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.

For more see:

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 Authorsort descending Date
Catalogue of the library of the Law School of Harvard University. 1826
Pleas of the crown Hale, Matthew 1716
A treatise of spousals, or, Matrimonial contracts Swinburne, Henry 1686
UVA Lawyer - Winter 1995 1995
Law tracts ... Bacon, Francis
Reports of that grave and learned judge, Sir John Bridgman, knight; serjeant at lavv, sometime chief justice of Chester Bridgman, John 1659
Virginia Law School Report - Summer 1981 1981
The history of the Roman or civil law. Ferrière, Claude Joseph de
Reports of cases argued and determined in the High court of Chancery, and of some special cases adjudged in the Court of King's bench [1695-1735] 1793
The constitution of parliaments in England deduced from the time of King Edward the Second Pettus, John 1680
The ecclesiastical law Burn, Richard 1824
Les reports des tres honorable Edw. seigneur Littleton, baron de Mounslow ... 1683
Institutions Commerciales Bouchard, Pierre 1801
UVA Lawyer - Fall 2006 2006
The civil law in its natural order Domat, Jean 1737
Les plees del corone Staunford, William
A treatise of testaments and last wills Swinburne, Henry 1728
UVA Lawyer - Spring 1995 1995
A law-dictionary and glossary, Blount, Thomas 1717
The reports of that reverend and learned judge, Sir Richard Hutton ... 1656
Virginia Law School Report - Fall 1981 1981
Horæ juridicæ subsecivæ Butler, Charles 1807
Reports of cases argued and determined in the High court of chancery 1817
The commentaries, or Reports of Plowden, Edmund 1779
Eight centuries of reports 1771
Les reports du tres erudite Edmund Anderson 1664
An essay on the legality of impressing seamen Butler, Charles 1778
UVA Lawyer - Fall 2011 2011
The clergy-man's law Watson, William 1747
Plusieurs tres-bons cases Latch, John 1662
A treatise of the law relative to merchant ships and seamen Abbott, Charles 1804
UVA Lawyer - Fall 1995 1995
The law-dictionary Jacob, Giles 1797
The reports of that reverend and learned judge, the Right Honourable Sir Henry Hobart, knight and baronet, lord chief justice of his Majesty's Court of Common Pleas 1724
Virginia Law School Report - Spring 1982 1982
Hugo Grotius De mari libero et P. Merula De maribus. Grotius, Hugo 1633
Reports of cases argued and determined in the High Court of Chancery 1803
Universal Dictionary of Trade and Commerce Postlethwayt, Malachy 1766
Eirenarcha: or Of the Office of the Iustices of Peace Lambarde, William 1614
Reports in the Court of Exchequer 1657
A practical treatise on bills of exchange, checks on bankers, promissory notes, bankers' cash notes, and bank notes Chitty, Joseph 1822
UVA Lawyer - Spring 2008 2008
Cobbett's complete collection of state trials and proceedings for high treason and other crimes and misdemeanors from the earliest period [1163] to the present time [1820]. 1809
The posthumous works of Charles Fearne, Esquire, barrister at law Fearne, Charles 1797
A treatise of the laws of nature. Cumberland, Richard
UVA Lawyer - Winter 1996 1996
The law-dictionary Tomlins, Thomas Edlyne 1820
Reports of the cases argued and adjudged in the King's courts at Westminster [1742-1744] in three parts. 1784
Virginia Law School Report - Fall 1982 1982
An institute of the laws of England Wood, Thomas 1772
Reports of cases argued and determined in the High Court of Chancery 1820
Le Droit de la Nature Et Des Gens Pufendorf, Samuel 1740
Elements of conveyancing Barton, Charles 1810
Reports in the Court of Kings Bench at Westminster 1685
A Practical Treatise on the Law of Nations Chitty, Joseph 1812
UVA Lawyer - Spring 2009 2009
Codex juris ecclesiastici anglicani 1761
The practice of the spiritual or ecclesiastical courts. Conset, Henry. 1700
A treatise of the pleas of the crown. East, Edward Hyde 1803
UVA Lawyer - Spring 1996 1996
Lectures on the constitution and laws of England Sullivan, Francis Stoughton
The reports of the most learned Sir Edmund Saunders, knt. 1824
Virginia Law School Report - Summer 1983 1983
Institutes of natural law Rutherforth, T. 1799
Reports of cases argued and determined in the High Court of Chancery, from 1757 to 1766 1818
S. Pufendorfii De Officio Hominis Et Civis Secundum Legem Naturalem Libri Duo Pufendorf, Samuel 1769
The English lawyer Bohun, William. 1732
Reports of adjudged cases in the Court of Common Pleas during the time Lord Chief Justice Willes presided in that court [1737-1758] 1799
Praxis curiae admiralitatis Angliae Clerke, Francis 1679
UVA Lawyer - Spring 2011 2011
Codex theoddosianvs cvm perpetvis commentariis iacovbi gothofredi Lipsiae, 1736
UVA Lawyer - Spring 2010 2010
Collectanea juridica. Hargrave, Francis 1791
Praxis almae curiae cancellariae Brown, William 1694
A treatise on contracts Newland, John 1806
UVA Lawyer - Winter 1997 1997
Leges anglo-saxonicae ecclesiasticae & civiles.
Reports of the trials of Colonel Aaron Burr, (late vice president of the United States,) Burr, Aaron 1808
Virginia Law School Report - Fall 1983 1983
Institutio legalis Bohun, William. 1732
Reports of cases argued and determined in the High Court of Chancery Vesey, Francis 1818
A collection in English, of the statutes now in force Rastell, William 1621
English liberties Care, Henry 1719
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
An abridgment containing the substance of Coke upon Littleton Hawkins, William 1822
Virginia Law Weekly - December 17, 1959 1959
A collection of all the treaties of peace, alliance, and commerce, between Great-Britain and other powers 1785
Precedents in Chancery 1786
A treatise on rents Gilbert, Geoffrey 1758
UVA Lawyer - Spring 1997 1997
An abridgement of the law of nisi prius Selwyn, William 1824
A letter to the livery of London Phillips, R. 1808
Reports of the trials of Colonel Aaron Burr, (late vice president of the United States,) Burr, Aaron 1808
Virginia Law School Report - Summer 1984 1984
Institution au droit maritime Boucher, P. B. 1803
Reports of cases argued and determined in the High court of chancery 1781
Genesi Del Diritto Penale Romagnosi, Giandoxnenico 1807
The English works of Sir Henry Spelman kt published in his life-time Spelman, Henry 1727
An enquiry into the foundation and history of the law of nations in Europe Ward, R. Plumer 1795

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