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Notwithstanding the Alphabetical and Analytical Arrangement of this Digest, yet great care has been taken so to select the Titles as to bring together the whole Law relating to each subject: to facilitate reference and simplify detail has also been a main object in the execution of this Work, and to attain these desirable ends the principal Titles have been divided under general Heads, and again subdivided into Sections; by which means the several degrees of similar Offences have|been, it is hoped, brought • more readily into view, repetition has become unnecessary, and too strict a classification been avoided.
In numerous instances, where the text of the earlier printed Editions of the Statutes appeared incorrect, it has been corrected by reference to the Authentic Edition.
Having thus noticed the Principles whereon the Work has been compiled, and the Mode in which it has been endeavoured to be carried into effect, it may not perhaps be thought urrnecessary to give a short detail of the Contents of the principal Titles in these Volumes.
Under the first considerable one which occurs, namely, Arson, has been placed all the Statutes punishing the Offence of maliciously setting fire to or burning Dwelling Houses or other Buildings, Cocks, Mows, Ricks, or Stacks, &c. of Corn, Hay, Straw, or Wood. Under Artificers, and Division IV. of Manufactories, will be found the punishment of the Offences of enticing Artificers to quit the Country, and of exporting manufacturing Tools, Models, and Utensils. Tide Assault contains the Statutes punishing such Offences as come under that Head, namely, felonious and malicious Assaults by shooting, &c« cutting and stabbing; felonious Assaults on Persons wrecked, with intent to rob; on Privy Counsellors; by Mariners on their Commander; and on Master Woolcombers by their Journeymen; Assaults (not being felonious) with intent to tear or injure Clothes; in Churches and Palaces; on Members of Parliament; on Judicial Officers acting in the Preservation of Wrecks, &c.; and on account of Money won at Play. The Titles Bank of England, Division III. i. of Forgery, and Division XX. i. of Larceny and Robbery, contain all the Statutes framed to protect that Corporation from Fraud, and punishing their Servants for Misconduct. Under Black .act are to be
found the Provisions of that Statute at length. The Title Bullion and Plate contains an Arrangement of all the Acts relating to the Standard of Gold and Silver; punishing the Counterfeiting, Exportation, illegal Sale or Possession of Bullion and Plate, and of gilding Copper or Latten Wares. The Regulations for the safe Custody of Buonaparte will be found under that Title. Under the head Cattle are contained the several Acts for punishing the Larceny of, or maliciously killing or maiming, &c. thereof; relative to the Restitution of stolen Horses, and to prevent the Exportation of Rams, Sheep and Lambs. Under the Title Clergy (Benefit of) will be found the Statutes relating thereto. Under Coal Works are inserted the Laws punishing the setting on fire or drowning Coal Mines, &c.; the demolishing or injuring Machinery used in Collieries; and the seducing Colliers to quit the Kingdom. Coin shews all the^ Statutes protecting the Currency of this Kingdom, against the Exportation of the same, and punishing the counterfeiting of Foreign Coin, and the Importation or unlawful Possession of the same. Under the Title East India Company are placed the Statutes enabling the Court of King's Bench to hear and determine in England Offences committed within our Eastern Possessions. False Pretences contains the Laws relating to those Offences. Under the several Divisions of Forgery are the Statutes relating to that Crime. Game contains the Laws for the Protection thereof, the breach of which is made Felony or Misdemeanor. Under Homicide are placed the Statutes punishing Petty Treason, Murder (in England and Abroad) and the Accessaries thereto, Murder of Bastards, and Manslaughter; the Statute of stabbing; Homicide by overloading Boats on the Thames; and by Foresters in killing Trespassers; Appeals of Murder, Trial, Judgment, and Forfeiture iii Cases of Murder and Manslaughter.
In the Selections under the Title Larceny and Robbery (as comprehending so large a branch of the Criminal Law) great pains have been taken so to arrange die several Divisions and Sections as to shew the various Crimes, their Degrees and Punishments; and therefore under this Head appear all the Statutes relating to Larceny and Robbery in Dwelling Houses, &c; in Churchesj Chapels, and other Holy Places; in any Booth or Tent in Fairs or Markets; from the Person in or near the Highway or elsewhere; Larceny privately in any House, Warehouse, Coach-house, or Stable; of Lead, Iron, or other Metal or Utensil, and of Trees fixed to the Freehold; in Ships, on Wharfs, &c. and from Vessels wrecked, &c.; from Bleaching Crofts, Racks, or Tenters, and of Wool, &c. left out to dry; and
jn Manufactories; in Northern Counties by taking Black Mail; Larceny from the Person; taking or decoying away Children under Ten Years of Age; Larceny of Records and Choses in Action robbing the Mail, and Larceny of Letters and Packets sent by the Post; stealing or embezzling Public Stores; breaking into any Mine, &c. of Black Lead; Larceny of Fish in Rivers, &c.; of Oysters, &c. in the Lays; by Lodgers; Embezzlement and Larceny by Servants in general, and of the Bank and other Public Companies in particular, and by Public Officers: Accescaries to Larceny and Robbery; Trial of Offenders found with the stolen Property in a foreign County, and the Restitution of stolen Goods.
