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PREFACE TO THE TWENTY-FOURTH EDITION.
Is preparing the present edition, the changes which have taken place of late years in the law have been carefully noticed; Acts of Parliament no longer in force have been expunged from the text, and recent acts incorporated. This has been done with a completeness and accuracy which the Editor could not have attained without the assistance of the "Chronological Table and Index of the Statutes," recently published by authority.
The comprehensive articles on the law of Bankruptcy and Stamps will, it is believed, be found especially useful.
The chapters on "The House of Commons" and "Procedure in the Courts of Law and Equity," have, in a great measure, been re-written, and analyses of the "Ballot Act, 1872," and the "Supreme Court of Judicature Act, 1873," inserted.
The reader's attention is directed to the chapters on "Licensed Victuallers" and "Pawnbrokers," in which the provisions of the mportant consolidating and amending acts passed on these subjects in 1872 are given at considerable length.
The Editor trusts that the mistakes and omissions inseparace from a work like the present are not numerous or important enough to impair its efficiency. Its popularity is proved by the demand for twenty-four editions.
LINCOLN'S INN, January, 1874.
PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.
Those who have attended to the details of administrative justice cannot fail to have remarked that the great mass of litigation results dot more from the uncertainty of the law than the absence of the legal information which ought to be within the reach and comprebension of every member of the community. Of the ques. tions brought forward for the adjudication of a public tribunal, a large proportion are referable to clear and settled determinations of law, with which the parties themselves ought to have been apprized, without the delay, expense, and anxiety inseparable from judicial proceedings.
A principal object of the present undertaking has been to lessen the occasions for an appeal to the Courts of Law; and, secondly, to render accessible to unprofessional readers a knowledge of the institutions by which individual rights, persons, and properties are secured.
As the primary design was a Popular Digest of the Laws of Engand, my first object has been compression and simplicity; the former I endeavoured to attain by strictly avoiding everything extraneous to a distinct elucidation of the immediate question : the latter, by divesting the subject of technical obscurity, combined with an arrangement which I think will be found as natural and convenient as the English laws will admit.
The work is divided into Six Parts, and each part is subdivided into chapters and sections. The First Part comprises the chief points in the origin and jurisdiction of the laws of England, and in the institutions and government from which they have emanated. Next follows the Administration of Justice, including a brief account of the courts of law, the mode of civil and criminal procedure, the constitution of juries, and the nature of evidence. The Third Part embraces the laws affecting Classes, comprising the laws and regulations principally bearing on the social and domestic relations of life, and exclusively referring to particular descriptions of individuals ; as the Clergy, Justices, Sheriffs, Parish Officers, Innkeepers, Travellers, Postmasters, Carriers, Pawnbrokers, Dissenters and Roman Catholics, Executors, Working Classes, Trustees, Author and Publisher, Partners, Banking and JointStock Companies, Master and Servant, Landlord and Tenant, Principal and Agent.
Having stated the laws which affect persons in public and parochial offices, in their professions, trades, and occupations, and in their civil and social relations, we come next to those that affect their possessions ; this forms the Fourth Part, embracing the incidents connected with the inheritance, possession, and conveyance of property under the heads of Wills and Codicils, Tithes, Contracts, Bills of Exchange, Bankruptcy, Assignment, Mortgage, Liens, Insurance, Insolvency, Game Laws, &c.
Next follows the consideration of Civil Injuries, or those minor offences, as Libel, Seduction, Trespass, and Slander, which atfect the character or infringe the rights of individuals, but do not directly endanger the peace and security of the comin
amunity. The Sixth and concluding Part refers to Crimes and Punishments, being a digest of the criminal laws of England, and of the consequences and penalties of public offences. Great and salutary changes have been recently introduced into this department of the judicial system; among others, the speedier trial of misdemeanours has been facilitated, and the severity of their punishment augmented; the number of capital offences has been diminished, and milder and more reformatory modes of punishment substituted ; punishments unsuite l to the feelings of the age, as that of the pillory, and the burning or whipping of females, have been abolished,