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ENTERED according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by
JOHN CODMAN HURD,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the
Southern District of New York.
JOHN F. TROW,
B TEREOTYPER AND ELECTROTYPER,
It is not probable that readers will be found for these pages unless among two classes of persons. One being those who by constitution of mind, and previous studies, are inclined to that branch of speculation which Chancellor D'Aguesseau, in the first volume of his works, (page 449,) calls the metaphysics of jurisprudence, and recommends as a preliminary study for the practical lawyer. There cannot in any country be many whose studies have taken this direction. Such persons are not numerous even in the ranks of the professors and practitioners of legal science. And it would only be in accordance with the prevailing assertions of the tendency of the minds of Americans to subjects of immediately practical use, to say that such persons are more rarely to be found in this, than in some other countries, of a corresponding degree of intellectual culture. However, whether this is so or not, there are some reasons for believing that the systematic exposition of the elementary principles of legal science is likely to receive increased attention in England and America. It is hoped that some of those whose inquiries have been directed to this subject, may find an interest in the attempt made in these two chapters to state in a consistent form some of the most elementary and abstract principles of
jurisprudence, and that the citations given may serve to make more known the works of some European authors, which will be found valuable aids in pursuing this branch of study.
The other class of persons, among whom it is hoped some will be found to take an interest in the subject of these chapters, is certainly far more numerous :those who wish to examine those legal questions, arising out of the existence of domestic slavery in some of the States of the American Union, which may affect the rights and obligations of the inhabitants of the other States. The importance of these questions at the present time it is unnecessary to enlarge upon. In the following pages it is attempted to state only the most elementary and abstract principles necessary to be established in making a legal examination of the questions, so far as it is possible to do so without making any reference to the fundamental principles of law peculiar to this country. The attempt thus to state, by themselves, and apart from any illustration by actual cases, a connected system of abstract principles of law applicable to a subject of practical importance, is certainly attended with some difficulty. A discussion, however, which should not be based on some principles admitted by all who may take part in it, would be a logical absurdity; and whatever may be the success of the effort here made in that direction, it cannot but be admitted to be a reasonable endeavor.
Some of the practical questions whose solution is connected with the accurate determination of the principles indicated in these chapters, will suggest themselves to every reader. And although it is herein intended only to state principles, and ascertain some general rules, without applying them to any of the questions now before the American public, it may give an interest to such abstract discussion to suggest some of those questions to whose examination these inquiries are supposed to be preliminary. The two chapters here offered being intended