Malicious Injuries comprize the Acts punishing the Destruction of Turnpike Houses, Gates, &c. and Locks and other Works on navigable Rivers; in respect to the drainage of certain Lands; cutting down the Heads of Ponds, or other Waters, or of Conduits; to barking Fruit Trees, and other similar Offences, the Description of which would, if not classed together under some one appropriate Head, have necessarily led to numerous Repetitions. Under Manufactories are all the Provisions made against injuring the same, or breaking into such Places with intent to steal, or destroy Frames or Goods therein; the Embezzlement of manufacturing Materials by Persons intrusted therewith, the unlawful receipt of the same by others, and the Punishment of certain Artificers voluntarily quitting the Kingdom to practise their Trades abroad. Title Mayhem contains the Statutes relating to the Punishment of the different Species of that Offence. Under the Title Navy are the Articles thereof, - the Constitution of and other Provisions relating to Naval Courts Martials, and the Regulations for punishing Disturbances in the Dock Yards. The Enactments against taking unlawful Oaths will be found under that Head; and all the Offences relating to Piracy, Accessaries to, and Trial of the same, are digested under that Title. Title Public Stores contains the Statutes punishing the Burning or Destruction thereof. The QuaranTine Laws are placed under that Head. Offences committed against Women and Infants by Abduction, Rape, and the Administration of Poison or other destructive Substance with intent to procure Miscarriage, will be found under Titles Rape and Wome&.
The Offences against Religion (classed under that Title) having in numerous Instances become obsolete, or been conditionally suspended by the Operation of later Statutes, it has not been thought necessary to insert all the Acts relating thereto at length. Revenue contains the Regulations for preventing Smuggling, the Breach whereof subjects the Offender to punishment for Felony or otherwise corporally, and against Forgeries and Perjuries relative to the Duties of Customs and Excise. The Offence of personating Seamen, or committing other Acts to defraud them of Wages and Prize Money, appear under that Title. The Acts relating to Seditious Meetings and Societies are placed under the Head of Sedition. Title Ships comprizes the Offences of wilfully casting away, &c. any Vessel, setting fire to Ships of War, &c, plundering Vessels wrecked, Injuries to Moorings of Vessels in different Situations, and the riotous Obstruction by Keelmen, Seamen or others, of the loading of Vessels, or setting fire to the same. The Title Slave Trade contains the Statutes regulating and ultimately abolishing and prohibiting the same. Under the Head of Soldiers will be found the last annual Mutiny Acts, for punishing Mutiny and Desertion in the Army and the Royal Marine Forces; the Offence of enlisting into Foreign Service; and of personating Officers, Petty Officers, Soldiers, and Marines, or committing other acts to defraud them of their Wages, &c. The Statutes punishing the sending of Threatening Letters are inserted under that Head; as are all the Laws relating to the Transportation or other Judgment against Felons under that Title. The several Species of Treason, as declared and defined by Statute; Misprision of Treason; and the Witnesses, Trial, Judgment, Outlawry, and Forfeiture in Treason, are digested under that Title.
The Work, as may well be expected, contains, besides the Titles and Subjects here mentioned, numerous others which will be found under appropriate Heads.
Perhaps some of the Statutes to be found in this Collection may not be thought to come strictly within the Plan of this Work: their Operation and general Utility however has been deemed a sufficient reason for their Insertion.
A Review of the whole of the Criminal Statute Law will shew many inconsistencies, some of which are noticed in the Body of this Work, and one Instance, whereof occurs in the last general Mutiny Acts, 59 G. 3. c. 9. (s, 128, 153), and 59 G. 3. c. 10. s. 85; whereby Persons guilty of some Offences specified in those Sections may be sentenced to stand in the
Pillory, notwithstanding the Statute 56 G. 3. c. 138. had previously abolished that Punishment in all Gases but those of Perjury and Subornation thereof.
Upon the Publication of the First Part of this Work, the *■ Compiler ventured a few Observations on the deficiency of some Parts of the Criminal Law, and to suggest the necessity of some Provisions being made to remedy the same; in addition to which he trusts he will escape the charge of Presumption, in alluding to one part of those Laws which appears to require amendment.
The Statute 43 G. 3. c. 58. (s. 3). enacts, that the Trials of Women charged with the Murder of any Issue of their Bodies Male or Female, which being born alive would by Law be Bastard, shall be governed by the same Rules of Evidence and of Presumption as are by Law used and allowed in respect to other Trials for Murder: and then (by s. 4.) provides that it shall be lawful for the Jury by whose Verdict any Prisoner charged with such Murder as aforesaid shall be acquitted, to find, in case it shall so appear in Evidence, that the Prisoner was delivered of such Issue of her Body, and that she did, by secretly burying or otherwise, endeavour to conceal the Birth thereof; and that thereupon the Court may adjudge that such Prisoner shall be committed to the Common Gaol or House of Correction for any Time not exceeding Two Years.
This Statute therefore does not appear to authorize the Trial of a Woman for the Concealment of the Birth of her Bastard Child, unless there is in the first instance sufficient Evidence to justify the finding against her of a Bill for Murder; such Concealment not being made a substantive Offence by the Statute. The Compiler has been informed by Magistrates and Coroners of the Occurrence in numerous instances of such Concealment, but wherein there not being Evidence sufficient to raise the Presumption of Murder, the Delinquents escaped Punishment.
In a Work of this nature it is but too probable that the existence of some errors and inaccuracies will be detected: but from the attention bestowed in its formation, the Compiler trusts they will not be found either numerous or very material in their nature; those already discovered are noticed at the end of the Second Part,
The Compiler flatters himself that the utility of this Digest will be obvious: by the perusal of it, the Community will obtain