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Active and Retired Life,r Brown's Epistles to Lord Lonsdale, on Honour, Hor. Walpole's Lines from Florence,-Dalton's Epistle to Lord Beauchamp,-Nugent's ditto to Lord Cornbury,—with several other pieces by the same ingenious writer. Beside the above, we have Poems by Mr. Ed. Rolle, Paul Whitehead, Lord Hervey, Lord Melcombe, Dr. Sneyd Davies, Dr. T. Taylor, and a small poetic epiftle from the K. of Prussia to Voltaire, with a translation by our old friend Gil. Cooper.
Vol. II. which contains the Epifles Familiar and Humorous, affords us Soame Jenyns to Lord Lovelace, -Lady Mary W. Montague to Lord Bathurst,--Dr. Dalton to the Countess of Hertford, -Green's famous Poem on the Spleen; and many smaller pieces by Lords Melcombe and Chesterfield, Mr. Isaac Hawkins Brown, Mr. Keate, Drs. Hoadley, Lifle, &c. &c.
In Vol. III. [Epifles Critical and Didactic] we have Parnel on the Different styles of Poetry, -Whitehead's Danger of Writing Verse,- Dalacourt's Prospect of Poetry,-Lord Melcombe to Mr. R. Bentley-Webster's Epistle to Addison on the Stage, -Lloyd's Actor, and Hor. Walpole’s • Beauties ;' with other pieces, by Meff. Rolle, Harte, Spence, &c. &c.
To each volume, the editor has added, by way of appendix, notes, anecdotes, and remarks critical and explanatory, relative to the several poems and their authors; which additions cannot fail of proving very acceptable to many readers, especially to those who are not possessed of the modern biographical collections.
ARREAR ACCOUNT OF Law.Books, No. II.
(See Rev. March, p. 245.) Art. XV. A System of Law of Marine Insurances; with three Chap
ters on Bottomry, on Insurances on Lives, and on Insurances against Fire. By James Allan Park, Esq. of Lincoln's Inn, Barrister at Law. 8vo. 640 Pages. 108. 6d. Boards. Whieldon. 1787 N the preface to this work, the author cites a passage from
Blackstone's Commentaries, in which that elegant and judicious writer observes, that “the learning relating to marine insurances has, of late years, been greatly improved by a series of judicial decisions, which have now established the law in such a variety of cases, that (if well and judiciously collected) they would form a very complete title in a code of commercial jurilprudence.” Urged by these motives, Mr. Park informs us, he was induced to undertake the work which he now presents to the public.
His introductory discourse contains a succinct, but pointed, historical deduction of the practice and law of insurance, which he defines to be a contract by which the insuror undertakes, in consideration of a premium equivalent to the hazard run, to indemnify the person insured, against perils or losses, or against some particular event.' He observes, that the utility of this species of contract is obvious, as it gives security to the fortunes of private people ; and, by dividing among many that loss which would ruin an individual, makes it fall easy and light on the whole society. He inquires into the origin of it; and, after discussing, at fome length, the facts which are generally adduced to prove that the law of insurance obtained a place in most of the ancient codes of jurisprudence, he concludes, that insurances were in those days wholly unknown *; or that, if they were known, the smallest proofs of the existence of such a custom have not come down to the present times; an opinion which, he says, is expressly maintained both by Grotius and Bynkershoek. He supposes the Lombards were the first inventors of this kind of contract; and, he says, it is agreed, that, if they were not the inventors, they were at least the first who brought the contract of insurance to perfection, and who introduced it to the world.
