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
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 - Fall 2004 2004
The law and practice of patents for inventions Hands, William. 1808
Reports of divers special cases adjudged in the courts of King's Bench, Common Pleas & Exchequer 1793
Virginia Law School Report - Spring 1989 1989
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
Virginia Law School Report - Spring 1977 1977
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 - Spring 2005 2005
The law of charitable uses Duke, George 1805
The reports of Edward Bulstrode ... 1657
Virginia Law School Report - Fall 1989 1989
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
Virginia Law School Report - Fall 1977 1977
A digest of the law of actions and trials at nisi prius 'Espinasse, Isaac 1812
Reports and cases [King's Bench and Common Pleas] 1656
Le livre des assises et pleas del' Corone 1679
Britton. 1640
Notes of cases in points of practice, taken in the Court of common pleas at Westminister 1790
Term reports in the Court of King's Bench 1817
UVA Lawyer - Fall 2005 2005
The law of commons and commoners 1720
The reports of Richard Brownlow and John Goldesborough, Esquires 1675
Virginia Law School Report - Winter 1990 1990
[Le grant coustumier du pays et duche de Normandie ... 1534
Reports of cases argued and determined in the Court of Appeals of Virginia [1790-1796] 1823
A collection of all the ecclesiastical laws, canons, answers, or rescripts, with other memorials concerning the government, discipline and worship of the Church of England, that have been publish'd in Latin Johnson, John 1720
Reports of cases argued and determined in the Court of Common Pleas 1815
Virginia Law School Report - Winter 1978 1978
A digest of the laws of England. Comyns, John 1822
Reports and cases of law 1658
Les reports des cases en ley que furent argues en temps du roy Edward le Quart 1680
Cases argued and adjudged in the High Court of Chancery [1680-1719] 1806
Observations on penal jurisprudence, and the reformation of criminals Roscoe, William 1819
Les termes de la ley Rastell, John 1721
UVA Lawyer - Spring 2006 2006
The law of costs. Sayer, Joseph. 1777
The reports of several cases argued and adjudged in the Court of King's Bench at Westminster 1732
Virginia Law School Report - Spring 1990 1990
La graunde abridgement, collecte & escrie per le Iudge tresreuerend Syr Robert Brooke ... Brooke, Robert 1576
Historia placitorum coronae Hale, Matthew 1800
Reports of cases argued and determined in the Court of Common Pleas, and other courts 1811
Virginia Law School Report - Summer 1978 1978
A digest of the laws of England respecting real property Cruise, William 1824
Reports and cases taken in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh years of the late King Charles 1657
Les reports des cases en ley en le cinque an du roy Edward le Quart 1680
An essay on the law of bailments Jones, William 1823
Cases argued and decreed in the High Court of Chancery ... [1660-1697]. 1735
Observations on the more ancient statutes from the Magna Charta to the twenty-first of James I cap. xxvii Barrington, Daines
Théorie des peines et des récompenses Bentham, Jeremy 1818
UVA Lawyer - Spring 2012 2012
The law of devises, last wills, and revocations. Gilbert, Geoffrey 1773
The reports of several special cases adjudged in the courts of King's bench and Common pleas at Westminster, in the reign of King Charles II. [1667-1684] 1729
Virginia Law School Report - Fall 1990 1990
Historical law-tracts. Kames, Henry Home
Reports of cases argued and determined in the Court of King's Bench 1813
Virginia Law School Report - Fall 1978 1978
Pandectæ Junstinianeæ, in novum ordinem digestæ 1782
Reports and pleadings of cases in assise, for offices, nusances, lands and tenaments Lilly, John 1719
Les reports des cases en les ans des Roys Edward V., Richard III., Henrie VII., & Henrie VIII. 1679
Corpus Juris Canonici Academicum Lancelotti, Giovanni Paolo 1782
Cases argued and detemined in the High court of chancery, during the time of Lord Chancellor Eldon 1815
Of the judicature in Parliaments Selden, John 1681
Thesaurus brevium, or, A collection of approved forms of writs, and pleadings to those writs, and entries of those writs and pleadings 1687
UVA Lawyer - Fall 2012 2012
The law of evidence Gilbert, Geoffrey 1795
Reports of sevral special cases argued and resolved in the Court of Common Pleas 1688
Virginia Law School Report - Winter 1991 1991
An historical treatise of a suit in equity Barton, Charles 1796
Reports of cases argued and determined in the Court of King's bench 1814
Virginia Law School Report - Spring 1979 1979
A digested index of the cases determined in the High Court of Admiralty before the Right Honourable Sir William Scott, knight Greene, Joshua 1818
Les reports de Gulielme Bendloes, serjeant de la ley Bendlowes, William 1661
Les Reports del cases en ley, que furent argues en le temps de tres haut & puissant princes les roys Henry le IV. & Henry le V. 1679
Iuris Graeco-Romani tam canonici quam ciuilis tomi duo Iohannis Leunclauii Amelburni Leunclavius, Johannes 1596
Cases collect & report 1688
Officina brevium 1679
Tracts Blackstone, William
UVA Lawyer - Spring 2013 2013
The law of executions. Gilbert, Geoffrey 1763
The reports of Sir Edward Coke, Knt. in English Coke, Edward 1776
Virginia Law School Report - Summer 1991 1991
Virginia Law School Report - WInter 1992 1992
The history and practice of civil actions, particularly in the Court of common pleas Gilbert, Geoffrey
Reports of cases argued and determined in the Court of King's Bench 1804
Virginia Law School Report - Summer 1979 1979
A digested index to the Virginia reports Hall, Everard. 1825
Les reports de Gulielme Benloe serjeant del ley 1689

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