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Under territorial government twelve sessions of the Legislature of Nebraska sat and enacted laws which were published and bound in as many different volumes. The eleventh session of the Territorial Legislature passed as one act what has ever since been known as “THE REVISED STATUTES OF 1866.” This is the only work entitled to be called a revision in the proper sense of the word. It was the result of the labors of E. ESTABROOK, assisted in the Legislature by B. E. B. KENNEDY, SAMUEL MAXWELL, LORENZO CROUNSE, CHARLES H. Brown, Thomas L. GrifFEY, GEORGE B. LAKE, JAMES THORN, JOHN CADMAN, E. H. CLARK, and others who had held prominent positions in the government of the territory, and of whom many have held and still hold offices in the government of the State. It is one of the highest tributes to the labors of these gentlemen to say that though changed in many particulars, changed as the State has grown and enlarged, yet the body of their work, comprising the important chapters of Corporations, Decedents, and the Civil Code, has remained nearly intact from the legislation of sixteen sessions of the State Legislature.
Two attempts at revision have since been made--one in 1872-1873 by the appointment of the compiler of the present edition, and the other in 1877 by the appointment of S. H. CALHOUN, of Otoe, John H. AMES, of Lancaster, and A. H. CONNER, of Buffalo. The first appointment resulted in the publication of what has since been known as “THE GENERAL STATUTES OF 1873,” That volume was a compilation merely of the acts then in force, including the general laws passed that same year, which were not published separately. Although some mistakes occurred in its printing, yet, without any act authorizing its admission as evidence, it has been generally received by the people as a correct statement of the law, used by the bar, and construed by the bench in its decisions.
The second appointment, made in 1877, resulted only in the passage by the LegisJature of 1879 of a few acts, the work of the gentlemen referred to, notably those in reference to Cities of the Second Class and Villages, Revenue and Roads, which, with amendments made in 1881, form chapters of this present work. No further attempt was made at revision during the year 1881, but the passage of the various enactments of 1875, 1877, 1879, and 1881, changing, altering, and repealing the statutes of 1866 and 1873, gave rise to this present edition, published under the provisions of the act of 1881, chap. 79, p. 388, and found in chapter 95, article II, of this volume,
In preparing this edition for the press it has been the aim of the compiler to faithfully follow the enrolled laws, mistakes and errors of enrollment included; but while giving such mistakes, he has also discovered errors in the publication of “The General Statutes of 1873,” as well as the various session laws since 1873, and corrected them in this edition. Yet with all possible care, typographical and other errors will occur in the publication of any work, unknown till the book is from the press. It will be noticed that words inclosed in [ ] are not in the enrolled laws, but inserted as the meaning which the compiler has believed the Legislature designed, and as in many instances appear in the engrossed bills, but not in the enrolled bills signed by the Governor.
The arrangement and classification of laws here given will appear from an examination of the work. The titles of the various acts are inserted in proper notes and the original numbering of the sections preserved as far as possible, especially in the codes, as all the decisions of the Supreme Court refer to the original numbered sections, and more especially in view of the peculiar provisions of section 11, art. (III) of the Constitution. Proper foot notes show also the time of the taking wiec, uf the various acts as well as decisions of the Supreme Court contained in the ten volumes of reports now published.
The compiler has had no little difficulty in preparing an index, satisfactory even to himself. He has endeavored, however, to give the subject-matter and point out the page or pigex where the law thereon may be found. No attempt has been made to give the details of the law in the index. The searcher, having ascertained from the index the whereabouts of the subject, must look to the page for the details. The black letter catch word preceding each section is designed as a help thereto.
From my fellow laborer and personal friend of many years standing, H. H. WHEELER, I have received valuable aid and assistance, without which I could not have accomplished this work.
GUY A. BROWN.
Lincoln, July 1, 1881.
PREFACE TO SIXTH EDITION.
This edition of the Compiled Statutes, containing all the gi ne al laws in force August 1, 1893, together with references to officially published decisions of the supreme court to April 8, 1893, the date of going to press, is published in compliance with the request of many members of the Nebraska bar, who seem to consider an old familiar tool more serviceable than a perhaps better one of an unaccustomed pattern.
The metric system, although more scientific, will never take the place in cominon usage
of our old fashioned tables of weights and measures; nor will the revised version of the Scriptures, although more technically correct, ever usurp in popular favor King James's edition. So are the Compiled Statutes with the older practitioners and judges of our state.
As a literary production it is not claimed to be what it might be. Accuracy with fullness of annotations and early publication are the only characteristics attempted.
With the hope that it may assist to an easy and prompt ascertainment of what the statute law is, as given us by the legislature and construed by the courts, this editiou is respectfully dedicated to the lawyers of Nebraska, whose long and lasting personal friendship, with scarcely an exception, is the gratefully prized pleasure of the author.
HILAND H. WHEELER. Lincoln, Neb., July 1, 1893.
PREFACE TO TENTH EDITION.
This edition contains all the general laws prima facie in force July 1, 1901, together with references to officially published decisions of the supreme court to May 1, 1901, the date of going to press. Recogoizing that while it may be somewhat beyond the province of a mere compiler, still, without wishing to be presumptuous, many notes have been made calling attention to supposed constitutional defects in some of the enactments. It is hoped these will be appreciated, not only by those desiring to know what the statute law legally is, but also by those legislators who may care to remedy defects and simplify the laws as enacted and officially promulgated.
The notes explanatory of the text and those referring to the decisions of the supreme court interpreting and construing it, are intended as an index, not a digest. Many citations otherwise are also given. They are gratuitous, and possibly out of place. A complete digest of the reports is not attempted. I leave that for other PAGES.
Let him who feels constrained to kick at the index consider this, perhaps mythical, parable, from Missouri: A man seized and restrained a neighbor's chrome colored cur, which had been trespassing upon his premises damage feasant. Whereupon the owner of the dog replevied it. The case finally came before the supreme court on the sole question of the sufficiency of the affidavit in replevin. After the publication of the report of the decision, the attorney for the plaintiff informed the reporter that he had omitted to index the case. The reporter showed that it, appeared under “Practice,” “Replevin,” “Affidavit," and several other heads, and asked how he should have indexed it. The lawyer replied he thought it should have been found where he had looked, to-wit, under the title “Yaller Dog.” If a perusal does not teach the reader that point of view is essential, let him be referred
to the o'er true tale on indexing as innocently promulgated by a member of the legislature of 1883.
Criticism has been made that the citations in the annotations are confined to the official Nebraska Reports, and not to newspapers and magazines, legal and lay, including the North Western Reporter. To owners or possessors of this last named periodical it is suggested that at pages 1264, et. seq., Vol. 83, is a table, whereby cases in Nebraska Reports can usually be readily found in the North Western Reporter.
Suggestions and criticisms from friends (they are many) and others (if any) will be gratefully appreciated.
Should this edition, edited during ill health, have the accuracy and completeness possessed by former ones, or perchance be an improvement thereon, as it is hoped to be, it is due to the fact that I have been materially assisted in its preparation by my beloved help-meet, the daughter of Nebraska's first and foremost chief justice.
HILAND H. WHEELER.