He then adverts to the different maritime codes. In our lxxivth vol. page 563, we noticed Mr. Schomberg's excellent treatise on the Maritime Laws of Rhodes. Of the Amalfitan Code, the Consolato del Mare, the Laws of Oleron, and the Laws of Wisbuy, Mr. Park gives the following account:
• To the people of Amalfi, we are indebted, as well for the first code of modern sea-laws, as for the invention of the compass. We learn from Anderson, that the city of Amalfi, so long ago as the year 1020, was so famous for its merchants and ships, that its inhabitants a: that time obtained from the caliph of Egypt, a safe conduct to enable them to trade freely in all his dominions; and they also received from him several other distinguished privileges. It was towards the close of that century, that they promulgated their fyftem of marine law, which, from the place of its compilation, received the denomination of Tabula Amalfitana : this table superseded, in a great measure, the ancient Jus Rhodianum, and its authority was acknowledged by all the states of Italy for some centuries. But as trade increased very rapidly in other cities on the coast of the Mediterranean sea, they became unwilling to receive laws from a neighbouring itate, which they now equalled, if not surpassed, in the extent of their naval establishments: every one, therefore, began to erect a tribunal, in order to decide all controverted points according to laws peculiar to itself; but itill referring, in matters of higher moment, to the former rule of action, the Amalfitan code. From such a variety of
* See the opinion of M. de Pauw on this head, p. 630 of our last Appendix.
laws, as most necessarily be the consequence of each of the Italian states becoming its own legislator, so much disorder and confusion arose, that general convenience at last compelled them to do that, which jealousy of each other's power and growing commerce would for ever have prevented them from effecting; and, at a general assembly, it was agreed to digest the laws of all the separate communities into one body. Every regulation, therefore, which was thought to be founded in justice, either in the laws of Marseilles, Pisa, Genoa, Venice, or Barcelona, was collected into one mass, and published in the 14th century, under the title of Confolato del Mare:'s it is a work of considerable merity
the decisions it contains are founded on the laws of nations ; it has been received, and allowed to have the force of law, in every part of Italy; and it is the source from whence the people of the country, as well as those of Spain and France, have been said to de. rive many of their best marine regulations.
• About the year 1194, Richard the First, king of England, on his return from his wild expedition to the Holy Land, having staid to repose himself for some time at the isle of Oleron, in the Bay of Biscay, an island which he inherited in right of his mother, whose portion it was in marriage with his father Henry the Second, gave orders for the compilation of a maritime code:'-the regulations made in pursuance of these orders are called the Laws of Oleron : they were so much esteemed, that they have been the model on which all modern sealaws have been founded ; and two distinguished nations have contended for the honour of their production ;-France, jealous of the luftre which the English' justly derive from the production of this code, with much anxiety claims this honour to herself, and very distinguished authors have stood forth the champions of her claim; the substance of their arguments is, that Eleanor, wife of Henry II. king of England, and dutchess of Guyenne, returning from the Holy Land, and having seen the beneficial effects of the Confolato del Mare, ordered the first draughts of the judgments or laws of Oleron to be made ; that her son, Richard the Firs, returning from the fame expedition, enlarged and improved what his mother had begun; that they were certainly intended for the use of the French merely, because they are written in the old Gascon French, without any mixture of the Norman or English langoages; that they constantly refer, for examples of voyages, to Bourdeaux, St. Malo, and other sea poris in France; never to the Thames, or to any port of England or Ireland; and that they were made by a duchess and duke of Guyenne, for Guyenne, and not for their kingdom of England. One of these learned writers adds a reason, which he thinks very conclusive, to prove that these laws were of French extraction, namely, that, from their first appearance, their decisions have been treated with extreme respect in the courts of France.
• But while we pay due respect and veneration to those maritime regulations, which distinguished the Southern and Weftern parts of Europe, it would be improper filently to pass over the laws, which were ordained by an industrious and respectable body of people who inhabited the city of Wilbuy, famous for its commerce, and renowned on the shores of the Baltic. The merchants of this city carried on fo extenfive a trade, and gave themselves op so entirely to commerce, that they must doubtless bave found a great inconvenience in having no maritime code, to which they could refer to decide their disputes. To fuch a cause we are probably indebted for those laws and marine ordinances which bear the name of Wisuy, which were received by the Swedes, at the time they were composed, as a juft and equitable rule of action; and which were long respected (and, for aught I know, are to this day observed) by the Germans, Swedes, Danes, and by all the northern nations; although the city in which they received their origin has long dwindled into insignificancy and contempt.'
