Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2008 Issue

Legal History From the Lawbook Exchange

Lawbook56

Catalogue 56 from the Lawbook Exchange.


By Michael Stillman

From The Lawbook Exchange we have received Catalogue 56 of Law and Legal History. It offers a combination of very old legal works, as far back as the 16th century, classics within various fields of law, a few recent reprints, and some less legalistic books still related to the law. Here are some of the books we found.

Item 42 considers a legal issue that became a major source of antagonism between America and its former colonial master in its early years after independence. Indeed, it was a major factor in driving the two nations into the War of 1812. Published in 1814, the book is A Treatise on Expatriation, by John Hay, the U.S. Attorney for Virginia. It is likely he had input from Jefferson, Madison and Monroe in preparing this work. This was the issue of impressments of American citizens into the British Navy. The British had the nasty habit of stopping American trading ships on the high seas and forcing their sailors into the British Navy. The British "reasoned" that anyone born a British subject was still a British subject, that they could not renounce their citizenship. This meant that American sailors born during colonial times were still considered British citizens by that nation, and therefore subject to impressments into the military the same as any Englishman born on the British Isles. The practice was never officially resolved by that stalemate of a war; the British not giving up their supposed right of impressment. Nevertheless, the British had the good sense to abandon the practice after the war. Priced at $650.

Here is another work touching on the problems that would develop between Britain and America, but this one is very early, at a time when no one could have imagined how far they would go. It is Memoirs and Considerations Concerning the Trade and Revenues of the British Colonies in America: with Proposals for Rendering Those Colonies More Beneficial to Great Britain. This book by John Ashley, published in 1740, was designed to avert any hard feelings caused by trade regulations imposed by the mother country. Instead of following the traditional model of trading only with the mother country and its colonies, the Americans were trading with the Dutch and French colonies. This was a source of friction. However, America was not like the typical colony, peopled by foreign natives and ruled by loyal British overseers. America was peopled by British colonists looking out more for their own interests than England's. Confrontation was inevitable, though it was avoided for a couple more decades, in part because both sides were busy fighting the French. Item 6. $1,500.

Item 38 is the first compilation of the laws of South Carolina: The Public Laws of the State of South Carolina from its First Establishment as a British Province Down to the Year 1790... by John Grimke, published in 1790. It included all of the old British laws that were applied in South Carolina, along with the recent ones of statehood and membership in the Union. Grimke fought in the American Revolution and went on to be the chief judge in South Carolina. He owned a large plantation and many slaves, yet there must have been something unusual in the upbringing he gave his children, as several became reformers, daughters Sarah and Angelina became leading abolitionists (which forced them to move from South Carolina), and his partly black grandson from his son Henry was one of the founders of the NAACP. $4,500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <center><b>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Books and Graphics<br>19th, 20th and 21st April 2021</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br>Atlases and Maps</b
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br> Veneto and Venice, a Selection of Books from the XVI to XX century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br></b>Rossini Gioachino, Baguette de chef d'orchestre appartenuta a Gioachino Rossini, dono del Comune di Passy. 1500 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Manetti Saverio, Storia naturale degli uccelli trattata con metodo. Cinque volumi. 1767. 18.000 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Poe Edgar Allan, Double assassinat dans la rue morgue. Illustrations de Cura. 1946.
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Ronald Reagan. Series of 37 letters to Senator George Murphy, and related material, 1968-90. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Chaim Weizmann. Autograph letter signed, to General Sir Gilbert Clayton, 6 September 1918. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Sir Winston Churchill. Autograph letter signed, to Pamela, Lady Lytton, 1942. £20,000 to $30,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Oscar Wilde. Five autograph letters signed, to Alsager Vian, 1887. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Napoleon I. Letter signed to Admiral Ganteaume, ordering the invasion of England, 22 August 1805. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Horatio, Viscount Nelson, and Emma Hamilton. Two autograph letter signed, to Catherine and George Matcham, 1805. £6,000 to £8,000.

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