« ForrigeFortsett »
respect of each class and peculiar offence. By the term “conditions of detention”—by no means a happily chosen expression -is meant the authority under which the lunatic is legally detained in custody, namely, whether by verdict of a jury, committed by justices, or under order of the Secretary of State. These particulars we shall omit, not as being uninteresting, but on account of their probable incorrectness. They“ do not appear to have been properly understood by the officers making the returns, and lunatics are probably returned as 'detained under the orders of the secretary of state,' who have only been removed by his order
—their legal deteution really depending upon the sentence of a criminal court.”-(Rep. 1858, p. xxxii., and see Rep. 1859, p. xxxvi.) The periods of detention, varying from one year and under to above twenty years, will likewise be omitted. OFFENCES.
1859. 1858. Class 1.-Offences against the person
47 Class 5.—Forgery, &C.......
9 CLASS 6.-Offences not included in the above classes 205 204 Dangerous lunatics at large......
2 Insane, wandering abroad without control
The total number for 1859, it must be observed, does not agree with the total number for that year given above; but Mr. Redgrave makes no remark upon the discrepancy. Among the offenders under class 1, are 139 lunatics who have committed murder, 12 of whom have been detained for upwards of twenty years; and among those under class 6, are 2 who committed high treason, twenty, or nearly twenty years ago.
The expenses of the detention of these criminal lunatics were defrayed as follows:
1858. Out of County rates £4067 10 9
£4137 18 7
1033 15 11
5159 13 11
1519 12 Total... £23,376 16 5 £22,122 5 9 The average cost per head for the year 1859, varies very much
according to the fund out of which it is defrayed. For the single criminal lunatic detained at the Bristol Borough Asylum, at the charge of the borough rates, a sum of £13 only was paid; and in the Norwich Infirmary Asylum, a licensed house, in which three criminal lunatics were detained during part or the whole of the year at the expense of the parish, the average cost per head appears to have been at the rate of £11 : 7: 6 per annum. But except where “her Majesty's treasury” and private funds are drawn upon, the average expense appears to vary from about £18 to £41. The average cost per head of the criminal lunatics detained in Bethlehem, at the expense of the State, is £41:8:5; and out of private funds as much as £485 is paid for one person at a private asylum. The average expense at the Colney Hatch and some other establishments is not given, but no reason for the omission is assigned.
We may now, before closing these volumes, briefly refer to an estimate made by Mr. Redgrave in his Report for 1858, (p. xxxiii.) of the “probable costs of crime." The police of several large districts have made actual returns of the value of stolen property; but the information is supposed to be so imperfect, that Mr. Redgrave has not thought it proper to make it " a subject of general inquiry.” For instance, the yearly average loss by depredation, according to the returns of the metropolitan police, is under £50,000. This is simply impossible, as the sum bears no relation to the number of known thieves in the district. Mr. Redgrave has therefore used a wise discretion in rejecting all the police estimates, and in forming one himself. In this estimate is properly included, not only the value of property stolen, but likewise the costs of the police establishments, prosecutions, &c. These costs may to some extent be accurately stated from the statistics, and were, for the year 1858, as follows :Police establishments
.£1,447,019 Costs of prosecutions, (1857)
95,890 Prison establishments
i Sixty years ago the estimated loss by theft in the metropolis was two millions per annum. Colquhoun “on the Police of the Metropolis.”
But there are other expenses, "the proportion of which to be charged to the administration of criminal justice, cannot be de fined or readily ascertained, as the judges' and recorders' salaries, the salaries and charges of the stipendiary magistrates, the fees paid to justice clerks, the maintenance of court-houses and justices court-rooms, the costs of the coroners' courts, the expenses of the sheriffs, the costs of prosecutions by public bodies, and by prosecutors above the costs allowed to them, the charges for convicts in the colonies," &c.
The principal item in the account—the value of property stolen or destroyed-can also be merely estimated. The number of the criminal class at large in 1858, was 134,922. Assuming that each member of this class spends £25 yearly, a sum certainly not extravagant, and that this sum cannot be levied upon the public at a loss of less than £50, it follows that the aggregate amount of annual loss by depredation and destruction cannot be less than £7,746,100, which would bring the expense entailed upon the community by the criminal classes up to a sum exceeding ten millions sterling.
