Some parts of this Book having been pirated, it is deemed right to give notice, that it has been duly entered in the Register Book of the Company of Stationers in London, as the sole property of the Compiler, and, that if any portion of it shall in future be printed without his consent, a prosecution will be the immediate consequence.

August 16, 1819.


UPWARDS of five centuries have now elapsed since the revenue of customs (b) was instituted. During this period, the laws which have been passed relating to this revenue have accumulated to so great a degree as to occupy numerous volumes. The alterations which they have, from time to time, undergone, by the various lines of policy pursued by different legislators—by the breaking out of war, and the restoration of peace—by the expiration or the continuance of acts originally meant to be temporary, with

other causes,

have been most fruitful sources of perplexity, till at last the laws of customs have become so entangled as to be in a great measure useless to


who have recourse to them for casual information. In short, they


(a) This introduction was prefixed to the first edition, which contained an abridgement of the laws of customs only; but as it is also applicable to the excise (except that the statutes concerning the former are more ancient and numerous than the latter), it has been thought right to retain it in the present state.

(6) Some have imagined they are called with us customs, because they were the inheritance of the King, by immemorial usage, and the common law, and not granted him by any statute: but Sir Edward Coke hath clearly shown, that the Kog's first claim to them was by grant of parliament, 3 Edw. 1. though the record is pot pow extant,- BLACKSTONE,

They seem to have been called customs, from having been paid from time immemorial: and a memorable statute in 21 Edw. 1. c. 5. makes that distinction. It states, that several people are apprehensive that the aids, tasks, and prizes, which they had granted for the King's wars and other occasions, might be turned upon them (en serrage) into an act of slavery ; the King therefore declares and grants, that he will not draw such temporary aids and taxes into a custom.-CHRISTIAN' NOTE IN BLACKSTONE'S COMMENTARIES.

The excise laws take their origin from two statutes of 12 Cha. 2.; the one c. 23. which granted an excise on certain commodities for the King's life; the other c. 24. which, in lieu of the military tenures, granted to the crown an hereditary excise on certain other commodities.-BLACKSTONE's Reports, vol. 2. page 1255.

now form a science, to attain a competent knowledge of which, in their present state, must be the result of much time and diligent study. That an acquaintance with the laws, however, is essential to the due guidance of men's affairs, the writings of Sir Edward Coke (a) and Sir William Blackstone (b) bear ample testimony. Indeed, the necessity of this acquaintance is, in this instance, self-evident. As merchants and others must constantly act under the operation of these laws, and are exposed to severe pains and penalties for the infraction or non-performance of their conditions, what can be more obvious than that such persons ought, in order to their security, to be fully apprized of the nature of the regulations which apply to their own case? It is true, that the seasonable lenity of the lords of the treasury and of the commissioners of customs, in all cases where they can properly exercise it, disarms, in a great degree, the rigour of the law; but still it is evident that it is highly to the interest of all persons concerned in its operation to know what that law is. Yet there is not one work (c) (except the statutes) which, at present, supplies this information. To collect, digest, and abridge the laws and orders in council relating to the customs, with an immediate view to the information of commercial and seafaring persons, constitutes therefore the object of this book. (d) Taking this for the boundary-line, some portions of the statutes will be excluded; such as relate to the giving of securities by officers“ the payment of salaries, superannuation, &c.—the rewards for seizing--and the proceedings touching prosecutions (which can with safety be entrusted only to professional men), are rejected as not included in the plan laid down. The laws relating to the fisheries, though a trade productive of much advantage to the nation, yet being in comparatively few hands, and the statutes concerning it being voluminous, are omitted. (e)

(a) Ignorantia juris non excusat, Ignorance of the law excuseth not.-COKE.

(6) It is incumbent upon every man to be acquainted with those laws, at least, with which he is immediately concerned.- BLACKSTUNE.

(c) The Compiler would consider himself deficient in candour, were he not to make an exception on this head, so far as regards “ THE LAW OF SHIPPING AND “ NAVIGATION,” upon which there is a masterly treatise by Mr, Reeves. (d) This plan has since been greatly enlarged.

ties, draw backs, bounties, and premiums on the produce of the fisheries, with some of the regulations connected therewith, will be found under TITLE 258.

(e) The

Abridgements of laws, however, may be the source of much mischief, unless great care be taken in the compilation of them. Aware of the great importance and intricacy of the subject of this work, the Compiler has availed himself of the plans laid down in similar cases by the most distinguished persons. In the following pages, the precise words (a) of the originals are preserved, divested only of those redundancies which, though necessary to the formation of an act of parliament, would have been superfluous here.

With regard to those laws that are expressly repealed, no doubt need be entertained; but there are others which have been only partially or circumstantially altered: these parts are brought together within a small compass, that the Reader, being possessed of the spirit of the law, may draw his own inferences from it, which, by the mode adopted, it is presumed he will be enabled to do without difficulty. (b)

Many of the statutes referring to different titles, and many of the titles being unavoidably extended to a considerable length, in order to avoid a multiplicity of references, an Index has been framed, by the help of which, it is trusted, any particular part will be readily found.

Thus the Compiler ventures to submit to the public a work founded on the basis of those laws with which the prosperity of Great Britain is inseparably united. Deeply impressed with this conviction, he has spared no exertion to render the execu


(c) The work which I propound tendeth to pruning and grafting the law, and not to ploughing up and planting.-Lord Bacon.

As to the statutes at large, or acts of parliament, the author hath not thought himself at liberty, as some others bave done, to deliver the import thereof in his own words, but bath constantly abridged the act in the words of the act itself, leaving out nothing which may seem any way material.-ADVERTISEMENT TO FIRST EDITION OF Burn's Justice.

(6) Every act that has not been repealed or expired is given, it being apprehended that no statute can ever according to the English law, technically speaking, become desuete or obsolete.

Considerable perplexity has at times arisen (from the terms in which the clauses of repealing acts are couched) in the evdeavour to determine the extent of the in. tended repeal; in all such cases, and even where the balance in the private judge ment of the Editor decidedly inclined to the repeal, the course pursued has been 10 suffer the enactment to stand.-RAITABY'S PREFACE TO THE STATUTES AT LARGE.

It is an established rule of construction, that statutes in pari materiá, or npon the same subject, must be construed with a reference to each other; that is, that what is clear in one statute shall be called in to explain what is obscure and ambiguous in another. CHRISTIAN'S NOTE IN BLACKSTONE'S COMMENTARIES,


tion of the task commensurate to its object; and when it is considered, that he has trod in the path marked out by the ablest men in similar cases—men looked up to and acknowledged as of high authority—that the Reader is not left to rely on the Compiler's judgment (he having merely brought together, within a small compass, matters hitherto widely scattered; giving, at the same time, the year of the reign, chapter, and, where necessary, the section of each act of parliament, in order that, if any doubt should arise in the mind of the reader, the original might be referred to)—and that his former publication (a) has now stood the test of twelve months' practice without a single error in it having come to his knowledge; he does trust, that there is reasonable ground to hope that the work may prove serviceable to those for whom it is intended; at all events, he doubts not that the candid and intelligent Reader will make due allowances for the labour and difficulty of the compilation.

Bristol, 5th January, 1812.

(a) The Compiler here alludes to his “ COMPENDIUM OF THE WAREHOUSING Laws,” which was at first published separately, but is now incorporated with this work.

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