852 RARE: The Weekly Special – Revising New Hampshire Statutes in 1842

A chunky volume in a worn binding crossed my desk the other week, revealing a glimpse of law-making in mid-19th century New Hampshire. Although lacking the title page and preliminaries, I was eventually able to identify it as a copy of the Report of the Commissioners appointed under the resolve of June 20, 1840, “to revise, codify and amend the statute laws” of New-Hampshire, printed in 1842.  It came to the Library in 2008 as part of a large gift, and has many annotations by its original owner, Asa Beacham, of Ossipee, New Hampshire, a representative in the state legislature. His signatures and annotations appear throughout the volume.

Signature of Asa Beacham


Comparing Beacham’s annotated copy of the commissioners’ draft and The revised statutes of the state of New Hampshire passed December 23, 1842 reveals some small but significant differences between the printed draft, Beacham’s annotations, and the final revised statutes. Below is the chapter covering attachments, that details “goods and property [that] shall be exempted from attachment”, as in the case of a debtor.

Draft chapter 187: On attachments
Detail from draft, chapter 187, Report of the Commissioners ... (New Hampshire, 1842)
Final version, chapter 184: On attachments
Detail from final version, chapter 184, The revised statutes of the state of New Hampshire (1843)
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