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TO THE THIRD AMERICAN EDITION.
A LARGE amount of matter has also been added to the American notes and references; while an effort has been made by greater economy of space in printing, to prevent the volumes from being too large for convenience.
The additions by Mr. Hare to the notes of Mr. Wallace, in the first volume, are for the greater part marked by brackets.
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION OF VOL. I.
THE plan of this work was suggested by the very able volumes of the late Mr. John William Smith, which contain a selection of Leading Cases principally taken from the Common Law Reports; and it was thought that it might be useful to the profession to have, within a small compass, a selection of Leading Cases decided in Courts of Equity.
Each of the cases chosen will, it is believed, be found either to be frequently referred to in practice, or to enunciate clearly, for the first time, some important principle of equity.
A chronological arrangement of the cases has not been observed, because it has been in the present, and may be in a subsequent volume, found useful to print together cases on the same subject, decided at different periods.
The notes, or abstracts prefixed to the cases, have occasionally, when inaccurate or defective, been altered; and, in some instances, the arguments and judgment in the same case are taken from different reports. Thus, in the well-known case of Fox v. Mackreth, the arguments are taken from Brown's Chancery Cases, and the judgment from Cox's Reports; and in the celebrated case of Garth v. Cotton, (a complete report of which is not to be found elsewhere,) the arguments are taken from two different places in Vesey Senior's Reports, the judgment from Dicken's Reports, and the decree from Atkyn's Reports.
In the notes, an attempt has been made to develop the principles laid down
upon in the cases, and to collect the recent authorities; but as the nature of the work would not permit that the notes should be complete essays upon the different subjects treated of, they have been principally confined to the points decided in the cases, to which, in fact, they are only intended to be subsidiary.
It will be seen, that, in the notes, some cases of importance are stated at considerable length, and that when it was convenient or practicable, the very words of the Judges have been preserved.
Of imperfections and deficiencies in the notes, the Editors are by no means unconscious, but they venture to hope that the cases (the selection of which, from the great mass of the Equity Reports, was a matter of no small difficulty) will prove useful both to students and to those in actual practice.
TO THE AMERICAN EDITION.
In the American notes to this work, the range of discussion marked out by the English annotations, has usually been followed, as far as was practicable. In some instances, it will, perhaps, be found, that the field of investigation is more extensive than in the original work. It is narrower, in those cases, only, in which illustrations were not supplied by the American reports.
It will be seen, upon the whole, that the jurisprudence of this country has developed an equity system, scarcely less comprehensive, or less complete, than that which has been established in England : and it is a conclusive testimony to the wisdom and practicable usefulness of the English Chancery, that, at the suggestions of experience, its scheme has been adopted, substantially, throughout a country, not influenced by considerations of authority, but proceeding, freely, in quest of essential justice, and under the guidance of a reason proud of its independence.
The doctrine of Subrogation, in the learning of Principal and Surety, may be referred to, as an example, in which, among us, a more expanded and consistent application has been given to a settled and valuable principle of equity, and in which the sense of American Judges seems to have gained an advantage, even, over England's greatest Chancellor. Our rule, as to a feme covert's power over her separate estate, is more reasonable and satisfactory, than that prevailing in England; where, the provision against anticipation admits, without fully controlling, the danger of the original principle. A few titlessuch as Vendor's Lien, Equitable Mortgages, the Tacking of Incumbrances, and a Purchaser's duty to see to the application of purchase-money, have not been received with much favor here, chiefly in consequence of the policy connected with our registration laws. There are some other subjects—such, for example as the Purchase of reversionary and expectant interests, illustrated in the great case of Chesterfield v. Janssen—which, perhaps, from the rarity of settlements giving rise to such interests, have not often come before our courts for adjudication, though the principles belonging to them, are perfectly well established in this country.