Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

Warren M. Billings and Brent Tarter

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pp. vii-x

Mark K. Greenough and E. Lee Shepard, two of our tablemates at the Richmond legal-history dinners, were early enthusiasts for this book; they also helped identify likely contributors. We thank the contributors for their outstanding essays. From beginning to end their willing cooperation eased our...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-10

Before the establishment of modern law schools in the nineteenth century, people prepared for a career at the bar not by studying law as we describe the process now but, in their revealing phrase, by “reading law.” Law books and the legal profession were and are inseparable, and in those days...

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English Legal Literature as a Source of Law and Practice in Seventeenth-Century Virginia

Warren M. Billings

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pp. 11-26

The broad dimensions of Virginia’s legal history in the seventeenth century are well known. For colonial Virginians the interval between 1607 and 1700 was a period of experimentation during which they ransacked their heritage to discover laws and legal institutions suitable for a novel environment...

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Law Books in the Libraries of Colonial Virginians

W. Hamilton Bryson

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pp. 27-36

Of all professionals, lawyers are the most dependent on books. All of their resource material is in written form. To know the quality of the practicing bar, the bench, legal studies, and legal scholarship in general, one must know the books on which they are founded. A census of law books present...

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The Library of the Council of Colonial Virginia

Brent Tarter

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pp. 37-56

A visitor to Williamsburg, Virginia, early in April 1773 walked through the rooms of the colony’s capitol and recorded his observations. In the stately chamber where the Council of State met, the Bostonian Josiah Quincy Jr. looked over “a large, well-chosen, valuable collection of books, chiefly...

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English Statutes in Virginia, 1660–1714

John Ruston Pagan

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pp. 57-94

Virginia had a government of dual legislative authorities in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Under the transatlantic constitution—an evolving framework of legal relations within England’s empire—both the Crown and the General Assembly had jurisdiction to prescribe laws...

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John Mercer: Merchant, Lawyer, Author, Book Collector

Bennie Brown

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pp. 95-112

Soon after John Mercer died in Stafford County in the autumn of 1768, the author of an unsigned obituary printed in the Virginia Gazette in Williamsburg wrote that “he had practiced the law with great success in this colony upward of forty years. He was...

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The Library Reveals the Man: George Wythe, Legal and Classical Scholar

Linda K. Tesar

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pp. 113-136

A love of reading and learning dominated the life of George Wythe. Benjamin B. Minor, the editor of the second edition of Wythe’s case reports, wrote, “His learning was extensive both in his profession, and in general science and literature. . . . Not only was the father of poetry his intimate...

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The Law Library of a Working Attorney: The Example of Patrick Henry

Kevin J. Hayes

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pp. 137-156

In 1757, after fire destroyed the house at Pine Slash, the modest plantation where Patrick Henry had first tried his hand as a farmer, he, his wife, Sarah, and their young children moved into Hanover Tavern. Though a good inn with a large hall and a covered portico ideal for spending...

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A Virginia Original: George Webb’s Office and Authority of a Justice of Peace

Warren M. Billings

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pp. 157-178

George Webb’s Office and Authority of a Justice of Peace and also the Duty of Sheriffs . . . Adapted to the Constitution and Practice of Virginia is unique in the annals of American legal literature. Published in 1736 by the Williamsburg printer William Parks, it was the first law book of its kind ever composed...

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A Handbook for All: William Waller Hening’s The New Virginia Justice

R. Neil Hening

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pp. 179-194

The two thousand or more justices of the peace who served on the county courts of Virginia at any one time late in the eighteenth century needed up-to-date manuals and practical how-to legal guides in their daily work. Their own personal business affairs gave some of them familiarity with...

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St. George Tucker: Judge, Legal Scholar, andReformer of Virginia Law

Charles F. Hobson

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pp. 195-220

St. George Tucker (1752–1827) was a seminal player in the legal history of post-Revolutionary Virginia and of the United States, a key participant in the debates about the role of law and courts in the early republic. Politically, he was a loyal adherent of Thomas Jefferson, but he stood with Alexander...

Contributors

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pp. 221-222

Index

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pp. 223-234