Page:Black's Law Dictionary (Second Edition).djvu/6

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

also been given to definitions formulated by the appellate courts and embodied in the reports. Many of these judicial definitions have been literally copied and adopted as the author's definition of the particular term, of course with a proper reference. But as the constant aim has been to present a definition at once concise, comprehensive, accurate, and lucid, he has not felt bound to copy the language of the courts in any instance where, in his judgment, a better definition could be found in treatises of acknowledged authority, or could be framed by adaptation or re-arrangement. But many judicial interpretations have been added in the way of supplementary matter to the various titles.

The more important of the synonyms occurring in legal phraseology have been carefully discriminated. In some cases, it has only been necessary to point out the correct and incorrect uses of these pairs and groups of words. In other cases, the distinctions were found to be delicate or obscure, and a more minute analysis was required.

A complete collection of legal maxims has also been included, comprehending as well those in English and Law French as those expressed in the Latin. These have not been grouped in one body, but distributed in their proper alphabetical order through the book. This is believed to be the more convenient arrangement.

It remains to mention the sources from which the definitions herein contained have been principally derived. For the terms appertaining to old and middle English law and the feudal polity, recourse has been had freely to the older English law dictionaries, (such as those of Cowell, Spelman, Blount, Jacob, Cunningham, Whishaw, Skene, Tomlins, and the "Termes de la Ley,") as also to the writings of Bracton, Littleton, Coke, and the other sages of the early law. The authorities principally relied on for the terms of the Roman and modern civil law are the dictionaries of Calvinus, Scheller, and Vicat, (with many valuable suggestions from Brown and Burrill), and the works of such authors as Mackeldey, Hunter, Browne, Hallifax, Wolff, and Maine, besides constant reference to Gaius and the Corpus Juris Civilis. In preparing the terms and phrases of French, Spanish, and Scotch law, much assistance has been derived from the treatises of Pothier, Merlin, Toullier, Schmidt, Argles, Hall, White, and others, the commentaries of Erskine and Bell, and the dictionaries of Dalloz, Bell, and Escriche. For the great body of terms used in modern English and American law, the author, besides searching the codes and statutes and the reports, as already mentioned, has consulted the institutional writings of Blackstone, Kent, and Bouvier, and a very great number of text-books on special topics of the law An examination has also been made of the recent English law dictionaries of Wharton, Sweet, Brown, and Mozley & Whitley, and of the American lexicographers, Abbott, Anderson, Bouvier, Burrill, and Rapalje & Lawrence. In each case where aid is directly levied from these sources, a suitable acknowledgment has been made. This list of authorities is by no means exhaustive, nor does it make mention of the many cases in which the definition had to be written entirely de novo; but it will suffice to show the general direction and scope of the author's researches.

H. C. B.

Washington, D. C., August 1, 1801.