Page images
PDF
EPUB

to sonic of the morc important cases." This citation is a good illustration of the author's critical faculty.

The work is characterized throughout by a clearness of thought and a vigor of statement which make it most interesting and suggestive, and, thercforc, valuable. It is an essay as distinguished from a trcatisc. Mr. BROOKS has, however, collected and discussed all of the most important cases, and his classification of the subject is probably, on the whole, the best that could have been adopted in view of the fact that he steadily adheres to his plan of investigating how far existing doctrines. and principles must be modificd in order to meet the peculiar requirements of the subject. it, thercforc, sccms natural to discuss successively as he docs, “The Status of a Telegraph Company;" “The Liability of a Telegraph Company;" "The Limitation of Liability by Conditions in the Message Blanks;." Thc Measurc of Damage."

Each of thcsc heads is, of course, claborately subdivided: The discussion, under the last head, of "Mental Suffering" (page 54) is particularly to be commended. G. W. P.

The Law of EXPERT TESTIMONY. By Evas B. LEWIS, A.M.,

LL. B., of the Philadelphia Bar. Philadelphia: Rees Welsh & Co. 1894.

The author states in his preface that "This volumc is intended to give a general treatisc (sic) on the law of expert tcstimony, as it is found in the decisions of thc various. States, together with the common law principles as they are applied in our courts." After a careful examination of this book, we find that, with its good scatures, it is not only not cxhaustive, but it is, in a number of instances which have come to our notice, inaccurate. Thus, on page 32 we find the following: “The general rule is to exclude any writing for comparison. This is the prevailing English common law rule; and one substantially like it prevails in the New England States, Mississippi, Ohio, Kansas, Iowa, Texas, New Jersey and New York."

The author docs not seem to be aware of the fact that the

common law rule has been changed by statute in England, and also in many of the United States, including Ohio, New Jerscy, and we believe New York. The author does not appear to be consistent in his statements. Thus, upon pages 44 and so, we find contradictory statements relative to the identification of blood as human.. The quotation from the testimony of the witness in the Cronin case on page 46, is incorrect, as we happen to know of our own knowledge.

The work on the same subject by Dr. Henry Wade Rogers is much superior to the work in question, which, as we have stated before, is ncither exhaustive nor accurate. A critical study of the English language would have improved the phraseology of the work. See, for instance, the preface and page 19. 14th and 15th lines, and page 27, 3d and 4th lines of the second paragraph.

M. D. EWELL The Kent Law School of Chicago.

July 11, 1894

POCKET MANUAL OF RULES OF ORDER FOR DELIBERATIVE

ASSEMBLIES. By Licut. Col. HENRY M. ROBERT. Chicago: S. C. Griggs & Co. 1894.

This compendious little manual, which has now reached its one hundred and fifth-eighth thousand, richly deserves the success it has achieved. In its own peculiar domain it has no rival. Compared with the antiquated inefficiency of CUSHING, and the dogmatic unreliability of REED, its pages, with their clear definitions and statements of principles, their abundant explanations and full cross references, are as a modern scientific text book, beside those that obtained in our grandfather's days. If there is any doubtful point not elucidated in its pages, the man who can point it out deserves a prize for his keenness of sight. And in spite of this scientific completeness and accuracy, it is withal so simple that misunderstanding of its statements would be inexcusable. With this book in his hand, no chairman can be pardoned for those errors with which we are all so familiar in the deliberations of church and society meetings.

Thc book is its own best culogy; but if there is one feature that descrves praise above others, it is the tabular arrangement of motions at the beginning of the work, which gives at a glance the status and requirements of every motion that can be put-questions more puzzling than any others—which alone would render the book not merely invaluable, but indispensable, to any one who would clearly understand the rules of parliamentary practice.

R. D. S.

THE LAW OF REAL ESTATE BROKERS AS DECIDED IN THE

AMERICAS COU'RTS. By STEWART RAPALJE. New York: Baker, Voorhis & Co. 1893.

