At the session which began in November, 1784, the following
resolve was assented
to by both branches of the legislature:
RESOLVED, That Mr. Frederick Green, printer to
this state, be directed to
collect and print, in one or more volumes, one hundred copies of all the
acts of assembly
(now in force) passed since the twenty-sixth of November, seventeen hundred
and sixty-three, to the end of this session of assembly, under the direction
C. Hanson and Samuel Chase, Esquires, with the bill of rights, and constitution
form of government, the confederation, and the resolutions of the conventions,
the proceedings of the convention that framed the constitution, at the
and subject to the disposal of the general assembly; and that the intendant
revenue be directed to advance Mr. Green such a sum of money as he may
proper, to assist him in the execution of the work.
ALTHOUGH the superintendance of the following publication
committed to two persons, the gentleman, whose superior talents might
have enabled him to render complete satisfaction, did not think proper
to share in the undertaking. It
required more time and application, than could
be spared from more interesting and important engagements.
THE person, therefore, who may be styled the editor,
was left to form his
own construction of the resolve, and to obey it in the best manner his
would admit. He directed to be printed at large all subsisting public
assembly, the operation of which was not already past; the proceedings
last convention, so far as in any manner they respect the declaration of
and the constitution and form of government; the subsisting resolves of
and the articles of confederation. The order in which these are
disposed, is such as to him and the printer appeared most convenient.
given only abstracts of the public acts which, notwithstanding they may
termed perpetual laws, have spent their operation; and abstracts also of
relating to parishes, schools, and small societies or bodies of men.
likewise given the substance of every temporary law which contained provisions
remarkable enough to merit a particular notice. Of the rest he has
the titled, with here and there a short historical note.
IN framing the index, he did not imitate the plan of
his respectable predecessor;
because no index ought to be relied on for the substance of the act it
to. He thought it sufficient to point out the act itself; and for
that purpose he
has adopted such heads as will probably occur to those conversant in laws;
he has even sometimes placed the same thing under several different heads.
AS he was fully apprized of the difficulty of adapting
an index to every man's
taste and turn of mind, he was particularly attentive to that part of his
He might indeed have been deplorably
defective, and the most diligent inquirer
might be baffled in his researches after some of the laws comprehended
collection. With respect to the propriety of making the title correspond
each enacting clause, it may suffice to mention the following circumstance.
editor had been told, that a chancery jurisdiction was conferred on the
court in all cases where the chancellor is to be made a party to a bill
He made several fruitless searches for the law, and at length, in the progress
this revision, he found it most unaccountably inserted in the middle of
relating to the estates of deceased
IT is the office of an index to remedy the inconvenience
of defective titles,
and, at one view, to point out every provision belonging to each particular
It is hoped the index at the end of this volume will answer these purposes.
unless our legislators will condescend to adopt the hint, or avail themselves
their own better wisdom, the same inconvenience will speedily recur.