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cord reply that this incapacity results from the weakness of the sex, from its inexperience, its frivolity, its ignorance of the business of the forum.-(Cicero, pro Murena, 12: "propter infirmitatem consilii.”—Ulpian, XI, 1: “propter sexus infirmitatem et propter forensium rerum ignorantiam.") What vulgar reasons are these!
Unquestionably the object of all this legislation, was to enclose the legal activity of woman in the sphere of her family relations, and, by restraining her faculties as much as possible, to diminish thus her ascendancy over man, and by this means to reduce her influence in society. Furthermore, the intent of the legislator was not concealed. It appears very clearly in a historical reminiscence which I do not think it out of place to recall.
It was several years after the passage of the Oppian law, and the women were demanding its repeal, while Porcius Cato desired to make it perpetual. On the voting day, the women, refusing to allow themselves to be turned aside by any representations, came out from their homes and besieged the streets of the city, and the avenues leading to the Forum. They surrounded the citizens who were going to the comitia, and besought them to give them liberty by pronouncing the repeal of the law. Cato, to reach the Forum, had to pass through the crowds of women. It was then, in an explosion of wrath, that he gave utterance to his famous and immortal speech; one of the most incisive and virulent sentences ever pronounced against women. Among other things he said: “Bridle this tyrannical nature and this untamed animal. Our ancestors desired women to be under the power of their fathers, their brothers, their busbands. Remember all those laws by which our fathers restrained the liberty of women, and curbed them under the power of men. And although by these laws your women are enslaved, you can hardly keep them under restraint.
Never suffer them to wrest your rights from you one by one, nor to become your equals, for as soon as they have begun but to be your equals, they will be your superiors."
-(Livy, Hist. XXXIV. 2. Date frenos impotenti naturæ et indomito animali.
Majores nostri, nullam, ne pri
vatam quidem, rem agere feminas sine auctore voluerunt; in manu esse parentum, fratrum, virorum.
3: Recensete omnia muliebria jura, quibus licentiam earum alligaverint: majores nostri, per quæque subjecerint viris, quibus omnibus constrictas vix tamen continere potestis. Quid ? Si carpere singula, et extorquere, et exæquari ad extremum viris patiemini, tolerabiles vobis eas fore creditis? Extemplo, simul pares esse cæperint, superiores erunt.)
Lucius Valerius, with manly eloquence, took up the defense of women and declared himself in favor of the repeal. The people were of his opinion, and the defeat of the aged Cato assured the triumph of the Roman women. The Voconian law was not to endure for any length of time. The Velleian decree of the Senate and the prohibition against pleading alone continued in force down to the present day.
WE HAVE ALREADY SHOWN the system of expansion, or rather the wide sweeping action of the Roman law. The Oppian law against the extravagance of women was enacted at the moment when the cohorts of Hannibal were imperiling the very existence of the Republic. This law which, in the thoughts of its authors, was to be of but a transitory and temporary character, Cato tried to make perpetual. It was the same with the provision of the Lex Julia de adulteriis, relating to the testifying in court of adulteresses, but it was attempted to apply as we have seen to all women, this incapacity pronounced in the first place against the lowest minority of them.
This was also the case as to the prohibition against pleading, intro uced into Roman legislation to meet the special case of Caphrania.- (Lex 1, $ 5. Dig. III, 1.)
Another provision of this same law, excluded from the profession of advocate all blind persons, and this also was precisely because of a particular circunstance:
One day, after the judge had left the bench, a blind man, a certain Publius, had continued to plead. This act, quite insignificant in itself, provoked an immense deal of hilarity in Rome, which it appeared was of a kind to injure the prestige of justice. The magistrates were incensed at it, and at once the edict of the praetor pronounced the exclusion of all blind
persons from the profession of advocate.
