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QUESTIONS in relation to banking law, involving interests of great magnitude, have of late arisen in unusual numbers. But those engaged in investigating them have been cast upon. the trackless wilderness of the reports, without guide or aid of any description from treatises or text-books on the subject. English works are nearly useless on this side of the water, since English legislation and usages differ widely and materially from our own. No thorough and sufficient book has ever been attempted by an American writer. It seemed to me that there was not only room but even a necessity for such an undertaking; and when I entered upon the task and found how it grew and expanded upon investigation; when I found how many doctrines of the law had been expounded, having reference solely to the banking business, which had never been brought together and elucidated in connection with each other, or upon any uniform principle; when I found what multitudes of cases had arisen and been adjudicated which had never been collected, compared, or criticised, which might be overlooked, overruled, practically lost to the profession, I learned that the need for such a work as I contemplated was even far greater than I had believed it to be.

How well I have met the demands of my task I cannot pretend to judge. That imperfections should exist in my work

may be regarded as inevitable. It is almost an impossible achievement to discuss in an absolutely exhaustive manner a broad legal topic where the footsteps of no predecessor serve to guide or to warn. It cannot be expected of the pioneer that he should finish his work beyond the possibility of improvement. I know that I have fallen far short of such a consummation; and I must rest satisfied if what I have done shall prove substantially useful, and shall betray no greater want of finish than may be justly deemed unavoidable and pardonable in so difficult a labor.



Jan. 9, 1870.

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Etna Insurance Co. v. Alton City Bank, 25 Ill. 243
Agnew v. Bank of Gettysburg, 2 Har. & Gill, 478.
Agricultural Bank v. Burr, 23 Me. 256

v. Commercial Bank, 7 Sm. & M. 592.
v. Robinson, 24 Me. 274.

Alexander v. Burchfield, Car. & M. 75

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328, 331-334







354, 357, 359

202, 205 15

American Bank v. Adams, 12 Pick. 303

American Ins. Co. v. Oakley, 9 Paige 496

199, 202, 205 129

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Armat v. Union Bank, 2 Nott & M. 471, n
Arnold v. Suffolk Bank, 27 Barb. 424.
Arthur v. Comm'l & R. R. Bank, 9 Sm. & Mar. 430


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