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United States Provisional Court for Louisiana. Its Warrant in Law and Juris

diction. Opinion of Judge PEABODY. New York: 1865.

AMONG the different tribunals established during the war by the President, or commanding generals, to dispense justice in civil and criminal cases in those portions of the insurrectionary territory which were in possession of our arms, the Provisional Court of Louisiana was the most important, both from the large sphere of its operations and the length of time during which it lasted. It was also, we believe, the only court which was established by order of the President himself. This opinion was delivered by the learned Judge who occupied the bench throughout the entire term of the existence of the Provisional Court, and maintains the right of the court to entertain jurisdiction of the cases of two prisoners, one charged with murder and the other with arson. In spite of all the talk about martial law which prevailed during the war, we venture to say that very few people had any clear comprehension of its extent and limits, and we commend Judge Peabody's opinion as a good exposition of the powers and authority of a belligerent army and its commander in an enemy country.

The Comic Blackstone. By GILBERT ABBOTT A BECKETT. With Illustrations

by George Cruickshank. Chicago: Callaghan & Cockcroft. 1869.

We are delighted to greet this best of legal jeux d'esprit, which has become almost out of print, in so attractive a shape.

The author, who was a magistrate in London, and figures in the Ballads of Policeman X. as “ that exlent Justice à Beckett the beak," has written several humorous works, the Comic History of Rome, the Comic History of England, &c., but the Comic Blackstone is the best and the best known of his books. It should not be read through, for the puns follow each other so closely as to soon surfeit the reader; but take a few pages at a time and it is very amusing, and instructive withal: the writer was unmistakably a sound and acute lawyer.

The key-note of the book is struck in the first sentence:

“Every gentleman ought to know a little of law, says Coke, and perhaps, say we, the less the better."

So, “ It used to be thought that a fee or freehold might remain in abeyance; that is to say, without an owner; but modern lawyers cannot tolerate the idea of a fee with nobody to take it, and the doctrine is therefore exploded.”

And again, “ Every man may appear by his attorney, except an idiot, who must appear in person, for the law regards an idiot as one who is naturally qualified to enter personally into a lawsuit.”

Among the best things in the book are the citations from the old authorities.

“Bacon says, our laws, being mixed, like our language, are so much the richer ; but Bacon always cuts it uncommonly fat when he gets on the subject of legal richness."

"• If any person do hire my servant,' says F. N. B., 167, 168 — but whether F. N. B. is a policeman or what, it is impossible to say, for we only find him alluded to in the books as F. N. B. 167, 168," &c.

“Collative advowsons where the patron and bishop are one; in which case Coke insists, in a lengthy chapter of eighty-six pages, that “the bishop cannot present to himself unless he were one beside himself,' in which case be would be stark-staring mad, and therefore non compos and reang di bishoppe de


“By statutes of Henry the Eighth and of Charles the Second, who was com monly called the Merry Monarch, because, as Coke says, he was a saddı dogge' - real property was made devisable."

The derivations, too, are often ingenious:

“ Parliament is a word derived from parler to talk, and mentir to lie, and in this respect Parliament proves itself fully worthy of its origin." .

“For this disturbance, the patron may have a writ of quare impedit, which, means, Wherefore am I impeded? or as Selden translates it, · Why this impedence? ' the word impedence being a manifest corruption of impudence."

“Some writers think that society, in its original state, chose the tallest mal amongst them as king. Perhaps the expression in the national anthem, 'Long to reign over us,' has given rise to this very extraordinary theory."

To give an idea of the general character of the book, we copy the first page of the sixteenth chapter of the first book on Parent and Child.

“We now come to the tender subject of parent and child, which Shakespeare has so tenderly touched upon in many of his tragedies. Macduff calls his children chickens,' probably because he broods' over the loss of them; and Werner, in Lord Byron's beautiful play of that name, exclaims to Gabor, · Are you a father?' a question which, as the Hungarian was a single man, he could not have answered in the affirmative without rendering himself amenable to the very stringent provisions of the 45th of Elizabeth.

“Children are of two sorts — boys and girls; though the lawyers still further divide them into legitimate and illegitimate.

“ The duties of a parent are maintenance and education; or, as Coke would have expressed it, grub and grammar. That the father has a right to maintain his child is as old as Montesquieu ; we mean, of course, the rule, not the child or the parent, is as old as Montesquieu, — whose exact age, by the by, we have no means of knowing."

Like all professional jesters, Mr. À. Beckett says a great many flat things. There are many local jokes which can hardly be understood by any one unfamiliar with London; and the Comic Blackstone belongs to a class of literature which is fast becoming extinct, and is not likely to be ever revived: but it is the best of its kind; its satire is almost always good-natured ; and it well deserves to be perpetuated for the amusement of successive generations of law students, and to show that law “may be approached playfully and without horror," and " that Blackstone, like another black individual, is not so dingy as he is painted.”

Poems by Alfred W. Arrington, with a Sketch of his Character, and a Memoir.

