Thomas Craig's Jus Feudale

The 1828 Catalogue Law Books Collection is an ongoing effort of Special Collections at the University of Virginia Law Library. For the past forty years, we have been quietly working to amass the 375 law titles included in the Catalogue, an inventory of books in the University of Virginia Library compiled by University librarian William Wertenbaker and published by Gilmer, Davis, & Co. of Charlottesville in 1828. Most of the 8,000 books in the Catalogue were purchases made under the direction of Thomas Jefferson, who in 1824 compiled a list of 6,860 volumes he believed should form the core of the new library. The 375 titles in the law section of the Catalogue reflect Jefferson’s broad familiarity with the law literature of his time and provide insight into the variety of texts that informed Jefferson’s understanding of the role and mechanics of government.

Fire and time destroyed and scattered these foundational texts of the University of Virginia Law Library. Placed in the Rotunda Annex in 1894, some original law books suffered the fate of most of the University of Virginia Library when the Rotunda and Annex burned in 1895. Although students and professors saved many law books from the flames, the poor provenance of surviving texts makes it impossible to bring together the original 375-volume law library. The 1828 Catalogue Law Books Collection is a reconstitution of this library through the assemblage of exact editions of the law books listed in the Catalogue. Fortunately, Wertenbaker noted the edition year of nearly every work in his Catalogue, facilitating efforts to recreate the law portion of the first University of Virginia Library as closely as possible.

An original copy of the 1828 Catalogue

The 1828 Catalogue Law Books Collection is part of a larger effort among a variety of institutions to study and celebrate Thomas Jefferson’s lifelong passion for books. In 1999, the Library of Congress began efforts to reassemble its original purchase of Jefferson’s 6,487-volume library at Monticello, which Congress acquired in 1815 to replace the collection burned by the British as part of their occupation of Washington, D.C., during the War of 1812. “Thomas Jefferson’s Library,” currently on display at the Library of Congress, contains both original volumes from the Monticello library and duplicate volumes to replace the Monticello texts destroyed in an 1851 fire at the national Capitol. In 2004, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello began the Thomas Jefferson’s Libraries database, a digital clearinghouse of “books Jefferson owned, desired to own, knew about or recommended to others at different times in his life.” Apart from libraries Jefferson recorded in the form of extant manuscript catalogues, this project aims to reconstruct Jefferson collections that are far less well documented, such as the Shadwell library, which burned in 1770, and the library at Poplar Forest, sold by his grandson in 1873. The database will eventually include the complete contents of Jefferson’s 6,860-volume “wish list” for the University of Virginia Library, preserved in an 1825 document penned for Jefferson by his grandson-in-law, Nicholas Philip Trist.

Highlights from the Collection

Robert Brooke, La Graunde Abridgement (1576 edition)
This two-volume work is an abridgement or collection of abstracts of legal cases compiled by Robert Brooke, English judge and speaker of the House of Commons during the reign of Mary I.  It is written in Law French, an archaic Anglo-French dialect used in English law into the 1600s.  Such books greatly facilitated the task of finding and citing legal cases.  Brooke modeled his work on Anthony Fitzherbert’s 1514 tome, also titled La Graunde Abridgement, improving upon Fitzherbert’s organization.  First published in 1568, subsequent editions appeared in 1570, 1573, 1576, and 1586. 

William Lambarde, Eirenarcha, or Of the Office of the Justices of Peace (1614 edition)
This treatise, first published in 1581, is an early example of English manuals produced for local legal officials lacking legal training.  Revised in 1588, it remained popular well into the 1600s.  By Jefferson’s time the information in the book was obsolete but would have been useful in legal history.

Hugo Grotius, De Mari Libero (1633 edition)
This is a later edition of Mare Liberum (“On the Freedom of the Seas,” 1609), an early classic of international law.  Written in Latin by Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius, the work presented the thesis that the sea is international territory.  Aside from its important content, the book is notable for its striking engraved title page depicting a ship in full sail.  Also included in the 1828 Catalogue Collection is John Selden’s answer to Grotius, Mare Clausum (“On the Dominion of the Seas,” 1635).

