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If the Editors had foreseen the delay that arose in the preparation of the present Edition, which has been more than two years in the press, they would have hesitated to undertake the task; and they still look with dissatisfaction at some portions of the book which have been wholly or in part re-written since the First Edition appeared, and which involving as they do the consideration of so many decisions of our Courts, together with an increasing mass of Statutes and Orders in Council, have presented difficulties of arrangement which rendered it impossible for the Editors to make their work either so concise or orderly as they could have desired. It was considered, however, better to sacrifice style rather than substance, and to present in detail the results of Statutes and decisions, rather than to state general propositions, which are of but little use to the practical
The Editors desire to acknowledge the great assistance which they have received from Mr. Charles Fuhr Jemmett, B.C.L., of the Inner Temple and Lincoln's Inn, who, besides rendering constant help in revising the MS. and proofs, has prepared the Pilotage Tables and the Indexes; and also from Sir P. Benson Maxwell, who, as an old friend of the original Authors, bestowed upon the work, while in MS., many valuable criticisms.
To Mr. Douglas Forster, formerly of the Northern Circuit, now of Cape Town, South Africa, the Editors are indebted for valuable help at the commencement of their labours in preparing the MS. for the press.
The Editors have further to express their thanks for assistance rendered them during the progress of the book as well by the Admiralty Office, the Foreign Office, the Board of Trade, the Commissioners of Customs, the Privy Council Office and other public departments, as by the Secretary of the Trinity House of Deptford Strond, the Secretaries of the Trinity Houses of Newcastle and Hull and other pilotage authorities in England and Wales.
The Table of Cases has been prepared by Mr. Herbert C. Pollock, M.A., of the Inner Temple.
The Appendix has increased to an unexpected bulk; but as the work advanced the Editors became convinced that a complete compilation of Statutes and Orders in Council relating to Merchant Shipping would form a most useful addition to it. From 1854 to 1880 there has been a succession of Acts of Parliament relating to Merchant Shipping or Merchant Seamen. Only in the years 1857, 1858 and 1860 was this branch of the law left unaltered. Not a few of the later provisions are hard to reconcile with earlier ones left unrepealed, and the whole series constitutes a legislative labyrinth of recent growth without precedent in any other branch of the law.
Another source of complexity arises from the existence of a multitude of Orders in Council relating to Merchant Shipping which have the force of Acts of Parliament, and are not ordinarily to be found except in the columns of the Gazette. These Orders in Council, with the exception of a few of minor importance, are included in the Appendix.
A full Index has been added to the Appendix, and it is hoped that this the first attempt that has ever been made to present in one volume the text of all important provisions having the force of law relating to Merchant Shipping in such a form as to be easily referred to, will be found to be of service, not only to the legal profession but to consuls at foreign ports, to commanders of Queen's ships, as well as to shipowners and others concerned in shipping.
The Pilotage Tables in the Appendix contain much information compressed into a very small space.
The Ancient Maritime Laws of Europe, when referred to, are cited, as in the earlier editions, from the text, and according to the divisions adopted by M. Pardessus in his “ Collection de Lois Maritimes, Paris, 1828."
The Editions of the Text Books by English and American writers which are referred to are as follows:
Molloy de Jure Maritimo, 9th Edit. London. 1769.
American Edition, by Story and Perkins.
TO THE FIRST EDITION.
The object of the Writers of this Book has been to provide a Compendium of the Law relating to Merchant Shipping in as small a compass as is consistent with the importance and extent of the subject. The plan adopted has been to confine the text of the Work to the Law of England as it now exists, whether it depend upon statutory enactment or upon the decisions of the Courts of this country; reserving for the notes such remarks upon our own earlier law, and such notices of the laws of foreign countries, as have appeared directly to explain the principles of the existing law.