« PreviousContinue »
insanity is much relied on in a case of homicide; and the reports of the New England and Middle States are as frequently quoted as those of the English courts. In the notes, the reporter gives evidence of a more than common familiarity with the Roman law. We perceive that the index is uncommonly full, and the attention of the reader is called to the particular point of which he is in search, by references to the contents of each paragraph, in the same manner that they are indicated in our digest. Mr. Meigs has shown a very commendable degree of diligence, and no small amount of learning, combined with considerable editorial skill, in the preparation of this volume.
5.—Treatise on the Roman Law. By M. De SAvigny. Vol. I. (in French). Translated from the German, by CHARLEs GUENoux. Paris.
[From the Rev. Et. & Franc. for August, 1840.]
This is the first volume of an extended work, in which the author proposes to present the public with the results of his studies and of his course of instruction, since the commencement of the nineteenth century. The object of the work is the existing prirate Roman law; it is consequently limited to matters of Roman origin, which are comprised in the Justinian legislation; and which, at the same time, have also a place in the German jurisprudence of the present day. The author does not give a complete history of the Roman law; he excludes from his plan those parts of the ancient Roman law, which are foreign either to the legislation of Justinian or to the modern law ; he does not treat of the public law of the Romans, or of procedure; neither does he include in his plan the whole of what is denominated the German common law. The author's design is, as stated in his preface, to furnish the existing generation with the enjoyment of the rich inheritance resulting from the efforts made by our predecessors for several centuries; but, at the same time, he will endeavor to revise these labors, to separate by a severe criticism the numerous errors contained in this mass of ideas, and thus to present an exact and extended exposition of the matters which he purposes to treat. Mr. de Savigny, the head of the so-called historical school, defends himself from the reproach of being desirous to subject the present age to the past — of wishing to establish the ancient form of the law as the absolute and immutable type for the present and future, -and, in particular, of attempting to lay a foundation for the domination of the Roman law to the prejudice of the German law and of the new institutions; but he persists in maintaining that a profound knowledge of the Roman law is of the very highest importance for the study of the existing law, not only in the countries which are still governed by the Roman law, but also in those which possess national codes. He cites, by way of example, the French jurisconsults, who, he says, “frequently avail themselves of the Roman law with much skill, to throw light upon and complete the civil code. In this, they follow the true spirit of that system ; and when they fail, it is less the result of an injudicious use, than of an imperfect knowledge of the Roman law. Evidently inferior to us in this knowledge, they may nevertheless be our models in the art of applying it to the modern law.” The separation, which is every day becoming more decided, between theory and practice, is regarded by the author as one of the principal evils under which the existing law is laboring ; and the remedy is only to be found in the reëstablishment of their natural unity. Now, continues Mr. de Savigny, among the Roman jurisconsults, this unity appears to us in its primitive purity and in its living realization. He insists, in consequence, upon a profound study of it, according to a method truly scientific. The special object of his work is to bring about this study, -to lessen the difficulties, and to remove the obstacles, which, for the practitioners, stand in the way of an access to the sources. At the head of this first volume, the author gives a summary table of the whole work. The first book, Of the sources of law, serving as a kind of introduction, contains, in four chapters, an exposition of the object of the work, of the nature of the sources of law in general, of the sources of the existing Roman law, and of the interpretation of laws. The second book, Of the relations of law, constitutes what is called in Germany the general part of the work. The author, in the first place, defines these relations, and indicates their different kinds. The second chapter will speak of persons, considered as subjects of the relations of law ; the third chapter will explain the origin and the dissolution of these relations; and the fourth chapter will contain what relates to their violation. The third book will treat of the application of the rules of law to the relations of law; the fourth, of the law of things; the fifth, of the law of obligations; the sixth, of the law of family; and the seventh of the law of succession. The first volume is occupied by the first book and the first chapter of the second book. We shall return to the subject in giving an account of the second volume, which will complete the second book. After having spoken of the illustrious author of the history of the Roman law in the middle ages, we ought not to terminate this notice, without bearing our testimony to the exactness and fidelity of his translator, Mr. Guenoux. We have verified a great number of passages, which presented serious difficulties, and we avail ourselves of this occasion to say, that the work undertaken by Mr. Guenoux will be distinguished among the very few good translations of the German jurisconsults.
