statutes Pennsylvania. Laws.

A digest of the laws of Pennsylvania, from the year one thousand seven hundred to the tenth day of July, one thoudsand eight hundred and seventy-two--Brightly's annual digest for 1873 to 1875. Annual digest of the laws of Pennsylvania for the years 1873 to 1875. Together with some laws of older date online

. (page 141 of 179)
Online Librarystatutes Pennsylvania. LawsA digest of the laws of Pennsylvania, from the year one thousand seven hundred to the tenth day of July, one thoudsand eight hundred and seventy-two--Brightly's annual digest for 1873 to 1875. Annual digest of the laws of Pennsylvania for the years 1873 to 1875. Together with some laws of older date → online text (page 141 of 179)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

EvEaT FORM of every possible legislative enunciation resolves itself into two or more of those
four elements, of which the legal siS)ject and the legal action are essential, and must necessarily
be present, while the case or the condition may or may not be present

If the >enactment is to operate on its subject universally, constantly and unconditionally, the
sole elements are the legal mbject and the legal action.

If the enactment is only to operate on its subject, in certain circumstances, the case must express
these circumstances in the first words of the sentence^ and not in a subsequent phrase inserted
parenthetically in the description of the subject or the action, nor in a separate proviso.

If the enactment is only to operate on its subject, after performance, by somebody, of certain
precedent conditions, these conditions shovld be aU expressed immediately before the legal subject^
and in the order in which they vfmst be executed; that is, in their chronological order.

Digitized by



Next eomes the legal whject^ immediately followed by the appropriate modal copula, introduciiif
the legal action.

The spsoifio importance of each of these several elements of a legal sentence has been
adverted to above, but the importance of observing invariably the order of expression of 1st, the
case; 2d, the conditions; 3d, the legal subject; 4th, the legal action, is still to be pointed out.

The case being placed first, the first few words of the sentence answer immediately to the
inquirer, whether his case is included in the provision or not ; whether he need read on, or
should proceed to seek the law applicable to his circumstances in another oUuse. Suppose, for
instance, these are the words : —

Ckise Where any Quaker

7 & 8 Wm. m., 0. 34, s. 4.
refuses to pay any church-rates, or any customary or other righta, duet
or payments belonging to any church or chapel, or which, of right, by
law and custom, ought to be paid for the stipend or maintenance of any
minister or curate officiating therein :

1 Geo. I., Stat. 2, o. 6, s. 2.
— it is evident that no person who knows the circumstances of any case can doubt whether the
law presently to be expressed applies to his case or not ; he can at once determine Tif the case is «
thus expressed at the threshold, and he is not to be balked by some subsequent limitation of the
law to some more special case, by some subsequent parenthetical phrase or proviso, or some cUuse
somewhere else in the statute) whether he has or has not before him the law he seeks.

Having ascertained that there is law applicable to his case — he next learns what is to be done
to make it operative ; this he learns from the conditions^ which follow immediately upon the case,
and precede the expression of the law : —
Conditions ......... if any churchwarden, or other person who ought to receive or collect the

same, complain thereof,

7 & 8 Wm. IV., c. 34, 8. 4.
and if such Quaker have reasonable warning of such complaint :

1 Geo. I., Stat. 2, c. 6, s. 2.
— here, whether complainant or defendant, he sees at once all the requisites to make the law
operate in the case. Whoever seeks to make the law operate proceeds to do the things required
as conditions, in the order in which they are prescribed, and these being done, the right of the
claimant, and the liability of the defendant, and the duty of the functionary are complete— the
law has now only to operate functionally.

The legal subject describes the person now enabled or commanded to act : —

Legal Subject ONE 01 THE NEXT justices of the peace,

53 Geo. III., c. 127, s. 6.
of jbhe same county,

1 Geo. I., Stat. 2, o. 6, s. 2.
, other than such justice of the peace as is patron of such church or

chapel :

1 Geo. I., Stat. 2, o. 6, s. 2.
— here will be found determined all the persons who, in the case, and on performanoe of the
conditions prescribed, are immediately authorized, obliged or prohibited by the legal action.
The suitor, the defendant, the court itself, all look here to see that the court (or other leaal
sulifecf) is competent. The court finds from its description here, as the legal suhjecty that it has
or has not jurisdiction in the case ; it finds whether it is yet empowered to act or not, according
as the conditions have or have not been complied with.

