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This printed publication in three volumes is popularly called “The Code of Alabama.” It contains a printed copy of the Code proper, together with the compilation of the general and permanent statutes of Alabama which were enacted by the Legislature at the general session of 1907, after the ninth day of July, this being the date the Legislature assembled after the recess. It also contains as prefatory matter the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution of the United States, the various Constitutions of the State of Alabama, with numerous acts of Congress pertaining to the history of the state, and the Territories of Mississippi and of Alabama.

The Code proper is that body of laws in manuscript filed in the office of the Secretary of State which was prepared by the Code Commissioner, revised by the Code Committee, reported to the Legislature by the committee, and adopted by the Legislature on the 27th day of July, 1907 (Code, p. 1). The compilation of statutes of those acts of the Legislature passed at the regular session of 1907 after the ninth day of July

, 1907, were arranged, divided into sections, numbered, classified, and published as if a part of the Code proper, under and in accordance with an act of the Legislature“to provide for the publication and distribution of the Code of Alabama,” approved July 27, 1907 (Acts 1907, p. 504).

The validity of the statutes and sections of this Code, not in the Code when adopted, depends upon the several respective acts of the Legislature enacting them, and not upon the act adopting the Code. These acts were not changed at all by the commissioner, except to the extent that this became absolutely necessary in classifying and dividing them into sections.

The act of July 27th, 1907, “To provide for the publication and distribution of the Code of Alabama” (Acts 1907, p. 504), provided that all acts of the Legislature passed on and after the 9th day of July, 1907, amending any section of the Code of 1896, should be substituted by the commissioner in the place of the amended section, and become a part of the Code, and that all other general acts passed on and after the 9th day of July, 1907, should be inserted at the proper place according to its subject matter, and be printed in the same type and style of the Code, leaving off its title, the enacting clause, and numbering the sections of the act with the appropriate number in the Code. These provisions of the act, of course, required a renumbering of all of

the sections of the printed Code, consequently the numbers of this printed volume do not, and cannot, correspond with the numbers of the Code proper, which is in manuscript and filed in the office of the Secretary of State, and which was numbered and adopted as the Code before the passage of this act requiring the codification or compilation of the statutes passed thereafter. It also required a change of all references in the Code proper and in the annotations, because these references were originally made to the Code proper as adopted. Many of these acts compiled in the Code expressly repeal certain provisions, chapters, articles, and sections of the Code of 1896, which had been incorporated into the Code proper and adopted by the Legislature. In such cases the repealed laws were omitted from the printed copy of the Code, and the repealing law or statute substituted therefor. In all cases where there was any doubt in the mind of the commissioner as to whether or not a given provision of the Code was repealed by a subsequent statute, the cominissioner has not omitted the repealed or repealing statute, but both are printed, leaving the courts to decide whether or not it is repealed. Consequently, it may happen that some provisions of the Code proper as they are printed in this Code, are repealed by statutes passed after the adoption of the Code, and it is probable that some of the statutes compiled and as they appear in this Code, have been repealed by subsequent statutes printed in this Code, and, certainly so, by those acts passed at the extraordinary session of the Legislature called by the Governor, which convened on the 7th day of November, 1907, after a great part of the Code was in print, and which on that account could not be published in this Code.


The sections of the Code are numbered in numerical order from 1 to 7900. The numbers in parentheses following the number of the section of the Code show the corresponding numbers which the particular section bore in the Codes of 1896, 1886, 1876, 1867, and 1852, in the order herein set forth. A blank parenthesis ( ), with no number, indicates that the section was not contained in the respective intermediate Code, or Codes. As the Code of 1852 contained no criminal statutes, the sixth parenthetical number in the Criminal Code refers to the Penal Code of 1866.


The marginal references show the origin of the statute since the Code of 1896 upon which the statute is based, or which amended the section since last codified. The letters (w.c.c.) indicate that that section was written by the Code Committee, which revised the manuscript prepared by the commissioner. The letters (r.c.c.) indicate that the section was revised by the Code Committee.


