Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2015 Issue

Recently Acquired Material at The Lawbook Exchange


The letter of the law.

The Lawbook Exchange has issued a catalogue containing 201 items of Recently Acquired Books, Manuscripts & Ephemera. All of these works have a legal connection, but many are not legal texts of interest primarily to lawyers. Many involve the law in the context of political issues of the day, or events like sensational trials. You won't need a law license to find items to fit your interests or collection. We will skip the more legalistic texts, like the one that covers 18th century laws about olives and olive oil, to focus on a few works with perhaps a broader appeal.


We start with an odd, and disturbing, broadside headed Execution of Stephen Merrill Clark, Which Took Place on Winter Island, Salem, on Thursday, May 10, 1821. It's one that may give pause to those who see the U.S. Constitution as a fixed, rather than evolving document. In 1821, the Eighth Amendment ban against cruel and unusual punishment evidently did not apply to this case. Stephen Merrill Clark was 16 years old when he committed his crime. That crime was to burn down a barn. No one died (except, obviously, Stephen Clark). The jury recommended the legally correct sentence be commuted but the court did not listen. The young teenager was executed, death not then being deemed cruel and unusual punishment for burning down a barn. However, it did lead to pressure for reform, and three decades later, only murder remained as a capital crime in Massachusetts. Item 8. $1,850.


America had several of its greatest orators in the Senate during the first half of the 19th century, but none exceeded the vocal powers of Massachusetts' Daniel Webster. Perhaps his most famous quote comes from his 1830 debate with South Carolina's Robert Hayne, debating nullification and the threat of South Carolina seceding: “Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable.” Item 43 is a copy of the Subscriber's Edition of The Works of Daniel Webster, six volumes. It was published in 1851. Webster has signed volume 1. Just in time. Webster died the following year after he fell off a horse. Item 43. $750.


The next is a classic, Sylvia Nuptials, by Turin law professor Giovanni Nevizzano. This is a fifth edition, published in 1540, the last edition published during the author's lifetime. It covers such issues as marriage as discussed in Roman and canon law. Professor Nevizzano had some strong views about women, modestly described by The Lawbook Exchange as “misogyny.” His generalizations about women are most unfair, though probably every man knows one woman he would unkindly describe as the bookseller has described Nevizzano's views: “In his opinion, women were enthusiastic and effective torturers of men. They were successful, he reasoned, because their bodies were created by Satan and inhabited by the souls of fallen angels.” Nevizzano had some liberal views for his day on issues such as fornication, believing it not to be a mortal sin. Evidently, the good professor did find some useful purposes for Satan's creation. The Church was unhappy and demanded he remove some offending passages in later editions. Eventually, the book ended up on the Papal Index. Item 135. $2,500.


Item 165 is an abolitionist book, A Escravidao, O Clero e Abolicionismo, by Luiz Anselmo Fonseca. It calls for an abolition of slavery in Brazil, citing mainly legal, but also theological sources. The book was controversial at the time, though one wonders how abolition could have still been controversial. The year was 1887, and by then, every other nation in the Western Hemisphere had abolished slavery. Brazil did the same the following year. $950.


Next is an instructive compendium of Jewish law, as observed in England at the turn of the 18th century. Item 45 is Discourses of the Ecclesiastical and Civil Polity of the Jews, by Isaac Abendana, published in 1709. It is a second and final edition. Abendana was a rabbi from the Sephardic community, leading the Spanish-Portuguese synagogue. He also taught Hebrew at Cambridge and was a prolific writer. He was the Jewish community's premier authority of the time. $2,000.


