“Rotuli Curiæ Regis” ends, and 1292, when the Year Books begin. The “Abbreviatio Placitorum,” unsatisfactory at best, contains cases from only two of the years covered by this book.
The “Note Book” fills the last two volumes of the work. In the first volume the reader will find four separate indices of Actions, Things, Places, and Persons. These are preceded by an extremely interesting introduction, in which are developed, in a spirit singularly modest and fair-minded, the reasons for believing that Bracton was the owner and annotator of the “Note Book.” Mr. Maitland’s arguments will prove, we think, well-nigh, if not quite, convincing to his readers. The editor furthermore shows the strong probability that the “Note Book” was in the hands of Fitzherbert. Incidentally we get by far the best account of Bracton and his great “Treatise” that has yet been written. Every reader of this introduction will, we are sure, earnestly desire that its author may himself fulfil the hope, which he expresses, that Bracton’s treatise may soon be “carefully and lovingly edited.” No one is so well fitted as he to atone for the wrong done to the greatest of mediæval law-writers, and to remove the stigma inflicted upon English scholarship by that legal monstrosity known as the edition of Bracton by Sir Travers Twiss.
J. B. A.
Sale of Personal Property.—By J. P. Benjamin. From the latest American edition, with American notes, entirely rewritten by Edmund H. Bennett, LL.D. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, & Co., the Riverside Press, 1888. 8vo. pp. 1010.
In taking up this latest edition of a treatise which has been a standard book for twenty years in England, one is immediately impressed with the improvement in the arrangement of the American notes. The last American edition of this work (in 1884), with which American lawyers are so familiar, was criticised because of its bulk and its inconvenient method of arrangement. In that edition, it will be remembered, the annotator presented the American law in a detached and fragmentary manner, sometimes interpolating a page or two into the original text, and sometimes confining his remarks to the usual place, the foot-notes. In the present edition, however, this perplexing system has been given up, and a more rational method followed. The American law has been entirely re-written and placed in one continuous note at the end of each chapter. These monographs form an able and scholarly summary of the American law of sales, to which one can turn at once without having to pick it out, with considerable labor, partly from the text and partly from the notes. In re-writing the notes Judge Bennett has wisely avoided multiplying citations on points of little controversy, and has refrained from devoting any space to extracts from judicial opinions. Although he has perhaps erred in adhering too strictly to this latter rule, he has succeeded in making a volume more compact and convenient than the last. There is one other point in regard to form which will meet with general approval, viz., the order of the decisions, which are sometimes given chronologically (p. 284), and sometimes alphabetically by States (p. 271). Either of these methods is a great improvement over the general usage of summing up the decisions in a chaotic mass. Would it not be possible, however, to combine the advantages of both by adding the dates to the alphabetical arrangement?
In regard to the substance of the book, as distinguished from form,