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would have been considered an unauthorized exercise in an age that has passed may be a necessary exercise in a subse. quent age. Its exercise depends upon general conditions, as well as local conditions. Changed conditions may make that necessary which under former conditions might have been properly held to be arbitrary.
The power has been coexistent with government itself. The extent of its exercise broadens or lessens as conditions change. The existence of the power, its indefinable charac. ter, the delicate task of declaring when its exercise is arhi. trary or when property and personal rights are unduly inter. ferred with, emphasizes the importance of an honest, intelli. gent, and independent judiciary, and is an answer to those who would make the judiciary subject to the possible influ. ence of popular prejudice and caprice.
To the judicial department of the Government is, there. fore, committed the grave and important duty of deciding from time to time, whether that which purports to be in the interest of the general welfare is really such. Such a power should be confided to men of character, men of learning, and men who are fully abreast of the times in thought. The precedents of the past may sometimes have to be disregarded on account of the conditions of the present. One who is not thoroughly imbued with the view of the present in regard to matters which must be considered in the determination of this question is not well qualified for the exercise of the duty of determining the scope of this power. The one who has this responsible duty must not be ultra-conservative so as to cling with undue tenacity to the past. On the other hand, he must not be ultra-progressive so as to declare that within the power when conditions have not arisen that would jus. tify such declaration. If the Judges in whom this power resides are elected by a popular vote the insidious influence of such method of election is bound to have its effect, and in determining the scope of the police power popular prejudice may find an expression either too much limiting it or giving to it too broad scope. If the Judges are chosen by the vote of the Legislature the evils of popular election are to some extent lessened, though they are still present in a degree. The chief executive of a state is one who should be, and generally is, abreast of the times in which he lives, and to him may be confided the selection of the e officers with more confidence of satisfactory results than any other method that has been adopted. It is true that this reposes the selection in a single person. This is one of the strongest reasons for this method of selection. He can be held responsible for a selection that was unwise or improper. The voters at the ballot box are an irresponsible mass. The voters in a Legislature are a smaller mass, but there is a divided responsibility among a large number. The executive, the single person charged with a grave duty, can be identified and held responsible for his acts. The consciousness of this will generally bring him to the discharge of this duty in a state of mind where he will realize the gravity of the situation by which he is surrounded.
I was requested to write an article upon one phase of the police power, and I have digressed into a discussion of the method of selecting Judges. The digression was easy, and I think it was logical. The manner of selecting those who are to determine the extent of the power is certainly a phase in the discussion of the power itself. However, let it stand as a digression. Sometimes that which is said in a digression is of more importance than what is said in a discussion of the main question, just as what is said in an opinion by way of obiter is sometimes more lasting and of more importance than what was said in the direct discussion of the main question.—Case and Comment.
MR. LLOYD GEORGE'S PROPOSALS.
How eager is officialdom to extend its borders is indicated by the proposals put forward by Mr. Lloyd George in his speech at Swindon recently. A Ministry of Land is to be created, to which the existing functions of the Board of Agriculture are to be transferred, and a number of new duties, including the control of all matters relating to the registration of title and land transfer, are to be assigned, If these matters are to be the subject of official supervision, something may, no doubt, be said in favour of bringing them under the management of one central body. But the proposals of the Chancellor of the Exchequer go far beyond this. The administration of the law respecting settled estates is to be taken from the Court of Chancery—where at present all the questions within its province are dealt with expeditiously and inexpensively—and transferred, with such mat. ters as the revision of notices to quit, the reduction of rents, and the fixing of the price of land required for public pur. poses, to a body of Commissioners through whom the powers of the new Ministry are to be operated. The Commissioners, though they are to act ‘judicially ’ are not to sit in Courts, ‘We are going, says Mr. Lloyd George, who never loses an opportunity of gibing at his old profession, to keep the lawyers outside. In other words, the mischievous policy of the Government to interfere with access to the Courts is to receive a large extension, and a new Department, free from the good influence of public criticism, is to be established to deal with matters which the Judges are accustomed to decide in open Court. The officialism of the Land Registry is to be transformed into the despotism of a larger Department, and the encroachments of the Executive upon the province of the Law are to become yet more dangerous.
“Men disparage not antiquity who prudently exalt new enquiries.” —Sir Thomas Browne.
Canada's Federal System. By A. H. F. Lefroy. Toronto : Carswell Company, Limited. $10. This book is not a new edition of Mr. Lefroy's earlier work, “Legislative Power in Canada,” published in 1898-9, but an entirely new book on the subject of Canada's great charter, the British North America Act as that Act had been interpreted in the light of the many appeals to the Privy Council at London, on constitutional questions. As the author very aptly points out, the federal system of Canada is unlike that of the United States as the powers of the Dominion Parliament are wider and fuller than those of Congress—more elastic, it being able to legislate on the various subjects set out in sec. 91 of the act and also as expressed in clause 29 of the same section relating to “such classes of subjects as are expressly excepted in the enumeration of the classes of subjects by this act assigned exclusively to the legislatures of the provinces. And any matter coming within any of the classes of subjects enumerated in this section shall not be deemed to come within the class of matters of a local or private nature comprised in the enumeration of the classes of subjects by this act assigned exclusively to the legislatures of the province.”
The various sections of the British North America Act which have been the subject of dispute are discussed in this volume in a particularly lucid and able way in connection with the cases in which the point involved came up for adjudication before the Privy Council.
A chapter is devoted to a comparison between the Canadian and United States Constitutions in which the difference existing between the two is explained. A first-class index of the various acts which preceded the final passage of the British North America Act makes the book a valuable Olle. It may be added that Mr. Lefroy's article on this sulject which appears in the October issue under the heading “Points of Interest in Canada's Constitution * should be read in connection with this work.
The Canadian Law of Banks and Banking. By John Delatre Fal. conbridge, M.A., LL.B., of Osgoode Hall, Barrister-at-Law; One of the Lecturers to the Law Society of Upper Canada. Toronto: Canada Law Book Company, Limited. $8.50. This is the second edition of this work, and it appears at a very opportune time, when the new Bank Act has just come into force. The volume shews great care in the preparation not only of the acts dealt with but also in the presentation of the cases decided with reference to the various sections, in addition to which a comparison is made with reference to similar legislation in force in other countries such as the Negotiable Instruments Law in operation in many of the States of the American Union, so that the reader may have a full understanding of the working of the Canadian Act and be able to appreciate the differences be: tween it and the several enactments with which it is compared. - Before presenting the subject-matter proper a brief history of the Law Merchant is given, detailing its subsequent incorporation into the Common Law. In the Bank Act, ch. 16, under the heading of Warehouse Receipts, &c., as Collateral Security, the new extensions of this section enabl. ing farmers and others to obtain advances on threshed grain and other “products * is ably discussed. Chapter 23 gives the Act by which the Bankers' Association justifies its existence, and in chapter 27 a clear exposition of the clearing-house and its methods is outlined. Under the Bills of Exchange Act, ch. 31, p. 424, et seq. will be found the difference which exists between the English and Canadian Acts. Rare ability, extreme care and attention to the most minute details is evidenced throughout the whole of this work and it will be undoubtedly appreciated not only by the legal profession but by all who may have occasion to consult