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THE LAWS OF ENGLAND.
HERBERT BROOM, L.L.D.,
OF THE INNER TEMPLE, BARRISTER-AT-LAW; READER IN COMMON LAW TO THE INNS OF COURT;
A SELECTION OF LEGAL MAXIMS," ETC.
EDWARD A. HADLEY, M. A.,
OF LINCOLN'S INX, BARRISTER-AT-LAW ;
IN TWO VOLUMES.
WITH NOTES BY WILLIAM WAIT,
ALBANY, N. Y.
Entered, according to act of Congress, in the year eighteen hundred and seventy-five,
BY JOHN D. PARSONS, JR.,
In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington,
WEED, PARSONS AND COMPANY, PRINTERS AND STEREOTYPERS,
ALBANY, N. Y.
THESE Commentaries upon the Laws of England pursue the order adopted, and contain much of the matter to be found in Sir W. Blackstone's celebrated volumes(a). They are meant to be such as he would himself, if now living, have reproduced, amending where amendments were needed, adding from the reports and statute book, and modifying his style in accordance with modern usage. This task, even to the great commentator, would have been difficult, and to those on whom it has fallen has necessarily been very formidable. Neither is the existing state of our law such as may facilitate the endeavour to exhibit it in a shape compendious and philosophical. In part dependent upon cases decided with reference to isolated facts, in part dependent upon statutes, too often enacted with reference to especial exigencies, each page of our legal volume unfolded by the hand of time adds to the perplexities of an author. And difficult as it may be to determine the state of our law at this or at that period, it is scarce possible accurately to exhibit it at the moment when a work, in the preparation of which years have been continuously occupied, emerges from the press. Admitting that the customary law of England is in the main certain; that though in some sort flexible, this flexibility is made conducive to the ends of justice; the statute law is undeniably shifting and unsettled, for that which is written to-day may be effaced to-morrow, or may be impliedly repealed, or altered and amended by phraseology so doubtful as to call for authoritative exposition. Thus is it, that the judgment of an appellate court may falsify a proposition correct when it was penned; that a statute consisting of some few brief clauses may shatter a fabric reared with persistent labour by the commentator. But these considerations should neither discourage the author nor deter the reader. The mishap adverted to is inseparable from our system of jurisprudence. And to abstain from the study of our law because it cannot in all
(a) of which the 21st Edition, containing many valuable notes, was placed at the entire disposal of the writers of this work.