Front Page Titles (by Subject) 18.: JAMES BRYCE, THE EXTENSION OF ROMAN AND ENGLISH LAW THROUGHOUT THE WORLD 1 - Select Essays in Anglo-American Legal History, vol. 1
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18.: JAMES BRYCE, THE EXTENSION OF ROMAN AND ENGLISH LAW THROUGHOUT THE WORLD 1 - Committee of the Association of American Law Schools, Select Essays in Anglo-American Legal History, vol. 1 
Select Essays in Anglo-American Legal History, by various authors, compiled and edited by a committee of the Association of American Law Schools, in three volumes (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1907). Vol. 1.
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THE EXTENSION OF ROMAN AND ENGLISH LAW THROUGHOUT THE WORLD1
The Regions Covered by Roman and English Law
FROM a general comparison of Rome and England as powers conquering and administering territories beyond their original limits, it is natural to pass on to consider one particular department of the work which territorial extension has led them to undertake, viz. their action as makers of a law which has spread far out over the world. Both nations have built up legal systems which are now—for the Roman law has survived the Roman Empire, and is full of vitality to-day—in force over immense areas that were unknown to those who laid the foundations of both systems. In this respect Rome and England stand alone among nations, unless we reckon in the law of Islam which, being a part of the religion of Islam, governs Musulmans wherever Musulmans are to be found.
Roman law, more or less modified by national or local family customs or land customs and by modern legislation, prevails to-day in all the European countries which formed part either of the ancient or of the mediaeval Roman Empire, that is to say, in Italy, in Greece and the rest of Southeastern Europe (so far as the Christian part of the population is concerned), in Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, France, Germany (including the German and Slavonic parts of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy), Belgium, Holland. The only exception is South Britain, which lost its Roman law with the coming of the Angles and Saxons in the fifth century. The leading principles of Roman jurisprudence prevail also in some other outlying countries which have borrowed much of their law from some one or more of the countries already named, viz. Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Russia, and Hungary. Then come the non-European colonies settled by some among the above States, such as Louisiana, the Canadian province of Quebec, Ceylon, British Guiana, South Africa (all the above having been at one time colonies either of France or of Holland), German Africa, and French Africa, together with the regions which formerly obeyed Spain or Portugal, including Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Philippine Islands. Add to these the Dutch and French East Indies, and Siberia. There is also Scotland, which has since the establishment of the Court of Session by King James the Fifth in 1532 built up its law out of Roman Civil and (to some slight extent) Roman Canon Law.1
English law is in force not only in England, Wales, and Ireland but also in most of the British colonies. Quebec, Ceylon, Mauritius, South Africa, and some few of the West Indian islands follow the Roman law.2 The rest, including Australia, New Zealand, and all Canada except Quebec, follow English; as does also the United States (except Louisiana, but with the Hawaiian Islands), and India, though in India, as we shall see, native law is also administered.
Thus between them these two systems cover nearly the whole of the civilized, and most of the uncivilized world. Only two considerable masses of population stand outside—the Musulman East, that is, Turkey, North Africa, Persia, Western Turkistan and Afghanistan, which obey the sacred law of Islam, and China, which has customs all her own. It is hard to estimate the total number of human beings who live under the English common law, for one does not know whether to reckon in the semi-savage natives of such regions as Uganda, for instance, or Fiji. But there are probably one hundred and thirty millions of civilized persons (without counting the natives of India) who do: and the number living under some modern form of the Roman law is still larger.
It is of the process by which two systems which had their origin in two small communities, the one an Italian city, the other a group of Teutonic tribes, have become extended over nine-tenths of the globe that I propose to speak in the pages that follow. There are analogies between the forms which the process took in the two cases. There are also contrasts. The main contrast is that whereas we may say that (roughly speaking) Rome extended her law by conquest, that is, by the spreading of her power, England has extended hers by settlement, that is, by the spreading out of her race. In India, however, conquest rather than colonization has been the agency employed by England, and it is therefore between the extension of English law to India and the extension of Roman law to the Roman Empire that the best parallel can be drawn. It need hardly be added that the Roman law has been far more changed in descending to the modern world and becoming adapted to modern conditions of life than the law of England has been in its extension over new areas. That extension is an affair of the last three centuries only, and the whole history of English law is of only some eleven centuries reckoning from Kings Ine and Alfred, let us say, to ad 1900, or of eight, if we begin with King Henry the Second, whereas that of Roman law covers twenty-five centuries, of which all but the first three have witnessed the process of extension, so early did Rome begin to impose her law upon her subjects. To the changes, however, which have passed on the substance of the law we shall return presently. Let us begin by examining the causes and circumstances which induced the extension to the whole ancient world of rules and doctrines that had grown up in a small city.
The Diffusion of Roman Law by Conquest
The first conquests of Rome were made in Italy. They did not, however, involve any legal changes, for conquest meant merely the reduction of what had been an independent city or group of cities or tribes to vassalage, with the obligation of sending troops to serve in the Roman armies. Local autonomy was not (as a rule) interfered with; and such autonomy included civil jurisdiction, so the Italic and Greco-Italic cities continued to be governed by their own laws, which in the case at least of Oscan and Umbrian communities usually resembled that of Rome, and which of course tended to become assimilated to it even before Roman citizenship was extended to the Italian allies. With the annexation of part of Sicily in ad 230 the first provincial government was set up, and the legal and administrative problems which Rome had to deal with began to show themselves. Other provinces were added in pretty rapid succession, the last being Britain (invaded under Claudius in ad 43). Now although in all these provinces the Romans had to maintain order, to collect revenue and to dispense justice, the conditions under which these things, and especially the dispensing of justice, had to be done differed much in different provinces. Some, such as Sicily, Achaia, Macedonia and the provinces of Western Asia Minor, as well as Africa (i. e. such parts of that province as Carthage had permeated), were civilized countries, where law-courts already existed in the cities.1 The laws had doubtless almost everywhere been created by custom, for the so-called Codes we hear of in Greek cities were often rather in the nature of political constitutions and penal enactments than summarized statements of the whole private law; yet in some cities the customs had been so summarized.2 Other provinces, such as those of Thrace, Transalpine Gaul, Spain, and Britain, were in a lower stage of social organization, and possessed, when they were conquered, not so much regular laws as tribal usages, suited to their rude inhabitants. In the former set of cases not much new law was needed. In the latter set the native customs could not meet the needs of communities which soon began to advance in wealth and culture under Roman rule, so law had to be created.
There were also in all these provinces two classes of inhabitants. One consisted of those who enjoyed Roman citizenship, not merely men of Italian birth settled there but also men to whom citizenship had been granted (as for instance when they retired from military service), or the natives of cities on which (as to Tarsus in Cilicia, St. Paul’s birthplace) citizenship had been conferred as a boon.1 This was a large class, and went on rapidly increasing. To it pure Roman law was applicable, subject of course to any local customs.
The other class consisted of the provincial subjects who were merely subjects, and, in the view of the Roman law, aliens (peregrini). They had their own laws or tribal customs, and to them Roman law was primarily inapplicable, not only because it was novel and unfamiliar, so strange to their habits that it would have been unjust as well as practically inconvenient to have applied it to them, but also because the Romans, like the other civilized communities of antiquity, had been so much accustomed to consider private legal rights as necessarily connected with membership of a city community that it would have seemed unnatural to apply the private law of one city community to the citizens of another. It is true that the Romans after a time disabused their minds of this notion, as indeed they had from a comparatively early period extended their own private civil rights to many of the cities which had become their subject allies. Still it continued to influence them at the time (bc 230 to 120) when they were laying out the lines of their legal policy for the provinces.
Of that legal policy I must speak quite briefly, partly because our knowledge, though it has been enlarged of late years by the discovery and collection of a great mass of inscriptions, is still imperfect, partly because I could not set forth the details without going into a number of technical points which might perplex readers unacquainted with the Roman law. It is only the main lines on which the conquerors proceeded that can be here indicated.
Every province was administered by a governor with a staff of subordinate officials, the higher ones Roman, and (under the Republic) remaining in office only so long as did the governor. The governor was the head of the judicial as well as the military and civil administration, just as the consuls at Rome originally possessed judicial as well as military and civil powers, and just as the praetor at Rome, though usually occupied with judicial work, had also both military and civil authority. The governor’s court was the proper tribunal for those persons who in the provinces enjoyed Roman citizenship, and in it Roman law was applied to such persons in matters touching their family relations, their rights of inheritance, their contractual relations with one another, just as English law is applied to Englishmen in Cyprus or Hong Kong. No special law was needed for them. As regards the provincials, they lived under their own law, whatever it might be, subject to one important modification. Every governor when he entered his province issued an Edict setting forth certain rules which he proposed to apply during his term of office. These rules were to be valid only during his term, for his successor issued a fresh Edict, but in all probability each reproduced nearly all of what the preceding Edict had contained. Thus the same general rules remained continuously in force, though they might be modified in detail, improvements which experience had shown to be necessary being from time to time introduced.1 This was the method which the praetors followed at Rome, so the provincial governors had a precedent for it and knew how to work it. Now the Edict seems to have contained, besides its provisions regarding the collection of revenue and civil administration in general, certain more specifically legal regulations, intended to indicate the action which the governor’s court would take not only in disputes arising between Roman citizens, but also in those between citizens and aliens, and probably also to some extent in those between aliens themselves. Where the provisions of the Edict did not apply, aliens would be governed by their own law. In cities municipally organized, and especially in the more civilized provinces, the local city courts would doubtless continue to administer, as they had done before the Romans came, their local civil law; and in the so-called free cities, which had come into the Empire as allies, these local courts had for a long time a wide scope for their action. Criminal law, however, would seem to have fallen within the governor’s jurisdiction, at any rate in most places and for the graver offences, because criminal law is the indispensable guarantee for public order and for the repression of sedition or conspiracy, matters for which the governor was of course responsible.2 Thus the governor’s court was not only that which dispensed justice between Roman citizens, and which dealt with questions of revenue, but was also the tribunal for cases between citizens and aliens, and for the graver criminal proceedings. It was apparently also a court which entertained some kinds of suits between aliens, as for instance between aliens belonging to different cities, or in districts where no regular municipal courts existed, and (probably) dealt with appeals from those courts where they did exist. Moreover where aliens even of the same city chose to resort to it they could apparently do so. I speak of courts rather than of law, because it must be remembered that although we are naturally inclined to think of law as coming first, and courts being afterwards created to administer law, it is really courts that come first, and that by their action build up law partly out of customs observed by the people and partly out of their own notions of justice. This, which is generally true of all countries, is of course specially true of countries where law is still imperfectly developed, and of places where different classes of persons, not governed by the same legal rules, have to be dealt with.
