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abolishing torture and regulating the procedure in crimi-
nal matters, — but still based on the ordinance of Philip
the Second,— was re-ena&ed. In 1830, the law of mur-
der, homicide, manslaughter and wounding of the French
Code Penal, then in force in the Mother Country, was
partly introduced, but modified and improved.

In 1 85 1 the Home Government, on introducing the
Bill, containing a new constitution for Surinam, ex-
pressly declared her intention to abolish slavery, and to
emancipate the slaves in the Dutch West Indian posses-
sions. In 1855, in her revised Bill for the same purpose,
she adhered to her determination. In the interval, in
1853, a State-Commission was appointed to report on
the matter, which she did in an extensive and elaborate

It was, however, felt necessary that a political and
social reform ought to be accompanied by an entire
reform of the judicial organisation, and by the framing
of a new legislation for the colony.

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The Mother Country, since 1838, enjoyed a national
legislation, codified, and, though based on the system
of the Napoleontic codes, nevertheless engrafted on the
old laws and customs of Holland, adapted to the require-
ments of the time. The Dutch East Indies had also
their codes.

The law of Surinam was still the Roman-Dutch, the
old law of Holland, and the Roman law.

In the Mother Country there was certainty, the laws
being systematically codified.

In the colony the law was uncertain and in conflift
with the laws of the Mother Country. There was fur-
thermore a constant vacillation in the opinion of the
Courts, based on the authority of cases and decisions,
blended with the confli6ting doftrines of the individual
authors on the old laws and their endless controversies.
Indeed, the case was even worse than this. The study
of the old law of Holland was no longer obligatory, in
the Series leflionum of the Dutch universities. Members
of.the profession, graduates of the universities, settling
in the. colony, as well as the Judges appointed from the
Mother Country were no longer sufficiently conversant
with the laws and the procedure obtaining in the colony.
Tlje Administration of Justice, of course, did not offer
the slightest guarantee for the prote6lion of persons,
their rights and their property. The influx of modern
law principles, and a growing deference to decisions
of Dutch Law Courts, based . on the modern Dutch
Codes — a natural result of such a state of things —
rendered the law uncertain, and contributed to a faulty
and defe6live administration of justice, detrimental to
individuals seeking justice and to the community at

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The Colony of Surinam. 29

large. Apart from all this, the High Court of Appeal
from judgments given by the Court of Justice of Surinam
was the High Court of the Netherlands, settled at the
Hague, with whose members, certainly in the latter years,
the study and knowledge of the law and procedure in the
colony, was, as with the Bench and the Bar, the excep-
tion, certainly not the rule.

There was an entire want of confidence in the law and
its administration. A spirit of unrest and a general
depression prevailed. The colonial machinery was
shaky and unsettled, and capitalists in the colony as
well as at home, were deterred from embarking in enter-
prises which might prove to be of a reproductive char-
after for the colony. The cry for a judicial organisation
and a new legislation for the colony was more and more
loudly raised ; and in 1851 the Home Government
declared her intention of remedying the existing evil.

In the Bill for a new constitution and fundamental law
for the colony, introduced in the Chambers of the States-
General in 1 85 1, it was stated that "it is the intention
" of the Government to introduce, with the modifications
" required by the local exigencies of the colony, the
" Dutch Civil, Commercial, and Criminal (Penal) Codes,
" and the Codes of Procedure in Civil and Criminal
" cases."

Shortly afterwards, under the Ministry then in power,
a State Commission was appointed by Order of the
King in Council of 27 September 1852, No. 46, whose
mandate it was * f to examine and to report on the Draft-
" Codes, composed by order of the Government, with
11 the view to adapt the Home Legislation to the colony,"

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30 TlMfiHRI.

In the renewed and revised Bill of 1855 the Gov*
ernment laid down, in sec. 72, the principle that " the
tf administration of justice in matters civil, commer-
" cial and criminal shall be based, as much as shall be
" found practicable, on the laws and codes in force in
" the Mother Country."

New legislation continued to be loudly advocated by
all parties. Its introduction was however retarded by
various causes and in particular by the fa£l that the
Government had not yet determined in what mode to
solve the problem of the day, the emancipation of the
slaves, in her Colonies.