Henry Care, English Liberties (1719 edition)
First published in 1682, this treatise on the rights of Englishmen greatly influenced the Founding Fathers’ ideas about liberty and government.  Care considered England a land of liberty because its constitution, the Magna Carta, restricted the arbitrary will of the sovereign.  Little known today, Care was among the most influential political writers of Restoration-era England. 

John Selden, Opera Omnia (1726)
This three-volume work contains the vast scholarly output of a man considered the most learned Englishman of the mid-17th century.  The first and second volumes are in Latin, the third in English.  Most of it would have been of little or no use to any 19th-century Virginia law student (Hebrew marriage law, Anglo-Saxon law).  It is considered a masterpiece of 18th-century English printing.

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Currently, the 1828 Catalogue Law Books Collection contains 317 duplicate copies of the original 375 University of Virginia law texts. For the list of these texts, see below. We have provided a list of the 58 missing texts here. The following list is also available through UVA's Virgo Search.

Title Author Date
An introduction to the law, relative to trials at nisi prius Buller, Francis 1817
Ioannis Seldeni Mare clausum seu De dominio maris libri duo. Selden, John 1635
Joannis Seldeni juris consulti opera omnia, tam edita quam inedita Selden, John 1726
Johannis Kahl, aliàs Calvini, magnum lexicon juridicum Calvin, Jean 1759
Jura coronæ. Brydall, John 1680
Juridical arguments and collections Hargrave, Francis 1797
The jurisdiction of the Lords House, or Parliament Hale, Matthew 1796
Jurisdictions Kitchin, John. 1675
Jurisprudentia philologica, sive Elementa juris civilis, Eden, Robert 1744
The Law and practice of distresses and replevin Gilbert, Geoffrey 1780
The law and practice of patents for inventions Hands, William. 1808
The law of charitable uses Duke, George 1805
The law of commons and commoners 1720
The law of costs. Sayer, Joseph. 1777
The law of devises, last wills, and revocations. Gilbert, Geoffrey 1773
The law of evidence Gilbert, Geoffrey 1795
The law of executions. Gilbert, Geoffrey 1763
The law of libel Holt, Francis Ludlow 1816
The law of nations Vattel, Emer de 1793
The law of tenure Gilbert, Geoffrey 1824
The law of uses and trusts Gilbert, Geoffrey 1811
Law, or, a discourse thereof Finch, Henry 1759
Law tracts ... Bacon, Francis
A law-dictionary and glossary, Blount, Thomas 1717
The law-dictionary Jacob, Giles 1797
The law-dictionary Tomlins, Thomas Edlyne 1820
Lectures on the constitution and laws of England Sullivan, Francis Stoughton
Leges anglo-saxonicae ecclesiasticae & civiles.
A letter to the livery of London Phillips, R. 1808
Letters to the Honourable Mr. Justice Blackstone, concerning his exposition of the Act of toleration, and some positions relative to religious liberty, in his celebrated Commentaries on the laws of England Furneaux, Philip 1771
Lex mercatoria Beawes, Wyndham. 1813
Lex parliamentaria Petyt, George.
Un livre des entries 1704
Maximes of reason Wingate, Edmund 1658
Maxims of equity Francis, Richard 1728
The mirrour of justices Horne, Andrew 1768
Modern entries, in English Mallory, John. 1791
Modern reports 1793
Narrationes modernae, or Modern reports begun in the now Upper bench court at Westminster 1658
The nature and practice of real actions Booth, George 1811
A new abridgement and critical review of the State trials, and impeachments for high-treason Salmon, Thomas
A new abridgment of the law Bacon, Matthew 1807
New reports of cases argued and determined, in the Court of common pleas, and other courts 1806
The new retorna brevium Gardiner, Robert. 1728
Notes of cases in points of practice, taken in the Court of common pleas at Westminister 1790
