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stone, unless his historical sketch, at the close of his Commentaries, be excepted; but this is far too general to give a satisfactory view of the subject. Sir Matthew Hale's History of the Common Law, though bearing this title, contains fewer historical facts than either of the two preceding works; being, for the most part, dissertations on disputed points of history, interspersed, no doubt, with some observations worthy of notice. Mr. Reeves's History of English Law came so near in design and title to this work, that, when the writer first obtained a view of it, which was not until he had made some advances in his own, he conceived that nothing remained for him to do but to abridge that work, and carry it on to the present period; but on a further perusal, he found his own plan to differ in so many particulars from that pursued by Mr. Reeves, that he chose to follow his own course, and to quote that gentleman (in whose work he found much that was valuable) in the same manner as he did other authorities. These two works must therefore be considered as perfectly distinct, and differing from each other both in the selection and arrangement of the materials. Mr. Reeves's work contains much more of the old law than what appeared to the writer of this work necessary to show the progress and successive changes of the law at different times. On the other hand, many anecdotes and facts, illustrative of the history of English Law, have found a place in this work which are not in Mr. Reeves's.'
Mr. Reeves's work consists of four volumes, and brings the history of the law down to the reign of Philip and Mary. Mr. Crabb's comprises the history down to the present time in one volume. The two works do not materially differ, excepting in extent of plan, and more particularly in respect to the space given to the early period of the history of the law. Mr. Reeves says, in regard to this part of the work, 'It may not, perhaps, be unsatisfactory to the reader, who knows what respect is due to the venerable remains of our ancient law, to be told that the whole of Glanville, and what seemed to be the most interesting part of Bracton, is incorporated into this work.' Mr. Crabb's work is then constructed on an abridged plan of Mr. Reeves's, but the plan is more abridged in the part relating to the ancient law. Blackstone's concluding chapter is the most masterly outline of the history of the English law that has ever been given. Mr. Reeves distinctly professes in his work to fill up that outline; and Mr. Crabb's is the same thing upon a more limited scale. All histories in some
1 A fifth edition of Reeves has recently been published in England bringing it down to the present time.
degree adopt a chronological method, the natural and obvious one for a history; but not to the same extent, of course, as journals and annals. And a very material part of the plan is the division of periods, and in this respect we cannot but think Blackstone's division of the history of the law into four great periods is preferable to the subdivisions of particular reigns, after the manner, for the most part, of Mr. Reeves and Mr. Crabb. The taking longer periods gives the opportunity of rendering the work both more interesting and more instructive, by following the subjects more continuously.
But speculations as to the best plan of a history of this sort, have less interest in this country at the present, than they will have when we begin to make histories of our own laws.
The work of Mr. Crabb is sufficiently extensive in plan to serve the purposes of such a work to American lawyers generally. It gives a succinct account of the various changes of the law, without entering into
any discussions of the innumerable questions naturally arising in the course of so very comprehensive a subject for so long a period. As a succinct record of the successive changes of the law, and the most important incidents in legal history, it will be a very convenient and useful work to the profession.
The English, as well as ourselves, are too negligent of one part of the history of law. In regard to most of the laws, excepting those upon subjects of great popular excitement, it is very soon forgotten who drafted them, and who took an active part in promoting their passage. The preliminary steps towards the passage of a law, and the motives and grounds of support and opposition, the incidents, circumstances, and all the secret and open influences operating upon the measure, are matters of instruction as well as curiosity. The passage of a law, even that excites no agitation at the time, is, in many instances, as important as the event of a battle, and might be made no less interesting in the narration, but the battle goes into history, and the circumstances attending the changes of a law, too often into oblivion. The journals of the legislatures, and the newspaper reports of speeches, in modern times, will throw a good deal of light upon the history of legislation, which comprehends the most important branch of the history of the law, but there are many incidents, in the course of legislation, as well as in the history of the changes of law by judicial decisions, sufficiently interesting to be remembered, but which can only be preserved by those diligent observers of the events and characters of their own times, who note down in their private memoranda, whatever they suppose posterity may have a curiosity to learn.
DWARRIS ON STATUTES.
A General Treatise on Statutes : their Rules of Construction, and
the Proper Boundaries of Legislation and Judicial Interpretation. Including a Summary of the Practice of Parliament, and the Ancient and Modern Method of Proceeding in Passing Bills of every kind. With an Appendix of Precedents, Forms, Rules, and Orders. Part the First: Parliamentary. By FortuNATUS Dwarris, of the Middle Temple, Esq. Barrister-at-law. London. Saunders & Benning. 1830. Pp. 624.
This volume contains some curious learning and interesting information concerning the mode of making laws in England, and the bodies which make them. The nature of the work may be judged of by the table of contents.
