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During the last fifty years the study of Roman law has made great progress on the Continent of Europe, and especially in Germany and France. The discovery of ancient works long buried in oblivion, and the researches of some eminent historians and civilians, have thrown new light on this department of jurisprudence, and materially modified its general aspect. In this country we have certainly not kept pace with our Continental neighbours; but it is gratifying to observe that a strong desire has been recently manifested in professional circles to raise the standard of legal education by devoting more attention to Roman law and general jurisprudence. This has led to the establishment of new chairs in some of our Universities, and of readerships by the Inns of Court in London; while it has called forth from English writers a considerable number of works on Roman law of various degrees of merit, but calculated on the whole to enrich our legal literature.
Without trenching on the ground already occupied by these authors, a good elementary book in English is still much wanted, giving a clear, simple, and accurate view of the general principles of the Roman law, with so much of its history as is necessary for a correct knowledge of the system.
In the present work I have endeavoured to give a concise exposition of the leading doctrines of the Roman law as it