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in their proper place in connexion with the statutory provisions on the subject to which they relate ; whilst in other instances those rules have been enlarged, modified or varied, the more fully to conform them to the nature of our government, and the habits and exigencies of the people.
It is also proper to apprize the reader, that he is not to expect in this work, all the law upon the subjects treated of in the Revised Statutes. The Titles and Articles enumerated in the Analysis prefixed to the first volume, may be said to exhibit an outline, nearly perfect, of the principal heads of the common as well as the statute law; whilst the statutory provisions concerning many of them, form but a small portion of our law upon the given subject.
It will be perceived that various provisions of the constitutions of this state and of the United States, have been incorporated in the statutes relating to the same subjects. These constitutional provisions are uniformly inserted in a declaratory form.
Throughout the work, references will be found to the statutes heretofore passed, containing provisions analogous to those in the Revised Statutes. But it must not be inferred from any such reference, that the former statute has been literally copied, or even substantially adopted. On the contrary, whenever a provision on the same subject could be found in a former statute, it has been invariably referred to, for the purpose of enabling the reader to ascertain the prior law; though in many cases that law is either only partially retained, or is wholly abrogated, or a principle directly the reverse is adopted, by the provision to which the reference is subjoined. In most cases a reference is added to each section, indicating the particular part of the former statute upon which the section is founded. But where a chapter, title, or article, or several sections, are founded upon a single act, that act, only, has sometimes been referred to, without designating its particular parts. With these exceptions, those sections of the Revised Statutes to which no references are subjoined, will generally be found to be entirely new as statutory provisions.
In making these references the following abbreviations have been used : 1 R. L. or 2 R. L. refer to the Revised Laws of 1813, published in two volumes, by the Revisers, Messrs. Van Ness and WoodWORTH. The Session Laws of 1813, and of the subsequent sessions to 1828 inclusive, are referred to by the years in which they were passed; and the references are in all cases to the editions published by the state printer.
The work was prepared in detached parts, and was passed by two different legislatures. Hence a few provisions will be found in the earlier parts, sometimes apparently and sometimes really, incongruous with others contained in the parts last enacted; and expressions will sometimes be met with, referring to some rule of common or statute law, which is subsequently modified or abrogated. In some of these cases, the provisions first adopted, were left unaltered, for the purpose of protecting rights founded upon existing laws, or of continuing remedies and proceedings already commenced.
In the “act concerning the Revised Statutes," and in the act to repeal certain acts and parts of acts,” both passed on the 10th of December 1828, and published in the third volume, will be found important rules of construction controlling the whole revision, and applicable more particularly,
1. To the effect of certain terms used in the Revised Statutes : 2. To those provisions which may be repugnant: and,
3. To the cases where statutes not revised nor repealed, refer to a statute which has been repealed or revised, or to a rule of law which has been abrogated or modified.
To aid in understanding the plan and arrangement of the work, and to furnish easy and accurate references to its several parts, chapters, titles, articles and sections, the following means have been provided :
1. To the first volume is prefixed a general table of contents, in the form of a complete analysis of the Four Parts; with references to those pages of the first volume, at which the chapters, titles and articles contained therein, severally commence :
2. To each chapter, is prefixed an analysis of its several titles : 3. To each title, is prefixed an analysis of its several articles :
4. At the head of each article, is placed a summary of the contents of each section; and where a title is not divided into articles, the like summary is placed at the head of the title :
5. A brief note of the subject matter of each section, has been placed in the margin:
6. An Index is added to the first volume, presenting in alphabetical order, the several subjects treated of in the articles, titles and chapters contained in that volume. This Index will not give the contents of the several sections; but as it will refer to the place, in the body of the work, where these contents are given, it is believed that the reader will thus be enabled, without difficulty, to turn to any provision contained in the volume :
7. The second volume commences with a table of contents, enumerating all the chapters, titles, and articles contained in that volume, with references to the pages at which they are to be found :
