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in political institutions, beneficent in climate, and rich in agricultural products, upon this side of the Atlantic. To the work of Aso and Manuel, every chapter of which constitutes the Corpus Juris Civilis of Texas, there have been added various chapters from Febrero, Curia Philipica, and the Novissima Recopilacion in extenso.

There are added also some decrees of the Constitutional Cortes of Spain, which could not be annulled by the acts of Don Fernando Septimo, after his restoration, in consequence of the intervention of the revolution which placed Mexico beyond the reach of his authority. These decrees of the Extraordinary Cortes, passed at its first organisation in 1812, 1813, and 1814, and re-enacted in 1820, 1821, 1822, and 1823, have been published in Mexico as a part of the laws of the United Mexican States in 1828. To these have also been added the colonisation laws of Coahuila and Texas, and those relating to the colony of Stephen F. Austin, to whom the country is so much indebted as the most efficient promoter of its colonisation.

The fourth and fifth Books will contain the French Ordinances, for the government of New France, Louisiana, and the Illinois.

These papers have never before been published in the United States. They afford evidences of the local administration of the French colonies, and of their organisation of which we have no previous information.

They were obtained from Cartons, removed at the instance of the Compiler, by order of the Minister of the Marine and Colonies from the Palace of Versailles to Paris.

To the first collection has been added various orders, and ordinances, general and local, obtained from France and Spain, relating to the subject.

As a matter of justice to the distinguished family, whose ancestors discovered the mouths of the Mississippi, and established the town of New Orleans, a short biographical sketch has been published, as materials for future history, and as a just tribute to the gallantry and enterprise of the French nation.

The Compiler has obtained from E. Mazereau, Esq., one of the most eminent jurisconsults in the United States, a discourse upon the life and character of a distinguished Judge of the Supreme Court of Louisiana, which he has added to the appendix, with certain legal opinions connected with the subjects of the book, which he is sure will be read, by all who will have occasion to refer to it, with interest

and profit.

Upon such an abstruse subject as that of the colonial systems, and policy of these governments, he feels himself authorised to incorporate every thing in the form of laws and commentaries, with a view to their concentration into a connected form. For this purpose he has published all the correspondence, preceding the secret treaty of 1762, and the definitve treaty of 1763 which in a great measure quieted the claims of the European powers to colonial aggrandisement in America, by a final adjustment of their relative and conflicting pretensions. To these have also been added the secret treaty of San Ildefonso of 1800, by which Louisiana was ceded by Spain to France, and the negotiations which preceded and followed that convention up to the delivery of the country to the United States in

The several acts of Congress relating to the adjustment of land titles in Louisiana, Missouri and Florida, have been incorporated at the request of the members of the Bar of those States and Territory.

The laws of the United States are almost as difficult to be found, and examined in these States as those which the cruelty of a Roman Emperor placed so high that his subjects could not read, or comprehend them.

The Compiler believes that every thing in the form of general law, local ordinance, treaties, charters, commissions, correspondence, official reports, calculated to illustrate the land systems of Great Britain, France and Spain, and of their colonies have here been incorporated, and if it furnishes any rules by which the respective rights of the government and its citizens shall be safely, legally, and justly decided, the labor and expense


it will be rewarded by the recollection of having done something useful to his country, and beneficial to his fellow citizens.









Cap. 1. It being necessary to divide this work into three *[1] books, in conformity with the order of the three objects of law, which are persons, things, and actions, we must, in this first book, which relates to persons, treat, before all things, of their state or condition. A person is man, considered with reference to his state; wherefore it is said that there cannot be a person, unless he be considered in one state or the other.

State is the condition or manner in which men live, or exist, L. 1. tit. 23. P. 4. [L. 1. tit. 23. P. 4.] The variety of conditions arises from the nature or from the will of men: hence the state of men is divided into natural and civil.

§ 1. According to their natural state, men are either to be born,' or are actually born. With respect to the former, through humanity, it is established that when what is done is in their favorit availeth or advantageth them as though they were born, L. 3. tit. 23. P. 4. [L. 3. tit. 23. P. 4.]

From this principle of law it follows, Ist, That those to be born (or in ventre) may retain or preserve all their rights without any damage or prejudice until the time of their birth, Lara, Compen- [ 2 ]

* The side folios refer to the original paging of the works reprinted. ii. e. in ventre of the mother. 2 On the contrary, what is said or done to the injury of their persons, or property, shall not prejudice them. Vide L. 3. tit. 23. P. 4.

Vol. I.-3

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