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
Universal Dictionary of Trade and Commerce Postlethwayt, Malachy 1766
Reports of cases adjudged in the Court of King's Bench from Easter term 12 Geo. 3. to Michaelmas 14 Geo. 3. (both inclusive) [1772-1774] 1776
Grundlage Des Naturrechts Nach Prinzipien Der Wissenschaftslehre Fichte, Johann Gottlieb 1797
A compendium of the law of evidence Peake, Thomas 1813
Registrum brevium tam originalium, quam judicialium 1687
UVA Lawyer - Spring 2009 2009
A treatise on the study of the law 1797
Apxaionomia [archaionomia] 1644
The mirrour of justices Horne, Andrew 1768
UVA Lawyer - Winter 1996 1996
Sir Orl. Bridgman's Conveyances Bridgman, Orlando 1725
Johannis Kahl, aliàs Calvini, magnum lexicon juridicum Calvin, Jean 1759
Virginia Law School Report - Fall 1982 1982
Reports of cases determined in the several courts of Westminster-hall, from 1746 to 1779 Blackstone, William 1781
An exact abridgement of the records in the Tower of London 1657
Le Droit de la Nature Et Des Gens Pufendorf, Samuel 1740
Reports of cases adjudged in the Court of King's bench 1795
La Graunde Abridgement Fitzherbert, Anthony 1565
The compleat arbitrator; or, The law of awards Bacon, Matthew 1744
Regula placitandi.
UVA Lawyer - Spring 2011 2011
A treatise on the study of the law 1797
The arguments and reports of Sr. Hen. Pollexfen ... 1702
Modern entries, in English Mallory, John. 1791
UVA Lawyer - Spring 1996 1996
The solicitor's assistant in the Court of Chancery Hands, William. 1809
Jura coronæ. Brydall, John 1680
Virginia Law School Report - Summer 1983 1983
Reports of cases in equity 1742
Firma burgi, or, An historical essay concerning the cities, towns and buroughs of England. Madox, Thomas
S. Pufendorfii De Officio Hominis Et Civis Secundum Legem Naturalem Libri Duo Pufendorf, Samuel 1769
Reports of cases argued and adjudged in the Court of Appeals of Virginia 1824
Origines juris civilis Gravina, Gianvincenzo 1708
Concilia, decreta, leges, constitutiones in re ecclesiarum orbis Britannici Spelman, Henry 1639
Remarks on Mr. Schlegel's work, Upon the visitation of neutral vessels under convoy. Croke, Alexander 1801
UVA Lawyer - Spring 2010 2010
A treatise upon fines Chetwynd, James. 1773
Argumentum anti-normannicum 1682
Modern reports 1793
UVA Lawyer - Winter 1997 1997
The statutes at large 1809
Juridical arguments and collections Hargrave, Francis 1797
Virginia Law School Report - Fall 1983 1983
Reports of cases in law and equity 1742
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
A collection in English, of the statutes now in force Rastell, William 1621
Reports of cases argued and adjudged in the Court of King's Bench 1790
Modus tenendi Parliamentum, or, The old manner of holding Parliaments in England Hakewill, William 1659

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