« PreviousContinue »
the work to so great a size as to render three volumes indispensable. Such a change was found also not inappropriate to a proper division of subjects, and it is believed it will be deemed to have given a more convenient size to each volume.
The index has been prepared with great labor, and will be found to be very full and well arranged for reference. ALBANY, December 1st, 1858.
AMASA J. PARKER,
PREFACE TO THE FOURTH EDITION.
THE editors of this edition of the Revised Statutes have endeavored to follow the plan pursued by the revisers in the second edition published under their supervision, the outlines of which, with the reasons for its adoption, will be found in the extract from the preface to that edition given on a subsequent page. The text of the statutes, as originally passed, is given, except where it has been repealed, modified or altered by subsequent legislation. Where a portion is repealed it is omitted. Where it has been modified or altered, it is given as modified or altered, with notes to indicate the change and the authority for making it. Laws subsequently passed, which are of general operation, or which affect or modify any provision of the Revised Statutes, are incorporated with the original text, or arranged in distinct titles or articles, as will most conveniently enable the reader to examine all the existing statute law upon each particular subject. Notes, either at the commencement of the titles or articles, or in the margin, indicate the acts and parts of acts from which each statutory provision so introduced is taken. The editors have adopted the revisers' plan of numbering anew the sections, retaining, however, within brackets, the original numbers; and for the purpose of enabling the reader, at a glance, to determine whether the text is part of the Revised Statutes, or of an act subsequently passed, the ordinary section mark [S] is placed before each original section, while a section mark preceded by an asterisk (* S] is placed before each section of laws passed since the revision. In cases where a whole title or article has been introduced, the numbers of the original sections, if changed, are shown within brackets, or by notes at the ends of sections.
But a small portion of the third volume of either of the former editions having been occupied with the original text, it has been deemed advisable, in the present edition, to include all of the existing statutes in two volumes. Those parts of the Revised Statutes containing the enumeration and boundaries of counties, towns and cities, which have heretofore been placed in the third volume, are in this edition inserted in the chapter to which they belong; and the general acts which were not affected by the revision are arranged in the body of the work, in connection with provisions upon similar subjects, in such a manner as to present in one view all the existing law upon the same subject.
The decisions of the several courts of the state relative to the various provisions, both of the original text and of the subsequent laws incorporated in it, are referred to in marginal notes.
The recent changes in the organization of the courts, and in the system of practice effected by the constitution of 1846 and the Code of Procedure, have, in many instances, left it extremely doubtful to determine upon the existence or abrogation of many provisions of the previously existing statutes. In such cases, the editors have endeavored to give all of the original text which has not been obviously abrogated, although portions of it may be inconsistent with the existing law. The accompanying notes will usually enable the reader to understand the question which each of these cases presents. In a few instances, where the provisions of a statute have reference to different subjects, and where the convenient examination of the law upon each subject has seemed to require it, the same section has been repeated in different parts of the text.
The court of chancery having been superseded by the supreme court, and the courts of common pleas and general sessions of the peace
in each of the counties, except New York, by the county courts and courts of sessions, and the provisions of law in relation to the former having been made applicable to the existing courts, the names of the existing courts have been substituted for the former wherever they occur in the text, and where it could be done without rendering it obscure. The change is indicated by notes at the bottom of the
The same course has been followed where the names occur of officers who have ceased to exist, and the duties of whose offices are discharged by some other officer.
The Index has been carefully revised, and it is believed that it will be found sufficiently full to direct the reader to any desired provision of existing statute law.
The work was prepared for publication, and a considerable portion of it printed, before the adjournment of the legislature in 1852. The body of it (with the exception of the Code of Procedure, which is given with the amendments passed in 1852) contains the statutes existing January 1, 1852. The laws of general interest, passed in 1852, are contained in the Appendix. UTICA, September 1st, 1852.
EXTRACT FROM THE PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
A new edition of the Revised Statutes seems required by the wants of the citizens of this state. The first edition, published by the state, is 80 entirely out of print, that copies cannot be procured to supply the demands of new officers and practitioners, and of the various public bodies. And the alterations made by the legislature are so numerous and important as to create great difficulty in ascertaining the exact state of the statute laws, unless those relating to the same subject are placed together so as to exhibit their mutual relation.
Under these circumstances, the individuals who conducted the late revision have been called upon from all parts of the state to prepare and publish a new edition; and it has been urged that their familiarity with the arrangement and provisions of the Revised Statutes would enable them to perform the labor with more ease than most others. The legislature, also, by the act of April 19th, 1830, chapter 259, seem to have anticipated that those individuals would prepare an edition, by the provision made in that act, whereby a copy, certified by two of the revisers, is entitled to be read in evidence. The late revisers have, therefore, deemed it their duty, notwithstanding the pressure of their professional engagements, to comply with what appears to be the public expectation.
The plan of the present edition is this. The text of the Revised Statutes, as originally passed, is given with scrupulous accuracy, except where any provision has been expressly repealed or otherwise altered by the legislature. Where any part of the text is repealed, it is omitted; where the legislature has specifically directed alterations in any part, such parts are published, not in their original form, but as amended by the legislature, with notes at the foot of the page indicating the authority for the change. If the undersigned had confined themselves to the task of correcting the text of the Revised Statutes, in the cases where special directions to that effect had been given by the legislature, that task would have been comparatively easy, as those directions generally specify the manner in which the alterations shall be made. But a new edition, prepared in this way, would have presented a very imperfect view of the general statute law of the state; inasmuch as numerous acts of a general nature have been passed since 1828, which, without giving any such directions, yet affect materially many of the provisions of the Revised Statutes, and introduce others which are entirely new and of great importance.
For the purpose, then, of presenting a full and accurate view of the whole existing statute law of a general nature, the acts of the legislature, passed since 1828, have been carefully examined, and all their provisions which in any manner affected those contained in the Revised Statutes, and all such as are of a general and public nature, are inserted in those titles and articles where the same or similar subjects are contained. This produces, in some instances, what would be an incongruity, if the article or title in which such new provisions are contained was to be deemed an entire original act. For example, in the provisions thus incorporated, references frequently appear to former or other sections of the same act, from which those provisions are taken, and these references are made by the expression “ of this act," or other similar terms, by which the new law only is meant. But as no power is possessed by us to alter the language of the subsequent acts, they are necessarily inserted in the very words in which they passed, including such references and other apparent incongruities. By referring, however, to the notes at the foot of the page, these references will be explained, and the reader who will attend to them cannot be misled.
In effecting this arrangement, in such a manner as to give an intelligent view of the former and new acts combined, so as to exhibit their relations to each other, much difficulty was experienced in determining the proper place for inserting new provisions which related to two or more distinct subjects. Many acts of the legislature were of that character, and yet the sections of some of those acts were so interwoven with each other, that they could not be well separated without doing violence to the sense of the passages removed. In all such, cases the new provisions have been inserted in the place indicated by their general or leading subject, and where they affected, or were believed to affect, other existing enactments, references have been made in notes to such enactments.
The general rule has been to insert the whole section containing the new provision, in the words in which it was enacted. This rule has been departed from only where it seemed necessary, in order to preserve the systematic arrangement of the work, or to avoid the repetition of provisions already inserted, or the introduction of others that were entirely useless. In some cases, where a single feature of the new law, only, was