Rare Books Blog

February 8, 2011

 

Abraham Fraunce, 1559-1592/93. The lawiers logike, exemplifying the praecepts of logike by the practise of the common lawe (London, 1588). Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library; gift of Mary Kane Blair in memory of Waring Roberts, Law 1940.

 

Abraham Fraunce was called to the bar at Gray’s Inn and practiced law in Wales, but is better known as a minor poet and rhetorician. A member of Sir Philip Sidney’s circle, his works summarized classical and continental writers for English readers. In The Lawyers Logike, Fraunce applied French understandings of rhetoric and logic to the practices of English common lawyers to show that law and logic, when properly applied, could work together. In the introduction to the text he wrote:

If Lawes by reason framed were, and grounded on the same;

If Logike also reason bee, and thereof had this name;

I see no reason, why that Law and Logike should not bee

The nearest an the dearest friends, and therefore best agree.

     – 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

Edmund Plowden, 1518-1585. A treatise proveinge that if or soveraigne ladye Elizabeth … should dye without issue, that the Queene of Scotte is nott disabled by the lawe of England, to receyue the crowne of Englande by descent [before 1676]. Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library; acquired with the John A. Hoober Fund.

 

Edmund Plowden rose to prominence as a lawyer under the reign of Queen Mary and became well-known as a law reporter. In 1566, probably in response to a request from the Duke of Norfolk, Plowden wrote this defense of Mary Stuart’s claim to the English throne as Elizabeth’s successor. He based his claim on the fact that the English throne passed by inheritance and that because the maxims of the common law, which applied to natural bodies, did not apply to political bodies, Mary’s foreign birth did not invalidate her claim to the throne. Moreover, he noted that Mary’s accession would not lead to English subjugation by the Scots given the traditional homage shown by the Scots to the English. His argument was proven correct when, as he foresaw, the Stuart kings chose to rule from England, instead of from Scotland.

     – 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

 

 

William Cecil, First Baron Burghley, 1520/21-1598. The execution of justice in England for maintenance of publique and Christian peace (London, 1583). Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library; acquired with the Yale Law Library Patrons Fund.

 

Lord Burghley served as Queen Elizabeth’s Secretary of State and eminence grise. Trained as a lawyer, much of his public career was dedicated to ensuring the stability of the Queen’s reign in the face of numerous crises, among them being the lack of a clear successor to the throne and Catholic conspiracies to overthrow Elizabeth. In his 1583 work on The Execution of Justice, Burghley, masquerading as a loyal Catholic, defended the persecution of Catholics as a matter of state policy. Following the excommunication of the Queen in 1570, and the Pope’s demand that all loyal Catholics deny her legitimacy, Burghley claimed that the Queen could, according to political need, persecute Catholics. The work was translated into Dutch, French, Italian, and Spanish.

     – 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

Sir Francis Bacon, Viscount St. Albans, 1561-1626. Essayes. Religious meditations. Places of perswasion and disswasion. Seene and allowed (London, 1597). Collection of the Elizabethan Club of Yale University; gift of Alexander S. Cochran, December 1911.

 

Sir Francis Bacon, Viscount St. Albans, 1561-1626. The elements of the common lawes of England (London, 1630). Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library; acquired with the John A. Hoober Fund.

 

 

Francis Bacon, Viscount St. Albans, had an illustrious career as a writer, philosopher, and politician. The son of Lord-Keeper Nicholas Bacon, he studied at Trinity College, Cambridge and was called to the bar at Gray’s Inn. Through the patronage of the Earl of Essex, Bacon entered parliament, but, due to his outspoken criticism of Queen Elizabeth, failed to secure prize appointments, with his life-long rival Edward Coke instead being appointed Elizabeth’s Attorney General. His opportunities improved under James I, when he was appointed Solicitor General and later Lord Chancellor.

As Lord Chancellor Bacon argued strenuously for the King’s prerogative, claiming at times that such prerogative came not from the common law, but instead from absolute right. Following his defense of prerogative in the face of parliamentary discontent, and allegations of bribery, Bacon was ultimately impeached. Because of his published works, Bacon ranks among the most important early modern philosophers.

     – 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

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 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

 

Christopher St. Germain, 1460-1540/41. [Doctor and Student] The Dialogue in English, betweene a doctor of divinitie, and a student in the lawes of England (London, 1593). Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library; acquired with the Judah P. Benjamin Fund.

Christopher St. Germain’s Doctor and Student first appeared in English in 1530. The work consists of two dialogues conducted between a doctor of divinity and a student of the common law. They discuss the place of equity and conscience in the law. St. Germain’s work was published at a time at which chancery courts, which had previously been led by ecclesiastical chancellors, began to be controlled by common lawyers. Doctor and Student helped instruct common lawyers in the ways of their predecessors so that they could better understand the relationship between law and equity.

    – 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.

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