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Entered, according to act of Congress, in the year 1849, by A. Walker, in the clerk's office of the District Court of the United States, in and for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
When the present volume was undertaken at the request of the late Mr. Justice BALDWIN, and partly printed, near eight years since, it was supposed that in the course of a short time a sufficient number of cases would be decided, in different parts of the Circuit, to complete the book. But the illness of that Judge, his subsequent removal and residence in one of the most remote counties of the Circuit, and, after his death, a vacancy on the Bench for between two and three years, during which the Circuit was without a presiding Judge at all, disappointed these expectations. And when the present Judges took their places on the bench, the business of the Court had so largely departed from it, so much of what remained was fallen into decay, and, indeed, the Court itself had become so unfamiliar to the bar, that notwithstanding the well known character of the new Judges, and their readiness to attend to the business of the Circuit, it was impossible for some time, to bring any thing to a condition in which it could be either heard or disposed of. A jurisdiction entirely new would have had less to contend with in this respect than one thus fallen into desuetude. It is only now, indeed, that the confidence which the new Court so justly inspired, begins to shew itself in the increase of its business, and the revival of its ancient importance.
The Reporter refers to these things only in extenuation of the comparative want- of interest which marks the present publication. Should his enterprise be continued, any future
volume will be found more worthy of approval, not only for the manner of reporting, but also for the importance of the decisions.
A report of the PEA PATCH CASE will be found in the Appendix. It is a case of value; and being a controversy to which the United States was a party, is not unsuitably placed in connexion with decisions of the Courts of the United States, to which, by the Constitution, such controversies belong. Indeed, it would have been tried and decided by the Court of this Circuit, had not the controversy, by putting in issue a question of boundary, involved also the right of any Circuit to try it. A special tribunal was indispensable; and the name of Mr. SERGEANT, by whose decision the controversy was finally settled, will not detract, it is supposed, from either the value or the interest of the case.
It is the Reporter's duty to add, that he has in several cases reported merely such points as he supposed novel or important; discarding, sometimes with no mention, other matters independent of them, and which in his judgment were well settled before, or were not worth reporting at any time. It is proper also to say that most of the opinions in Judge Baldwin's time, and some of the short ones since, are given in the language of the reporter; no opinions written out for publication having been delivered to him.
The late J. B. Wallace, Esq. published, about fifty years ago, a pamphlet containing a few cases decided in this Circuit as it was organized for about a year in the presidency of the elder Adams. The pamphlet has been re-printed since his death and being cited as Wallace's Reports, the present work is distinguished as 'Wallace Junior.'