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The Commerce, Rights and Liabilities of the Subjects of Neutral
States pending foreign War,
WITH REFERENCE TO THE TRIAL OF THE CASE OF THE
SEIZED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE
FOREIGN ENLISTMENT ACT.
F! HARGRAVE HAMEL,
OF THE INNER TEMPLE, BARRISTER-AT-LAW, AND LAW CLERK IN THE SOLICITOR'S
DEPARTMENT OF THE BOARD OF TRADE,
Law Publishers to the Queen's most excellent Majesty.
JOHN HAMEL, ESQ.,
SOLICITOR FOR HER MAJESTY'S CUSTOMS, ETC., ETC.
MY DEAR FATHER,
Since it is chiefly to you, as my legal preceptor, that I owe the little knowledge I have acquired of the profession in which you have earned such honourable distinction, permit me, in grateful recognition of your paternal kindness and untiring devotion to my interests, to dedicate to you the first legal essay to which I venture to give publicity.
I know that I might have trespassed largely on your time and patience, with great advantage to myself, for advice and assistance in that which has to me been a work of much thought and laborious research ; but having regard to your official position, I deemed it more discreet to avoid any course which might even indirectly involve you in any responsibility for the opinions I might independently express.
I know that, however severe may be the criticisms of others, my work will be perused and accepted by you in that generous
spirit of liberality and that candid impartiality which have always been eminently characteristic of yourself; it is therefore with the less hesitation that I inscribe it to you. Doubtless it abounds with many faults naturally inseparable from inexperienced authorship, and which will evoke the censure of astute reviewers, should the work be deemed worthy of comment at their hands. I shrink not from that ordeal, because honest criticism is the sternest, and therefore the best instructor, of, those who are ready to profit by its teachings.
In one particular, at least, I anticipate observation-I mean with respect to the frequent repetitions which occur in it. In defence of this permit me to remark, that it is one of those subjects which it is impossible properly to discuss without reference to many distinct propositions of law, and recognized rules and principles which by general acceptance have acquired the force of law, upon the due consideration of which the main issues depend; and that it naturally resolves itself into several parts demanding separate consideration, the discussion of each being dependent upon some one or other of the same propositions demanding reiteration. It is true that to the accomplished lawyer the slightest reference to previous statements where necessary would be sufficient, indeed they would recur to his mind without mention; but this work is designed for the information of the public generally, rather than of a class, and I have preferred repeating the propositions essential to each branch of the argument, preferring tautological perspicuity to laconic obscurity. Nor am I blind to the fact that, particularly in the last chapter, I have been somewhat discursive, partly because I thought it might conduce to the profitable exhaustion of a subject of present interest, to take notice of the ephemeral
discussions in the public press which either threw light upon the subject or called for refutation. These interpolations, though giving a more desultory and inconsecutive character to the
argument, appeared so well calculated to elucidate the important features of the controversy in question, that much would have been lost by their omission. Here I leave it, trusting that my labours may not prove valueless to the shipbuilder, the manufacturer, the merchant, and others who may be interested in this important question ; and with every sentiment of dutiful respect, I beg to subscribe myself,
Your devoted Son,
F. HARGRAVE HAMEL.
London, Sept. 29, 1863.