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AUG 1 8 1949


BE IT REMEMBERED, that on the 20th day of January, in the forty-fifth year of the independence of the United States of America, A. D. 1821, JAMES MAXWELL, of the said district, hath deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as proprietor, in the words following, to wit:

A Digest of the Laws of the United States of America, from March 4th, 1789, to May 15th, 1820. Including also the Constitution, and the Old Act of Confederation, and excluding all acts relating to the District of Columbia, acts establishing or discontinuing post roads, and private acts. By Edward Ingersoll.

In conformity to thie Act of Congress of the United States entitled, “ An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned.” And also to the act, entitled, “ An act supplementary to an act entitled “ An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned, and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints.

DAVID CALDWELL, Clerk of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania


An Abridgment or Digest of the Acts of Congress, must form a convenient addition to every professional or mercantile library. So many laws however had become obsolete, and so many others had been enacted since the publication of Mr. Herty's “Digest,” and of Mr. Graydon's “ Abridgment,” that a more modern compilation seemed to be generally desired. I was therefore induced to undertake the present work.

Various circumstances have delayed its appearance, much beyond the period originally intended; and it is now given to the public, probably with many imperfections.

The acts are classed under a greater variety of heads than in the preceding Digests, the arrangement, therefore, being new, was often a subject of perplexity; and I doubt not, might be much improved. I was also frequently in doubt as to the propriety of retaining or excluding particular acts, and have retained many that might perhaps as well have been onnitted. Notes, to shew the constructions adopted in the courts of the United States, composed a part of the original plan; I found however in the progress of the work, that a complete collection of such decisions would swell the book to an inconvenient size, and became convinced that a partial view of them would be of little value. In the latter part of the volume, they were for this reason entirely discontinued.

The laws relating to the district of Columbia, are omitted, because they are in the nature of private acts, and because in that view, they are excluded from the edition of the laws prepared under the care of the secretary of state, and the attorney general, pursuant to an act passed on the 18th of April, 1814.

The list of post-roads established by various acts, I omitted as of merely local and limited interest.


January, 1821.

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