Reprint of the first edition. In his discussion of early American works on contract law in The Transformation of American Law Horwitz observes that "nowhere were [its] underlying bases more brilliantly and systematically rethought" than in Verplanck's Essay (281). Indeed, compared to those of Dane and Story, "Verplanck's reconsideration of the philosophical foundations of contract law was by far the most penetrating among the American treatise writers" (283). It is a landmark in the development of the will theory of contract and an elaborate critique of the doctrine of caveat emptor, which had recently been adopted by the U.S. Supreme Court in Laidlaw v. Organ (1817). On a broader level, this key work is interesting for its insights into the tandem development of contract law and the market economy on the cusp of the economic boom of the 1820s.