« PreviousContinue »
P R E F A C E.
IN this. Digest will be found all the Statutes recognizing,
enforcing, creating, or in anywise affecting the Common and Statute Laws relating to the several kinds and degrees of Felonies and Misdemeanors committed within the Realm of England, its Colonies and other Dependencies, as well as upon the High Seas, which are punishable in Courts of Record corporally and otherwise.
No Work, it is believed, has ever yet appeared containing the whole Criminal Statute Law of England; and as the various Acts relating thereto are dispersed (necessarily without any uniformity) through the numerous volumes of the printed Statutes, the Search for particular Acts frequently becomes arduous even to Professors of the Law.
It is observable in the most correct Works on this subject, that a very small Portion of the enacting Part of the Statute is set forth : the Preamble, which is undoubtedly a most material Part of the Act, is generally omitted; the detail of other Parts so shortened, that no correct judgment can be formed of the intent of the Legislature in framing the Law; and the Statutes enforcing, reviving, continuing, or making perpetual former Laws, are in many instances wholly omitted, or but slightly noticed.
To remedy these Inconveniences and supply such Deficiencies is the object of this Work; but the selection includes only Statutes the Proceedings upon which are strictly Criminal, and those which impose Fines alone (recoverable by Action of Debt or other similar Process), unaccompanied by Disabilities or Corporal Punishment, upon the Omission of any Act directed to be performed, or on the Commission of any illegal or prohibited Act, have not in general been inserted in this Collection; with the exception of a few instances, wherein it was judged necessary, to shew the whole Operation of the Statutes made upon the same subject.