Imágenes de páginas

eighteenth century." From the fact, that very many of the continental works, mentioned in the catalogue, belong to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, we suppose that the expression “ down to the eighteenth century,” is intended to include that century. Whether so intended or not, however, the assertion is evidently dictated more by a zeal for the glory of the law library of Harvard University, than by a knowledge of legal bibliography. What the number of those works, which are supposed to nearly complete the collection of European continental law, may be, we are not informed; but if all the works in the library were of this description, they would not altogether amount to more than one third of the works on jurisprudence, which have been published in Germany alone, since the middle of the last century. We have be. fore us, at this moment, a catalogue of works on jurisprudence printed in Germany between 1750 and 1839, which makes a very closely printed octavo volume of 524 pages. Allowing the Cambridge catalogue to contain as many works to a page as the German one, and this is considerably to the advantage of the former, the German will be found to have in it three and a half times as many titles as the other; and, supposing one half of them to have been published in the eighteenth century, the number of such will greatly exceed the whole number of books in the law library at Cambridge. But, during all this time, other countries have not been idle; France, Italy, Holland, Belgium, have also published juridical works within the same period; and, taking all these together, how is it possible to suppose, that the few hundred volumes of European continental law, to be found in the law library of Harvard University,“ nearly complete the collection from the earliest times down to the eighteenth century "?

The next assertion of Mr. Woodward's, that strikes us (at least by implication) as somewhat extraordinary, is, that "the collection of the codes of continental Europe [in the Cambridge law library] is probably more ample than that of any other [library) in this country." The fact may be so. No other library in this country, perhaps, contains a greater number. But the language seems to imply, that the library is peculiarly rich in this department,

whereas, in truth, it is singularly deficient, unless, by “modern codes of continental Europe,” is meant the laws of modern European states. In three of the states of modern continental Europe, certainly, the laws have been codified in general codes, namcly, France, Austria, and Prussia; some states have commercial codes, as Spain and Holland ; others have codes of procedure ; and several have criminal codes. Of all these, besides the French translations of codes in Mr. Foucher's collection, we find several of the French codes, the commercial code of Spain (also in Mr. Foucher's collection), the first part of the code of the two Sicilies, the second and fourth parts of the same (in Mr. Foucher's collection). Of the Prussian code, we find the original project of Frederic the great (code Frederic), but not the existing Landrecht ; of the Austrian codes, we find the translation of the penal code in Foucher, but not the civil code, which is in the third (missing) volume of that collection ; while, of the great number of criminal codes and plans of codes, adopted or considered by individual continental powers, within the last fifty years, we find nothing except a commentary on the criminal laws of Bavaria. If there are any others, they have escaped our notice, in a pretty careful examination.

The last statement of Mr. Woodward's, that we shall notice, is the most extraordinary of all. He says, that “importations of the most valuable of the latest British and Continental law books and legal reviews are regularly made.” We have not examined the catalogue, in reference to the British law books and reviews, which are imported as the most valuable ; but as we find little or nothing, answering to the latest continental law books and reviews, we conclude either that Mr. Woodward is ignorant of the great numbers of both descriptions of works, which are continually published in France and Germany, (to say nothing of other countries,) or that he, or whoever superintends the importations for the library, does not consider them of any value. It may be, that these works are, or would be, of no value to the law library at Cambridge; though it would be strange, if, out of so large a number, there should not be some worthy of a place there. We have



before us, a catalogue of the works published in Germany, in the last half of the year 1840, and for sale by a single house in Hamburg, in which the head of jurisprudence contains eightytwo titles of new publications; and this number is not above the average. A similar activity prevails in France. We could mention the titles of some of the “ most valuable” of these continental law books, if it were desirable to go into the matter at length, and we cannot refrain from indicating one. Mr. von Savigny, of Berlin, one of the most learned and able as well as celebrated of modern jurists, is now publishing his great work on the Roman law (System des heutigen Römischen Rechts) in which are embodied all the results of the critical studies and discoveries of modern times in that department. This work is also published simulta. neously in a French translation at Paris. Here is a work, which, we venture to say, is received with as much empressement through. out continental Europe, as a new work by Story or Kent would be in this country, but we do not find it in Mr. Woodward's catalogue among the “most valuable” of the continental law books.

