« PreviousContinue »
THE QUARTER SESSIONS,
SESSIONS OF THE PEACE,
ADAPTED TO THE USE OF
YOUNG MAGISTRATES, AND PROFESSIONAL
COMMENCEMENT OF THEIR PRACTICE.
WILLIAM DICKINSON, Esq.
BARRISTER AT LAW, &c.
THE THIRD EDITION,
Divided and arranged entirely anew ; revised and corrected ; and adapted
to the present State of the Criminal Law,
T. N. TALFOURD, Esq.
BARRISTER AT LAW.
PRINTED FOR BALDWIN AND CRADOCK; R. PHENEY; A. MAXWELL;
S. SWEET; H. BUTTERWORTH, AND STEVENS AND sons.
Since the publication of the Second Edition of this work, which took place in 1820, it has been deprived of the further superintendance of its Author, Mr. Dickinson, by his death. His object in first publishing it, and afterwards enlarging it, are thus expressed by himself, in his Preface to the second edition.
“The former edition of this work was not gratuitously obtruded on the public by its Author ; having been originally compiled for personal service only, and published at the instigation of some of his fellow labourers in commissions of the peace, at a distance from the metropolis ; who concurred in complaining that they were too dependant on their respective clerks of the peace for information sufficient to execute, with tolerable facility, the ordinary duties of justices in session. To comply with this their requisition, and to relieve other persons similarly circumstanced from an undignified embarrassment, was the principal, if not the only object he had in contemplation. For the due execution of this limited purpose, he then restricted his observations to little more than elementary instruction ; and if the rapid sale of a considerable edition, in a very short period of time, be any criterion whereby to judge of the utility of such a work, he has every reason for being well satisfied, so far at least, as respects the design.
“ He cannot, however, conceal from himself, nor does he wish to conceal from the public, that several persons of professional distinction, (doubtless from having formed expectations of finding in his work much more than he intended, or his advertisement indicated) have been disappointed in his execution of that design.
“In conformity with their admonitions it is that he now trespasses on the public attention with another edition; in which he has endeavoured, in a certain degree, to fulfil their expectations, by the admission of much additional matter, so arranged, as, without superseding his original purpose, to compose a sort of compendium of sessions' law, as well as of practice; which he trusts may present something useful to every description of persons, whose pursuits, or duties, may invite them to attend upon Courts of Sessions of the Peace.
“He feels it, however, again necessary to give a caution against any misapprehension of the purpose of his book, even in its enlarged form; by observing, that it by no means aspires to the distinction of superseding more voluminous works on the same, or similar subjects: that he scarcely presumes to expect for it a place on the shelf of a lawyer's library ; its legitimate office, and true design, being merely that of a compendious digest, a sort of manual, or vade mecum; principally adapted to momentary reference, during the immediate pressure of forensic discussions in the business of a session; or, at most, for usual consultation by country practitioners at a distance from the great source of voluminous information, the metropolis.
“ In the prosecution of this design, it has been suggested to him, by several gentlemen of the first consideration in sessions' practice, that a good selection of approved precedents, respectively applicable to the diversified occasions of Courts of Session, would be eminently serviceable. Of this suggestion he has availed himself, by the introduction of forms adapted to most of the ordinary occurrences in country practice.”
It appears that the objects which Mr. Dickinson thus proposed to himself, were, in a great measure, accomplished ; for a considerable edition of the extended treatise was sold ; and the work having, in consequence of the death of its Author, remained long out of print, has often been inquired for by gentlemen of the classes for whose use it was designed. The delay has been, in one respect, advantageous, as it has given opportunity for the incorporation in the present edition of all the numerous alterations recently made in the law, which are applicable to the ordinary practice of the Courts of Session of the Peace.
The changes which have taken place in the law during the interval between the last and present edition, were found so numerous, and so extensive in their operation, as to preclude the preservation of Mr. Dickinson's text entire in any part of the work relating to the criminal law. As, therefore, the Editor found it necessary to exclude altogether a large portion of the original text, and to supply its place with new matter, he did not scruple to introduce a new arrangement of the whole work, which seemed to him calculated to render it more practically useful. It becomes, therefore, his duty to give a summary account of the alterations he has ventured to make, and for which he is responsible.
The last edition of this work was divided only into six chapters, without any sub-divisions into sections. The first, second, and third chapters, which were short, were in outline the same with those which occupy a similar place in the present edition. The third, occupying 386 pages, embraced the whole “ Criminal Business of the Sessions,” including offences, trials, evidence, and a great number of precedents of indictments, indiscriminately relating to felonies and misdemeanors, some to offences rarely prosecuted at sessions, and some even to the offence of perjury at common law, which cannot be prosecuted there at all. The fifth chapter, occupying 344 pages, in like manner embraced “the Civil Business of the Ses