Rare Books Blog

February 8, 2011

Sir Edward Coke, 1552-1634. Les reports de Edvvard Coke l’attorney generall le Roigne (London, 1601?). Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library; acquired with the John A. Hoober Fund.

 

Sir Edward Coke, 1552-1634. [Coke on Littleton] The first part of the Institutes of the lawes of England (London, 1633). Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library; acquired with the Ford Motor Company Fund.

Edward Coke was called to the bar in 1578 and quickly gained renown for his trial skills. He successfully argued Shelley’s Case (1581), which established an important rule regarding remainders in the transfer of real property by deed, and which bedevils beginning law students to this day. As Attorney General, Coke was responsible for the prosecutions of the Earl of Essex, following his unsuccessful coup d’etat, and Sir Walter Raleigh for treason. James I appointed Coke to be Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas and later Lord Chief Justice of King’s Bench. In that position he frequently clashed with the King and Lord Chancellor Francis Bacon over the extent of the King’s prerogative and the power of the Chancery Court, asserting the right of judicial review. After being driven from the bench, he sat for multiple parliaments, playing an important role in drafting the 1628 Petition of Right, which asserted the independence of parliament in the face of the absolutism of Charles I.

In addition to his work as a lawyer and judge, Coke’s legacy was established with the publication of his eleven volumes of law reports, which helped compile essential common law precedents. In 1628, Coke published his most important work, his Commentary upon Littleton. Coke’s annotations of Littleton’s Tenures, a fifteenth-century treatise on property, quickly became an authoritative text for common lawyers in England and later the United States.

One of the early annotators of the Coke on Littleton displayed here was Samuel Butler (1613-1680), author of Hudibras, an enormously popular and influential satire about the Puritans.

     – Justin Zaremby

 

 

 

“Life and Law in Early Modern England,” an exhibition marking the Centenary of the Elizabethan Club, is curated by Justin Zaremby with Mike Widener, and is on display February-May 2011 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library Yale Law School.

 

 

 

February 8, 2011

 

 

John Selden, 1584-1654. The historie of tithes that is, the practice of payment of them (London, 1618). Collection of the Elizabethan Club of Yale University; gift of the daughters of Samuel Hart Selden, May 1922.

 

Early modern legal scholarship focused at great length upon the question of whether secular or ecclesiastical courts were supreme. Between 1605 and 1613, a series of ecclesiastical lawyers and scholars drew upon the interpretations of medieval canon lawyers and some historical evidence to make strident attacks upon lay ownership of tithes. John Selden’s 1618 Historie of Tithes, a major work of legal history, responded to this controversy. He analyzed European laws and natural law theory to show that payment of tithes had always been a matter for local secular courts instead of being determined by the laws of God in ecclesiastical courts.

    – Justin Zaremby

 

 

“Life and Law in Early Modern England,” an exhibition marking the Centenary of the Elizabethan Club, is curated by Justin Zaremby with Mike Widener, and is on display February-May 2011 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library Yale Law School.

 

 

February 8, 2011

Lancelot Andrewes, 1555-1626. A sermon preached before the kings maiestie, at Hampton Court, concerning the right and power of calling assemblies (London, 1606). Collection of the Elizabethan Club of Yale University; gift of Henrietta C. Bartlett.

When James I acceded to the throne he became Supreme Governor of the Church of England. In 1606, he asserted similar control over the Church of Scotland after a group of Presbyterian ministers claimed the authority to convene meetings of the Scottish church’s General Assembly, in defiance of the King’s wishes. James reacted by summoning eight of the dissenting Scottish ministers to Hampton Court where four ministers lectured them on the pointed question: “What the king may doe in maters ecclesiasticall, and whether or not he had wholly the power of Conveenning and discharging Assembleis?” Lancelot Andrewes, then Bishop of Chichester, and a favorite of James, defended the king’s ancient right to control the Church of Scotland in this sermon. Andrewes would later defend James’s persecution of Catholics following the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 and serve as Bishop of Ely, Bishop of Westminster, and dean of the Chapel Royal.

    – Justin Zaremby

 

 

“Life and Law in Early Modern England,” an exhibition marking the Centenary of the Elizabethan Club, is curated by Justin Zaremby with Mike Widener, and is on display February-May 2011 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library Yale Law School.

 

 

February 8, 2011

 

 

Francis Beaumont, 1584-1616. The masque of the Inner Temple and Grayes Inne (London, 1613). Collection of the Elizabethan Club of Yale University.

