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only in the great mass of statutes to be digested, . See the but also in the number *.6 of cross and cuffing speech of statutes” which are to be found upon various James I. to od the parlia.

o topics of the law, so that it is often difficult to say ment. how far one may not have been superseded by ano

ther; and even when they were not inconsistent, yet
to incorporate the amendments, which I have in
many instances done, was a task which required mi-
nute and laborious attention. To separate those
acts which were in force from those which were
expired, or were superseded or repealed, was at-
tended also with considerable trouble ; and I
have, in many instances, lost much time in tra-
cing an act through several continuing statutes
to the one which had finally perpetuated it. And
here I beg leave to submit it, whether it would not
be more adviseable, in cases where the policy or
expediency of any acts are doubtful, to leave their
duration undefined, (which will not preclude their
being repealed when it shall so seem proper,) than
to be continuing them from time to time, which re-
quires the constant vigilance of parliament, and
produces considerable embarassment, from the
multitude of acts and clauses continuing and
reviving others. I beg leave also to observe, that
sufficient attention has not been paid to the
framing the titles to acts of parliament; as in-
stances might be produced of clauses of a general
nature being contained in acts purporting to be
merely local, and provisions of permanent force and
authority in statutes which profess by their tiles to
be merely temporary. The titles are frequently
defective also, in not embracing or leading to the
variety of subjects about which they are conversant :
out here I should submit that there ought to be a
distinctness and an unity in every act of parliament,
tu avoid the confusion arising from a mixture of
discordant n.atter, which has frequently occurred.

The The 22 Geo. 2. c. 46. Eng, was called a “ Hodgepodge Act," from the number of unconnected subjects to which it related, but there are many such to be found amongst the English and Irish statutes. Some perplexity has also arisen from the want of attention to a just arrangement of the several clauses of statutes : This has in many instances, I believe, arisen from the alterations that bills undergo in their progress through parliament, but in many also from a defect in their original formation. I have given to the statutes, and to their several clauses, that arrangement which appeared to me to be most proper: A few alterations have, however, since suggested themselves to me, which I should be glad to have made. With respect to the imperial statutes in particular, I have, in several instances, been at a loss to know to what parts of the united kingdom they were meant to extend, or be confined. I should submit, therefore, that either the title or preamble of each act should be so framed as to remove all uncertainty of this kind; or else that a distinct proviso should be introduced for the purpose. Such were the difficulties I had to encounter, and the perplexities which embarrassed me in my progress.

In framing this digest I availed myself of the compilations of other authors, not as directions for the mode of abridging the statutes, but as leading me to the statutes themselves, From Mr. Williams's digest in particular I derived some assistance, but to Mr. Ball's index my acknowledgments are more especially due. I was otherwise unassisted in the execution of this work : If, therefore, any merit it possesses, it is entirely my own, and I am alone responsible for its errors. It is now above three years since I announced this work as nearly ready for the press : I felt it to be my duty at that time to submit to the judges and bar of Ireland a prospectus or outline of the plan: The sanction which I then re



ceived for its publication, and in particular from the noble and learned lord * who presides over the department of the law in this country, served to reanimate a spirit which had almost sunk under the weight of the undertaking. For the last three years I have applied myself, almost exclusively, to the revision of the work, and the correction of the press. But it little concerns the public to know the time that it has employed, or the other sacrifices I have made for its accomplishment. Suffice it to say that

I have devoted many and the best years of my life - to the undertaking, and, without private assist

ance or public aid, have arrived at its conclusion,
by a slow and silent progress through a course of
solitary abstraction and irksome labour. Yet its
hardships may be without honour, and its labours
without reward.” But I am not without hope, that
it may be deemed by the public to be a meritorious
service, and that those high authorities who have
already approved of it as a “ good desire,” may
think that it has been “ brought to a good effect.”
I shall not however be unrewarded, if this effort to
redeem time, and to do something useful, shall re-
commend me to the esteem of the Irish bar, and of
“ that little platoon in society” in which I live. I
have this further hope, that this incorporate union
of the English and Irish statutes may tend to the
amendment and amelioration of our laws, and serve
to cement the alliance, and promote the harmony
between Great Britain and Ireland, so that these

countries “ may grow into one nation, whereby Vide 11, 12, & 13 Jac. i. there may be an utter oblivion and extinguishment 6.5. Ir. of all former differences and discord betwixt them.”