In 1857, I wrote of this matter in my Dissertation* :—
The imperative necessity for a reform of the Colonial administrative
organisation is universally felt ; but it must go hand in hand with the
introduction of a new legislation. It needs no comment that great
difficulties will arise and uncertainty in the administration of justice
will prevail, when a new form of Government which, of necessity, is
intimately connected with the introduction of a reformed law system,
will be engrafted on the chaotic and antiquated condition of the present
Colonial legislation.

But the ministry, at that time (1857) at the head °f
affairs, was averse to change the colonial constitution ;
and as the reform of the law had, in its principle, to be
laid down in the new constitutional law of the colony,
this wished for reform remained, for the time, referred
inter pia vota.

The year 1859 brightened the prospers of the colony.
The new constitutional law remained still in abeyance,

* De Hemorming van ket Rogerings*stelsel in Nederlandsch W*
Indie. (Leiden, 1857.)

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The Colony of Surinam. 31

bat the Home Government took a decisive step in the
matter of legislation. By order of the King in Council
of the 28th of December 1859, No 54, a Royal Commis-
sioner was appointed "to proceed to the cokmy and
" there to introduce provisionally, sub j eft to His Ma-
" jesty's sanftion and approbation the new legislation,
"in accordance, as far as practicable, with the Home-
" laws and with the draft-codes submitted by the Govern-
H ment to and revised by the State-Commission of 37
"Septr. 1852, No. 56." Mr. L. METMAN, LL.D., Ad-
vocate at the Bar of the High Court of the Netherlands,
and ex Member of the States General was the ap-
pointed Royal Commissioner.

Previous to his departure for the colony, the Governor
of the colony was put in possession of the draft-codes
submitted for examination and revised by the aforesaid
State-Commission of 1852. He thereupon addressed a
circular to the members of the Bench and the Bar, and
ether officials, under date of the 16th of February, t86o>
forwarding copies of said drafts, and requesting the
expression of individual views and suggestions to^ be laid
-feefotfe the Royal Commissioner, on his arrival, in order
to further the objeft of his mission to the colony.

Subsequent instructions despatched by the Colonial
Office, at the suggestion of the Royal Commissioner, and
approved by the King's Order in Council, resulted m an
order of the Governor of the 17th of March i860, No.
4, whereby a Commission was appointed to " examine
"provisionally, the drafts of the State-Commission of
" 1852 and to assist and co-operate with the Royal Com-
** missioner, on his arrival, in introducing the new legis-
" lttkm tor the-colony/'

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The members of said Commission were Messrs. J. W.
Gefken, LL.D., Attorney General ; J. M. GANDERHEY-
DEN, LL.D., Chief Justice ; E. VAN Emden, President of
the Inferior Court of Civil and Criminal Justice ; and
B. E. COLA50 BELMONTE, LL.D., Afting Justice of the
Supreme Court of Justice of Surinam.

The Royal Commissioner arrived in the colony in
April, i860, with his Secretary, Mr. H. M. VAN Andel,
LL.D. Sided and assisted by the Commission, ap-
pointed by the Governor on the 17th March before, he
at once set to work, on the 4th May, and was satisfacto-
rily progressing towards the completion of his task,
when, after a last meeting on the 14th Septem-
ber, his unfortunate and untimely death, on the 5th of
06lober of the same year, put an end to his a&ive and
distinguished career, and retarded the introduction of
the new legislation.

But the measure was seriously contemplated by the
Home Government. On a report of the Ministry, an
Order of the King in Council of the 2nd December
i860, No. 66, was issued, by which the Governor of the
colony was instructed to invest the Commission, ap-
pointed on the 17th of Match i860, with the attributes
of the late Royal Commissioner and to add to its mem-
bers a member of the Court of Policy as junior member.
The Commission, then Royal Commission for the new
legislation of the Dutch W. Indies, was then constituted
by resolution of the Governor of 22nd February 1861,
and composed of Messrs. J. W. Gefken, LL.D., Attor-
ney General, President ; J. M. Ganderheyden, LL.D.,
Chief Justice ; E. VAN Emden, President of the Inferior
Courts ; B. E. COLAJO BELMONTE, LL.D., Afting Jus-

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The Colony of Surinam. 33

tice of the Supreme Court ; W. E. RuHMANN, Member
of the Court of Policy ; and H. M. VAN Andel, LL.D.,
(the late Royal Commissioner's Secretary), as Secretary.
The authority of this Royal Commission was, however,
confined solely to the framing of the codes, not their
provisional introduftion. The drafts of the Commission
had to be sent home, for sanftion and approbation, pre-
vious to their introduftion into the colony.

