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and provided for the gradual liberation of the existing bondmen. This Act did not work well. While it effectually prevented new slavery, it required any existing bondman, who desired to obtain his liberty, to institute legal proceedings for that purpose, with all the accompanying expense and delay. Few of the existing bondmen could take advantage of it. In June 1799 another Act (39 George III. c. 56) was passed, providing that all the colliers in Scotland, who were bound colliers at the passing of the fifteenth George Third, chapter 28, shall be free from their servitude. With this Act perished the last relic of legal slavery in the island of Great Britain.
There was a colony of these salt-workers at Prestonpans near Edinburgh. They were the lineal representatives of the old nativi, neyfs or villeins, attached to the Abbey of Newbattle, the monks of which had been the first to work the salt works there. These salters formed a race apart. Sunk in hereditary degradation, they were disliked and shunned by all their neighbours. It was not until some time had elapsed from their final emancipation that the evil effects of this slavery disappeared. William Chambers, of Edinburgh, recorded in his Memoir' that, when he was a young man, these poor creatures set aside one day in the year as a festival commemorative of their liberation. And this was in Scotland and in the nineteenth century !
J. A. LOVAT-FRASER.
STEPHEN MARTIN LEAKE.
It was an inadvertence that our last number should not have recorded the loss to legal study caused by the death of Mr. Stephen Martin Leake. The outlines of his uneventful life were set forth in obituary notices at the time: and we need only to note the rare combination of circumstances which has given to us a series of legal treatises so clear in design, so ample in treatment, so practical in character.
Mr. Leake was born in 1826. He was called to the Bar in 1853 ; he retired from the active work of his profession, partly from fear of increasing deafness, in 1863. Thenceforth he lived on his property in Hertfordshire until his death.
Men have retired before now into the country to obtain quiet and freedom from interruption for the pursuit of abstract inquiry, or the contemplation of natural phenomena ; but it is seldom indeed that the life of a country gentleman is also a life of close and continuous study bearing on a subject wherein principle and precedent have to be constantly applied and moulded to the changing conditions and the practical business of every day. For Mr. Leake, though he ceased to practise at the Bar, did not become a speculative jurist. Whether he treats of the rules of pleading, the law of contract, or the law relating to interests in land, he kept in view two objects which make his work valuable alike to the student and the practising barrister. He supplies all the information that the reader is likely to want, and he supplies it in the place where a sensible reader is likely to expect to find it. To say that books are stored with knowledge, and that this knowledge is well arranged, may not seem to say very much. But those who know the mass of detail which, in some sort of arrangement, goes to make up a legal treatise; those who have wandered in the wilderness of ill-compacted learning of which so many text-books consist; still more, those who have tried for themselves to select and arrange the material for a work on any great department of our law, will appreciate, to the full, the happy combination of learning and method displayed in the writings of Mr. Leake.
His works were three in number. With Mr. Bullen he published in 1860 the well-known Precedents of Pleadings, which passed into a second edition in 1863, and a third, for which Mr. Leake was alone responsible, in 1868. Although the forms of pleading here set forth are no longer in use, it would be a mistake to suppose that the book is obsolete: it is a storehouse of good law clearly put. His book on Contract, which appeared in 1867, was in its first edition the most scientific treatise on this branch of law, and in its later editions the most exhaustive Digest of the subject. His work on the law relating to land was not carried out to the full. The first volume (1874) contained two parts, the Sources of the law of Property in land, and the various Estates and Limitations of interest in land; the second volume (1888) contained one part, the law relating to Uses and Profits of land. Two more parts were contemplated ; one dealing with the Transfer of Property in land; the last with the law of Persons in so far as it modified the general law of real property. The whole was designed to constitute a Digest of the land-law, with which the author hoped to aid the labours of the student, the practitioner, and the law reformer. So much as we possess of this great work exhibits the general characteristics of Mr. Leake's treatment, its learning, its method, its unpretending clearness of style.
No class of literature is more evanescent than the legal textbook; the Courts and the legislature are always at work upon its materials, and by the time it is appreciated it has ceased to be authoritative. The text-book writer would seem to have inscribed his name upon the sands; and yet the man who has produced a clear and full (statement of any one branch of our current legal system has deserved well of his generation, and makes a solid contribution to the history of English law. Among the many eminent writers whom that history records some place will surely be found for the great learning, the clear intellect, the patient unselfish industry of Mr. Leake.
W. R. A.
The pleadings and other proceedings in the Behring's Sea Arbitration bind up into seven or eight folio volumes, containing much interesting matter. The proceedings at Geneva in 1872 were equally lengthy, but lost much in value from the fact that the arguments on that occasion started from the ex post facto, arbitrary and now generally discredited · Three Rules of the Treaty of Washington. The Paris tribunal, on the other hand, was free to declare and apply the generally received principles of International law. Even if its award can hardly be cited, to use the words of the leading counsel for the United States, as 'an oracle to which present and future times as well may appeal, as furnishing an indisputable evidence of what the law of the world is,' there can be no doubt that the opinion of M. de Courcel and his colleagues will go far to settle several questions, such as the extent of territorial waters, upon which some difference of view has hitherto been possible. The authority of so august a body was hardly needed to negative the proprietary right of a nation in free-swimming creatures which may happen during part of the year to resort to its territory. Many topics with which the arbitrators were not directly concerned were discussed in argument, such as the origin of property, the possibility of acquiring jurisdiction over an open sea by acquiescence, the interpretation of statute-law when in apparent conflict with the Law of Nations, and the whole question of the nature and sources of International law, which Mr. Carter derived mainly from the Law of Nature,' while Sir Charles Russell defined it in a way which is open to little objection, except that he would seem to exclude from its scope such positive rules as are morally indifferent. 'International law,' says Sir Charles, 'properly so called, is only so much of the principles of morality and justice as the nations have agreed shall be part of those rules of conduct which shall govern their relations one to another.' Elsewhere he well remarks that International Law has long passed the stage at which an appeal to any vague, general principles can afford any safe, certain resting-place, or guide at all. It is now, and it has long been, a body of derivative principles and concrete rules, formed by the action and reaction upon each other of custom, moral feeling, and convenience.'
