Itinéraires d’histoire de la procédure civile. 2. Regards étrangers

In 2014, the team of Loïc Cadiet, Serge Dauchy and Jean-Louis Halpérin published Itinéraires d’histoire de la procédure civile: 1. Regards français. This was the first product of a seminar that aimed to rectify a gap in the literature caused by the fact that much less attention had been paid to the history of criminal procedure than to that of civil procedure. The volume is valuable. But in the common-law countries, of course, as the deytailed common law had emerged from procedure, and the main focus had long been on tend development of the law through decided cases, the issue was not so pressing. Of course, one can caricature the differing legal historiographies. The great difference between many of the continental countries and the British experience was codification, and the early-nineteenth-century exportation of French legal ideas over much of continental Europe.

This exportation of French thinking is one of the evident themes in the new volume, expanding the scope of the research outside the hexagon. Some countries, such as Belgium, closely followed the French model, though matters are now changing. The essays included, with occasional voyages into earlier and later epochs, mainly focus on the nineteenth century, a crucial period in most of these countries. As a contributor, this blogger cannot evaluate the volume; but it covers much of western Europe, with the exception of the Nordic countries, and contains much valuable new thinking and research. It is published by IRJS Editions, as vol. 113 in their series Bibliothèque de l’IRJS- Andre Tunc

Tel Aviv University Law and History Workshop Fall 2020

Tel Aviv University Law and History Workshop

Fall 2020


Thursdays, 14:15 – 15:45


Organized by: Rachel Friedman, Ron Harris & Assaf Likhovski



Nov. 5, 2020, Jedidiah Kroncke, University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law, The Harvard Model as Domestic and International Export: A Translocal Movement of Elite Legal Integration


Nov. 12, 2020, Yair Lorberbaum, Bar Ilan University Faculty of Law, The Rise of Halakhic Religiosity of Mystery and Transcendence [paper and discussion in Hebrew]


Nov. 19, 2020, Aviram Shahal, Michigan Law School, From Konstitutzya to Huka: The Adoption of a Hebrew Term for a Constitution [discussion in Hebrew]


Nov. 26, 2020, Vanessa Ogle, University of California, Berkeley, Department of History, “Funk Money:” The End of Empires, the Expansion of Tax Havens, and Decolonization as an Economic and Financial Event


Dec. 3, 2020, Rowan Dorin, Stanford University, Department of History, The Bishop as Lawmaker in Late Medieval Europe


Dec. 10, 2020, Geraldine Gudefin, American University Department of History & Tel Aviv University, Berg Institute, “An Innocent Candor that Left No Doubt as to her Sincerity”: East European Jewish Women and Jewish Law in Early 20th-Century American Courts”


Dec. 17, 2020, Emily Kadens, Northwestern Law School, “The Dark Side of Commerce: Trust, Reputation, and Cheating in Early Modern England.”


Dec. 24, 2020, Idit Ben Or, Tel Aviv University Safra Center, Non-Governmental Currencies in Early Modern England: A Legal Analysis [discussion in Hebrew]


Dec. 31, 2020, Julie Cooper, Tel Aviv University, Department of Political Science, The Zionist Critique of Spinoza’s Politics [discussion in Hebrew]


Jan. 7, 2020, Adam Lebovitz, Cambridge University Faculty of History, Freedom of the Press between the American and French Revolutions



*** All sessions of the workshop will take place on Zoom.  We have a limited number of slots available in each session for visitors.  Anyone who is interested in participating in a particular session must register in advance by sending an email to ***

POSTPONEMENT OF British Legal History Conference (BHLC) 2021

As a result of continuing uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic, in particular in relation to international travel, the organisers of the British Legal History Conference 2021 have decided to postpone the conference to 6-9 July 2022. This decision has been taken in consultation with the BLHC Continuation Committee.

The theme for BLHC 2022 is unchanged: Law and Constitutional Change and, as originally planned, the conference will be organised in association with the Irish Legal History Society.

A fresh call for papers will be made on 15 March, 2021.
Registration will open in February 2022.
The conference website will shortly be updated: the amended web address is expected to be

To preserve the usual biennial pattern of BLHCs, arrangements will be made by the BLHC Continuation Committee for the conference following the Queen’s, Belfast event to be held in 2024.


Henry Dundas and Slavery

The Edinburgh Centre for Global History is hosting a panel discussion next Tuesday 7 July, from 5.30 pm to 7.30 pm, bringing together three historians who have worked directly on Henry Dundas’s relationship to Atlantic slavery, to develop a deeper understanding of his role. The discussion will take place online using Zoom.

