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This compilation follows as nearly as may be the Revised Statutes of 1869 (adopted as Act 96 of 1870). During the forty-six years since the last authoritative revision, we have had in Louisiana forty-four sessions of the General Assembly and three Constitutional Conventions, and are now upon the eve of another Convention. Thus necessarily many of the provisions of the Revised Statutes have been rendered inoperative and many have been repealed directly. Other sections have been held by our Supreme Court unconstitutional. The legislation upon wholly new subjects is of huge bulk.
An alphabetical arrangement of subjects can never be a logical arrangement, and such an arrangement increases the number of unavoidable repetitions. The constant recurrence of the same sections printed with a different number under a different heading is one of the serious imperfections of our authorized Revision. These repetitions I have tried to reduce to a minimum.
The whole body of the law may be classified under three headings: Public law, private law and procedure. Strictly speaking, the Revised Statues ought to contain only the public statutes, that is to say, statutes regulating the duties and fixing the powers of public officers, and laws regulating the public duties and public rights of persons. Put into definitions: The Revised Statutes are a digest of the statutes defining the mutual rights and obligations of State and individual. The Civil Code, or Code of Private Law, is the codification of all the statutes defining the mutual rights and obligations of persons; the Code of Practice is the codification of all the legal modes of enforcing rights and obligations, and consists of two parts: The Rules of Civil Procedure and the rules of Criminal Procedure. We have in Louisiana no Code of Criminal Procedure and so little legislation on the subject that all of it is comprised within 156 sections of this Revision. The fundamental classification of private statutes, public statutes and procedure is not closely followed in our two Codes, and altogether lost sight of in our Revised Statutes.
Those sections of the Revised Statutes identical with Articles of the Revisions of 1870 of the Civil Code or Code of Practice have been omitted, but all amendments to the Codes subsequent to 1870 have been included.
In this Revision my effort (within the limitations imposed by the Revised Statutes of 1870) has been to present just such work as would have been presented had my employment been public, but, of course, the unofficial compiler cannot confer the blessings of the repealing clause. Gibbon does not believe that Justinian resorted to the rather primitive method of repeal by reducing to ashes all the laws of a more ancient date than his own; and it may be that R. S. 3990, repealing all prior laws on the same subject matters, except such as are contained in the Revisions of 1870, does not hark back to that Legislator whose name "is inscribed on a fair and everlasting monument," but whatever the origin of the provision it is inherently of great value.
The purpose of this compilation is to present the actual law, therefore, all statutes and all parts of statutes which have been repealed or held unconstitutional by our own Supreme Court, or by the Supreme Court of the United States have been omitted. So far as I know, the only repealed statute in this Revision is Act 17 of 1876 (1167, p. 368); and the reason for inserting it is, that under the power conferred by Act 70 of 1884 (1173, p. 370) the Supreme Court has adopted this Act of 1876 as a rule of Court.
While these volumes were in press the Legislative Session of 1915 was held, but, as far as possible, the Acts of that session have been inserted in their proper places. Act 203 of 1914 (printed, in part, as 1262-1266, pp. 397, 398) has been replaced by Act 23 of 1915, but it was adopted too late to make possible the proper correction under Common Carriers, but has been inserted in Vol. II, p. 1499, under Liquor Laws.
In State vs. Jackson (not yet reported) Act 204 of 1914 was held unconstitutional. This Act is printed as 2099-2101, p. 285, under Crimes.
In State vs. Dantonio, 67, S. 828, it was held that that part of Sec. 45, Act 14, of 1914, conferring upon the City Court of Bogalusa exclusive criminal jurisdiction was unconstitutional. Had this decision been received in time, "exclusive" would have been stricken from the section, and the decision inserted as a note to 3850, p. 1341.
Much time, thought, and hard work have been expended upon this Revision, and whether good, bad, or indifferent, honestly, it is the best that I can do.
Most law-book prefaces are addressed to a "generous profession," but, while generous, lawyers, like wives, are, virtute officii, critics. It is, therefore, certain that these volumes will come in for a full and fair share of censure. My brethren of the bench and bar, who have always been pretty good to me anyhow, are here afforded an opportunity to be both critical and generous: say what you please about the book, but be generous enough not to tell me of its failings and shortcomings. In due time, I shall find a good many faults myself without any outside help, and each such discovery will mean a pang.
On a certain sunny morning at Arpinum, Atticus and Brother Quintus suggested to their host Cicero-he was then out of politics and big cases had quit coming his way—that he ought to write works on the Civil Law. Cicero's reply well expresses the prevailing view of the lawyers of to-day: "Egone? Quam ob rem quo me vocas aut quid hortaris? ut libellos conficiam de stillicidiorum ac de parietum jure? an ut stipulatiorum et judiciorum formulas componam? quae et conscripta a multis sunt diligenter et sunt humiliora quam illa, quae a nobis expectari puto."
This work was undertaken with a light heart and with no just appreciation of the task before me; but it soon became apparent that Sinbad's old man of the sea had fastened his legs around my neck and was firmly seated on my back. At last the burden has been gotten rid of, and I think I know what Simeon felt when he said, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace."
ROBERT H. MARR. July 2, 1915.
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Public Administrators for the Parish of Orleans