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 traced 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.