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See Toulmin's edition, of 1802, a valuable collection. And Virginia very carefully adopted the laws of England, in force, 4th James I., when Virginia was settled, applicable to her situation. (See the edition of her laws, A. D. 1661, &c. &c.) Hence, usually, in stating the law of either of these two States, we state that of both; and much of both is found in the decisions, as to the District of Columbia; a part of which is mainly governed by Virginia law.

The reader will observe that the chapter and articles, throughout this work, are noted near the top of each page, and in the margin in each, to enable the reader readily to find and chapter, article, and section. So to find any division or matter, each general subject, as contracts, assumpsit, case, debt, pleadings, &c. is stated at the top of the left hand page; and each particular subject at the top of the right hand page; and he will readily know from what court, country, or State the law is taken, by noticing the authors cited.

As to the inquiry sometimes made, why the publication of this work has been delayed to so late a period in the author's life; it may perhaps be sufficient to observe, that a very large part of our law has in rapid increase, revisions, and alterations, come into existence of late years, and it is now to be hoped that the flood will fluctuate less, after so many revisions of State law, and the change of opinion as to law imported; especially late chancery decisions. On a fair examination it will be found, that no law work in the English language has ever required so much labour, research, and revision, as this has ; especially in deciding what law, in a monarchy once feudal, is in force in a free republic; what State law, in so many States, is annulled or altered by national law ; and which of the authorities on a subject, of late so vastly multiplied, are most to be relied on; or what is the legal result of all, especially when often diverse, and sometimes contradictory. So sensible of these and other difficulties has the writer been, that had his health, and habits of studying closely, failed him, even at the age of sixty-five, there would have been no publication; and now it is essentially influenced by the opinions of others highly estimated.

When a work so large, and in some measure sui generis, is offered to the gentlemen of the profession, and so formed as to be examined as a whole, in order to judge of it correctly; and this cannot be readily done, nor until after all the eight volumes shall have been published, it has been obvious that some other mode must be adopted, to enable them more expeditiously to form opinions of it, though not so perfect as such examination. This secondary way is found in the opinions of eminent men, well known, given of it; who have actually examined large, and different parts of it. Thinking this second method important, as others often have, in Nov. 1819, this undertaking was submitted to the ex3

VOL. 1.

amination of an eminent judge, well known in all parts of the Union, who examined the general plan, and divisions 8, 9, 10, 23, 24, 25, 26, & 28, and some other parts, in all about one third of the whole. His opinion, given in May 1821, (lately published at large) is, in substance, that the titles he examined "exhibit a far more complete and methodical view of the law, than the corresponding titles of any abridgment now in general use ;"" and that it will peculiarly facilitate the labours of students in the profession." In June 1822, the important chapter on insurance was submitted to a gentleman of the law, on account of his superior knowledge of the law on that subject; his opinion (so lately published) is in substance, that "within his knowledge, there is no digest of the law of insurance, equally compendious, so useful as this chapter will be to the profession ;" that "the division and arrangement of the different subjects appear to be methodical and perspicuous;" "principles, upon which the cases in the several points depend, are concisely and clearly stated," and his opinion, that "all the cases of any importance, which have been decided by the courts in England and the United States, are quoted, and most of them either judiciously abridged, or the points stated." And it is now to be clearly understood that the parts, not so examined, have been as faithfully executed as those that have; and since it was, in November 1819, so submitted, the author has diligently laboured on it, near four years.

On the whole, all will agree that a large work of this kind is wanted; that but few lawyers will engage in such undertakings, and none eminent as speakers, or always crowded with business. In this enterprise, the object has been invariably to serve the cause of American law. Having thus proceeded, a publication being much urged and sufficiently encouraged; and very liberally, where he had practised law in Massachusetts and Maine; he now submits his labours to learned and liberal profession, sincerely wishing this first essay to form a general, abridged, and digested system of American law, on a large and national plan, wherein many intricate parts are examined, may in time, lead to one more perfect. Hoping this introduction and the body of the work will satisfy all who shall examine it, and the existing and past condition of our laws, it is not published until after every effort has been made to render it useful, especially to the junior part of the profession, most of whose libraries are necessarily small.


