Page images
PDF

which it would be impossible to consider with any scientific accuracy, under such a rubric ; any more than it would be to discuss the various relations of property, and questions arising under them in our law, under the head of replevin. Notwithstanding this difficulty, the various subjects connected with the rei vindicatio are treated with much fulness and discrimination, and in a very interesting manner in the public act of Mr. Destrais. We wish it was the custom to require similar public acts of those who are admitted to academic honors in our law schools.

10.-Entwurf eines Strafgesetzbuchs für die Republik Bern. Bern, 1839.

This project of a criminal code for the republic of Berne, according to a constitutional provision (§ 54), was made known through the press, and every one invited to send his remarks upon it, in writing, to the president of the legislative commission on or before the first of September, 1839. The criticisms thus obtained were then laid before the great council by the legislative commission, accompanied by the project. Like most of the recent projects, which we have seen, that have been prepared in the different states of continental Europe, this code is divided into two parts:—a general, containing general provisions concerning crimes and their punishment, and a particular part, containing an enumeration and definition of all the particular crimes and their punishment. The whole code consists of two hundred and seventy-nine sections.

11.-Dell'uso e dell'Autorita delle Leggi del Regno delle due Sicilie, considerate melle relatizoni con le Persone e col Territorio degli Stranieri. Opera di Niccola Rocco, relatore presso la Consulta Generale del Regno. Napoli, 1837.

This is an Italian work on the Conflict of Laws, viewed particularly in connexion with the laws of the kingdom of the Two Sicilies, in which country it must have considerable practical utility; though in other countries it will, probably, only interest the few who pursue our profession as a science. Unlike the work of Mr. Justice Story on this subject, it has no international character; it is yet, from the extent and variety of its research, and the universality of its principles, adapted in a greater or less degree to all countries. The author, notwithstanding, has considered his subject carefully, gradually moving from point to point, and presented many interesting discussions of some of the great rules of this branch of jurisprudence. He has not, however, allowed himself to be carried abroad, into foreign countries, to consult other than domestic sources, except in comparatively few cases. The English and American jurisprudence is not referred to ; though the works of John Locke are quoted. The work is divided into three books. The first treats of some

general matters, which lie at the foundation of this subject, beginning with the reasons of laws, and why man submits to their control; the different qualities of personal and real statutes; the nature of civil and political rights, with the conclusion that foreigners in a country can only exercise civil rights; the nature and different qualities of public offices, and which among them may be filled by foreigners; the capacity of foreigners to give testimony; different sorts of foreigners'; nations required to be naturalized in the kingdom of the Two Sicilies. This book closes with the establishment of two grand principles of the science, which are derived from what is called political law, diritto politico—public policy; the other from international; the first regulates the power of the laws of a country over the persons of foreigners; the second, over foreign territory.

We will not follow the author through the second and third books, which take up successively the two grand principles which form the conclusion of the first book, and view them in a variety of bearings, treating of different cases that may arise under them. We have been pleased to find, in many of the discussions, that acuteness, elegance, and systematic manner, which so eminently characterize the great Italian jurists of the last century, and show the author to be a worthy countryman of Romagnosi.

It will be observed, that our author bears the same name with the Italian jurist, to whom we were indebted several centuries ago for a little Latin treatise.

INTELLIGENCE AND MISC ELLAN Y.

Theron Metcalf, Esq. The bar of the county of Norfolk, with which Mr. Metcalf had been connected, in the practice of his profession, adopted the following resolution on his recent appointment to the office of reporter of the supreme court of Massachusetts:

“At a meeting of the Norfolk bar, held on the eighteenth day of December, A. D. 1839, on motion of Meletiah Everett, Esq.,

“Woted, that the bar of Norfolk hold in high estimation the learning, integrity, and professional character of their late member, Theron Metcalf, Esq., about to leave the practice of the law. And while they regret his loss to their fraternity, they have reason to rejoice that he has been called to exercise his prečminent talents and distinguished learning in a sphere of more extended usefulness, wherein the profession may be equally benefited.

“Voted, that the secretary present a copy of the above vote to Mr. Metcalf, and cause the same to be published in the Dedham Patriot and the Norfolk Democrat.

