Monday, April 7, 2014
The most interesting volume here (title page on the right, above) was printed in London in 1707 and includes three of Hale's works: his Pleas of the Crown; Or, A Methodical Summary...; A Short Treatise Touching Sheriffs Accompts (London, 1683); and A Tryal of Witches at the Assizes...(London, 1682). Pleas of the Crown was first printed in 1678, so this is a later edition of that title, but Sheriffs and Witches are first editions. The latter work is a record of the witchcraft trials at Bury St. Edmonds in 1662, over which Hale presided. Two elderly widows were convicted by the jury on thirteen counts of witchcraft; Hale sentenced them to death, and they were hanged. These proceedings would greatly influence the Salem witchcraft prosecutions in 1692.
A related acquisition is a 1676 printing of Hale's Comtemplations Moral and Divine, shown on the left above. This title, though not specifically legal, caught my eye as it appeared (twice!) in a colonial American lawyer's library inventory that I recently ran across in a legal history textbook. The inventory also included Coke's Commentaries and Dalton's Countrey Justice, among others.
Posted by Laurel Davis at 12:26 PM