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Author of a Treatise on the Law of Bankruptcy, Insolvency, and Mercantile
Sequestration in Scotland.





Second Edition, Enlarged.





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A VERY large impression of the Manual of the Law of Scotland having been disposed of, the Author was called upon to consider the propriety of preparing a Second Edition for the press. The work was projected at an early period of professional life, and was the occupation of several years, during which the Author had few other pursuits to engross his attention. A work necessarily involving so much abridgment and compilation, is not the species of professional book in which he would at the present time have felt inclined to engage, but having once laid the fruit of his labours before the public, he considered it his duty, both to his own reputation and to the interests of those who do him the honour of consulting the Manual as a book of reference, thoroughly to revise the whole, to incorporate with it some branches of the law which had been overlooked in laying out the plan of the First Edition, and to bring down the law to the present day, by embracing the substance of the later statutes and the principles of recent decisions.

As the bulk of the work thus gradually enlarged on the Author's hands, he felt that it arranged itself into two distinct departments which might severally answer the wants of different classes of the community; and that it would be convenient to place it before the public in the shape of two separate books, having only as a bond of union the circumstance that they are intended between them to embrace the whole body of the law.

The present Volume comprehends that department of the

law in which the public at large, or individuals as members of the body politic, are interested. It relates to the public institutions, so far as the citizen is called on to act in reference to them within Scotland, from parliament and the superior courts of law down to public companies and friendly societies; to the various regulations by which the legislature has from time to time, on the grounds.of public expediency, or from other motives, made regulations restricting trades and occupations, or dictating the manner in which they are to be conducted,-a branch embracing within one common principle the markedly separate provisions of the factory regulations on the one hand and the game laws on the other. The poor law demanded a place as an important feature in local taxation, and if it had not been thus assigned to the fiscal department of the work, would, as the machinery for protecting the impoverished part of the population from destitution, have demanded attention in the part dedicated to the law of police, in which the several precautionary and remedial measures for protecting the citizen from calamities and inconveniencies caused by accident or design are set forth. The public laws relating to the means of conveyance both by land and water demanded a special place, and the criminal code had undoubted claims to be embraced within the scheme of the Volume.

The powers and duties of magistrates and officers of the law a matter more or less connected with every department of the work-required to be kept continually in view. In the absence of any new edition of Mr Tait's excellent "Justice of the Peace," or of any other late work calculated to continue it down to the present day by embodying a notice of the multitudinous statutes by which new functions have within these past few years been conferred on the unpaid magistracy, the author has had in view the object of making this volume supply the place, in so far as its limits may permit, of the sort of digest which is generally termed a "Justice of Peace."

In a work within so small a compass the practising magistrate must not expect to find anything to supersede the statutes, by the letter of which he is bound, and the express

terms of which he ought to consult on every occasion on which he enforces them. Burn's Justice of Peace, which professes to embody in full all the clauses of the acts giving power to justices of peace in England, occupies about seven thousand very closely printed pages. Although a smaller bulk would contain all the statutes with which Justices of Peace in Scotland have to deal, a work embodying them verbatim, and supplying the place of the statutes themselves, would be many times the size of this small volume. It is almost unnecessary, however, to say, that the Justice of Peace, like every other Judge, must find use in digests and commentaries. They place before him the general result of the complex and apparently conflicting clauses of various acts,-show the relation of different parts to each other,-condense the meaning of long involved enactments into brief propositions,-illustrate the operation of the act by decisions, and, probably the most important function of all, afford a means of reference to the statute law on particular heads, and indicate the acts which have been from time to time passed for the purpose of repealing, altering, amending, explaining or consolidating previous enactments. The Author will have failed in the end he had in view, if there be any important general statute affecting Scotland which he has omitted to notice; and as a guide to the legislation for this part of the empire, not only in the departments just alluded to, where the Magistrate is called on to act, but in those in which any considerable portion of the Public may be interested, he hopes that his book may be easily and safely consulted.

EDINBURGH, April 1847.

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