Gambar halaman

political relations with that country. More Eastern nations have been brought within the domain of International Law. Treaties have been concluded with Siam, Persia, and Morocco. The Treaty for the Redemption of the Sound Dues removes a troublesome hindrance to commerce. The Treaty with France relative to the right of Fisheries on the coast of Newfoundland and neighbouring coasts was seriously objected to by that colony, but provision made that the Convention was to come into force only provided the laws required to carry the Treaty into effect were passed by the Imperial Parliament of Great Britain and the Provincial Legislature of Newfoundland ; and therefore the opposition made by the Colony rendered the Treaty with France of no effect.

Series C, “Ecclesiastical Affairs and Education," contains the second Report of the Civil Service Commissioners, giving evidence of the increased popularity of a system of examination which promises to add much to the efficiency of all public departments. The Report of the Department of Science and Art brings under one view the progress annually made in various branches of scientific education, comprising Geological Surveys, Mines, Schools of Art, Educational Museums, &c., &c. The Minutes of Committee of Council on Education very vividly exhibit, in the Report of the Inspectors, the educational state of all the various districts of England and Scotland, as well as the causes which impede the increase of education.

Much valuable information is given under Series D, “ Railway, Shipping, and Postal Communication.” The Report of the Board of Trade on the Railways of the United Kingdom and the United States of America furnishes the best materials for appreciating the progressive development of this means of communication, and the prospective value of the immense amount of property therein embarked. A close investigation is now made into the circumstances under which the great number of wrecks annually occur, in relation to the locality where they happen, the months and hours of their occurrence, the state of the weather, and the capacity of the master. Such information will prove of great value in reducing marine insurance to the same scientific bases on which life and fire insurance are now established.

Under Series E, “ Law, Justice, and Crime," there will be found Tables showing the state of crime in England, Scotland, and Ireland, in the year 1856. The relation of crime to age, sex, nationality, occupation, and education, are rich data for the jurist and moralist to ascertain the extent and character of national delinquencies, the causes which lead to crime, and the operation of our criminal laws. There is, indeed, an essential unity in all social phenomena. The documents which give evidence of a prosperous or declining trade, of more numerous or fewer marriages, of a large or small number of committals, of neglected or improved education, illustrate each other, and, to a thoughtful student, furnish the best, because the largest, field for observation and generalization. The Reports of the Commissioners on the Statute Law and on Common Law Judicial Business bear on reforms much needed in the style and mechanics of our law making, as well as on the means afforded for the right administration of justice.

As might be anticipated, the grievous misfortunes which have occurred in British India have caused public attention to be intensely directed to that portion of the Empire. The papers on the Mutinies, under Series F, “ British India, Colonies, and Dependencies,” give a continuous narrative of those dreadful events which have startled the civilized world. Much collateral information is also afforded on the financial and commercial state of India, preparatory to even wider inquiries by several Committees of the House of Commons appointed in the present session of Parliament. A comprehensive review of the progress of our Colonies in Europe, Asia, Africa, America, and Australia, is also included in the reports of the respective Governors to the Colonial Secretary, and in the Statistical Tables published by the Board of Trade.

Series G, “ Population, Municipal, and Parliamentary,” com

[ocr errors]

prises the Report of the Commission on the Registration of Titles, with reference to the sale and transfer of land. The need of providing some means for a speedier, more certain, and more economical transfer of landed property, has been universally acknowledged, and several measures have been introduced into the House of Lords on the subject. The Report on Births, Deaths, and Marriages, is full of interesting facts, well fitted to quicken a lively curiosity.

Under Series H, “Health, Inclosures, &c.," valuable papers are inserted on the health of the Army and Navy, and on the history and practice of Vaccination.

The succeeding Volume will comprise the remaining Papers, Bills, and Statutes for the Session 1857.

It is to be hoped that the above brief analysis of the contents of this Volume will satisfactorily illustrate the original design of the promoters of the work, and confirm the favourable opinion expressed by the public and the Press of its predecessors. The distinguishing feature of the Annals of British Legislation is the authenticity of the documents therein inserted, the reliability of the facts and the authority of the sources from which they are collected, not a Paper being included in the work but what may be quoted in all future inquiries as an authority bearing the impress of its Parliamentary and official character. A vast amount of solid information is thus brought to bear upon every social and political subject, well calculated to assist the student and the philosopher in properly appreciating the importance of social occurrences, and in sifting those problems which often engage and perplex the keenest imagination. As a help to contemporaneous history, the AnnAls become therefore indispensable to all public institutions and libraries. Wherever questions on our social progress are studied and publicly discussed -wherever a focus is provided for the cultivation and diffusion of knowledge—wherever a record is preserved of our progress in Finance, Commerce, Agriculture, Education, Crime, Colonies, Diplomacy, Wars, there the Annals will be found always

Lincoln's Inn, London,
April 30th, 1858.

interesting and frequently invaluable. There are but few public institutions able to afford the expenditure or the space for the vast library of Blue Books, increasing at the ratio of one hundred volumes a year. In the ANNALS their real worth is condensed and preserved in the limited compass of two volumes annually, containing one thousand pages. No efforts are spared to render the ANNALS worthy of public approbation. The undertaking to give wider circulation to our Parliamentary literature, which, for bulk and comprehensiveness, exceeds perhaps any other store of periodical information, deserves an extensive and permanent encouragement, and the good offices of our courteous readers are earnestly solicited so as to cause the ANNALS to overcome the danger of its infancy, and to be safely established as one of our national publications.


« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »