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Letter from the Hon. Rufus Choate, of Massachusetts.
“ Boston, 1 December, 1845. 4 GENTLEMEN :
“I have examined, with some attention, the first three volumes of your new edition of the Laws and Treaties of the United States. Judging from so ample a specimen of the whole work, I can have no doubt that it will be at once, and universally, and permanently, approved by the profession of law, and the country, and answer all the expectations which induced Congress to encourage and adopt it in advance. Completed as it is begun, it will contain the entire series of General and Private Laws and Resolves, obsolete or in force, chronologically arranged ; all Treaties with foreign nations or Indian tribes, in the same arrangement; the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution; references, in proper places, to the decisions of all the Federal Courts applicable to any law, resolve, or treaty; and references, also, in proper places, to other laws, resolves, or treaties, upon the same subjects with those in the text. The whole succession of laws is most conveniently distributed into statutes and chapters, with a running title at the head of each page, expressing the session of Congress, and the date and chapter of each law or resolve which is contained on the page, with a full alphabetical verbal general Index of matters, and a separate Index to each volume.
“ It adds, I think, greatly to the value of this edition, that you have caused every law, resolve, and treaty, to be carefully collated with the originals in the Department of State. It is thus rendered, in the most absolute sense, a standard and authoritative work; and, published as it is under the sanction of Congress, and in obedience to a general professional and public demand, it cannot fail to supersede all other editions.
“ I am
“ RUFUS CHOATE. “ Messrs. LITTLE AND Brown."
The edition of the Statutes of the United States now presented to the public comprehends all the Public Acts passed since the organization of the government, preceded by the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution of the United States; in one volume, the Private Acts; and in one volume, the Treaties of the United States with Foreign Nations and with the Indian tribes, which compose the whole diplomatic collection.
Copious notes of the Decisions of the courts of the United States, which construe, comment upon, or apply to the law, treaty, or text, and upon the subjects of the laws, which have come under the consideration of the courts, are placed under the acts.
On the margin, or at the foot of the page containing each law, there is a reference to the acts passed before or after the law on the same matter. The repeal of every law, and its having become obsolete, are also noted. In Notes, the whole legislation on many of the subjects of the laws is fully referred to.
The laws are divided so as to comprehend the acts of every session of Congress as a separate statute, designated as the First, Second, or Third statute; with a running title at the head of each page expressing the session of Congress and the date of each chapter or resolve, contained in the page ; and each law forms a separate chapter.
It will be seen that the acts are inserted in chronological order, but the numbers of the chapters are not consecutive. It was the purpose of the editor to adopt a different arrangement of the chapters, but the Attorney-General of the United States has decided that the “Joint Resolution" imposes the manner of chaptering which has been pursued. The numbers of the chapters of the Private Acts, are those of the omitted chapters in the volumes of the public laws.
Every volume contains a separate alphabetical index of the matters in the volume, in which particular reference is given to the subject of every act; and at the end of the last volume of the Public Laws there is an Index of all the matters in the volumes of the Public Laws. The volume of Private Laws contains an index to their contents; and to the volume containing the Treaties a full and particular index is given, in such a form as that an easy reference is obtained to every provision in every treaty.
A complete list of all the acts, resolves, and treaties, in every volume, is given, chronologically arranged, with a brief and general description of the subject of every act.
Tables of the laws chronologically arranged, relating to the Judiciary, Imposts and Tonnage, the Public Lands, &c., are prefixed to the last volume of the Public Laws. By these tables the whole legislation on the subjects of those laws may be readily referred to. The facilities thus afforded for such reference will give to this work the advantages of separate selections of the laws upon these matters.
This work is stereotyped. Every effort has been made to make this edition a correct transcript of the laws as they are recorded at Washington. By a contract with the government of the United States, the plates from which the work is printed belong to the government, to the extent set forth in the Joint Resolution of March 3, 1845; thus securing to the United States the use of the plates, to the end of time; so that all future editions of the statutes and treaties may be printed in the same manner. The work will thus become, for all purposes, the PERMANENT NATIONAL EDITION OF THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES ; and all future statutes and treaties may be printed in the same form, and become consecutive volumes of the NATIONAL CODE.
The plan of this work has been submitted to distinguished judicial and professional gentlemen in the United States; their advice sought, and followed in maturing and perfecting the designs of the publication, and their opinions solicited on the usefulness and value of the work, and on the necessity for its completion. The letters, in reply to communications from the editor, give assurances of its favourable reception by the public.
It is earnestly hoped that this work will be found acceptable to all whose official situations and professional duties oblige them to administer and consult the laws of the United States. The Government of the United States having sanctioned by its liberal patronage this publication, it is confidently believed, that a full and complete knowledge of the statutes and treaties of the United States, and of the decisions of the courts of the United States, construing the laws, and the subjects to which they relate—the administration of public justice—and public and private convenience, will be extensively promoted, and permanently secured by this work.
LETTERS ADDRESSED TO THE EDITOR.
Letter from Mr. Justice Story, of the Supreme Court of the United States.
“ WASHINGTON, January 29, 1844. “Dear Sir: I wrote you a considerable time ago my views as to the plan upon which an edition of the Laws of the United States, to be worthy of the nation, should be executed. I have since read your printed programme; and I perceive that you have adopted in it all the suggestions which I ventured to make. If an edition such as you propose should be published, it would, in my judgment, supersede all others, and be of great permanent benefit, not only to the profession, but to Congress and to the whole country. Indeed, I cannot but consider it as of such vital importance as to be, in a just sense, of urgent necessity. The editions now in use and circulation are, either from defect of plan or execution, or the constant accumulation of new laws, inadequate to the public wants.
“I earnestly hope that Congress may by its patronage enable the enterprising booksellers, with the aid of your known abilities, to accomplish this most desirable undertaking, and thus present our statates at large in a form which shall be worthy of our national character."
Extracts from letters from Mr. Chief Justice Taney, dated January 21 and 24, 1844. “ The publication of the Laws of the United States upon the plan proposed is certainly very desirable, and will be of great public value. Can you afford to undertake it without the patronage of the General Government? Upon that subject you can judge better than I can. The publication you propose seems to me to be peculiarly entitled to the support of Congress. At all events, however, I hope you will find encouragement enough to induce you to go on with your plan."
“ As you will have seen from my former letter, I had hardly any thing to offer, more than to express my conviction of the value and importance of the work, and my confidence in any plan proposed by Judge Story, whose long experience in matters of that kind has given him the best opportunities of forming a correct judgment."
Letter from the Hon. Judge McKinley, Supreme Court.
“WASHINGTON, January 17, 1844. Dear Sir: The edition of the Statute Laws of the United States which you propose to publish will, in my opinion, be very useful to the profession and to the country generally; and the plan you have adopted will enable the reader to ascertain, with very little labour, what the statute law is, although there may be several statutes on the same subject passed at different and distant periods of time. Such a work is greatly needed at present, and I hope, sir, your success will be such as the enterprise deserves."
Letter from Chancellor Kent.
New York, November 30, 1843. “My Dear Sir: I am very much pleased with your plan of a new edition of the Statutes of the United States at large. It is excellent and most comprehensive, and will require time and labour; and if your health, leisure, and perseverance will enable you to complete it, you will confer a signal benefit on the nation, and a lasting honour to its legislative character. Such a work is exceedingly wanted, and deserves the most liberal public patronage. The aid of Judge Story, which you say is generously assured, will facilitate your labo and add to the editorial and national character of the work the highest sanction."