THIS short Index, with the aid of the Table of Contents that follows, will enable
the reader conveniently to find the most material matters, prior to printing a co-
pious Index in the last volume.

N. B. As the volumes are not printed, it now cannot be precisely known which
Chapters each will include; but calculated thus: 1st Vol. Ch. 1 to 34; 2d Vol.
Ch. 35 to 70; and each volume averaging about 33 Chapters, except the 8th,
which will contain the said Index and Table of Cases, &c.

Abandonment, see Insurance, ch. 40.
Abatement of writs, ch. 176.
Abeyance, ch. 114, a. 19.
Acceptance, plea of, ch. 179, a. 2.
Accord and satisfaction pleaded, ch. 155,
and cases therein referred to.
Accessaries and principals, ch. 197, a. 8,


Account, action of, ch. 8, ch. 178, a. 8.
Acquittance pleaded, ch. 156.
Actions, general principles, ch. 3 to 7.
Administrators, see Executors, &c. ch. 29.
Admiralty, ch. 186, a. 5 to 11.
Adultery, ch. 198, a. 9.

Advancement, ch. 178, a. 19.

Affidavits and depositions, ch. 87.
Affrays, ch. 201, a. 2.

Agent, his acts, ch. 59, a. 1 to 10, his ev-
idence, ch. 90, a 2, and principal, ch.
9, a. 18, as to contracts.
Agistment, ch. 10.
Agreements, and when to be in writing
or not, ch. 11.

Apprentices, Assum. ch. 12, Covenant,
ch. 102.

20, ch. 32, a. 7.
Appeals, ch. 188, and cases in, ch. 187.

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Attornies, &c. ch. 15.

Auction, ch. 16, and in ch. 9, a. 5, ch. 11,

a. 4

Aid prayer, ch. 127, a. 3.

Aliens, estates held by, see Estate, ch.125,
when they can sue, ch. 3, a. 2, pleas
by, ch. 170, a. 4.
Alluvion, ch. 76. a. 1.
Ambassadors, &c. &c. ch. 199, a. 10, a. 11. Auter droit, ch. 9, a. 19.
Amendments, ch. 184, ch. 185.
Annuity, ch. 140.
Another's debt, promise to pay, ch. 9, a.

Audita querela, ch. 186, a. 1.
Auterfoits attaint, acquit, &c. ch. 193,

a. 36.

Authority, (powers,) ch. 135, a. 6, ch.
187, a. 17.

Averments, ch. 177, a. 9.
Avowry, ch. 171, a. 12, &c.
Bail, see Recognisance bail, ch. 150.

Bailment, Assum. ch. 17, Debt, 142.
Bankruptcy, ch. 18, fraudulent, ch. 201,

a. 6.

Bar, general pleas in, ch. 179. a. 1, &c.
ch. 91, a. 1, &c.

Bargain and sale, ch. 113. a. 1.
Baron and feme, generally, ch. 19, when
witnesses, ch. 90, a. 7, join in actions
or not, ch. 175, a. 2.
Barretry, ch. 202, a. 1, &c.
Bastard children, cb. 60, ch. 223, a. 11.
Bawdy houses, ch. 198, a. 11.
Benefit of clergy, ch. 193, a. 40.
Bills of exchange and negotiable con-
tracts, ch. 20, ch. 142, parties to, wit-
nesses or not, ch. 90, a. 10,
of lading, ch. 21.

of exceptions, ch. 100.
Blasphemy, ch. 198, a. 2.
Bonds, debt on, &c. ch. 144.
Books public and private,in evidence, ch.


Bottomry interest, ch. 76, a. 3.
Boundaries, ch. 89, a. 3, &c. ch. 101, a.5.
Breaking doors, ch. 65, a. 3.
Bribery, ch. 202, a. 5.

Burglary, ch. 212, a. 7 to 11, a house
what, a. 3.

Bye-laws, &c. see Corporations, ch. 22,
ch. 143.

Captures in war, ch. 227.

Carriers, ch. 23.

Case, actions of, on torts, ch. 58 to 79,
see several heads and table of con-
tents, general principles, ch. 58.
Case against one for the acts of his
agents or servants, ch. 59.
Certiorari, ch. 138.
Challenges of jurors, ch. 221, a. 4, &c.
ch. 222, a. 17.

