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 Datesort descending
Les plees del corone Staunford, William
The report of several cases argued and adjudged in the Court of King's bench at Westminister
A new abridgement and critical review of the State trials, and impeachments for high-treason Salmon, Thomas
A treatise of the laws of nature. Cumberland, Richard
Reports of cases argued and adjudged in the courts of King's Bench and Common Pleas, in the reigns of the late King William, Queen Anne, King George the first, and King George the Second. [1694-1732] Taken and collected by the Right Honourable Robert lord
A general view of the decisions of Lord Mansfield, in civil causes. Evans, William David
Lectures on the constitution and laws of England Sullivan, Francis Stoughton
A delineation of universal law Bellers, Fettiplace
Systême universel de principes du droit maritime de l'Europe. Azuni, D. A.
Leges anglo-saxonicae ecclesiasticae & civiles.
A dictionary of the Norman or Old French language Kelham, Robert
Observations on the more ancient statutes from the Magna Charta to the twenty-first of James I cap. xxvii Barrington, Daines
A collection of entries Rastell, William
Historical law-tracts. Kames, Henry Home
Lex parliamentaria Petyt, George.
Tracts Blackstone, William
A treatise on the law of obligations, or contracts. Pothier, Robert Joseph
The history and practice of civil actions, particularly in the Court of common pleas Gilbert, Geoffrey
The rules of evidence on pleas of the crown MacNally, Leonard
Officium vicecomitum Dalton, Michael
Select cases argued and adjudged in the High Court of Chancery
Firma burgi, or, An historical essay concerning the cities, towns and buroughs of England. Madox, Thomas
Regula placitandi.
The first part of the institutes of the laws of England, or, A commentary upon Littleton, not the name of the author only, but of the law itself Coke, Edward
The history of the Roman or civil law. Ferrière, Claude Joseph de
The attorney's practice in the Court of Common Pleas Richardson, Robert
Law tracts ... Bacon, Francis
[Le grant coustumier du pays et duche de Normandie ... 1534
La Graunde Abridgement Fitzherbert, Anthony 1565
Apxaionomia, sive De priscis Anglorum legibus libri, sermone anglico, vetustate antiquissimo, aliquot abhinc seculis conscripti, atq 1568
The Dialogue in English, Betweene a Doctor of Diuinitie, and a Student in the Lawes of England Saint German, Christopher 1575
La graunde abridgement, collecte & escrie per le Iudge tresreuerend Syr Robert Brooke ... Brooke, Robert 1576
Iuris Graeco-Romani tam canonici quam ciuilis tomi duo Iohannis Leunclauii Amelburni Leunclavius, Johannes 1596
Eirenarcha: or Of the Office of the Iustices of Peace Lambarde, William 1614
... Promptuarie, ou Repertory generall des les Annales, et plvsors avaters livres del common ley Dengleterre. Ashe, Thomas 1614
The dvties of Constables, Borsholders, Tythingmen, and such other lowe and Lay Ministers of the Peace. Lambarde, William 1614
A collection in English, of the statutes now in force Rastell, William 1621
Le premier report des cases et matters en ley resolues & adiudges en les courts del roy en Ireland Davies, John 1628
Hugo Grotius De mari libero et P. Merula De maribus. Grotius, Hugo 1633
Ioannis Seldeni Mare clausum seu De dominio maris libri duo. Selden, John 1635
Concilia, decreta, leges, constitutiones in re ecclesiarum orbis Britannici Spelman, Henry 1639
Britton. 1640
Apxaionomia [archaionomia] 1644
Fleta seu commentarius juris anglicani sic nuncupatus 1647
Specimen confutationis animadversionum Desiderii Heraldi, sive Tractatus de subscribendis et signandis testamentis, item de antiquorum et hodiernorum sigillorum differentia, auctore Cl. S Saumaise, Claude 1648
Juris et Judicii Fecialis Zouch, Richard 1650
The reports of that reverend and learned judge, Sir Richard Hutton ... 1656
Reports and cases [1592-1597] 1656
Reports and cases [King's Bench and Common Pleas] 1656
