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But they are written from a professional stand-point, and are necessarily encumbered with detail. The novice, perhaps, may be excused for comparing them with the working-plans and cross-sections of a building, explained in surveyor's language. Nothing can be more useful, nothing more necessary, for an especial purpose. Only he would understand them better after looking at a rough sketch in perspective of the house itself.
That there is no royal road' to technical knowledge of any sort has been the bugbear of generations. Anyhow, when time is precious, don't let us waste it in driving through ponds and ploughed fields. I have tried my hand at a track, and these Notes are the result. I offer them with unfeigned diffidence, and a real dread of being suspected of undue presumption in a self-sought task.
I have endeavoured, at the outset, to give a short view of the position and duties of a Justice, and of the general nature of the work for which he is responsible. I have touched upon the ordinary course of Summary Jurisdiction, and Committal for Trial, with special reference, in the former case, to the changes which have been brought about by the legislation of 1879.
In the Second Part will be found an arrangement of particular subjects, treated in alphabetical order. Nobody who has so far suppressed all considerations of literary vanity as to condemn his work to the similitude of a
round-robin can be supposed to have been actuated by any but the most unselfish motives.
It is not pretended that these pages are issued without strong hope that they may be found serviceable not only to those who have their work to learn, but to those who are actually engaged in performing it. One man's experience is very like another's, and my own, at least, has taught me that, in half the cases in which we find ourselves at fault, it is through forgetfulness of some simple fact or rule which we ought to have remembered, and do remember directly we are reminded of it. Short and reliable information, available on the spot, is, next to ready money, the most desirable thing in life.
Finally, I should be sorry indeed to warn off those readers whose office is not the administration of the law. People might really know with advantage a little more than they do of the rules under which they are obliged to live. It is no question of recondite study, but of information which has a direct and daily interest for us all. Variety, at all events, is not wanting. Our work is a magnificent medley. A strange roll-call might be made from the tops of the following pages. • Nihil humanum a nobis alienum.' Among the thousand guises of crime, among the complicated provisions for a safe and civilised existence, one drops upon the small trouble of our country friend who has found a Colorado beetle.
The present volume has extended far beyond its originally destined limit. The bounds have receded as the work advanced. I only wish that the · lust of completion, which grows upon one in every task which is worth completing at all, could have produced a worthier result. There is no need to say more. If the tool be useful, the workman will discover the use. If otherwise, there is nothing upon earth more futile than fiddling over a Preface.