The Romans brought some experience to the task of creating a judicial administration in the provinces, where both citizens and aliens had to be considered; for Rome herself had become, before she began to acquire territories outside Italy, a place of residence or resort for alien traders, so that as early as bc 247 she created a magistrate whose special function it became to handle suits between aliens, or in which one party was an alien. This magistrate built up, on the basis of mercantile usage, equity, and common sense, a body of rules fit to be applied between persons whose native law was not the same; and the method he followed would naturally form a precedent for the courts of the provincial governors.
Doubtless the chief aim, as well as the recognized duty, of the governors was to disturb provincial usage as little as they well could. The temptations to which they were exposed, and to which they often succumbed, did not lie in the direction of revolutionizing local law in order to introduce either purely Roman doctrines or any artificial uniformity.1 They would have made trouble for themselves had they attempted this. And why should they attempt it? The ambitious governors desired military fame. The bad ones wanted money. The better men, such as Cicero, and in later days Pliny, liked to be fêted by the provincials and have statues erected to them by grateful cities. No one of these objects was to be attained by introducing legal reforms which theory might suggest to a philosophic statesman, but which nobody asked for. It seems safe to assume from what we know of official human nature elsewhere, that the Roman officials took the line of least resistance compatible with the raising of money and the maintenance of order. These things being secured, they would be content to let other things alone.
Things, however, have a way of moving even when officials may wish to let them rest. When a new and vigorous influence is brought into a mixture of races receptive rather than resistent (as happened in Asia Minor under the Romans), or when a higher culture acts through government upon a people less advanced but not less naturally gifted (as happened in Gaul under the Romans), changes must follow in law as well as in other departments of human action. Here two forces were at work. One was the increasing number of persons who were Roman citizens, and therefore lived by the Roman law. The other was the increasing tendency of the government to pervade and direct the whole public life of the province. When monarchy became established as the settled form of the Roman government, provincial administration began to be better organized, and a regular body of bureaucratic officials presently grew up. The jurisdiction of the governor’s court extended itself, and was supplemented in course of time by lower courts administering law according to the same rules. The law applied to disputes arising between citizens and non-citizens became more copious and definite. The provincial Edicts expanded and became well settled as respects the larger part of their contents. So by degrees the law of the provinces was imperceptibly Romanized in its general spirit and leading conceptions, probably also in such particular departments as the original local law of the particular province had not fully covered. But the process did not proceed at the same rate in all the provinces, nor did it result in a uniform legal product, for a good deal of local customary law remained, and this customary law of course differed in different provinces. In the Hellenic and Hellenized countries the pre-existing law was naturally fuller and stronger than in the West; and it held its ground more effectively than the ruder usages of Gauls or Spaniards, obtaining moreover a greater respect from the Romans, who felt their intellectual debt to the Greeks.
It may be asked what direct legislation there was during this period for the provinces. Did the Roman Assembly either pass statutes for them, as Parliament has sometimes done for India, or did the Assembly establish in each province some legislative authority? So far as private law went Rome did neither during the republican period.1 The necessity was not felt, because any alterations made in Roman law proper altered it for Roman citizens who dwelt in the provinces no less than for those in Italy, while as to provincial aliens, the Edict of the governor and the rules which the practice of his courts established were sufficient to introduce any needed changes. But the Senate issued decrees intended to operate in the provinces, and when the Emperors began to send instructions to their provincial governors or to issue declarations of their will in any other form, these had the force of law, and constituted a body of legislation, part of which was general, while part was special to the province for which it was issued.
Meantime—and I am now speaking particularly of the three decisively formative centuries from bc 150 to ad 150—another process had been going on, even more important. The Roman law itself had been changing its character, had been developing from a rigid and highly technical system, archaic in its forms and harsh in its rules, preferring the letter to the spirit, and insisting on the strict observance of set phrases, into a liberal and elastic system, pervaded by the principles of equity and serving the practical convenience of a cultivated and commercial community. The nature of this process will be found described in other parts of this volume.2 Its result was to permeate the original law of Rome applicable to citizens only (ius civile) with the law which had been constructed for the sake of dealing with aliens (ius gentium), so that the product was a body of rules to be used by any civilized people, as being grounded in reason and utility, while at the same time both copious in quantity and refined in quality.
This result had been reached about ad 150, by which time the laws of the several provinces had also been largely Romanized. Thus each body of law—if we may venture for this purpose to speak of provincial law as a whole—had been drawing nearer to the other. The old law of the city of Rome had been expanded and improved till it was fit to be applied to the provinces. The various laws of the various provinces had been constantly absorbing the law of the city in the enlarged and improved form latterly given to it. Thus when at last the time for a complete fusion arrived the differences between the two had been so much reduced that the fusion took place easily and naturally, with comparatively little disturbance of the state of things already in existence. One sometimes finds on the southern side of the Alps two streams running in neighbouring valleys. One which has issued from a glacier slowly deposits as it flows over a rocky bed the white mud which it brought from its icy cradle. The other which rose from clear springs gradually gathers colouring matter as in its lower course it cuts through softer strata or through alluvium. When at last they meet, the glacier torrent has become so nearly clear that the tint of its waters is scarcely distinguishable from that of the originally bright but now slightly turbid affluent. Thus Roman and provincial law, starting from different points but pursuing a course in which their diversities were constantly reduced, would seem to have become so similar by the end of the second century ad that there were few marked divergences, so far as private civil rights and remedies were concerned, between the position of citizens and that of aliens.
Here, however, let a difference be noted. The power of assimilation was more complete in some branches of law than it was in others; and it was least complete in matters where old standing features of national character and feeling were present. In the Law of Property and Contract it had advanced so far as to have become, with some few exceptions,1 substantially identical. The same may be said of Penal Law and the system of legal procedure. But in the Law of Family Relations and in that of Inheritance, a matter closely connected with family relations, the dissimilarities were still significant; and we shall find this phenomenon reappearing in the history of English and Native Law in India.
Two influences which I have not yet dwelt upon had been, during the second century, furthering the assimilation. One was the direct legislation of the Emperor which, scanty during the first age of the monarchy, had now become more copious, and most of which was intended to operate upon citizens and aliens alike. The other was the action of the Emperor as supreme judicial authority, sometimes in matters brought directly before him for decision, more frequently as judge of appeals from inferior tribunals. He had a council called the Consistory which acted on his behalf, because, especially in the troublous times which began after the reign of Marcus Aurelius and presaged the ultimate dissolution of the Empire, the sovereign was seldom able to preside in person. The judgements of the Consistory, being delivered in the Emperor’s name as his, and having equal authority with statutes issued by him, must have done much to make law uniform in all the provinces and among all classes of subjects.2
The Establishment of One Law for the Empire
Finally, in the beginning of the third century ad, the decisive step was taken. The distinction between citizens and aliens vanished by the grant of full citizenship to all subjects of the Empire, a grant however which may have been, in the first instance, applied only to organized communities, and not also to the backward sections of the rural population, in Corsica, for instance, or in some of the Alpine valleys. Our information as to the era to which this famous Edict of Caracalla’s belongs is lamentably scanty. Gaius, who is the best authority for the middle period of the law, lived fifty or sixty years earlier. The compilers of Justinian’s Digest, which is the chief source of our knowledge for the law as a whole, lived three hundred years later, when the old distinctions between the legal rights of citizens and those of aliens had become mere matters of antiquarian curiosity. These compilers therefore modified the passages of the older jurists which they inserted in the Digest so as to make them suit their own more recent time. As practical men they were right, but they have lessened the historical value of these fragments of the older jurists, just as the modern restorer of a church spoils it for the purposes of architectural history, when he alters it to suit his own ideas of beauty or convenience. Still it may fairly be assumed that when Caracalla’s grant of citizenship was made the bulk of the people, or at least of the town dwellers, had already obtained either a complete or an incomplete citizenship in the more advanced provinces, and that those who had not were at any rate enjoying under the provincial Edicts most of the civil rights that had previously been confined to citizens, such for instance as the use of the so-called Praetorian Will with its seven seals.
How far the pre-existing local law of different provinces or districts was superseded at one stroke by this extension of citizenship, or in other words, what direct and immediate change was effected in the modes of jurisdiction and in the personal relations of private persons, is a question which we have not the means of answering. Apparently many difficulties arose which further legislation, not always consistent, was required to deal with.1 One would naturally suppose that where Roman rules differed materially from those which a provincial community had followed, the latter could not have been suddenly substituted for the former.