8. To the second volume is subjoined a copious and minute General Index to every provision contained in the two volumes.
It is here proper to state the following facts : The act of the 21st of April 1825 [continued by the acts of 1827, p. 252 and 1828 p. 434 S 8] authorised and directed a revision of the statutes upon the plan of the following work, and appointed John DUER, BENJAMIN F. BUTLER and Henry WHEATON to perform that duty. Mr. Wheaton being appointed, in the spring of 1827, Chargé des affaires of the United States, to the court of Denmark, resigned his place; and was succeeded by John C. SPENCER, who was appointed on the 21st of April 1827, by DE WITT CLINTON, then Governor of this state. The board thus constituted continued in the commission until the completion of the work. The whole of the First Part, and all the chapters of the Second part, except the first, were passed at the meeting of the legislature which commenced on the 11th of September 1827. During the first meeting of the legislature of 1828, and the second meeting which began on the 9th of September in that year, the first chapter of the Second Part, and the Third and Fourth Parts, were reported and passed. In consequence of the professional and other engagements of Mr. Duer, the Third and Fourth Parts as presented to the legislature, were prepared by the remaining members of the board, assisted only by the occasional advice of their colleague. They also prepared the marginal notes, references, indexes, &c., and superintended the printing and publishing of the volumes.
Although the draughts of the Revised Statutes were prepared by the Revisers, it is due to truth and justice to remark, that in the course of enactment, many alterations were made. Some of these were proposed by the joint committees to whom the several chapters were referred, and others were suggested by individual members of the legislature, who brought to the task the various and practical knowledge so essential to the perfection of the work; and who, with unwearied diligence, devoted their time and labour to its completion. In connexion with this topic, it is hoped that it will not be deemed out of place, here to reiterate the acknowledgment made by the Revisers, in their last general report, of their grateful sense of the manner in which the various propositions submitted by them, in the discharge of their arduous and responsible duties, had been received and considered by the respective houses :" and the avowal" that they would have sunk under the weight of responsibility attached to a work so novel in character and so vast in importance, had they not been sustained and cheered by the ready cooperation of the legislature; and had they not felt a confident security in the intelligence and discretion of those, who were finally to pass on the result of their labors."
JOHN C. SPENCER. Albany, January 1829.
By the “act concerning the Revised Statutes," passed December 10th, 1828, such of those statutes as were not then in force, are severally to commence and take effect as laws, on the FIRST DAY OF JANUARY, 1830.
By the “ act concerning the Revised Statutes, passed at the present meeting of the Legislature," passed on the 4th of December, 1827, the following Chapters and parts of Chapters of the First Part of the Revised Statutes, as originally passed, commenced and took effect on the first day of January, 1828, viz:
1. Chapter VI. entitled “Of elections, other than for militia and town officers :"
2. Chapter VIII. entitled “Of the duties of the executive officers of the state, and of various matters connected with their respective departments :"
3. Chapter IX. entitled “Of the funds, revenue, expenditures and property of the state, and the administration thereof,” except § 186 of the ninth Title thereof, originally passed as 181, which section took effect on the first day of January, 1829; but the forfeiture therein mentioned, does not take effect until six months thereafter:
4. Chapter X. entitled “Of the militia and the public defence :" 5. Chapter XIII. entitled “ Of the assessment and collection of taxes :" 6. Chapter XIV. entitled “Of the public health :
7. The second Title of Chapter XV. entitled “Of public instruction," which Title relates to the common schools :
8. Chapter XVI. entitled “Of highways, bridges and ferries :" 9. Chapter XVIII. entitled “ Of incorporations."
Chap. XVII. of the First Part, entitled “Of the regulation of trade in certain cases,” as the same was originally passed, commenced and took effect on the first day of May, 1828.
Various additions and alterations, in the Chapters above enumerated, were made by subsequent acts of the Legislature, and are particularly noted in the body of the work. These took effect at the several times when the acts directing them, were passed.
Pursuant to the "act concerning the Revised Statutes,” passed on the 10th of December, 1828, We, the undersigned, two of the Revisers of the Statates of the state of New York, do hereby certify, that the text of the Revised Statutes contained in this volume, has been examinod and compared by us with the original acts passed by the Legislature, and with the acts amending such originals; and that this volume was printed by the printers employed by us for that purpose, under the authority conferred by law.
B. F. BUTLER,
JOHN C. SPENCER. January 31, 1829.