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PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.
THE purpose of the writer, in the present treatise, is to furnish a clear, accurate, and comprehensive analysis of the law of the domestic relations, as administered in England and the United States at the present day.
To accomplish this purpose, and at the same time not to transcend the limits of a single volume, was not easy. It became necessary to treat of principles rather than details, and to avoid matters of local practice altogether. A few topics, such as curtesy and dower, which are fully discussed in other treatises, have been for the same reason touched upon lightly, and the work, on the whole, made elementary in its method of treatment, though at the same time practical. The lawyer who misses elaborate head-notes and subdivisions will yet find assistance in a full index and table of contents; and what has been lost in this respect is gained in subject-matter. Especial pains have been taken to present in this work such topics, pertaining to the general subject, as were not easily accessible elsewhere.
The writer has freely consulted the valuable law libraries of the Suffolk Bar, at Boston, and of Congress, at Washington, -the latter being the most extensive in this country. Among works which have afforded him the greatest assistance are Macqueen on Husband and Wife, Peachey on Marriage Settlements, Macpherson on Infancy, and Smith on Master and Servant, treatises of acknowledged merit in England, though little known in the United States. Other books,
more familiar, which need not be enumerated at length, furnished valuable material in certain parts of this work, as the foot-notes sufficiently indicate. The writer deems it just to himself to add that the time-honored treatise of Judge Reeve has been found of little service, the radical changes of the last fifty years rendering new labor, new materials, and a new plan of treatment absolutely essential to meet the growing wants of the age.
If, on the whole, the present work is found to answer its purpose, in the judgment of his professional brethren, the writer will cheerfully acknowledge such errors and blemishes as the judicious critic may kindly point out.
WASHINGTON, D. C., April 30, 1870.