The case before the court (or other legal subject) is seen to be the case described in the statute;
the conditions as prescribed are executed ; the court (or other legal subject) is recognised as con-
forming to its description, and is therefore competent; now comes the legal eution c-^

Legal Action may

by warrant, under his hand and seal, summon such Quaker
before the two next justices of the peace of the same county :

7 & 8 Wm. III., 0. 34, s. 4.
— here the court (or other legal subject) finds what by law it is required to do, to summon, oonvicty
execute or what else.

Applt the above to the oral or documentary proceedings in any court, and the advantage
of this mode of expressing the law will be at once apparent. Suppose the complaint is to be
made, the complainant has nothing to do but look at the case and conditions, to word his com-
plaint so as to include the very words of the statute, filling in his own and the defendant's per-
sonal description, and the necessary dates and places. Nothing can be simpler than this process;
when done, no astuteness can successfully impugn it.

Consider, on the other hand, the defence. The defendant, or other antagonist, has only to
show in his defensive allegation, his plea or other appropriate answer, that the case is other than
the case described in the statute, and he ousts the jurisdiction of the court, or the competence

Digitized by



of the other legal whject ; or he has only to show that the prescribed conditions have not been
complied with, and he justly and inevitably defeats the complaint, the declaration or other allega-
tion of the pursuing party.

Next as to the decision — the court recite in it the very same words in which the case is
described, that the conditions in the words of the statute were performed, or that they, or some
of them, were not; it describes itself, by the use of the very terms of the legal subject by which
the competence of the tribunal is established, in terms which can only be successfully attacked
by defeating the statute itself; the court now proceeds to execute its authority, to convict or to
give its decision or judgment, using the very words of the legal a^ctiony and abstaining from
everything going beyond those words.

At every stage, the proceedings would thus run parallel, pari passu with the words of the
statute, in a manner which would greatly diminish the perplexity of all who have only to obey
or execute the law.

Combination of distinct Enactments.

Thus fae the construction of a separate enactment has been considered. Usually, a statute,
and every section of a statute, consists of several of these enactments.

Any number of legal subjects can be enumerated cumulatively with *' and" or alternately
with " or," as the subjects of any one legal action ; this requires no example.

Where many legal actions are to apply to the same legal svhject^ or class of subjects, one
description of the leeal subject may be followed by any number of legal actions ;(a) but these
legal actions should be kept distinct by the use of distinct copulsD, and they should follow one
another in the order in which they are to take place; not, for instance, directing justices '^ to
order and ascertain the proportions of rate to be paid,'' as if they we»e to "order" it first, and
<* ascertain" it afterwards (12 Geo. II., o. 29, s. 5). The following are examples of one legal
subject and a sucoession of legal actions : —



Case Whenever it is made to appear to the poor law commissioners,

by representation in writing from the board of guardians of any union

or '^ parish," under their common seal,
or from the majority of the " overseers," or other officers competent to

the making and levying the rate,
that a fair and correct estimate for the aforesaid purposes (95 b.) cannot
be made without a new valuation,

Legal Svhject the poob law oommissionsrs,

Ist Legcd Action may,

where they see fit,

order a survey,

with or without a map or plan,

on such scale as they think fit,

to be made and taken of the messuages, lands and other hereditaments,

in respect of which persons are liable to be rated to the poor's rate,
in such parish, or in all or any one or more parishes of such a Union ;

2d and may

(order) a valuation to be made of the said messuages, lands and other
hereditaments, according to their annual value,

Zd and may

direct such guardians

to appoint a fit person or persons for making and taking every such sur-
vey, map or plan, and valuation,
and to make provision for paying the cost of every such survey, map or

plan, and valuation,
either by a separate rate, or by a charge on the poor's rate, as they maj
see fit. 6 & 7 Wm. IV., c. 96, s. 3.



