« ForrigeFortsett »
Entered according to act of Congress, in the year one thousand eight hundred
BY WILLIAM GOULD, in the Clerks office of the District Court of the Northern District of New York.
C. VAN BENTHUYSEN & Sons, Printers, Stereotypers and Binders,
407 Broadway, Albany.
HONORABLE WILLIAM F, ALLEN,
THE ASTUTE LAWYER, THE SAFE COUNSELOR, THE EMINENT JUDGE,
AND THE CHRISTIAN GENTLEMAN,
THIS VOLUME IS
RESPECTFULLY AND GRATEFULLY INSCRIBED,
TESTIMONY OF RESPECT
CHARACTER AND TALENTS, AND AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THE
EARLIEST PERIOD OF MY PROFESSIONAL LIFE.
R. H. T.
The design and object of the following pages, is to bring together and exhibit in comprehensive and intelligible form, a clear and distinct digest of all the principles, statutes and adjudged cases, relating to religious societies, disturbing religious meetings and burial-places, and the polity and forms of religious belief of the different Christian denominations in the United States. These subjects, cognate in their character, comprise what may properly be called the Ecclesiastical Law of this country. No work of this kind has heretofore made its appearance, though the want of a book of ready reference upon the subject of American Ecclesiastical Law, has long been felt by the legal profession. The increasing interest felt upon the subject of religion, and the multiplying of religious denominations and churches in all parts of the country, must necessarily increase the demand for such a book. That something of the kind is much needed, cannot be reasonably doubted. In order to get an understanding of the subjects discussed, it has been necessary to examine a multitude of statutes and judicial decisions, which lie scattered in profusion among the session laws and reports of the several states. We have not in America, it is true, a regular ecclesiastical establishment as they have in the old countries; and yet the importance of religion and religious worship is recognized by the laws of the states, and church organizations are encouraged and protected by statutes and judicial decisions, so that a system peculiar to this country is now quite well established. This system I have endeavored, so far as I could, to bring out and explain. The work is not strictly a treatise, nor a compilation; but it partakes of the nature of both. It has been my design to give a statement of the law, in plain and intelligible terms; of course I was obliged to consult the statutes and reported decisions of the states, and where the matter could not be abridged, or the language simplified, I have not hesitated to give the law substantially in the words of the statutes or decisions. In some instances, I have represented not only the law, but the history of the law, because I believed it would be interesting and profitable; and in all cases I have been less ambitious to be original, than to be accurate and comprehensive.
In the plan which I adopted, I have first given the law of New York, for the reason, not only, that the State is large and influential, but her statutes serve as a model for much of the legislation of many of the other states. After New York, I have taken up the states in the order in which they are usually associated in the geographies of the coun. try. To make the work valuable as an authority, I have given a reference to the statutes and cases containing the