The last edition of this treatise has already been exhausted for nearly a year, but in the anxious desire to merit the increased favor with which it was received by the profession, the publication of the present edition has been deferred so as to enable the author to devote that period of time to the careful revision of the text, and thereby to endeavor to render it more exact and complete. Neither time nor labor have been spared in its preparation. Every page has been studiously examined and reconsidered in the light of the modern authorities, and in many places the text has been rewritten. The portion of the work relating to Defences, for instance, is almost entirely new, and is more than doubled in size, as well, it is hoped, as in value. Very large additions have also been made throughout to nearly every page; and new chapters have been written on the following subjects : - Joint and Several Contracts; Change of Parties by Assignment; Change of Parties by Novation or Substitution; and The Statute of Frauds. The Reports have been carefully consulted, and a large body of important cases has been added, while nearly every citation in the book has been specially re-examined and verified, so as to secure, if possible, exactness in the references. It can scarcely, however, be expected that errors may not have crept in among the citations of over ten thousand cases, despite the pains that have been taken to weed them thoroughly out.

In regard to the text and notes, it may be proper to say, that the plan originally adopted has been rigidly pursued; the principles and rules of law with their modifications and illustrations being stated in the text, and the cases and authorities being confined to the foot-notes. The text itself has not been enlarged by quotations from judgments or encumbered by examinations of strings of cases, but all extracts and discussions of cases have been restricted to the notes.

The size of the page has been considerably increased in the present edition, so that the number of pages does not fairly represent the real increase of the work. But notwithstanding the compression thus gained, a division into two volumes has been found necessary. It is believed, however, that this will be found to render the work more convenient and easy of use. In its present form it has swollen to more than three times its original bulk, but nothing has been added for the sake of mere amplification, and every endeavor has been used to be close and compact, as well as full. It is now the largest work, in the English language at least, on the subject of Contracts. The well-deserved success of Professor Parsons's recent and valuable work, on the same subject, has stimulated the author of the present work in his labor, and encouraged him to believe, that the profession will not object to the increased size, nor the division into two volumes.


Boston, May 18, 1856.