Part. I. Ch. 1. Of statutes in general; their place in the laws of England ; definition ; distinction from ordinances, patents, charters; their original form and ancient history. Ch. II. Of the modern manner of proceeding in parliament, and the method of making laws; the forms observed at the opening of parliament, previous to the commencement of business; the speaker's election and prayer for the privileges of the house. Ch. III. Of privilege in general; the privileges claimed by the speaker, examined and traced. Ch. IV. The routine of introductory business in parliament; the form and manner of proceeding with all bills, public and private ; public in what way introduced; how private. Ch. V. Of bills during their pendency in parliament; the first and second reading; committee ; report; committees of every kind incidentally considered ; committees of supply; of ways and means; election committees. Ch. VI. The proceedings continued till the period when the bill receives the royal assent; and incidentally of conferences, amendments, and the rules and precedents in the case of bills of supply. Ch. VII. Who may sit and vote in parliament; the manner of attending, speaking, and voting in both houses; the manner of taking the chair, putting the question, &c. and giving the votes; divisions; proceedings between the two houses; impeachments; bills of attainder, pains and penalties, &c.; adjournment; prorogation; dissolution. Ch. VIII. Of particular sorts of private bills (fiscal or local) that begin in the house of commons; applications for public money; bills for compounding debts due to the crown; petitions relating to crown lands; reversal of attainders; inclosure or drainage bills ; turnpike road; canal; tunnel or archway; railway or tram roads; ferries or docks ; piers ; ports or harbors; building bridges; county rates; gaol or house of correction ; poor rate or workhouses ; easy recovery of small debts; and bills for prolonging letters patent : of a personal nature. Ch. 1X. Of private bills (of a personal nature) which begin in the house of lords; divorce and estate bills; of naturalization and name bills which are personal, but begin in either house; of joint stock company bills; of powers of corporations created by act; of preparing and settling private bills; the proper clauses; fees; agents' charges; approved precedents of private bills.
The second part of the work, which is announced in this volume as preparing for publication, has not, that we are aware of, yet appeared.
Many of the subjects which are treated in this work have, no doubt, been made familiar to many of our readers, from works on parliamentary practice and other treatises. Much of the work, however, especially those parts which relate to the mode of proceeding in regard to private bills, contains matter which is not to be found in the law books which are common in this country. The great system with which these proceedings are conducted, and the extreme, perhaps not excessive, vigilance which is used to prevent the rights of individuals from being infringed by the exercise of legislative power, is well deserving of attention in the United States, where, if we mistake not, private acts, by which the rights and property of individuals may be very seriously affected, are often passed with great haste and incaution.
The following extract shows the course to be pursued in obtaining an act for making a turnpike-road :
Bills for making turnpike-roads, or for the continuing or amending any act of Parliament passed for the purpose, or the increase or alteration of the existing tolls, rates, or duties upon any such road, or for widening or diverting any such road, have their inception in the House of Commons. And before any application is made to Parliament for any or either of the purposes above mentioned, besides the ordinary notices of such intended application to Parliament, inserted in the newspapers, and formerly fixed upon the door of the session-house by order of the Commons, and still required to be so by an unrepealed order of the Lords, a previous application is required to be made to the parties concerned.
* These notices may be fitly considered as to their form, time, and manner.
1st. For their form it is required, that they describe the parishes from, through, or into which the line of road passes, or (if a new road is to be made, or the old one diverted,) is intended to
pass; and if an increase or alteration in any existing toll, rate, or duty is intended, the intention of proposing such increase or alteration must be expressed therein. If it be intended to use any plantations, gardens, or pleasure grounds, for the purposes of the act, notice must be served on the owners or occupiers thereof; and proof will be required before the committee, that such notice has been served. If roads are to be widened, or branches made, or where a road is to be abandoned, the notice in each instance should specify the intention; and in the former cases name the parishes in which the extension is to take place.
* 2nd. It is in the months of August, September, October, or November, immediately preceding the session of Parliament in which the application is intended to be made, that such notice must be inserted in the county paper, or if the said road is situate within the bills of mortality, in the London Gazette : it is now no longer required by the House of Commons, to be fixed on the door of the session-house, in consequence of the order of the Commons to that effect being repealed. The standing order of the Lords to that effect, is still in force.
' 3rd. But before any petition is presented to Parliament, application must be made to the owners, or reputed owners, and occupiers of the lands, through which any such road is intended to be carried, or such alteration made; and separate lists are ordered to be made of the names of such owners and occupiers, distinguishing them as
Neuters. ' Notices for enlarging the terms of particular Acts have been reported sufficient for repealing such Acts, and creating other powers.
• The notices being duly given, there are still other directions to be complied with, precedent to the presentation of the petition to the House of Commons. Such are the injunctions, that " when leave is intended to be asked to bring in a bill for making any turnpike-road, or for altering the line of any turnpike-road already made, by widening or diverting the same, or otherwise, a map or plan of such road, or intended alteration, upon the scale of not more than five, nor less than three inches to a mile, be deposited for public inspection at the office of the clerk of the peace of every county, riding, or division, through which such road is intended to be carried, or such alteration made, on or before the 30th day of September previous to the session of Parliament in which such
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