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THERE are so few persons not interested in the law applicable to the relationship of Master and Servant, either in one capacity or the other, that the publication of a Treatise upon that subject may seem to most people to require but little apology. With professional men, however, the case is somewhat different. They have been so long accustomed, when any question of law arising out of the relationship of Master and Servant has been brought before them, to refer, if necessary, to works of general application, such as treatises on contracts, agency, or criminal law, or to digests, indices, and abridgments; that they may perhaps hardly have felt the want of a separate Work upon the law of Master and Servant. But it is conceived that even professional men may be more truly said to have become used to the want of such a Work, than not to have felt it. It is, at least, to the existence of a strong impression upon the mind of the Author that such was the case, and that a Book exclusively devoted to the subject he has attempted to elucidate was wanted, combined with a desire on his part to supply what he considered a deficiency in the list of legal publications, that the present Work owes its origin. In it he has
attempted to concentrate all (a) that information upon the subject treated of which has hitherto been diffused through many books. How far he has succeeded in his object it is not for himself to determine. Whilst, however, on the one hand, he is well aware that many defects may, and not improbably will, be discovered in the following Work; on the other hand, he ventures to express his hopes that it will not be found altogether useless, even to the members of his own Profession; who, he trusts, will receive it with that indulgence which they are ever wont to accord to the efforts of their younger brethren. And if it shall be found by experience that the Author has so far succeeded in his undertaking as to have acted the part of a pioneer only upon a path, hitherto, if not altogether untrodden, at least but imperfectly explored, he will be sufficiently compensated for his labours by the reflection that his leisure hours, which the present abnormal condition of his Profession has rendered more than usually numerous, have not been altogether misspent whilst devoted to the preparation of this Work.
(a) A Chapter on the Law of Settlement by Hiring and Service was partially prepared, but the addition of it would necessarily add much both to the size and price of this Volume. Upon further reflection, therefore, the Author has determined to omit it, and this, the rather, as the subject daily decreases in importance, and questions upon it now seldom arise. See post, p. 2, n. (b).