At Length, thro' a great Variety of Difficulties and unforseen Delays,
the following collection emerges into public View, in such Form as
it is hoped will render its Appearance both useful and agreeable.
THE Want of a Body of MARYLAND LAWS hath been, for many
Years felt and complained of: And the Uncertainty occasioned thereby hath
often perplexed Magistrates, Officers, and others, in the Exercise of their
respective Duties to the Public and themselves.
THE first Edition contains the Laws from 1704 to 1707, both inclusive,
to which are added several Acts of Assembly formerly made, declared to be in
Force, viz. 1692, ch. 16; 1694, ch. 8; 1696, ch. 10, 17, and 24; and
1702, ch. 1. The Copy in my Possession (the only One I have ever seen) has
lost its Title Page, so that I cannot ascertain when or where it was Printed.
THE next Edition, Printed by a A. Bradford in Philadelphia, contains the
Laws supposed to be in Force to the End of the Year 1718; with a short
Index comprized in Seven Pages.
THE last Edition is that of William Parks, Printer to the Province in the
Year 1726; well known among us by the Name of the Old Body of Laws. b
FROM which Period, the Laws of each Session have been separately Published;
but no compleat Collection of them can posibly now be made; most
of them being long ago out of Print, and the few remaining in private
Hands being chiefly torn and defaced, the common Fate of stitched Papers.
And hence the Difficulties under which many Gentlemen laboured, of knowing
what Laws were actually in Force, or what Alterations might have been
made in such as did really exist, by Explanatory, Supplementary, or other
THE Superiority of the present Edition wil best appear from a Comparison
of it with the last mentioned; which tho' Published (as set forth in the
Title Page) by Authority, is in Fact very imperfect, and replete with Errors:
The Printer having used no other Copy of the Laws, made before the Year
1719, than that of Bradford's Edition, which was Published without any
Authority; and consequently hath adopted, as may appear in sveral Instances,
the Blunders of that Edition: Which, together with its own Mistakes,
make up a considerable Number. The present Edition cannot, by any
Means, pretend to a Freedom from Errors; but as these are chiefly Literal,
the Readers, where they meet with such may with Ease correct them, and
ought in good Nature to attribute them to the Distance between the Press
and the Editor's Place of Residence. The distinguishing the whole into
Chapters and Sections for the more easy Quotation of any particular Act;
the References to any subsequent Laws by which any Paragraph may have
received Alteration or Explanation; the Goodness of the Paper and Type,
with ample Margins for the Convenience of inserting Manuscript Observations,
are too obvious to have needed Mention here, were it not to point out
a Demonstration, that the Editor hath spared neither Pains nor Cost to serve
the Public, as it always ought to be, with Fidelity and Respect.
a Mr. Bradford also printed a Translation of the Charter, together with some Debates and Proceedings
of the Upper and Lower Houses of Assembly, in the Years 1722, 1723, 1724, and
1725; collected from the Journals, and published by Order of the Lower House.
b I have seen (some Time before I left England in the Year 1745) an Edition printed at London,
at Lord Baltimore's Expence, as I have been informed, for the Use of the Board of Trade, with
the Latin Charter prefixed: But could never meet with a Copy of it in this Province, nor
can I recollect the Date it bears.