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In general terms these charges were denominated onera (or munera) patrimonialia; specifically they were pontium refectio, arcium munitio (or refectio), viarum munitio (or refectio), and tironum productio. Under the obligations, the possessor within the territory of any given civitas was bound to contribute, according to the extent of the acreage which he had under cultivation, to the repair of the bridges along the leading lines of road, and of those same lines of road within the territory, and also of the walls and bastions of the civitas itself. He was further bound to find recruits for the imperial armies, and to subsist and receive the Emperor and his attendants when they made a progress through the province.
Such was the state and condition of landed property in Britain during the imperial occupation; and the state of Anglo-Saxon land shows that it remained unaltered after the Anglo-Saxon conquest.
And the author adduces many other interesting evidences of the strong mark the Roman occupation had left on the land. Mr. Cobden, and those who agree with him, will be interested to learn that in Anglo-Saxon England real property was as a general rule legally divisible among all the children of an intestate, although in some districts the youngest son succeeded, and both the general law itself and its exception were Roman:-
By that law, an intestate's children (being sui or unemancipated) shared his real property upon his decease, to the exclusion of the emancipated children. At the period, therefore, when the independence of Britain was restored, all the intestate's children, or only his youngest, might take according to the circumstances of a family, as the one or others of the children were unemancipated. Afterwards, when Roman legal rigour had relaxed itself in this country, some places may have established for themselves, as a custom, that all the children should be sui. This was the general Anglo-Saxon law.
Other places may have applied the principle, that all should be considered emancipated, save the youngest son. This became Borough English.
And the following, also, is too interesting for omission in this article:
We have evidence that there was a law of distribution of intestate's personal estates in Anglo-Saxon times. Cnut expressly declares, that an intestate's inheritance shall be divided legally between wife and children, or amongst the nearest of kin, according to their degree of relationship.
This, of course, is Roman.
By the Roman law, the same persons who succeeded to the realty, succeeded to the moveable property also.
This principle prevailed also in Anglo-Saxon England, as we find by Cnut's law, and the absence of any authority to the contrary. Besides this identity in general principle, there have been, and still are, some striking peculiarities in the English law of personal succession which, as no innovation can be shown, must also be ranked as Anglo-Saxon law, but which, at the same time, are Roman antejustinianean law.
By a peculiarity of English law, unparticipated in by the rest of Europe, the English father succeeds to the whole of his son's personalty, to the exclusion even of his other parent, for where there is a father, the mother is not next of kin to her son. There is nothing to negative this principle of law being Anglo-Saxon, and we will therefore rank it as such. But it is, in reality, the patria potestas of the Roman law.
There was another principle of Roman law-one of the highest equity. A testator could not wholly disinherit his wife and family, for he had the right of testation only as regarded a proportion of his property, the rest of it going under a compulsory intestacy to his wife and his issue. This was law in Anglo-Saxon England, and the testable portion was long afterwards known here as the dead man's part.
Mr. Coote might have here added, if he is aware of the circumstance, and if he is not aware we beg to inform him, that such is also the law of Scotland at the present day. We may here observe that the Scotch law also recognised another principle of the Roman law of as high equity, to say the least, and which is known in Roman and Scotch law
books as the conditio si sine liberis discesserit, according to which if a man makes a gift or a bequest of all or the greater part of his estate when he had no children, and comes afterwards to have children, the gift becomes void, upon the presumption that if the donor or testator had anticipated having children of his own, he would not have made it.
There were two modes of sale and transfer of land recognised by the Anglo-Saxon law, which Mr. Coote shows to have been derived from a Roman source. The Roman
and Anglo-Saxon forms equally required to be perfected by tradition or seisin as a legal preliminary to the registration of the title. This registration was considered by the Roman law as a judicial act, and an incident of the voluntary jurisdiction belonging to the provincial and municipal magistrates. And Mr. Coote points out that the Anglo-Saxon gewitnesse, which was the verbal announcement of the contract, has the sense of adjudication.
The Anglo-Saxon law regarding wills is traced in the same way to a similar source.
On this subject our author says:
The Anglo-Saxons made their wills, and we have most interesting specimens of them left. But wills were totally unknown to the Germans, and must therefore have been adopted from Rome.
There is a peculiarity about the Anglo-Saxon testaments which shows that their origin is Roman, for there is no executor, though that functionary was a canonical creation of an early age.
As the Anglo-Saxon will is Roman, so are its contents. manumits a slave agreeably to a peculiar privilege of the Roman testament.
From things legal, Mr. Coote passes on to other aspects and conditions of the country in Anglo-Saxon times, showing a Roman hue in everything. The "shire," the "hundred," the "borough," municipal or self-government by citizens, the coinage, the adoption of the planetary week, and the religion, which was Christian, and, although Roman, not papal;
concluding with a summary of the many points and evidences of his demonstration. In the result, the Saxon having cast off the alliance of the Pict, he entered the military service of the Briton, and in conjunction with him repulsed and destroyed the other invaders of this island. Mr. Coote concludes in the following eloquent terms:
The result is well known. When the Pict and Scot had fled for ever from the scene of their ravages, and the Kymric Briton had suffered a retribution which has left its material traces at this day, the victorious Anglo-Saxon leaders were permitted by a gracious providence to initiate the glorious monarchy of England.
We have spoken of the book with perfect candour, indicating some of its faults, but admitting its claims to favour at the hands of the historical student, by reason of the curious matter in relation to law, politics, and social science, with which it is replete. But with the exception of possibly affording some pleasing meditations to the sentimental bookworm or nebulous politician, Mr. Coote himself probably does not expect his essay to be regarded as of much practical value, even if he made out his case more triumphantly than he does, although, as we have indicated, we consider he is fairly entitled to the concurrence and sympathy of reasonable, not to say of sanguine, thinkers.
There is one reflection which the attentive perusal of the book may suggest, namely, that mere political and social refinement, or in other words, superiority in civilisation, can never successfully contend against the material inroads of the invader's sword. Compared with the ceorlas, or subject portion of the population, the gesithas, thegns, or gentlemen, were, in regard to all that related to political and legal government and social organisation, neither more nor less than barbarians. But the latter got the upper hand, and became not less the social than the territorial aristocrats. And may we not tremble to think what might have been our lot if Mr. Bright and his peace party had then lived, and
directed Anglo-Saxon politics? Might we not all have been Romans still, and instead of being a distinctive nation, have formed but a portion of the great Latin race? If so, there would have been no need of the Phillimores of our day. Yet had they existed, they would not of course have been without their own appropriate intellectual mirage.
ART. XI.-LAW REPORTING.
THE Report of the Committee of the Bar on Law Reporting is now before the profession, and the scheme which was agreed to by the majority has to be considered before the adjourned meeting of the Bar in November. The scheme proposed is simply for an amalgamation of the existing reports, and their publication in future under the control of a council, having the management of the financial department, and the selecting of a competent staff of editors and reporters.
Should this proposition bring a sufficient subscription list, one great step would be made towards an improvement on the present costly and unsatisfactory mode of preparing our law reports. The Committee, however, have not at present recommended any alteration of our system of law reporting; which leaves the rules of law laid down in Westminster Hall to be collected only from notes, not only unauthentic, but confined to those matters which appeared to the reporter at the moment of taking them adopted for publication, affording no guarantee against the omission altogether of decisions of the greatest importance, but which the carelessness or want of judgment of the reporter may have kept out of his notebook.
The serious evils so often described as resulting from these defects of our law reporting system, may, for anything in the proposed scheme, remain unabated; and it is certainly