REVIEWS

DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2230.1947.tb00066.x
Publication Date01 Oct 1947
REVIEWS
JURISPRUDENCE.
By
SIR
JOHN
SALMOND.
Tenth edition by
(Sweet
&
Maxwell, Ltd. GLANVILLE
L.
WILLIAMS,
LL.D.
1947.
xxxi and
548
pp.
30s.)
Dr. Glanville Williams has made a praiseworthy effort to
achieve the impossible. Whether
a
book on jurisprudence can
be edited at all is very doubtful.
Salmond
on
Jurisprudence
clearly cannot. ‘This is Salmond’s book’, says the editor,
’not mine, and in most matters
I
have subordinated my
opinions to his.’ But many changes had to be made if the
book was to retain any value for
a
student and the result is
uneven and contradictory in places.
Dr.
Williams could either
have been completely self-effacing,
in
which case the edition
could not have had any value, or have issued an argumentative
commentary on the text. But the middle way was bound to
lead nowhere.
There is, of course, much to be said in favour of the new
edition. The ninth edition
was
almost unreadable with its
constantly varying type and deferential square brackets which
put much of the text into
a
mental as well as an actual paren-
thesis. Now an Appendix contains notes on the text which
itself has been altered and added to considerably. New
passages on the sociology of law, the British Dominions and
the value of the doctrine of precedent, fill a few of the gaps.
A
large number of smaller additions have been made and the
Appendix includes critical notes on Salmond’s idea of natural
justice and on his definition of civil justice as the enforcement
of rights contrasted with criminal justice
as
the punishment
of
wrongs. References to new articles and books abound. The
eighth edition was an Authorised Version
;
the ninth a Revised
Version; the present edition is a bible
designed to be read
as literature
’.
The first criticism is against the author rather than the
present editor. The avowed purpose of the book is to analyse
the principles
of
the actual legal system but the further one
reads, the more is one convinced that the author is not con-
cerned with the
nature
of these principles but with their
literal meaning. The book reads like a lesson
in
semantics,
definition on definition. Thus in the analysis
of
rights are
listed those perfect and imperfect, positive and negative,
in
Tern
and
in
personam,
proprietary and personal,
in
re
propria
and
in
re
aliena.
Each is distinguished laboriously from
its
437
488
MODERN
LAW
REVIEW
VOL.
10
opposite. Perfect rights are enforceable by law, their
opposites are not. Positive rights are correlative to positive
duties and negative rights, whereas negative rights are corre-
lative to negative duties and positive wrongs. Again, the
author writes
:
An act may be wholly unintentional, or wholly
intentional, or intentional in part only.
It
is
wholly uninten-
tional
if
no part of
it
is the outcome of any conscious purpose
or design, no part of it having existed in idea before it became
realised in
fact.
. .
.
An act is wholly intentional, on the
other hand, when every part
of
it corresponds to the precedent
idea of it
.
.
.’
and
so
on. Earlier, in the first chapter on
the nature of law the student is introduced to imperative,
physical or scientific, natural or moral, conventional, cus-
tomary, practical or technical, international and, finally, civil
law. In the next chapter the various uses of the phrase
civil
law’ are discussed-the law of the land, Roman law, non-
criminal law, non-military law-and are distinguished from
positive law and municipal law which are held to be improper
substitutes for the term. Words begin to lose their meaning
under this treatment. (Another great analyst, Austin, pro-
duces
a
similar claustrophobic effect.) As an introduction to
a
philosophical discussion wherein we are to use these words
precisely, such analyses might be valuable. In
a
student’s
textbook on jurisprudence we expect to find an examination
of the nature of law; instead, we are subjected to page after
page on the meaning of the word
law
’.
Dr. Williams has said that the largest of jurisprudential con-
troversies-concerning the word
law ’-is
a verbal dispute
and nothing else
’,
and dismisses Salmond’s proposition that
there is no law independent of the State as a tautological
restatement of Salmond’s definition. We cannot quote a more
apt authority for this general criticism of the
book
under
review.
The second criticism is that, despite the efforts of Dr.
Williams (or because of his respect for the text),
Salmond
on
Jurisprudence
is out of date. For example, when dealing with
the section on the State, the editor utterly fails to sit either
on Salmond’s stool or his own. To Salmond the primary and
essential operations of a State are the waging of war and the
administration of justice. Other operations such as
teaching
children’
or
‘feeding the poor’ are secondary and non-
essential. Dr. Williams scotches this rather left-handedly
;
he
claims that he has tried to preserve the main line of his
author’s thought, with modifications. But he is not ambi-
dextrous, and while preserving Salmond’s idea of what are
In another place
1
International Law and the
controversy
concerning
the
word
I‘
law
(British
Year
Book
of
International Law,
1946).

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