Thursday, September 24, 2009

New: Giles Jacob's Common Law, Common Plac'd

We have just acquired a very nice copy of Giles Jacob's law guide for the layperson, The Common Law Common-Plac'd. First published in London in 1726, it appeared in three editions; ours is the second, dated 1733.

In this work Jacob wrote brief summaries of many legal subjects and arranged them alphabetically, from Abatement to Writs. The "H's" yield some fascinating topics, including several that hark back to feudalism. In addition to the more familiar Homage, Heriot is defined as "the best Beast, or other Thing, that a Tenant dies possessed of, due and payable to the Lord."

Other fun legal concepts to toss out at your next cocktail party include Hotchpot: "a Blending or Mixing together of Interests, and a Partition of Lands given in Marriage, with other Lands falling by Discent." And Hue and Cry: "a Pursuit after one who hath committed a Robbery on the Highway" - essentially an early version of a phone tree, except done on horseback or by foot.

Our copy features several signatures of early owners. William Burrows paid seven pounds for the book at some very early point in its history. James Gillespie, Jr. owned the book in 1818. And a "Woodbury" signature suggests the book was owned by associate Supreme Court Justice Levi Woodbury, or perhaps one of his sons.

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