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tinian's inestimable pandects, compiled by the most learned of the native lawyers, with an accurate verbal translation of it into English; and if copies of the work were deposited in the proper offices of the Sedr Divani Adaulat* and of the supreme court, that they might occasionally be consulted as a standard of justice, we should rarely be at a loss for principles at least, and rules of law applicable to the cases before us, and should never perhaps be led aftray by the pundits or maulavis, who would hardly venture to impose on us, when their imposition might fo easily be detected. The great work, of which Justinian has the credit, consists of texts collected from law books of approved authority, which in his time were extant at Rome, and those texts are digested according to a scientifical analysis; the names of the original authors, and the titles of their several books, being constantly cited with references even to the parts of their works, from which the different passages were selected: but although it com
* The court of appeals in civil suits.
prehends the whole fyftem of jurisprudence, public, private, and criminal, yet that vaft compilation was finished, we are told, in three years ; it bears marks unquestionably of great precipitation, and of a desire to gratify the Emperor by quickness of dispatch ; but with all its imperfections, it is a most valuable mine of judicial knowledge, it gives law at this hour to the greatest part of Europe, and, though few English lawyers dare make such an acknowledgement, it is the true source of nearly all our English laws, that are not of a feudal origin. It would not be unworthy of a British government, to give the natives of these Indian provinces a permanent security for the due administration of justice among them, similar to that which Justinian gave to his Greek and Roman subjects : but our compilation would require far less labour, and might be completed with far greater exactness in as short a time, since it would be confined to the laws of contracts and inheritances, which are of the most extensive use in private life, and to which the legislature has limited the
decisions of the supreme court in causes between native parties; the labour of the work would also be greatly diminished by two compilations already made in Sanscrit and Arabic, which approach-nearly in merit and in method, to the digest of Justinian : the first was composed a few centuries ago by a Brahman of this province, 'named Raghunanden, and is comprised in twenty-seven books áť least, on every branch of Hindu law: the second, which the Arabs called the Indian decisions, is known here by the title of Fetaweb Aalemgiri, and was compiled by the order of Aurangzeb, in five large volumes, of which I possess a perfect and well-collated copy.
To translate these immense works would be superfluous labour ; but they will greatly facilitate the compilation of a digest on the laws of inheritance and contracts; and the code, as it is called, of Hindu law, which was compiled at the request of Mr. Hastings, will be useful for the same purpose, though it by no means obviates the difficulties before stated, nor supersedes the necessity or
the expedience at least of a more ample res pertory of Hindu laws, especially on the twelve different contracts, to which Ulpian has given specific names, and on all the others, which, though not specifically named, are reducible to four general headş. The lastmentioned work is entitled Vivadamavafetu, and consists, like the Roman digests, of authentic texts, with the names of their several authors, regularly prefixed to them, and explained, where an explanation is requisite, in short notes taken from commentaries of high authority: it is, as far as it goes, a very excellent work; but though it appear extremely diffuse on subjects rather curious than useful, and though the chapter on inheritances be copious and exact, yet the other important branch of jurisprudence, the law of contracts, is very succinctly and superficially discussed, and bears an inconsiderable proportion to the reft of the work. But whatever be the merte of the original, the translation of it has no authority, and is of no other use than to suggest enquiries on the
many dark passages which we
find in it; properly speaking, indeed, we cannot call it a translation; for though Mr. Halhed performed his part with fidelity, yet the Persian interpreter had supplied him only with a loose injudicious epitome of the original Sanscrit, in which abstract many essential passages are omitted; though several notes of little consequence are interpolated, from a vain idea of elucidating or improving the text. All this I say with confidence, having already perused no small part of the original with a learned pundit, comparing it as I proceeded, with the English version. Having shewn therefore the expedience of a new compilation for each system of Indian law, I beg leave to state the difficulties which must attend the work, and to suggest the means of removing them.
The difficulty which first presents itself, is the expense of paying the pundits and maulavis who must compile the digest, and the native writers who must be employed to transcribe it. Since two provinces are immediately under this government, in each of which