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PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
The volume here presented, supplementing the two volumes entitled "Criminal Law," and the two on the law of “Pleading and Evidence and the Practice in Criminal Cases,” called, for short, “Criminal Procedure," completes a series covering the whole field of American criminal law, criminal evidence, criminal pleading, and criminal practice, both at the common law and under the statutes. In the construction of the series, and in the printing of the successive editions, there have been some changes of matter from one work to another, all duly pointed out when they occurred. As the volumes stand in the later editions, the four which precede this, while mingling in their explanations the written law with the unwritten, are silent on the questions discussed in this volume. These are an exposition of the general principles of statutory interpretation, which, since they are in the main the same in criminal cases and in civil, extends necessarily into the civil department; elucidations of the principles of interpretation special to the criminal law, with their specific applications; such topics as the statute of limitations in criminal causes, pleadings upon private statutes and municipal by-laws, and some others of the like kind; and, finally, discussions of the offenses which are purely or in substance statutory, in distinction from mere statutory extensions of common-law crimes. As to the last-named particular, Book V, entitled “Statutory Extensions of Common-law Offenses,” might seem to occupy an exceptional position. But the statutes discussed in it are were not so distinctly of the like sort as to render beyond question their title to a standing in the other volumes; and, moreover, I deemed that more room could be found for them here than there.
The book of “ Directions and Forms” for prosecution and defense in criminal causes, to follow this series, and constitute of it a part, has been for some years far under way, and I expect soon to lay it before the profession.
In the late editions of this series of books I have departed from the common methods of legal authors, and from my own method in the earlier editions, by stating everything in fewer words than is customary, and thus finding room for an amount of legal doctrine per volume nearly unprecedented. I resolved to make, without any increase of volumes, not only the expositions of the criminal law and procedure more full than had been attempted by any other writer, for so much I had already accomplished, but to render them, in a reasonable degree, complete. Thus, in the third edition of " Criminal Procedure," I doubled the substantial matter, and added to the cases cited in the ratio of five new ones for every three old
In like manner I have doubled the substantial matter of this volume. To do it I was compelled to rewrite the whole. Yet, with slight variations, I have followed the former order of section numberings, down to section 1092. Thence, for the few remaining pages, the numberings are new.
The combined criminal law of England, of our numerous states, and of our national jurisdictions, constitutes a vast system of jurisprudence. A reader may get some idea of it from comparing, if he will take the pains, the tables of cited cases for
my five volumes, with the like table in Fisher's “Digest of the Reported Cases determined in the House of Lords and Privy Council, and in the Courts of Common Law, Divorce, Probate, Admiralty, and Bankruptcy" for England; includ
ions, and the modern series of Irish reports.” He will see that I have apparently almost as many cases as Fisher, who has covered nearly the entire body of the English jurisprudence. From this seeming, some deduction should be made because of the fact that, in the aggregate, there are a considerable number of cases which, pertaining to more than one branch of the criminal law, are cited in more than one of the books of this series. And equally from Fisher's work and from mine, some of the cases, not deemed important, are purposely omitted.
If the reader will further "look and see" for himself, he will discover that, whatever be the merits of other works on like subjects with this series, it is the first and only endeavor to reduce to order for professional use this vast system, by one mind, examining for itself in full the cases in the books of reports; together, of course, with whatever else should be considered in connection there with. The unity of aim, and the qualification for every part, which this method is adapted to secure, ought to produce results in the highest degree desirable. If, in the present instance, such results do not appear, the fault lies in an atter lack of ability in the author. How far he has proved competent is a question which can be definitively decided only by a future generation. Until then, even the most prejudiced inquirer, who shall entirely exclude from his examinations my own books, will admit that, since the time when their publication began, somehow the literature of this department of the law has been making rapid improvement, while yet no new writers in it of eminence have appeared. Perhaps those who will take the trouble to “look and see” may not find it difficult to search out the reasons.
The condition of our books of forms in criminal practice, and other things connected therewith, remains, the reader will note, substantially as it was when the publication of this series began. Why is not the advance perceptible also in them? For what is this waiting? It may not be unprofitable to observe, during coming years, how fares this hitherto inert department.
The long time this book has lain out of print has been to me a source of deep regret. Three years ago, I discovered that, of ten volumes of mine which bore the imprint of the publishers of this one, the editions of six were exhausted. I was then laboring upon new editions, and ever since I have been doing the same, to the full extent of my strength. With the issue of this volume, one only — the one entitled “The First Book of the Law" – will remain still out of print. And
– the demand for “ Directions and Forms," completing this series, is so urgent that I have resolved to make it my next venture.
Hoping, therefore, to come before the profession again soon, and thanking them for past indulgence, I introduce the reader to the body of the work.
J. P. B. CAMBRIDGE, March, 1883.