Please go to this link for details and to register to receive the Zoom link:

The Lancastria and Operation Ariel

Eighty years ago today, your blogger’s father was at St Nazaire in France, hoping to be evacuated. He was a member of the BEF, serving with the Scottish Horse. He was far from confident he would survive. He had been left behind, when many of the men he was with had been taken off to RMS Lancastria. All of this was part of Operation Aeriel or Ariel, to rescue the remaining troops in France. It turned out your blogger’s father was lucky. There was a devastating attack by a German bomber on the Lancastria, which was filled with troops and civilians. The ship sank within twenty minutes of being hit, and the estimates of how many died vary between 3,000 and just under 6,000. It is the largest maritime loss of life in British history.

Readers of this blog will forgive this rather personal entry, not on legal history, but your blogger has not yet observed any commemoration of this tragic event in the news media today. Because of the scale of the disaster, a D-Notice prevented publicity at the time. In comparison to the Dunkirk evacuation, it has never entered British public memory, though information can be found on the internet.

Readers may be glad to know that, despite his experiences, my father all his life remained extremely fond of France and the French, as indeed of Germany and the Germans. He was always pleased to visit both countries, and until advanced age he spoke both people’s languages reasonably well, though with an observable Scottish accent. He eventually ended up on the River Elbe in 1945, waiting for the Russians to arrive; he wanted to visit Berlin, but was denied permission as it was still too dangerous.  I have some of his army passes to visit other German towns and cities, such as Göttingen. He obviously combined the war with sight-seeing. Rather a Romantic, my father thought that Germany and the Germans were culturally rather like the Scots, though, among European countries, France was undoubtedly his first and greatest love.


Joseph Knight and the End of Slavery in Scotland

Given current discussions, the Blog is delighted to draw the attention of its followers to the short video available on YouTube : “Joseph Knight Scenes for Survival”:

The story of Joseph Knight is relatively well known. African-born, and acquired in Jamaica as an adolescent by John Wedderburn, a Jacobite in exile trying to restore his family’s fortunes, he was brought to Scotland where he met and married Annie Thomson and sought successfully through legal means to have his freedom recognized. He had a series of distinguished lawyers act for him, including Henry Dundas, the future Viscount Melville, whose eloquent speech was quoted in the Caledonian Mercury on 21st February, 1776.

May Sumbwanyambe, the Edinburgh-based, award-winning playwright, was commissioned by the National Theatre of Scotland to write a play about Joseph Knight. Your blogger was privileged to attend a read-through of part of it at Rockvilla in Glasgow. He recognised part of the dialogue in the short video as a result. The play should have been premiered this autumn, but that has had to be postponed because of Covid-19. But this short video gives an idea of its quality, and should encourage attendance when the postponed play is performed.

The short scene gives a flavour of the power and delicate sensitivity of the play. The subtle acting conveys much. May Sumbwanyambe talks about it on Youtube: He can be found talking about the play more generally here

Kilts, Plaids, and Togas

Pompeo Batoni’s brilliant picture of Colonel William Gordon in the ruins of Rome is fairly well known. It is part of the Fyvie Castle collection, and was recntly displaye din Edinburgh

One interesting aspect is that Batoni portrays Colonel Gordon” Huntly tartan plaid and kilt as if in silk. He has also given it a consciously toga-like aspect to it. In the ruins of Rome, he becomes a dignified, if glamorous, almost classical figure, with his sword and British military dress, as a personification of Rome offers him an orb, while also holding laurel wreath. With his right hand, he leans on his sword, while his left holds his Glengarry bonnet. His best known action was to defend the House of Commons against the mob led by his nephew, Lord George Gordon, in the Gordon riots in 1780.

Your blogger has recently been reading Alexander Drummond’s Travels through Different Cities in Germany, Italy, Greece, and Several Parts of Asia, as Far as the Banks of the Euphrates (London, 1754). The author was the younger brother of George Drummond,  the noted Lord provost of Edinburgh, and was to serve as British Consul at Aleppo for much of the 1750s, having earlier served in Alexandria (Alexandretta modern Iskenderun) as a Vice-Consul. British trade with the Ottoman Empire was organised through the Levant Company, which also paid the diplomatic staff.

