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depends, in a great measure, upon its accuracy and authority, the author has derived his principles directly either from the statute, or from works on criminal law of standard reputation; and has uniformly referred to the sources whence those principles have been deduced; thus enabling the reader to bring the accuracy of each statement to the test, at once.
It has been a task of no slight difficulty, to give a comprehensive view of the criminal law of this state, as modified by the revised statutes, and of the various criminal proceedings before justices of the peace, in a clear and intelligible manner, and at the same time to compress the work within such a compass that it might be accessible to those who are disposed to look upon " a great book as a great evil.” In endeavoring to accomplish both these objects, it is to be hoped that obscurity has not been produced, on the one hand, nor any thing absolutely indispensable omitted, on the other. In a subject so vast as that of criminal law, retrenchment has been found exceedingly difficult.
As the subject of EVIDENCE is one of great importance as well as of difficulty, particular attention has been paid to that head, and no pains have been spared to make it accurate and useful.
As the book is intended mainly for the use of a class who are not very familiar with law books, or legal phraseology, it has been the aim of the author to avoid all unnecessary technicalities and Latin or law French phrases, except those in such common use as to be generally understood.
A collection of forms, most commonly in use in criminal proceedings before justices of the peace, will be found in the Appendix; to which appendix there is a separate index. For many of these forms, with some alterations, the author is indebted to a late excellent edition of Edwards' Treatise, by Mr. McMaster. It was the original intention to number all the forms given, and to refer to them in the text by their numbers. But in preparing the appendix, it was found necessary to intersperse several forms not originally contemplated ; and as the text was then printed, these additional forms could not be numbered or referred to there. It is hoped, however, no inconvenience will arise from this circumstance. The appendix will be found particularly full under the head of WARRANTS ; a form being given, it is believed, for every offence mentioned in the text, and as respects some of the higher offences, and those which are divided into several degrees, a variety of forms are given, and adapted to each degree of the offence.
No forms of indictments or other proceedings in the higher criminal courts have been given. To have included them in the Appendix would have swelled this book beyond all reasonable compass, and they would have been in the way of the justice. Besides : their importance demands
that they should have a place by themselves in some work exclusively confined to criminal law.
A list of the abbreviations used in referring to the authorities is prefixed. Wherever the revised statutes are referred to, the first edition is intended, unless otherwise mentioned.
The author cannot close this preface without expressing his gratitude to the Hon. EseK COWEN, one of the judges of the supreme court, and the Hon. John WILLARD, circuit judge of the fourth circuit, for the interest they have taken in this work, and for many important suggestions relative to its plan and arrangement; and to Nicholas Hill, jun., Esq., one of the learned editors of Phillipps' Evidence, for much valuable advice, and the use of a few manuscript heads of a work somewhat similar to the present, projected by him some years since.
The author has used his best endeavors to discharge a portion of that debt, which, according to Lord Coke, every lawyer owes to his profession; and he now submits the results of those endeavors to the candor of a generous profession, and an enlightened magistracy,
SARATOGA SPRINGS, January 28th, 1841.
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