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ENTERED according to Act of Congress, in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and fifty-seven,

BY WILLIAM I. R. WOOD, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Northern District of the State of California.

P R E F A CE.

The following work has been prepared in the intervals from official duty, in the office of secretary of state of the state of California, during the last four years.

An act was passed by the legislature of 1857, authorizing its publication and making it evidence of the law in all the courts of justice of the state.

A brief exposition of the plan and design of the work is not considered inappropriate in this place.

In the introductory portion will be found: the Declaration of Independence ; the Articles of Confederation; the Constitution of the United States ; the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo; the Proclamation calling a Constitutional Convention for California ; the Proclamation resigning the powers of the Military Governor and declaring the new State Government installed; the act of Congress admitting California into the Union; the act of the Legislature of California, authorizing the publication of this compilation, and legalizing the same; and, finally, Abbreviations.

The Articles of Confederation were regarded as a very useful and important precursor to the Constitution of the United States, inasmuch as they may be considered as but an earlier portion of the same great system of confederated government, which was afterwards advanced to a more perfect organization by the constitution itself, and are often resorted to for the purpose of throwing light on doubtful clauses of that instrument.

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo by which the territory which now composes the state of California, was acquired, and which constitutes a material part of the law by which the land titles of the state are tried and determined, would very naturally be looked for in a work of this kind.

The Proclamation calling a Constitutional Convention for California, and that yielding all political powers of the general government into the hands of the state authorities, would seem to be a necessary and interesting fragment of the constitutional history of the state ;—the first, as showing, not only the regularity and due form with which this important step was taken, but also as exhibiting the character of the government previous to the adoption of the present state organization ;-the second, as denoting the precise time at which our constitution went into effect, and our territorial condition terminated.

There will also be found copious indexes to the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution of the United States, and to the Constitution of the State of California.

In the compilation of the laws of the state, an effort has been made to present in a single volume, of convenient size and arrangement, all the general acts which will be in force on the first day of January, A. D., 1858, with such references to judicial decisions construing those acts, as were deemed most interesting and

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