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The several Courts of Westminster-Hall,
1746 TO 1779:
BY THE HONOURABLE
SIR WILLIAM BLACKSTONE, KNT.
ONE OF THE JUSTICES OF THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS:
MEMOIRS OF HIS LIFE.
COPIOUS NOTES AND REFERENCES,
FROM THE MSS. OF THE LATE MR. SERJT. HILL:
CHARLES HENEAGE ELSLEY, ESQ.
OF THE MIDDLE TEMPLE, BARRISTER AT LAW.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
AND STEVENS & SONS, 39, BELL YARD, LINCOLN'S INN;
Law Booksellers and Publishers:
TO THE SECOND EDITION
IN presenting this Edition of the Reports of the late Sir WilLIAM BLACKSTONE to the Profession, it will probably not be thought impertinent to make a few remarks upon the former or original Edition; and it will be necessary to give some account in what manner and with what view the present one has been attempted.
The former or first Edition was a posthumous one; but that it was intended for publication by the learned Judge, appears from a clause in his will, directing, “ That his MS. Reports of Cases determined in Westminster Hall, taken by himself, and contained in several large note books, be published after his decease." But though they were thus, in a manner, bequeathed by this celebrated author to the public; and though it is said in the Preface to the first edition, that they were prepared by him, even to an index and a table of matters, and the editor of that edition is of opinion that they are only such "as he had selected out of many, from his rough notes:" yet the learned reporter himself speaks of them as being contained “ in note books;" and, indeed, they bear internal evidence of being mere notes. They consist of short broken sentences; the grammatical construction is imperfect, and the syntax is incomplete: the cases contain only the heads of the argument or judgment, from which a complete report might have been formed; and it is not to be supposed, but that the elegant writer of the