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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/310

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

to reckon with the foreigner as a foe, a forlorn vagabond, whom it is his native-born privilege to spoil. The blood of his ancestor, the brigand, courses in his veins, and his first impulse is to plunder the wayfarer. Prudence and the police may curb this progenital, predatorial proclivity; but the self-restraint always costs an effort, and, as a compromise with his instinctive feelings, instead of relieving the guest of his purse by force, he robs him of an undue portion of its contents by adding two or three hundred per cent to the usual price of fare and lodgment.

In many cantons of Switzerland, and especially in the Bernese highlands, we have the spectacle of a whole people apparently born and bred to consider mountain passes, romantic valleys, glaciers, and waterfalls as so many traps for curious and unwary tourists, and to prize sublime scenery merely as a ready-made snare to catch coots, dupes, gulls, boobies, and other varieties of too confiding summer birds of passage, which the categorizing mind of the German has reduced to two essentially distinct but closely connected classes, Bergfexen and Sommerfrischler.

This clannish spirit even invades and desecrates the courts of justice, and the Helvetian Themis is especially notorious for her propensity to blink the legal rights of the case and to tip the balance in favor of her cantonal or federal compatriots as opposed to the stranger within her gates.

In France the droit d'aubaine or jus albinagii confiscated to the crown the property of all aliens who died within the limits of the realm, to the exclusion of the natural heirs, unless these happened to be the king's subjects. This barbarous law was abolished by a decree of the National Assembly on the 6th of August, 1790, but was re-enacted twelve years later and incorporated in the Code. Napoléon, modified, however, by a clause making the testamentary capacity of aliens dependent upon reciprocity; in other words, it was stipulated that the will of a foreigner should be declared valid in France, provided the laws of the said foreigner's country placed on the same footing the will of a Frenchman deceased within its jurisdiction. On the 14th of July, 1819, the droit d'aubaine was finally abrogated throughout the entire kingdom, after having been already considerably mitigated and partially annulled by the municipal authorities of Lyons and other industrial and commercial cities, which found this relic of mediæval legislation a serious obstruction to foreign trade.

Akin to this system of right was the German Wildfangsrecht or jus wildfangiatus, also known as jus kolbekerlii, which, as the term implies, accorded to human beings the privilege which game laws guarantee to the quarry, namely, that of being legally hunted. Kolbenrecht is equivalent to club law. An old and often quoted proverb, Kolbengericht und Faustrecht ward nie schlecht—the