* Thomas Lord Baron Manners, Lord Chancellor.

Of the Absolute Rights



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THE Great Charter made in the 9th year of the reign Book I. of king Henry III. having incorporated the previous char- $. 1. ters of liberties, may not only be regarded as the most an- The primary cient statute on record, but also as the first which con-n

rights of persotains provisions asserting the absolute rights of indivi- sonal liberty,and

priva e property, duals, by protecting every person living under the British userted by the

Great Charter. constitution, in the free enjoyment of his life, his liberty, 9 Hen. 3. c. 29, and his property. The 29th chapter* of this capitulary E. & I. declares or enacts, that no freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his freehold, or liberties, or free customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or otherwise destroyed, (toor shall any man be condemned at the king's suit, either before the king in his bench, or before any Other commissioner or judge,] but by lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land; and further in the name of the king declares, that to no man shall right or justice be sold, denied, or delayed. This statute contained also a confirmation of the liberties of the church, and of the privileges of the city of London, and other cor*VOL. I.


• As this chapter of Magna Charta is so often referred to as the basis of the British constitution, it seems to be proper to stare it in the very words: Nullas liber homo capiutur vel imprisonetur, aut disseisiutur de libero tenemento suos Del Libertatibus, vel liberis consuetudinibus suis, aut ullagetur, aut exulet, aut aliquo modo destrualur, nec super eum ibimus, nec super eum miltemus, nisi per kegale judicium parium suurum, vel per legem terræ : Nulli vendemus, nulli nega. bimus cut differemus reclum vel justitiam. The charter granted to the people of Ireland in the first year of this reign, as also that granted to the people of England in the year following, contained also a similar clause,

+ This translation is, accordiug to Sir Edw. Coke's exposition of the words * nes super eum ibimus, nec super cum mittemus," . Ins , 16,

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porate towns, redressed many grievances then incident to feodal tenures, protected the subject against the abuses of purveyance, and other oppressions and exactions common in that day, and contains many other provisions with respect to private rights, as well as concerning the public police, and the administration of justice, several of which are now obsolete, but others will be

found in the subsequent pages of this work. This char

mter hath been confirmed above 30 times,* but the fol5 Co.Rep. 64.2.

lowing statutes are its principal confirmations. By the 25 25 Edw. 1. st. 1. c. 11. E. & I. it is directed to be sent c. 11. E &1.

under the king's seal, to all sheriffs of shires, and to all Confirmation of other the king's officers, and to all cities throughout the Great Charter,

realm, together with writs commanding the said charter (as well as the charter of the forest) to be published, and declared to be confirmed. And all justices, sheriffs, mayors, and other ministers, are thereby required to allow the said charters, when pleaded, in all points. And by this statute (c. 2.) if any judgment be given contrary to the Great Charter, it shall be void. By c. 3. the said charters are required to be sent, under the king's seal, to the cathedral churches, and to be read before the people twice in the year. And by c. 4. all archbishops and bishops shall pronounce sentence of excommunication against all those that by word, deed, or counsel, do contrary to said charters, or that in any point break them ; and the said curses shall be twice a year denounced; and if the said prelates, or any of them, be remiss in the denunciation of the sentences, the archbishops of Canter

bury and York shall compel them to the execution of 3 Edv. 3. c.9. their duties. The 5 Edw. 3. c. 9. E. & I. further enacts,

that no man shall be attached by any accusation, nor forejudged of life or limb, nor his lands, tenements, goods, or chattels, seized into the king's hands, against the form

of the Great Charter, and the law of the land. And by the 25 F« 25 Edw. 3. st. 5. c. 4. E. & I. none shall be taken by 6. 4, E. & I.

petition or suggestion made to the king or his council, unless it be by indictment or presentment of lawful people of the same neighbourhood, or by process made by writ original at the common law. And none sliall be put


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