I. CLEVELAND, Secretary.

Judicial Eloquence. In the case of Van Kleeck v. Dutch Church of New York, before the New York Court of Errors, in which the validity of a devise by John Harberdinck was in question, the testator is thus described by Mr. Senator Livingston.

“The counsel on both sides have given a latitude to their imagi

nations, and indulged their fancies with a peep through the long

avenue of times past, and conjured up the form and figure of the

testator. I also can paint to my imagination, the venerable Hol

lander, seated in his arm chair, which he brought with him from a

Holland, about commencing with his will. I see his anxious countenance and venerable form, slowly yet firmly grasp his pen and commence the solemn writing, with these words: “In the name of God, amen ; ” with much thought and reflection. He bestowed what he then pleased upon his relatives and friends; his brow was melancholy and heavy, until he came to the clause beginning with item, ‘I, the said John Harberdinck, do hereby give, devise and bequeath, unto the minister, elders and deacons of the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church, of the city of New York, and their successors, forever.” Then a calm serenity came over him ; he felt that he had fulfilled the main object of all his earthly exertions, which was to do all the good he could during life, and then when etermity appeared opening before him, he found a pleasing reflection, that he had just completed what was near and dear to his heart; and with a smile on his countenance, and a contented mind, I can see him calmly resign his spirit to his God who gave it. Often have I observed the picture, with the coat of arms suspended on the wall over the pulpit, in the North Dutch Church, in the city of New York, in William Street, said to be of the Harberdinck family. The motto underneath is, Dando Conservat. Until now I have been ignorant of the interpretation : but by becoming acquainted with this will, it appears to me easily construed. By

[ocr errors]

giving he has preserved it.”

[From the Law Magazine for November, 1839.]

Anecdotes of Erskine. An action was brought by a gentleman, who, whilst travelling in a stage-coach which started from the Swan with Two Necks, in Lad Lane, was upset and had his arm broken. “Gentlemen of the jury,” said Erskine, “the plaintiff in this case is Mr. Beverley, a respectable merchant of Liverpool, and the defendant is Mr. Wilson, proprietor of the Swan with Two Necks in Lad Lane, a sign emblematic, I suppose, of the number of necks people ought to possess who ride in his vehicles.”

Pleading for a defendant in a case of breach of promise of marriage, where the lady complainant was on the shady side of forty, the cunning counsel drolly submitted to the jury that it would have ruined his client to bring home an old-fashioned piece of furniture, where he had not even a place to hang it up in. When defending a tallow-chandler, under a similar visitation, nothing could exceed the pathos with which Erskine read the loveletters of the simple swain, in which he had written metaphorically of his love burning clear, of his heart being consumed like the wick of a candle, of the union of wax and spermaceti;-or the mock solemnity with which he dwelt on the notable conclusion of a Valentine :—“N. B. I have bad news for your brother; tallow is as high as ever !” The laughter in the jury-box augured ill for the fair plaintiff, whose damages were reduced to a fraction. There were several among his rivals in the front seats at nisi prius, who could fence at the carte and tierce of raillery with wit as keen, and repartee as clever, as his own. Some of these passages deserve to survive the chance hour of pleasantry that gave them birth. On a trial relating to the patent for a knee-buckle, Erskine held it up and exclaimed, “How would my ancestors have admired this specimen of dexterity!” The one-armed Mingay concluded his speech in reply with : “Gentlemen, you have heard a good deal to-day of my learned friend's ancestors, and of their probable astonishment at his knee-buckles. But, gentlemen, I can assure you, their astonishment would have been quite as great at his breeches.” In an action against a stable keeper for not taking proper care of a horse, “The horse,” said Mingay, who led for the plaintiff, “was turned into a stable with nothing to eat but musty hay in the rack. To such feeding the horse demurred.”—“He should have gone to the country,” retorted Erskine. The jest can only be enjoyed thoroughly by professional readers, being founded on the terms of special pleading; but unprofessional readers may rest assured that it is good as well as technical. Another of his daily antagonists was Bearcroft, who, for his vein of grave sarcasm, had been chosen Recorder of the Beefsteak Club.

« PreviousContinue »