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Rec Seby 8, 1865




The first settlements in the colony of Connecticut were made from Massachusetts, in the year 1635, but no separate civil government was established until the year 1639. From this time, the General Court enacted such laws as were deemed expedient for the government of the infant settlement, but soon found it necessary to have its action reduced to a more systematic and complete code. In the year 1646, Roger Ludlow, one of the most distinguished men of his age, and entirely conversant with the proceedings of the General Court, was requested to compile a body of laws for the colony. He undertook this labor, but did not complete it until the year 1650, when his action was approved by the General Court, and the first body of statute law for the colony was produced. Twelve years later, or in the year 1662, the charter from Charles II. was obtained, through the influence of Governor Winthrop, and this fundamental law somewhat affected the previous legislation of the colony. By the provisions of this charter, and the legislation of the two colonies, Connecticut and New Haven were incorporated into, and became, one colony, with certain additional powers and privileges. This change, with the difference in the legislation of the two colonies, rendered a new and thorough revision of the statute law necessary, and hence, in the year 1671, the governor, deputy-governor, and a majority of the assistants, were appointed to that work, which they completed to the satisfaction and approval of the General Court, in the year 1672. This was the second general revision of the statute law of this commonwealth. Previous to this revision, there was no law requiring the public acts of the General Court to be printed, and they were promulgated only by written copies, and by being read in the meetings of the several towns. The General Court directed this revision to be printed, which was done at Cambridge, in the state of Massachusetts, in the course of the year 1674, by Samuel Green, the first printer in North America.

In 1696, John Allyn, James Fitch, and Eleazer Kimberly, were appointed a committee to revise the laws of the colony, and to suggest alterations and additions to be made thereto. They undertook this work, but did not complete it until the year 1700, and although it was before the General Assembly in October of that year, and by it approved, it was not printed until the year 1702. Provision was made in October, 1714, for the printing of a new edition of this revision, with the acts subsequently passed, which was done at New London, during the year 1715.

In the year 1742, Roger Wolcott, Thomas Fitch, Jonathan Trumbull, and John Bulkley, were appointed a committee to revise the statutes then in force. It seems their work was not completed until the year 1750. There was no other general revision of the public statutes until after the independence of the colonies was established, and there was no material change in the legislation of the colony, except that the words, "His Majesty," were erased from all legal proceedings, and the words, "In the name and authority of the State," were inserted in their place.

On the restoration of peace, in the year 1783, Richard Law and Roger Sherman were invested with power to digest all the statute laws of the state, and to reduce the whole to

order, with such alterations and amendments as they should judge expedient. This revision, being the fifth general revision of the statute laws of this commonwealth, was completed by them, and the work was adopted by the General Assembly, at an adjourned session, held in the month of January, 1784. An edition of this revision was reprinted at Hartford, in

the year 1786.

In the year 1795, Chauncey Goodrich, Jonathan Brace, and Enoch Perkins, were appointed a committee, by the General Assembly, to revise the statutes. Their work was reported to, and approved by, the General Assembly, in the year 1796, and constituted the sixth general revision of the statutes of Connecticut.

In the year 1807, Jonathan Treadwell, Enoch Perkins, and Thomas Day, were appointed a committee to superintend the publication of an edition of the statutes, with instructions to omit the acts that had been repealed, and to insert "notes and memorandums of the times when the statutes, and particular paragraphs thereof, were enacted, with marginal notes of their contents, so far as could conveniently be done." The work of this committee was reported to the General Assembly, in the year 1808, and, while it does not profess to be a revision of the statutes of the state, is one of the most elaborate and useful editions of the statute law ever published.

The Constitution of this state was adopted in the year 1818, and produced such a change in the jurisprudence of the state, as to render a thorough and radical revision of the public acts necessary. Accordingly, in the year 1820, Zephaniah Swift, Thomas Day, and Lemuel Whitman, were appointed a committee for that purpose. Their work was reported to, and approved by, the Legislature, in the year 1821, and constitutes the revision of 1821. An edition of this revision was reprinted in 1824, and another edition in the year 1835. This last edition contains the first references to judicial decisions, which are made by figures, and initial letters, indicating the volume and page of the report where they may be found. In the year 1838, a compilation of the statutes, then in force, including the revision of 1821, and the acts subsequently passed, was made and published by authority of the state. This compilation continued the judicial references, in the same manner as in the edition of 1835, to the date of its publication.