Nearly all the latest modern works of continental jurisprudence, which we find indicated in this catalogue, are written, we believe, in the French language. Are there no“ valuable" works of jurisprudence written in German ? Mr. Woodward's idea of the “ most valuable” continental" legal reviews,” is equally narrow. Under the head of Legal Reviews, Journals, doc., he gives the titles of two continental works, having the form of periodicals, both of which are in French, and both, as appears by their titles in the catalogue, long since brought to a close ; so that it seems the term “ most valuable,” in reference to “ legal reviews,” means precisely nothing. In Paris alone, at this moment, if we are not greatly mistaken, there are two daily law journals, and not less than twenty which are published monthly. In Germany, the number is undoubtedly much greater, while Holland and Italy have, at least, one each, if not more. We, ourselves, receive regularly three German and two French law journals, which we should characterize as among the “ most valuable" of the continental legal reviews, but we do not perceive the titles of any of them in this catalogue.

We have felt it our duty thus briefly to allude to the extraordi. nary statements contained in Mr. Woodward's advertisement, each of which might well furnish matter for a long article ; and, in conclusion, we have only to say, that we know not which most to admire, the singular presumption of that gentleman in putting forth such absurdities, or the unaccountable negligence of the law faculty, by whose direction the catalogue was prepared, in allowing them to appear.

The publication of this catalogue enables us to judge, in some sort, of those means of obtaining a law education, in the law school at Cambridge, which are independent of the personal labors of the distinguished professors of that institution. In the departments of English and American law, little perhaps is wanting; but, in some departments of general jurisprudence, much is to be desired. In the department of Roman law, for example, we find none of the modern works, with the exception of the unfinished English translation of Savigny's history, by Cathcart, and a French translation of the same work, and the newly discovered fragments of Gaius; and, yet, in no department of jurisprudence, has the present century produced more or more valuable works. We venture to say, that, with the exception of the corpus juris itself, there is hardly a single book in the law library of Harvard Col. lege, which a modern professor of Roman law would think of putting into the hands of his pupils. We desire not to be misunderstood. The works on Roman law, in this library, are undoubtedly valuable, and well deserve a place there ; and the same may be said, and for much the same reason, of Bracton, Glanvil, and the year books ; but the former are as little suited to the modern student of the Roman law, as are the latter to the student of the common law. In reference to the propriety, not to say necessity, of an acquaintance with modern works on the Roman law, in preference to the ancient, a point of legal criticism occurs to us, which, as it is both curious in itself, and will also serve as an illustration, we shall take this occasion to mention. At the time Pothier published his treatises on French law, the received doctrine of the commentators on the Roman law recognised three degrees of fault or neglect, and three corresponding degrees of diligence, in contracts coming under the denomination of what we call bailments; and Pothier, accordingly, composed all his treatises on contracts, in conformity with this received doctrine. His works fell into the hands of sir William Jones, who borrowed from him the doctrine of the three degrees, and inserted it in his Essay on Bailments, with not a little parade, as the result of profound and original investigation, and as intimately founded in the nature of things. From sir Wil. liam Jones, the doctrine of the three degrees has come down to our times, in the regular stream of English elementary books and judicial decisions, without being controverted or questioned, so far as we know, by any body ; and is now as well settled (theoretically, at least,) as any doctrine of the English common law. On the continent of Europe, however, since Pothier's time, this same doctrine has been examined by the light of a more profound and philosophical criticism, than then existed, and has for many years been wholly abandoned, as a doctrine of the Roman law; so that no respectable professor would probably be found at the present day to teach it as such. What information on this subject, can the student of Roman law obtain from the law library of Har. vard College ? In modern works on the Roman law, the library of the Boston Atheneum is infinitely richer, though that, we believe, has received no accessions in this department, within the last fifteen years. In criminal law, and prison discipline, the works on which, produced in continental Europe within the present century, would, of themselves, constitute a large collection, this library is almost entirely deficient; and, of modern works of public law, and the philosophy of law, we find few or no traces. Of all the countries of Europe, or, indeed of the world, Germany now produces the greatest number of works on jurisprudence and its kindred topics, which are almost all of them written in German; and, yet, astonishing as it may seem, the law library of Harvard University, - among the first,“ perhaps in any country as a collection of general and municipal jurisprudence," - containing “a nearly complete collection” of European continental law, “ from the earliest times down to the eighteenth century," — and furnished with the most valuable” among the latest “ continental law books and legal reviews,” - as Mr. Woodward would have

« AnteriorContinuar »