This little book, in the words of the author, is not put for. ward as a treatise, but rather as a compilation of the case-law upon the relation of real estate broker and customer. It is clear that it is the broker's book, written from his standpoint, to meet his necessities, settle his doubts, and "deter him from rushing into court with a case." The work is a concise digest of about nine hundred important cases upon the law of prin. cipal and agent as applied to real estate transactions. The first part treats of the powers and liabilities of the broker, including his authority to act for and bind his principal. The second and more important part is devoted to the very interesting subject of compensation, particularly the right to commissions and suits for commissions, with special reference to the various defcnces set up by ingenious customers.

Thc work, as has been said before, is not a treatise. There is no historical or legal discussion whatever, no attempt to criticise or reconcile conflicting dicta and rules. The text comprises a succession of brief and compact syllabi, joined by the familiar "Thus," " but," "SO," " where," etc., with footnotes devoted to citations. An author who believes this form of writing of use to laymen simply deceives himself. A layman's law book must contain full and patient explanations of first principles. The layman is merely bewildered by the best of digests. This work, however, will be of service to the attorney whosc practice includes a real estate business, and

to the title and real estate officers of the many trust companies that are fast monopolizing the business of settlements.

W. H. L.

A STUDY OF THE DEGENERACY OF THE JAWS OF THE HUMAN

RACE. By EUGENE S. Talbot, M.D., DD.S., Chicago, III. Philadelphia: The S. S. White Dental Manufacturing Co.

1892. THE ETIOLOGY OF Osseous DEFORMITIES OF THE HEAD, FACE,

JAWS AND TEETH. By EUGENE S. TALBOT, M.D., DD.S. Third Edition.

These two books, which we have examined with much interest, should prove a lasting monument to the industry anci learning of their author. The question of degeneracy of the jaws in its relation to the administration of criminal justice was. presented in evidence in the case of the People v. Prendergast in the City of Chicago, in which case the learned author was called and examined as an expert. It seems to the writer that anyone with unprejudiced mind, examining the statistics so industriously collected by the author, will be compelled to regard his conclusions with respect. To treat such conclusions with ridicule, as was done by some of the alleged experts in this case, is, to take a charitable view, evidence of ignorance, To give these works such a notice as they deserve would occupy too much space; but, among other questions therein considered, we would call particular attention to Chapters X, XI, XII and XIII, respectively, of the work secondly above described, treating upon "Crime," " Prostitution and Sexual Degeneracy," "Moral Insanity," " Pauperism and Inebriety" and Intellectual Degeneracy."

No practitioner of law called upon to investigate a case in which the alleged criminal presents stigmata of degencracy as was the case in the Prendergast trial, can afford to pass by this work.

M. D. EWELL The Kent Law School of Chicago.

A COMMENT ON DR. BANNISTER'S VIEW OF THE PRENDERGAST CASE.

The most striking feature of Dr. Bannister's article on the Prendergast Case, published in the last number of The AMERICAN LAW REGISTER AND REVIEW, is its utter failure to touch the vital point in the casc. That point, as in every case in which insanity is sct up as a dcfence, was not whether the criminal was insanc. but whether he was responsible. A man can be insane and responsible at the same time. The two conditions are not interdependent. It would not necessarily follow, then, that Prendergast was wrongfully punished, even if we admit the jury to have made a mistake in their finding as to his sanity. But Dr. Bannister should also bear in mind that the opinions of experts are by no mcans conclusive of facts--no opinion can be; and even if the learned doctors who gravely pronounced their dicta on the hypothetical question put, were the polestars of their profession, it does not neces. sarily follow that the jury who saw and listened to the criminal were not, by very reason of thcir lack of special training, better fitted to decide impartially. Overfine training in any special department is apt to lead to results that themselves partake of the character of a mild mania. A highbred pointer kept in the city, away from all opportunities to exercise his special powers, has been known, when taken out for a walk, to point a fan or a piece of paper; and the same tendency is unfortunately too apparent in some modern experts.

Before the punishment of Prendergast can be justly impugned, then, these facts must be established. 1. That he was insane, not merely supposed to be, on the strength of hereditary influence, physical condition and erratic action, by men whose business it is to ferret out such facts. 2. That, supposing him to have been insäne, that insanity was of a nature to negative his responsibility. On this last question the law and the doctors are, and probably will always be, at war; but fortunately for the welfare of the country, the law has the upper hand.

A SUBSCRIBER.

« PreviousContinue »