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The main object had in mind in this edition has been to modernize thoroughly both the text and references, in order to bring the treatise up to date and to show the great changes in admiralty law which have taken place, both by statute and by judicial decision, since the publication of the first edition.
On account of these changes, much of the first edition has become obsolete, and discussion of questions then unsettled has been obviated by their subsequent settlement.
It is not claimed as a feature of this book that it cites all or any large proportion of cases on a given subject. Nothing is more laborious or difficult than the selection of the references. Frequently the two or three cases cited in a footnote are the survivors of a dozen or more that had to be examined or weighed. The rank of the court, the reputation of the judge, the reasoning and style, all must be considered and balanced. Printing an opinion may render it more accessible, but does not add to its value. There is no alchemy in print to transform a baser metal into gold.
This edition has had the general practitioner in view rather more than the first edition, which was largely intended as a text-book for law schools. · The Table of Illustrative Cases contained in the first edition has been omitted, but many leading cases are printed in capitals throughout the text as a means of directing special attention to them.
Though it is impossible to make the paging of the new edition conform to the old, it has been found feasible to preserve the original numbering of the black-letter sections. This will facilitate referring from one edition to the othera matter of some importance, as the courts have frequently done the author the honor of citing the work.
The author desires to make special acknowledgment to Professor George B. Eager, Jr., of the University of Virginia, for valuable suggestions, and to the publishers for their readiness at all times to aid with all descriptions of labor-saving devices. NORFOLK, VIRGINIA,
January 12, 1920.
The germ of this treatise is a series of lectures on admiralty law, which the author has been giving to the senior law class at Washington and Lee University for the past few years. His experience there has emphasized the need of a text-book on marine law. Probably the lack of such a text-book is the explanation of the scant attention given to the subject in the law schools; but its constantly increasing importance seems now to demand more elaborate treatment than it has heretofore received. This is especially true in view of the recent important legislation bearing upon the subject, and its intimate connection with many other topics which are usually treated more fully, such as the law of carriers and the general substantive law in relation both to contracts and to torts. To meet the need of such a text-book, this treatise has been prepared. It is intended to be elementary, and is so arranged that those schools which give but slight attention to the subject of admiralty can use it by omitting certain chapters, and those which desire to give it more emphasis can supplement the text by the use of the table of leading cases, which are printed in large capitals throughout the book, and for which a special index has been prepared, giving an outline of the points passed upon by them.
The author hopes, also, that the book will be found useful to the very large class of general practitioners who wish to be in position to answer ordinary routine questions of admiralty law arising in practice. The failure of the law schools to treat this subject at any length results in the failure of the young bar generally to know anything about it when they first commence to practice. It is hoped that this book will enable them to acquire a bird's-eye view of the subject during those leisure hours which usually fall heavily upon the younger practitioner, and that it will also enable the more experienced general practitioners who do not make a specialty of admiralty to advise, at least on current questions, without the necessity of consulting a specialist.
In view of the elementary character of the work, the author cannot hope that the specialist in admiralty will find anything novel in his treatment of the subject, unless, perhaps, in one or two chapters where the law is not yet crystallized into very definite shape,-such as the chapter on death injuries and the chapter on the subject of damages,and where the author's views may be of interest. At the same time, it is believed that the insertion in the appendix or in the main text of practically all the statutes which the admiralty practitioner usually needs will make it a useful vade mecum, obviating the necessity of handling, either in the office or at court, the cumbrous volumes in which these statutes are found. A list of the acts printed in full will be found in the index under the title “Statutes."
The author begs leave to express his acknowledgments to many friends for suggestions and aid. He also wishes to acknowledge publicly the numerous courtesies received at the hand of the publishers.