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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1855,


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States

for the Eastern District of Virginia.




Since the publication of the first volume of this work, I have had the pleasure of receiving from several distinguished jurists, letters expressing an earnest approbation of the plan of the work, as well as of the arrangement and execution of that volume, and a cordial God-speed in my future labours. If I have not allowed these testimonials to be published, through the book-sellers, in the mode now so common, it has been from motives of delicacy rather than the want of a grateful feeling. I could not but be gratified when such letters came from John Tayloe Lomax, Esq., who has long adorned the Virginia bench, and whose valuable Digest of the law of real property in the United States has entitled him to a reputation as extended as the states of the confederacy; from the Hon. Sir John B. Robinson, whose talents and accomplishments grace the office of chief justice of Upper Canada ; and from James Willes, Esq., Barrister of the Inner Temple, London, whose high legal qualifications having been proved in the foremost rank at the English bar, are destined, it is said, to shine also on the bench.

Gratifying as it was, to be thus encouraged by the gentlemen whom I have named, and by others of juridical fameappreciating the opinions of those whose opinions are of value-1

yet thought the most proper use that could be made of them was to increase my efforts to make the work valuable, for the use of the student, the lawyer and the judge; I strove to make the second volume an improvement on the first.

The treatise in the first, as to the place and time of a transaction or proceeding, is now followed by one relating to the circumstances of the transaction or the subject matter of the proceeding. This second volume-devoted entirely to personal actions—treats of their subject matter, in other words of the Right of action ; 1. On a sealed instrument; or upon a judgment or decree ; 2. On bills of exchange, promissory notes and other unsealed instruments ; 3. On promises gene

; rally ; express and implied ; 4. By owner of goods and chattels against an adverse claimant, or against a bailee; 5. Against a wrong-doer.

There being a separate index to each volume, each is so far an independent treatise that a person who desires it may procure any one volume without the others, and make it useful though he should never obtain the rest. And yet the different volumes have a material connexion with each other. If in the second, one sees what circumstances give a right of action, he sees also that the effect of those circumstances is different in different states; he may be counsel for the assignee of a simple bond; it is not negotiable in Virginia but he finds in the second volume (p. 267, 269), that it is negotiable in North Carolina; it may be material then to know the rule laid down in the first (p. 74), as to the place whose law determines as to the liability of the endorser or assignor. When too it has been ascertained by what law the transaction is governed, and that according to that law there was at one time a right of action, it may be important to learn from the first volume within what time the action is to be brought and how the time is to be computed. He who is well grounded in the principles expounded in these two volumes, may be expected to comprehend, and make a proper application of, what will be found in the third; which will treat of the parties who may sue and be sued, the form of action, the frame of the declaration and the rules generally of pleading and proceeding.


Richmond, November 21, 1855.

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