A point, for instance, about which we should like to be better informed is whether the Roman rules which gave to the father his wide power over his children and their children were forthwith extended to provincial families. The Romans themselves looked upon this paternal power as an institution peculiar to themselves. To us moderns, and especially to Englishmen and Americans, it seems so oppressive that we cannot but suppose it was different in practice from what it looks on paper. And although it had lost some of its old severity by the time of the Antonines, one would think that communities which had not grown up under it could hardly receive it with pleasure.
From the time of Caracalla (ad 211-217) down till the death of Theodosius the Great (ad 395) the Empire had but one law. There was doubtless a certain amount of special legislation for particular provinces, and a good deal of customary law peculiar to certain provinces or parts of them. Although before the time of Justinian it would seem that every Roman subject, except the half-barbarous peoples on the frontiers, such as the Soanes and Abkhasians of the Caucasus or the Ethiopic tribes of Nubia, and except a very small class of freedmen, was in the enjoyment of Roman citizenship, with private rights substantially the same, yet it is clear that in the East some Roman principles and maxims were never fully comprehended by the mass of the inhabitants and their legal advisers of the humbler sort, while other principles did not succeed in displacing altogether the rules to which the people were attached. We have evidence in recently recovered fragments of an apparently widely used law-book, Syriac and Armenian copies of which remain, that this was the case in the Eastern provinces, and no doubt it was so in others also. In Egypt, for instance, it may be gathered from the fragments of papyri which are now being published, that the old native customs, overlaid, or re-moulded to some extent by Greek law, held their ground even down to the sixth or seventh century.1 Still, after making all allowance for these provincial variations, philosophic jurisprudence and a levelling despotism had done their work, and given to the civilized world, for the first and last time in its history, one harmonious body of legal rules.
The causes which enabled the Romans to achieve this result were, broadly speaking, the five following:—
(1) There was no pre-existing body of law deeply rooted and strong enough to offer resistance to the spread of Roman law. Where any highly developed system of written rules or customs existed, it existed only in cities, such as those of the Greek or Graecized provinces on both sides of the Aegean. The large countries, Pontus, for instance, or Macedonia or Gaul, were in a legal sense unorganized or backward. Thus the Romans had, if not a blank sheet to write on, yet no great difficulty in overspreading or dealing freely with what they found.
(2) There were no forms of faith which had so interlaced religious feelings and traditions with the legal notions and customs of the people as to give those notions and customs a tenacious grip on men’s affection. Except among the Jews, and to some extent among the Egyptians, Rome had no religious force to overcome such as Islam and Hinduism present in India.
(3) The grant of Roman citizenship to a community or an individual was a privilege highly valued, because it meant a rise in social status and protection against arbitrary treatment by officials. Hence even those who might have liked their own law better were glad to part with it for the sake of the immunities of a Roman citizen.
(4) The Roman governor and the Roman officials in general had an administrative discretion wider than officials enjoy under most modern governments, and certainly wider than either a British or an United States legislature would delegate to any person. Hence Roman governors could by their Edicts and their judicial action mould the law and give it a shape suitable to the needs of their province with a freedom of handling which facilitated the passage from local law or custom to the jurisprudence of the Empire generally.
(5) Roman law itself, i. e. the law of the city, went on expanding and changing, ridding itself of its purely national and technical peculiarities, till it became fit to be the law of the whole world. This process kept step with, and was the natural expression of, the political and social assimilation of Rome to the provinces and of the provinces to Rome.
At the death of Theodosius the Great the Roman Empire was finally divided into an Eastern and a Western half; so that thenceforward there were two legislative authorities. For the sake of keeping the law as uniform as possible, arrangements were made for the transmission by each Emperor to the other of such ordinances as he might issue, in order that these might be, if approved, issued for the other half of the Empire. These arrangements, however, were not fully carried out: and before long the Western Empire drifted into so rough a sea that legislation practically stopped. The great Codex of Theodosius the Second (a collection of imperial enactments published in ad 438) was however promulgated in the Western as well as in the Eastern part of the Empire, whereas the later Codex and Digest of Justinian, published nearly a century later, was enacted only for the East, though presently extended (by re-conquest) to Italy, Sicily, and Africa. Parts of the Theodosian Codex were embodied in the manuals of law made for the use of their Roman subjects by some of the barbarian kings. It continued to be recognized in the Western provinces after the extinction of the imperial line in the West in ad 476: and was indeed, along with the manuals aforesaid, the principal source whence during a long period the Roman population drew their law in the provinces out of which the kingdoms of the Franks, Burgundians, and Visigoths were formed.
Then came the torpor of the Dark Ages.
The Extension of Roman Law after the Fall of the Western Empire
Upon the later history of the Roman law and its diffusion through the modern world I can but briefly touch, for I should be led far away from the special topic here considered. The process of extension went on in some slight measure by conquest, but mainly by peaceful means, the less advanced peoples, who had no regular legal system of their own, being gradually influenced by and learning from their more civilized neighbours to whom the Roman system had descended. The light of legal knowledge radiated forth from two centres, from Constantinople over the Balkanic and Euxine countries between the tenth and the fifteenth centuries, from Italy over the lands that lay north and west of her from the twelfth to the sixteenth century. Thereafter it is Germany, Holland, and France that have chiefly propagated the imperial law, Germany by her universities and writers, France and Holland both through their jurists and as colonizing powers.
In the history of the mediaeval and modern part of the process of extension five points or stages of especial import may be noted.
The first is the revival of legal study which began in Italy towards the end of the eleventh century ad, and the principal agent in which was the school of Bologna, famous for many generations thereafter. From that date onward the books of Justinian, which had before that time been superseded in the Eastern Empire, were lectured and commented on in the universities of Italy, France, Spain, England, Germany, and have continued to be so till our own day. They formed, except in England (where from the time of Henry the Third onwards they had a powerful and at last a victorious rival in the Common Law), the basis of all legal training and knowledge.
The second is the creation of that vast mass of rules for the guidance of ecclesiastical matters and courts—courts whose jurisdiction was in the Middle Ages far wider than it is now—which we call the Canon Law. These rules, drawn from the canons of Councils and decrees of Popes, began to be systematized during the twelfth century, and were first consolidated into an ordered body by Pope Gregory the Ninth in the middle of the thirteenth.1 They were so largely based on the Roman law that we may describe them as being substantially a development of it, partly on a new side, partly in a new spirit, and though they competed with the civil law of the temporal courts, they also extended the intellectual influence of that law.
The third is the acceptance of the Roman law as being of binding authority in countries which had not previously owned it, and particularly in Germany and Scotland. It was received in Germany because the German king (after the time of Otto the Great) was deemed to be also Roman Emperor, the legitimate successor of the far-off assemblies and magistrates and Emperors of old Rome; and its diffusion was aided by the fact that German lawyers had mostly received their legal training at Italian universities. It came in gradually as subsidiary to Germanic customs, but the judges, trained in Italy in the Roman system, required the customs to be proved, and so by degrees Roman doctrines supplanted them, though less in the Saxon districts, where a native law-book, the Sachsenspiegel, had already established its influence. The acceptance nowhere went so far as to supersede the whole customary law of Germany, whose land-rights, for instance, retained their feudal character. The formal declaration of the general validity of the Corpus Iuris in Germany is usually assigned to the foundation by the Emperor Maximilian I, in 1495, of the Imperial Court of Justice (Reichskammergericht). As Holland was then still a part of the Germanic Empire, as well as of the Burgundian inheritance, it was the law of Holland also, and so has become the law of Java, of Celebes, and of South Africa. In Scotland it was adopted at the foundation of the Court of Session, on the model of the Parlement of Paris, by King James the Fifth. Political antagonism to England and political attraction to France, together with the influence of the Canonists, naturally determined the King and the Court to follow the system which prevailed on the European continent.
The fourth stage is that of codification. In many parts of Gaul, though less in Provence and Languedoc, the Roman law had gone back into that shape of a body of customs from which it had emerged a thousand years before; and in Northern and Middle Gaul some customs, especially in matters relating to land, were not Roman. At last, under Lewis the Fourteenth, a codifying process set in. Comprehensive Ordinances, each covering a branch of law, began to be issued from 1667 down to 1747. These operated throughout France, and, being founded on Roman principles, further advanced the work, already prosecuted by the jurists, of Romanizing the customary law of Northern France. That of Southern France (the pays du droit écrit) had been more specifically Roman, for the South had been less affected by Frankish conquest and settlement. The five Codes promulgated by Napoleon followed in 1803 to 1810.1 Others reproducing them with more or less divergence have been enacted in other Romance countries.
In Prussia, Frederick the Second directed the preparation of a Code which became law after his death, in 1794. From 1848 onwards parts of the law of Germany (which differed in different parts of the country) began to be codified, being at first enacted by the several States, each for itself, latterly by the legislature of the new Empire. Finally, after twenty-two years of labour, a new Code for the whole German Empire was settled, was passed by the Chambers, and came into force on the first of January, 1900. It does not, however, altogether supersede pre-existing local law. This Code, far from being pure Roman law, embodies many rules due to mediaeval custom (especially custom relating to land-rights) modernized to suit modern conditions, and also a great deal of post-mediaeval legislation.2 Some German jurists complain that it is too Teutonic; others that it is not Teutonic enough. One may perhaps conclude from these opposite criticisms that the codifiers have made a judiciously impartial use of both Germanic and Roman materials.
