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from his pulpit in York Minster; and when the water broke into the Thames Tunnel, upon one occasion, the curate of Rotherhithe preached a sermon in order to show that "it was but a just judgment upon the presumptuous aspirations of mortal men."
Could these things have happened if the battle of Tours had been won by the army of Abdalrahman; if the standard of the Prophet had floated above the chief cities of Western Europe; and if France, Britain, Germany, and Italy, had become in the tenth century what the Arabs had rendered the south of Spain at the same spléndid epoch?
There arises yet another question. If what is now called Christendom had fallen under the dominion of the Crescent, would it not have escaped the curse of drunkenness? This destructive vice is placed by the Koran under the same ban as gambling, and the Faithful are enjoined to total abstinence, because the mind, inflamed by drink, is easily inclined to dissensions, and as easily diverted from a sense of the nearness of God, and from the duty of prayer. A punishment, varying from forty to eighty blows by a rod, was ordered to be inflicted upon persons indulging in intoxicating liquors; and although it is perfectly true that we owe to an Arabian chemist the discovery of alcohol, yet what was being sought for was a universal solvent; and the new-found spirit was only to be sold for its weight in gold, and in a few drops at the time, for medicinal purposes.
The greatest water-drinkers in Europe are the Spaniards, and their temperance is a bequest from their Arab conquerors, "who," as Sir Richard Ford observes, "collected the best springs with the greatest care, dammed up narrow gorges into reservoirs, constructed pools and underground cisterns, stemmed valleys with aqueducts that poured in rivers, and, in a word, exercised a magic influence over this element, which they guided and wielded at their will.”
Look at the condition of the populations of Great Britain and Ireland, of Scandinavia, Russia, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Austria, and Italy with respect to habits of inebriety. There are, it is estimated, 500,000 confirmed drunkards in the United Kingdom; not less than £100,000,000 sterling is annually squandered away upon drink; 50,000 persons perish prematurely every year from intemperance; fully six-tenths of the 50,000 inmates of the lunatic asylums have been deranged by drink; in ten years 4843 persons died from delirium tremens; the loss of productive labour, through drink, is calculated to be as much as £69,000,000
per annum; one-sixth of the effective power of the navy, and a much greater proportion of that of the army, is destroyed by intoxicating liquors; it causes the nation an annual expenditure of £4,000,000 to arrest and punish criminals whose motive force is drink; and Dr. Chalmers was not guilty of the slightest exaggeration when he said, "I do in my conscience believe that these intoxicating stimulants have sunk into perdition more men and women than have found a grave in that deluge which swept over the highest hill-tops, engulphing a world, of which but eight were saved." Ex uno disce omnes. For space forbids me to bring forward abundant statistics, lying before me, with respect to the drunkenness of other European countries.
In point of religion and morality, I believe the western nations would have been large gainers by Arabian supremacy. The ethical system of the Koran is that of the Old Testament and of the New. The moral precepts of Christ, as well as the divine mission, are re-affirmed by Mohammed, and there is not a clause of the Lord's Prayer that does not express a truth enunciated in the Scriptures of the Prophet. "The most fatal hindrance to the spread of Christianity," observes Mr. Bosworth Smith, "has been the lives of Christians;" and while "the message that European traders have carried for centuries to Africa has been one of rapacity, of cruelty, of selfishness, and of bad faith;" what, on the other hand, are the fruits borne by the missionary work of Islam, in that continent? "Polytheism disappears almost instantaneously; sorcery, with its attendant evils, gradually dies away; human sacrifice becomes a thing of the past. The general moral elevation is most marked; the natives begin for the first time in their history to dress, and that neatly. Squalid filth is replaced by some approach to personal cleanliness; hospitality becomes a religious duty; drunkenness, instead of the rule, becomes a comparatively rare exception. Though polygamy is allowed by the Koran"—as it was by the Old Testament "it is not common in practice, and, beyond the limits laid down by the Prophet, incontinence is rare. Chastity is looked upon as one of the highest, and becomes, in fact, one of the commonest virtues. It is idleness, henceforward, that degrades, and industry that elevates, instead of the reverse. . A thirst for literature is created, and that for works of science and philosophy, as well as for commentaries on the Koran."*
* Mohammed and Mohammedanism. By R. Bosworth Smith, pp. 42-3.
