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work, in which the law relating to sales is treated of, in a systematic, orderly and methodical style. It is merely a digest or abridgment of the general principles to be found in the elementary books, and of the decided cases reported in the volumes of reports, the whole broken up into paragraphs and stated in a clear and perspicuous manner, and arranged conveniently enough for reference. As a digest or abridgment of the principles and cases on the subject of sales, it will doubtless be found of great use in the every day business of an office; and, if the compiler, as he modestly calls himself in his preface, had denominated his work accordingly a digest or abridgment, we should have been willing to accord it all due praise ; but, calling it, as he does, and claiming for it, of course, the character of, a treatise, we are bound to say, that it no more deserves that appellation, than does Noah Webster's dictionary to be called a treatise on the English lan
3.—A Treatise on the Rights and Duties of Merchant Seamen, according to the general maritime law, and the Statutes of the United States. By GEORGE Tick Nor CURTIs, of the Boston Bar. Boston : Charles C. Little and James Brown. 1841.
We have not now time or space to notice this work in the manner it deserves; but we cannot suffer the present number of our journal to go to press, without at least giving our readers some idea of its contents; and, for that purpose, we shall make the author speak for himself. The following well written preface introduces us to his work:
“The writer of this treatise is no friend to the multiplication of law books. Yet he finds himself, at an early period, again about to commit to the public a legal publication, which, though it may need little in the way of introduction, to claim for its subject a ready attention, may require much in the way of apology for the manner in which it is treated.
“Having taken the persons employed in navigation out of the general law of shipping, I sought to trace their rights and duties back to those venerable codes of the sea, in which the spirit of a
thorough jurisprudence, such as might well relieve the middle ages of Europe from the epithet of “dark,” seems to have been fully equal to all the wants of maritime affairs, as they existed at the time, and scarcely falls short of satisfying the exigencies of modern commerce. The pleasure of these investigations richly compensated for any labor. It is surprising how ample are the materials created by those early commercial states, whose positive and customary regulations constitute the sources of the maritime law, but whose magnificence and power have long since vanished from the shores of the sea, which has not refused to transmit the imperishable traces of their laws. Whoever transfuses these materials into modern jurisprudence, will not only find that they give the force and authority of antiquity to what is in daily practice at the present time, but he will be struck with the wide range of materials thus opened for enlarging and illustrating the principles demanded by new questions, as they arise. It is almost solely by the use of such materials so applied, that advances are made in the science of the law. Whoever has long studied any of its branches has found that inventions and discoveries pertain mostly to the physical sciences. “The literature of the present day,” says Chancellor Kent, ““rich with the spoils of time,” instructs by the aid of the accumulated wisdom of ages.” “Another reason led to this effort to treat in a separate work the rights and duties of the persons composing a ship's company. The jurisprudence of this country has done much for mariners, and an honorable credit may be claimed for it on this account. Many of the doctrines, for their protection, have been carried further by some of our courts than by any other tribunals whose decisions are recorded in the English language. But the evidences of this lie in scattered decisions, and those only who are accustomed constantly to resort to the reported cases can know what the doctrines in fact are. To bring together these materials and exhibit the results for which the judicial tribunals and the legislative authority of the country may claim credit, has been a part of my design. It has also been a part of that design to exhibit, as a whole, the mariner's contract, as it is known to the general maritime law ; a contract, differing in many essential points from all contracts of service upon land, governed by a law that is “not the law of a particular country, but the result of the usage, the tacit convention and the positive institutions of the great family of commercial nations. It seemed to me that the science of the law ought to devote great attention to the persons employed in navigation; for to ascertain and reconcile the rights and duties of those into whose hands such vast masses of property are entrusted, is one of the surest modes by which to multiply securities around national and individual wealth, and to give to the moral qualities of man a new power over the elements to which that wealth is exposed. “But in writing a treatise, the chief practical value of which should be to state the law of one's own country and time, it was of course impossible to do more than to refer the reader to those sources from which apt illustrations and kindred doctrines may be drawn, in the institutions of other times or countries. These ref. erences I have sometimes accumulated upon general doctrines well established in our own and the English law; especially in