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The publication of the American editions of Vesey, Jr.'s, and Brown's Reports belongs to a period when equity jurisdiction was making its way against prejudice and opposition into our system of law. It is difficult at this day, when the drawing of a bill in equity is with the profession almost as commonplace an act as the making of a writ, to understand the mystery which then hung over this province of jurisprudence, or the passionate resistance which was made to its reasonable extension.1 The American sources of the annotator of English Chancery Reports were then very limited, consisting chiefly of the New York series of reports by Johnson, Paige, and Edwards, a few volumes issued in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Maryland, besides cases in equity heard in other States, which were intermingled in the reports with those decided at law. But the English Chancery Reports published later than Vesey's, and Story's treatise on ‘Equity Jurisprudence,’ his greatest work, supplied rich materials. These Sumner faithfully used; and he added—a novel feature in an edition of Reports—biographical notices of judges and lawyers whose names occur in the text.

The extensive annotations of Hovenden, which had been massed in two separate volumes, he distributed and placed with the cases to which they pertained. The edition bore the dedication, ‘To the Honorable Joseph Story, one of the Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, in testimony of gratitude for his friendship and of admiration for his character, this American edition of Reports, in a department of jurisprudence which he has illustrated by his genius and learning, is affectionately inscribed by Charles Sumner.’

The Judge wrote to him, May 28: ‘I am rejoiced to have my name united with yours in this manner, so that the public may know how long and intimate our friendship has been, and that we may swim down the stream of time together.’ . And, in reference to a remark of Sumner which disparaged an editor's labors, lie added: ‘Next to a good reporter I hold a good annotator. What were Saunders now worth but for Williams's notes? What were “Coke on Littleton” but for Hargrave and Butler?’

The ‘Law Reporter,’ in announcing the edition, said:2 The

1 In 1846, a prominent member of the Boston bar carried the Massachusetts House of Representatives, of which he was a member, against an extension of equity jurisdiction, by brandishing, in a theatrical way, the voluminous record of an equity case; but success won in this way was short-lived. ‘Law Reporter,’ April, 1846, Vol. VIII. pp. 556-558.

2 May, 1844, Vol. VII. pp. 57, 58.

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