General Statutes of New Jersey, 1895, and Luce's Tables: INTRODUCTION

(Note: This Introduction was first published in the 2005 Lawbook Exchange Ltd reprint of the General Statutes of 1895 and Luce's Tables.)

The quantity of legislation in the General Statutes of New Jersey (1895) is more than two-and-a-half times the amount in the last compilation which preceded it, the Revision of 1877.   That is the greatest rate of increase in public general legislation between any two consecutive compilations in the history of the state.   This rapid expansion can be attributed in large degree to a constitutional amendment adopted in 1875, requiring the enactment of general laws instead of local and special laws for various purposes, including the regulation of the internal affairs of municipalities. From 1877 to 1895 the quantity of general legislation on local government increased more than ten-fold.   Where the Revision of 1877 has titles "Municipal Corporations" and "Townships," the General Statutes of 1895 has, besides those, "Boroughs," "Borough Commissions," "Cities," "Towns," and "Villages."

Other enactments of historical interest from this time period include the state's first laws on labor arbitration (1880), civil rights (1884), and occupational safety and health (1885, found under the title "Operatives").

The compilers of the General Statutes of 1895 were the law reporter Garret D.W. Vroom, who had also worked on the Revision of 1877, and William M. Lanning, formerly a District Court judge in Trenton, who had assisted Vroom with the 1887 supplement to the Revision, and who later became a federal judge.

Edward J. Luce's Table of Statutes included in the General Statutes, originally published as a separate work in 1900, is included in the present reprint.   Luce's Table goes from citations in some earlier compilations (mainly from the one published in 1847), and from session law citations (mainly from 1847 forward), to pages and sections of the General Statutes.   Since no such table exists to trace pre-1878 laws into the Revision of 1877, and since there is no table from the General Statutes of 1895 to the New Jersey Statutes Annotated, but there is a table from the Revision of 1877 to N.J.S.A., the only general tabular method of tracing a pre-1878 law forward into N.J.S.A. is as follows:

Luce compiled his Table from the marginal references in the General Statutes.   In his prefatory note, he states erroneously that the abbreviation "Rev." in those references means the Revision of 1874.   It actually means Pennington's Laws of the State of New Jersey, published in 1821.   At just four sections in the General Statutes, the compilers inconsistently used the abbreviation "R.L." for Pennington's Laws, which explains why Luce's Table has just those four entries under "R.L." For two of those same sections, the General Statutes compilers happened to include their only references to Paterson's Laws (1800), so Luce has only two entries under "Pat.L.," although many other laws included in Paterson would be traceable forward to 1895.  

The earlier compilation most frequently cited in the General Statutes marginal notes, and therefore the one with the most entries in Luce's Table, is "R.S.," which is the Statutes of the State of New Jersey, Revised and Published under the authority of the Legislature (1847), sometimes known as the "Revision of 1845" because of its authorization date.   For a relatively small number of his "R.S." entries, Luce includes a parenthetical year of enactment.   He was not able to do so for many of the entries because the only date given in the General Statutes for those sections was an 1874 or 1875 revision date.  

The only source other than the General Statutes that Luce actually used to compile his Table was the Revision of 1877.   Under the heading "Rev." at pages 14 to 15 of the Table, the entries are mostly from the initial pages of the 1877 titles to the initial pages of the corresponding 1895 titles.   Since Luce uses "Rev." for the Revision of 1877, he uses "(Rev.)" for the portion of the table that he thought covered the 1874 revision, but that actually covers Pennington's Laws.

In the beginning of the chronological portion of Luce's Table, at pages 15 to 16, for the period 1709 through 1846, the majority of the entries are just years with parenthetical references to "R.S."   (These are the same sections for which Luce gives the parenthetical year in his "R.S." section.)   For the relatively few pre-1847 sections that have actual session law citations in the margins of the General Statutes, those session law citations are interspersed in this same portion of Luce's Table.  

When Luce's entry points to the beginning of a title in General Statutes, he generally gives only the General Statutes page, followed by "etc." instead of specific section numbers.  

After the required pre-1878 act has been located in the General Statutes of 1895, it can generally be found under the same title in the Revision of 1877.   For some acts, however, it will be necessary to look under a different title in the earlier compilation, as indicated in the table below.   If the desired act is not found at what seems the appropriate title in the Revision of 1877, the next step would be to check the index of that compilation.   Checking that index to begin with is an efficient alternative to the tabular method described here, so long as you are starting with sufficient information about the subject matter of the act in question.  

There may be a very few pre-1878 acts that appear in the General Statutes of 1895 but are omitted from the Revision of 1877.   In preparing the table of variant titles below, I encountered one such act that I could not locate in the Revision although it is in the General Statutes.   This is the act of February 17, 1857, "to prevent willful trespasses upon lands," P.L. 1857, p.16, found in the General Statutes at page 3682.

A table of contents for the General Statutes, lacking in the original, has been supplied in this reprint.

Paul Axel-Lute
Rutgers Law School Library, Newark
March 2005

Table of Variant Titles

General Statutes of 1895 Revision of 1877
Athletic Associations & Clubs Boat Clubs;
Schuetzen Associations
Beneficiary Societies Benevolent Associations
Camp Meeting & Seaside Associations Vice & Immorality (part IV)
County Physicians Physicians, County
Eminent Domain Condemnation of Lands (Appx, p.1278)
Fish & Game Fisheries;
Game & Game Fish
Idiots, Lunatics and Drunkards Drunkards;
Importation of Convicts Passengers
Inspectors of Merchandise Beef and Pork;
Flour and Meal
Intoxicating Liquors Inns & Taverns
Jails & Workhouses Sheriffs (part II);
Libraries, Lyceums, &c. Lyceums, Libraries, &c.
Medicine & Surgery Medical Societies
National Guard Militia
Pursuing & Detective Societies Protection Societies
Social & Literary Societies Music, Conservatories of (Appx p.1375)
State, County & Municipal Officers Officers
State Treasury Treasury
Steamboats and Stages Travellers
Usury Interest