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COMPILED AND ARRANGED
BY THOMAS M. COOLEY.
The Act under which this Compilation has been made, was passed February 2, 1857.
It provided that all General Laws then in force, including those passed by the then present Legislature, should be collected and reprinted, without alteration, under their appropriate Heads and Titles, with Marginal Notes and References, and an Index. The Laws so collected and arranged, were to be examined by two Commissioners, and Five Thousand Copies were to be printed, bound and deposited in the Oflice of the Secretary of State by the first day of November then next.
The Legislature of 1857 adjourned on the seventeenth day of February. To enable the Printer and Binder, with all practicable dispatch and under the most favorable circumstances, to complete their portion of the labor within the time allowed by the Act, it was necessary that the printing be begun as early as June, and but four months, therefore, at the outside, could be allowed the Compiler to bring together and arrange for examination by the Commissioners, all the General Laws of the State and Territory in force.
Neither the Revised Statutes of 1846, nor those of 1838, embraced all the Statutes of a general character then in force; nor had there been, since 1827, any General Repealing Statute which could be taken as a starting point in this labor. It was, therefore, necessary to commence with the Revision of 1827, and examine in detail the several Acts contained in that, and in each publication of Laws which followed to the present time.
It would be surprising if a work of such magnitude, compiled in the brief space of time allowed, should be, in all respects, as complete, and as perfectly arranged, as would be desirable. It will not be claimed that such is the fact with this Compilation. The Compiler can only hope that he has succeeded in bringing together the whole body of General Statutes, and that the arrangement of them is not so defective but that the main design of the Legislature in providing for their Compilation has been accomplished.
In preparing the Compilation, the object kept most prominently in view has been the omission of no General Lax, or part therenf, now in force. And to attain this object, the following rules have been observed :
In every case of a General Statute, where it seemed to the Compiler, or to either of the Commissioners, that any well founded doubt could exist as to its having been repealed, or superseded, it has been retained, with such Note or Reference as the case seemed to call for, leaving the question of its repeal to the Judiciary, where it properly belongs.
In all cases of attempts to amend or repeal Statutes by enactments which seemed not themselves to comply with the Constitutional requirements, or which seemed opposed to Constitutional provisions, both the former and the latter have been retained, with References to each other.
However plain it might seem, in any case, that a Statute, or part thereof, was void, for want of compliance with the Constitution in any particular, the whole has been retained in the Compilation, with a reference only to the Constitutional provision having a bearing upon it.
In all cases of General Statutes and acts amendatory of General Statutes, passed since the Revised Constitation, which makes the Title to an Act an important and even controlling part thereof, the Titles have been retained and given in full.
And thus, though many an Enactment of doubtful validity may be retained, the Act, or defect, or Constitutional provision which renders it so, appears in juxta position with it, in such manner as to present, at first view, tho question involved, and avoid misleading the reader.
These rules have been fully sanctionod by the Commissioners.
Doubtless there are cases in which the references to modifying and controlling Statutory and Constitutional Provisions are not as complete as they should have been, and at page 716 occurs an accidental omission of such a reference ; Section 2211 on that page being essentially modified by Section Nine, of Article Thirteen, of the Constitution; but it is hoped that the lack in this particular is not so great as in any instance to mislead the reader.