Publication Title

Pacific Northwest Quarterly


Code Commission of 1888, territorial statutes

Document Type



Under the provisions of the Organic Act of Washington Territory, Congress had agreed to provide for the publication of the territorial statutes; hence, so long as Congress was willing to assume the cost of the publication of these territorial laws under the guise of a codification of the statutes, but little attention toward the preparation of a compilation, in the form in which this term is generally understood, was likely. The agitation for statutory reform, which consumed no small part of the time of the various territorial legislative sessions, was not motivated by a hope for a code of the modern type, although that germ might almost be found in the legislative restrictions with which the Code of 1881 was surrounded. This perennial demand for a new territorial code was, on the contrary, the outburst of an enthusiasm which demanded something about which to talk. The simple territorial form of government required no complex system of laws; hence, it was not code revision had become an obligation of the complicated machinery of statehood that statutory compilations were to acquire permanence of form with which the bar of today is familiar.

[Courtesy of JSTOR. Posted with permission from Pacific Northwest Quarterly.]

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