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BUT while I thus only repeat the fentiments, which the publick entertain of your Lordship's abilities and virtues, let me not forget to exprefs my grateful and heartfelt acknowledgements for the attention with which you have honoured me, by allowing me to prefent this Book to the world, under the fanction of a name fo revered as your Lordship's; and for giving me this opportunity of declaring that I am, with the most profound respect and veneration,


Your Lordship's

Moft obedient

and obliged humble fervant,


November 6, 1786.




HEN a man prefumes to folicit publick notice for any work of a literary nature, the world have a right to know the motives, that induced him to write, and upon what foundation he builds his claim to their attention. Notwithstanding the numer of cafes, which have of late years been determined in the English courts of justice upon the law of infurance, and the uniformity of principle, which pervades them all; yet the doctrine of infurances is not fully known and understood. This in fome measure happens from the decifions upon the fubject being fcattered in the various books of reports, according to the order of time, in which they were determined; and the connexion of which, from the nature of thofe publications, cannot be preferved. As many perfons cannot fpare time, and few will take the trouble, to collect the cafes into one point of view; and as all cafes of infurance must neceffarily be attended with a number of facts, it is not to be wondered at, if from a curfory, inattentive, and unconnected perufal of them in a chronological order, a great part of the world fhould remain unacquainted with the true principles

of infurance law. No book, that I have met with in the English language, has ever yet attempted to form this branch of jurifprudence into a fyftematick arrangement, or to reduce the cafes to any fixed, or fettled principles.

Convinced of the utility of fuch a work, I thought I could not employ my time more advantageously to my profeffion or myself; nor better express that refpect which I, in common with every lawyer, feel for the venerable magiftrate, to whom this work is infcribed, and for the other learned judges, who have affifted in erecting this fabrick,than by extracting all the cafes upon this fubject from the mafs of other learning with which they lie buried in the reporters; and thereby endeavouring to prove to the world that the doctrine of infurance now forms a fyftem as complete in every refpect as any other branch of the English law. Could any other incitement have been requifite, the opinion of Mr. Juftice Blackflone would have had confiderable weight. "The learning relating "to marine infurances," fays that elegant commentator (a) has of late years been greatly improved by a feries of judicial de"cifions, which have now eftablished the "law in fuch a variety of cafes, that (if "well and judicioufly collected) they would "form a very complete title in a code of "commercial jurifprudence." Urged by thefe motives, I was induced to undertake

(a) 2 Black. Com. 460.

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this work, which is now prefented to the


No fubject can be properly understood, unlefs the materials be methodically arranged; and therefore the first object I had in view was to fix upon certain heads, which would be fufficient to comprehend all the law upon infurances. For this part of the work I alone am accountable, the defign being entirely my own. It may, however, in fome degree abate the feverity of cenfure to recollect, that in the arrangement of the subject I had no example to follow, no guide to direct me; and I was left entirely to the impulfe of my own judgment. But to enable the profeffion to judge of the nature of my plan, I will ftate the reafons that influenced me in the mode I have adopted.

As the policy is the foundation, upon which the whole contract depends, I have begun with that, and endeavoured to fhew it's nature and it's various kinds; and I have alfo pointed out the requifites which a policy must contain, their reason and origin, as they are to be collected from decided cafes, or the ufage of merchants. When we have afcertained the nature of a policy, the next object is to discover by what general rules courts of justice have guided themselves in their conftruction of this fpecies of contract. It is then neceffary to defcend to a more particular view of the fubject, and to fix with accuracy and precifion thofe accidents, which thall be deemed loffes within certain words

A 4

words used in the policy. Thus loffes by perils of the fea; by capture; by detention; and by barratry, will be a material ground of confideration. When a lofs happens, it must either be a partial, or a total lofs; and hence it becomes neceffary to afcertain in what inftances a lofs fhall only be deemed partial, in what cafes it fhall be confidered as total; and how the amount of a partial lofs is to be fettled: hence alfo arifes the doctrine of average, falvage, and abandonment. These points therefore will be the next object of


Having confidered the various inftances in which the underwriter will be liable upon his policy, either for a part, or for the whole amount, of his fubfcription; we seem to be naturally led to the confideration of thofe cafes, in which the underwriter is released from his refponfibility. This may happen in feveral ways: For fometimes the policy is void from the beginning, on account of fraud; of the fhip not being fea worthy; or of the voyage infured being prohibited. There are also cafes, in which the infurer is difcharged, because the infured has failed in the performance of thofe conditions, which he had undertaken to fulfil; fuch as the non-compliance with warranties ; and deviating from the voyage infured: These and many other points of the fame nature occupy feveral chapters.


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