Page:Ruffhead - The Statutes at Large, 1763.djvu/26

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Perhaps many other Amendments might likewiſe be made by legiſlative Authority : And many Irregularities in the Frame of our Statutes might be corrected without any Hazard of Inconvenience. Several Laws enlarged, explained, continued or revived by ſubſequent Statutes, might be reduced into one Act[1] : And where various Matters, in no wiſe relative to each other, are comprized in the ſame Statute, they might be digeſted and claſſed under their proper Heads.

IN the present edition, ſome Attempts have been made, which may, perhaps, in no ſmall Degree, obviate the abovementioned Inconveniencies, reſulting from the confuſed and irregular State of our Statute Law.

With a View to this End, great Care has been taken to correal the Errors, and ſupply the Defects in former Collediions, by reftifying many miilaken and imperfedl References [2] and by ſpecifying the Operation of the Acts referred to ; that is, by diſtinguiſhing whether they repeal, enforce, explain, amend, continue, or revive the Act under Conſideration. Moreover, where the Statute referred to contains Matter relative to Subjects of different Natures, the Reader is directed to the very Section which regards the Object of his Inquiry : And for the Sake of greater Accuracy, particular Attention hath been paid to place the Act referred to where it hath been found practicable, directly oppoiſte to the Clauſe affected by the Reference. Many thouſand new References likewiſe are added in this Edition, which, are brought down to the preſent Time, in a progreſſive Chain ; and alſo t raced upwards in Chronological Order, by which Means the Reader will have the Statute Law relative to the Subject of his Purſuit, under his immediate Inſpection [3]

Such a connected View will obviate the Fatigue and Difficulty of tedious and intricate Searches. By this ready Method of comparing ſubſequent Statutes with thoſe preceding, the Reader may fee how the Law flood at ſucceſſive Periods, may perceive wherein it was ineffectual, and, by attending to the progreſſive Alterations and Amendments which have been made, he will be more eaſily led to the true Meaning and Deſign of the Acts under his Conſideration.

It is to this End likewiſe that many Statutes, though obſolete or expired, are, In this Edition, inſerted at length, in their proper Order of Time, which are only abridged in the later Editions. Of this Kind are the 1ſt of Rich. III. c. I. concerning Acts of Ceſtui que uſe; the 34 and 35 Hen. VIIL reſpecting Bankrupts; and alſo the 39 Eiliz. c. 3. relative to the Poor Laws, with ſeveral others which ſeem to be

of Uſe to give the Reader a connective Idea of the ſucceffive Proviſions of Law on theſe material Heads. By having the Statute at large before him, he has the Benefit of the Preamble, which, as Lord Coke obſerves, is a good Guide to diſcover the Meaning of the Act, or rather a Key which opens to the Knowledge of it : and it is a Rule of Law, that the Preamble muſt be taken for Truth. The Preamble generally ſets forth the Miſchief intended to be remedied, and, by having the

  1. See Preface to Wood's Inſtitutes,
  2. By imperfect References is to be underſtood, thoſe which refer the Reader to the Year of the King's Reign, and the Chapter, but do not ſpecify the particular Statute : And, as it ſometiines happens, that there are five or ſix Statutes in the ſame Year, the Omiſſion often occaſions great Perplexity and Trouble.
  3. Many additional References likewiſe will be made to the Report Books, &c.