As to the meaning of the words in force, as employed in the Act providing for this Compilation, it has not occurred to the Commissioners, any more than to the Compiler, that there could be any question. The Legisla ture intended the work to embrace such Laws only as are in force for future action or purposes, and not such as possess vitality as respects alone the action heretofore had under them, and the questions arising thereon.


The first Code of Michigan Laws, adopted in 1805, and commonly known as the Woodward Code, contains thirtyfour Acts, and one hundred and sixty-four Sections. Nothing peculiar is observed in its arrangement, except that the Sections are numbered consecutively through the whole work.

In the Cass Code, published in 1816, the arrangement of subjects was alphabetical-an arrangement which, though exceedingly unnatural, has many manifest advantages.

In the Codes of 1820, 1827, and 1833, no attempt at any general arrangement seems to have been made beyond bringing together kindred Acts. Whenever a new Statute on any subject seemed requisite, it was prepared and passed, and printed in what was thought its appropriate place in the work. And existing Statutes were amended as the circumstances of the Territory seemed to require.

The Revision of 1838 was a single Act, divided into Parts, Titles and Chapters, after the manner of the Revised Statutes of New York. The arrangement of the Revision of 1846 was, in the main, the same, except that instead of numbering the Chapters in each Title by itself, as had been done in 1838, the progressive numbers were carried through the whole Revision.

For reasons which seemed imperative, the arrangement of 1846 has been substantially adopted in the present work. Among those reasons were the following:

1. It was an arrangement under which our People, for nearly twenty years, had been doing business, until it had become familiar.

2. It was similar to that of the Statutes of New York and Massachusetts, from which States a large portion of our citizens had removed.

3. It is believed to have proved generally satisfactory to the People of Michigan, and that very strong reasons should exist to justify the placing before them a new arrangement, the plan of which must necessarily be different from any with which the most of them had ever been familiar.

4. The duty of the Compiler was confined to the collection and reprint, without alteration, of the Laws in force, and it was quite impossible to take the Statutes as they are, and adopt and carry out any new arrangement that would not be essentially defective in its details, without a more frequent and radical subdivision of Chapters than was thought justifiable.

The arrangement of 1846 is, therefore, substantially adopted, and with the less hesitation from the fact that it has seemed to the eminent Revisors of New York and Massachusetts, as well as to those who prepared the Revisions of our own Statutes, and the Commissioners appointed to examine the present Compilation, the natural and proper arrangement for such a work.

The principal modification consists in numbering the Sections consecutively through the whole work, which, for purposes of citation, it is hoped, will be found a convenience.

For similar reasons radical changes have been avoided in the Index to that portion of the work taken from the Revision of 1846. The Index to that Revision has become familiar to our People, and though considerable additions have been made to it, the main body of it is still retained.

Many crude things will be found in this Compilation, and many incongruities have been brought together, which will be more apparent in their present form than when distributed through thirty volumes. Careless phraseology and faults in grammar are not infrequent-the latter in many cases will strike the reader as clerical or typographical errors, when, in fact, they are exact reprints of Laws carelessly and hastily prepared and passed.

The additions to Judge Green's marginal References to Judicial Decisions, are, for the most part, only such as the Compiler had preserved in the course of his practice. It was quite impossible, in the short time allowed for the work, to make these references by any means full and complete. What are given, it is hoped, will, to some extent, be found of service.

References which, it is believed, will sometimes be found convenient, have also been made to repealed and superseded Statutes, uuder which questions frequently spring up for Judicial determination.

The Compiler desires here to express his many obligations to the Commissioners for the promptness with which their portion of the labor has been performed, and the pains they have taken that, so far as in them lay, the completion of the work should not be delayed beyond the time fixed by the Act under which it is prepared.

ADRIAN, 1857.


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