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felt. Louis XI. had formed the idea of using throughout his realm one custom, one weight, one measure. Henry III. announced to the States of Blois his intention of resuming this design, and he caused a code of law to be prepared, and Louis XIII. followed the same example. But these efforts were wholly lost. In the time of Louis XIV., under the direction of some of the celebrated jurists of his reign, the royal power of making laws for the whole realm was exercised, and some very admirable ordinances or statutes were enacted, but they only embraced a few isolated portions (or heads) of law. Under Louis XV., and particularly through the labours of D'Aguesseau, more royal ordinances were made; but these only remodelled detached morsels of the whole system, and the great revolution in 1790 found France governed by nearly 300 systems of customary law. The Revolution came and overthrew all the institutions of the state. On the celebrated 4th August, 1789called the night of the sacrifices-the nobles, clergy, and provincials, in a fit of enthusiasm, surrendered their laws and privileges, and the morning of the 5th August, 1789, found half the old French law swept away, and a clear field, a tabula rasa, left for new legislation.

Fortunately for France, the labours of its jurists had unconsciously provided for the emergency ;-the still celebrated writings of Dumoulin, Cujas, Domat, Pothier, and the royal ordinances framed by L'Hopital, D'Aguesseau, and Lamoignon, were ready at hand. In the first fury of the Revolution these materials were rejected, and it was reserved for Napoleon to avail himself of them, and to give to France the celebrated code which bears his name, and which has outlived his conquests.

The States-General, or National Assembly, and its successor (October, 1791) the Legislative Assembly, were too much engrossed with constitutional and political dogmas, to be able to give much attention to the laws affecting the relations of private life. The first, however, decreed that there should be a general code of laws, simple, clear, and appropriate to the constitution; and the latter issued an address, inviting all citizens and even foreigners to communicate their views on the

formation of the intended code. It is fortunate, however, that they did little more, as it is evident they were inclined to legislate on wholly new and abstract principles. The National Convention (which met 21st September, 1792) submitted the subject to a committee of its members, and required a project of a code to be laid before it within a month. How fit this committee as a body was for its task, appears from its president, Herault de Sechelles, having gravely sent to the National Library for a copy of the Laws of Minos. However, acquaintance with history or past legislation was not what was required, according to the principles of those days; and when Cambacérès, on the 9th August, 1793, presented his first project for a code which was almost wholly his own work, it did not meet with the approbation of the Convention. They discovered in it too much of the old law; they wished it based on the new ideas and the revolutionary principles which they deemed conformable to renovated France. Their object was to render the law favourable to the abstract views of the revolutionists in the Assembly, and to the tastes of their supporters out of doors. The authority of parents was to be lessened and overthrown, because young people lent themselves more readily to the novelties which they wished to establish. The marital authority was to be discountenanced, because it was hoped that by giving greater liberty to women, it would help to establish the new forms, and a new character would be given to the intercourse of life. The rules of descent and succession to the property of a deceased person were to be overthrown, in order to establish a new order of citizens, by creating a new class of proprietors. Cambacérès therefore prepared a second project, and presented it in the following year. But though this carried revolutionary principles a step further, giving up more of the parental influence, which the habits of French society had previously recognized as necessary, allowing divorce on account of alleged incompatibility of temper or character, and further destroying previous institutions, it was rejected because it was too concise, and the Convention alleged that it was rather a table of contents than a code of civil law, and suspended its examination. They determined that a commission of philo

sophers should be instituted to carry into effect their object more in accordance with the new ideas. In those days, narrowminded, ignorant men, inflamed with revolutionary ideas and visionary hopes, required a civil law absolutely new, of which the principles should be at once laid down and worked out. It was to be so complete, that every case should be decided by it without leaving anything to the discretion of the judge, and at the same time so simple and so clear, that every common man who had read it should be able to solve all legal questions which could present themselves. Such were the views which the spirit of the age entertained. France, it has since been said, was passing through an age of speculation and theories. General ideas and abstract principles had sway. The French spirit was eminently philosophic, or thought itself so. Philosophy was invoked everywhere,-in the sciences, in politics, and even in finances; and of course law did not escape. When the second project was presented, however, the Reign of Terror drew to an end, and a more reasonable, though not more practical, set succeeded. A third project was presented by Cambacérès to the Council of Five Hundred, which followed the Convention, October, 1795; but the events which placed Napoleon in power prevented its being proceeded with.

