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MANY years have passed since I began this work. then a diligent attendant at the public and private lectures of the respective Readers of the Inns of Court, from which I and others profited much; and I strongly advise students to disregard the invidious remarks that may still be made upon those lectures, for not a few young men who then listened and laboured with delight under those talented lecturers have attained distinguished positions in their profession; and, what is more, if stimulated by DUTY, brighter prospects are before them. Oral tuition not only amplifies the mind, but it attunes the ear, and guides the tongue to fluency of speech. Slight not these public or private lectures of the Readers of the Inns of Court. The advantage is of apparently slow growth; but it grows.
As I said, many years have passed since I first entertained the idea of burdening the mind of the legal student by adding another work upon Blackstone, to whose Commentaries so many talented jurists have since his time done ample justice ; nor would I have transgressed in the present instance, had I not been fully convinced that a voluminous work should not at first be given to the student—that the immature understanding ought not to be loaded at the outset with a mass of technical details which involves much labour and delay ; 'and, indeed, often causes him to desert his studies. My object is to place before the student the "PRINCIPLES OF THE LAWS OF ENGLAND,” adapted to the present state of the law, in the simplest form, excluding all extraneous matter, leaving abstract speculations on the early origin of our laws, old and obsolete enactments, and any discussion thereon, as an after-study for the student; for when he is well grounded in the fundamental principles of English Law and of our Constitution, antiquarian research will then be a source of infinite pleasure to him, instead of a hindrance and a drawback.
In order to fix the attention of the student by exciting thought, I have adopted the interrogatory system; and for facility of reference, have divided the work into Four Books, each Book embracing all the legal points and practical information contained in the respective four volumes of Blackstone as originally written, supplemented by subsequent statutory enactments and important legal decisions. The changes that have taken place in English jurisprudence are concisely explained; and the jurisdiction of our Courts of Law, which has been lately modified and much enlarged, is carefully noted, so as to render BLACKSTONE ECONOMIZED a solid foundation on which the student may build a legal edifice.
If I have succeeded in placing before students preparing for the Legal Profession an elementary work of utility, I shall deem myself well rewarded for the leisure hours of years which I have bestowed upon it; and I sincerely trust that it will aid them in prosecuting a profession which, when followed with dignity and sincerity, is as ennobling as it is useful and advantageous; a profession which, when guided by the conscientiousness of DUTY, elevates man to the highest position that honourable ambition can attain.
I also trust that the present work may be, from its practical nature, useful to all interested in the study of English law, which ought to be universal ; for it is an undeniable fact that a knowledge of the laws of that society in which we live is not only a desirable, but a useful accomplishment; indeed, an essential part of a liberal and polite education ; and it is an equally established fact, that the study of the science of law is the best kind of mental training, conducing to logical precision of thought, to accuracy of language, and to vigour of the reasoning faculty
I must here acknowledge the kind suggestions I received, when I began this work of labour and of love, from my dear departed friend, John Grady, Esq., of the Middle Temple ; and to my esteemed friends, William Heath Bennet, Esq., of the Equity Bar, and W. Cockerell, Esq., of the Norfolk Circuit, I am also indebted for a careful revision of the whole work as it passed through the press.
DAVID MITCHELL AIRD.
3, PUMP COURT, TEMPLE.
July 14, 1873.
OF THE NATURE OF LAWS IN GENERAL.
Declaratory part of the Municipal Law.-The Directory