Drummond’s Travels is a well written book, perhaps because Tobias Smollett was employed to edit it. On his way to the eastern Mediterranean, Drummond passed through Italy before taking a boat at Venice. He was interested in art and antiquities. Indeed, he shipped home to the Duke of Argyll an inscribed stone found at Palmyra, indicating, no doubt, the source of the patronage that secured him his position.  In Florence, he visited the “famous gallery”. He was particularly interested in the classical statuary. In describing various statues in the Uffizi, he comments:

“But my highland spirit prompted me to consider, with great attention, one figure in a consular  habit or robe, which bore a great resemblance to the manner in which our countrymen wear the plaid, if we make allowance for the difference of length; as the Romans wore the toga single, while it is at present doubled by our mountaineers, though formerly there might have been no necessity for such alteration. One portion of the robe is laid upon the left shoulder, the other thrown twice over, round the body to the right, so loose and so long as to strike a little below the right knee, then it is tucked up under the left arm, while the whole right arm is disengaged. This may have been the mode of our forefather, and might now be followed, as our plaids are twelve or thirteen yards in length: but I suppose they have stitched them done, and taken but one turn around the body, that they might be more convenient and weirdly, while they preserve the length, in order to answer the purpose of great coats, and sometimes of blankets.” (p. 44)

The association of Highland with Roman dress raises intriguing issues.


Recent Publications in Roman Law connected to the University of Edinburgh

The first subject taught in law in the University of Edinburgh was Roman law, then known as was traditional as Civil Law, the term still used in the Edinburgh curriculum. The chair of Civil Law was founded in 1710 as the second chair in law, but no teaching was offered from the first chair, that of public law and the law of nature and nations until 1711. But from 1710, Roman law has been continually taught in the University.

It is therefore pleasing to note that Oxford University Press has recently published the sixth edition by Paul du Plessis of Borkowski’s Textbook of Roman Law, undoubtedly the most popular Engish-language textbook in the discipline. It is hardly necessary to tell the readers of this blog that Paul is the University’s Professor of Roman Law. 

In the same month, Edinburgh University Press published Roman Law before the Twelve Tables, edited by Sinclair W. Bell and Paul J du Plessis. A distinguished international group of scholars-archaeologists, historians, art historians-offer new insights into and provide novel interpretations of the early history of Roman law, drawing on anthropological and sociological perspectives.

The first Professor of Civil Law in Edinburgh, James Craig, had studied law in the Netherlands at Franeker, and had absorbed the Dutch elegant tradition, deriving ultimately from a Humanist approach to Roman law, subsequent Edinburgh professors, notably James Muirhead, Henry Goudy, Alan Watson, and Peter Birks to name a few, had also treated Civil law in a historical and humanistic tradition, not as a positivistic set of rules, and it is good to see that tradition continue.


Travel of ideas in the nineteenth century: from Scotland to Chile

by María Ithurria (PhD student, University of Edinburgh) and Claudio Soltmann (Historian, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile)

Introductory remarks

Let us go back to the nineteenth century. There is no doubt that Andrés Bello (1781 – 1865) was a prominent intellectual figure for Latin America. His work had a massive impact on the rise of post-independence nation-building. Bello was born in Venezuela but spent his entire adult life between London and Santiago de Chile: the London years (1810-1829) provided him with the most vibrant intellectual environment of those times, and Chile was the perfect place to develop the knowledge acquired there. Bello is widely recognised due to his work as the drafter of the Chilean Civil Code, which was borrowed by many other Latin-American countries. On the other hand, he is well-known as the founder of the Universidad de Chile. Is worth saying that this university played a crucial role in the construction of Chile as an independent country. At the inauguration of this institution, Bello gave a legendary speech, that is known –or should be known– by every Chilean university student. At the beginning of this discourse, he highlighted the importance of sciences and literature. In doing so, he referred to the Scottish philosopher Thomas Brown, saying that: ‘For the intellect, as for the other human faculties, activity is in itself a pleasure; one that, as a Scottish philosopher says, shakes out of us that inertia to which we would otherwise succumb, to our own detriment as well as society’s’. [1]

With this on the mind, we wondered if the Scottish influenced Bello’s thought. If so, to what extent it impacted the culture of Chile after its independence from Spain. In this brief note, we want to share some interesting facts. Nevertheless, given that his influence is surprisingly vast we decided to focus on only two areas: Andrés Bello and the Scottish Enlightenment and Andrés Bello and the Edinburgh Review.

