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condition and circumstances, which were not expressly revised or repealed, and the Revised Statutes provided that this city should continue to have and exercise all the powers and privileges, and be subject to all the duties and liabilities, mentioned in the act establishing the city of Boston, and in the several acts specially relating to said city. At the same time, the Revised Statutes contain many general provisions upon the same subjects that are included in the special laws relating to the city of Boston, which obviously supersede and were intended to supersede the special provisions. The same fact is more obvious in many subsequent statutes, where the legislature have made general provisions, in effect extending special acts to all the towns in the commonwealth. Whether a general act is to be deemed an implied repeal of a special prior act, is of course a question depending upon a careful comparison of the two acts. In the present volume, the principles laid down in the case of Brown v. City of Lowell, (8 Metcalf's Rep. 172,) have been adopted as the rule of action. No special act has been regarded as repealed by implication by a general act, unless the latter contained strong terms upon which to found such a conclusion, and even then, such notes and references have been made as will enable the reader easily to examine the point for himself.
It will be noticed that the statutes have not been inserted at length, but are presented rather in the form of a digested summary, although the language of the acts has been generally used. It would have been
much less laborious to insert the various statutes in chronological order, without undertaking to state precisely what the law now is, but it is obvious that this would have left a labor, always embarrassing and sometimes very difficult, to be performed by every person who should consult the work, in order to ascertain the present state of the law on a given subject. The City Charter, for instance, has been amended so often and in so many different parts, that it is necessary to consult several different acts of the legislature to find out what the present chartered rights and duties of the city are. Much trouble is saved by presenting a digested summary of the law as it now stands, the various amendments being all incorporated, and the original altered so as to correspond with the subsequent statutes. This course has been attended with considerable labor and constant liability to error; but all the statutes are so constantly referred to in the margin, and the notes are so frequent, that the means of correcting any error are always near at hand.
It is hardly necessary to state in this connection, that this work is intended for popular rather than professional use; and members of the legal profession will not, of course, be content with any digest of the statutes, but will go to the originals, an examination of which this work is not intended to supersede, although it is hoped that it may be of some use to them in pointing the way.
The ordinances contained in this volume have in general been recently revised and passed by the city coun
cil. When the committee was appointed, it was their understanding, and they had reason to know that it was the understanding of the city council, that the volume should be printed during the present year. It was not supposed that there would be time for any thing like a general revision of the ordinances, which would necessarily require much labor, from the fact that there had been no general revision since 1833. But upon examination it was found that there were so many ordinances upon the same subjects; there had been so many alterations and amendments, repeals and partial repeals, that it was impossible to make any useful collection without revising and submitting many of the ordinances to the city council for its approval. This has been done with most of them, and in some instances important alterations have been made. In those instances where no alterations seemed necessary, the ordinances have been printed from the original records, with this difference, that where there are several on one subject, they are placed together and the sections numbered continuously as one ordinance; but in all cases the dates of the ordinances are given in the margin.
When it is considered that the plan of this revision was not matured and the work itself was not actually commenced until the latter part of March last; that all the general and special laws relating to the city have been collated and digested, with notes and references to the leading decisions; that nearly all the old
ordinances of the city have been revised; and that several new and important ordinances have been made, it will not be denied, probably, that the work has been printed as soon as could reasonably be expected.
Boston, November, 1850.