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THERE are so many treatises already existing on the law of Contracts, that some explanation, if not apology, may reasonably be expected from one who proposes to add to the number.

The present work professes to treat of the elementary rules and principles of the law of contracts, exclusively of the detailed applications of that law to specific matters; such applications of the law being referred to only occasionally, as subsidiary to the main object of the work, for the purposes of proof, argument, and illustration.

It is in this respect essentially different from all those treatises on the law of contracts which treat exclusively or primarily, and either collectively or separately, of the applications of the law to the various specific matters of contract; such as the treatises on the law of vendors and purchasers of land, the sale of goods, landlord and tenant, carriers, insurance, bills of exchange and the like; and though all such works occasionally, in connection with their immediate practical object, deal in some degree with the general rules and principles of the law, the writer of the present treatise is not aware of any English work undertaken with the exclusive object of treating of the law of contracts in its general and abstract form, apart from its specific practical applications


The present work has been written with that object the writer has endeavoured to collect the general rules and principles of the law of contracts, with all their details and exceptions; to show the grounds of authority on which they rest, and the scope of their practical application, by means of cases and examples selected as appropriate for that purpose; he has also endeavoured to divide and arrange the work methodically, according to the logical order of the subject, in order that a proper place may be readily found for every rule and principle; and to carry it out with such a degree of completeness that, it is hoped, some notice of every point of importance may be found in its proper place.

The work is intended to form a compendium of the elements of the law of contracts: such a work, it is conceived, may be found useful to students as an introduction to the more elaborate treatises on the applied law, and also serviceable to practitioners for occasional reference on questions of a general character.

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