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LAW OF SCOTLAND,
IN FOUR BOOKS,
IN THE ORDER OF SIR GEORGE MACKENZIE'S
INSTITUTIONS OF THAT LAW.
JOHN ERSKINE, OF CARNOCK, Esq.
SOMETIME PROFESSOR OF SCOTS LAW IN THE UNIVERSITY OF
A NEW EDITION,
With Additional Notes.
JAMES IVORY, Esq.
IN TWO VOLUME S.
PRINTED FOR BELL & BRADFUTE.
Since the Edition of 1805, this work has been twice reprinted, under the date of 1812. But no notice was taken of the later decisions of the Court, nor were any changes made except the addition of references to Morison's Dictionary.
The object of the present Editor has been, to point out the principal decisions, since 1805, connected with the text. The later notes embrace a longer period than those which precede them; which arises from the publication having been carried on desultorily, amid many interruptions from professional avocations, and from the Notes being generally brought down to the time when they passed through the press.
No material additions have been made to the concluding title “ Of Crimes ;” and some parts of the former Appendix have been omitted, as they were found of little use in practice. The Notes of former Editions have been preserved. Those of the present Editor are distinguished by numerical references.
A new and enlarged Index is added, prepared by Mr C. G. Ferguson, whose skill and experience in that way are well known.
15. Dundas Street,
8. Dec. 1827.
The Principles of the Law of Scotland, first published in the year 1754, were meant only for the use of young gentlemen who attended the Author's public lectures. The favourable reception given to that Essay, encouraged him to turn his thoughts to a larger work, which might be of greater use to the public. He accordingly employed the remainder of his days in reducing his prelections into the form in which they now appear, with a view to give them to the world.
The work had not received the finishing hand of the Author at his death. The Editor, aware of the disadvantages attending a posthumous publication, and unwilling to hazard any part of the reputation the Author had already acquired, declined to put it to the press till he had submitted it to the perusal of several gentlemen of the law, of singular knowledge and abilities in their profession, upon whose judgment he could rely. Encouraged by their approbation, he now offers it to the public.
Some inaccuracies observed in the language were corrected : No other alteration has been ventured on, though in some particulars the course of decisions has run contrary to the opinion laid down by the Author. A few Notes have been added referring to later decisions, which occurred to the gentlemen who took the trouble to revise the manuscript.
The reader will observe some references in the text to the last collection of decisions by a committee of the Faculty of Advocates, published some years after the Author's death. These decisions were quoted in the manuscript by their dates ; but as they are now printed, it was thought proper to refer to them as marked in that collection.
A few original deeds are mentioned in the course of the work. These are added in an Appendix. To which are subjoined an abstract of the late act of Parliament concerning entails, and some clauses of the statutes relative to the personal estates of bankrupts, and to the Court of Justiciary, which have passed since the Author's death.
The Editor takes this opportunity of returning his grateful thanks to the gentlemen who so obligingly took the trouble to revise the manuscript copy of the text. If this work shall be of any use, it is to them the public is indebted for it.
It is hoped the reader will excuse any small inaccuracies he may meet with, as it is impossible to avoid them in a posthumous work, unless the Editor assume a greater liberty than belongs to him.
Note by Alex. Fraser Tytler, Esq. (now Lord WOODHOUSÉLEE,)
upon the Second Edition of which he was Editor.
In this Second Edition, it is hoped the Work is rendered more useful, by a much ampler Index, and by the addition of a Running Margin, containing the heads of each section. Many Notes are likewise added, referring to the later decisions of the Supreme Court, both where these confirm, and where they differ from the principles laid down in the Text.
A. F. T. Edinburgh, 12th November 1784.