Champerty and maintenance, ch. 202, a.

9, &c.

Character in issue, ch. 84.

Charter-party, ch. 103.

Chattels, ch. 130, a. 6, ch. 133, a. 3, &c.
Cheating, deceits, and frauds, ch. 203.
Chose in action, ch. 24.
Cognizance claimed, ch. 177, a. 5, ch.

187, a. 19, made, ch. 171, a. 7, to 13.
Coins, &c. laws as to, ch. 200, a. 2, &c.
Columbia, District of, titles, &c. ch. 223,
a. 18.

Construction, various rules of, ch. 101, a.
5, ch. 144, a. 9.

Contracts, generally, ch. 1, a. 1, &c. ch.


Convicts, ch. 221, a. 7. &c.
Conveyances, ch. 104 to 117, see sever-
al heads and table of contents.

Commitment, ch. 220, a 2.
Common recoveries, ch. 115, a. 5.
Complaint of offences, ch. 217, a. 2.
Conditions and defeasances, ch. 111.
Confession and admission, ch. 83.
Confirmation, ch. 110, a. 6, ch. 139, a. 8.
Confiscation, ch. 108, a. 4, ch. 131, a. 3,


Conjuration, sorcery, &c. ch. 198, a. 7.
Considerations, ch. 1, a. 8 to 53.
Consignment, ch. 29.
Conspiracy, ch. 204, a. 2.

on Mass. Statutes, ch. 108, modes
of, ch. 109, principles ef English con-
veyances adopted here, ch. 110.
Copies and certificates in evidence, ch.


Copy-rights and patents, ch. 61.
Coroner, ch. 75, a. 2, a. 8, his inquest,
ch. 219, a. 5, &c.

Corporations, &c. ch. 26, ch. 143, shares
in, ch. 76, a. 2, a. 10, corporators, wit-
nesses, ch. 90, a. 4.
Costs, ch. 195.
Courts, Federal and State, their powers
and duties, and how instituted, ch. 187.
Covenant, on what words it lies or not,
in law, and rules of construction, ch.
101, see ch. 102, ch. 103, above.

to convey lands, ch. 114, a. 2,
on what interest, seizin, &c., and pos-
session, ch. 104, which runs with the
land or not, ch. 105.

which bind heirs, executors, ad-
ministrators, wives, assignees, &c. or
not, ch. 106. joint and several, ch. 107.
of seizin, rights, warranty, and
as to incumbrances, ch. 115.

as to quiet enjoyment and sav-
ing harmless, ch. 116.

to repair and pay rent, ch. 117.
- mutual, independent, and concur.
rent, ch. 118.

lies in several cases, estoppels,
also to pay taxes, &c. ch. 119.

breach of, ch. 120, pleadings in
by defts., ch. 121, rescinded, ch. 122.
pleas in, on several heads, ch.
123, ch. 124.
Coverture in abatement, ch. 176, a. 7, in
bar, ch. 179, a. 6.

Crimes, offences, and punishments, ch.
197 to 222, see several heads, and ta-
ble of contents.

Customs and presctions, ch. 26, ch.
143, a. 12, ch. 79, a. 3.
Damages, ch. 28, ch. 85.

Damage feasant, ch. 2, a. 5, ch. 171, a.


Day, dates, calendar, month, ch. 27.
Dead bodies protected, ch. 218, a. 2.
Debt, action of, ch. 139 to ch. 170, ch.

178, a. 12, &c. see several heads and
table of contents.

Deceit, civil action, ch. 62, and a. 7, in
ch. 32.

Declarations, rules, and cases as to, ch
175, a. 1, &c.

Deeds, ch. 86, ch. 109, a. 3, &e.

Defamation and libel, ch. 63.
Defaults, ch. 175, a. 14.
Deforcement, ch. 178, a. 23.
Demurrers to evidence, ch. 100.
generally, ch. 181.
Departure, ch. 180, a. 4.
Depositions and affidavits, ch. 87.
Devise of estates, see Estates, ch. 125, Factors, ch. 30.

Discontinuance of actions, ch, 175, a.
11, of estates, ch. 114, a. 30.
Distress, as an execution, ch. 136, a. 15,
&c. ch. 151, a. 1.

