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ART. I.-A Treatise on Maritime Contracts of Letting to

Hire, by Robert Joseph Pothier: translated from the

French, with notes and a life of the author, by Caleb Cush-

ing. Boston, Cummings & Hilliard. 8vo. pp. xxxvii. 170.

SIR WILLIAM JONES, in a letter to Lord Althorpe, written

after one of those excursions to France, in which his inquisi-

tive mind, grasping every species of intellectual attainment,

combined the severer studies of political science and law with

the luxury of oriental literature, states that he had, among his

various pursuits, attended some causes at the Palais, and

brought home with him the works of a most learned lawyer, whose

name and merit he should have the honour of making known to

his countrymen. This writer was Pothier, whom he afterwards

noticed and imitated in his beautiful essay on the Law of Bail-

ments, and of whose treatises on the different species of con-

tracts he speaks in the following enthusiastic manner: 'I seize

with pleasure an opportunity of recommending those treatises

to the English lawyer, exhorting him to read them again and

again; for if his great master, Littleton, has given him, as it

must be presumed, a taste for luminous method, apposite ex-

amples, and a clear manly style, in which nothing is redun-

dant, nothing deficient, he will surely be delighted with works

in which all those advantages are combined, and the greatest

portion of which is law at Westminster as well as at Orleans.

For my own part I am so charmed with them, that, if my

New Series, No. 7.

undissembled fondness for the study of jurisprudence were
never to produce any greater benefit to the public, than barely
the introduction of Pothier to my countrymen, I should think
that I had in some measure discharged the debt, which every
man, according to Lord Coke, owes to his profession.' Among
these treatises, of which Sir W. Jones speaks in terms of
such lavish commendation, is included that of which our
countryman, Mr. Cushing, has presented the public with a
translation in the work now before us. It contains the essay
on the Contract of Charter Party or Affreightment, on the
subject of General Average, and on Seaman's Wages, three
very important titles of maritime law. We have always re-
garded a translation of Pothier's treatises on the several spe-
cies of express or implied contracts as a very desirable acqui-
sition to the profession, on account of the high character of
the author, and because the law of contracts is necessarily the
same, or very nearly the same, in every civilized and com-
mercial country; since it depends not so much upon positive
institution, as upon general principles applicable to human
conduct in an advanced stage of society. The common law
of England, and the commercial jurisprudence of Europe, have
been largely indebted to the civil code for these principles,
which were first invented by the Roman jurisconsults, and
have been subsequently applied to the new relations, to which
the vast increase of maritime commerce in modern times has
given rise.

In order fully to appreciate the value of the works of this
illustrious lawyer, it is necessary to remind our readers of
some of the circumstances of his life and character, which con-
nect his fame with the most classical epoch of French juris-
prudence, when the administration of justice was carried to
the greatest perfection it ever attained under the old monarchy.
Robert Joseph Pothier was born at Orleans in the year 1699,
and after pursuing his other studies with great ardor and suc-
cess, felt himself drawn to the science of jurisprudence by an
impulse too strong to be resisted, and which men of genius
always feel for that pursuit in which they are destined to ex-
cel. Before he was of age, he was appointed a judge in the
Presidial Court of his native city, where he soon outstripped
all his competitors. The first work, in which he engaged for
the improvement of his favourite science, was one which
might appal the firmest resolution, and which nothing but the

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