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This book it is hoped may be of use to students ; and is intended to serve as a kind of skeleton, whereon may be subse

a quently adjusted the various ramifications, details, and distinctions, which are to be sought for and found in the great text books.

The general principles of common law are on the whole simple and clear; and it is the mass of cases reported, a large proportion of which turn upon their own peculiar facts, to which facts the general principles have to be applied, that makes each branch of law appear so formidable to the beginner. When once the general principles are firmly planted in the head, the student will follow the cases, which are corollaries or exceptions to those principles, and appreciate the decisions of the judges therein, with facility and profit; but until these general principles are clearly laid hold of, he is overwhelmed with what appears to him a chaotic and heterogeneous mass of legal learning.

I have therefore endeavoured to sketch out a backbone for the student to work upon, which, though I feel it must be very incomplete, will, I trust, enable the reader to marshal his ideas. My object has been, as far as possible, to present a series of legal canons, and to illustrate these, where the meaning and effect would not be absolutely patent to the novice, with short abstracts of reported cases; in this way combining a digest with a collection of leading authorities.

I have adopted the somewhat novel plan of printing in two colours, under the belief that such an arrangement might help the student to take a bird's-eye view of what is contained in these pages; and this plan must constitute my apology for the somewhat fanciful name of a « Rubric of the


Common Law."

C. G. W.


June, 1880.

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