evidence. A written memorial made by a public officer
authorized by law to perform that function, and intended to serve as evidence
of something written, said, or done. 6 Call, 78; 1 Dana, 595.
2. Records may be divided into those which relate to the proceedings of
congress and the state legislatures - the courts of common law - the courts of
chancery - and those which are made so by statutory provisions.
3. - 1. Legislative acts. The acts of congress and of the several
legislatures are the highest kind of records. The printed journals of congress
have been so considered. 1 Whart. Dig. tit. Evidence, pl. 112 and see Dougl.
593; Cowp. 17.
4. - 2. The proceedings of the courts of common law are records. But
every minute made by a clerk of a court for his own future guidance in making
up his record, is not a record. 4 Wash. C. C. Rep. 698.
5. - 3. Proceedings in courts of chancery are said not to be, strictly
speaking, records; but they are so considered. Gresley on Ev. 101.
6. - 4. The legislatures of the several states have made the enrollment
of certain deeds and other documents necessary in order to perpetuate the
memory of the facts they contain, and declared that the copies thus made should
have the effect of records.
7. By the constitution of the United States, art. 4. s. 1, it is
declared that "full faith and credit shll be given, in each state, to the
public acts, records and judicial proceedings of every other state; and the
congress may, by general laws, prescribe the manner in which such acts, records
and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof." In pursuance of this
power, congress have passed several acts directing the manner of authenticating
public records, which will be found under the article Authentication.
8. Numerous decisions have been made under these acts, some of which are
here referred to. 7 Cranch, 471; 3 Wheat. 234; 4 Cowen, 292; 1 N. H. Rep. 242;
1 Ohio Reports, 264; 2 Verm. R. 263; 5 John. R. 37; 4 Conn. R. 380; 9 Mass 462;
10 Serg. & Rawle, 240; 1 Hall s N. York Rep. 155; 4 Dall. 412; 5 Serg.
& Rawle, 523; 1 Pet. S. C. Rep. 352. Vide, generally, 18 Vin. Ab. 17; 1
Phil. Ev. 288; Bac. Ab. Amendment, &c., H; 1 Kent, Com. 260; Archb. Civ.
Pl. 395; Gresley on Ev. 99; Stark. Ev. Index, h. t.; Dane s Ab. Index, h. t.;
Co. Litt. 260; 10 Pick. R. 72; Bouv. Inst. Index, h. t.
Source: Bouviers Law Dictionary 1856 Edition