Page images

prefixed to the first volume. The pages have been inserted in the headings of the several chapters and sections, and the General Index and the Table of Statutes have been greatly enlarged. Much labour has been bestowed upon the attempt to secure, as far as possible, universal accuracy of reference, as well to the different parts of this work, as to the Reports and other books which are cited.


THE object of the following work is to investigate and explain that branch of jurisprudence, which teaches the nature and extent of the remedies prescribed by the law of England for the redress of private wrongs, or, as they are frequently termed, civil injuries. Considering the utility and importance of the subject, it cannot fail to excite the surprise of the reader, when he is informed that a well digested treatise on the law of actions remained for so great a length of time a desideratum in the profession, that it was not until the year 1767, that an anonymous compilation, (the first deserving any notice,) entitled “ An Introduction to the Law relative to Trials at Nisi Prius," was published. The same work was republished by the late Mr. J. Buller, in the year 1772. Although the title-page is silent as to this being a second edition, yet, from an examination of the contents, it appears very clearly that Mr. J. Buller's book is merely a republication of the anonymous treatise published in 1767. It is very remarkable, that so many different opinions should have existed as to the real author of this compilation; some persons having ascribed it to Mr. Ford, others to the late Mr. J. Clive, and others to Mr. Bathurst. It was the received opinion at the bar, ut ego audivi, upon the first appearance of this work, that it had been compiled by Mr. Bathurst, (who was created Lord Apsley in 1771, and succeeded his father Allen, Earl Bathurst, in 1775,) for his own private use; but the dedication by Mr. Buller to Lord Apsley, prefixed to the edition in 1772, which must have escaped the notice of those persons who ascribed this work to a different author, places the question beyond the reach of controversy. That dedication expressly recognizes this treatise as owing its origin to a collection of notes formerly made by Mr. Bathurst for his own private use. This book, having passed through several editions, was succeeded by a similar work, entitled “ A Digest of the Law of Actions and Trials at Nisi Prius,” by Mr. Espinasse, of which there have been four editions. The Compiler of the following pages conceived that a treatise intended as a companion at the sittings in London and Middlesex, and on the circuit, might be cast into a more convenient form than that adopted by either of the former writers: and that the cases might be abridged with greater accuracy and precision. Under this impression, the Abridgment of the Law of Nisi Prius was prepared and published in three parts successively, in the years 1806, 1807, 1808. The tenth edition is now submitted to the candour of the Profession.

Lincoln's Inn, November, 1841.

« PreviousContinue »