Napoleon was scarcely invested with the consular dignity, when he appointed a commission, consisting of men the most remarkable for legal knowledge and practical ability,―Tronchet, president of the Tribunal of Cassation; Portalis, Government commissary at the Conseil des Prises; Bigot Preameneu, commissary at the Tribunal of Cassation; and Malleville, judge of that court, to determine on the plan to be pursued. These eminent men divided the work among them, according to the arrangement of the subjects, availing themselves not only of the projects for a code which had been already prepared, but wisely recurring to the great French law-writers of authority before the Revolution, and rapidly drew up a code of civil law, which was printed and submitted to the Tribunal of Cassation, and to all the tribunals of appeal in the realm, for their remarks and suggestions. On receiving the reply, each article was carefully discussed in the Council of State, and then presented to the

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Corps Législatif; and in the years 1803 and 1804 all the titles forming the Civil Code were successively enacted.

M. Dupin says that more than three-fourths of the Civil Code consists of literal extracts from the works of Pothier; but it has been well observed by M. Lerminier, that it is a subject not of regret, but of congratulation, that Pothier almost alone supplied the materials of the Civil Code. It was a happy thing that the modern makers of the code, in their hasty creation, were able to avail themselves of the aid of so eminent a jurist. The Code Civil, adds M. Lerminier, has inherited the riches of the ancient French law, the wisdom of the old customary law, the labours of Dumoulin, of Cujas, of D'Aguesseau, and of Pothier.

On a careful examination of the Civil Code, its provisions are traceable to the following sources: 1st. The customary law, principally the coûtume of Paris, for the theory of the easements or legal servitudes of buildings, the rules of descent or succession, and those of community of property between man and wife. In almost all the matters in which the customary law contained suitable dispositions, the Code Napoléon gave the preference to it over the Roman law. 2nd. The Roman law, particularly for the material for the law relating to property and that of easements or servitudes, except those affecting buildings. The Roman law, also, was drawn upon for the law of contracts. 3rd. The royal ordinances for the laws of registration of births, deaths, and marriages; for donations, wills, and substitutions. 4th. The law subsequent to the Revolution, particularly in relation to marriages, paternal authority, and privileges, and hypothèques.

The Prussian code had preceded the French code, and the French Government, in the year 1802, had caused it to be translated; but it appears only to have furnished France with the principles and formalities of the new laws of adoption and officious guardianship.

"One cannot," says the eminent M. Zachariæ, "without prejudice, refuse to the Code Napoléon the glory of being, notwithstanding its defects in some portion, as a whole a model of codification (rédaction), and of having carefully observed

the line of demarcation which ought to exist between a code and a scientific work on civil law." When a grave German professor of such undoubted ability and learning writes thus, after careful study of the code, it is manifest that it possesses its share of that "form of beauty" and "semblance of worth " on which enthusiastic admiration rests.

Such is an outline of the history and general character of the Code Napoléon, with which some forty other systems of law, collected in the volumes before us, are compared. One chapter in any work containing a general outline of English law has usually borne for its title, "The Countries subject to the Law of England." Any outline of the French legal system is incomplete without a chapter on the countries governed or influenced by the Code Napoléon, and after centuries of strife in arms between the crowns of England and France for dominion, the rivalry seems to have been transferred to another sphere, and another kind of influence; for the contest for extended sway is now between the systems of law. While England has planted colonies, and carried its laws into uncivilized regions, France has extended its code, or the influence of it, over the half of Europe. The code first extended its influence with the success of the French arms. The train of events which followed the success of the arms of revolutionary France, had been to overthrow all existing institutions in the subjected countries; and after the revolutionary spirit had been quelled, Napoleon, in extending his conquests throughout Europe, introduced the French code with him. Belgium, Holland, the Hanseatic towns, the Confederacy of the Rhine, Poland, Baden, Bavaria, Wurtemburg, Switzerland, Sardinia, North Italy, Rome, Naples, were all brought under its rule. On the fall of Napoleon a very strong re-action took place throughout the Continent, and particularly in Germany, against everything French, not excepting the French law. By an ordinance of general government of the allies, of 10th January, 1814, the French code was to cease to have force in Germany from the 1st February following. Nevertheless it continued, with modifications, in operation in the Rhenish provinces, Holland, Belgium, the grand duchy of Baden, the

VOL. II. NO. III.

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