6 Am. L. Rev. 593 (1871)
Issue 4

handle is hein.journals/amlr6 and id is 605 raw text is: THE

AMERICAN LAW REVIEW.
VOL. VI.]          BOSTON, JULY, 1872.                [No. 4.
SLANDER AND LIBEL.
A TREATISE ON THB WRONGS CALLED SLANDER AND LIBEL, AND ON
THE RE.IEDY BY CIVIL ACTION FOR THOSE WRONGS. By JOHN
TOWNSEND. Second Edition. New York: Baker, Voorhis, & Co.
1872.
A DISTINGUISHED writer upon jurisprudence has said, I will ven-
ture to affirm, that no other body of law, obtaining in a civilized
community, has so little of consistency and symmetry as our own.
Hence its enormous bulk, and (what is infinitely worse than its mere
bulk) the utter impossibility of conceiving it with distinctness and
precision. If you would know the English law, you must know
all the details which make up the mess. For it has none of those
large coherent principles which are a sure index to details; and,
since details are infinite, it is manifest that no man (let his in-
dustry be what it may) can compass the whole system.   Conse-
quently, the knowledge of an English lawyer is nothing but a
beggarly account of scraps and fragments. His memory may be
stored with numerous particulars, but of the law as a whole, and
of the mutual relations of its parts, he has not a conception. 1
The law of slander and libel is beset with questions of a perplex-
ing character. It seems to have no general principle for its founda-
tion. Although from the time of the year-books to the present the
reports abound with cases upon this branch of the law; and al-
though text-book after text-book has been written upon the subject,
I Austin's Jurisprudence, lee. xxiv.
VOL. VI.                 40

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