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P R E F M C E.

F 1 СЕ

BY an act of the General AMembly of Virginia, dated December 28th, 1792,

it was ordained, that a collection should be made of all such acts of the As, sembly, of a public and permanent nature, as were then in force. For this

purpose, several lawyers were solicited to superintend the compilation. Mr. Da, vis, then printer to the Commonwealth, did not get the work completed 'till the close of the year 1794. It, therefore, embraced all such laws, of a public and permanent nature, as were passed during the session, which commenced November urth, 1794,

It was unavoidably to happen that this collection would almost immediately become defective ; and that its defects were to increase annually, and without intermission. The new laws of the more important class were, for the most part, occupied in altering, or in repealing some of their predeceffors. Hence, it was evident, that if a man of business was not regularly supplied with the addiţional laws, the Revised Code would be quite as likely to lead him into mistakes, as to give him proper information. The consequence was, that every practitioner of the law found it necessary to purchase, annually, the large folio pamphlet, containing the laws of each succeeding afsembly. In the course of a man's life, these publications would have swelled into a library; and, what was extremely inconvenient, by far the greater part of them were laws of a local and private nature, which were totally useless, and a mere incumbrance to the practitioner in a court.


This Revised Code, with all its augmenting imperfections, had become extremely scarce. The original price was eight dollars. But it was almost impoflible to obtain the book at any price whatever. The constant demand for the Revised Code indliced the proprietors of the present work to publish propofals for a second, and irnproved edition, which was to bring down the collection so late as to the end of the fellion of December, 1801. In the former

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edition, therefore, the latest act of Assembly bears date the 26th of December, 1794. In the present edition, the latest statute passed upon February 2d, 1302. This makes a difference of more than seven years; and these seven years appear to have been distinguished beyond every former period of the history of the commonwealth, by the multitude and importance of the laws which in that time were passed. To give a complete idea of this fact, we have only to observe, that the edition of Mr. Davis contained one hindred and eightyone sietutes; and that the present contains THREE HUNDRED AND THIRTEEN. Of these, one hundred and thirty-two additional statutes, one hundred and twenty-six were passed within thołe seven years. They compose, , therefore, in point of number, more than two-fifths of the whole collection. The other six laws, which make up the total additional number of one hundred and thirty-two, had been passed long before the publication of the former edition of « The Revised Code.” Some of them are of very, considerable length. They were selected, and inserted by the special advice and desire of Governor Monroe. He was one of the gentlemen who had been appointed to revise the former edition ; and it was his opinion that these six acts of Alfembly had been improperly omitted.

Exclusive of the index, the title page and preface, the present volume contains four hundred and fifty-four pages. Of these, the additional laws fill an hundred and twenty-four pages, which is not much less than a third part of the whole text.

It is not necessary to say how much more convenient this concise and perspicuous arrangement must be, than to have the trouble of wandering through feven folio pamphlets, in quest of a statute.

These details, without any comment of ours, abundantly prove, had, indeed, other evidence been wanting, the propriety and necessity for a second edition of this book. It is now, also, condensed into a much more manageable size than it formerly assumed. No gentleman's pocket can, at least, in the present age, contain a folio volume; and much less would it contain the enormous appendage of seven folio pamphlets. In riding ten, or fifteen miles to a county


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