Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

distinɛt and dis-joined Aphorisms, according to his own Account of them; which however be hath expounded in so excellent a Manner, that the Narrowness of his Plan is therefore the more to be regretted. The Institutes of Sir EDWARD Coke are unfortunately as deficient in Method, as they are rich in Matter: at least, the two first parts of them; wherein, acting only the Part of a Commentator, he hath thrown together an infinite Treasure of Learning in a loose defultory Order. -Dr Cowel hath indeed endeavoured to reduce the Law of ENGLAND, in his Latin Institutions, to the Model of those of JUSTINIAN: And we cannot be surprized, that fo forced and unnatural a Contrivance pould be lame and defective in it's Execution. — Sir HENRY FINCH's Discourse of Law is a Treatise of a very different Character: His Method is greatly superior to all that were before extant; his Text is weighty, concise, and nervous; his Illustrations are appofte, clear, and authentic. But, with all these Advantages, it is not sufficiently adapted to modern Use; since the subsequent Alterations of the Law, by the Abolition of military Tenures, and the Disuse of real Actions, have rendred near balf of bis Book obsolete. Dr WOOD

bas

bas effe&tually removed this Objection, but has fallen into the contrary Extreme; his Institute being little more than Finch's Discourse enlar. ged, and so throughly modernized, as to leave us frequently in the Dark, with regard to the Reason and Original of many still subfisting Laws, which are founded in remote Antiquity. And as in fome Titles his Plan is too contracted, in others also it seems to be too diffuse. Upon the Whole however his work is undoubtedly a valuable Performance; and great are the Obligations of the Student to him, and his Predecesor Finch, for their happy Progress in reducing the Elements of Law from their former Chaos to a regular methodical Science. Yet, as neither could be followed entirely in the proposed Course of academical Lectures, it was judged the most eligible Way not to adopt them in Part; especially as there were extant the Outlines of a still superior Method, sketched by a very masterly Hand.

For, of all the Schemes hitherto made public for digesting the Laws of ENGLAND, the most natural and scientifical of any, as well as the most comprehenfive, appeared to be that af Sir MATTHEW HALE, in bis posthumous Analysis

of

[ocr errors]

be no.

[ocr errors]

of the Law. This Distribution therefore bath been principally followed : with what Variations, the learned Reader will easily perceive from the ensuing Abstract ; and it

may unprofitable Employment

for the Student to learn by comparing them. For these the Compiler thinks it unnecessary to give his Reasons: For, fince those who have gone before him have fucceljively deviated from each other's Plan, be hopes to be excused, if, in order to adapt fome things the better to his own Capacity, be frequently departs from them all; having in general rather chosen, by compounding their several Schemes, to extra£t a new Method of his own, than implicitly to copy after any.

Indeed had be closely adhered to HALE's, or any other Distribution, it might probably have rendered the Task he had undertaken less laborious; at least, it would have saved him the Trouble of the present Publication. For be foon became fenfible of one Inconvenience attending his Deviation from former Systems : That, in a Course of oral LeEtures, on a Science entirely new, and sometimes a little abstruse, it was not always easy for his Audience so far to command their Attention, as at once to apprehend both

the

the Method and Matter delivered: And, when. ever, through Inattention in the Hearers, or ( too frequently) through Obscurity in the Reader, any Point of Importance was forgotten or misunderstood, it became next to impossible to gather up the broken Clue, without having some written Compendium to which they might resort upon Occasion. These Conßderations gave Birth to the following ANALYSIS, which exhibits the Order, and principal Divisions, of his Course ; and is only to be considered as a larger Syllabus, interspersed with a few Definitions and general Rules, to asijt the Recollection of such Gentlemen as have formerly honoured him with their Attendance; or such as may hereafter become bis Auditors, till this Task Mall fall into abler Hands, and the Province, which he originally undertook in a private Capacity, shall be put upon a public Establishment

To the ANALYSIS is subjoined an APPENDIX, consisting of such Tables, Copies of Instruments, and Forms of judicial Proceedings, as were judged to be necesary for explaining certain

* This was done in 1758, in Consequence of Mr Viner's Benefaction ; and the Author bad the Honour to be unanimously cle&ted the first Profesor of municipal Law.

Principles, and Matters of daily Practice ; of which it was however impracticable to convey any adequate Idea by verbal Descriptions only.

[ocr errors]

With regard to the Book in general, if by any Accident it should fall into other Hands than those for whose Use it is designed, the Author hopes it will meet with that Candour which is ever the Companion of found Learning. The Gentlemen of his own Profesion, he is confident, will suspend their Censures of whatever (in this Abstract) may appear either dubious or unwarrantable ; at least till they are informed how far (in the Work at large) it is guarded by Restrictions, qualified by Exceptions, or supported by Reason and Authority. And, in the end, he must beg Leave to apply to his whole Undertaking, as well as to this trifling Performance, the Words of his Master LITTLETON : “ Jeo ne voill que “tu crez, que tout ceo que jeo ay dit en lez is

ditez Lyvers soit LEY; quar jeo ne ceo voill

emprendre, ne presumer sur moy. - -Nient “meyns, coment que certen Choses, queux “sont motes et specyfiez en lez ditez Lyvers,

pas Ley, uncore tielx Choses ferront “toy plus apte et able de entendre et apprendre “ lez Argumentez et lez Reasons del Ley."

TO

ne sont

« ForrigeFortsett »