The Commission thus appointed held her first meet-
ing on the 10th of March, 1861, and the 8th ol February
1867, witnessed her last, the 239th meeting.

The State Commission of 1852, in submitting to the
Government its (first) draft (Ordinance regulating the
judicial organisation) had stated that it considered the
intention of the Government to be that the Home legis-
lation should be the model for the new legislation
intended for the Dutch W. Indies, and further that the
Commission should only advise departure and deviation
from the national codes, where required by local exigen-
cies, and u only such deviations as, without infringing on
" their system, were, in the opinion of competent
" authorities desirable ameliorations of the existing
" codes of the Mother Country."

It appeared, however, to the Royal Commissioner and
his (then) advising Commission, on commencing their
labours, that the State-Commission had only partly suc-
ceeded in realising its intentions. Many local exigen-
cies and requirements had been overlooked.

But the Royal Commissioner, and later the Royal
Commission of December i860, which succeeded him,
fully coincided with the intention of the Home Govern*


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ment, expressed in the Bills of 1851 and 1855) and with
the views of the States-Commission, that what was
intended was not to introduce or to adopt, but to adapt
the Home laws for the colony : a codification for the
Dutch IV. Indies. A digest or compilation of the undi-
gested mass of numerous conflifting and contradictory
colonial customs, ordinances and resolutions, blended
with the uncodified Roman-Dutch law, the Commission
considered a cumbrous and ungrateful work, toilsome
and laborious, unnecessarily expensive, time-wasting,
of no praflical or salutary result, and leaving the law of
the land in its chaotic state and antiquated and worn-
out form. Such compilation or digest was neither
wished at Home nor desired in the colony. A compila-
tion or digest, moreover, of the inordinate mass of cases
and conflicting decisions of Courts, and of controverted
opinions of law authors — all that, in fa£t, constituted
and had brought up the law of the colony, — was also
fortunately never contemplated, and a compilation of
customs, ordinances, &c, alone, was considered at all
events, if advisable at all (and it was not) a half-reform!
useless, unsatisfactory, and answering no purpose at all.
The practicability of codification was established be-
yond controversy. Certainly it was so, in a great
measure, in the Dutch W. I. Colonies. The Mother
Country and the Dutch East Indies had codes : they
were the models for West Indian colonial legislation.
Thfe aftual body of the law of the colony was vague,
uncertain, dispersed and scattered : it was almost
beyond reach. It had to be rendered simple, clear, con-
cise and certain. The Dutch codes were there : no leap
in the dark was feared : the antiquated colonial law-

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The Colony op Surinam. 35

system could be, safely abrogated, entirely and without
reserve. It was even contended in the private delibera-
tions of the Commission that even if a considerable
departure from the system on which the Home legisla-
tion was based should prove advisable, and even if the
colony and the Commission had not the Home and East
Indian codes before them, codification remained prac-
ticable. A revision and concentration of what existed
and had preceded, in a concise, but systematic and har-
monious code of law, though a laborious and burthen-
some work, was not, if properly and efficiently conduced,
beyond the limits of possibility. The models were every
where at hand. What was required was the statement,
not the making, of the law : and the san&ion of positive
law could be given to it by ena&ment.

All, consequently, were agreed that the codification
for the West Indies should be the abrogation of the old
law-system and the old legislation, and the introduftion
in the colonies of the Home laws, but modified and
adapted to and brought into harmony with the excep-
tional position of the colonies, their local exigencies
and requirements. The Royal Commission of Deer.
i860, in framing the codes, which were to be submitted
as the result of her labour to the Government, was there-
fore as far from servile adoption of the Home legisla-
tion, or bound by the drafts of the State-Commission
of 1852, as she was from condemning ex cathedrA legal
principles and law systems of the old law of Holland
and of colonial law-institutes, which had been tested,
and had proved beneficial and in accord with the wants
of the colony, her social and material interests and the
requirements of her population. The great aim was to


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36 TlMEHRl.

draw the nation and the colony nearer together, to faci-
litate their commercial cotjne&ions and business rela-
tions. It was intended also to grant to the subje&s of
the Netherlands in the colony the advantage of living
under a legislation and a judicial organisation, similar
in system to the legislation and organisation of the
mother country and based on the same principles.

