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"THE Commercial, equally with other branches of the common law, grew up out of personal usage, and the principle of growth or adaptation to the wants of the commercial world, remain inherent in the system." Estimating the importance of this book with reference to the amount of property afloat in the shape of bills, notes, and checks, the magnitude of our shipping interests, the complexity of our business in all its branches, there never has been a time when it called for greater accuracy and discrimination, or invited the attention of merchants and professional men with motives of equal urgency.
"The New York Journal of Commerce," for more than a quarter of a century, has been the recognized authority throughout this broad land, in commercial matters viewed in the most comprehensive sense of the term. Among the departments of this journal, its editor, David M. Stone, Esq., has for many years devoted one or more columns daily, owing to the demands of many thousand subscribers, to answering the questions of these subscribers on the important and every-day usages and principles employed in every known business of the civilized world. From these columns known as "Replies and Decisions," we have selected with great care and with the combined judgment of a lawyer and of a business man, those which are in vogue to day and of vital importance to every business man as well as to those who have relations with business men, particularly the lawyer.
The selections comprehending the usages and principles in practice in the numberless branches of business, are arranged alphabetically, according to the subject-matter, and under their appropriate heads and subdivisions, together with a careful index alphabetically arranged and subdivided, so as to enable the most indifferent reader to find the question or subject-matter desired, giving the number of the page, and the number of the question on the page. We have avoided repetition of matter, and presented the "Replies and Decisions," as they appeared in "The Journal of Commerce," and hence disclaim any originality for the subject-matter. Our selections from the files of "The New York
Journal of Commerce," are taken for a number of years sufficient to embrace the many heads or subject-matter as appear in the table of contents. They contain the usage, principles, and authorities, and are free from technical language save where technical terms are absolutely necessary, and so as to be understood by every one. This book will by no means rank among commercial law books, for it does not con. tain the principle or the theoretical basis of such a work, and it is far from its province. It is the actual, applied and every-day usage of commerce which makes this an essential work of reference for every man in business, and applicable to all the states throughout the union, for it is the common law, and wheresoever the statutes of a particular state govern the question, the name of the state is given in the body of the book, as well as in the index. Where the matter should appear under more than one head in the index, it is cross-indexed, so as to insure its being readily found as well as to avoid repetition in the body of the book. The arrangement of the subject-matter, including the classification of topics and a complete index of every question, will be found to be highly practical in its simplicity.
From the encouragement given by bankers, exporters and importers, manufacturers, and lawyers, to this undertaking, it is to be hoped that this compilation may be of great and general use to the business and professional men throughout the United States.
NEW YORK, JULY, 1881.