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Supreme Court, from 1833 to 1842, compiled conjointly by Messrs. Morgan, Conderlag, and Beling," commonly known as Morgan's Digest. This book is a compilation of all decrees deciding any point of law between those dates, with marginal notes and an index.

From 1842 down to the present time there has been no full printed publication of the decisions of the supreme court. Isolated collections of cases have been published, such as Mr. Lorenz's “ Reports for 1856;" Mr. Nell's “Collections of Decisions in Appeals from the Courts of Requests down to 1855;"'Messrs. Beling and Vanderstraaten's “ Collection of Police Court Cases,” and Mr. Austin's “ Collection of Cases relating to the District Court of Kandy.” An attempt has also been made to publish recent cases in a periodical publication, termed The Legal Miscellany; but the mode of publication has, up to the present time, left the different portions of its plan incomplete and difficult to refer to.

It will be seen from the above extract that, with small exceptions, the decrees on appeals from the District Courts to the Supreme Courts, for a period of twenty-four years, were unavailable in any public form. The present work does not, however, only make accessible this body of decrees, but furnishes us with a republication of those which have already been published, but are out of print, or are so scarce as to be almost unattainable. In a . word it supplies the legal profession, in a condensed form, the law as it is now administered in Ceylon.

The first book comprises an introduction, describing the relation of Ceylon to Great Britain—prerogative in the colony its royal revenue, and the civil and criminal jurisdiction and practice of its courts. In the second is given an account of the civil jurisprudence of the island. In the third the author treats very clearly of the native laws. This arrangement is doubtless in some degree defective. Each volume, however, may be considered as complete in itself, the first being devoted


to prerogative, revenue, local government and practice; the second to the principles and practice of Roman-Dutch jurisprudence.

The Roman-Dutch law, the basis of the law of Ceylon, is composed of the civil law and of such ordinances and edicts as the supreme authority in Holland from time to time enacted. "It is founded,” says Mr. Thomson, “upon such admirable principles that much of it remains unaltered, and it contains, as portions of its very frame, many of those 'improvements’ which English law reformers are arguing for, and which are so reluctantly accorded. Thus, there is a complete and intimate union of law and equity under that law; and every court in Ceylon is a court of both law and equity, and decides every question before it on the principle of equity when applicable. Again, there is no distinction between real and personal property, except as to the form of the conveyance; and, consequently, both kinds of property pass to the executors or administrators, and not to the heir; and both real and personal property are liable to be taken in execution in a given order.” It appears, too, that in Ceylon no jury is necessary in civil cases, consequently, justice is not defeated by the absence of material witnesses at critical points in a trial, as the Court can, under terms, always allow a party time and opportunity to bring his whole cause before the Court. There is, moreover, no distinction between felony and misdemeanour. Other points well worthy the attention of English law reformers are mentioned by Mr. Thomson in his preface. Under the English law, the person who can first snatch a judgment is entitled to execution against all property subject to such process; but by the Ceylon law all other creditors are entitled to concurrence, that is, to share with the judgment-creditors proportionally to their claims.

The occurrent claims are proved summarily, and, unless disputed, are at once allowed. Another feature of this law is the power of placing the property and even the persons of prodigals (that is persons scandalously wasting their property)

under the care of curators. In the law of Ceylon, the English mortgage, which conveys the legal estate to the mortgagee does not exist, but is replaced by a simple deed of hypothecation which has the effect of tacking the debt to the property, so that a creditor obtains a right to follow it through whatever hands it may happen to pass, and may obtain a decree for its attachment and sale in satisfaction of and discharge of the debt; so that “by a very simple deed the Ceylon mortgagee obtains all the advantages of the English mortgagee with but one exception, that the Ceylon mortgage in general gives to the mortgagee no power of sale on failure of interest or redemption, but he must foreclose in a court."

One of the most peculiar features of the Roman-Dutch law, is the relation of husband and wife. The wife is personally looked upon as a minor, and is, in liberty and in the disposal of her property, as completely subject to her husband as in England ; nevertheless, as regards property, she and her husband are in the light of partners. Man and wife have no separate property, so that when a dissolution of marriage takes place by the death of one of the spouses dying intestate, the surviv ing spouse is bound to surrender one-half of the remaining property to the representative of the deceased.

Such are some of the pecularities treated of in the book before us.

The volumes are not only indispensable to every legal practitioner in the colony of Ceylon, but will be found highly interesting to everybody who feels interested in the science of jurisprudence. Since Ceylon has been in the sion of this country, no greater boon has been conferred on the colony than Mr. Thomson has conferred on it by the publication of these “ Institutes."




