Solomon said "of making many books there is no end." Job said "My desire is that mine adversary had written a book." Although it is more than three thousand years since either of these things was said, yet they explain our reasons for writing this book. Giving precedence to Job, as the elder, it is to be noted that Job's meaning was that he had not intended to violate the law, but had intended to conform to it. If he had violated the law, he had done so unconsciously; because there was no existing book which set forth the law in such clear terms that a man could understand it by giving to it that amount of study which might reasonably be expected of one who performed—as Job so eloquently and pathetically tells us he did perform—the other duties which pressed upon him. Job did not mean, as has been insinuated by some authors whose books have been reviewed, that he wished that his adversary had written a book in order that he might have had a chance to review it.

It appears in the sequel, in Job's case, that having intended and tried to do right and not to do wrong, that he had succeeded, and he was not a law breaker, a view of the law which we have tried especially to emphasize in this book.

To return to Solomon. New books must be made because of the changing conditions of life, and because our law follows these changing conditions, and changes with them. There are many matters arising in the criminal law concerning which the law is different from what it was twenty years ago. There are many other questions which were then in dispute and unsettled, which are now settled. There are doctrines of the criminal law which then appeared to rest upon arbitrary grounds, which we can now see rest upon eternal and fundamental principles. There were then many conflicts of opinion between the courts of last resort in the different States which have now been practically settled.

In writing this book, the ideas suggested by the remarks of Job and Solomon have been in our minds. We have endeavored (keeping Job in mind) to write a book which sets forth the criminal law clearly and tersely, so that a well-intentioned person may, with a reasonable amount of labor, understand it and have no difficulty in avoiding its violation. We have also endeavored (not forgetting Solomon) to write a book which illustrates the criminal law and its tendencies up to the very moment that we go to press.


Daley, Com. v 17, 19

Dal ton, People v 209

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