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The Index is full as to the Laws now in fotce; and as to others, which have expired or have been repealed, a reference is made under the proper heads, so that the whole series of Laws on the same subject may be examined together. It has been thought, that a full Index to the matter of the Acts not in force would rather tend to embarrass than to aid the

general Reader.

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PREFACE.

The present Edition of the Laws of the United States embraces all the public Acts, whether they are expired, or repealed, or are now in force, with the exception of such only, as are of a very limited and temporary nature, and do not enter into the general jurisprudence of the Country. The principal Acts, which have been omitted, are either strictly private Acts, such as those, which are for the relief of particular persons, or corps; or, if public Acts, are of a temporary nature, such as the annual Appropriation Acts, Acts for occasional Loans, &c., or such as exclusively respect the District of Columbia. Even these Acts have been sparingly omitted, when from their nature or importance they might illustrate the history of our national policy. And the Acts, which regard the organization and general administration of justice in the District of Columbia, have been retained, as subjects of general interest.

It is often a subject of complaint among professional and other gentlemen, that the common Editions embrace those Laws only, which are actually in force at the time of the publication, and are thus attended with much embarrassment and inconvenience. Many of the existing laws are very forcibly illustrated by the provisions of prior repealed laws on the same subject; and many have tacit references to the latter, which are not easily detected in a cursory perusal. In few cases, where Legislation has, at successive periods, acted on the same matter, can any Lawyer, who is solicitous to discharge his duty in public argument or in private consultation, feel safe in omitting to examine the whole series of the Laws, even though many of them are repealed or expired. And instances

are not unfrequent of successful argument founded solely on
the coincidences or differences between the revised and the
original Laws. The history of our jurisprudence also, whether
examined as matter of curiosity or of private interest, whether
searched with reference to public policy or to legal rights, is
so intimately interwoven with the whole course of our legisla-
tion, that no liberal enquirer, and least of all, a publicist, a ju-
rist, or a statesman, can dispense with an accurate chronolo-
gical knowledge of the subject. The Statutes at large, em-
bracing a great mass of private statutes, have already become
very unwieldy, voluminous, and expensive. It is believed,
therefore, that a work, like the present, which detaches and
embraces all those, which are not exclusively of a fugitive or
private character, cannot fail to be of general convenience
and utility. To these volumes a copious verbal Index has
been annexed, so as to make the facility of reference as com-
plete as possible. The whole work has passed under the in-
spection of Mr. Justice Story, who has given it an attentive
examination.

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It is not our intention to disparage the Abridgments and Digests of the Laws of the United States already before the Public—They are very useful publications; but as they purport only to present the Laws now in force under regular heads, their object is materially different from that of this edition. They are aids to, but cannot supersede the necessity of, the present compilation.

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ACTS OF

THE FIRST CONGRESS

OF THE UNITED STATES.

VOL. I.

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