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
Barnabae Brissonii ... De verborvm qvae ad ivs civile pertinent significatione opvs praestantissimvm in meliorem commodioremqve ordinem redactvm, innvmeris mendis emacvlatvm et post aliorvm cvras plvrimis accessionibvs, observationibvsqve philologicis, cr Brisson, Barnabé 1743
A new abridgement and critical review of the State trials, and impeachments for high-treason Salmon, Thomas
A Summary of the law and practice of real actions Stearns, Asahel 1824
UVA Lawyer - Spring 2000 2000
Jurisprudentia philologica, sive Elementa juris civilis, Eden, Robert 1744
Reports of cases, upon appeals and writs of error 1789
Virginia Law School Report - Winter 1987 1987
A general abridgment of the common law, alphabetically digested under proper titles: with notes and references to the whole. D'Anvers, Knightley 1725
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 second book of judgements in real, personal, and mixt actions, and upon the statute Huxley, George Leonard 1674
A treatise of testaments and last wills, fit to be understood by all men, that they may know, whether, whereof, and how, to make them - 7th ed Swinburne, Henry 1803
De laudibus legum Angliæ. Fortescue, John 1741
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
Les reports des cases argue & adjudge in le temps del' Roy Edward le Second 1678
Baron and feme 1738
A new abridgment of the law Bacon, Matthew 1807
A systematic arrangement of Lord Coke's First Institute of the laws of England Coke, Edward 1818
UVA Lawyer - Fall 2000 2000
The Law and practice of distresses and replevin Gilbert, Geoffrey 1780
Reports of divers resolutions in law 1659
Reports of divers special cases adjudged in the courts of King's Bench, Common Pleas & Exchequer 1793
Virginia Law School Report - Spring 1987 1987
A general view of the decisions of Lord Mansfield, in civil causes. Evans, William David
Reports of cases argued and adjudged in the Supreme Court of the United States. 1804
A second book of judgements in real, personal, and mixt actions, and upon the statute Huxley, George Leonard 1675
The Transactions of the High Court of Chancery Tothill, William 1820
A delineation of universal law Bellers, Fettiplace
The reports and arguments [1665-1674] of that learned judge, Sir John Vavghan, kt. 1677
Le premier[-second] part de les reports del' cases en ley 1679
A book of entries Coke, Edward 1671
New reports of cases argued and determined, in the Court of common pleas, and other courts 1806
A systematical view of the laws of England Wooddeson, Richard 1792
UVA Lawyer - Spring 2001 2001
The law and practice of patents for inventions Hands, William. 1808
The law of charitable uses Duke, George 1805
The reports of Edward Bulstrode ... 1657
Virginia Law School Report - Fall 1987 1987
A grand abridgment of the common and statvte law of England Sheppard, William 1675
Reports of cases argued and determined in the Court of Appeals of Virginia Randolph, Peyton 1823
D. Justiniani, Sacratissimi Principis, Institutionum, Sive, Elementorum, Libri Quatuor: Quibus Subjungitur Theophili Paraphraseos... Theophilus, 1761
Questions De Droit Naturel Vattel, Emer de 1763
A dictionary of the Norman or Old French language Kelham, Robert
Reports and cases [1592-1597] 1656
Les reports del cases en ley 1679
The Britannic constitution Acherley, Roger 1727
The new retorna brevium Gardiner, Robert. 1728
Systême universel de principes du droit maritime de l'Europe. Azuni, D. A.
UVA Lawyer - Fall 2001 2001