 

In addition to serving as centers of legal training, the Inns of Court provided social activities for students and their teachers, and training in the courtly arts. Students studied fencing and music, and engages in an ample amount of gaming and drinking. The performance of masques for special occasions was an important part of life at the Inns. Students elected masters of revels and learned dancing, particularly in the period following the rise of the Stuarts. This masque was staged by members of the Inner Temple and Gray’s Inn and was performed before King James I and Queen Anne.

    – Justin Zaremby

 

 

“Life and Law in Early Modern England,” an exhibition marking the Centenary of the Elizabethan Club, is curated by Justin Zaremby with Mike Widener, and is on display February-May 2011 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library Yale Law School.

 

 

February 8, 2011

We thank the following for their help and support in preparing this exhibit… Justin Zaremby & Mike Widener

  • Stephen Parks, Librarian of the Elizabethan Club
  • The Board of Incorporators of the Elizabethan Club
  • Nadine Honigberg, The Elizabethan Club
  • John H. Langbein, Sterling Professor of Law and Legal History, Yale Law School
  • S. Blair Kauffman, Law Librarian and Professor of Law, Yale Law School
  • John Stuart Gordon, Benjamin Attmore Hewitt Assistant Curator of American Decorative Arts, Yale University Art Gallery
  • Shana Jackson, Lillian Goldman Law Library
  • Henry Granville Widener

 

“Life and Law in Early Modern England,” an exhibition marking the Centenary of the Elizabethan Club, is curated by Justin Zaremby with Mike Widener, and is on display February-May 2011 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library Yale Law School. 

 

 

February 5, 2011

 

Jonas Adames. The order of keeping a court leete, and court baron (London, 1593). Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library; acquired with the John A. Hoober Fund.

 

As early as the thirteenth century, sheriffs and stewards could turn to a series of manuscripts that explained the procedures of local courts. While legal treatises by figures such as Bracton and Glanvill offered larger discussions of the common law, these smaller treatises were focused on practical matters. Following the invention of the printing press, the ease with which these guides were distributed helped standardize judicial institutions across the country. Adames’s 1593 guide is the earliest of such manuals to appear in English instead of Latin. His guide reflected changes to the judicial system under the Tudors, explaining details of both common law and statutory law.

    – Justin Zaremby

 

“Life and Law in Early Modern England,” an exhibition marking the Centenary of the Elizabethan Club, is curated by Justin Zaremby with Mike Widener, and is on display February-May 2011 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Level L2, Lillian Goldman Law Library Yale Law School.

 

 

February 2, 2011

 

English law not only underwent deep changes in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, but also played a leading role in politics and culture. “Life and Law in Early Modern England,” a new exhibit from the Lillian Goldman Law Library and Yale’s Elizabethan Club, illustrates this period with works drawn from the rare book collections of both institutions.

The exhibit is on display February-May 2011 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, located on Level L2 of the Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School, 127 Wall Street. The exhibit is open to the public, 9am-10pm weekdays, 10am-10pm weekends. It will also be available online, here in the Yale Law Library Rare Books Blog.

The exhibit was curated by Justin Zaremby, a 2010 graduate of the Yale Law School, assisted by Mike Widener, Rare Book Librarian at the Lillian Goldman Law Library.

“Life and Law in Early Modern England” is part of the year-long Centenary celebration of the Elizabethan Club, founded in 1911 as a meeting place for conversation and discussion of literature and the arts. The Club’s website has a calendar of Centenary events.

In conjunction with the exhibit, the Law Library and Elizabethan Club are sponsoring a public lecture by Professor Josh Chafetz (Law ‘07) of Cornell Law School, entitled “ ‘In the Time of a Woman, Which Sex Was Not Capable of Mature Deliberation’: Late-Tudor Parliamentary Relations and Their Early-Stuart Discontents.” The lecture will take place February 24 at 6:15pm in Room 127 of the Yale Law School, 127 Wall Street.


In his introduction to the exhibit, Zaremby writes, “The occasion of the Club’s Centenary provides the opportunity to bring together two impressive collections of early modern texts at Yale to illustrate a rich moment in English legal history.” The books and manuscripts on display date from 1570 to the 1670s. They include guides to legal practice, textbooks, a play performed at an Inn of Court, and works dealing with church-state relations, legal philosophy, court jurisdiction, and the claim of Mary Queen of Scots to the English throne. Among the authors included are several of the era’s leading figures, such as Francis Bacon, Francis Beaumont, Lord Burghley, Edward Coke, and John Selden.

 

Illustration: Sir Edward Coke (1552-1634), Les reports de Edvvard Coke l’attorney generall le Roigne (London, 1601?). Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library; acquired with the Ford Motor Company Fund.

 

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