Now the laws which took away from women and from blind persons the right to plead, were special laws, exceptional laws, true laws of circumstance. In our humble opinion there is now no more place to invoke against women, the prohibition with which the Roman law smote them because of the act of Caphrania, than there would be to invoke against blind persons the incapacity pronounced against them because of Publi
But—women have yet the right to tell us—why, O Sir Civilians, who are looking over the dusty shelves of your libraries, to find old enough texts of the Corpus Juris which are unfavorable to us, why do you not resuscitate a law eminently more respectable, the law Cincia de donis et muneribus, which forbade advocates to receive gifts, recompense or money for their services?-(Claudius, it is true, authorized advocates to take fees.) And since you are in so good a path, you might also exhume and restore a certain law of Leo and Anthemius which prescribed that in order to be received as judge or advocate, one must be imbued with the doctrines of the holy Catholic religion.-(Codex II, 7, Lex 8: Nemo vel in foro magnitudinis tuæ, vel in provinciali judicio, vel apud quemquam judicem accedat ad togatorum consortium, nisi sacrosanctis Catholicæ religionis fuerit imbutus mysteriis.)
Let us no longer trouble ourselves with these Roman laws which, certainly, may have formerly had their importance, and a raison d'etre, but which it is assuredly preferable, at the present day, to leave to repose in the silence of oblivion.
(To be continued.)
Department of Medical Jurisprudence.
EDITED BY EDWARD B. WÈSTON, M. D.
THE MEDICO-LEGAL SOCIETY OF CHICAGO
Held a stated meeting, at the Grand Pacific Hotel, October 6th, 1888, President E. J. Doering, M. D., in the chair. · The resignation of Dr. Scott Helm, as Secretary, was received and accepted. Dr. Edward B. Weston was elected to fill the vacancy.
A paper on “The Medico-Legal Aspects of Spinal Injuries,” by Drs. James Burry and E. Wyllys Andrews, was read by Dr. Burry, and discussed by members of the society.
JAMES BURRY, M. D.,
E. W. ANDREWS, M. D.,
SURGEON TO MERCY HOSPITAL, CHICAGO. Within a period of five years, English railway companies have paid in damages in cases of alleged injury to the spinal cord, the enormous sum of £2,200,000 or $11,000,000.
In our own city, the greatest railway center in the world, and in other parts of our country, large sums have been paid as compensatory damages in similar cases.
$300,000 it is said were paid to the sufferers in the Chatsworth accident, and the largest individual damages were paid in settlement of cases of spinal injury.
Specific instances of the enormous sums which have been awarded in this class of obscure injuries are:
CASE OF WATERMAN V. THE CHICAGO & ALTON R. R.—The plaintiff claimed large damages for spinal concussion said to be produced in an accident. Dr. Clark Gapen and other experts testified that injury was the cause of the patient's symptoms, while Drs. Senn and Whiting testifying as experts for the defense, agreed in stating that the patient had locomotor ataxia. A verdict of $23,000 was awarded.
CASE OF HOLLAND V. THE CHICAGO & EASTERN ILLINOIS R, R.—The plaintiff, an employe of another line, was injured in a collision and afterward reported for work, apparently well. He was not given employment. Shortly after this it was claimed that symptoms of spinal concussion developed, and permanent disability followed. Large damages were claimed and the plaintiff was awarded the sum of $23,000.
CASE OF ROZENZWEIG V. THE LAKE SHORE & MICHIGAN SOUTHERN R. R.- The plaintiff having been put off a train at a place not a regular station, was walking across the tracks and either tripped over some object or was knocked down, he did not know which. Spinal injury of an obscure type was alleged and heavy damages awarded. The case after final appeal to the Supreme Court of the State, was settled by the road paying to the plaintiff $48,500 with interest, or in all, over $50,000 compensation.
CASE OF PHILLIPS V. THE LONDON & SOUTHWESTERN RY.The plaintiff, a physician, was disabled about two years by a railway injury to the spinal cord. It was proved that he bad possessed a practice worth $40,000 per annum, and a verdict of $80,000 was given. Dr. Steele who has met Dr. Phillips during the past summer informs us that he is, except for a slight lameness, quite restored to health.