Cases Where there is any question between any " parishes," touching the

boundaries of such *' parishes,"
or where such parishes are desirous of having such boundaries ascer-
tained, or a new boundary line defined ;

(a) Two or more distinot legal eobjeets, and two or more •inguUk aingtUtt. It is proposed hj a local act to pave

dittinot legal aotioDS, should never be brought together in the town of Brighton and to manage its poor : the purpose

the same SMitonoe, by means of the same copula. This is described to be to manage and pave the town of Brighton

always renders the meaning obscure, and causes the fre- and the poor thereof, as if the poor were to be pared,
quent necessity for the application of the process re/eremU

Digitized by



Condition if a majority of not less than two-thirds in number and value

of the landowners of such parishes

make application in writing;
Leffal Subject the tithe commissioners for England and Wales,

or any of their assistant commissioners,
IbI Le^aX Action may

deal with any dispute or question concerning such boundaries,
2d and may

ascertain, adjust, set out and define the ancient boundaries between such
8(2 or may

draw and define a new line of boundary, as they may see fit.

Legal Subject And ALL the powers given to the tithe commissioners or assistant

1st Legal Action shall

2d and shall,

so far as the same may, in the judgment of the commissioners or assbtaot
commissioners, be applicable to such question,

be applied by them thereto. 2 & 3 Yio. o. 62, s. 84.



Legal Subjects Every surveyor,

district surveyor

and assistant surveyor,
1st Legal Action sJuUl,

within 14 days after the appointment of the new surveyor,

make up his accounts for the year preceding, in writing,
2d and shall

sign and balance them, 5 & 6 Wm. lY., o. 60, s. 44.

8 J and shaU,

within one calendar month,

sign and lay them before the justices at a special session,

6 & 6 Wm. lY., 0. 60, & 89.
ith and shaM,

within 14 days after leaving his office,

deliver his accounts,

verified before justices at special sessions.
POOR'S RATE. 6 & 6 Wm. lY., o. 60, s. 42.

280 a.

If such justices think fit,

they shall ,

examine into the matter of every such account,

and sluxU


and strike out of every such account

all such charges and payments as they deem to be unfounded,

and shall

reduce such as they deem to be exorbitant,

and shall

specify upon, or at the foot of such account,

every such charge or payment,

and its amount, so far as such justices may disallow or reduce the same,

and the cause for which the same is disallowed or reduced ;

and shall

signify their allowance and approbation

of every such account

under their hands ;

and shaU

sign and attest the caption of the same

at the foot of the account,

without fee or reward. 60 Geo. III., o. 49, s. 1.

Sometimes one general legal action is provided with a variety of differences adjusted to a variety
of different oases. No course is so clear as that of describing in succession each ooae, and repeat*
ing the subject and action; as : —

Digitized by




The <<ov£B8KKR8/' or the greater part of them,


take order,

from time to time,

with the consent (allowance) of ^* two justices/'

to raise the rate.

43 Elis. c. 2, s. 1.
b. If the " parish" be in a county,
" TWO JUSTIOKS" (19, 21),
whereof one to be of the ^tionim,

dwelling in or near the division where the '' parish" doth He,
allow the rate.

43 Elis. 0. 2, 8. 1.
13 ft 14 Car. II., o. 12, s. 17.
Or if the '^ parish" be wholly within an exclosive jurisdiction,
" TWO justices" of that jurisdiction
allow the rate.

43 Elis. c. 2, s. 1.
Or if a parish lie within two places of concurrent jurisdiction,
** two justices" of either jurisdiction, or one of the one jurisdiction

and one of the other,
allow the rate.

43 Elis. c. 2, s. 8.
Or if a parish lie within two places of exclusive jurisdiction,
*' TWO justices" at least of each such jurisdiction '

allow the rate.

43 Elis. c. 2, s. 9.

Parliamentary considerations favor the accumulation of materials into one clause ; but as a
question of composition and interpretation, there can be no doubt, that the more strictly each
clause is limited to one class of ease$y one class of legal tuhjectij and one class of legal actions^
the better ; and that it is a mischief, to confer, in one sentence, two distinct species of rights, to
impose two distinct kinds of obligations, to confer two distinct kinds of powers, and so on:
where parliamentary convenience does not prevail, no good draftsman ever does so.

General application to the oooasions of LegiBlation.

To revert to the subject before adverted to— the facilitating of the work of legislation, the
enabling of the legislature to apply a special rule to the most special and minute cases, the
making of the law apt and flexible — if the above analgia be correct, it will appear that intricacy
0^ expression is neither an aid to speciality in legislation, nor a necessary consequence of it.

