Five Rare Books for Collectors: Law

Lawbook Exchange

A rare c.1474–77 issue of Andrea’s Super Arboribus Consanguinitatis

Highlights from Lawbook Exchange’s latest catalogue of recently acquired rare books and manuscripts in law and related fields including:

* Super Arboribus Consanguinitatis, Anitatis et Cognationis Spiritualis by Giovannid D’Andrea c.1474-1477, Italian canonist and professor of canon law at the University of Bologna. The Super Arboribus is a  fundamental treatise on degrees of consanguinity and affinity, also known as blood relations, and spiritual relationships created by godparents and their families. This undated edition was owned by several  mportant collectors of rare books, among them George Abrams and Guy Bechtel,

* English Liberties by Henry Care, 1682. First edition of this classic layman’s guide which reviews, from a Whig perspective, the principles of English law and government. It emphasizes the role of Magna Carta, Parliament and juries in the preservation of civil rights and prevention of tyranny. First published in America in 1721, it had a profound influence on several colonial readers, including the founding fathers -  Jefferson, who owned two copies, probably referred to it when he wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.

* Transcript of the Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle coroner’s inquest of September 1921 following the death of actress Virginia Rappe after a party hosted by Arbuckle. Prior to the scandal, he had been a popular and well-respected Hollywood figure, mentoring entertainment icons like Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Bob Hope. The trials and subsequent publicity destroyed his career despite his ultimate exoneration.

* Consolato del Mare edited and translated by Giovanni Battista Pedrezzano, 1564. A landmark in the development of maritime law, the Consolato del Mare is a digest of the law and practice commonly followed by the commercial judges in the chief ports around the Mediterranean. It became a maritime common law of the Mediterranean and a foundation for subsequent European maritime laws and customs. In addition to legal topics, it contains a great deal of information about commerce, the day-to-day operations of a ship and practical advice on seafaring.  

* Punishments of China by George Mason, 1801. Written by an East India Company soldier who traveled to Canton in 1789, Punishments of China depicts lurid scenes of torture and contrasts Chinese and Western customs. Export albums like this were produced in the port cities of China for tourists in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.