After this, the author judiciously observes, that it would be improper for him entirely to pass over the French nation, the maritime strength of which has of late years considerably increased; and whose writers, on commercial affairs, would reflect honour on any country. After ftating, shortly, the successful labours of Colbert, to restore the navy and commerce of France, be says; "That minister completed all his services, by the publication of that excellent body of sea-laws, known by the name of the ordinances of Lewis the XIVth, which comprehend every thing relating to naval or commercial jurisprudence ; it had the good fortune to meet with an able commentator in Valin. But of all the sources from which modern French legislators could derive the moft essential information, the famous treatise called « Le Guidon" was the chief: this tract was published by Cleirac, who pays a due compliment to its merits, in his work upon the usages and customs of the sea; and although in its style it certainly favours of the rust of antiquity, yet it contains the true principles of naval jurisprudence. Mr. Park then notices, in terms of great commendation, the treatises on Insurance, of M. Pothier and M. Emerigon.
The moft ancient care on Insurances, which the author has been able to discover in our law, is of fo late a date as the 30th and 31st of Elizabeth. The nature of the case clearly shews, that this kind of contract could then have been but little known : but, in this reign, the legislature began to think the regulation of matters of affurance, an obje&t worthy their most serious attention. Mr. Park informs us, that, in the 43d year of this reign, a statute was passed, the purpose of which was, to erect a particular court for the trial of causes relative to the policies of insurance, in a Summary way; for which the statute ordained, that a commission should issue yearly, directed to the judge of the admiralty, the recorder of London, two doctors of the civil law, two common lawyers, and eight merchants, empowering any five of them to hear and decermine all such causes arising in London; and it also gave an appeal from their decision, by way of bill, to the court of chancery: but the court fell into disuse.
• This (says Mr. Park) is, perhaps, one of the strongest arguments that can be adduced to prove, that such a judicature is not congenial to the spirit and disposition of Britons, nor well adapted for the purposes of its institution. It is universally agreed by all writers upon jurisprudence, that nothing tends so much to the elucidation of truth, and the detection of fraud, as the open viva voce examination of witnesses, in the presence of all mankind, before judges who, from their knowledge of books and men, acquired by long study and experience, are well qualified to discriminate and decide between right and wrong ; and before twelve upright citizens, who have an opportunity of observing the appearance, countenance, inclination, and deportment, of those who are thus examined upon oath. Besides, the subjects of those states which have established these equitable tribunals, sensible of the superior advantages of the English institution; feeling that, in great mercantile questions, the greatelt attention is paid to the eternal and immutable principles of reason; and that all men, whether natives or foreigners, here meet with an equal meafure in the administration of justice, fly to this country to make their contracts of insurance, that, in case of dispute, they may have the benefit of the laws. Did it fall within the compass of this inquiry, I could relate many cases, of the truth of which I have not the small. elt reason to doubt, which would serve to thew the idea entertained by foreigners of our mercantile jurisprudence, and the high repute and estimation in which our judges are justly held by the European nations.'
After this very masterly introduction, the work itself immediately follows. Under the article Illegal Voyages, the author discusses two very important questions—the legality of trading with an enemy-and the legality of insuring an enemy's property, in time of actual war: the latter question is also discussed in the first chapter of the work. The different arguments on these questions are ftated by Mr. Park, with force and perfpicuity; he concludes by observing that
• However impolitic the measure may be, general trading with an enemy, for the mutual benefit of both countries, seems by no means to have been declared to be contrary to law; and insurances of an enemy's property certainly are not : but insurances upon a voyage generally prohibited, such as to an enemy's garrison, or upon a voyage directly contrary to an express act of parliament, or to royal proclamation in time of war, are absolutely null and void.'
We are sorry that the limits of our work oblige us here to finish our review of this important and instructive book. The passages which we have cited from it will convince the reader of the judgment and perspicuity with which it is written: in every part of it he will find equal marks of ability and industry; and, we make no doubt, but he will join with us in hoping, that, as the author has so successfully begun, he will prosecute his inquiry on commercial subjects, till he has presented to the public that great desideratum of English law, a complete fyftem of commercial jurisprudence.
K For fundry other Law-books, see our Catalogue for the preo Sent month. Also the article next ensuing. But.