Chicago: E. B. Myers. 1869. We fear it is a highly improper derogation from the due assumption of editorial omniscience, but really we do not profess to be judges of poetry.

We prefer, instead of attempting to make any criticisms of our own, to quote a passage from the prefatory remarks by Charles C. Bonney, Esq., from which our readers can gather a good idea of the contents of this little volume.


“ Alfred W. Arrington was also a poet; not a mere writer of verse, but a skilful and experienced master of the divine art of clothing the splendors of the imagination and the emotions of the heart in the celestial language of song.

“As his legal character was adorned and softened by the glowing passion and beauty of poesy, so his poetry was dignified, strengthened, and exalted by the clearness, logic, and good sense of his legal learning. Neither confusion of metaphor nor vagueness of expression offend the taste in his harmonious verse. Like a living stream from the top of a heaven-crowned mountain, his songs flow on to the sea, with increasing beauty, purity, and power. His verse is generally as noble in sentiment as it is musical in expression, and is frequently shaded by the elevated and touching melancholy so common to superior minds. The strength of his genius and the solidity of his attainments are well indicated by the fact, that he intended to undertake so daring a legal and literary task as the composition of a work on the Poetry of the Law; and those who are familiar with the aphoristic style of his arguments, will readily perceive how admirably he could have expressed in verse the doctrines of that unsurpassed system of jurisprudence which is the crowning glory of American constitutional government.”

We think we may venture to say, that no one can read the verses in this volume, without feeling regret that Judge Arrington did not live to carry out the very remarkable plan of which Mr. Bonney speaks.

The Quarterly Journal of Psychological Medicine and Medical Jurisprudence.

Edited by WILLIAM A. HAMMOND, M.D. Vol. III., No. 1. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1869.

THE January number contains no articles on subjects which come properly under the head of Medical Jurisprudence. Perhaps the most interesting paper to the general reader is one on Magic and Astrology in Antiquity and the Middle Ages. At the end of the number is the following note: “ The editor regrets being obliged to state, that he did not discover, till too late for rectification, that the article in this number of the Psychological Journal on Benedict de Spinoza is in great part not original. It contains uncredited verbatim passages from Mr. Froude's paper published in the Westminster Review for July, 1855, and probably plagiarisms from other authors." The sense of editorial responsibility, unfortunately too rare, which is shown by this brief note, tends to increase the reader's confidence in the conduct of this excellent periodical.

The Law Magazine and Law Review, or Quarterly Journal of Jurisprudence,

for February, 1869, being No. 52 of the New Series. London: Butterworths.

This number contains rather jejune biographical sketches of Lord Kingsdown, Lord Cranworth, and Lord Curriehill, discussions on recent decisions on the Law of Jettison, of Postnuptial Settlements, and of the Equitable Doctrine of Notice; a rather sharp review of a book on Indian Criminal Law and Procedure, and an article on the “ Amalgamation of the Two Branches of the Legal Profession," in which an attempt, not in our judgment very successful, is made to combat the opinion expressed by Mr. Justice Hannen, at the Solicitors' Benevolent Association, in favor of uniting the class of barristers with that of attorneys.

Western Jurist for December, 1868, and February, 1869.
American Law Register for November, 1868, and January and February, 1869.

The volumes of the Register have hitherto begun in November. To change this so that the volumes might begin with the year, the November number was issued as No. 13 of the Seventh Volume of the New Series, no number was published in December, and the number for January, 1869, begins the Eighth Volume of the New Series.

The American Law Times and Official Journal of the Courts and Departments.

Washington, D. C.

This monthly periodical was established in January, 1868; but its regular publication seems to have been attended with delays and difficulties, and it is only within a few months that we have become aware of its existence. It now seems, however, to have made a fair start on its second year. The distinctive character of the American Law Times is its almost entirely exclusive devotion to the doings in the United States Courts and Departments : it is only incidentally that it alludes to proceedings before the State tribunals. The paper itself contains lists of official appointments, State papers, and other miscellaneous information ; but the most valuable feature in the publication are three sets of sixteen pages each of smaller size. The first contains the official decisions of the Departments at Washington; the second, opinions of the Federal Courts in Bankruptcy Cases; and the third, opinions of those Courts in other cases. These three sets are prepared so that they can be bound up in separate volumes. Such a publication has long been needed, and we trust it will be established on a permanent basis. The Internal Revenue Record and Customs Journal. New York. The Bankrupt Register. New York.

The character of this periodical, invaluable to all practitioners in bankruptcy, has been steadily improving, especially in the excellence of the head-notes, which were at first very inaccurate, even when they were not omitted altogether. We strongly urge greater care in the citation of cases; all the references should be verified, and much time and annoyance thus saved to the reader. The Legal Intelligencer. Philadelphia. The Pittsburgh Legal Journal. The Chicago Legal News. The Law Transcript. Baltimore. The New York Daily Transcript. The Canada Law Journal. Toronto.

The Canada Law Journal, which was published at Montreal, came to a close, with the end of its fourth volume, in October, 1868. The Law Times. London. The Solicitors' Journal and Reporter. London.




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