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SPEECHES

OF

THOMAS LORD ERSKINE.

REPRINTED FROM THE FIVE VOLUME OCTAVO

EDITION OF 1810.

With Memoir of His Life

BY

EDWARD WALFORD, M.A.

,

IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. I.

LONDON:
REEVES & TURNER,

100 CHANCERY LANE,

AND

196 STRAND.

1870.

260605

PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND COMPANY

EDINBURGH AND LONDON.

PREFACE.

The Speeches of Lord Erskine being in constant demand, on account of their great value both to admirers of English oratory and also to students of the law, have of late years become extremely scarce, and the few copies which have been offered for sale have consequently increased to a price which has placed them beyond the reach of many who would otherwise have been glad to avail themselves of their contents.

The Publishers have, therefore, brought out a new edition of these Speeches

, in i far cheapež and more corupact forr than that in which the work originally appeared. At the same time, they have endeavoured to avoid the objection to which the majority of modern reprints are liable, we mean that of overcrowded type.

This edition, it is hoped, will have also one additional merit, with regard to the accuracy with which it has been reprinted from the original edition, which has been followed verbatim, with the exception of a few typographical errors which had escaped the notice of the former Editor. On another ground this edition may claim superiority, as in the original the Speeches were printed without regard to the order in which they were delivered: the reader, however, will find them arranged here in strict chronological order.

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Of Lord Erskine's Speeches, it may be said with truth that they are models of perspicuity and eloquence combined, and such as well become “the foremost of English advocates." They afford the best examples of sound legal and practical reasoning; and they derive additional value from the fact that most of them were delivered in connexion with the most important legal cases in which the real principles of our Constitution have been involved. It is almost superfluous to remind the legal reader what great services Lord Erskine has rendered to posterity by his advocacy and assertion of the “Liberty of the Press,” and by his definition of the “Law of Libel,” or that, in his day, he was the principal agent in the work of improving the state of the law on these all-important subjects.

A Memoir of Lord Erskine is, for the first time, prefixed to these Speeches. It will be found to contain many facts derived from authentic sources, which, so far as the Publishers are aware, have never yet appeared in print,

LONDON, August 1870.

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