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Codification in the British Empire and America

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ments of the legislature, as is natural in a progressive country. And the immigration into the state of vast masses of population from the old world, and the consequent spread of new ideas amongst the inhabitants has had a perceptible effect on the character of the law ut though the Continental influence on legal thought has not, until quite recently, been as great as might have been expected in the circumstances.

Accordingly, at the time when in 1846 the first move was made in the direction of codification, the substantive law, both public and private, was contained in the reports of the decisions of the English courts up to the time of the occupation of the colony by the English, the statutes of the British parliament to the same time together with a few that were passed subsequently and made specially applicable to the colony 2, the reports of the decisions of the colonial courts, the acts of the legislature of the colony, the resolutions of the provincial congress which functioned during the period of the revolution, the resolutions of the first constitutional convention8, the reports of the decisions of the state courts, and the enactments of the state legislature.

gresses of the colony of New York, now in force, and not repugnant to the government established by this constitution, shall be considered as making part of the laws of this state; subject, nevertheless, to such alterations and provisions as the legislature of this state may, from time to time, make concerning the same." It should be noted that later constitutions do not refer to "the common law and statute law" of England as being part of the law, but merely to the "common law of the colony", which the adopted English law had become.

1 Field's Speeches etc., Vol. 1, p. 506.

2 Lincoln's Constitutional History, Vol. IV, p. 175.

2 Constitution of New York State 1821, Art. 7 § 13. Constitution of 1894, Art. I, § 16.