 1869.
All Mr. Smith's works are good, and all bear the marks of an original mind. In investigating legal doctrines, he is accurate indeed, rather than original; he treads warily, and at times painfully, in the track of adjudicated cases, and it is hard not to regret that the acuteness and subtlety of so fine an intellect was often spent in the attempt to reconcile irreconcilable decisions. He was a devoted lover of the common law as it is, with all its anomalies and inconsistencies, and worshipped it with more almost than Blackstonian superstition. But in the presentation of the results of his investigation, he was eminently original; he was the first to edit a selection of leading cases, and the present book is the best model
is a work of peculiar difficulty; the decisions are so numerous that a mere citation of their names would swell the book to a bulk entirely inconsistent with its character as an elementary discussion of general principles; it is necessary to select the most striking and illustrative decisions, and this requires other qualities than the industry and accuracy which suffice the ordinary book-maker. So far as the preparation of the present edition goes, we have but one fault to find. The Fourth English Edition, from which this is reprinted, was published in 1853, and Judge Sharswood, so far at least as we have observed, has confined himself to the American cases published since that time; so that we have none, or certainly very few, of the English cases on evidence decided during the last sixteen years. There is the less excuse for this, as the cases may be found well collected in the recent editions of Taylor on Evidence, which is, on the whole, the most convenient book on the Law of Evidence as administered in the courts of Great Britain. Again, also, we have to complain of the lack of a table of the Ameri
A Treatise on the Law of Shipping and the Law and Practice of Admiralty.
By THEOPHILUS Parsons, LL.D., Dane Professor of Law in Harvard University, at Cambridge. In Two Volumes. Boston: Little, Brown, & Com
Ten years ago, Professor Parsons published a Treatise on Maritime Law in two volumes. The first volume was devoted to a discussion of the Law of Shipping, while the second volume contained the law of Marine Insurance and of Admiralty. The portion given up to the subject of Admiralty, though well arranged, was, considering the importance of the subject, very brief; in fact was little more than a sketch.
Some months ago, the part of Professor Parsons's second volume which concerns Marine Insurance, was republished in a greatly expanded form, filling two volumes; this we noticed at the time of its issue. (3 Am. Law Rev. 140.)
We have now the remainder of the original Treatise, much increased in size, and filling two volumes, which contain four hundred and fifty more pages of text and notes than were devoted to the topics of Shipping and Admiralty in the · original work on Maritime Law. Especially has the subject of the jurisdiction and practice of the Admiralty been treated much more at large, thus supplying the main defect in the first treatise and furnishing one of the best compendiums for the use of proctors. The title of Collision, too, has been enlarged from twenty-five pages to seventy-four pages, and we do not know where else to look for so good a treatment of the matter.
We notice that the passage in the first chapter of the original treatise, “ The common law has its old books of authority; and they are numerous and excellent; Statham, Fitzherbert, Glanville, Brooke, in the sixteenth century, and in the next, Bracton, Fleta, Britton, Rolle, Sheppard,” is corrected in the present edition; and the statement now made in the same chapter that the Consolato del Mare was first printed, probably, early in the fifteenth century, may, by giring a very liberal construction to the word “ early," be not so far from the truth as the earlier statement that it was printed in the century before the useful art of typography was invented.
the sea captain abroad, that this book ceases to be all-sufficient, and a lawyer is required.
It is so entirely a book for the use of “non-legal readers," that it seems hardly possible to look upon it as capable of true legal criticism, for no authorities are referred to, and no doubt seems to be entertained by the author as to any uneer tainty of the exact state of the law on any point. After a careful perusal, the impression left upon the mind is that the law is as firmly fixed as the pyramid of Cheops; and we gaze with wonder, slightly tinged with contempt, on the hundred works on maritime law which descend to discussion and doubt, or which condescend to give security to their statements by quoting from judicial decisions.
There can be no doubt that sea captains, as a class, are lamentably in need of more legal knowledge than they now possess; and if they could be persuaded of the illegality as well as inhumanity of ill treatment and brutality to their crew, this book would deserve to be published as a Tract by the Humane Society, and be entitled to the gratitude of the world. It, however, omits all mention of seamen and their rights, except briefly in the Appendix.
Let us look at it, then, from a sea captain's point of view, and imagine ourselves an old salt, perusing at odd moments this faithful adviser, and going to its truthful pages whenever he is in trouble or likely to enter into “ disputes or litigation.” He turns over the pages, and his eye falls on some such passage as this : “ The parties are supposed to leave to implication and tacit understanding all those general and unvarying incidents which a uniform usage would annex, and according to which they must in reason be understood to contract unless they expressly exclude them.” We should like to see the expression on that weatherbeaten countenance when he reads about “implication and tacit understanding."
The portions of the work most creditable to the author are the chapters on “Stoppage in Transitu,” “ Demurrage,” and “ Delivery,” which are admirable, brief, condensed, accurate, and sufficiently extended to meet the real purpose of such a book, which is to teach enough and not all the law; but the style is generally too concise to be easily intelligible to the marine mind, while at times it becomes equally unintelligible from the opposite fault,- diffuseness. It is wanting, too, in information on several important points on which a captain would require instrucțion ; as, for instance, on the change in the meaning of the word “necessity," under any circumstances, and especially when applied to the powers of the captain in making bottomry bonds. For with the present wide-spread system of submarine telegraphs, which so encircle the world that the Fejee Islands are almost the only inaccessible places where the shipmaster would be obliged to exercise his own discretion, the law, which requires the master to ascertain his employer's wishes upon what action he may take in an emergency, must be much more strictly construed than heretofore. On this important topic, however, almost nothing is said.
A perusal of this work only confirms our previous opinion of all such handy books: they are harmless, but practically useless. A sea captain would do much better to follow a few simple rules which any ship-owner can give him, while at sea; and when in port, where his principal difficulties arise, the most inexpensive and cheapest course he can take is to consult a lawyer. There are now few places so sunk in barbarism as to be without that product of civilization and progress.