Speaking broadly, it may be said that the groundwork of both the French and the German Codes—that is to say their main lines and their fundamental legal conceptions—is Roman. Just as the character and genius of a language are determined by its grammar, irrespective of the number of foreign words it may have picked up, so Roman law remains Roman despite the accretion of the new elements which the needs of modern civilization have required it to accept.
The fifth stage is the transplantation of Roman law in its modern forms to new countries. The Spaniards and Portuguese, the French, the Dutch, and the Germans have carried their respective systems of law with them into the territories they have conquered and the colonies they have founded; and the law has often remained unchanged even when the territory or the colony has passed to new rulers. For law is a tenacious plant, even harder to extirpate than is language; and new rulers have generally had the sense to perceive that they had less to gain by substituting their own law for that which they found than they had to lose by irritating their new subjects. Thus, Roman-French law survives in Quebec (except in commercial matters) and in Louisiana, Roman-Dutch law in Guiana and South Africa.
The cases of Poland, Russia and the Scandinavian kingdoms are due to a process different from any of those hitherto described. The law of Russia was originally Slavonic custom, influenced to some extent by the law of the Eastern Roman Empire, whence Russia took her Christianity and her earliest literary impulse. In its present shape, while retaining in many points a genuinely Slavonic character, and of course far less distinctly Roman than is the law of France, it has drawn so much, especially as regards the principles of property rights and contracts, from the Code Napoléon and to a less degree from Germany, that it may be described as being Roman “at the second remove,” and reckoned as an outlying and half-assimilated province, so to speak, of the legal realm of Rome. Poland, lying nearer Germany, and being, as a Catholic country, influenced by the Canon Law, as well as by German teaching and German books, adopted rather more of Roman doctrine than Russia did.1 Her students learnt Roman law first at Italian, afterwards at German Universities, and when they became judges, naturally applied its principles. The Scandinavian countries set out with a law purely Teutonic, and it is chiefly through the German Universities and the influence of German juridical literature that Roman principles have found their way in and coloured the old customs. Servia, Bulgaria and Rumania, on the other hand, were influenced during the Middle Ages by the law of the Eastern Empire, whence they drew their religion and their culture. Thus their modern law, whose character is due partly to these Byzantine influences—of course largely affected by Slavonic custom—and partly to what they have learnt from France and Austria, may also be referred to the Roman type.
The Diffusion of English Law
England, like Rome, has spread her law over a large part of the globe. But the process has been in her case not only far shorter but far simpler. The work has been (except as respects Ireland) effected within the last three centuries; and it has been effected (except as regards Ireland and India) not by conquest but by peaceful settlement. This is one of the two points in which England stands contrasted with Rome. The other is that her own law has not been affected by the process. It has changed within the seven centuries that lie between King Henry the Second and the present day, almost if not quite as much as the law of Rome changed in the seven centuries between the enactment of the Twelve Tables and the reign of Caracalla. But these changes have not been due, as those I have described in the Roman Empire were largely due, to the extension of the law of England to new subjects. They would apparently have come to pass in the same way and to the same extent had the English race remained confined to its own island.
England has extended her law over two classes of territories.
The first includes those which have been peacefully settled by Englishmen—North America (except Lower Canada), Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, the Falkland Isles. All of these, except the United States, have remained politically connected with the British Crown.
The second includes conquered territories. In some of these, such as Wales, Ireland, Gibraltar, the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Nova Scotia, and several of the West India Islands, English law has been established as the only system, applicable to all subjects.1 In others, such as Malta, Cyprus, Singapore, and India, English law is applied to Englishmen and native law to natives, the two systems being worked concurrently. Among these cases, that which presents problems of most interest and difficulty is India. But before we consider India, a few words may be given to the territories of the former class. They are now all of them, except the West Indies, Fiji and the Falkland Isles, self-governing, and therefore capable of altering their own law. This they do pretty freely. The United States have now forty-nine legislatures at work, viz. Congress, forty-five States, and three organized Territories. They have turned out an immense mass of law since their separation from England. But immense as it is, and bold as are some of the experiments which may be found in it, the law of the United States remains (except of course in Louisiana) substantially English law. An English barrister would find himself quite at home in any Federal or State Court, and would have nothing new to master, except a few technicalities of procedure and the provisions of any statutes which might affect the points he had to argue. And the patriarch of American teachers of law (Professor C. C. Langdell of the Law School in Harvard University), consistently declining to encumber his expositions with references to Federal or State Statutes, continues to discourse on the Common Law of America, which differs little from the Common Law of England. The old Common Law which the settlers carried with them in the seventeenth century has of course been developed or altered by the decisions of American Courts. These, however, have not affected its thoroughly English character. Indeed, the differences between the doctrines enounced by the Courts of different States are sometimes just as great as the differences between the views of the Courts of Massachusetts or New Jersey and those of Courts in England.
The same is true of the self-governing British colonies. In them also legislation has introduced deviations from the law of the mother country. More than forty years ago New Zealand, for instance, repealed the Statute of Uses, which is the corner-stone of English conveyancing; and the Australian legislatures have altered (among other things) the English marriage law. But even if the changes made by statute had been far greater than they have been, and even if there were not, as there still is, a right of appeal from the highest Courts of these colonies to the Crown in Council, their law should still remain, in all its essential features, a genuine and equally legitimate offspring of the ancient Common Law.
We come now to the territories conquered by England, and to which she has given her law whether in whole or in part. Among these it is only of India that I shall speak, as India presents the phenomena of contact between the law of the conqueror and that of the conquered on the largest scale and in the most instructive form. What the English have done in India is being done or will have to be done, though nowhere else on so vast a scale, by the other great nations which have undertaken the task of ruling and of bestowing what are called the blessings of civilization upon the backward races. Russia, France, Germany, and now the United States also, all see this task before them. To them therefore, as well as to England, the experience of the British Government in India may be profitable.
English Law in India
When the English began to conquer India they found two great systems of customary law in existence there, the Musulman and the Hindu. There were other minor bodies of custom, prevailing among particular sects, but these may for the present be disregarded. Musulman law regulated the life and relations of all Musulmans; and parts of it, especially its penal provisions, were also applied by the Musulman potentates to their subjects generally, Hindus included. The Musulman law had been most fully worked out in the departments of family relations and inheritance, in some few branches of the law of contract, such as money loans and mortgages and matters relating to sale, and in the doctrine of charitable or pious foundations called Wakuf.
In the Hindu principalities, Hindu law was dominant, and even where the sovereign was a Musulman, the Hindu law of family relations and of inheritance was recognized as that by which Hindus lived. There were also of course many land customs, varying from district to district, which both Hindus and Musulmans observed, as they were not in general directly connected with religion. In some regions, such as Oudh and what are now the North-West provinces, these customs had been much affected by the land revenue system of the Mogul Emperors. It need hardly be said that where Courts of law existed, they administered an exceedingly rough and ready kind of justice, or perhaps injustice, for bribery and favouritism were everywhere rampant.
There were also mercantile customs, which were generally understood and observed by traders, and which, with certain specially Musulman rules recognized in Musulman States, made up what there was of a law of contracts.
Thus one may say that the law (other than purely religious law) which the English administrators in the days of Clive and Warren Hastings found consisted of—
First, a large and elaborate system of Inheritance and Family Law, the Musulman pretty uniform throughout India, though in some regions modified by Hindu custom, the Hindu less uniform. Each was utterly unlike English law and incapable of being fused with it. Each was closely bound up with the religion and social habits of the people. Each was contained in treatises of more or less antiquity and authority, some of the Hindu treatises very ancient and credited with almost divine sanction, the Musulman treatises of course posterior to the Koran, and consisting of commentaries upon that Book and upon the traditions that had grown up round it.
Secondly, a large mass of customs relating to the occupation and use of land and of various rights connected with tillage and pasturage, including water-rights, rights of soil-accretion on the banks of rivers, and forest-rights. The agricultural system and the revenue system of the country rested upon these land customs, which were of course mostly unwritten and which varied widely in different districts.
Thirdly, a body of customs, according to our ideas comparatively scanty and undeveloped, but still important, relating to the transfer and pledging of property, and to contracts, especially commercial contracts.
Fourthly, certain penal rules drawn from Musulman law and more or less enforced by Musulman princes.
Thus there were considerable branches of law practically non-existent. There was hardly any law of civil and criminal procedure, because the methods of justice were primitive, and would have been cheap, but for the prevalence of corruption among judges as well as witnesses. There was very little of the law of Torts or Civil Wrongs, and in the law of property of contracts and of crimes, some departments were wanting or in a rudimentary condition. Of a law relating to public and constitutional rights there could of course be no question, since no such rights existed.
In this state of facts the British officials took the line which practical men, having their hands full of other work, would naturally take, viz. the line of least resistance. They accepted and carried on what they found. Where there was a native law, they applied it, Musulman law to Musulmans, Hindu law to Hindus, and in the few places where they were to be found, Parsi law to Parsis, Jain law to Jains. Thus men of every creed—for it was creed, not race nor allegiance by which men were divided and classified in India—lived each according to his own law, as Burgundians and Franks and Romanized Gauls had done in the sixth century in Europe. The social fabric was not disturbed, for the land customs and the rules of inheritance were respected, and of course the minor officers, with whom chiefly the peasantry came in contact, continued to be natives. Thus the villager scarcely felt that he was passing under the dominion of an alien power, professing an alien faith. His life flowed on in the same equable course beside the little white mosque, or at the edge of the sacred grove. A transfer of power from a Hindu to a Musulman sovereign would have made more difference to him than did the establishment of British rule; and life was more placid than it would have been under either a rajah or a sultan, for the marauding bands which had been the peasants’ terror were soon checked by European officers.