6.—Of the dangerous classes of the population in great cities, and of the means of rendering them better. By H. A. FREGIER. (In French). 2 vols. 8vo. Paris, 1840.
[From the Rep. Etr. & Franç, for June, 1840.]
It is under the auspices of a judgment of the academy of moral and political sciences, which proclaims its merit and its utility, that the work of Mr. Fregier has been delivered to the appreciation of the public ; and the public of all classes has hastened to confirm this judgment. But it must be acknowledged, also, that Mr. Fregier has known how to temper the gravity of his subject, by the graces of form; and, by presenting curious and highly interesting details, has rendered the reading of it very attractive.
Mr. Fregier divides his work into four parts. In the first part, he makes an enumeration of the dangerous classes, by the aid of
calculations, which, if they do not completely satisfy the mind by the rigorous exactness of positive figures, seem at least to approach the truth, so far as it is accessible to approximative calculations. In the second part, the author describes the manners and habits of the different sections of the laboring class, from which the dangerous classes are principally recruited ; and those of the writers or copyists, tradesmen’s clerks, and students, the only categories of the enlightened portion of society, which, in the plan of the work, furnish their contingent to the dangerous classes. If Mr. Fregier has left the other categories out of his plan, it is not that he judges them exempt from vices; but the academy of moral and political sciences did not direct observation to any other than those classes, which were dangerous by their vices, their misery, and their ignorance, and he has felt obliged to restrain himself within the limits prescribed by this programme. The author afterwards initiates us in the life and habits of each of the divisions of the vicious class; and these chapters show Mr. Fregier to be an excellent observer; for if he has borrowed something from the observations of those authors, who have preceded him in this department, (Parent-Duchatelet and Villermé,) he has himself made a great many, which are as just as they are complete. After having thus (in the first two parts of his work) probed the sores submitted to his investigation, and well established their depth and extent, Mr. Fregier applies himself to make known the remedies, which he conceives proper, either to preserve the social body from an extension of the hideous maladies which are eating into it, or to combat them when they have made their appearance. Hence result two kinds of treatment, as in medicine: prevention and cure. The means of the first are set forth in the third part, and those of the second in the fourth. The preservatives against vice, according to our author, are, in the first place, the different institutions created for the protection of infancy and youth, such as houses of asylum and elementary schools; and, in the second place, institutions destined to maintain the formed man in those good habits, and to strengthen in him those salutary principles which he has imbibed in the first,--such as savings-banks, popular libraries, &c. Mr. Fregier requires, at the same time, that instruction should be brought within the reach of the laboring classes, that ideas of order and economy should be inculcated upon them,-and that establishments should be created for them, in which they might pass their days of rest in the enjoyment of honest pleasures. Among the means of moralization which he recommends, Mr. Fregier could not entirely neglect the religious element; and accordingly he accords to it its share of operation. But, besides that he makes this share very narrow, he expresses in several parts of his book such a distrust of the ministers of religion, that we do not well comprehend how, with all these shackles, they can accomplish their mission. In the fourth part, devoted to the remedial means to be employed against vice, the author examines in succession what measures may be used in the suppression of drunkenness, gambling, and prostitution; and he concludes by an examination of the means proper to repress crimes and offences. He is thus led to express his opinion of the divers penitentiary systems, which are at present in vogue. He declares himself in favor of the system of absolute solitary confinement (that of Philadelphia,) but with some modifications to render its application more easy. He finds the realization of his views upon this point, in the new regime introduced (in a complete manner, however, only within a few months) in the penitentiary for young convicts in the department of the Seine. As to patronage, the author admits it to be good and useful in regard to young discharged convicts, and, in this, his testimony cannot be refused; for his conviction rests upon the experience acquired within the last seven years, in consequence of the efforts of the society for the patronage of young convicts, discharged in the department of the Seine. In order to give more life to societies for patronage, and to increase the number of their active members, Mr. Fregier thinks that these functions ought to be made obligatory upon certain