« VorigeDoorgaan »
HIS Volume, the Fourth of the Work and the First of the Criminal Division, contains Indietments and Informations. It was my original intention to have made these the subject of my Second Volume, and to have continued publishing a Volume of the Criminal part, alternately, with one of the Civil. The causes which have hitherto prevented me from adopting this plan arose from impediments thrown in my way by the person whom I first employed in the publication of this work, and are of too personal a nature to interest the public. The delay, however, has been so far fortunate, as it has enabled me to make this branch of the work more perfect, by the addition of many valuable precedents, which, in the meantime, have been kindly communicated to me.
Both in pursuance of my design, and in justice to the collections of Precedents already published, I have religiously abstained from republishing any precedents before in print, and have contented myself VOL. IV.
with referring to them in my Index. This, in particular, will account for the few precedents under the Head of Felonies being introduced into this Volume.
The precedents for almost every description of Felonies, whether at Common Law or by Statute, having been already given to the public in the Crown Circuit Companion and the Crown Circuit Affiftant, especially the last, so well and so fully, that the copiousness of it becomes its lcaft merit, when considered with its correctness and precision. I cannot but think, however, that the arrangement of the Precedents and the Index to both of those Collections are capable of some little improvement; and have therefore digested them in the Index to my own Precedents, having made fuch alterations and additions as occurred to me, on a careful perusal, to be necessary. Offences, such as killing a filh in a gentleman's pond in his park, being found for a month together in company with Egyptians (a) and others of this description, not clergyable (some of which are still suffered to stain our fiatute-book), I have altogether omitted, and trust, that in so doing, I shall be thought to have consulted the credit and interest of my profession.
(a) The statute creating this offence has lately been repealed.
The Fourth and Sixth Volumes, then, of my general Work, or what may be considered as the First and Second Volumes of the Criminal Division, will contain, chiefly, precedents for Indictments for MisdemeanORS ; 2dly, INFORMATIONS, and herein more particularly such as relate to the Excise and Customs; 3dly, Convictions, &c. and Proceedixgs before JUSTICES of the Peace. In this diftribution I have observed the original method I pre. fcribed to myself, and at the same time marshalled the different offences under their proper heads, after Mr. SERJÉANT Hawkins's admirable Analysis, by a complete Index, as well of the precedents contained in this work, as of all others to be met with in the Reporters, and more particularly those books of
preċedents the Crown Circuit Companion and Crown Circuit Affiftant.
It remains for me to add a word respecting the precedents now offered to the public. The far greater part of them are taken from the valuable manuscript collections of several eminent practitioners who have been most converfant in framing Indictments and Informations, and most consulted on Criminal Profecutions; and as the names of those by whom they have been settled are subjoined 'to many of them, of the value of these precedents such names will be the beft criterion. With respect to these I speak confi
dently. The remainder have been selected out of a private collection of my own; but with what care and discrimination, and how far they are to be relied upon, I must leave, with proper humility, to the Profession and to time, the common and final arbiter, to determine.
Here I might close : nor is it within the design or compass of these prefatory lines to enter upon a discussion concerning the abstract nature of Criminal Law in general, or about the reason of our own in particular. This would require a treatise of itself. But as it is the fashion to decry the criminal part of our Jurisprudence, and as the interest and confolation of the Author are necessarily involved in the utility of the subject of his labours, he hopes it may be permitted to him, without being thought impertinent, to indulge himself in offering a few sentiments that have presented themselves to him in a long course of reading and compiling. Contemplating, therefore, the
precautions interposed by the Legislature in behalf of the life, liberty, and property of the subject, the coincidence in opinion of two juries, the assistance of counsel, the scrupulous nicety with which criminal charges must be stated, defined, and proved, and in cases of hardship or the fallibility of proof, the power and inclination of the crown to mitigate or pardon,