The absence of any marginal reference and any parenthetical numher indicates that such section was written by the commissioner and adopted by the Legislature as a part of the Code.


Reference to statutes or acts of the Legislature prior to the Code of 1896, upon which the sections of the Code are based, or which amend them or pertain to similar or kindred subjects, are made as a part of the annotations and enclosed in parentheses. If prior to the Code of 1852 they are frequently referred to in Toulmin's, Aikin's and Clay's Digests, which were the original and authorized compilations of the statutes prior to the Code of 1852. These are intended merely as historical references and, in connection with the parenthetical numbers referring to all previous Codes, and to the marginal references referring to statutes and acts of the Legislature since the Codes of 1896, and the references to the revisions made by the Code Committee and the Code Commissioner, the origin and history of every section of the Code may be readily traced. These references go back to the acts of the Territory of Mississippi and to the Territory of Alabama, thus affording a complete history of all of the statutory law of the state. Every statute of a general or permanent nature pertaining to Alabama Territory, whether passed by the Congress of the United States, or by the Legislature of the State or Territory, has been examined, and, when deemed necessary, has been referred to.


The annotations and references to the decisions of the Supreme Court of Alabama and of the United States, construing various sections of the Code and which follow such sections, printed in somewhat smaller type, are not a part of the law of the state, and are no part of the Code proper or of the statutes. They were prepared by the commissioner and intended only for the convenience of those who might use the Code in order to find the origin, trace the history, and ascertain the true construction, meaning, or effect of the statutes. The annotations have been made as full and complete as the time and ability of the commissioner and the printing space would allow. They are not perfect by any means, but they are as near so as the commissioner could make them, within the limited time and space allowed. Every decision of the Supreme Court, from Minor to the 145th Alabama, both inclusive, has been examined for the purpose of perfecting, as near as possible, the citations and annotations. Space would not allow the making of the annotations as full or complete as they should be. The commissioner was compelled to revise and condense several times, for the reason that they would occupy too much space.


The Code is divided into three volumes, in accordance with the act of the Legislature (Acts 1903, p. 298)—Political, Civil, and Criminal. The Political Code contains 2439 sections, numbered from 1 to 2439, inclusive. The Civil Code contains 3770 sections, numbered from 2440 to 6209, inclusive. The Criminal Code contains 1691 sections, numbered from 6210 to 7900, inclusive.

There is no fixed or certain rule known to the commissioner by which it is possible to determine what subjects should be incorporated in the Political Code and what in the Civil. They are, therefore, classified with respect to a practical or utilitarian arrangement, as nearly as could be, rather than a logical or theoretical one, placing in the Political those subjects which pertain to the political organization and administration of government, and in the Civil, those which pertain to civil rights and remedies. The one pertains more to the executive, legislative, and administrative departments of state, and the other more to the judicial department. However, it was still found impracticable to adhere strictly to this rule, because a part of one subject, chapter, article, or section might pertain to both the executive and judicial departments, and to have separated them would have been to produce confusion.


Each of the chapters sufficiently large and susceptible of such arrangement, has been divided into articles.


A system of cross references of and to subjects treated in the three volumes of the Code has been inserted in each of the volumes where the subject would occur in alphabetical òrder; hence, if any subject treated in the Code is not found in any particular volume, a reference will be found in that volume to the other volumes in which such subject is treated, thus completing and perfecting the alphabetical arrangement of all subjects treated in the three volumes.


Each volume contains a separate index for the particular volume, with cross references to the subjects and chapters treated in the other volumes. The Constitution of the United States contains a separate index, found in the Political volume of the Code, at pages 174-216. The Constitutions of Alabama of 1875 and 1901 are parallelled, annotated, and indexed separately, and will be found as preliminary matter in the Criminal Code. The Constitutions were placed in the respective volumes in accordance with the act of the Legislature providing for the publication of this Code.

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