So things remained for more than a generation. So indeed things remain still as respects those parts of law which are inwoven with religion, marriage, adoption (among Hindus) and other family relations, and with the succession to property. In all these matters native law continues to be administered by the Courts the English have set up; and when cases are appealed from the highest of those Courts to the Privy Council in England, that respectable body determines the true construction to be put on the Koran and the Islamic Traditions, or on passages from the mythical Manu, in the same business-like way as it would the meaning of an Australian statute.1 Except in some few points to be presently noted, the Sacred Law of Islam and that of Brahmanism remained unpolluted by European ideas. Yet they have not stood unchanged, for the effect of the more careful and thorough examination which the contents of these two systems have received from advocates, judges, and text-writers, both native and English, imbued with the scientific spirit of Europe, has been to clarify and define them, and to develop out of the half-fluid material more positive and rigid doctrines than had been known before. Something like this may probably have been done by the Romans for the local or tribal law of their provinces.
In those departments in which the pre-existing customs were not sufficient to constitute a body of law large enough and precise enough for a civilized Court to work upon, the English found themselves obliged to supply the void. This was done in two ways. Sometimes the Courts boldly applied English law. Sometimes they supplemented native custom by common sense, i. e. by their own ideas of what was just and fair. The phrase “equity and good conscience” was used to embody the principles by which judges were to be guided when positive rules, statutory or customary, were not forthcoming. To a magistrate who knew no law at all, these words would mean that he might follow his own notions of “natural justice,” and he would probably give more satisfaction to suitors than would his more learned brother, trying to apply confused recollections of Blackstone or Chitty. In commercial matters common sense would be aided by the usage of traders. In cases of Tort native custom was not often available, but as the magistrate who dealt out substantial justice would give what the people had rarely obtained from the native courts, they had no reason to complain of the change. As to rules of evidence, the young Anglo-Indian civilian would, if he were wise, forget all the English technicalities he might have learnt, and make the best use he could of his mother-wit.1
For the first sixty years or more of British rule there was accordingly little or no attempt to Anglify the law of India, or indeed to give it any regular and systematic form. Such alterations as it underwent were the natural result of its being dispensed by Europeans. But to this general rule there were two exceptions, the law of Procedure and the law of Crimes. Courts had been established in the Presidency towns even before the era of conquest began. As their business increased and subordinate Courts were placed in the chief towns of the annexed provinces, the need for some regular procedure was felt. An Act of the British Parliament of ad 1781 empowered the Indian Government to make regulations for the conduct of the provincial Courts, as the Court at Fort William (Calcutta) had already been authorized to do for itself by an Act of 1773. Thus a regular system of procedure, modelled after that of England, was established; and the Act of 1781 provided that the rules and forms for the execution of process were to be accommodated to the religion and manners of the natives.
As respects penal law, the English began by adopting that which the Musulman potentates had been accustomed to apply. But they soon found that many of its provisions were such as a civilized and nominally Christian government could not enforce. Mutilation as a punishment for theft, for instance, and stoning for sexual offences, were penalties not suited to European notions; and still less could the principle be admitted that the evidence of a non-Musulman is not receivable against one of the Faithful. Accordingly a great variety of regulations were passed amending the Musulman law of crimes from an English point of view. In Calcutta the Supreme Court did not hesitate to apply English penal law to natives; and applied it to some purpose at a famous crisis in the fortunes of Warren Hastings when (in 1775) it hanged Nuncomar for forgery under an English statute of 1728, which in the opinion of many high authorities of a later time had never come into force at all in India. It was inevitable that the English should take criminal jurisdiction into their own hands—the Romans had done the same in their provinces—and inevitable also that they should alter the penal law in conformity with their own ideas. But they did so in a very haphazard fashion. The criminal law became a patchwork of enactments so confused that it was the first subject which invited codification in that second epoch of English rule which we are now approaching.
Before entering on this remarkable epoch, one must remember that the English in India, still a very small though important class, were governed entirely by English law. So far as common law and equity went, this law was exactly the same as the contemporaneous law of England. But it was complicated by the fact that a number of Regulations, as they were called, had been enacted for India by the local government, that many British statutes were not intended to apply and probably did not apply to India (though whether they did or not was sometimes doubtful), and that a certain number of statutes had been enacted by Parliament expressly for India. Thus though the law under which the English lived had not been perceptibly affected by Indian customs, it was very confused and troublesome to work. That the learning of the judges sent from home to sit in the Indian Courts was seldom equal to that of the judges in England was not necessarily a disadvantage, for in traversing the jungle of Indian law the burden of English case lore would have too much impeded the march of justice.
The first period of English rule, the period of rapid territorial extension and of improvised government, may be said to have ended with the third Maratha war of 1817-8. The rule of Lord Amherst and Lord William Bentinck (1823-35) was a comparatively tranquil period, when internal reforms had their chance, as they had in the Roman Empire under Hadrian and Antoninus Pius. This was also the period when a spirit of legal reform was on foot in England. It was the time when the ideas of Bentham had begun to bear fruit, and when the work begun by Romilly was being carried on by Brougham and others. Both the law applied to Englishmen, and such parts of native law as had been cut across, filled up, and half re-shaped by English legal notions and rules, called loudly for simplification and reconstruction.
The era of reconstruction opened with the enactment, in the India Charter Act of 1833, of a clause declaring that a general judicial system and a general body of law ought to be established in India applicable to all classes, Europeans as well as natives, and that all laws and customs having legal force ought to be ascertained, consolidated, and amended. The Act then went on to provide for the appointment of a body of experts to be called the Indian Law Commission, which was to inquire into and report upon the Courts, the procedure and the law then existing in India. Of this commission Macaulay, appointed in 1833 legal member of the Governor-General’s Council, was the moving spirit; and with it the work of codification began. It prepared a Penal Code, which however was not passed into law until 1860, for its activity declined after Macaulay’s return to England and strong opposition was offered to his draft by many of the Indian judges. A second Commission was appointed under an Act of 1853, and sat in England. It secured the enactment of the Penal Code, and of Codes of Civil and of Criminal Procedure. A third Commission was crated in 1861, and drafted other measures. The Government of India demurred to some of the proposed changes and evidently thought that legislation was being pressed on rather too fast. The Commission, displeased at this resistance, resigned in 1870; and since then the work of preparing as well as of carrying through codifying Acts has mostly been done in India. The net result of the sixty-six years that have passed since Macaulay set to work in 1834 is that Acts codifying and amending the law, and declaring it applicable to both Europeans and natives, have been passed on the topics following:—
Criminal Procedure (1861, 1882, and 1898).
Civil Procedure (1859 and 1882).
Limitation of Actions (1877).
Specific Relief (1877).
Probate and Administration (1881).
Contracts (1872) (but only the general rules of contract with a few rules on particular parts of the subject).
Negotiable Instruments (1881) (but subject to native customs).
Besides these, codifying statutes have been passed which do not apply (at present) to all India, but only to parts of it, or to specified classes of the population, on the topics following:—
Transfer of Property (1882).
Guardians and Wards (1890).
These statutes cover a large part of the whole field of law, so that the only important departments not yet dealt with are those of Torts or Civil Wrongs (on which a measure not yet enacted was prepared some years ago); certain branches of contract law, which it is not urgent to systematize because they give rise to lawsuits only in the large cities, where the Courts are quite able to dispose of them in a satisfactory way; Family Law, which it would be unsafe to meddle with, because the domestic customs of Hindus, Musulmans, and Europeans are entirely different; and Inheritance, the greater part of which is, for the same reason, better left to native custom. Some points have, however, been covered by the Succession Act already mentioned. Thus the Government of India appear to think that they have for the present gone as far as they prudently can in the way of enacting uniform general laws for all classes of persons. Further action might displease either the Hindus or the Musulmans, possibly both: and though there would be advantages in bringing the law of both these sections of the population into a more clear and harmonious shape, it would in any case be impossible to frame rules which would suit both of them, and would also suit the Europeans. Here Religion steps in, a force more formidable in rousing opposition or disaffection than any which the Romans had to fear.
In such parts of the law as are not covered by these enumerated Acts, Englishmen, Hindus and Musulmans continue to live under their respective laws. So do Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists (most numerous in Burma), and Jains, save that where there is really no native law or custom that can be shown to exist, the judge will naturally apply the principles of English law, handling them, if he knows how, in an untechnical way. Thus beside the new stream of united law which has its source in the codifying Acts, the various older streams of law, each representing a religion, flow peacefully on.
The question which follows—What has been the action on the other of each of these elements? resolves itself into three questions:—
How far has English Law affected the Native Law which remains in force?
How far has Native Law affected the English Law which is in force?
How have the codifying Acts been framed—i. e. are they a compromise between the English and the native element, or has either predominated and given its colour to the whole mass?
The answer to the first question is that English influence has told but slightly upon those branches of native law which had been tolerably complete before the British conquest, and which are so interwoven with religion that one may almost call them parts of religion. The Hindu and Musulman customs which regulate the family relations and rights of succession have been precisely defined, especially those of the Hindus, which were more fluid than the Muslim customs, and were much less uniform over the whole country. Trusts have been formally legalized, and their obligation rendered stronger. Adoption has been regularized and stiffened, for its effects had been uncertain in their legal operation. Where several doctrines contended, one doctrine has been affirmed by the English Courts, especially by the Privy Council as ultimate Court of Appeal, and the others set aside. Moreover the Hindu law of Wills has been in some points supplemented by English legislation, and certain customs repugnant to European ideas, such as the self-immolation of the widow on the husband’s funeral pyre, have been abolished. And in those parts of law which, though regulated by local custom, were not religious, some improvements have been affected. The rights of the agricultural tenant have been placed on a more secure basis. Forest-rights have been ascertained and defined, partly no doubt for the sake of the pecuniary interests which the Government claims in them, and which the peasantry do not always admit. But no attempt has been made to Anglify these branches of law as a whole.
