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Shipping and Navigation Laws
AND OF THE
RELATIVE TO MERCHANT SHIPS AND SEAMEN;
IN THREE PARTS:
1. OF THE SHIPPING AND NAVIGATION LAWS.
TO WHICH IS ADDED,
AN APPENDIX OF THE NEW NAVIGATION LAWS, REGISTRY ACTS,
COMMERCIAL FORMS, &c.
BY FRANCIS LUDLOW HOLT,
LAW-BOOKSELLERS, 43, FLEET STREET.
RIGHT HON. WILLIAM LORD STOWELL,
JUDGE OF THE HIGH COURT OF ADMIRALTY
AND A LORD OF TRADE AND PLANTATIONS,
&c. &c. &c.
IN soliciting your Lordship's protection to a Work on the Shipping and Navigation Laws of Great Britain, I consider myself as applying to one, whose administration of the more important of these laws, in the most critical period of our national existence, has so connected his name with these elements of our safety and greatness, as to have rendered the subject of the present Treatise almost peculiarly his own.
It is only a few years since this country concluded a war fertile beyond all others in the variety of its events; and which, whilst it continued, required a system of maritime jurisprudence peculiarly adapted to its new forms. The frequent
resort to the Admiralty Court in cases connected with belligerent and neutral rights carried almost every British merchant before that tribunal; and as its jurisdiction comprehends the principal subjects relating to the Navigation and Shipping Laws, the experience of the wisdom and equity of this Court, under your Lordship’s administration, gradually attracted the most important cases within its compass. In the determination of all these cases, your decisions, my Lord, and the principles upon which they proceeded, so united the equity of the Civil Courts with the necessary exactness and precision of the Common Law, that when any of your decrees, as sometimes happened, were incidentally brought before the Courts at Westminster, I know not a single instance in which they were disputed by the Judges; whilst I remember many, in which the late Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench (a man whom we must all lament) expressed in his strongest language, and most characteristic manner, his warmest and entire concurrence in your decisions, and the principles which guided them.
To those who write in the English language, and upon a subject rather local, as respects the interests of their own country, it may appear an unreasonable expectation to indulge any hope of attention from learned foreigners. Upon this part of the subject, every future writer must acknowledge it as not the least portion of the obligations which they owe to your Lordship, that your judgments have rendered the REPORTS of Sir CHRISTOPHER Robinson, a book in the library of every foreign lawyer; and have thereby given to the Continent a knowledge and interest in subjects, which would otherwise have been confined to ourselves. Under this diffusion of the principles of our maritime law, it is no longer a vain hope that an English lawyer may be read abroad. In learning, in eloquence, in the condensation of strong sense in language exact and apposite, without .quaintness and obscurity ; in knowledge of the practices of life and character, in divesting subjects of all that is merely formal, technical, and artificial, and grounding them upon their proper and natural principles, and their due strength in right reason—your judgments, my Lord, have done for your own country, what the writings of Grotius, Vinnius, and Montesquieu, have done for France, Holland, and Germany. And it will no longer be said, that England has not contributed her share both to the practical illustration of the law of nations, and to that general maritime law which, under the name of the Law Merchant, is no less the law of single countries, than the public mercantile code of Europe.