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 Authorsort descending Date
Les reports de Sir Gefrey Palmer, chevalier & baronet ... [1619-1629] 1678
The Britannic Constitution Acherley, Roger 1727
Cases in equity during the time of the late Lord Chancellor Talbot Forrester, Alexander 1792
Opera omnia Bynkershoek, Cornelius 1767
A treatise of captures in war. Lee, Richard 1803
A treatise of equity Ballow, Henry 1820
UVA Lawyer - Spring 2012 2012
The law of uses and trusts Gilbert, Geoffrey 1811
The reports of Sr. Creswell Levinz, knt. ... 1722
Virginia Law School Report - Fall 1990 1990
The history of the common law of England Hale, Matthew 1820
Reports of cases argued and determined in the courts of Common Pleas, and Exchequer Chamber and in the House of Lords 1814
Virginia Law School Report - Summer 1978 1978
Le droit de la guerre, et de la paix Grotius, Hugo 1724
Les reports de Sir John Savile ... 1675
The Laws Respecting Travellers and Travelling Bird, James Barry 2012
An essay on the law of bailments Jones, William 1823
Cases in law and equity 1760
The orphan's legacy Godolphin, John 1701
Placita coronae, or, Pleas of the crown in matters criminal and civil Tremaine, John 1723
A treatise of gavelkind, both name and thing Somner, William 1660
UVA Lawyer - Fall 2012 2012
Law, or, a discourse thereof Finch, Henry 1759
The first[-third] part of The reports of Sr George Croke Kt. 1683
Virginia Law School Report - Winter 1991 1991
A history of the early part of the reign of James the Second Fox, Charles James 1808
Reports of cases argued and determined in the High court of chancery 1821
Virginia Law School Report - Fall 1978 1978
The dvties of Constables, Borsholders, Tythingmen, and such other lowe and Lay Ministers of the Peace. Lambarde, William 1614
Les reports des divers special cases argue & adjudge en le Court del bank le Roy 1714
The book of oaths, and the several forms thereof, both ancient and modern 1715
Corpus Juris Canonici Academicum Lancelotti, Giovanni Paolo 1782
Cases in Parliament 1698
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 - Spring 2013 2013
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 1991 1991
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
Virginia Law School Report - Spring 1979 1979
The ecclesiastical law Burn, Richard 1824
Les reports des tres honorable Edw. seigneur Littleton, baron de Mounslow ... 1683
Institutions Commerciales Bouchard, Pierre 1801
Iuris Graeco-Romani tam canonici quam ciuilis tomi duo Iohannis Leunclauii Amelburni Leunclavius, Johannes 1596
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 - Fall 2013 2013
A law-dictionary and glossary, Blount, Thomas 1717
The reports of that reverend and learned judge, Sir Richard Hutton ... 1656
Virginia Law School Report - WInter 1992 1992
Horæ juridicæ subsecivæ Butler, Charles 1807
Reports of cases argued and determined in the High court of chancery 1817
Virginia Law School Report - Summer 1979 1979
Eight centuries of reports 1771
Les reports du tres erudite Edmund Anderson 1664
An essay on the legality of impressing seamen Butler, Charles 1778
The practical conveyancer Lilli, John 1742
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 2007 2007
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 - Summer 1992 1992
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
Virginia Law School Report - Winter 1980 1980
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
Consuetudo, vel, lex mercatoria Molyneux, William 1770
The practical conveyancer Lilli, John 1742
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 - Fall 2008 2008
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 - Winter 1993 1993
An institute of the laws of England Wood, Thomas 1772
Reports of cases argued and determined in the High Court of Chancery 1820
Virginia Law School Report - Summer 1980 1980
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
An abridgment of the common law Nelson, William 1726
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 - Fall 2009 2008
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 1993 1993
Institutes of natural law Rutherforth, T. 1799
Reports of cases argued and determined in the High Court of Chancery, from 1757 to 1766 1818
Virginia Law School Report - Fall 1980 1980