Reprint of the uncommon first edition. Chipman's Essay was the first original treatise on the subject written in the United States. (Verplanck's An Essay on the Doctrine of Contracts (1825) was the second.) In his Legal Bibliography (1847) Marvin criticized Chipman for "show[ing] what the law of contracts ought to be rather than what the law of contracts is" (189). This remark indicates Marvin's failure to grasp the changing nature of contract law, and it shows that Chipman's ideas were ahead of their time. Indeed, as Horwitz points out, Chipman was the first American to submerge the "dominant equity theory of contract in a conception of contractual obligation based exclusively on express bargains" determined by market values. Chipman [1765-1850] was a Vermont lawyer, a professor of law at Middlebury, a representative to the state legislature and the U.S. Congress and a delegate to several Vermont constitutional conventions.