« AnteriorContinuar »
All rights reserved.
Published, June, 1915.
Set ap and electrotyped by J. S. Cushing Co., Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.
Presswork by S. J. Parkhill & Co., Boston, Mass., U.S.A.
The relation of the present volume to the preceding one and the volume which is to follow is shown in the Preface to Volume I. The first two volumes should be used together. The selection of materials is such that they are intended to complement each other. For the student, the best results will be gotten by attempting first to master the raw materials of the first volume, in analogy to the case-method; that is to say, by making an effort to reconstruct for himself, from topic to topic, the state of development of the legal institutions among primitive and ancient peoples. The easier and less profitable way will be to commence with the second volume, referring for illustrative materials to the first, from subject to subject. Nothing further is here tendered as suggestive of a method of attack. Something should be left to the imagination and the industry of the reader or teacher.
In view of the statement as to the purpose of this compilation already made in the Preface to Volume I, it perhaps need not be declared that these volumes are not intended for the specialist in historical jurisprudence. But it needs again to be emphasized that a study of the laws, customs, and usages of inferior peoples does not exhaust its mission simply in tracing out the connections between the past and the present. The greatest productive value of an inquiry into the juridical life of remote ages and of arrested developments lies in providing an indispensable standard by which the processes of human reason, so far as they enter the sphere of legal evolution, are guided and corrected. Such an inquiry should result in a clearer estimate of the present, and should provide to a degree a calculus to measure the quality of the irresistible pressure of the future by which all juridical institutions are constantly and progressively modified.
Any work on the evolution of law which makes any professions of furnishing a survey of legal institutions necessarily must render account of the ancient substitute for criminal law, of the five main divisions of private law — family, succession,
persons, property, and obligations- of commerce in the field of special law, and lastly, procedure. The legal categories of the ancient world were exhausted by sins, rituals, and family. We have sought to unite a developed classification of legal ideas with the legal life of the first stages of legal development without, however, seeking to indicate the relative order of evolution of legal ideas. Within the more or less prescribed limits of a manageable volume, an undertaking so pretentious as to embrace the whole scale of legal ideas must, in compensation for its range, omit to sound the overtones. It is clear that a book which aims to be a survey of legal institutions must, to accomplish its mission, shun the choice of detailed treatment. In other words, length and breadth are only rarely found in combination, and of these alternatives, we have put the emphasis on the one suitable for our purpose.
It was not possible to restrict these readings, as had been planned in the beginning, to materials already available in English, and in order to fill in what seemed to us to be important gaps in an organic outline of the law, we have inserted a number of original translations which now appear for the first time in English.
For valuable suggestions in the volumes now published, the editors acknowledge their indebtedness to Edward Lindsey, Esq., of the Pennsylvania bar, who has been one of the first in this country, among professional lawyers at least, to urge the large importance of the studies here represented.
J. H. W. NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY,
Chicago, November, 1914.
TABLE OF CONTENTS