It has been made to appear, that however various the cases to which the law applies, each is
severally simple ; and if each be expressed singly, and in immediate succession, and not involved
with other elements of the legislative sentence, the task of composition will be easy. Again,
however various the conditions^ each will be in itself simple ; and if all be expressed in the order
of their performance, it will more often be found that the one throws light on the other, than
that the one obscures the other. Again, as to the legal subjects^ there is no limit to the number
which may be enumerated or described, one after another; and here also one subject will often
throw a light on another with whieh it is associated. So of legal actions^ they may be added,
one after another, with perfect intelligibleness, if the order of their chronological succession be
observed, and if the stages of their operation be indicated, by prefixing to each new legal acdion
a description of the incidental case.

It will hence be seen, that this order of expression involves no impediments, but rather
affords facilities for the introduction, during the progress of a bill, of amendments analogous to
the original matter. If another case is to be included, its place is obvious ; if some case is to
be excepted, again, nothing is easier, than to insert amongst the cases, the description of the excep-
tion. If further conditions on the action are required, the* place for them is apparent If the
extent of the law is too narrow or too wide, the legal subject presents itself distinctly to be
enlarged or restricted. If legislation be admitted to be required for the cases, on the conditions
expressed, and in respect of the legal subjects enuB^erated, but the nature or quality of the

Digitized by



legislation be in question, that question is limited to the legal action, A little atteotion will
convince the reader, that if the essential parts of legal sentences were kept distinct and eon-
spicuous in a bill, the difficulty of criticising a measure, while in its progress through parliament,
must be greatly diminished : that it would be comparatively easy, to show the excesses or omissions
of each enactment, and to call the promoters of a bill to account; while it must be in the same
degree difficult, for sophistry to cast a doubt about the elements of a measure, all of which were
exposed so simply and conspicuously. The question of a member, For what case does this enact-
ment apply? or, Is this enactment absolute and without condition? or, Who is to have thrd
right — to be compelled to this sacrifice — to exercise this authority ? or. When, where and how,
is it to be exercised ? calls attention at once to the enunciation of the case^ the condition, the
subject^ the action, respectively. The smallest inconsistency between the answer of the conductor
of the bill, and the expression in the bill, of either of these elements, will at once compel the
insertion of modifications accordant with his explanations. The unfair and unavowable legisla-
tion which now sometimes passes, in the confusion of an intricate phraseology, would be prevented
at once.

The mere literary composition of a statute will, by fixing the attention on these elements, be
as much facilitated as its interpretation will afterwards be. The multitude of instances to be
found in the following appendices, or those cited as examples in the present suggestions, where
modifications and amendments of an original law have been made by a series of subsequent acts,
which modifications and amendments are fully expressed by a word or phrase interpobited in the
co^e, the condition, the subject or the action, will serve to prove, beyond a question, the facility with
which the like modifications and amendments might, if they had been thought of, have been
introduced, either in the original draft of the bill, or in its course through parliament. The
compiler may, perhaps, be allowed to adduce his further personal experience, that, in making a
compilation of the whole of the statute criminal law in force before the year 1833, and the whole
ot the poor law statutes passed from the beginning of George III.'s reign till the year 1840, no
single instance occurred to him, in which the statement of what he understood to be the law, in
the very terms of the law, was not perfectly easy, on the plan proposed.

On the other hand, it is matter of astonishment that expressions so intricate as those in which
the^law is now ordinarily expressed can ever be brought to a grammatical close. It requires the
most consummate skill in language, to interweave cases, conditions, subjects and actions, with all
their limitations, exceptions, qualifications and consequences into one sentence ; and when it is
considered, that this is sometimes done in a phraseology which is not English, it passes com-
prehension, how the draftsman could ever get through his task. In such instances as the follow-
ing, it will be seen, by comparing the original statement with the re-statement in the summary,
how a wonderful ingenuity in making and threading a maze of language, is only thrown away,
and how a much more humble amount of skill would be sufficient to effect all the purposes, in a
much more satisfactory manner.

Original. Amended Statement.

