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us the advantage of contemplating events in the full light derived from the knowledge of their efficient causes, and of arguing immediately from motive to result, it is of so much importance to gain a clew to this connexion, that we are forced upon the inquiry, whether there may not be some indirect and collateral method of making an approach at least towards the possession of the secret. It is, manifestly, in vain to seek for it in an examination of mere facts. They are so variously stated, that the knowledge of their hidden springs of action becomes necessary in order to elicit the actual circumstances of the case; and they are so often irreconcileable with their ostensible and proximate causes as to prove that the real impulses must be sought elsewhere. It becomes then expedient to look out for some intermediate evidence which may guide us in our investigations, and enable us on the one hand to trace counsel' and design, and, on the other, to determine their influence


actions and events. Unless such evidence is to be found in the laws and permanent institutions of a nation, we apprehend that the attempt to obtain it must be abandoned as hopeless : but, although we admit that even this source of illustration is imperfect, we are sure that it is most important and, to a very considerable extent, effective. Law implies, by its very designation, deliberate counsel and intent. Institutions exhibit national character, both in action and reaction. Law, in its history, is so intermingled with the general course of events, and, in its purview, not only takes so much of its special character from circumstances, but, in turn, exercises over them so powerful an influence, at once controlling and impelling, that a thorough acquaintance with both is indispensable to the philosophic annalist. "And the institutions of a people, compounded as they are of law, custom, and character, at once derive and communicate, in the instances both of individual action and national story, much of their peculiar spirit.

But this is not all. There is, if we may be allowed the expression, a system of filiation traceable in legal and institutional history, not merely marking the successive stages of national advance from barbarism to civilization, but distinguishing the kindred, cognation, supremacy, and subjection of different tribes. For instance, the Common Law of England has derived a considerable proportion of its doctrines from the institutes and pandects of the Roman courts, and by ascertaining how far that adoption has extended, and in what countries it has prevailed, we shall obtain important elucidations both of legal and general history. Again, the entireness of this derivation has been broken in upon by the irruptions of

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the northern hordes, bringing with them their own customs and their own tribunals; and it is expedient to inquire, whether these intromissions modified the institutions of the con• quered country, or whether the latter became merely the accessories of the intrusive systein.

If we have succeeded in shewing the value of this course of research, we have, at the same time, demonstrated the utility of the work now in our hands. In the course of Mr. Spence's studies, his attention was drawn to the circumstance which we have just noticed ; i.e. that much of our Common Law is to be found in the Pandects, the Code, and the Novels of the Roman jurisprudence, and that this similarity is not confined to the simpler and more elementary doctrines, but extends to those wbich are altogether artificial. This led him to a minute examination of the Roman code, civil and criminal, as also to a comparison of its principles and details with the legal institutions of Modern Europe, and more especially with those of England.'

. For this purpose the Author endeavoured to ascertain what was the nature of the government, both civil and military, which was established by the Romans in the provinces of their widely extended empire, of which Britain formed a part; also, to ascertain what political and civil rights were given by the laws to the inhabitants of the provinces, and what institutions existed, having for their object the preservation of such rights. He was then led to look into the history of the times, to see how the laws were administered,-a most important inquiry with reference to what may be supposed to have been the disposition of the inhabitants towards the government under which they were living at the time of the irruption of the Germans, and the conduct of the provincials in regard to the invaders.'

Now we confess that there appears to us a radical error: this mode of originating the inquiry; and, if we mistake not, it has had considerable influence on the management and result of the investigation. It should seem that the surest method of arriving at satisfactory conclusions on this subject would have been, first, to ascertain the actual condition, with respect to legal institutions, of the countries conquered by the Romans; next, to determine the principles and regulations held in common by both; and then, to discriminate the mode and degree of the action and reaction by which the modern system of jurisprudence has been wrought into its present state. Of all kiuds of prejudice, that which identifies itself with classical models, is the most enthralling; and something of this appears to have biassed Mr. Spence in favour of the institutions of Rome as the

venerable and classical originals' of the existing European codes. After having given a well-digested and exceedingly

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interesting sketch of the state of the Provinces under the Roman dominion, he proceeds to describe their judicial system in the same condensed but conspicuous and satisfactory manner. So far, his materials are ample and his management of them unexceptionable ; but, beyond this, it appears to us that the operation of the error to which we have adverted is clearly discernible. The second book professes to give a summary of the Laws and Institutions of the Franks, Goths, and other German tribes that broke in upon the Western Empire, and established themselves on its ruins. The important inquiries connected with this part of the subject are despatched with exceeding and unsatisfactory brevity. We are aware that the nature of Mr. Spence's plan did not allow him to engage in extended discussion, but it demanded the exhibition of facts on a more extended scale ; it required to be both carried further back, and made to embrace a wider circle. Other nations and different kindreds, perhaps even Eastern races, may claim a share in the great work of European legislation; and not only will the investigations which discard them be incomplete, but the conclusions to which they may lead, must prove erroneous.