In such way and mode, and a&uated by such leading
rules the Commission of i860 took up its task, proceeded
to fulfil its mission and ended its labours in its last
meeting of the 8th of February 1868.

Her Draft-Codes, viz : Civil Code, Code of Commerce,
Penal Code, Code of Procedure in Civil cases, Code of
Procedure in Criminal cases, and Transitory Law, were
then forwarded by the Colonial Government to the
Home-Government in terms of the order of the King in
Council of the 2nd Deer, i860, by which the Royal
(Colonial) Commission was appointed and invested with
the fun&ions of the Royal Commissioner. They were
submitted by the ministry to the Council of the State,
^nd, after undergoing certain revisions at Home,
san&ioned and ultimately introduced in the colony,
under the name of Codes for the colony of Surinam, by
the Home Executive on the 4th Septr. 1868, to come
into force and operation at midnight between the 30th
of April and the 1st of May 1869.

In the interval and during the sittings of the Commis-
sion the new constitutional or fundamental law for the
colonies had passed the Chambers of the States General
and became law on the 31st May 1865, as related here-
tofore. The Government had adhered to her intentions
in the matter of legislation, expressed by her in 1851

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The Colony op Surinam. 37

and 1855. The introdu&ion of the Home-laws in the
colony, but modified in accordance with local exigiences
and requirements was secured by Sect. 117 of the new
fundamental law, and it was under such happy prospefls
that the Commission of i860 continued and ended its

. With regard to the dealings of the Home Govern*
ment with the codes drafted and submitted by the Com-
mission, I cannot abstain from the remark that the
powers at home, did not in many respe&s adopt the
views of the Commission. They proved themselves
rather too conservative and evidently too much ac-
tuated by European impressions, ignoring the rerl state
and social condition of the colony, with her floating
and mixed, and only partly civilized population. Unir
formity of legislation was advised to a greater extent >
than the Commission advocated and considered advisa-
ble. More than was expedient was uprooted from old
colonial institutions, which had stood the test of ex-
perience. The Home Government failed to be con-
vinced that there was more of a protective element
and more interference of the law, in the interests of pri-
vate parties, required in the colony, than was wanted in
the Mother Country.

Surinam has at present the advantages of a
code. The former confusion has ended, and the chaotic
state of her local legislation is now a matter of history.
The Royal order of the 4th September 1868, introducing
the new legislation, ena&s as follows : —

The legal authority of the Roman Dutch (old law of Holland) and
of tbe Roman Law is abrogated; all laws r regfcments, publications.

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Ordinances, instructions, placards, statutes, customs, and all written
and unwritten laws having force of law in the colony, relating to mat-
ters provided for by the new legislation are repealed and cease to have
any force or effect in so far as they are not expressly maintained.

There is now certainty of law and in the adminis-
tration of justice, and there can be no departure any
more from the principle on which the Colonial law*
system is now based. Uniformity between the Home
and Colonial legislation is for the future secured by the
new fundamental law of the colony.

Finality, or a perfeft code is to expeft impossibilities.
Emergencies will arise, new wants may appear, and
any code of human origin will require amendments
and enlargement. A code cannot be eternal, it will be
durable, with occasional readaptations, to meet the
progress of society ; it will furnish a definite, simple,
comprehensible and systematic jurisprudence. It may
also diminish litigation.

I am far from contending that, with the advantage
of her codes, it is at present in Surinam pour le
mieux dans le meilleur des mondts. But the founda-
tions are laid for a better future : her liberal constitution,
and her systematic codes. The gloom now pervading
the prospers of the colony will be dispelled, and the
united efforts of the Home and Colonial Government,
coupled with self exertion and the energy of the colo-
nists and of those at Home interested in the welfare and
prosperity of the colony, will surely and in a short space
of time lead Surinam to financial independence ot the
Mother Country, to entire local self-government and
to local self-administration.

