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In these contentions, the assembly maintained that the powers of creating a Court of Chancery, in the then province of New-York, were constitutionally vested in them, and in no other tribunal-on the other hand it was contended, that it belonged to the prerogative of the crown, to establish in its colonies such courts as might be deemed expedient. Owing to the opposition from the assemblies, as well as their own inexperience in equity proceedings, few of the governors had either ambition or inclination to undertake the duties of so unpopular an office, and consequently the business of this court was for a long time much neglected.

The incapacity of the assemblies in the formation of laws and regulations for the government of this court was equally palpable, and from hence arose an early introduction of English practice and forms, which have been generally used and perpetuated, as far as our local situation and institutions would permit, till the time of the Revolution, when this court was duly adopted under the constitution of this state, and a Chancellor appointed, who holds his office during good behaviour, or until he arrives at the age of sixty years.

On the 17th day of October, 1777, Robert R. Livingston was appointed to this office, and on the 28th of October, 1801, he was succeeded by John Lansing, junior. After discharging the duties of Chief Justice for several years, the present Chancellor Kent, came into office on the 25th of February, in the year 1814. In the character of Judge, besides his great promptness in despatching business, his decisions afford a convincing proof of his great law knowledge, extensive erudition, as well as fine classical taste, nor does his


greatness diminish by his elevation to the office of Chancellor, in which, he appears to distinguish himself not only for the promptness and the equity of his decrees, but for the reduction of the dilatory proceedings of his court into a compendious system, calculated to curtail many of its expenses, as well as expedite the due administration of justice.

The compiler, in closing this Introduction, begs leave to return his most sincere thanks to those gentlemen of the profession, who have assisted him in this little work, and in an especial manner to the Honorable Cadwallader D. Colden, Mayor of the city, who has politely furnished him with some of its outlines, as well as useful materials; a character highly distinguished both as a scholar, a jurist, and a gentleman ;and to James Stoughton, Esq. whose assistance he experienced to be all important in its execution.


WHEN the compiler of this little Treatise first turned his attention to the practice of the Court of Chancery of this state, of which he has had the honor of being a Master for several years, he had little more in view than his own improvement, but in the course of his inquiries, finding many of the materials composing it, scattered amongst the public statutes, and the proceedings and records of the court, and the practice itself in some instances unsettled, and in others at variance with the system laid down in the English books, he soon became sensible of the expediency of collecting the materials together, and forming them into a system, and for that purpose, possessing perhaps more zeal than capacity, undertook the Compendium which is now offered to the public, which he hopes, as a book of practice, will be found of some use to the junior part of the profession, or to the Chancery student; and indeed, he will not consider his labors entirely lost, should it answer no other purpose than as a groundwork for future improvement;-he says, the Chancery student, for whose use, connected with his own, he was induced to engage in the undertaking, and to whom he has thought proper to address the few remarks contained in this Introduction in relation to his studies, or that course of reading which the compiler deems useful and expedient in order to make a due progress in them-remarks which have emanated from no other source than a zeal for his improvement,

and from which this little Treatise has taken its birth; and he presumes, they will not be considered out of season, or unworthy his consideration, should they tend in any respect to aid him to an acquaintance with the principles and practice of this court-a tribunal so highly venerable and dignified on account of the antiquity of its institutions, the sanctity of its principles, the plenitude of its jurisdiction, and the peculiar objects of its care and attention;-a tribunal, almost of time immemorial, with jurisdiction and powers emanating from justice, connected with the guardianship of widows, orphans, and all persons under divine visitation-in short, a tribunal before which no species of grievance, remediless at common law, can make its appearance in vain-none in the form of a complaint without meeting adequate relief.

Out of the many treatises written on the English practice, and from which the compiler has borrowed many materials, the works of Harrison, Mitford, Barton, Maddock and Newland, are respectfully recommended to the Chancery student with attention and application, for, no matter what may be the course of his reading, no matter what the merit of the works of his perusal, without these, he will in vain hope to make any progress in his studies, in vain any figure in professional life. Harrison, as a book of English practice, is too well known to require any comments for its recommendation, and particularly the late revised edition; this book contains much useful matter, well arranged, and in like manner many forms, which can with little trouble, be modelled to the practice of our court. Mitford's Pleadings, is a judicious historical treatise on the English practice, both as to matter and arrangement in every branch of the subject; he is

much fuller than Barton, though perhaps not so clear. and perspicuous. Barton, is an useful historical treatise on the English practice; this book is admirable for its clear and judicious arrangement, though it contains little more than the outlines of practice

But the attention of the Chancery student is in a particular manner called to the works of Maddock* and Newland, which appear above all others to have the greatest claim to merit; the former on account of the great variety of principles it contains, and the decisions to which it refers, and by which it is supportedindeed, it appears to be a book of great labor, research and utility, and embraces almost all the leading elementary principles in equity; and the latter on account of his clear and perspicuous arrangement-this probably is the best historical treatise written on this subject, it appears to be a work of great care and attention, and so lucid and brief is the style, and so judicious. the order and arrangement, that it would seem almost impossible to compress more useful matter in a narrower compass, with more brevity and precison.

To this course of reading, thus submitted to the consideration of the student, the compiler has thought proper to add a review of his classic ground, with a perusal of some writers on the moral and civil law, such as Pailey and Pothier; whilst a review of the former will tend to enrich his mind with classic ore, and enable him to compose with a classic purity and neatness, so highly important to the practitioner of this court, a perusal of the latter writers will tend to en

• Maddock has been lately publiseed by Gould, Banks, & Gould, booksellers at New-York.

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