On the other hand, the law applicable to Europeans only has been scarcely (if at all) affected by native law. It remains exactly what it is in England, except in so far as the circumstances of India have called for special statutes.
The third question is as to the contents of those parts of the law which are common to Europeans and Natives, that is to say, the parts dealt by the codifying Acts already enumerated. Here English law has decisively prevailed. It has prevailed not only because it would be impossible to subject Europeans to rules emanating from a different and a lower civilization, but also because native custom did not supply the requisite materials. Englishmen had nothing to learn from natives as respects procedure or evidence. The native mercantile customs did not constitute a system even of the general principles of contract, much less had those principles been worked out in their details. Accordingly the Contract Code is substantially English, and where it differs from the result of English cases, the differences are due, not to the influence of native ideas or native usage, but to the views of those who prepared the Code, and who, thinking the English case-law susceptible of improvement, diverged from it here and there just as they might have diverged had they been preparing a Code to be enacted for England. There are, however, some points in which the Penal Code shows itself to be a system intended for India. The right of self-defence is expressed in wider terms than would be used in England, for Macaulay conceived that the slackness of the native in protecting himself by force made it desirable to depart a little in this respect from the English rules. Offences such as dacoity (brigandage by robber bands), attempts to bribe judges or witnesses, the use of torture by policemen, kidnapping, the offering of insult or injury to sacred places, have been dealt with more fully and specifically than would be necessary in a Criminal Code for England. Adultery has, conformably to the ideas of the East, been made a subject for criminal proceedings. Nevertheless these, and other similar, deviations from English rules which may be found in the Codes enacted for Europeans and natives alike, do not affect the general proposition that the Codes are substantially English. The conquerors have given their law to the conquered. When the conquered had a law of their own which this legislation has effaced, the law of the conquerors was better. Where they had one too imperfect to suffice for a growing civilization, the law of the conquerors was inevitable.
The Working of the Indian Codes
Another question needs to be answered. It has a twofold interest, because the answer not only affects the judgment to be passed on the course which the English Government in India has followed, but also conveys either warning or encouragement to England herself. This question is—How have these Indian Codes worked in practice? Have they improved the administration of justice? Have they given satisfaction to the people? Have they made it easier to know the law, to apply the law, to amend the law where it proves faulty?
When I travelled in India in 1888-9 I obtained opinions on these points from many persons competent to speak. There was a good deal of difference of view, but the general result seemed to be as follows. I take the four most important codifying Acts, as to which it was most easy to obtain profitable criticisms.
The two Procedure Codes, Civil and Criminal, were very generally approved. They were not originally creative work, but were produced by consolidating and simplifying a mass of existing statutes and regulations, which had become unwieldy and confused. Order was evoked out of chaos, a result which, though beneficial everywhere, was especially useful in the minor Courts, whose judges had less learning and experience than those of the five High Courts at Calcutta, Madras, Bombay, Allahabad and Lahore.
The Penal Code was universally approved; and it deserves the praise bestowed on it, for it is one of the noblest monuments of Macaulay’s genius. To appreciate its merits, one must remember how much, when prepared in 1834, it was above the level of the English criminal law of that time. The subject is eminently fit to be stated in a series of positive propositions, and so far as India was concerned, it had rested mainly upon statutes and not upon common law. It has been dealt with in a scientific, but also a practical common-sense way: and the result is a body of rules which are comprehensible and concise. To have these on their desks has been an immense advantage for magistrates in the country districts, many of whom have had but a scanty legal training. It has also been claimed for this Code that under it crime has enormously diminished: but how much of the diminution is due to the application of a clear and just system of rules, how much to the more efficient police administration, is a question on which I cannot venture to pronounce.1
No similar commendation was bestowed on the Evidence Code. Much of it was condemned as being too metaphysical, yet deficient in subtlety. Much was deemed superfluous, and because superfluous, possibly perplexing. Yet even those who criticized its drafting admitted that it might possibly be serviceable to untrained magistrates and practitioners, and I have myself heard some of these untrained men declare that they did find it helpful. They are a class relatively larger in India than in England.
It was with regard to the merits of the Contract Code that the widest difference of opinion existed. Any one who reads it can see that its workmanship is defective. It is neither exact nor subtle, and its language is often far from lucid. Every one agreed that Sir J. F. Stephen (afterwards Mr. Justice Stephen), who put it into the shape in which it was passed during his term of office as Legal Member of Council, and was also the author of the Evidence Act, was a man of great industry, much intellectual force, and warm zeal for codification. But his capacity for the work of drafting was deemed not equal to his fondness for it. He did not shine either in fineness of discrimination or in delicacy of expression. Indian critics, besides noting these facts, went on to observe that in country places four-fifths of the provisions of the Contract Act were superfluous, while those which were operative sometimes unduly fettered the discretion of the magistrate or judge, entangling him in technicalities, and preventing him from meting out that substantial justice which is what the rural suitor needs. The judge cannot disregard the Act, because if the case is appealed, the Court above, which has only the notes of the evidence before it, and does not hear the witnesses, is bound to enforce the provisions of the law. In a country like India, law ought not to be too rigid: nor ought rights to be stiffened up so strictly as they are by this Contract Act. Creditors had already, through the iron regularity with which the British Courts enforce judgements by execution, obtained far more power over debtors than they possessed in the old days, and more than the benevolence of the English administrator approves. The Contract Act increases this power still further. This particular criticism does not reflect upon the technical merits of the Act in itself. But it does suggest reasons, which would not occur to a European mind, why it may be inexpedient by making the law too precise to narrow the path in which the judge has to walk. A stringent administration of the letter of the law is in semi-civilized communities no unmixed blessing.
So much for the rural districts. In the Presidency cities, on the other hand, the Contract Code is by most experts pronounced to be unnecessary. The judges and the bar are already familiar with the points which it covers, and find themselves—so at least many of them say—rather embarrassed than aided by it. They think it cramps their freedom of handling a point in argument. They prefer the elasticity of the common law. And in point of fact, they seem to make no great use of the Act, but to go on just as their predecessors did before it was passed.
These criticisms may need to be discounted a little, in view of the profound conservatism of the legal profession, and of the dislike of men trained at the Temple or Lincoln’s Inn to have anything laid down or applied on the Hooghly which is not being done at the same moment on the Thames. And a counterpoise to them may be found in the educational value which is attributed to the Code by magistrates and lawyers who have not acquired a mastery of contract law through systematic instruction or through experience at home. To them the Contract Act is a manual comparatively short and simple, and also authoritative; and they find it useful in enabling them to learn their business. On the whole, therefore, though the Code does not deserve the credit which has sometimes been claimed for it, one may hesitate to pronounce its enactment a misfortune. It at any rate provides a basis on which a really good Code of contractual law may some day be erected.
Taking the work of Indian codification as a whole, it has certainly benefited the country. The Penal Code and the two Codes of Procedure represent an unmixed gain. The same may be said of the consolidation of the statute law, for which so much was done by the energy and skill of Mr. Whitley Stokes. And the other codifying acts have on the whole tended both to improve the substance of the law and to make it more accessible. Their operation has, however, been less complete than most people in Europe realize, for while many of them are confined to certain districts, others are largely modified by the local customs which they have (as expressed in their saving clauses) very properly respected. If we knew more about the provinces of the Roman Empire we might find that much more of local custom subsisted side by side with the apparently universal and uniform imperial law than we should gather from reading the compilations of Justinian.
It has already been observed that Indian influences have scarcely at all affected English law as it continues to be administered to Englishmen in India. Still less have they affected the law of England at home. It seems to have been fancied thirty or forty years ago, when law reform in general and codification in particular occupied the public mind more than they do now, that the enactment of codes of law for India, and the success which was sure to attend them there, must react upon England and strengthen the demand for the reduction of her law into a concise and systematic form. No such result has followed. The desire for codification in England has not been perceptibly strengthened by the experience of India. Nor can it indeed be said that the experience of India has taught jurists or statesmen much which they did not know before. That a good code is a very good thing, and that a bad code is, in a country which possesses competent judges, worse than no code at all—these are propositions which needed no Indian experience to verify them. The imperfect success of the Evidence and Contract Acts has done little more than add another illustration to those furnished by the Civil Code of California and the Code of Procedure in New York of the difficulty which attends these undertakings. Long before Indian codification was talked of, Savigny had shown how hard it is to express the law in a set of definite propositions without reducing its elasticity and impeding its further development. His arguments scarcely touch penal law, still less the law of procedure, for these are not topics in which much development need be looked for. But the future career of the Contract Act and of the projected Code of Torts, when enacted, may supply some useful data for testing the soundness of his doctrine.
One reason why these Indian experiments have so little affected English opinion may be found in the fact that few Englishmen have either known or cared anything about them. The British public has not realized how small is the number of persons by whom questions of legal policy in India have during the last seventy years been determined. Two or three officials in Downing Street and as many in Calcutta have practically controlled the course of events, with little interposition from outside. Even when Commissions have been sitting, the total number of those whose hand is felt has never exceeded a dozen. It was doubtless much the same in the Roman Empire. Indeed the world seldom realizes by how few persons it is governed. There is a sense in which power may be said to rest with the whole community, and there is also a sense in which it may be said, in some governments, to rest with a single autocrat. But in reality it almost always rests with an extremely small number of persons, whose knowledge and will prevail over or among the titular possessors of authority.