T. E. H.
There seems no reason why the Sale of Goods Bill should not receive the Royal Assent before the end of the Session, and a third step thus be taken towards the codification of those portions of the law which most affect commercial dealings. Judge Chalmers and the Lord Chancellor may then be congratulated upon having, the formerly his draftsmanship, the latter by his advocacy, added to the statute-book a measure which, if it cannot hope for the ready acceptance which has attended the Bills of Exchange Act, is certain powerfully to influence the development, and greatly to facilitate the study, of a most important branch of law. It is easy to say that we ought to begin with the general rather than with the particular, with the principles of Contract rather than with Sale or Partnership; and it is easy to criticize details in the treatment of questions upon which the best brains have been at work for centuries. It is not so easy to select a topic of everyday utility to everyone, to reduce its rules to manageable dimensions, and to defend them as re-stated for five years against all comers.
Since its first introduction into Parliament, in 1888, the Bill has been modified in several respects, not always, perhaps, for the better. The sections relating to the Contract of Exchange have been very properly omitted; but the special law relating to the sale of horses, which was to have been neatly consolidated into a sort of footnote, is now left outstanding; and the symmetry of the whole is not a little impaired by its extension to Scotland. One is inclined to grumble because sect. 2 touches upon the incapacity of infants, which is by no means confined to their purchases. “Necessaries,' for instance, may just as well be services rendered as goods supplied. One may have misgivings as to the adequacy of the treatment of 'warranty'; one may fail to see why the re-vesting of goods on conviction should come into the Bill at all; and one looks in vain for the enactment now hidden away in the County Courts Act, which provides that no action shall be brought for the price of ale and certain other liquors consumed on the premises. But the only way to make a department of law at once symmetrical and complete is to get it stated in a series of propositions ; and from this point of view there would be much to be said in favour of even avowedly tentative codification.
The fortunes of this Act, when it comes into operation, will be watched with much interest, as indicating, in a way which could not be expected from Acts dealing with the comparatively isolated topics of Bills of Exchange and Partnership, the attainability, within a reasonable time, of a Civil Code; which should doubtless include all the topics which on the continent are usually relegated
to a separate Code of Commerce. Codification must come, but, if we are to escape the disadvantages which its critics are not unreasonably given to predicting, it must be carried out systematically, and by means of a larger supply of specially trained ability than has yet been devoted to it.
T. E. H.
Searching criticism like that of Lord Macnaghten (Ward v. Duncombe, '93, A. C. 369) on the rule in Dearle v. Hall is always valuable, though the rule itself (as distinguished from the grounds of it) is now beyond criticism. Though first formulated by Sir T. Plumer it grew naturally out of the analogous principles of Ryall v. Rowles (1 Ves. 348), and the practice of conveyancers advising notice to the trustees on assignment of a trust funda practice which, as James L.J. said in Re Ford and Hill (10 Ch. Div. 365, 370), is itself part of the common law. The mistake which Sir T. Plumer made was in laying stress on the negligence of the assignee as postponing him; for negligence is relative, it implies a duty, and an assignee of a trust fund owes no duty to a subsequent assignee. It is a matter of tille, not negligence. The law of England,' as Sir T. Plumer said, 'has always been that personal property passes by delivery of possession,' and giving notice is in the case of a trust fund or other chose in action the only way which possession can be taken. It is constructive or quasi possession. Why the law of England attaches this importance to possession or quasi possession is plain. It prevents the assignor dealing with the property as apparent owner, to the detriment of subsequent assignees. This is the element of truth in Sir T. Plumer's theory of negligence or constructive fraud, it is the principle of Ryall v. Rowles, and a perfectly sound one. Once given the notice is good for always. Any other view would lead, as Lord Macnaghten said, to an unseemly 'scramble for priorities' on the appointment of new trustees.
An over-zealous servant is a danger to his employers, especially when as in the case of a railway porter his duties are multifarious and undefined. Not long ago a railway company was contesting the authority of its porter to take charge of a passenger's luggage for ten minutes while the passenger went to get his ticket (Bunch v. Great Western Railway, 13 App. Cas. 31). Now we have a railway company disputing a porter's authority to remove a passenger from a carriage for just cause (Lowe v. Great Northern Railway Co., 62 L.J., Q. B. 524). Unfortunately for the company in this case, there was no just cause. The porter, with the best intentions of doing his duty, had bundled a passenger out of a carriage, under an erroneous impression that he was a pitman and ought to be travelling in