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PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION.
For this new and third edition of the following work, the author, as the title-page imports, has been indebted to the learning and labor of J. W. MAY, Esq., of the Boston Bar; and the author cannot too strongly express satisfaction with the successful manner in which that gentleman has discharged the onerous duty he was persuaded to assume, of preparing for the press this new edition. An entire confidence is entertained that those of the profession who have occasion and are prompted to consult the work will cordially acknowledge their obligation to him.
The author, in this Preface, takes the liberty to state how much has been done by Mr. MAY. The number of cases in the last edition is seventeen hundred precisely; and the number in the new edition will vary very little, if at all, from twenty-four hundred and six, making an addition of seven hundred and six, or, in round terms, of over seven hundred cases. Some of these additional cases are, of course, cases in which no new point is decided; but, as the book is intended for general use, it was thought it might be acceptable to the profession to have all the cases, in all the courts, so far as they have been reported, as very few of the profession have access to all the Reports, while every one has access to some. Where no new point has been
decided, the case is merely cited, as reported, in its appropriate place. In all instances where a new point has been decided, or one heretofore supposed to have been settled has been overruled, or important dicta or suggestions have been made, a note thereof has been carefully prepared. The notes added and included in brackets amount to about seventy pages, and if printed in the text would make an enlargement of the work of about one hundred and forty pages; so that, in fact, the book has, by Mr. MAY's labors, been enlarged about one-third.
The Statutes of Limitation of the States of Florida, Iowa, Texas, and California have also been added to the Appendix, and the Index has been so altered as to make it conform to the new and improved arrangement by sections.
PROVIDENCE, Nov. 1, 1864.
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
So sensible is every lawyer of the importance of the law relating to the Limitations of Actions and Suits, of the frequent occurrence, at the present day, of occasion to investigate it, and of the want of any late general work on the subject, that it is only necessary, it is presumed, to advert to these facts for an apology for submitting such a work to the public. In preparing the following, the design of the author has been both to afford instruction to the student, and subserve the convenience of the practitioner. Although it is entitled "a second edition," it is in all respects a new, as well as much enlarged work. The adoption of a different method in treating of the subject, the author hopes, and is induced to believe, will be deemed an improvement, by those who may have recourse to the present, and have had an acquaintance with the past, editions. What is of more importance, the present Treatise is in a very great measure a fresh production as relates to the matter, it having been much extended by new references to, and illustrations of, the law as accumulated by latter adjudged cases.
The Appendix is valuable as containing the results of later and more enlightened and suitable legislative action. It embraces late Revised Acts of Limitations of the old States, and Acts on the same subject promulgated by new
States; the late English Act of 3 & 4 Will. IV. c. 27; the Act of 9 Geo. IV. requiring all acknowledgments of debts and new promises to be in writing; and Acts, with like provisions, of some of our States. These Acts are referred to from time to time in the course of the Treatise, as occasion renders proper; and so, also, have decisions under them in like manner. received attention.
The above-mentioned Act of 3 & 4 Will. IV. is entitled, "An Act for the Limitations of Actions relating to Real Property, and for simplifying the Remedies for trying the Rights thereto," and was intended to be adapted to the modern state of society. To this end, it has effected a no less desirable, than radical, change in the law of Real Actions, by their almost entire abolition; and a change in the law of possession, by rendering it, in positive terms, the means of the extinguishment of title, at the end of the period of limitation. The old statutes of limitations do not, in terms, apply to Courts of Equity, though equitable titles have uniformly been held to be affected in analogy to those statutes. But the provisions of this Act have the effect of making imperative on Courts of Equity what they had before done at discretion. The provisions, many of them, are very special, and by some have been thought difficult of construction.' In reference to the Act in general, it has been justly remarked by a very learned English writer," "that it is seldom possible to understand a law which repeals a former, and substitutes new provisions, unless we have a competent knowledge of the law repealed." This competent knowledge it has been the aim of the author
1 Smythe's Landlord and Tenant in Ireland.
21 Sugden, Vend. & Pur. 398.