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PATRICK COLQUHOUN, LL.D. G.C.S. K.C.M. &c. &c.
MEMBER OF COUNCIL OF THE SUPREME COURT OF APPEAL
OF THE IONIAN ISLANDS,
AS A TOKEN OF SINCERE REGARD
THE advance made in public opinion in the course of the last twenty-five years as to the importance of a sound legal education, recognized by the Inns of Court, and also by the University of Cambridge, has caused it to be acknowledged that, without becoming a professed Civilian, no one can presume to call himself an accomplished lawyer unless he have some acquaintance with the Roman Jurisprudence. Nothing has done more to deter the student from entering upon the pursuit of the Roman Law, however superficially, than the want of some book which presents a plain and comprehensive view of that vast subject. The following pages are an attempt to effect this. The Summary of the Roman Civil Law by Dr Colquhoun is the most valuable work on the subject in the English language, but it is too diffuse for the general student, and serves rather as a book of reference. The present volume professes to be arranged according to the Syllabus of Dr Hallifax. This has been done as far as practicable. No better arrangement perhaps could be found; but the discovery of the Institutes of Gaius subsequent to the time when
Dr Hallifax wrote makes it inconvenient to adhere to his arrangement throughout, and almost impossible beyond the third book of the Institutes. The division into four books according to the Institutes has been observed. The definitions, the clearness and terseness of which form one of the peculiar characteristics of the Roman Law, and the importance of which cannot be overrated by the student, have been taken whenever practicable from the Institutes and Digest; in default of these, those found in the Elements of Heineccius have been adopted without hesitation, as being clear and correct. The author has studied to avoid a large book; and if the reader wish to go beyond a mere superficial knowledge of its contents, he should consult the references generally, and particularly those of the Corpus Juris, and the Institutes of Gaius.
The author is conscious that mistakes and inaccuracies will be found which have escaped his observation; but he is not without the hope that, imperfect as his work may be, it may afford the student some substantial assistance.
March 3, 1859.