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A work of amusement, the subject matter of which is “Law and Lawyers,” will, perhaps, be thought to require some explanation. The public are so much disposed to regard the study of the Law as a pursuit destitute of all attraction and interest, that the

present attempt to glean from that ample field a few grains of amusement, will, probably, be looked upon with surprise. Those, however, who have rendered themselves acquainted with our Law Books, well know, that there exists in them a copious store of curious and interesting matter, which often enliven those severer labours, VOL. I.


of which information, and not entertainment, is the object. Intimately connected as the Law is with various other branches of knowledge, blended as it must always be with the history of the country which it governs, and over the institutions and manners of which it must always exercise a powerful influence, it would, indeed, be singular, if the study of such a science were wholly barren of interest. With the view of collecting together these scattered curiosities of the Law Books, the present compilation has been undertaken.

There is also another class of books, to which frequent recourse has been had in the preparation of these volumes,—the various collections of Legal Biography and Anecdote. All these works have been diligently gleaned, and the most curious and important portions of their contents have been carefully selected. Some of the most valuable and entertaining pieces of biography in our language are to be found amongst the Lives of our Lawyers. The Memoirs of the Lord Keeper Williams, and the Lord Keeper Guilford, are inimitable works. From those volumes, some rich and copious extracts will be found in the pages of the present publication.

With a view of conferring a somewhat bigher character upon our work, than a mere compilation would be entitled to claim, some original papers, on subjects connected with the Law, have been scattered through the volumes. In these little dissertations, care has been taken to cite with accuracy the authorities referred to, in order that, whatever may be their intrinsic value, they may at all events be useful in directing the further enquiries of the reader.

Nor have the lighter anecdotes and bon mots which are current in the profession been neglected. The witticisms of our Lawyers, with a few exceptions, are not, perhaps, very brilliant; but the best which could be collected are now presented to the public.

It is hoped that the following volumes will not only interest the Lawyer, but likewise the general reader. With the mere technicalities of professional learning they have no connexion, and they will, therefore, it is anticipated, be found both intelligible and acceptable even to those who are without the pale of the profession.

King's Bench Walk, Inner Temple,

January, 1825.

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