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would not, I think, and the law of lien on ships and cargoes would not, I am certain, have been in that case, what they are now.
I add, that by adhering to my plan of putting very few cases in the text, but making that, as far as I could, a connected and logical statement of all the principles and rules of the law, and placing in the notes the authorities on which they rest with such citations as seem to afford needed illustration, or due qualification, I have succeeded in compressing my work within these two volumes.
Long ago I had become satisfied, that the boundless afluence of existing legal authority, and the rapid increase of the reports of English and American courts, and of other repositories of the law, made it with every passing year, more difficult for a lawyer to possess the means of a thorough investigation, and impossible for him to give the time and labor necessary for such investigation, to the many questions which arise in practice. I was further convinced, that books might be made in which this labor of investigation should be so thoroughly performed, and the results so given in the text, and the authorization and illustration so put forth in the notes, as in most cases to render further research unnecessary, and to make it much easier when necessary. It is this book that I have endeavored to make. The difficulty of accomplishing such a work was obvious; but it did not seem impossible. I knew that it could not be made without the command of a completed library, and that I have here ; and an accumulation and consolidation of the results of a very large amount of intelligent labor, and for this purpose I have added to my own efforts the resources of skilful and zealous industry within my reach. But while I believe that none of the sources of our law have been left unexplored, I dare not hope that I have found every thing of value. The materials thus gathered by me and for me, I have worked over, again and yet again, with unfailing patience at least, whether with success or not. For it has been my single purpose, by the most careful and vigilant elaboration of text and notes, to make as useful a book as I could ; that is, one which should be, on the one hand, complete, and on the other trustworthy. I now give this book to the profession, lamenting its defects, and fearing that it has faults which I do not discern; but believing that I have a right to think that they are not caused by any want of earnest and unremitting endeavor on my own part, to make every page, and every part of every page, as good as I am able to make it.
Of those who aided me most about my previous works, I have spoken in the prefaces to them. I have received valuable assistance in the present work from many persons. I must indulge myself with mentioning particularly, John Lathrop, Esq., of Boston, whose learning and intelligence and faithful industry, and capacity for exhaustive investigation, must soon give him a high place in his profession.
In the Appendix to the first volume will be found a complete collection of all the mercantile statutes and statutory provisions of the United States, together with the pilotage laws of New York and Boston (which may at least serve as a sample of all), and the rules for the navigation of steamers prepared by the Commissioners of the
United States. If I may judge at all by my own wants in years past, such a collection may be of great use to the practical lawyer.
In the Appendix to the second volume, will be found such forms, whether of contract or of practice, as seemed to me most desirable.
HABVARD UNIVERSITY ; DANE LAW SCHOOL.