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In March, Dr. Cooper becoming too ill to attend to the publication of the Statutes at Large, I was desired by him to superintend the work. By the Resolution of the Legislature of 1835, Mr. Gregg, MR. DESaussure and myself, were appointed Commissioners to advise and consult with Dr. Cooper in contracting for and superintending the publication of the Statutes. A contract was entered into with MR. JOHNSTON, of Columbia, for the publication of the work, which was reported to the House, by the Committee on the Judiciary, in December, 1836, and confirmed by both Houses. On Dr. Cooper's application, I immediately consulted with Mr. Gregg and MR. DESAUSSURE, in relation to the work, and as they declined to undertake it themselves, on account of their constant professional engagements, with their kind commendations, and that of the Speaker and Solicitors of the State, and approbation of his Excellency Governor Noble, I undertook the responsibility of the work. In this undertaking I have felt in the highest degree the delicacy of succeeding so eminent a person in a work of so much importance, and the care and diligence due to it, to render it equal to expectation in usefulness, and honorable to the commonwealth, as a measure worthy of the enlarged views of a State long distinguished for its liberality towards its public institutions. A liberality which her intelligent citizens cannot but consider as happily repaid by an excellent judiciary and a flourishing institution for the education of her sons.
After the death of Dr. Cooper, I received from his Excellency the following appointment:
Columbia, 28th May, 1839. In consequence of the death of Thomas CooPER, M D., who was appointed under a Resolution of the Legislature, to compile and digest the Statute Laws of South Carolina, with a digested index thereof, the said office has become vacant :
Now, in pursuance of the power vested in me, I have appointed, and by these presents do appoint D. J. McCORD, Esq. to continue and complete the said work, according to the directions of the Legislature, and under the advice and consultation of the Commissioners named in the Resolution of 1835.
For the index to this volume, I am entirely responsible, and I trust, upon examination, it will be found accurate and full. My intention has been, in case of all general laws, to express in the index every idea contained in the work. Without such an index, a law hook can be of no practical use. In digesting the general index to the whole work, no pains shall be spared to render it complete, until the publication of which, the work cannot be brought conveniently into use, nor its utility be fully felt.
The sixth volume, now in the press, I trust will be finished in the fall. That will comprehend all the general laws, including those of the session of 1838. The series of laws respecting Roads, Bridges, Rivers, Ferries, Canals, Incorporated Societies, City of Charleston, Militia, Slaves and Colored population, Courts, Circuits, &c., will remain to be published. It is to be regretted that this classification was adopted. Although one of the committee who gave their approbation to it when proposed, I am now satisfied that the plan was an incorrect one, and altogether impracticable; the loose manner of legislation, which once obtained in this State, admitting into the same Act many matters having no connexion or relation to the main object of the Bill. The rules of the two Houses now forbid this irregularity, and the intelligent officers who now preside, and have presided for some time past, will no doubt continue to evforce them. In no Acts do these irregularities more frequently occur than in those to Raise Supplies and make Appropriations. The present Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, Mr. MEMMINGER, has set a worthy example in the business like manner in which he has drafted the last of these Acts. The general index, however, will remedy this defect. In bringing all matters together on the same subjects, references can be easily made.
These classified Acts, Dr. Cooper at first thought, could be comprehended in one volume, which he continually refers to as the “ Last Volume”-a reference which I have kept up, although I think they will make two volumes, which can be finished in the coming year. They, with the general index, will complete the work. A careful examination shall be thoroughly made, to see if any omissions have occurred. For the detection of one omission from the English Statutes made of force, I am indebted to Mr. Speaker Wardlaw. It occurs in the 2nd volume, 546. I mean the Statute of the 9 Ann, ch. 20, Sec. 7, (Grimke, 94,) being “An Act for the amendment of the Law, and the better advancement of justice.” The omission seems to have been entirely accidental, as there is a note referring to the Statute at page 753, as being in a preceding part of the volume, Another of the English Statutes, of much less consequence, is omitted in the same volume, at page 512, (Grimke, P. L., 75,) being “ An Act to enable Judges and Justices of the Peace to give restitution of possession in certain cases.” These, with any others that may be detected, I design to place as an appendix to the 6th volume. Should any errors or omissions occur to the notice of any gentleman, he would greatly oblige me by communicating them to me.
To Mr. Attorney General Bailey, who has also had the kindness to
express his satisfaction at my appointment, I am indebted for an accurate copy of the “Marriage Settlement Act” of 1755, from the original manuscript, furnished to him by the late THOMAS S. GRIMKE, whose father drafted the Bill. It accounts in a curious manner for the strange mistakes made in engrossing the Act-mistakes which have been the fruitful source of abundant litigation. This I will also publish in the appendix to the 6th volume. The necessity for notes has been much diminished, if not entirely removed, by Mr. Rice's excellent Digest of the Law Cases decided in our Appeal Court-a work which must greatly diminish the labour of the profession.
D. J. McCORD. Columbia, July 31, 1839,
Table of Contents.
N. B.-The Acts which are referred to the last volume are marked thus*,
fifth clauses of an Ordinance for regulating Vendues, passed March 17,
thereof to choose three Commissioners ; and for other purposes therein