Abbildungen der Seite


The Twenty-sixth General Assembly, by an act approved March 8, 1869, provided for the appointment of three Commissioners, one from each Grand Division of the State, (as then constituted,) to "revise and re-write" the general statutes of the State. MICHAEL SCHAFFER, of Salem, Marion county, in the First Grand Division, WILLIAM E. NELSON, of Decatur, Macon county, in the Second Grand Division, and HARVEY B. HURD, of Evanston, Cook county, in the Third Grand Division, were appointed, such commissioners.

The act under which the commission was raised, required the commissioners to observe, as nearly as might be, the alphabetical order of the Revised Statutes of 1845; to make only such changes in and additions to the Statutes then in force as might be necessary to render them harmonious and complete, and to present a printed report of their revision to the succeeding General Assembly.

The commissioners entered upon the discharge of their duties immediately after their appointment, and had made considerable progress in the preparation of the revision upon the plan thus indicated, intending to have presented it as a whole to be enacted into a law in one act, when on the 13th of May, 1870, the Constitutional Convention adopted, and on the 2d of July following the people ratified the present Constitution. In addition to many other radical changes from the constitution existing at the time of the appointment of the Commission, necessitating corresponding changes in the laws and in several instances the introduction of entire new chapters, the new Constitution requires that "no bill shall contain more than one subject, and that shall be expressed in its title." Whether under this provision the Legislature could enact in one bill a revision of the entire body of the statutes differing so essentially from the existing laws, as they must to meet the requirements of the new Constitution, and containing entire new chapters, was a matter of doubt, even if under the circumstances it were desirable to undertake to do so.

These constitutional changes also made it necessary for the commissioners to re-write most of the chapters they had prepared, and rendered it impossible for them to complete their work in time to report it to the Twenty-seventh General Assembly. They therefore sought the direction of the Legislature, and were requested to report, in distinct bills, such chapters as were prepared. This course was therefore pursued, and the bills, being reported in manuscript, part to the Senate and part to the House of Representatives, in accordance with the instructions of the Legislature, were referred to the appropriate committees, and subjected to the same tests as other original bills before the Legislature. With few exceptions they were referred to the judiciary committees of the two houses and received the most careful consideration, members of each committee devoting much time, both in the committee and out, to their examination and perfection. Mr. Nelson having been elected a member of the House of Representatives of the Twenty-seventh General Assembly, ceased to act with the commission, deeming his duties as representative inconsistent with those of reviser. The work, therefore, devolved upon Messrs. Schæffer and Hurd, who continued it together until the adjournment of the Twenty-seventh General Assembly. It being considered doubtful whether the law under which the commissioners were appointed authorized them to proceed further with the work, and the Twenty-seventh General Assembly failing to give any expression upon the subject, or to make provision for the continuance of the revision, Mr. Schæffer then withdrew therefrom, leaving it wholly to Mr. Hurd, who continued it that he might be able to meet either view that might be taken of his duties in the premises. At the opening of the Twenty-eighth General Assembly he communicated his action to that body, and

at the request of the two houses reported the chapters prepared by him, part to the committee of revision of the Senate, and part to the judiciary committee of the House.

In consequence of the large amount of other business before the Legislature, it soon became apparent that an adjourned session would be necessary to complete the revision, and only a few of the revision bills were passed at that session. A joint committee, consisting of HON. CLARK W. UPTON and HON. CHARLES B. STEELE, on the part of the Senate, and HON. MILTON HAY, HON. JOHN M. ROUNTREE and HON. CHARLES DUNHAM, on the part of the House, was appointed, to which all the revision bills that had not been acted upon by either house were referred. They were authorized to continue in session during the recess, and, in conjunction with the Acting Commissioner of Revision, to prepare all bills that should be found necessary to complete the revision, and make a printed report to the General Assembly at its adjourned session.

The committee entered upon the discharge of their duties immediately upon the adjo inment of the Legislature, May 6, 1874, and continued their labors up to the 10th day of December following, when they completed their report. Of the labors of the committee during its sessions, and of the members individually in considering and perfecting the bills submitted to their examination, few persons who have not been similarly engaged can form any adequate conception. The report was printed and presented to the adjourned session upon its opening, January 8, 1874, and the bills thus reported were fully considered by the respective houses, receiving such amendments as the Legislature saw fit to make, and, with few exceptions, finally passed.

While this manner of making a revision, by separate acts, passed at different times and by different General Assemblies, is not calculated to secure entire harmony in the laws, and in this respect the revised acts are in some particulars faulty, there is no doubt they more nearly express the will of the Legislature than if they had been passed in any other way, and considering the fact that they contain many new provisions, and in some instances differ in their policy from that of the old law, thus rendering a close and particular examination of each subject desirable, there can be but little doubt of the wisdom of the course pursued.

It will be noticed that there are contained in the volume some acts which were not incorporated into the revision. With the exception of a few, which did not seem to need revising, they were omitted, partly because the divided opinion of the Legislature on the subjects embraced rendered it impossible either to reenact or to repeal them, and partly because, upon the plan adopted, they formed no necessary part of the revision.

By an act approved March 30, 1874, the undersigned was appointed to compile, annotate, edit and superintend the publication of all the general statutes of the State, in force on the first day of July, 1874, in a volume to be entitled "The Revised Statutes of the State of Illinois, A. D. 1874." An edition of fifteen thousand copies was required to be published by the 15th day of July, 1874. It has not been possible, with the facilities furnished, to publish the book in the time required, but the utmost endeavor has been made to do the work in the shortest time possible.

In the necessary haste with which the large amount of labor devolved upon the editor has had to be done, it is bardly to be expected that some errors have not occurred which a longer time and a more careful scrutiny would have obviated. Considering the great anxiety of the people to be placed in possession of the new laws at the earliest possible moment, the editor did not feel at liberty to take the time which, in his judgment, the work deserved. He therefore trusts that such errors as are discovered will find a sufficient excuse in this and the further fact that the Legislature made but meagre provision in aid of the work.

HERVEY W. BOOTH, Esq., of Chicago, has acted as clerk of the joint committee of revision, and as assistant of the undersigned, in the preparation of the revision bills reported to the 28th General Assembly, and in compiling, annotating, and the publication of this volume, in all of which positions he has discharged his duties with fidelity and marked ability.




Administration of Estates



8. Animals ...

State Horticultural Society..
Marketing products..

Aliens .....

[blocks in formation]




. 90





Government of...

Bounty Debt

Funding Debt by Counties of 100,-

000 Inhabitants....

Removal of County Seats....


34. Criminal Code-Continued.

38. Criminal Code..

Div. 1. Crimes

Div. 2. General Provisions.... 393

Div. 3. Bailable Offenses-Recog-
nizances-Proceedings thereon 396
Div. 4. Time of commencing Pro-


[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

In counties under Township Or-

In counties not under Township
... 933
Bridges across navigable rivers
on border of State








« ZurückWeiter »