Before we attempt to forecast the future of English law in India, let us cast a glance back at the general course of its history as compared with that of the law of Rome in the ancient world.
Comparison of the Roman Law with English Law in India
Rome grew till her law became first that of Italy, then that of civilized mankind. The City became the World, Urbs became Orbis, to adopt the word-play which was once so familiar. Her law was extended over her Empire by three methods:—
Citizenship was gradually extended over the provinces till at last all subjects had become citizens.
Many of the principles and rules of the law of the City were established and diffused in the provinces by the action of Roman Magistrates and Courts, and especially by the Provincial Edict.
The ancient law of the City was itself all the while amended, purged of its technicalities, and simplified in form, till it became fit to be the law of the World.
Thus, when the law of the City was formally extended to the whole Empire by the grant of citizenship to all subjects, there was not so much an imposition of the conqueror’s law upon the conquered as the completion of a process of fusion which had been going on for fully four centuries. The fusion was therefore natural; and because it was natural it was complete and final. The separation of the one great current of Roman law into various channels, which began in the fifth century ad and has continued ever since, has been due to purely historical causes, and of late years (as we shall see presently) the streams that flow in these channels have tended to come nearer to one another.
During the period of more than four centuries (bc 241 to ad 211-7), when these three methods of development and assimilation were in progress, the original law of the City was being remoulded and amended in the midst of and under the influence of a non-Roman population of aliens (peregrini) at Rome and in the provinces, and that semi-Roman law which was administered in the provinces was being created by magistrates and judges who lived in the provinces and who were, after the time of Tiberius, mostly themselves of provincial origin. Thus the intelligence, reflection, and experience of the whole community played upon and contributed to the development of the law. Judges, advocates, juridical writers and teachers as well as legislators, joined in the work. The completed law was the outcome of a truly national effort. Indeed it was largely through making a law which should be fit for both Italians and provincials that the Romans of the Empire became almost a nation.
In India the march of events has been different, because the conditions were different. India is ten thousand miles from England. The English residents are a mere handful.
The Indian races are in a different stage of civilization from the English. They are separated by religion; they are separated by colour.
There has therefore been no fusion of English and native law. Neither has there been any movement of the law of England to adapt itself to become the law of her Indian subjects. English law has not, like Roman, come halfway to meet the provinces. It is true that no such approximation was needed, because English law had already reached, a century ago, a point of development more advanced than Roman law had reached when the conquest of the provinces began, and the process of divesting English law of its archaic technicalities went on so rapidly during the nineteenth century under purely home influences, that neither the needs of India nor the influences of India came into the matter at all.
The Romans had less resistance to meet with from religious diversities than the English have had, for the laws of their subjects had not so wrapped their roots round religious belief or usage as has been the case in India. But they had more varieties of provincial custom to consider, and they had, especially in the laws of the Hellenized provinces, systems more civilized and advanced first to recognize and ultimately to supersede than any body of law which the English found.
There is no class in India fully corresponding to the Roman citizens domiciled in the provinces during the first two centuries of the Roman Empire. The European British subjects, including the Eurasians, are comparatively few, and they are to a considerable extent a transitory element, whose true home is England. Only to a very small extent do they enjoy personal immunities and privileges such as those that made Roman citizenship so highly prized, for the English, more liberal than the Romans, began by extending to all natives of India, as and when they became subjects of the British Crown, the ordinary rights of British subjects enjoyed under such statutes as Magna Charta and the Bill of Rights. The natives of India have entered into the labours of the barons at Runnymede and of the Whigs of 1688.
What has happened has been that the English have given to India such parts of their own law (somewhat simplified in form) as India seemed fitted to receive. These parts have been applied to Europeans as well as to natives, but they were virtually applicable to Europeans before codification began. The English rulers have filled up those departments in which there was no native law worthy of the name, sometimes, however, respecting local native customs. Here one finds an interesting parallel to the experience of the Romans. They, like the English, found criminal law and the law of procedure to be the departments which could be most easily and promptly dealt with. They, like the English, were obliged to acquiesce in the retention by a part of the population of some ancient customs regarding the Family and the Succession to Property. But this acquiescence was after all partial and local; whereas the English have neither applied to India the more technical parts of their own law, such as that relating to land, nor attempted to supersede those parts of native law which are influenced by religion, such as the parts which include family relations and inheritance. Thus there has been no general fusion comparable to that which the beginning of the third century ad saw in the Roman Empire.
As respects codification, the English have in one sense done more than the Romans, in another sense less. They have reduced such topics as penal law and procedure, evidence and trusts, to a compact and well-ordered shape, which is more than Justinian did for any part of the Roman law. But they have not brought the whole law together into one Corpus Iuris, and they have left large parts of it in triplicate, so to speak, that is to say, consisting of rules which are entirely different for Hindus, for Musulmans, and for Europeans.
Moreover, as it is the law of the conquerors which has in India been given to the conquered practically unaffected by native law, so also the law of England has not been altered by the process. It has not been substantially altered in India. The uncodified English law there is the same (local statutes excepted) as the law of England at home. Still less has it been altered in England itself. Had Rome not acquired her Empire, her law would never have grown to be what it was in Justinian’s time. Had Englishmen never set foot in India, their law would have been, so far as we can tell, exactly what it is to-day.
Neither have those natives of India who correspond to the provincial subjects of Rome borne any recognizable share in the work of Indian legal development. Some of them have, as text-writers or as judges, rendered good service in elucidating the ancient Hindu customs. But the work of throwing English law into the codified form in which it is now applied in India to Europeans and natives alike has been done entirely by Englishmen. In this respect also the more advanced civilization has shown its dominant creative force.
The Future of English Law in India
Here, however, it is fit to remember that we are not, as in the case of the Romans, studying a process which has been completed. For them it was completed before the fifth century saw the dissolution of the western half of the Empire. For India it is still in progress. Little more than a century has elapsed since English rule was firmly established; only half a century since the Punjab and (shortly afterwards) Oudh were annexed. Although the Indian Government has prosecuted the work of codification much less actively during the last twenty years than in the twenty years preceding, and seems to conceive that as much has now been done as can safely be done at present, still in the long future that seems to lie before British rule in India the equalization and development of law may go much further than we can foresee to-day. The power of Britain is at this moment stable, and may remain so if she continues to hold the sea and does not provoke discontent by excessive taxation.
Two courses which legal development may follow are conceivable. One is that all those departments of law whose contents are not determined by conditions peculiar to India will be covered by further codifying acts, applicable to Europeans and natives alike, and that therewith the process of equalization and assimilation will stop because its natural limits will have been reached. The other is that the process will continue until the law of the stronger and more advanced race has absorbed that of the natives and become applicable to the whole Empire.
Which of these two things will happen depends upon the future of the native religions, and especially of Hinduism and of Islam, for it is in religion that the legal customs of the natives have their roots. Upon this vast and dark problem it may seem idle to speculate; nor can it be wholly dissevered from a consideration of the possible future of the religious beliefs which now hold sway among Europeans. Both Islam and Hinduism are professed by masses of human beings so huge, so tenacious of their traditions, so apparently inaccessible to European influences, that no considerable declension of either faith can be expected within a long period of years. Yet experience, so far as it is available, goes to show that no form of heathenism, not even an ancient and in some directions highly cultivated form like Hinduism, does ultimately withstand the solvent power of European science and thought. Even now, though Hinduism is growing every day, at the expense of the ruder superstitions among the hill-folk, it is losing its hold on the educated class, and it sees every day members of its lower castes pass over to Islam. So Islam also, deeply rooted as it may seem to be, wanes in the presence of Christianity, and though it advances in Central Africa, declines in the Mediterranean countries. It has hitherto declined not by the conversion of its members to other faiths, but by the diminution of the Muslim population; yet one must not assume that when the Turkish Sultanate or Khalifate has vanished, it may not lose much of its present hold upon the East. Possibly both Hinduism and Islam may, so potent are the new forces of change now at work in India, begin within a century or two to show signs of approaching dissolution. Polygamy may by that time have disappeared. Other peculiar features of the law of family and inheritance will tend to follow, though some may survive through the attachment to habit even when their original religious basis has been forgotten.
In the Arctic seas, a ship sometimes lies for weeks together firmly bound in a vast ice-field. The sailor who day after day surveys from the masthead the dazzling expanse sees on every side nothing but a solid surface, motionless and apparently immoveable. Yet all the while this ice-field is slowly drifting to the south, carrying with it the embedded ship. At last, when a warmer region has been reached and the south wind has begun to blow, that which overnight was a rigid and glittering plain is in the light of dawn a tossing mass of ice-blocks, each swiftly melting into the sea, through which the ship finds her homeward path. So may it be with these ancient religions. When their dissolution comes, it may come with unexpected suddenness, for the causes which will produce it will have been acting simultaneously and silently over a wide area. If the English are then still the lords of India, there will be nothing to prevent their law from becoming (with some local variations) the law of all India. Once established and familiar to the people, it will be likely to remain, whatever political changes may befall, for nothing clings to the soil more closely than a body of civilized law once well planted. So the law of England may become the permanent heritage, not only of the hundreds of millions who will before the time we are imagining be living beyond the Atlantic, but of those hundreds of millions who fill the fertile land between the Straits of Manaar and the long rampart of Himalayan snows.
