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
The statutes at large, of England and of Great Britain 1811
The nature and practice of real actions Booth, George 1811
A digest of the law of actions and trials at nisi prius 'Espinasse, Isaac 1812
The Institutes of Justinian. 1812
Reports of cases argued and determined in the High Court of Admiralty 1812
Reports of cases argued and determined in the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia 1812
A translation of Glanville Glanville, Ranulf de 1812
A Practical Treatise on the Law of Nations Chitty, Joseph 1812
Lex mercatoria Beawes, Wyndham. 1813
Reports of cases argued and determined in the Court of King's Bench 1813
A compendium of the law of evidence Peake, Thomas 1813
Reports of cases argued and determined in the Court of King's bench 1814
Reports of cases argued and determined in the courts of Common Pleas, and Exchequer Chamber and in the House of Lords 1814
A collection of cases decided by the General Court of Virginia 1815
Reports of cases argued and determined in the Court of Common Pleas 1815
Cases argued and detemined in the High court of chancery, during the time of Lord Chancellor Eldon 1815
Cases in crown law 1815
Doctor and student Saint German, Christopher 1815
Cases determined in the courts of equity 1816
The law of libel Holt, Francis Ludlow 1816
A treatise on the law of nisi prius Hammond, Anthony 1816
Two tracts shewing, that Americans, born before the Independence, are, by the law of England, not aliens Reeves, John 1816
Term reports in the Court of King's Bench 1817
An introduction to the law, relative to trials at nisi prius Buller, Francis 1817
Reports of cases argued and determined in the High court of chancery 1817
Points in manumission and cases of contested freedom Henry, Jabez 1817
Reports of cases argued and determined in the High Court of Chancery Vesey, Francis 1818
Théorie des peines et des récompenses Bentham, Jeremy 1818
A digested index of the cases determined in the High Court of Admiralty before the Right Honourable Sir William Scott, knight Greene, Joshua 1818
Reports of cases argued and determined in the courts of Common pleas and Exchequer chamber 1818
A systematic arrangement of Lord Coke's First Institute of the laws of England Coke, Edward 1818
Reports of cases argued and determined in the High Court of Chancery, from 1757 to 1766 1818
Observations on penal jurisprudence, and the reformation of criminals Roscoe, William 1819
The revised code of the laws of Virginia 1819
The Transactions of the High Court of Chancery Tothill, William 1820
A treatise of equity Ballow, Henry 1820
The history of the common law of England Hale, Matthew 1820
The crown circuit companion Stubbs, W. 1820
The law-dictionary Tomlins, Thomas Edlyne 1820
Reports of cases argued and determined in the High Court of Chancery 1820
The principal grounds and maxims Noy, William 1821
Reports of cases decided in the Court of Appeals of Virginia Gilmer, Francis Walker 1821
Reports of cases argued and determined in the High court of chancery 1821
An abridgment containing the substance of Coke upon Littleton Hawkins, William 1822
A digest of the laws of England. Comyns, John 1822
An analytical digest of the reported cases in the courts of equity, and the High Court of Parliament Bridgman, Richard Whalley 1822
The common law of Kent, or, The customs of gavelkind Robinson, Thomas 1822
A practical treatise on bills of exchange, checks on bankers, promissory notes, bankers' cash notes, and bank notes Chitty, Joseph 1822
Reports of cases argued and determined in the Court of Appeals of Virginia Randolph, Peyton 1823
Reports of cases argued and determined in the Court of Appeals of Virginia [1790-1796] 1823
An essay on the law of bailments Jones, William 1823
An abridgement of the law of nisi prius Selwyn, William 1824
A digest of the laws of England respecting real property Cruise, William 1824
An essay on the learning of contingent remainders and executory devises. Fearne, Charles 1824
The law of tenure Gilbert, Geoffrey 1824
Reports of cases argued and adjudged in the Court of Appeals of Virginia 1824
The ecclesiastical law Burn, Richard 1824
A Summary of the law and practice of real actions Stearns, Asahel 1824
The reports of the most learned Sir Edmund Saunders, knt. 1824
Principles of equity Kames, Henry Home 1825
A treatise on the parties to actions, the forms of actions, and on pleading Chitty, Joseph 1825
A digested index to the Virginia reports Hall, Everard. 1825
Catalogue of the library of the Law School of Harvard University. 1826
Virginia Law Weekly - December 17, 1959 1959
Virginia Law School Report - Fall 1977 1977
Virginia Law School Report - Spring 1977 1977
Virginia Law School Report - Winter 1978 1978
Virginia Law School Report - Summer 1978 1978
Virginia Law School Report - Fall 1978 1978
Virginia Law School Report - Spring 1979 1979
Virginia Law School Report - Summer 1979 1979
Virginia Law School Report - Winter 1980 1980
Virginia Law School Report - Summer 1980 1980
Virginia Law School Report - Fall 1980 1980
Virginia Law School Report - Winter 1981 1981
Virginia Law School Report - Summer 1981 1981
Virginia Law School Report - Fall 1981 1981
Virginia Law School Report - Spring 1982 1982
Virginia Law School Report - Fall 1982 1982
Virginia Law School Report - Summer 1983 1983
Virginia Law School Report - Fall 1983 1983
Virginia Law School Report - Summer 1984 1984
Virginia Law School Report - Fall 1984 1984
Virginia Law School Report - Spring 1985 1985
Virginia Law School Report - Summer 1985 1985
Virginia Law School Report - Winter 1986 1986
Virginia Law School Report - Spring 1986 1986
Virginia Law School Report - Fall 1986 1986
Virginia Law School Report - Winter 1987 1987
Virginia Law School Report - Spring 1987 1987
Virginia Law School Report - Fall 1987 1987
Virginia Law School Report - Spring 1988 1988
Virginia Law School Report - Summer 1988 1988
Virginia Law School Report - Fall 1988 1988
Virginia Law School Report - WInter 1989 1989
Virginia Law School Report - Spring 1989 1989
Virginia Law School Report - Fall 1989 1989
Virginia Law School Report - Winter 1990 1990
Virginia Law School Report - Spring 1990 1990
Virginia Law School Report - Fall 1990 1990

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