1) Andrés Bello and the Scottish Enlightenment

During his stay in London, Bello’s philosophical thinking was influenced mainly by two figures: Jeremy Bentham and James Mill. While Bentham introduced Bello to the English Philosophy, Mill took him deep into the Scottish Enlightenment, especially the Scottish School of Common Sense. These philosophers confronted the modern philosophical scepticism with marked attention to the writings of David Hume. [2]

According to Barry L. Velleman, [3] in Bello’s private library, the books of Scottish philosophers stood out. The list was as follows:

  • Thomas Reid (1710 – 1796, Professor of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh University), Essays on the Powers of the Human Mind (London, 1822) and An Inquiry into the Human Mind on the Principles of Common Sense (Edinburgh, 1823)
  • Dugald Stewart (1753 – 1828, Chair of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh University), Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind (4th ed., London)
  • Thomas Brown (1778 – 1820, Professor of Moral Philosophy, Edinburgh University), Lectures on the Philosophy of the Human Mind (Edinburgh, 1820)

These authors influenced Bello’s philosophical thought, as is intensely reflected in his book Filosofía del Entendimiento (Philosophy of Understanding), where he discusses the Scottish philosophical theories.

Obviously, the Scottish Philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) cannot be left out. His influence was marked in Bello’s approach to British Empirical Historiography. Thanks to the reference of Bello’s Catalogue of his private library in Velleman’s work, we know that Bello owned the eight volumes of David Hume’s The History of England from the Invasion of Julius Caesar to the Revolution in 1668 (London, 1822). By contrast, the philosophy of Hume did not influence Bello significantly, but he cited Hume when discussing the accuracy of reasonings in the Philosophy of Understanding.

In the field of Rhetoric, Velleman notes that Bello had an edition of Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres (London, 1825), written by one of the most prominent clergymen of the Scottish Enlightenment, Hugh Blair (1718-1800). It should be noted that the influence of Blair in Chile can be traced before Bello’s arrival in 1829. Given the case that Blair’s Lectures were translated into Spanish by Jose Luis Munarriz between 1798-1801, and the Instituto Nacional (National Institute) in Santiago de Chile (Chile’s most prestigious Secondary School founded in 1813) had 300 copies of Blair’s Lectures in the school library. [4] Still, several elements from Blair’s Lectures, especially the ideas regarding the importance of writing, were disseminated by Bello throughout his speeches and articles regarding the development of his project of a Spanish Grammar for Hispanic American speakers (Gramática de la lengua castellana destinada al uso de los americanos) published in 1847. He also owned an edition of The Philosophy of Rhetoric (London, 1823), from the Scottish philosopher, George Campbell (1719 – 1796, Professor of Divinity at Edinburgh University).

2) Andrés Bello and the Edinburgh Review

The Edinburgh Review (or Critical Journal) was a Scottish journal founded in 1802 by Francis Jeffrey, Sydney Smith, and Henry Brougham. As is well known, this periodical publication was the leading journal of its times and played a crucial role in the spreading of philosophical criticism [5] and liberal views.

The evidence suggests that Bello read the Edinburgh Review during his stay in Francisco de Miranda’s house in London. Miranda had the following volumes in his private library:

  • Vol. XII (April 1808 – July 1808)
  • Vol. XIII (October 1808 – January 1809)
  • Vol. XIV (April 1809 – July 1809)
  • Vol. XI (October 1809 – January 1810)
  • Vol. XVI (April 1810 – August 1810)
  • Vol. XXI (February 1813 – July 1813). [6]

However, Bello went further: he translated into Spanish, throughout the 1830s and 1840s, several articles from the Edinburgh Review in El Araucano. This was a Chilean newspaper published from 1830 to 1877, where Bello served as editor of the literary and scientific section between 1830 and 1850 [7]. Reflecting on this, Velleman points out that ‘there is no doubt’ that the Edinburgh Review played a crucial role in Bello’s intellectual development. [6]

José María Blanco y Crespo (known as Joseph Blanco White) was one of Bello’s closest friends during his London years. Blanco White resided in London under the protection of Lord Holland, the leader of ‘the country’s most influential liberal political circle’. [8] In the so-called Holland House, he met John Allen, a Scottish historian and political writer, who was highly influential in his political views [9]. Through them, Bello engaged with the Edinburgh Review circle. Actually, Sydney Smith and Henry Brougham were frequent visitors of the Holland House.

On the other hand, as noted above, Bello was familiar to Jeremy Bentham and his followers, including the Scottish historian, philosopher, and economist, James Mill. They met in the Reading Room of the British Museum [9]. However, as Ivan Jaksic has shown: ‘Bello was much closer to the views of Lord Holland and those of the contributors to the Edinburgh Review (…).’ [11]

Final remarks

Against this background, it is apparent that Bello read and acquired several Scottish ideas. It is safe to assume that they were not only important but fundamental in his own intellectual development. Bello’s references to Scottish views in his writings are countless. Probably that is why José Gaos [13] asserted that if Bello had been Scottish or French, his name would have appeared in the History of Philosophy. According to him, Bello would be regarded, no more and none less, as one of the most influential philosophers of his days, such as Dugal Stewart or Thomas Brown, Théodore Simon Jouffroy or Royer Coilard, Thomas Reid or Victor Cousin.

