Page:Select Essays in Anglo-American Legal History, Volume 1.djvu/12

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
viii
PREFACE

which merited reprinting. All matters of public law, for example—including the history of constitutional law and of municipal corporations—have been left aside; perhaps a later series may be made to include them. Furthermore, in several essays and monographs, the narrow range of details, the lengthy marshalling of the historical evidence, or the impossibility of separating usable parts, has made them ineligible; though a reference-list of such authorities has been appended in the proper places.

A main motive for the Collection was to rescue, from scattered series of periodicals or general treatises on present law, and to assemble in one convenient form, those essays or chapters which are of permanent value and would otherwise fail of the constant and wide perusal which they deserve. Hence the plan did not propose to include any extracts from works devoted entirely and professedly to the history of any part of the law,—such acknowledged masterpieces, for example, as Sir F. Pollock's and Professor Maitland's History of English Law, or Mr. Digby's History of the Law of Real Property, or Mr. Justice Holmes' The Common Law. But, in several instances, exceptions to this plan were allowed. The impelling reason was the Committee's desire to give a certain symmetry to some topics and periods which would otherwise have been imperfectly represented. The present volumes may therefore, it is hoped, serve to illumine in outline the legal history of the last six centuries, and thus to supplement the great treatise of Sir F. Pollock and Professor Maitland,—at least provisionally and until by the completion of the larger undertakings of Mr. Holdsworth and others the same period shall have been more adequately covered.

A more detailed explanation of the Committee's preparatory labors, and of the motives leading to its appointment, will be found in the Proceedings of the Association of American Law Schools for 1905 and 1906, published with the Proceedings of the American Bar Association for those years.

All of the material here collected has been already published elsewhere as essays, articles, or chapters,—with the