Page images
PDF
EPUB

1840

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS, TO WIT:

District Clerk's Office. BE it remembered, That on the twenty-third day of October, A. D. 1823, and in the torty-eighth vear of the Independence of the United States of America, Nathan Dane, of the said district, has deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as author, in the words following, to wit :

U A General Abridgment and Digest of American Law, with occasional Notes and Comments. By Nathan Dane, LL. D. Counsellor at Law. In eight volumes.”

In contormity to the act of the Congress of the United States, entitled, “ An act for the encouracement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned ;” and also to an act, eritled, “ An act, supplementary to an act, entitled, An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned, and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching, bistorical and other prints,"

JOHN W. DAVIS,
Clerk of the District of Massachusetts.

93337

CAMBRIDGE:
From the Uhtversity Press-By Hilliard & Metcalf.

INTRODUCTION.

examine, trace, and

a founded ; and their mistration of this

It is the intention in this introduction, concisely to state the object and plan of the work, the manner in which it has been formed, and the reasons for now publishing it.

At the close of the American revolutionary war, when the United States being an independent nation, it was very material to inquire and to know what was law in them, collectively and individually ; also to examine, trace, and ascertain, what were the political principles, on which their system was founded ; and their moral character, so essential to be attended to in the support and administration of this system; especially in selecting from the English laws, in force in a monarchy, once feudal, those parts of them adopted here, and remaining in force in our republic. With such impressions the author early turned his attention to these subjects, and in good earnest engaged in collecting materials upon them; and the more readily, as such a pursuit perfectly accorded with his professional and political employments, in which he engaged in the spring of 1782. He early found there was in the United States nothing like one collected body of American Law, or one collected system of American Politics; but all was found in scattered fragments. Scarcely any native American Law was in print, but the colony statutes, charters, and some of the constitutions. No judicial decisions, made in America, of any importance, had been published, and but very few forms. The law enacted here was found separately published in many States, in Colony, Province, and State statutes. Our law labored under another material disadvantage ; most of it was found only in English books; these were written and published to be used in England, not in America; a large part of which was of no real use here. No measures had ever been taken to ascertain, with any accuracy, what part of English law our ancestors had adopted in the colonies or provinces. The result was, our ablest lawyers were often unable to decide what parts of the English laws were in use here; and our students at law, often studied as laboriously the useless, as the useful parts of those laws. No one had attempted to embody vur laws or po,

« PreviousContinue »