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readily have been comprised within the compass of a single volume. A Justice of the Peace, in consulting such a huge work, must necessarily wade through a large proportion of matter, utterly useless to him ; and when he finds that of which he is in search, he finds it so diffusely stated, -the matter spread through so many pages, and sometimes presented to him in so many different views,—that he often fancies the law upon a particular subject doubtful, or difficult of understanding, when, if it were stated succinctly, and unmixed with irrelevant matter, it would appear plain, simple and intelligible. In these observations, I would not be understood as wishing, in the slightest degree, to depreciate the labours of these learned Editors ; far from it; some of them I know to be very learned men, whose other works have commanded the respect and admiration of the Profession. All I mean to say is, that they have been too ambitious in enlarging their work, not only in the matter, but in the plan and design of it, for the purpose of making it a book of reference for Barristers; and that it is now almost impracticable for any gentleman, who is not a lawyer by profession, to consult it with any advantage. Justices require a work written solely for their use, -one that will state their several duties succinctly, but in plain and intelligible terms which cannot be misunderstood. This, together with correct forms of the several warrants, convictions and orders, which they may require in the exercise of their duties as Justices,
all they want. And such I have laboured to make the present work. Whether I have succeeded or not, must of course be determined by my readers.
The plan I have adopted, is this :-With respect to offences punishable upon summary conviction, I have given the definition of each offence, exactly in the words of the statute upon the subject; then the form of conviction upon it; and then such portions of the statute as related to the prosecution for the penalty, the mode of levying and distributing it, with such other parts as directly or indirectly related to the Justices' jurisdiction. In like manner, as to indictable offences, I have defined each common law offence in the language of the text books, and each statutable offence in the words of the statute creating it; and immediately after the definition of each offence, I have given the form of commitment for it. I have not, however, given the forms of indictments for these offences, or the evidence necessary to support them : these would be wholly useless to Justices out of sessions, and even at sessions, they are not very much consulted by them; and besides, it might interfere with another work of mine,* expressly upon
* “ Peel's Acts, and all the other criminal statutes passed, from the first year of the reign of George the Fourth to the present time, including the criminal clauses of the Reform Act; with forms of indictments, &c., and the evidence necessary to support them.” Third edition ; published by Saunders and Benning.
these subjects, which I am anxious to avoid. With respect to the other duties of Justices,—their duties at petty and special sessions, and in all other respects,-I have stated the law upon several subjects, not diffusely, but still as fully as will be found at all necessary,—it being my constant endeavour, throughout the work, not to use a word too little or too much. In these parts of the work, I have also given all the necessary forms of orders, &c., in the same manner as I have done in the other parts of it, as I have already mentioned. It may be necessary however to apprize the reader, that, with some few exceptions, I have not included in the work any matter of a merely local nature or interest; I have not, for instance, included the statutes relating to the streets and buildings of the metropolis, or to the metropolitan police, or other matters of that description. I have also not included the laws of customs and excise, which now occupy so large a portion of Burn's Justice; because the commissioners of customs and excise always furnish those whom they entrust to prosecute for offences against those laws, with the statute and proper forms relating to each particular case, of which the Justices may, and in practice always do, avail themselves. Of smuggling, however, I have treated; for with respect to many of the offences under that head, Justices may be called upon to act promptly, on the instant, before the commissioners shall have time to order a prosecution. With the few exceptions,
therefore, that I have now mentioned, this work will be found to comprise the whole of the duties of Justices of the Peace and Parish Officers, with every necessary form that can be required ; and as to the forms, I beg to say that they are all drawn by myself, and that I have taken infinite pains that they should be correct.
The work consists of three volumes : the first two treat of the general duties of Justices of the Peace, and are arranged alphabetically ; the third treats of the Poor Law. The first volume contains upwards of ninety titles, including the very important heads “ Commitment," "Conviction," "County Rate," “ Game,” “Highway,” “Homicide,” &c.; to which I have added a very copious index, a very full table of contents, and tables of the statutes and cases occurring throughout the volume. The second volume contains all the other titles, from “ Inclosure” to “Wreck,” including of course the heads “ Justices,” “Larceny," “ Malicious Injuries,” • Master and Servant,” “ Riot,” “Treason,” &c.; to which I have added a table of contents, and a copious index of the matters in both volumes, with tables of statutes and
It will be seen, therefore, that I have comprised the whole of the general duties of Justices, within the compass of two small pocket volumes. Nor is it necessary that Justices should study the whole even of these, to enable them to execute their duties correctly : if they read attentively the title
“ Justices," and study carefully the titles “ Commitment” and “ Conviction," having blank forms of examinations, commitments, summons, warrants and convictions, for use ;—and if they read attentively the titles “Sessions,” “Evidence,” “Trial” and “ Appeal;"—they may use the other titles by way of reference, occasionally, as they may require them.
To magistrates, such a work, if well executed, must be of incalculable advantage. Besides enabling them to see, at a glance, what they ought to do in any case before them, and how they ought to do it,—they will soon be convinced, by the use of such a work, that their duties, which have hitherto in many instances appeared complicated and difficult, are really simple and easy of execution; and they will thus acquire a confidence in the execution of them.
To country attornies, also, who practice at petty or special sessions, or even at the quarter sessions, it must prove a valuable assistant. They well know the value of a book, which is ready of reference, and from which, on the instant, they can ascertain the whole law upon any particular subject of the Justices' jurisdiction.
As to the manner in which the work is executed, it would not become me to say a word. I have endeavoured, indeed, not only to state every thing correctly, but also to state it in language so plain and explicit, as to prevent, if possible, others from giving it any other construction than that which I had