Observations on penal jurisprudence, and the reformation of criminals Roscoe, William 1819
Observations on the more ancient statutes from the Magna Charta to the twenty-first of James I cap. xxvii Barrington, Daines
Of the judicature in Parliaments Selden, John 1681
Officina brevium 1679
Officium clerici pacis 1726
Officium vicecomitum Dalton, Michael
Opera omnia Bynkershoek, Cornelius 1767
The orphan's legacy Godolphin, John 1701
Placita coronae, or, Pleas of the crown in matters criminal and civil Tremaine, John 1723
Pleas of the crown Hale, Matthew 1716
Les plees del corone Staunford, William
Plusieurs tres-bons cases Latch, John 1662
The posthumous works of Charles Fearne, Esquire, barrister at law Fearne, Charles 1797
The practice of the spiritual or ecclesiastical courts. Conset, Henry. 1700
Praxis almae curiae cancellariae Brown, William 1694
Precedents in Chancery 1786
Le premier report des cases et matters en ley resolues & adiudges en les courts del roy en Ireland Davies, John 1628
The principal grounds and maxims Noy, William 1821
Principes du droit naturel Burlamaqui, J. J. 1747
Principles of equity Kames, Henry Home 1825
Privilegia parliamentaria senatus consensu sublata Brown, William 1704
... Promptuarie, ou Repertory generall des les Annales, et plvsors avaters livres del common ley Dengleterre. Ashe, Thomas 1614
Registrum brevium tam originalium, quam judicialium 1687
Regula placitandi.
Remarks on Mr. Schlegel's work, Upon the visitation of neutral vessels under convoy. Croke, Alexander 1801
A report of all the cases determined by Sir John Holt, knt., from 1688 to 1710 1738
A report of cases in Chancery, the King's Bench, &c. 1764
The report of several cases argued and adjudged in the Court of King's bench at Westminister
A report of some proceedings on the commission for the trial of the rebels in the year 1746, in the county of Surry Foster, Michael 1809
The reports and arguments [1665-1674] of that learned judge, Sir John Vavghan, kt. 1677
Reports and cases [1592-1597] 1656
Reports and cases [King's Bench and Common Pleas] 1656
Reports and cases of law 1658
Reports and cases taken in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh years of the late King Charles 1657
Reports and pleadings of cases in assise, for offices, nusances, lands and tenaments Lilly, John 1719
Les reports de Gulielme Bendloes, serjeant de la ley Bendlowes, William 1661
Les reports de Gulielme Benloe serjeant del ley 1689
Les reports de Henry Rolle ... de divers cases en le Court del' banke le roy 1675
Les reports de Sir Gefrey Palmer, chevalier & baronet ... [1619-1629] 1678
Les reports de Sir John Savile ... 1675
Les reports des divers special cases argue & adjudge en le Court del bank le Roy 1714
Les reports des tres honorable Edw. seigneur Littleton, baron de Mounslow ... 1683
Les reports du tres erudite Edmund Anderson 1664
Reports in the Court of Exchequer 1657
Reports in the Court of Kings Bench at Westminster 1685
Reports of adjudged cases in the Court of Common Pleas during the time Lord Chief Justice Willes presided in that court [1737-1758] 1799
Reports of adjudged cases in the courts of Chancery, King's Bench, Common Pleas, and Exchequer 1782
Reports of cases adjudged in the Court of Exchequer 1693
Reports of cases adjudged in the Court of King's Bench 1775
Reports of cases adjudged in the Court of King's bench 1794
Reports of cases adjudged in the Court of King's Bench 1728
Reports of cases adjudged in the Court of King's Bench 1741
Reports of cases adjudged in the Court of King's Bench 1800
Reports of cases adjudged in the Court of King's Bench from Easter term 12 Geo. 3. to Michaelmas 14 Geo. 3. (both inclusive) [1772-1774] 1776
Reports of cases adjudged in the Court of King's bench 1795