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have been partly sought to be neutralized. The French bar, as ours
would do, unless prohibited for obvious motives, still preferring
to a simple and scientific body of law, to perplex and impede
justice by interminable dilations ton and reference to the old Pays
de Coutume, reports and provincial law books. In this way only
could law reform be made effective, and society be relieved of that
mass of letter-press which is almost as expensively oppressive as
the National Debt. It would be a great change, but a wholesome one,
and one in which the difficulties have been greatly exaggerated.
There are, it is said, fifteen definitions of " theft." But there
is only one that is just, and which that is, it could hardly be
difficult for three clever persons to define. It was one of the
objections of Lord Lyndhurst that the Criminal Law Commissioners
had erred in defining " conspiracy." Like theft, it has many
descriptions, but has only a single true one, and this is precisely
what the community seeks to have settled by competent authority.
Chief Justice Denman, on the same occasion, held that a digest of
the written law might be feasible, but doubted the practicability
of so dealing with the unwritten law. In this, we apprehend, his
lordship has been misled by some erroneous associations. There is,
in truth, no essential difference between the written and unwritten
law of England. It is all written law, all in
letterpress,?parliamentary, judicial, and traditionary laws, are
all in books?are referred to in books?would, if digested, be taken
from books?and, probably, nearly the same aliquot proportions of
each would be found in force and obsolete. It is a distinction made
by law writers, but has lost its discriminative character, from
House of Lords, May 13, 1844. the mass of the s...
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