In the year 1847, the General Assembly appointed Henry Dutton, Loren P. Waldo, and Francis Fellowes, a committee to prepare a new edition of the statutes for publication. This committee discharged the duty imposed upon them, and reported their work to the General Assembly, in the year 1848, which was, by that body, approved and adopted. The same committee were required to incorporate, into their work, the statutes passed at the session of 1848, which they did, and produced the revision of 1849. In this edition, the references to judicial decisions contain a note of the principle decided, the name of the case, the number of the volume of the reports, and the page where the decision is found. In the year 1854, a compilation of the statutes was authorized by the General Assembly, including the revision of 1849, and the acts subsequently passed, including the year 1854.

The General Assembly, at its session in May, 1864, appointed the undersigned a committee, to prepare a new edition of the public statutes of the state, for publication, with instructions to consolidate all acts, relating to the same subject matter, to correct ambiguities, to supply manifest omissions, and to report our doings to the General Assembly. In executing the power vested in us by this commission, the undersigned adopted the general arrangement of titles, used in the revision of 1849, but have been compelled to introduce new titles, containing subject matters, not before objects of legislation in this state. These new titles are interspersed through the work, in alphabetical order. The undersigned have attempted to consolidate all the provisions of the various statutes upon the same subject; but the changes in many of the titles have been such as to render this task arduous and perplexing, and in some instances, they have been so radical as to require whole sections, and many chapters, to be re-written.

In the discharge of our duties, we have endeavored, as far as practicable, to preserve the language of the statutes re-written, and have departed from this rule only to supply manifest omissions, and to correct ambiguities. The titles, in which these changes were most conspicuous, are civil actions, courts, communities, domestic relations, education, estates, militia, and taxes. While the general arrangement in the revision of 1849 has been preserved, particular provisions have been changed and collated, with others of the same general character, and sections, containing matters relating to different subjects, have been separated and re-arranged, with a view to the harmony and symmetry of the whole work. Having substantially completed our task, we made report of our doings to the General Assembly, at its session, held in May, 1865. The whole subject

was, by the General Assembly, referred to a joint select committee, composed of some of the most intelligent and learned jurists of that body, who carefully and patiently examined the work in all its parts. Upon their recommendation, the General Assembly unanimously accepted our report, and adopted the revision, as the General Statutes of the State.

By a further resolution, the General Assembly authorized the undersigned to incorporate the acts of the session of 1865, with the new revision, to insert such notes and references to judicial decisions, as might be deemed expedient, and to procure four thousand (4,000) copies of the work to be printed, and bound, for the use of the state. In compliance with this resolution, we have incorporated all of the public acts of the session of 1865, with the revision adopted and approved at the same session. We have taken the references to judicial decisions, used in the compilation of 1854, and have carefully selected and appended references to such other decisions, as have been made by the Supreme Court of Errors, since the publication of that compilation, giving a construction to any statute. The character, designating the reference, is always placed at the close of the section, as a matter of convenience, although the part to which the decision relates may be in some other part of the section. The references to the years, in which most of the provisions of the statutes passed since 1821 were enacted, have been retained, and brought down to the present time. The years are designated by figures, in the margin, over the side notes at the commencement of the sections; and when figures, denoting more than one year, are used, they indicate that the provisions of as many years are combined in that one section.

A few typographical, as well as other errors, have undoubtedly occurred, in printing, which have escaped detection. Such, however, as have been discovered, since the work passed through the press, are corrected in the errata, at the end of the volume. The volume is submitted to an enlightened public, and the criticism of a learned and liberal profession, with the expectation that its merits will be estimated by the labor performed, rather than by what has been left unfinished.


NEW HAVEN, January, 1866.

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