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Acts of the General Assembly hitherto unpublished 1694-1698, 1711-1729
Volume 38, Page 429   View pdf image (33K)
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Appendix. 429

In 1718, there appeared in Philadelphia, a compilation of Mary-
land Laws: " Printed by Andrew Bradford and are to be sold by
Evan Jones at the City of Annapolis in Maryland." The Preface to
the " Laws of the Province of Maryland Collected into one Volume,
by order of the Governor and Assembly of the said Province, at a
General Assembly begun at St. Mary's the 10th Day of May 1692
and continued by several Assemblies to the year 1718 " is as follows :

" The Publisher to the Reader.

"As this Volumn only contains the Publick Acts of Assembly of
the Province of Maryland, now in Force, (which are not expected to
speak, but where the General Statutes of England are silent) 'tis
presumed the Inhabitants of that Province, for whose Use they were
at first made, and are now Published, will be principally concerned
in the Perusal of them; nothing of Curiosity to an indifferent Reader
being to be Expected in a Collection of this Nature.
" To these Inhabitants, therefore, I Recommend this Work, by
which they may be acquainted with the particular Laws of their
Country, with much more Facility, than when the only Recourse
they could have was to a few Ill-Written Manuscripts, Lodged in the
Hands of particular Officers, and not more than Twelve or Fourteen
of them in the whole Province.
" It was then Difficult to come at the Body of thnse Laws, and
when the Body was come at, it was no less Difficult (for want of an
Index and Marginal Notes) to find the particular Law or Paragraph
required; So that without any Reflection, it may be justly Remarked,
The Laws of the Province lay so obscure, that they were scarcely
known to those that were Immediately concerned in the Judging of or
Pleading by them. And as to the Common People, who were to
direct their Actions by those Laws, they might almost be said To
Labour under an Involuntary Ignorance of them; and yet that Ignor-
ance could not excuse their Punishment for an Offence against the
Law they knew not. A Case, indeed, that wanted Remedy.
" The Necessity therefore and Usefulness of the Work can do no
less then justify the Encouragers of it, as I hope it will Encourage
the Undertaker.

" The Laws themselves are such as have been either carefully Re-
vised, during the Administration of his Excellency John Hart, Esq ;
present Governeur, whilst he acted by an immediate Commission
from the Crown, or Enacted in that Time, or since, during the said
Governour's Administration by Commission from the Right Hon-
ourable, the Lord Proprietor, From whence, 'tis hoped, they are so
well adapted to the present Circumstance of the Country and the
British Constitution, that this Volumn may be of Use and Continue
Valuable for many Years, without any Considerable Alterations.

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Acts of the General Assembly hitherto unpublished 1694-1698, 1711-1729
Volume 38, Page 429   View pdf image (33K)
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