We embarked on this inquiry for the sake of ascertaining what light the experience of the English in India throws upon the general question of the relation of the European nations to those less advanced races over whom they are assuming dominion, and all of whom will before long own some European master.1
These races fall into two classes, those which do and those which do not possess a tolerably complete system of law. Turks, Persians, Egyptians, Moors, and Siamese belong to the former class; all other non-European races to the latter.
As to the latter there is no difficulty. So soon as Kafirs or Mongols or Hausas have advanced sufficiently to need a regular set of legal rules, they will (if their European masters think it worth while) become subject to the law of those masters, of course more or less differentiated according to local customs or local needs. It may be assumed that French law will prevail in Madagascar, and English law in Uganda, and Russian law in the valley of the Amur.
Where, however, as is the case in the Musulman and perhaps also in the Buddhist countries belonging to the former class, a legal system which, though imperfect, especially on the commercial side, has been carefully worked out in some directions, holds the field and rests upon religion, the question is less simple. The experience of the English in India suggests that European law will occupy the non-religious parts of the native systems, and will tend by degrees to encroach upon and permeate even the religious parts, though so long as Islam (or Brahmanism) maintains its sway the legal customs and rules embedded in religion will survive. No wise ruler would seek to efface them so far as they are neither cruel nor immoral. It is only these ancient religions—Hinduism, Buddhism, and especially Islam—that can or will resist, though perhaps only for a time, and certainly only partially, the rising tide of European law.
Present Position of Roman and English Law in the World
European law means, as we have seen, either Roman law or English law, so the last question is: Will either, and if so which, of these great rival systems prevail over the other?
They are not unequally matched. The Roman jurists, if we include Russian as a sort of modified Roman law, influence at present a larger part of the world’s population, but Bracton and Coke and Mansfield might rejoice to perceive that the doctrines which they expounded are being diffused even more swiftly, with the swift diffusion of the English tongue, over the globe. It is an interesting question, this competitive advance of legal systems, and one which would have engaged the attention of historians and geographers, were not law a subject which lies so much outside the thoughts of the lay world that few care to study its historical bearings. It furnishes a remarkable instance of the tendency of strong types to supplant and extinguish weak ones in the domain of social development. The world is, or will shortly be, practically divided between two sets of legal conceptions or rules, and two only. The elder had its birth in a small Italian city, and though it has undergone endless changes and now appears in a variety of forms, it retains its distinctive character, and all these forms still show an underlying unity. The younger has sprung from the union of the rude customs of a group of Low German tribes with rules worked out by the subtle, acute and eminently disputatious intellect of the Gallicized Norsemen who came to England in the eleventh century. It has been much affected by the elder system, yet it has retained its distinctive features and spirit, a spirit specially contrasted with that of the imperial law in everything that pertains to the rights of the individual and the means of asserting them. And it has communicated something of this spirit to the more advanced forms of the Roman law in constitutional countries.
At this moment the law whose foundations were laid in the Roman Forum commands a wider area of the earth’s surface, and determines the relations of a larger mass of mankind. But that which looks back to Westminster Hall sees its subjects increase more rapidly, through the growth of the United States and the British Colonies, and has a prospect of ultimately overspreading India also. Neither is likely to overpower or absorb the other. But it is possible that they may draw nearer, and that out of them there may be developed, in the course of ages, a system of rules of private law which shall be practically identical as regards contracts and property and civil wrongs, possibly as regards offences also. Already the commercial law of all civilized countries is in substance the same everywhere, that is to say, it guarantees rights and provides remedies which afford equivalent securities to men in their dealings with one another and bring them to the same goal by slightly different paths.
The more any department of law lies within the domain of economic interest, the more do the rules that belong to it tend to become the same in all countries, for in the domain of economic interest Reason and Science have full play. But the more the element of human emotion enters any department of law, as for instance that which deals with the relations of husband and wife, or of parent and child, or that which defines the freedom of the individual as against the State, the greater becomes the probability that existing divergences between the laws of different countries may in that department continue, or even that new divergences may appear.
Still, on the whole, the progress of the world is towards uniformity in law, and towards a more evident uniformity than is discoverable either in the sphere of religious beliefs or in that of political institutions.
BENCH AND BAR FROM NORMAN TIMES TO THE NINETEENTH CENTURY
[1 ]This essay appears as the second essay in “Studies in History and Jurisprudence,” 1901, pp. 73-123 (New York: Oxford University Press, American Branch).
[2 ]A bibliographical note of this author is prefixed to essay No. 10, ante, p. 322.
[1 ]There is scarcely a trace of Celtic custom in modern Scottish law. The law of land, however, is largely of feudal origin; and commercial law has latterly been influenced by that of England.
[2 ]In these West Indian islands, however, that which remains of Spanish law, as in Trinidad and Tobago, and of French law, as in St. Vincent, is now comparatively slight; and before long the West Indies (except Cuba and Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe and Martinique) will be entirely under English law. See as to the British colonies generally, C. P. Ilbert’s Legislative Methods and Forms, chap. ix.
[1 ]Cicero says of Cicily, “Siculi hoc iure sunt ut quod civis cum cive agat, domi certet suis legibus; quod Siculus cum Siculo non eiusdem civitatis, ut de eo praetor iudices sortiatur.” In Verrem, ii. 13, 32.
[2 ]The laws of Gortyn in Crete, recently published from an inscription discovered there, apparently of about 500 bc, are a remarkable instance. Though not a complete code, they cover large parts of the field of law.
[1 ]When I speak of citizenship, it is not necessarily or generally political citizenship that is to be understood, but the citizenship which carried with it private civil rights (those rights which the Romans call connubium and commercium,) including Roman family and inheritance law and Roman contract and property law. Not only the civilized Spaniards but the bulk of the upper class in Greece seem to have become citizens by the time of the Antonines.
[1 ]As to this see Essay XIV, p. 692 sqq. [in the Author’s Studies, etc., cited above].
[2 ]In S. Paul’s time, however, the Athenian Areopagus would seem to have retained its jurisdiction; cf. Acts xvii. 19. The Romans treated Athens with special consideration.
[1 ]One of the charges against Verres was that he disregarded all kinds of law alike. Under him, says Cicero, the Sicilians “neque suas leges neque nostra senatus consulta neque communia iura tenuerunt;” In Verr. i. 4, 13.
[1 ]The Lex Sempronia mentioned by Livy, xxxv. 7, seems to be an exception, due to very special circumstances.
[2 ]See Essay XI, and Essay XIV, p. 706 [in the Author’s Studies, etc., cited above].
[1 ]Such as the technical peculiarities of the Roman stipulatio, and the Greek syngraphe.
[2 ]These decreta of the Emperor were reckoned among his Constitutiones (as to which see Essay XIV, p. 720 sqq.). There does not seem to have been any public record kept and published of them, but many of them would doubtless become diffused through the law schools and otherwise. The first regular collections of imperial constitutions known to us belong to a later time.
[1 ]See upon this subject the learned and acute treatise (by which I have been much aided) of Dr. L. Mitteis, Reichsrecht und Volksrecht in den östlichen Provinzen des Römischen Kaiserreichs, Chap. VI.
[1 ]This is carefully worked out both as to Syria and to Egypt by Dr. Mitteis, op. cit. He thinks (pp. 30-33) that the law of the Syrian book, where it departs from pure Roman law as we find it in the Corpus Iuris, is mainly of Greek origin, though with traces of Eastern custom. He also suggests that the opposition, undoubtedly strong, of the Eastern Monophysites to the Orthodox Emperors at Constantinople may have contributed to make the Easterns cling the closer to their own customary law. The Syrian book belongs to the fifth century ad, and is therefore earlier than Justinian (Bruns und Sachau, Syrisch-römisches Rechtsbuch aus dem fünften Jahrhundert).
[1 ]Other parts were added later.
[1 ]Among the States in which the French Code has been taken as a model are Belgium, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, and Chili. See an article by Mr. E. Schuster in the Law Quarterly Review for January, 1896.
[2 ]An interesting sketch of the “reception” of Roman law in Germany (by Dr. Erwin Grüber) may be found in the Introduction to Mr. Ledlie’s translation of Sohm’s Institutionen (1st edition).
[1 ]In Lithuania the rule was that where no express provision could be found governing a case, recourse should be had to “the Christian laws.” Speaking generally, one may say that it was by and with Christianity that Roman law made its way in the countries to the east of Germany and to the north of the Eastern Empire.
[1 ]It has undergone little or no change in the process. The Celtic customs disappeared in Wales; the Brehon law, though it was contained in many written texts and was followed over the larger part of Ireland till the days of the Tudors, has left practically no trace in the existing law of Ireland, which is, except as respects land, some penal matters, and marriage, virtually identical with the law of England.
[1 ]It is related that a hill tribe of Kols, in Central India, had a dispute with the Government of India over some question of forest-rights. The case having gone in their favour, the Government appealed to the Judicial Committee. Shortly afterwards a passing traveller found the elders of the tribe assembled at the sacrifice of a kid. He inquired what deity was being propitiated, and was told that it was a deity powerful but remote, whose name was Privy Council.
[1 ]For the facts given in the following pages I am much indebted to the singularly lucid and useful treatise of Sir C. P. Ilbert (formerly Legal Member of the Viceroy’s Council) entitled The Government of India.
[1 ]The merits of this Code are discussed in an interesting and suggestive manner by Mr. H. Speyer in an article entitled Le Droit Pénal Anglo-indien, which appeared in the Revue de l’Université de Bruxelles in April, 1900.
[1 ]Among the “less advanced races” one must not now include the Japanese, but one may include the Turks and the Persians. The fate of China still hangs in the balance. It is not to be assumed that she will be ruled, though she must come to be influenced, and probably more and more influenced, by Europeans.