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P R E F A C E.
T hath often been observed with Concern,
that the Study of the Laws of our Country hath been totally neglested in the usual Education of English Gentlemen ; and, in particular, that no Opportunities of cultivating this Branch of Learning have hitherto been afforded in those excellent and illustrious Seminaries, wherein every other Science is taught in it's atmost Perfection. To remedy, in fome little Degree, so just a Complaint, the Compiler of the following Sheets was induced about three Years ago
* to institute, and fince to continue, a Course of Lectures, calculated for the Promotion of this Study in the Univerhty of OxfORD. And as he was encouraged to enter upon this Undertaking by. Gentlemen, both in the University and
out of it, for whose Learning and Judgment the World baš the highest Deference ; fo he cannot but acknowlege, with due Gratitude, the favorable Reception which hath been given it : A Mark of Approbation, which he is sensible must be attributed entirely to the Propriety of the Design, and not to the Manner of it's Execution.
In order to render this Attempt more extenhvely useful, be thought it incumbent upon him to accommodate his Lectures, not only to the Use of such Students, as were more immediately defigned for the Profesion of the common Law ;
but also of such other Gentlemen, as were defirous of some general Acquaintance with the Constitution and legal Polity of their native Country. He therefore made it his first EndeaVour',. to mark out a Plan of the Laws of ENGLAND, fo comprehenhve, as that every Title might be reduced under fome or other of it's general Heads, which the Student might afterwards pursue to any Degree of Minuteness; and at the same time fo contracted, that the Gentleman might with tolerable Application contemplate and understand the Wbole. For if this was successfully performed, be apprehended
be Mould then be enabled, with greater Perspicuity and Ease, to execute the Remainder of his Dehgn; in deducing the History and Antiquities of the principal Branches of Law, in selecting and illustrating their fundamental Principles and leading Rules, in explaining their Utility and Reason, and in comparing them with the Laws of Nature and of other Nations.
In the Pursuit of these bis Endeavours, he found himself obliged to adopt a Method in many respects totally new. The most early, and indeed the most valuable, of those who have laboured in reducing our Laws to a System, are GLANVI'L and BRAC TON, BRITTON and the Author of FLETA: But these, and all others who preceded King Henry the eighth, are so occupied in antient ( he does not say, useless) Learning, that it had been but an awkward Attempt to engraft on their Stock the Improvements of later Ages. FitzHERBERT, and Brook, and the subsequent Authors of Abridgments, have chosen a Method, the least adapted of any to convey the Rudiments of a Science ; namely, that of the Alphabet. --Lord Bacon, in bis Elements, hath purposely avoided any regular Order; selecting only some