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DICTIONARY OF LAW
THE TERMS AND PHRASES OF AMERICAN JURISPRUDENCE, INCLUDING
THE SPANISH LAW, ETC., ETC.
KEEFE-DAVIDSON LAW BOOK CO.
- رما . ه .ر -
WEBB PUBLISHING CO.. PRESS, ST. PACL, MINX.
The purpose of this dictionary is to present, within one volume of convenient size, every legal definition or other appropriate matter which is requisite to any probable need of the student or the practitioner. It is believed that, on the one hand, both convenience and economy require that a work designed to be primarily a dictionary of the law should not exceed a single volume. On the other hand, no law dictionary is complete if it fails to define every word or phrase, ancient or modern, which the searcher may reasonably expect to find therein. Moreover, while a mere general definition is ordinarily sufficient as to foreign and obsolete terms, yet in respect to those terms of jurisprudence which in themselves describe recognized topics of the law, or are of present interest, or are in a formative state, a bare definition is of no particular value.
These topical terms the authors have endeavored to treat encyclopedically, avoiding the comprehensiveness of a treatise or commentary, but exhibiting all the elements of a subject in a complete and logical manner. They realize that only by those having legislative authority can definitions of such ternis be framed which will be in every particular correct, and, like all writers dealing with modern law, they can do no more than present the result of a critical examination of the adjudged cases. In addition to this, it has been the aim to make the work exhaustive as a glossary, covering all matters within the research, not only of the practitioner and the student of the law, but of the lay student of ancient laws and history. The principal terms of the Saxon, Norman, and Old Scotch law, and of International and Feudal law, with many titles from other foreign systems, and the great variety of entire and fragmentary phrases in various languages to be met with in old law books and records, are defined and explained. Particular attention has been given to the Civil Law, long explanatory articles being devoted to the more important Roman customs and institutions.
There has been considerable discussion in the past as to the propriety of including in a law dictionary terms and phrases no longer in current use. To the authors it seems that a dictionary which does not include such terms fulfills but a small part of its essential purpose. The law of the present day is rooted in the antiquities of the English common law, and that, in its turn, is inextricably interwoven with the law of the civilians. No question of law can be exhaustively investigated without bringing the searcher in contact with a multitude of legal terms and phrases now regarded as obsolete. The authors are unwilling to believe that the modern tendency toward codification and superficial case-learning has progressed so far that there is no longer a demand for the definitions and explanations which will enable the student to trace the doctrines of the law to their head-waters, and the practitioner to investigate particular questions with equal thoroughness.
A considerable collection of the terms of Spanish law has been inserted, in the belief that the annexation and close political relation to the United States of countries lately under Spanish rule will make a definition of such terms desirable to the practitioner.
The collection of maxims of the law is believed to be the most complete ever given in a single work. These maxims are placed throughout the book in their
proper alphabetical order.
While it has been the effort to make the treatment as nearly exhaustive as possible within the realm of the terms of jurisprudence, this very exhaustiveness precludes any excursion beyond the scope of a law dictionary proper. The so-called “adjudged words and phrases,” that is to say, the judicial interpretation of words having no distinctive legal meaning, but interpreted solely in the light of their context or use in particular .connections, have been omitted, as have the ordinary terms of our language having no technical sig. nificance. The technical terms of commerce and of the stock exchange form a well-defined exception, and it is thought that the collection of these is the most extensive ever attempted in a work of this character.
The known and settled habits of the profession in associating particular principles with certain terms have been regarded, and therefore the definitions have, wherever practicable, been given under the specific words deemed most likely to suggest themselves to the searcher, instead of being grouped under some broad generic head. In the interest of space, some few exceptions to this rule have been made: (1) Where a word has several forms, it is defined under that best known or most correct, and from the others a cross-reference made to such definition. (2) Where the treatment of a general head necessarily includes the statement and definition of a number of terms included therein as elements or classes, cross-references are usually made to such general head for such definition, though in many cases a brief definition is given under the specific title, and a reference to the general title for further discussion.
As to the sources from which the matter herein contained was obtained, the basis of the work was the edition of 1867 of Bouvier's Law Dictionary, the original work of Mr. Bouvier, so far as it was consistent with the scope of the present dictionary, being so far classic as to be incapable of improvement, and presenting an elernent of authority which no new production could assume. To this, however, matter was added, more than doubling the number of terms defined, and developing, in the light of modern authorties, the discussion and definition of modern terms, which have been largely reformulated by the authors. The English dictionaries of Sweet, Wharton, and Stroud have been principally resorted to for the explanation of distinctively English terms and institutions, while for the terms of ancient law, free use has been made of the dictionaries of Cowell, Spelman, and Jacob, and the treatises of Bracton, Britton, Viner, Coke, Littleton, Bacon, Blackstone, Chitty, Stephen, and Maine, as well as the American classics of Story, Greenleaf, and Kent.
The terms of the civil law are mainly derived from the Novels, Digest, Institutes, and Code of Justinian, the Lexicon of Calvin, and the treatises of Mackeldey, Heineccius, and Pothier. The scholarly work of Mr. Burrill has been of great assistance. In formulating the definitions of modern terms, reference has always been had to the standard text books dealing with the subject, and the number of these is too great for enumeration, due credit being given in the body of the work for all definitions derived from such sources.
The more modern dictionaries of Anderson, Abbott, Black, and Rapalje & Lawrence have been used for reference and comparison.
The materials collected would have made two volumes of the size of the present work, but by diligent revision and condensation, it is believed that all that was useful and within its scope has been preserved.
WALTER A. SHUMAKER.
GEORGE FOSTER LONGSDORF.