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Rare Books

The Mirror of Justices

Andrew Home

London: Printed by His Majesty’s law Printer; for J. Worrall and B. Tovey at the Dove in the Bell Yard, nera Lincoln’s Inn, and P. Uriel, at the Inner temple Gate. 1768.

An early English translation by William.Hughes of Gray’s Inn of a unique medieval law book. Written about 1290, The Mirrour of Justices became an authority in the latter part of the sixteenth century when English lawyers began to look to Glanville, Bracton, and Britton as guides to put the common law into a more logical arrangement. It was not a terribly reliable source A bemused Maitland wondered whether its author was a "lawyer, antiquary . . . pedant, faddist [or] romantic" and it was called by Plucknett "certainly the most fantastic work in our legal literature" (Marvin. Legal Bibliography 397)



John Milton

Expositions upon the four chief places in Scripture, which treat of mariage, or nullities in mariage: wherin the doctrine and discipline of divorce, as was lately publish'd, is confirm'd by explanation of Scripture, by testimony of ancient fathers, of civill lawes in the primitive church, of famousest reformed divines, and lastly, by an intended act of the Parlament and Church of England in the last yeare of Edward the Sixth / by the former author J. London : printed in the year 1645.

TetrachordonThe Tetrachordonis is so-called because it treats four passages from Scripture (Genesis, Deuteronomy, Matthew, and First Corinthians), synthesizing them into a defense of divorce. John Milton, a poet, married Mary Powell in 1643. He was 35 and she was 17. She came from a large noisy family. His idea of pleasure was to sit silently with a book. Mary probably had never been silent in all of her seventeen years. Mary left John the same year she married him. Milton wrote during the period 1643-1645 four controversial pamphlets upholding the morality of divorce for incompatibility. In 1645 he published his Tetrachordon. Milton was spared the penalties, his Presbyterian opponents would have liked to inflict on him, by the general championship of liberty of opinion by Cromwell. Presbyterian writers made special mention of one small sect who were known as “Miltonists or “Divorcers”. The Powell family who had supported the royal cause were in trouble and in 1645 Mary returned to her husband. She died in 1652. Milton never wrote on divorce again. (Encyclopedia Britannica, Wilson, Life of John Milton) 


North-West Territory

Laws of the Territory of the United States North-West of the Ohio, ... with an Appendix of Resolutions and the Ordinance for the Government of the Territory. Cincinnati: Printed by W. Maxell, 1796.

Northwest-TerritoriesConsidered to be one of the most significant achievements of the Congress of the Confederation, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 put the world on notice that not only that the land north of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi would be settled but that it would eventually become part of the United States. Until then this area had been temporarily forbidden to development. Increasing numbers of settlers and land speculators were attracted to what are now the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. This pressure together with the demand from the Ohio Land Company, soon to obtain vast holdings in the Northwest, prompted the Congress to pass this Ordinance. The area opened up by the Ordinance was based on lines originally laid out in 1784 by Thomas Jefferson in his Report of Government for Western Lands. The Ordinance provided for the creation of not less than three nor more than five states. The Northwest Ordinance provided for a plan of government, the creation of states, the acceptance of each new state as an equal of the original states, freedom of religion, right to a trial by jury, public support of education, and the prohibition of slavery. Arthur St. Clair, named first governor of the territory., was credited with creating the first laws of the Northwest territory called Maxwell’s Code. This set of laws is one of the most desirable books among antiquarian dealers. (Hart, The Oxford Companion to American Literature)


Francis Bugg

Goliah's head cut off with his own sword, and the Quakers routed by their own weapons: by a dialogue tripartite ... Whereby the great mystery of the little whore is further unfolded ... Part IV. London: printed for the author, etc., 1708.

Francis-BuggOne of the most interesting title’s in the Association’s collection. A wool-comber, one time Quaker and writer of virulent anti-Quaker pamphlets, Francis Bugg, became disenchanted with the society, and in 1675 was suspected of informing against a Quaker meeting. He left the society after a long quarrel in 1680. From 1682 until his death he issued virulent pamphlets against the Quakers. (Dictionary of National Biography) 



United States. Constitutions des Treize Etats-Unis de l'Amerique.

Philadelphie; Et se trouve A Paris, 1783.

constitutions-french-coverOnly 600 copies of this rare first French edition were printed.  "This French translation was made by the Duc de la Rochefoucault, at Benjamin Franklin's suggestion.  The United States seal, eagle and stars and stripes, made its first appearance in this book. (Howes, A Selective Bibliography)  Included are the Declaration of Independence, and the treaties of alliance and commerce enacted by the Ciontinental Congress and governments of France, Sweden and the Netherlands between 1768 and 1783.


New York State Constitution 1777

United States Constitution of the Several Independent States of America; The Declaration of Independence; The Articles of Confederation Between the Said States; The Treaties Between His Most Christian Majesty and the United States of America.  Philadelphia, 1781.


Printed in an edition of only 200 copies, this book is quite rare, and one of the most desirable works in American Constitutional history. "On December 29, 1780, Congress appointed a committee of three to "Collect, and cause to be published, two hundred correct copies of the Declaration of Independence with the constitutions or forms of government of the several states, to be bound together in boards." (Cohen, Bibliography of Early American Law 3017)



Manual of the Corporation of the City of New York. D.T. Valentine

New York, 1842-1870.

manual_of_corp_city_of_ny_1862David Thomas Valentine was a prominent citizen of the city of New York and the compiler of several volumes on the history and government of New York City, including the "Manual of the Corporation of the City of New York." Published annually, the manual was a marvelous compendium of information on the greatest American city, its government, social organizations, buildings, economic institutions, etc. The many plates in the later volumes include bright color lithographs. "...these manuals constitute an extremely useful, if uneven, source of information relative to New York life" (Dictionary of American Biography) Once relatively common, the manuals are fast disappearing especially complete sets. (The Association has a complete collection; there was no volume issued for 1867) The cover shown here is from the 1862 edition.



Continental Congress Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States

Hartford Printed and Sold by Nathaniel Patten, 1779.

order_and_discipline_of_us_troopsIn the early days of the American Revolution, little standardization of duties or responsibilities existed. General Friedrich von Steuben began with a "model company," a group of 100 chosen men and trained them...they in turn successively worked outward into each brigade. He trained the soldiers, who at this point were greatly lacking in proper clothing themselves, in full military dress uniform, swearing and yelling at them up and down in German and French. When that was no longer successful, he recruited Captain Benjamin Walker, his French speaking aid to curse at them for him in English. His instructions and methods have a familiar ring, nor is this strange when we consider that much of what is done today stems from his teachings. Von Steuben introduced a system of progressive training, beginning with the school of the soldier, with and without arms, and going through the school of the regiment. Stueben’s Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States was printed in 1779. Among other things this work (commonly called the Blue Book) set down the duties and responsibilities for corporals, sergeants, first sergeants, quartermaster sergeants, and sergeants major, which were the ranks of the period. This work served for 30 years as the primary regulations for the Army. (Boatner, Mark M., III., Encyclopedia of the American Revolution)