The foregoing lines are written in British Guiana. I


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The Colony of Surinam. 39

do not wish nor intend to make comparisons, but I ven-
ture to say that there is in the foregoing some matter
for refleflion. The same causes are everywhere invari-
ably leading to the same results. The cure of existing
social evils is practicable. The political and judicial
history of Surinam, which I have endeavoured, in the
preceding pages, to lay before English readers, if I may
have any, is there to prove that the remedies are
within reach.

Georgetown, 1885.

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Synopsis of the Lycopodiacece of Guiana and
their Allies.

By G. S. Jenman, F.L.S., Government Botanist of British Guiana.

N the following paper I purpose to describe, ex-
chiding ferns, all the known vascular crypfco-
gamia of Guiana, so far as it has come under
my notice. While at Kew last year I turned over the
great colleftion there, which a few years ago was worked
out and arranged by Mr. Baker, fof those species
gathered by previous colle&ors which I have not myself
discovered in my journeys in the interior. These
orders have not before been worked out in Guiana.
The fa6l is, that unless fore-warned by special study,
the colle&or is liable to miss a good many species in his
travels. Especially among the Selaginellaceae there pre-
vails a close general resemblance in the more closely allied
plants that is often to the casual observer misleading.
The eye, too, does not very readily carry the distinctions
even where, on comparing the plants together, they are
obvious. Judging from my own experience in collefting,
the species which inhabit the belt of country lying between
the sandstone region and the sea are generally well known.
But we appear not to be so well acquainted with those
which inhabit the more elevated sandstone region. In
the great alluvial belt alluded to I have found no new
species, and those that occupy it are fairly widely dis-
tributed. I mean widely distributed locally, for Selagi-
nellas have, in nearly all cases, a relatively very limited
range. With regard to the species of the sandstone

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region on the other hand, most of those I gathered a feW
years ago near the Kaieteur Fall were new, and tff the
four gathered by Mr. 1M THUfcto since at Roraima, all
were new. I infer from these fafts that several, possibly
many, species still await discovery in that little explored
region. The plants of the other orders here treated ap-
pear to be better known, for no new species has beefc
turned up by any colle&or of late years, though a few
not before known as belonging to the colony have been
gathered. ^

The contemporary plants of these orders, have no uses
of any consequence which enter into the economy of our
lives. Some of the species of L} copodium, where grega-
rious, are often very abundant, and are useful, when cut,
for stable Utter or packing taaterial, as a substitute for
Straw. In these gregarious cases some produce an
immense quantity of spores, which rise in yellow dust-
like clouds about one's legs and body in walking
through the herbage when it is dry. The spores are
very inflammable, and those of L. clavatum, one of
the commonest and widest spread species, is said to
be used sometimes in the manufafture of certain kinds
of fireworks. Members of all the genera are culti-
vated as ornamental plants, most of all the Selaginellas.
The capsules of a species of Marsilia are eaten by the
natives of Australia (savages of the lowest degree who
wander about living on roots and herbage) and they ence
saved the lives of a party of ill-fated exploring naturalists.
The Lycopodiaceae are of interest for the part their pro-
genitors held in the vegetation of the earth in the past
far distant carboniferous age, when, compared to their
descendants of to-day, they bore gigantic proportions, as

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the Calamites, Lepidodendrons and other fossil genera
of the coal measures attest.

Key to the Arrangement.
Series I. — Spores all of one kind. — Microspores.
Order I. — Lycopodiacece.
„ II. — Equisetacece.
Series II.— Spores of two different kinds. — Microspores and Macro-

Order I. — Selaginillacece.

, , 1 1 . — Marsileacece.
„ III. — Salviniacece.

Series I.
Order I.— Lyoopodiaooa.

Stems ere£t prostrate or pendent, with terete or flattened branches,
which are more or less repeatedly dichotomous (except in Phylloglos-
sum), and leafy throughout. Leaves relatively small, often minute,
simple or forked, one-nerved, many-seried and irregularly whorled, or,

Online LibraryRoyal agricultural and commercial society of BritiTimehri: the journal of the Royal agricultural and commercial society of British Guiana → online text (page 3 of 25)