Rare Books Blog

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 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 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.


February 2, 2011

The late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries saw a series of important legal debates in England. Under the reigns of Queen Elizabeth and the first two Stuart monarchs, James I and Charles I, lawyers, parliamentarians, and members of the court argued over the relationship between common law courts and equity courts, and the extent of the monarch’s prerogative. The further development of printed law books and law reports helped standardize the law and its enforcement throughout the country. Leading members of the English judiciary – Edmund Plowden, Sir Francis Bacon, and Sir Edward Coke – rose to prominence and published works whose influence continues to the present day.

This exhibit displays highlights of this period in English law using the holdings of the Lillian Goldman Law Library’s Rare Book Collection and the Elizabethan Club of Yale University. The Elizabethan Club was founded in 1911 by Alexander Smith Cochran, a member of the Yale College Class of 1896. Cochran established the Elizabethan Club to provide a place for daily conversation between students and faculty members. In his founding gift, Cochran donated a remarkable collection of early modern texts. For the last 100 years the Club has added to its collection. While the Club’s library is well known because of its early editions of Shakespeare, Milton, and Spenser, it contains a number of important legal works, as well. 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.

     – 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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