citations from the elder marine ordinances. I have done so, because I have found that upon these subjects, investigation may be pursued into those authorities for light upon new questions, to great advantage. The texts, of which I have made use in citing the marine laws and ordinances, are those of the magnificent collection of M. Pardessus, published at Paris, in four volumes folio, from 1828 to 1837. I should also have referred to the editions and texts of the same codes which have heretofore been in use, but for the fact that they are of very little value compared with those of the learned French advocate, who has given us, with great accuracy and laborious collation, all that the libraries of Europe have preserved of these compilations. The work is known to some of our private libraries, and it ought to be known to the public institutions. “I have cited the various cases adjudicated in our Supreme, Circuit, and District Courts of the United States, and the several State Courts, without distinguishing at all what weight of authority belongs to each. To the professional American reader, this was unnecessary; every one affixes at once the proper authority to a decision when he reads the name of the tribunal pronouncing it. The foreign reader has little occasion to inform himself of the shades of distinction between the different branches of our apparently complicated judicial system. Whatever interest or attention he bestows upon our law, must in the main depend upon the intrinsic soundness of the doctrine; except in those instances, where he is inquiring for the actual state of our law, when the known reputation of the judges, or the high constitutional position of the court, add to the intrinsic merit of a decision the acknowledged weight of eminent station and authority. “I am aware that this subject might have been compressed into a very short compass. Some parts of it have occupied but a narrow space, in the text writers upon the law of shipping. But condensation is sometimes accomplished at the expense of completeness; and having never seen a treatise upon the same subjects which I felt willing to follow as a model, I have preferred my own conception of the proper outlines and limits of the subject. The profession, for whom this work is mainly intended, are rarely critical with an author, who is useful to their studies; and in the hope that the faults of the work may escape censure under this special verdict, I commit it to their indulgence.” In some future (and early) number of the Jurist, we hope to present our readers with a more extended review of Mr. Curtis's work. In the mean time, we feel bound to say, that, so far as our examination of it has extended, we see in it nothing to censure, but much to commend. It is nothing more than justice to the publishers to add, that, considered as a specimen of book-making (the purely mechanical part of it, we mean,) it is certainly superior to any law book ever issued from the American press.
4.—A Brief View of the Writ Ne Ereat Regno, as an Equitable Process : with the Rules of Practice relating to it. By John BEAMEs, of Lincoln's Inn, Barrister at Law. Second American from the last London edition, with notes of the recent English and American decisions. By HENRY Nicoll, Counsellor in Chancery. New York: Collins, Keese & Co. 1841.
This little treatise was originally published in England in 1812, and was reprinted in this country about ten years afterwards. It has since gone to a second edition in both countries. In all those states of the union, in which there are equity courts, possessing the usual equity jurisdiction, the subject of this work is one of much interest; inasmuch as it supplies in those courts the place of those forms of process emanating from the common law courts, by which the body is arrested. The reasons for the publication of this second edition are thus stated by the editor in his advertisement. They are as applicable in many of the other states as in New York. “A period of twenty years has elapsed since the publication of the first American edition of this work. In that time there have been many decisions both in our own and the English courts in relation to the writ of ne eveat regno, which throw light upon its history, and illustrate the extent of its application. Within that time too, great progress has been made in ameliorating, if not abolishing imprisonment for debt; and there is sufficient proof of a growing aversion in society, to the allowance of any restraint of the person as a means of enforcing the performance of contracts. When it is considered that the power of the court of chancery of this state, to issue a writ of me eveat, has not been affected by the provisions of the law abolishing imprisonment for debt, and that by reason of the increasing refinement and complexity of the transactions of society, the jurisdiction of the court is of necessity subject to constant enlargement, it becomes a matter of no ordinary interest to ascertain in what cases, and under what restrictions, this severe, but oftentimes only effective remedy will be allowed. In presenting, therefore, this reprint of the latest edition of Mr. Beames's very valuable treatise, which it has been endeavored to make as useful as possible, by references to all the recent English and American cases, the publisher indulges the not unreasonable hope, that his labors may prove of service to the profession.” We cannot do less than express our approbation of the manner in which the American editor has accomplished his task; and of the manner in which his exertions have been seconded by his