Disturbance in elections, &c. ch. 64.
Double pleadings, ch. 180, a. 3, duplicity
in, a. 2.

Dower, ch. 130, a. 4, ch. 178, a. 13.
Drains, &c. ch. 208, a. 12, s. 21.
Duress and per minas, ch. 158, a. 1, in
ch. 144, ch. 197, a. 6.
Earnest paid, ch. 11, a. 2, a. 4, ch. 139,

a. 8.

Ease and favour, ch. 144, a. 14, &c. ch.
148, a. 8.

Eaves-droppers, ch. 208, a. 4.
Ejectment, see Land-actions, ch. 178.
Elections, ch. 64, a. 4, ch. 204, a. 8.
Embezzling public stores, &c. ch. 200, a.


Emblements, ch. 76, a. 6.
Embracery, ch. 204, a. 7.
Endorsement of writs, ch. 175, a. 9.
Entry of actions, ch. 175, a. 11.
Entry on lands, ch. 2, a. 3, ch. 132.
Entry, the writ of, ch. 178, a. 15, &c.
Equity, ch. 1, a. 7, s. 33 to 50, ch. 9, a. 1,
a. 5, ch. 11, a. 6, ch. 19, a. 2, ch. 32, a.
12, &c. ch. 114, a. 27, ch. 193, a. 21,
&c. ch. 225, ch. 226.
Error, ch. 137, cases in, ch. 187, ch. 224,
a. S, a. 10.

Exchange of lands, ch. 110, a. 7, of goods,
ch. 77, a. 5.

Escapes, false returns, rescues, and ex-
emption from arrests, ch. 65, ch. 204,
a. 9, ch. 144, a. 16.
Escrows, deeds delivered, ch. 159.
Estates generally, ch. 125, by descent,

ch. 125, ch. 126, by purchase, ch. 125,
by limitation, ch. 125, by devise, ch.
127, in fee, ch. 128, in tail, ch. 129,
for life, ch. 130, by aliens, ch. 131, by
entry and possession, ch. 132, for years,
at will, and sufferance, ch. 133, in
goods, in common, coparcenary, and
joint tenancy, ch. 134, in reversion
and remainder, ch. 135, by forfeiture,
and executions levied, ch. 136.
Estoppels, ch. 160 and 177, a. 8.
Estrays, ch. 76, a. 7.
Evidence, ch. 80 to 99, see each head,
and table of general rules and maxims,
ch. 80.
Exceptions in deeds, ch. 109, a. 4, in
statutes, ch. 196, a. 3, ch. 221, a. 13.

Executions, ch. 75, a. 8, &c. ch. 136, a.
5 to 19.

Executors and administrators, ch. 29,
how bound, ch. 106, a. 2.
Extortion, ch. 204, a. 11.

False imprisonment, ch. 172, a. 9.
Fees, ch. 31, ch. 49, ch. 144, a. 15.
Felony, ch. 200, &c. see each head and
table of contents.

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Freight, ch. 33.

Fully administered, ch. 179, a. 15.
Gaming, Ass. ch. 34. debt, ch. 145, ind.
ch. 206, a. 1, a. 2.
Gift, deed of, ch. 110, a. 1.
Giving colour in pleading, ch. 177, a. 10,
ch. 178, a. 24.

Goods, life estates in, ch. 130, a. 6, lost,
ch. 70, a. 7.
Grants, ch. 110, a. 2.
Guardians, minors, idiots, persons non
compos, &c. ch. 35, first witnesses, ch.
90, a. 6.

Habeas corpus, ch. 172, a. 9, ch. 220, a.3.
Handwriting, how evidence or not, ch.


Hearsay and reputation, evidence or not,
ch. 89.

Homicide, ch. 212, a. 2.
Horce-racing, ch. 208, a. 8.
Hypothecation, ch. 188, a. 6.
Idle persons, ch. 206, a. 4.
Idolatry, ch. 198, a. 3.
Imparlance, ch. 175, a. 18.
Impeachment, ch. 222.

Implied promises, ch. 9, a 21, a. 22.
Incest, ch. 46, a. 2, ch. 198, a. 9.
Indebitatus assumpsit, ch. 36.
Indictments, ch. 218.

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