Thomas Jefferson Papers

2. Jefferson’s Notes of English Statutes, 1779

2. Jefferson’s Notes of English Statutes

Statutes doubtful whether to be retained or not.
No. 1. } a { 11. or 13.E.1. stat. of Acton Burnel. allowing recognisances before a mayor to have effect of jdmts. & goods for defect of buyers to be delivd. to creditor at appraised value.
b 13.E.1.c.1. the stat. of merchants. supplementory of the last.
c 14.E.3.c.11. supplementory
No. 2. prohibition to export wool, leather, lead.
14.R.2.c.5. do.
No. 1. { d. excluding the justices of Com. law. from things belonging to the staple
e. c.8. merchts. coming to the staple shall be ruled by the law mercht., & not the Com. law. medietas linguae.
f. c.9. supplementory to (a)
g. c.19. justice to be done to merchants from day to day & hour to hour without delay, at the staple.
h. c.20. similar to (g)
i. c.21. constituting officers of the court of the mayor of the staple.
k. c.22. that there shall be correctors in staple towns before whom bargains shall be recorded.
l. c.23. additional to (i).
m. c.24. do.
n. 28.E.3.c.13. additional to (e)
o. 36.E.3.c.7. do.
p. 15.R.2.c.9. confirmn. of (f)
q. 9.H.6.c.24. confirmn. of (n)
1. Jac.c.13. for allowing new execution agt. a memb of parl. discharged from execn. by privilege
Exigent & Utlaria. Idemptilate nominis.
Laws omitted, by me, but necessary to be taken up.
13.E.1.c.7. the latter part of it directing what process in Admeasuremt. of dower. law of Judicial proceedings.
3.E.1.c.47. } for parol demurrer. belongs to the law of judicial proceedings.
11.H.4.c.3. } Jeofails & Amendmts. so much more fully provided for in 32.H.8.c.30. 18.E1.14. 27.E1.5. 21.Jac.1.13. 16&17.Car.2.8. 4.Ann16. 5.G. 1.13. that properly belongs to another period.
Assises. would belong to L. of judicial proceedings. but may be abolished.
21.H.8.c.19. Avowrie. parvum in multo. a few words in land law, or law of Judicial proceedgs. will do.
the age of consent to marriage 14. in a male, 12 in a female should be extended. perhaps to 18. & 15.
52.H.3.c.11. } Beaupleder. belongs to law of Jeofails.
6.E.1.c.4. } Cessavit. belongs to land law or law of Pleadings.
13.E.1.c.21. } Challenge belongs either to law of Pleadings or Appendix to Criminal law.
3.E.1.c.10. } what sort of men shall be coroners. } these stat. are unnecessary. the 3.E.1.c.10. which is the principal, is only declaratory of the com. 1. as may be seen Brit.c.1. written temp. E.1. the duty of a coroner.
3.H.7.c.1. do.
14.E.3.c.8. Coroners. appendix to criminal law.
28.E.3.c.6. how coroners shall be appointed
13.E.1.c.3. Cui in vita. law of pleadings.
13.E.1.c.3. latter part as to ten. by courtesy & for life. 1. of pleadings
6.E.1.c.1.14. } Damages & costs. law of pleadings.
36.E.3.c.1. Declaration.  law of pleadings.
52.H.3.c.29. Entry.  law of pleadings
6.E.1.c.13. Estrepement.  law of Pleadings
13.E.1.c.18.45. } Execution.  law of Executions.
1.R.2.c.9. Feoffments 1. of Pleadings.
24.H.8.c.5. Forfeiture.  9. App. to Crim. 1.
13.E.1.c.13. unnecessary.  the sher’s power being taken away. } do.
What process. Indictmts. App. to Crim. 1.
11.H.4.c.9. provided for.
3.H.7.c.1. foreign to the matter.
12.H.7.c.6. Merchants.
2.R.2.c.4. Mariners.
Money.  a necessary subject: but no Eng. stat. worth looking at. Non tenure.  1. of pleadings.
Parliament.  several stat.  1. of Elections &c.
Patents.  several stat.  some good in them.
Processe.  many stat.  1. of Pleadings.
Recognisance & Statute merchant.  several stat. a difficult subject.
21.H.8.c.15. Recoveries.  insert 3 words into 14.E1.c.8.
Redisseisin.  several stat.  1. of Pleadings.
Receit.  1. of Pleadings.
23.H.6.c.10. Sheriff.  against farming.  1. concerning Sheriffs.
Tenure.  several stat.  Quia emptores &c.  land law.
13.E.1.c.48. View.  land law or law of pleadings.
Voucher.  several stat.  1. of pleadings.
Wager of law.  1. of pleadings.
Wards.  several stat.  a great subject.
Acts of ass. operating from 1st. day of session }
repealing acts never to affect cases happening before repeal2
making absent members pay expences.
act against impressing but in certain cases
law for cross posts.3
bill for establishing English & Grammar schools.4
Appendix to Crim. law.5

MS (DLC); three pages, entirely in TJ’s hand.

These pages represent almost the sole remnant of TJ’s memoranda and worknotes for the preparation of his part of the Report of the Committee of Revisors. They are revealing and important and it is to be regretted that what must have been a much larger mass of such memoranda has apparently disappeared; for many of the pungent comments here set forth—“wards … a great subject”; “money. A necessary subject: but no Eng. stat. worth looking at”; and “Avowrie. parvum in multo. a few words in land law, or law of Judicial proceedgs. will do.”—reveal something of TJ’s perceptive mind at work.

1It is significant that TJ listed acts of attainder under “Statutes doubtful whether to be retained or not,” in view of his Bill to Attaint Josiah Philips and Others, &c., and his later attempt to justify a “proper” use of such acts (q.v., under date of 28 May 1778).

2See Document iv, 1, above. Neither the effective dates of Acts of Assembly there proposed by George Mason nor the one here contemplated by TJ was actually written into Virginia law by the Committee of Revisors (see Bill No. 2, above).

3This indicates that Bill No. 19 was drawn by TJ.

4See Bill No. 79.

5See Bill No. 64.

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