Reports in the Court of Exchequer 1657
The reports of Edward Bulstrode ... 1657
Reports and cases taken in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh years of the late King Charles 1657
An exact abridgement of the records in the Tower of London 1657
Reports and cases of law 1658
The interpreter, or Book containing the signification of words Cowell, John 1658
Maximes of reason Wingate, Edmund 1658
Narrationes modernae, or Modern reports begun in the now Upper bench court at Westminster 1658
Reports of divers resolutions in law 1659
Modus tenendi Parliamentum, or, The old manner of holding Parliaments in England Hakewill, William 1659
Reports of that grave and learned judge, Sir John Bridgman, knight; serjeant at lavv, sometime chief justice of Chester Bridgman, John 1659
A treatise of gavelkind, both name and thing Somner, William 1660
Les reports de Gulielme Bendloes, serjeant de la ley Bendlowes, William 1661
Plusieurs tres-bons cases Latch, John 1662
Les reports du tres erudite Edmund Anderson 1664
Un abridgment des plusieurs cases et resolutions del common ley Rolle, Henry 1668
Reports of special cases touching several customes and liberties of the city of London. [1609-1618] Calthrop, Henry 1670
A book of entries Coke, Edward 1671
A second book of judgements in real, personal, and mixt actions, and upon the statute Huxley, George Leonard 1674
Jurisdictions Kitchin, John. 1675
A second book of judgements in real, personal, and mixt actions, and upon the statute Huxley, George Leonard 1675
A grand abridgment of the common and statvte law of England Sheppard, William 1675
The reports of Richard Brownlow and John Goldesborough, Esquires 1675
Reports, or, New cases, taken in the 15, 16, 17, and 18 years of King Charles the First 1675
Les reports de Henry Rolle ... de divers cases en le Court del' banke le roy 1675
Les reports de Sir John Savile ... 1675
The reports and arguments [1665-1674] of that learned judge, Sir John Vavghan, kt. 1677
Doctrina placitandi, ou, L'art & science de bon pleading Eure, Samson 1677
Les Reports des cases argue & adjudge in le temps del' roy Edward le Second, et auxy memoranda del' Exchequer en temps le Roy Edward le Primer 1678
Les reports des cases argue & adjudge in le temps del' Roy Edward le Second 1678
Les reports de Sir Gefrey Palmer, chevalier & baronet ... [1619-1629] 1678
Praxis curiae admiralitatis Angliae Clerke, Francis 1679
Le premier[-second] part de les reports del' cases en ley 1679
Les reports del cases en ley 1679
Le livre des assises et pleas del' Corone 1679
Les reports des cases en les ans des Roys Edward V., Richard III., Henrie VII., & Henrie VIII. 1679
Officina brevium 1679
Les Reports del cases en ley, que furent argues en le temps de tres haut & puissant princes les roys Henry le IV. & Henry le V. 1679
La premiere part des ans du Roy Henry le VI. 1679
Les reports des cases contenus in les ans vingt premier, & apres en temps du Roy Henry le VI. 1679
Les reports des cases en ley que furent argues en temps du roy Edward le Quart 1680
Les reports des cases en ley en le cinque an du roy Edward le Quart 1680
The antient right of the Commons of England asserted; or, A discourse proving by records and the best historians, that the Commons of England were ever an essential part of Parliament. Petyt, William 1680
Jura coronæ. Brydall, John 1680
The constitution of parliaments in England deduced from the time of King Edward the Second Pettus, John 1680
Of the judicature in Parliaments Selden, John 1681
Argumentum anti-normannicum 1682
Tracts written by John Selden of the Inner-Temple, esquire. Selden, John 1683
The first[-third] part of The reports of Sr George Croke Kt. 1683
Les reports des tres honorable Edw. seigneur Littleton, baron de Mounslow ... 1683
Of the law-terms, a discourse wherein the laws of the Jews, Grecians, Romans, Saxons and Normans, relating to this subject are fully explained Spelman, Henry 1684