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HE want of a Treatise upon the Law

of Elections has been too much felt, to render necessary any apology for offering one to the Public. The very concise manner in which the subject is handled by Mr. Justice Blackstone, Lord Coke, and Sir Matthew Hale, make their labours of little more use than to mark out a general outline for others to fill up. Sir Bulstrode Whitlock, indeed, has enlarged his comment upon the parliamentary writ to two volumes quarto; but having treated the subject rather as an historian than a lawyer, his work is of little use in business. The laborious collection of parliamentary writs by Mr. Prynne, affords the most authentic history of the constitution of the representative body of this kingdom, but is of little use in discussing those points of election laws which occur in practice.


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The knowledge of this part of the law is but of modern growth, and possessed but by few. The object of this Treatise, there, .fore, is to diffuse it more generally, by collecting and arranging in a compendious system, the acts of parliament, and such deteļminations as have been made respecting the rights of election in all its branches, fince the establishment of the new judica

The acts of parliament which have been made since thc çime of Glanville render his reports but of occasional use; their matter, however, is so informing and their style so perspicuous, that we have to lament the shortness of his work. The laborious index to the Journals of the house of commons, has, in some degree, lessened the value of Ca. rew. The reports of Mr. Douglas and Mr. Luders can alone give that extent of information upon particular points of the law of elections, which may enable the lawyer and the member of parliament to do their respective duties, with utility to the public and honour to themselves. The very deserved reputation which the reports and notes of the former have obtained for their accuracy and learning, and the stamp of merit they have received, from the opinion of the profession itself, which is the


Atrongest test of their worth, justify the author in quoting those decisions, and ingrafting them into the general system. He has also cited Mr. Luders's reports of

parliamentary cases, under a full persuasion that time and investigation will establish his works likewise


the same permanent foundation. In that part, which relates to county elections, those determinations of the Gloucestershire committee in the year 1777, which appear most useful, are inserted. Such of them as are mentioned, are taken from a publication entitled, “ Refolves of the Gloucester Committee," for which the public is indebted to the chairman of that committee. The nature of the work has not admitted of fo accurate a statement of some of the cases, as to enable one always to know the exact ground of the resolution; but the resolution itself may be depended upon as coming from such authority, and very often expresses: the reason upon which it is made. Uniformity in decisions, especially in matters of election, can only be attained by attention to precedents, and when once attained, is the surest fafeguard and protection of the liberty of the subject. The decision of one committee indeed, until the 28 G. 3. C. 52. a 3


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