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When the first volume of these Commentaries was published, it was hoped and expected that a second would be sufficient to include the remainder of the Lectures which had been delivered in Columbia College. But, in revising them for the press, some parts required to be suppressed, others to be considerably enlarged, and the arrangement of the whole to be altered and improved. A third volume has accordingly become requisite,1 to embrace that remaining portion of the work which treats of commercial law, and of the doctrines of real estates, and the incorporeal rights and privileges incident to them.
It is probable that, in some instances, I may have been led into more detail than may be thought consistent with the plan of the publication. My apology is to be found in the difficulty of being really useful on some branches of the law, without going far into practical illustrations, and stating, as far as I was able, with precision and accuracy, the established distinctions. Such a detail, however, has been, and will hereafter be, avoided as much as possible; for the knowledge that is intended to be communicated in these volumes is believed to be, in most cases, of general application, and is of that elementary kind, which is not only essential to every person who pursues the science of the law as a practical profession, but is deemed useful and ornamental to gentlemen in
1 This appeared in 1828, and a fourth volume was required, and appeared in 1830.
every pursuit, and especially to those who are to assume places of public trust, and to take a share in the business and in the councils of our country.
New York, November 17, 1827.
Note By The Author. — When the iV. Y. Revised Statutes are cited in this work, the first edition, of 1829, is generally referred to; and if the last edition, of 1846, be referred to, it is cited as New York Revised Statutes, Sd edition; and if the citation of the 3d edition be by the page, the reference is to the new paging at the top of each leaf. Whenever I have had occasion to refer, in this new edition of the Commentaries, to any of the New York statutes, I have always cited from the 3d edition; but, in other respects, the reference to the 1st edition of the New York Revised Statutes remains undisturbed; and I have not thought it worth the trouble of altering that reference, inasmuch as the paging to the first edition of the statutes is preserved in the margin to the 3d edition.
TO THE TENTH EDITION.
In preparing this edition of the Commentaries, the main object has been to present the law as it now exists. Accordingly, all accessible statutes and reports, both English and American, have been examined, and care has been taken not to overlook any statr ute or decision which has either modified the force, or varied the application of the principles stated in the text. The text and Author's notes have not been touched, except to correct some slight verbal inaccuracies which had evidently crept into them. All the new, and a large number of the old citations, have been verified. In some instances, the notes added since the Author's death have been omitted, where time and change rendered them superfluous.
The admirable manner in which the last edition was edited rendered the task of preparing the present edition comparatively easy; but the field of the Commentaries is so extensive, and reports and statute books multiply so fast, that the labor has not been inconsiderable. It is hoped that the result may, in the words of Bacon, "yield use and profit to the students and professors of our laws."
It is proper to state that the larger portion of the new matter has been added by Mr. Forman.
Valuable assistance has been rendered, in preparing part of the fourth volume, by Mr. Washington R. Nichols, of the New York Bar.
RICHARD A. McCURDY.
New Yoek, August 1, 1860.
OP THE LAW OP NATIONS.