Here is a remnant from an ecclesiastical battle at a moment when England was about to embark on a major religious conversion. The title is A Vindication of the Proceedings of His Majesties Ecclesiastical Commissioners, Against the Bishop of London, And the Fellows of Magdalen-College. In 1687, King James II interfered with the election of a president for the college. The result was the Fellows were forced at accept the Catholic King's wishes to install the pro-Catholic Bishop of Oxford as President. The King was not satisfied, demanding the Fellows admit their wrongdoing in at first trying to block the appointment and then ask for his pardon. Most refused, and were replaced by Catholic Fellows. The author of this tract, Henry Care, was a Protestant, and once vehemently so, but by this time he had mellowed and become sympathetic to Catholics, writing this defense of the King's Ecclesiastical Commissioners. James won this battle, but soon lost the war. In the following year – 1688 - James would be overthrown in the Glorious Revolution, this book would be published, and Henry Care died. Item 55. $350.


The Lawbook Exchange may be reached at 732-382-1800 or law@lawbookexchange.com. Their website is www.lawbookexchange.com

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Jenner (Rev. George Charles). <i>The Evidence at Large...Respecting Dr Jenner's Discovery of Vaccine Inoculation,</i> presentation copy from Edward Jenner to Rev. Rowland Hill, 1805. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Houdini (Harry).- Maggi (Girolamo). <i>De tintinnabulis liber postumus...de equuleo liber,</i> Harry Houdini's copy, Amsterdam, H. Wetstein, 1689. £600 to £800
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Meyer (Henry Leonard). Coloured Illustrations of British Birds, and their Eggs , 7 vol. in 2 plus Illustrations of British Birds, 4 vol., 1842-50 and [1835-51]. £5,000 to £7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Dickens (Charles). <i>An Entirely New Romantic Drama, in Three Acts, by Mr. Wilkie Collins, called The Frozen Deep,</i> 1857. £3,000 to £4,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Lighthouses and Islands of Ireland, c. 125 drawings, 1867. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Shelley (Lady Jane). Diary, 1853 & 1860. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Scottish Binding.- The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, bound in contemporary brown polished calf decorated with the figure of a Chinese spearman, by ?James Scott of Edinburgh, 1778. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Greene (Graham). <i>The Man Within,</i> first edition, signed by the author, 1929. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Mellan (Claude, 1598-1688). The Holy Face, or the Veil of St Veronica, [c. 1649 and later]. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Desaguliers (John Theophilus). <i>A Dissertation concerning Electricity,</i> W. Innys, and T. Longman, 1742. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Le Jeune (Paul). <i>Relation de se qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France en l'anné 1636 enuoyée au R.Pere Provincial de la Compagnie de Iesus en la Province de France,</i> 1637. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Stumpf (Johann Rudolph). <i>Gemeiner loblicher Eydgnoschafft Stetten, Landen und Völckern Chronicwirdiger thaaten beschreibung, </i> Zurich, Froschauer, 1586. £3,000 to £4,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> George Washington, Letter Signed to General James Clinton, preparing for the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign, 1778. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising to send reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Thomas Edison, Autograph Letter Signed, to Western Union President William Orton, 1878. $10,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> William, Bishop of Coventry, vellum charter granting the church of Rochdale to the Cistercian Abbey of Stanlaw, in Latin, 1222. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> FDR, Photograph Signed & Inscribed, framed with wood removed from the White House roof, 1927. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Jean Dubuffet, archive including many letters written while painting in NYC, 1951-72. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Mohandas K. Gandhi, Autograph Letter Signed, describing the source of his patience, 1939. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Lithograph portrait of Albert Einstein by Hermann Struck, signed by both, 1923. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Charles The Bold, Duke of Burgundy, Letter Signed to Johann IV of Nassau, in French, 1470. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22: Autographs</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Jean Cocteau, Autograph Letter Signed, in French, 1919. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Louis Armstrong, two Autograph Letters Signed to Erich Kauffmann, his lip salve purveyor, 1965-70. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 22:</b> Wernher von Braun, Autograph Letter Signed to Jonathan Cross, 1975. $5,000 to $7,500.
  • <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. $80,000 to $120,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. $200,000 to 300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. $80,000 to $120,000
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>

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