In conclusion, let us remind our readers that statistics may be of the greatest advantage, or they may be applied to superstitious
Some there be who esteem and value humanity, because it can be made subject to calculated tables and decimal fractions. Such would, as legislators, derive but little real benefit from the blue books which we have now reviewed, as little indeed as the theoretical bill-maker, who puts forward schemes without reference to any known facts or established return. We believe, however, that "judicial statistics” will be made amply serviceable to men who can distinguish between the use and abuse of the results arrived at by the statistician. But these volumes may be and ought to be made more perfect; we have pointed out sundry defects, which for the most part belong to the "Report,” founded on the figures contained in the returns. Imperfect returns, or inaccurate reports of the results, or of the reliability of these returns, are worse than no figures and no deductions from them. The mariner prefers to have no indications offered him, rather than be misled by false lights and deceptive buoys; nay, he would probably rather choose to have none than such as are in any degree suspicious. We do not accuse the editor of these volumes of covering up inaccuracies and questionable results by an ostentation of figures; but we do most urgently demand that, in future, nothing but that which has been substantiated by the returns given should be submitted to the reader in the Report (the part of the work most generally studied), and that, when any information is believed to be imperfect, the fact should be duly notified.
ART. IV.-A LECTURE ON THE ORIGIN AND
PROGRESS OF COMMERCIAL LAW.
DELIVERED AT GRESHAM COLLEGE. By J. T. ABDY, LL.D., REGIUS
PROFESSOR OF CIVIL LAW IN CAMBRIDGE, ETC., ETC.
propose on the present occasion to give a rapid sketch of the progress of commercial law from the earliest time; and I shall take the opportunity of now drawing attention to certain ancient legal institutions, which have left an appreciable influence upon modern commercial law. I have already dwelt upon the intimate relation that exists, and must exist, between history and law: I must again advert to that statement, and insist upon the advantage of tracing laws to their early source, because history comes to our aid in reply to a question of no little value, viz., “What is good and praiseworthy, or bad and censurable, in the development of law among nations ?? I do not pursue that question further, either generally or with reference to any one particular system; for it would open up a
*This embraces the law affecting Principal and Agent-Factors and Brokers-Bills of Exchange and Promissory Notes-Partnership and JointStock Companies— Bankruptcy-Marine Insurance and Shipping-Average and Salvage.
? See Savigny,“ Vocation of the Age for Jurisprudence.”
wide field of inquiry, and lead me away from what I have assigned to myself as my proper task. But living, as we do, in the midst of change, and in times when changes are as necessarily made as they are fairly and properly demanded, it is a matter of vital consequence to trace every established system to its root, and thus strive to discover an organic principle, whereby that which still has life may be separated from that which is lifeless. To those whose business it is to administer and legislate for the improvement of law, quite as much as to the jurist is that twofold spirit requisite which Savigny speaks of, namely, “The historical, to seize with readiness the peculiarities of every age and every form of law; and the systematic, to view every notion and every rule in early connection and co-operation with the whole." There is also another advantage to be derived from this
The application of the historical spirit of inquiry into jurisprudence and law, touches the practical every-day development of law. It is this spirit which, since the time of Sir William Scott and Lord Mansfield, has thrown a flood of light upon commercial regulations. I refer more particularly to that part of historical inquiry which is concerned with the customs, laws, and institutions of other countries than our own, the utter neglect of foreign jurisprudence in olden times, being singularly visible in the volumes of our reported cases.
Mr, Justice Story, in one of his most admirable essays (that on « The Growth of the Commercial Law”), has pointed out, with his wonted felicity of expression, the striking disproportion between the progress of commercial enterprise in England, and that of commercial law, up to the reign of George II. ; noticing a fact (which, to minds uninstructed in the mysteries of English law, must seem absurd and anomalous), that a people distinguished for years by commercial enterprise and activity, had not a wellsettled system of jurisprudence. Now, what were the causes of such a state of things ? Not an absence of legal authority on commercial matters, nor a want of materials to work upon ; for, as I shall show presently, the world, or at least a very considerable portion of it, had been busy for centuries, not only with
VOL. X. NO. XIX.