Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Hérault, 5 July 1787

To Hérault

July 5. 1787.

A person who would wish to have a good general idea of the laws of England, should read the following books.

£ s d
Blackstone’s Analysis 8vo. 0 4 6
Dalrymple on feudal property 8vo. 3 0
Blackstone’s commentaries. 4 v. 8vo. 1 10 0
Gilbert’s law of Evidence 8vo.[every thing he wrote is excellent] 5 0
Cuningham’s law of bills. 8vo. [1778] 7 0
Molloy de jure maritime 2. v. 8vo. 12 0
Gilbert’s history and practice of Chancery 8vo. [1758] 5 0
Kaim’s Principles of Equity. 2. v. 8vo. 10 0 3 16 6

A foreign lawyer, who might have occasion sometimes to discuss particular points more in detail, should add to his library the following.

£ s d
Coutumes Anglo-Normands de Houard. 4. v. 4to. [Paris] 56livre tournois 2 6 8
Finch’s law. fol. [1613.] 4 0
Cuningham’s Law dictionary. 2. v. fol. [latest edition] 3 16 0
Hale’s history and Analysis of the law. 1716. [an author of high authority] 3 0
Rastall’s collection of statutes. 2. v. fol. [1618.] 1 11 6
Statutes at large by Hawkins & Cay. 9. v. fol. 2 2 0
Ruffhead’s index to the statutes. 8vo. 7 0
Hawkins’s Pleas of the crown. fol. [1771.] 1 10 0
Hale’s Pleas of the crown. 2. v. fol. [1739.] 18 0
Burn’s justice 4. v. 8vo. [1780.] 1 8 0
Gilbert’s law of devises 8vo. [1773] 5 0
Gilbert’s law of Uses 8vo. 5 0
Gilbert’s law of tenures. 8vo. 5 0
Sayer’s law of costs. 8vo. 4 0
Cuningham’s Merchant’s lawyer. 2. v. 8vo. [1768] 12 0
 
Swinburne on Wills. 4 to [1677] 4 0
Burne’s Ecclesiastical law. 4. v. 8vo. [1781.] 1 4 0
Abridgment of cases in Equity. 2. v. fol. [1756 & 1769.] 2 13 0 19 18 2

The following books added to the preceding constitutes such a law library as suffices for lawyers of the ordinary class in England or America.

£ s d
Coke’s institutes 3. v. fol. [1st. vol. 2d. edition 7/6. 2d. & 3d. vols. of the 5th. edition 1671. but with the tables 30/.] 1 17 6
Gilbert’s history & practice of civil actions. 8vo. [1779] 5 0
Coke’s reports. French. fol. 13. parts. 11 0
Croke’s reports. 3. v. fol. [1669.] 1 8 0
Vaughan’s reports. fol. [1677.] 12 0
Salkeld’s reports by Wilson. 3 parts in 1. vol. [1773.] 1 16 0
Lord Raymond’s reports [1743.] 2. v. fol. 2 10 0
Strange’s reports. [2. v. fol. £3. or 2. v. 8vo. 21/] 1 1 0
Burrow’s reports. [5. v. fol. £7–1. or 5. v. 8vo. £2–12s—6d] 2 12 6
Beawe’s lex mercatoria. fol. 1 11 6
Harrison’s practice in Chancery. 2. v. 8vo. [1779.] 12 0
Francis’s maxims in equity fol. 6 0
Vernon’s reports. 2. v. fol. 1 16 0
Peere-Williams’ reports. 3. v. fo. [1740–1746.] 3 3 0
Cases tempore Talbot. fol. 10 0
Atkyns’s reports. [3. v. fol. £3–3. or 3. v. 8vo. 27/] 1 7 0 21 18 6
£45 13 2

After these, succeeds a croud of authors of inferior authority, which however the lawyers provide themselves with in proportion to their wealth and eminence. A catalogue of these may be extended to thousands of pounds.

PrC (DLC). Square brackets are in MS.

This list was probably addressed to Marie Jean Hérault de Séchelles (1759–1794), a young lawyer and public figure who was counsel to the Parliament of Paris (1785), member of the Legislative Assembly (1791), member of the National Convention (1792), and assisted in drafting the new constitution (1793). He was guillotined at Paris on 5 Apr. 1794.

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