If the leaven of Arabian faith, morals, learning, literature, arts, science and industry had penetrated Europe to the extent spoken of by Gibbon, what might not have been the splendour of its present civilisation? We should have lost the plastic and pictorial achievements of the Renaissance, it is true; but this would have been more than compensated for by the brilliant triumphs of architectural and decorative art, by the conquests of applied science, and by the universal diffusion of those appliances for making life happy and beautiful, which caused the south of Spain to become, in the words of an Arab poet:
A land where, if thou walk, the stones are pearls, the dust is musk, and the gardens paradises.
TRIBUNALS OF COMMERCE.
I SUPPOSE it will be admitted as an axiom that the foundation of all society is justice-justice to every man from every man-or in the terse definition of Aristotle, "giving to every man his own," and to secure this, is the professed object of every system of jurisprudence amongst civilised nations. That being so, it necessarily follows that the enforcement of right, and the redress of wrong, should be rendered as certain as human wisdom can make it, and that every unavoidable obstacle to their attainment should be removed. Hooker says, and says truly, that "the unnecessary formalities of justice do but serve to smother right, and that which was ordained for the common good is made the cause of common misery." The desideratum just referred to receives practical recognition in every attempt at law reforms. We have to be thankful for many such reforms during the past half century, although it must be admitted that they have been but tardy in their advances.
Those antiquated myths, John Doe and Richard Roe, have happily been buried away almost out of remembrance, and the endless suits of "Jarndyce and Jarndyce," and the famous " pap-spoon case," in what was facetiously termed the Court of "Equity," cannot again consume the vitals of entire families for a whole generation; but there is still an unnecessary amount of formality, delay, and expense in adjusting differences and disputes, especially in purely business matters arising out of the transactions of trade and
The Judicature Act, which came into operation in England a few years ago, was undoubtedly a great stride in the way of reform. It has relieved legal procedure of many useless technicalities; under it, law and equity are now concurrently administered in the same court, and it provides that in all cases where the doctrines of law and equity are found to conflict, those of equity are to prevail.
A bill for assimilating the law of this colony to that of the Home country under the Judicature Act was, as everybody knows,
introduced into Parliament by Mr. Justice Stephen when AttorneyGeneral, and that bill, revised by two of our ablest judges, has been several times before the Legislature, but has been yearly consigned to the limbo of rejected and neglected bills, because another reform, supposed to be of more paramount importance, occupied the mind, and absorbed the energies of one branch of our Legislature.
Each year, as this Judicature Bill went to its grave, we were encouraged to indulge a "sure and certain hope" of its speedy resurrection, and that hope we are still trying to cherish, especially as the Bill has recently undergone most careful revision. It must, however, be admitted, that our faith is being sorely tried.
But, simplified as our judicial proceedings may be under the proposed new law, as compared with what they have been in the past, the question still arises whether a yet more simple, and at the same time effective system is not practicable in certain cases, notably in commercial disputes; whether, in fact, we ought not to have special courts for special causes.
In nine cases of difference out of every ten, where the question at issue is purely a business one, it can scarcely be doubted that any two or three mercantile men of probity and experience could more readily and satisfactorily decide between the litigants than any twelve men brought together by the sheriff from among the nonmercantile classes. It has been often felt, and sometimes admitted, by earnest judges on the Bench, when contemplating the twelve men in the jury box, that if, instead of those twelve men, there were two merchants by the judge's side, competent to grasp the matter in dispute, and to understand from long personal experience the principles regulating mercantile dealings, the difficulties of the judge would be lightened, and a righteous decision more certainly secured.
It is true that the learned gentlemen who adorn our Judicial Bench may shrink from a sudden stride such as would be involved in the establishment of Tribunals of Commerce, fearing, perhaps, lest the rules of law and the authoritativeness of precedent might lose their hold on the newly-constituted benches; but such fears may, perhaps, be shown to be groundless. At all events, we have the testimony and experience of reliable authorities that they are so, and in this very Judicature Bill, which it is hoped, in spite of all past delays and disappointments, may shortly become law, the principle of the Tribunal of Commerce is, to