Notices of New Books. .

* It should be understood that Notices of New Works forwarded to us for Review, and which appear in this part of the Magazine, do not preclude our recurring to them at greater length, and in a more elaborate form, in a subsequent Number, when their character and importance require it.]

Report of the Working of the Mines’ Inspection Act (23 & 24 Vict.

c. 151) for the South Wales District for the year ending 31st De

cember, 1865. By Thomas E. Wales, Esq. 1867. It appears from the census of 1861, that there are no less than 282,473 male persons employed in working the coal mines of Great Britain. In the year 1865, it is computed that 98,911,169 tons of coal were raised at a loss of 984 lives. These statistics show that in Great Britain there is a life lost for every 100,519 tons of coal that are raised. With all the means that modern science has placed at the disposal of the men for their protection while engaged in their dangerous employment, this average of mortality is far greater than it ought to be. We have read with pleasure Mr. Wales's interesting and able report for the South Wales District for 1865. Almost every fatal accident to which he refers is not to be attributed to the existence of any necessary danger in the work, but to gross negligence on the part of the men or of their employers. The 23 & 24 Vict., c. 151, has, without doubt, worked well. We think, however, that the powers of the inspectors ought to be increased. It is necessary, too, that they should be able to press their complaints against colliery proprietors before other tribunals than those of justices of the peace. Colliery proprietors, it must be remembered, are men of great influence and power in their districts. Not only the unpaid justices, but also stipendiary magistrates in their immediate neighbourhood, are awed by their wealth and grandeur. The first accident to which Mr. Wales refers illustrates our point. An explosion occurred in a colliery belonging to the Marquis of Bute, in the Rhondda Valley, in which the “ four feet coal” was worked—a vein proverbial for the large quantity of gas it gives off. It was shown that an accumulation of gas was allowed to remain in a certain part of the minethe existence of which was known—and that this gas getting ignited by the dangerous practice of firing shots, four men were killed. Mr. Wales instituted proceedings against the colliery managers before the magistrates, but they dismissed the case, one of them being,” as JIr. Wales observes, an owner of collieries in the adjoining valley.” VOL. XXIII. --XLV.



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An explosion, which took place in the Cwmaman pit, would go somewhat to explain the mystery that hangs over the explosion in the Gethin pit on December 20th, 1865. The former pit was worked with locked safety-lamps. On the morning in question, a boy fifteen years of age, was going hurriedly up a cross heading and past a stall out of which gas was escaping. The gas ignited at his lamp, although found locked and in proper condition. The boy survived the accident one day, and stated that the gas fired at his lamp. “This,” says Mr. Wales, “is the only clear case which has come under my notice, where gas has been ignited by a proper safety lamp, and goes to prove the great danger of allowing men either to work or pass even with safety lamps where it is known the air is charged with gas.”

By the explosion in the Gethin pit, thirty-four men were killed. There had been an accumulation of gas in a stall discovered previous to the accident, and the usual danger signals had been put up. The explosion occurred by the firing of the gas in this stall, but how it was fired must remain a mystery. A couple of days after the explosion, the lamp of David Biddoe, the acting overman, was found in this stall properly locked. His body was discovered at some distance in another stall. A witness stated at the trial that took place before Mr. Justice Blackburn, on an indictment against the managers for manslaughter, that it would have been possible for David Biddoe to have seen the gas firing in his lamp, and to have ran to the place where his dead body was found. It was suggested that he had gone into the stall to test the thickness of the pillar of coal by listening while a collier knocked at it in another stall. Mr. Wales does not seem to accept this as an explanation of the mystery, chiefly because the lamp in the stall was found locked and uninjured. But if the gas fired at a locked safety-lamp at Cwmaman, the same would happen at Gethin. It was proved at the trial that Biddoe's lamp was not a very good one, and that it could be opened without a key by simple shaking. If this is not the true explanation of the Gethin explosion, it is the only plausible one that has been suggested. After a very long trial both the colliery managers were acquitted.

Mr. Wales' s report contains many valuable suggestions which in the interest of humanity we hope will meet with prompt and earnest attention from the Government.

The Law and Practice of Bankruptcy, with an Appendix of Statutes,

Orders and Forms. By William Downes Griffith, Esq., Her Majesty's Attorney-General, Cape Town; assisted by Charles Arbuthnot Holmes, Esq., Barrister-at-Law. London: Sweet. 1867.

The appearance of a new and most complete work on the Law and Practice of Bankruptcy is not calculated to give much encouragement to those who hope, as is the case with lawyers and traders generally, for a great and speedy change in the subject of it. At all events the authors, who are evidently good [authorities, do not

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