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PREFACE.

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court-house, a gentleman does not always think it worth while to take a porta manteau along with him ; nor, indeed, is every portmanteau large enough co contain such masses of print and paper. Upon this account, the present edition has been reduced to an octavo size, and printed as closely as possible. Hence, a lawyer, when he sets out for the county court-house, will no longer be obliged to leave his eight folios behind him, and, amidst a croud of competitors, to folicit the unfortunate clerk of the court to let him have a sight of the Revised Code. He can now put his hand into his pocket, and take out a genteel, portable, ocayo volume, which comprehends his former library, disencumbered of all its rubbish. The type, on which the present edition is printed, is either the fame, or almost exactly the fame with that of the last, and most esteemed Lon.. don edition of Coke upon Littleton. This circumstance is mentioned here, because a complaint had been made, in one of the Richmond newspapers, by fome nameless writer, that the type was too small. You cannot, at the same time, enjoy the cool, bracing breeze of winter, and the verdant vegetation of summer. You cannot, in the fame book, unite the advantages of a folio, and of an octavo. If this edition had been printed upon a type as large as that of Mr. Davis, it must have been one-third part dearer than it is; for the volume; including the new index, and the bottom notes, positively contains one third part more of matter than the former edition. The price, to subscribers, must have been raised to nine dollars ; and to non-subscribers, to twelve dollars. Very few purchasers will regret that the publication can be had at a price to much more reasonable.

The former edition laboured under more than one material defect. It was often impossible to tell at what time a statute had originally paffed. Put the cale, that a deed was to be contested, which bore date in 1760. It is clear that this transaction could not be affected by laws made posterior to its date. It became a question how long the law had existed, or, when a predeceffor to it, or to fome part of it, had been passed in, perhaps, a different form. For instance, of chapter CXXVII. a considerable part appears to have been enacted at different periods; one part in 1785, others in 1791. In the old edition of the Re... vised Code, the law is dated December 26th, 1792.

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The bottom notes of the new edition give notice, that various parts ot le were in force before, although the whole had been covered by the subsequent statute of 1792. The same notes give intimation, that this law has been amended by another, of December, 1801. Again, chapter CXXVIII bears date the 26th of December, 1792. But we learn that the first clause of the Atacute existed in 1762, that is to say, thirty years before. The fecond claute, which is far the longest in the act, had been taken from a former statute, dated Q&ober, 1776. From not knowing how far back the force of these laws ex, tended, the court was often cast into irretrievable confusion. To discover how far back a statute extended, was often a work of great time and difficulty ; and perhaps the requisite apparatus of old laws could not always be had. Gentlemen of the bar assure us, that the bottom notes, which are to be found at the foot of almost every single page of this edition, are, themselves alone, fairly worth the whole price of the book., We have neither received, nor afked permission to publish the name of the supposed author of these notes. He is, however, a gentleman whose name has long been familiar to every lawyer in Virginia. He has long filled :nore than one interesting department in the system, and the science of jurisprudence. In point of legal knowledge and abilities, his reputation is inferior to none,

All the gentlemen of the law, with one voice, complained of the imperfection of the former index. A new one has been entirely wrote over again, and at a very considerable expence, for the present edition. In the former, there were, under the letter A, only twenty-six different heads.

In this edition, there are forty-nine. In the former, letter S contained only twenty five heads. This has forty-seven. These particulars are mentioned, to fhew the superior perspicuity and completeness of the present index; and how greatly it must facilicate an accurate examination of the contents of the volume. The index contains seventy-two pages. The text of the laws, exclusive of the preface and title page, contains as above mentioned, four hundred and fifty-four ; so that there is one page of index for about every fix pages of text. A larger number of references would have been useless, and have served rather to embarrass, than asist, the reader, This laborious part of the work was

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drawn up by Mr. James Rind, who had been employed as an affiftant, by the supervisors of the former edition. We have every reason to think that his performance will give entire satisfa&tion.

This volume, the index excepted, was completely printed off feveral months ago. But it was impossible to deliver the book till this time, because the bad state of Mr. Rind's health did not permit him to furnish the index fooncr. This apology will, no doubt, be considered as sufficient for a long delay of publication, which it was impossible for the editors to prevent. It would be the fummit of frivolity to expatiate upon the importance of a

a work like this ; because it is plain, that every family in the commonwealth, should, if possible, poffefs a copy of it. To judges, magistrates and lawyers, it is indispensably necessary; and every private gentleman, who wishes to understand either his own rights, or those of his neighbours, ougit to be conversant with its contents.

RICHMOND, Areit ist, 1803

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