The third main division of the Inquiry relates to the condition of the Roman Provinces, with respect to their judicial and political institutions, subsequent to their conquest by the Bar. barian states. This section is by far the best executed and most satisfactory portion of the work, and may serve as a luminous introduction to the history of Modern Europe. It is, in a very uncommon degree for such crabbed matters, readable, and will be found to furnish a key to some of the most puzzling anomalies of our working systems. A curious way

of securing evidence will be found in the following extract.

• If a man had purchased a piece of land of another, and was unable to procure an instrument of sale to be drawn up in court, it was required, in some nations, that the purchaser and seller should go to the purchased land, taking with them six or twelve boys, according to the value of the property sold, before whom the price was to be delivered and possession given ; the purchaser was then to lash the boys and pull them by the ears, that they might the better remember the circumstances when called on to give evidence concerning them, A gift or sale might be valid even without these formalities, if it was impossible to comply with them: in such case, the sale must be established by the oath of the purchaser, and a certain number of cojurors, in proportion to its value.

This rough appeal to the ears seems to have been rather a favourite method. of taking security for truth on testimony, among the judiciaries of former times.


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The practice of taking interest for money lent, though unknown to the Barbarians in their native countries, was pretty generally introduced amongst them at the time when their codes were compiled, though no rate of interest was settled, excepting amongst the Visigoths. It was lawful for a man, on receiving a sum of money, to bind himself by an oath, sworn on the altar or relics, before witnesses, to pay a certain sum for it daily, annually, or at any other stated periods ; or to give double the sum at the end of a stipulated time; or to per. form certain services for the lender. A minute was usually drawn up of such transactions, and the creditor was said to have pledged his faith; he might also bind himself to the same by an instrument in writing, signed and attested. By the laws of the Francs, if a man pledged his faith to another, and made default in any of his payments, the creditor, after proving the transaction in the county court, was entitled to have the stipulated sum levied by the grave from the goods of the debtor. The same practice prevailed amongst the Bavarians; but with them, it was sufficient that the obligation was contracted by parole before witnesses pulled by the ears.'

We should have deemed it necessary to advert somewhat more minutely to certain positions in the present volume; but another work on similar subjects lies before us, and we shall probably have occasion to make reference to the positions of Mr. Spence in another article.




Art. II. A Manual of Classical Bibliography : comprising a copious

Detail of the various Editions; Commentaries, and Works critical and illustrative ; and Translations into the English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, and occasionally other Languages : of the Greek and Latin Classics. By Joseph William Moss, B.A. of Magdalen Hall, Oxford. 8vo. 2 vols. pp. 1273. Price 11. 10s. London. 1825. E have sometimes imagined, while perusing a work of

this description, how much it would have surprised the editors and publishers of former days, if they could have been assured that a time would come, when their productions would excite so much interest, and be estimated at so high a price, as, from their mere rarity, they have in many instances obtained. How little could they anticipate, that the days and nights of scholars would be occupied in prosecuting laborious inquiries, for the purpose of affixing a date to an edition, and adjusting the chronological precedence of the works they sent forth! How surprised would they have been, could they have been told, that splendid volumes would be prepared, and authors be honoured for preparing them, whose chief merit should consist in the minuteness and copiousness with which they describe a folio or a quarto. What astonishment would it-have excited, to learn the immense sums which have been

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given for single volumes, and the value which has been attached to a volume on account of its rarity or its expanse of margin, because its leaves were uncut, or its letters of a peculiar shape! Few instances, we believe, can be adduced of articles rendered so costly by circumstances unconnected with their real worth, as in the case of some early printed books. Volumes of very moderate size, the entire

, contents of which are easily accessible in other forms, or with other dates, have been sold for prices which might seem incredible: a few leaves have obtained ready purchasers at the sums of from five to as many hundreds of pounds. The rival biddings for the Boccaccio of Valdarfer, 1471, which finally sold for two thousand two hundred and sixty pounds, the most glorious triumph of Bibliography, are a memorable proof of the extent to which the passion for this species of literary curiosities has been indulged. If these extravagant outlays be reckoned among the follies of the rich, they may safely be excepted from the items of dishonourable expenditure ; and the man of taste will acknowledge his obligations with gratitude to the opulent collector, for the pleasure which he has received from the examination of the treasures of a library rich in first editions, and abounding with splendid productions of the press. The Bibliographer especially will be thankful that the accumulation of rare and costly books has been an object of attention and care to the opulent individuals whose means have enabled them to form the magnificent collections to which he has the privilege of access.

We have no inclination to depreciate the value of Bibliographical pursuits; but we cannot consider ourselves as committing any offence against their claims, when we venture the opinion that they have received their ample share of patronage and praise. It is not to be denied, that in this department the names of scholars are to be found ; and they might remind

l us, in reply to our objections to its assumed importance, that the most eminent scholars have devoted much of their time and labour to the cultivation of studies, the real utility of which it might be difficult to shew ;-that to many literary works of high reputation, no greater merit can be allowed, than that of providing for the mind an agreeable entertainment ;and that literature has its fashions, which must not be disregarded. We should willingly allow them the benefit of these and similar pleas; and they would, even then, not be found taking a very high place among the cultivators of literature. The knowledge of the exterior of books cannot be allowed to rank, as an accomplishment, on a par with the knowledge of their contents; and a familiar acquaintance with the com

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