The nnmbers indicate what shoald be the order. County Bate,

1 St Copula^ It shall be lawful . ^^

first fragment. ^^^

1st Legal Subject, to and for the justices of the peace when the justices of the peace in general or quarter

of any county, or the major part of . y^^^ ^^

them, m general or quarter ses- ^

sions, or at any adjournment or thbt shall,

adjournments thereof assembled, from time to time,

\st Case as often as they shall have deemed it issue their warrants

necessary to make a rate or rates, ^^ g^ery high constable within the county,

assessment or assessments, on all • • l. * *• . v -h j • .i.

the ratable property within the rcqmnnghim, at a time to be specified m the wa^ran^

limits of their jurisdiction, accord- to collect the same from the overseers within his

ing to the fair annual value of the division,

same, as derived from any or all ^^d to pay the same to the treasurer of the county

of the several sources of informa- . ^ ^.^^ * ^^ ^^^^ :« .u^ —..—«*

tion which are hereinbefore men- ^ * '*"* ^ ^ ^"°^ '"^ ^* ''*""**•


\i/ Copula, se- and they are hereby authmxed and a. When the high constable has received the wmr-

cond fragment, empowered rant of the justices at quarter sessions,

1st Legal Action, to order warrants to be, from time hb shall

to time, issued, in the same manner issue his warrants

as now authorized and practised to the respective overseers (and other persons re-

by law for collecting the county quired to act as overseers) within his division,

rates, ^ requiring them to levy and oellect such rate, and to

to the several high constables within pay the same to him,

their respective counties, within the time named in the warrant of the justices,

ordering and requiring them and at such a time as he may specify in his warrant.

Digitized by





%d Legal Action, lo issue their warrants to the respect-
ive overseers of the poor within
their respective divisions, to levy,
collect, and pay to the said high
within the time to be named and
limited in the warrant to be issued
from the sessions as aforesaid,
all SQch rate or rates, assessment or

6M Legal Subject which each high constable ahally and
and Action. he is hereby directed and required,

to pay

expressed paren- at sach time as shall be specified in
thically. such warrant,

to the treasurer of the county for the
time being,

7th Legal Subject to be applied and disposed of in such

and Action, manner and for such purposes as

the county stock or rate is now

applicable, or may hereafter be

made applicable by law.

Case to the 7th And in case any overseer or over-

Legal Action, seers of the poor, or other person
appointed to act as such under the
provisions of this act, in any of the
several parishes, townships or
places, whether parochial or other-
wise, within any county liable to
pay the same,
shall neglect, make default, or refuse
to pay the same, within the time to
be specified and limited for that
purpose as aforesaid, to the high
constable of the division within
which such overseer or overseers,
or other person or persons so lia-
ble and neglecting to pay, shall re-
side or be appointed to act,

Copula it shall and may be lawful

Legal Subject, , for any justice of the peace of the
said county,

Condition upon complaint thereof made by any

such high constable,

$th Legal Action, by warrant under the hand and seal
of any such justice, to levy the
same by distress and sale of the
offender's goods.

Legal Subject, , , And the overseer or overseers of the
poor of any parish, township, or
place, whether parochial or other-
wise, or other person or persons
appointed to act as such overseer
or overseers,

Copula shallj and mag, and is, and are hereby


9d Logal Action, to levy and raise by an equal rate or
assessment upon all and every the
several estates and property rata-
ble to the relief Of the poor, within
their respective parishes, town-
ships, or places, whether parochial
or otherwise, such sum and sums
of money as shall be required and
necessary, in order to raise the
several sums assessed, upon such
parishes, townships, or places re-
spectively, or to reimburse such
overseer or overseers, or other per-
son or persons as aibresaid, such
sum or sums of money as they
shall respectively have paid on ac-
count of the same ;

ith LsgtU Action, such rate or assessment to be paid

4^£«yaZiSii^'ec^*by the occupier or occupiers for the
time being of such estates and
ratable property as aforesaid.

55 Goo,1Il,,c. 51, s, IS.

Amended Statement.

C. Such oybbsebrb,

or other persons appointed to act as overseers,


levy and raise

by an equal rate or assessment upon the estates and
property datable to the relief of the poor within
their respective ** parishes'* or ** places,"

Online Librarystatutes Pennsylvania. LawsA digest of the laws of Pennsylvania, from the year one thousand seven hundred to the tenth day of July, one thoudsand eight hundred and seventy-two--Brightly's annual digest for 1873 to 1875. Annual digest of the laws of Pennsylvania for the years 1873 to 1875. Together with some laws of older date → online text (page 141 of 179)