Nonetheless, we do consider that the influence of Scottish thinkers is not limited to Bello’s thought. It went much further since it was an intellectual inheritance which Bello re-invigorated with elements of his own, in order to adapt foreign ideas into the Hispanic American soil. In this sense, Bello became a key cultural mediator which allowed the Scottish Enlightenment playing a significant role in the nineteenth-century Chilean thought. Thus, Andrés Bello was a conduct through which the Scottish ideas travelled from Scotland to Chile, creating a fertile environment for new ideas.


[1] Inaugural speech of the Universidad de Chile by Andrés Bello, translated from the Spanish by Frances M. Lopez-Morillas, in Selected Writings of Andrés Bello, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 127.

[2] Bow, C. B. “Dugald Stewart and the Legacy of Common Sense in the Scottish Enlightenment.” Common Sense in the Scottish Enlightenment.: Oxford University Press, May 24, 2018. Oxford Scholarship Online. Date Accessed 14 May. 2020 <>.

[3] Velleman, Barry L. Andrés Bello y Sus Libros. Caracas: La Casa De Bello, 1995, p. 40.

[4] Serrano, Sol, & Jaksic, Ivan. “El poder de las palabras: La iglesia y el Estado liberal ante la difusión de la escritura en el Chile del siglo XIX”. Historia (Santiago), Vol. 33, 2000, pp. 435-460. Web. <>. [accessed 14 May 2020].

[5] Ferris, Ina. “The Debut of The Edinburgh Review, 1802.” BRANCH: Britain, Representation and Nineteenth-Century History. Ed. Dino Franco Felluga. Extension of Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net. Web. [accessed 14 May 2020].

[6] Velleman, Barry L. Andrés Bello y Sus Libros. Caracas: La Casa De Bello, 1995, p. 32.

[7] The articles translated from The Edinburgh Review to El Araucano covered several topics such as Travel Literature, Studies about the Americas, and Literary Reviews.

[8] Velleman, Barry L. Andrés Bello y Sus Libros. Caracas: La Casa De Bello, 1995, p. 36.

[9] Jakšić, Ivan. Andrés Bello: Scholarship and Nation-Building in Nineteenth-Century Latin America. Cambridge University Press, 2006, p. 35.

[10] Dinwiddy, John R. ‘Los Círculos liberales y benthamistas en Londres, 1810-1829’ in Bello y Londres, Segundo Congreso del Bicentenario, vol. 2, Caracas: Fundación La Casa de Bello, 1980, vol. 2, p. 380.

[11] Reidy, Denis V. ‘El museo británico y el ambiente cultural inglés en el primer tercio del siglo XIX’ in Bello y Londres, Segundo Congreso del Bicentenario, vol. 2, Caracas: Fundación La Casa de Bello, 1980, vol. 2, p. 408.

[12] Jaksic Ivan. Andrés Bello: Scholarship and Nation-Building in Nineteenth-Century Latin America, Cambridge University Press, 2006, p. 44.

[13] Introducción a la Filosofía del Entendimiento, by J. Gaos, Edición del Fondo de Cultura Económica, México, 1948.

Last Survivor of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

The BBC this morning (25 March) reported that Hannah Durkin of the University of Newcastle had traced the last survivor of the transatlantic slave trade as one Matilda McCrear, who lived until 1940, dying in Selma, later famous for its role in the civil rights movement in the U.S.A.  Dr Durkin is researching the survivors of the Clotilda, the last U.S. slave ship. Ms McCrear arrived in Alabama in 1860. This is fascinating news.

It is interesting to note that the wreck of the Clotilda was recently found on the Mobile River The voyage has attracted scholarly interest; your blogger particularly enjoyed the book by Sylviane Anna Diouf, Dreams of Africa in Alabama: The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Story of the Last Africans Brought to America  (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), which tells an enthralling story of the ship and its people.

There is an understandable tendency to focus on the slave trade and slavery in North America, and no doubt the continuing tensions US society arising from this history, together with the wealth and power of its universities, promotes this. This also means that U.S. slavery has come to seem the paradigmatic form of enslavement of Africans.  It is important to remember, however, that it is estimated that 35% to 40% of all slaves traded across the Atlantic went to Brasil, which did not abolish slavery until 1888. Of course, Brasilian slavery was not U.S. slavery, and it is worth all interested in reading the important work of Keila Grinberg; but the issue remans complex.


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