Edward Cahill


The history of a nation is to be looked for in a great variety of places. Its traditions, its public and private records, its religious and social orders, its literature and its laws, each yield copious results to the researches of the historian. The social, religious and economic conditions of a nation at any period of its history, the state of the· domestic relations, the rights of property and of succession, the growth of personal liberty, all these and many more find their accurate expression sooner or later, in the written or unwritten laws of the land. And the movement of society, whether it be forward or backward, wilt there be indicated. The savage needs few laws, and such as he has are elementary and as unstable as the wll of a tyrant ruler. The nomad must have laws to protect his flocks and herds, and his possessary rights of pasturage, and he needs little more. The agriculturist requires, for·his protection, more complicated land laws, and the advent of trade, navigation and manufacturing have been marked by the appearance of laws for their protection. To speak inversely to·the fact, when laws for the protection of these interests are found, the existence of such interests may be conclusively inferred.