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as generally useful as the nature of it will allow, great care has been taken to avoid the use of technical phrases, wherever the form and manner of legal proceedings are not the principal points of consideration. The reader, who is of the profession of the law, may, I fear, sometimes be disgusted at this; and at other times censure the awkward expressions substituted for the language, to which his ear is familiar. The only excuse, that can be offered for the latter fault, is the difficulty of ex. pressing ideas, to which the mind is habituated, in any other words, than those to which we are accustomed : a difficulty, of which the conversation of all persons, who are engaged in any art or science, furnishes daily experience.
The treatise now offered to the public is compiled not only from the text writers of our own nation, and the reporters of the decisions of our own Courts, but also from the books of the Civil Law, and from such of the maritime laws of foreign nations, and the works of foreign writers, as I have been able to obtain a knowledge of. A few decisions of the House of Lords, are quoted from the printed statements delivered by the contending parties and the Journals of the House. Some judgments pronounced by English Judges are also introduced, which have not hitherto been made public; for the most valuable part of these I am indebted to Mr. Justice Lawrence, and particularly for the cases of Parish and Crawford, Appleby and Pollock, and Day and Searle ; the case of Mackreil against Simond and Hankey was communicated to me by the late Mr. Justice Buller, who, when at the bar, argued it on behalf of the Defendants; the rest are cited from noies taken by myself or my professional friends. Indeed I am indebted to my friends not only for assistance of this kind, but also for the loan of scarce books, the correction of some errors, and the suggestion of many valuable hints for the improvement of the work. Of the assistance thus afforded me I shall ever entertain the most grate. ful remembrance, and my reader will experience the advantage in many parts of this book.
The Ordinances most frequently quoted are those of Oleron and Wisbuy, the two Ordinances of the Hanse-Towns, and the Ordonnance de la Marine du mois d'Aoust 1681. The Ordinances of Oleron and Wisbuy and the first Hanseatic Ordinance are in the hands of every lawyer: and whenever the Hanseatic Ordinance is mentioned generally, the reader will understand this to be spoken of. The Hanseatic Ordinance of the year 1614 was published with a Latin translation and commentary by Kuricke in a small quarto at Hamburgh in the year 1677. This book is very scarce in this country : the Ordinance itself is arranged and divided, and contains some additional regulations ; which however are little more than a detail of the principles comprized in the first Ordinance. Reference is also occasionally made to such other foreign Ordinances as are to be found in the second volume of Magen's Essay on Insurances. I have often lamented my inability to consult the earliest maritime code of modern Europe, the Consolato del Mare. There is an old French translation of this body of laws, but I could never meet with it, and I am ignor. ant of the Spanish and Italian languages. Whenever therefore I have referred to this code, the reference is taken from the work of some otheir author: and it is made for the purpose of giving an opportunity of consulting the original to those, whose superior attainments enable them to do so. The Ordinance of Louis the Fourteenth is quot. ed from the edition published with a most learn. ed and valuable commentary by Valin in two volumes quarto at Rochelle in the year 1766, and is cited by the name of the French Ordinance. An English translation of the whole of this Or. dinance is contained in a book called, “ A gener. al Treatise of the Dominion of the Sea, and a complete Body of Sea Laws,” published in quarto in the early part of the last century. The translation is divided into sections, and not like the French of Valin into books and titles; but the subjects and articles of the sections in the English are the same as those of the titles in the French; and as the latter are always cited in the notes to this treatise, recourse may be had to the English translation with very little difficulty. If the reader should be offended at the frequent re. ferences to this Ordinance, I must request him to recollect that those references are made to the maritime code of a great commercial nation, which has attributed much of its national pros. perity to that code : a code, composed in the reign of a politic Prince ; under the auspices of a wise and enlighted Minister; by laborious and learned persons, who selected the most valuable principles of all the maritime laws then existing ; and which in matter, method, and style, is one of the most finished acts of legislation that ever was promulgated.
The writings of some foreign authors are also occasionally cited ; particularly the Notabilia of Roccus, and the treatises of Pothier and Emerigon. The Notabilia of Roccus are an abstract of the most useful points contained in the works of earlier authors, and in the digest and code of Justinian. Where this author is cited generally
the reference is to the Notabilia de Navibus et Naulo. The treatises of Pothier are remarkable for the accuracy of the principles contained in them, the perspicuity of their arrangement, and the elegance of their style. The treatise of Eme. rigon is peculiarly valuable for its extent of learned research, and the numerous and apt citations of the texts of the Civil Law and of the Marine Ordinances, the opinions of former writers, and the adjudications of the courts of Justice of his own country, which are to be found in every part of it.
It should be observed, however, not only of all these treatises, but also of the Civil law, and the Ordinances, without excepting even the Ordi. nance of Oleron (which, being considered as the edict of an English Prince, has been received with peculiar attention in the Court of Admiral. ty), that they have not the binding force or au. thority of law in this country; and that they are here quoted, sometimes to illustrate principles generally admitted and received; sometimes to shew the opinion of learned persons, and the rule adopted in maritime nations upon points not hitherto settled by the authority of our own law ; and at other times to furnish information, that may be useful in our commercial intercourse with
foreigihe compositio arrange anions of Conerefore
In the composition of this treatise my object has been rather to arrange and illustrate principles, than to collect the decisions of Courts or the Acts of the legislature. The cases therefore are, with a few exceptions, stated in a concise manner; and the clauses of Acts of Parliament are abridged, whenever an abridgement seemed likely to to be as satisfactory to ihe reader as a transcript. Of the institutions of written law
the precise words are often necessary to a right understanding of the intention of the lawgiver. I should have saved myself much both of time and labour, if I had copied more and abridged less.
There are few reported decisions of our Courts of Justice, from which some useful principle may not be extracted ; and I have therefore searched the books of reports with much assiduity. Ney. ertheless I am apprehensive that some valuable cases may have escaped my attention; and I shall feel myself greatly indebted to any one who will point out to me such omissions of this kind, as may fall under his notice, or acquaint me with any other defects or errors, that he may observe.
Relying on the kindness of those, who may peruse the book with a friendly disposition to its author, and the candor of those, who may look into it for the sake of information alone, I now offer it to the Public, and to the Profession of which I am a member, with a sincere desire that it may be found useful to both.
Inner Temple, Jan. 25th, 1802.